Resurrection Sunday

Resurrection Sunday

Jesus was in the way.   For more than three years that was the sentiment of the religious leaders in Israel.  They could not continue their absolute rule over Israel’s religion as long as Jesus was around. Finally, after such a rallying display of loyalty by the crowds gathered for Passover, the Pharisees, scribes, and other religious leaders had their solution. He was dead. Yes, that is right he was dead. They had trumped up charges of blasphemy and had called in every favor they could think of to get him a trial. Then using the emotional fervor of the crowds and incensing them to hysteria, the leaders pushed Jesus all the way to crucifixion. Now with the stone in front of the tomb where Jesus was placed and the guards there to watch it, the leaders could begin repairing their power structure.

From human eyes this is what happened. However, from the throne of heaven this was all decreed before the world was created. God was going to use the death of His own Son to pay the penalty for man’s sin so that man could be reconciled to God. The vast separation between man and God had stood for millennia. Sin will never be allowed in God’s heaven. How can sinners get to heaven? Man has to be cleansed from sin and a new life given to him before entering heaven. Man cannot earn such favor with God or do the work of cleansing himself. A gracious gift is all we can hope for. Saving man from sin’s penalty of death is God’s gracious act.  God says it is a gift according to Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

But how can a dead person affect any kind of help to mankind? In the minds of the religious leaders they knew that if Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb, the whole point of His death would be pointless. They knew about the predictions that Jesus had made about rising from the dead. Listen to the fear in their voices as they arranged to secure the tomb after His crucifixion. Matthew 27:62-65 “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command, therefore, that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead; so the last error shall be worse than the first. 65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can.”

Everything around the actions of the religious rulers communicated that they had a sense He would indeed rise from the dead. So far whatever Jesus had said and had done made such a lasting impact they just had to stop Him – even after He was dead. But it was to no avail. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day just as He had said.

What a victory, not over the religious rulers but over death, the penalty for sin!   Romans 5:12, 17-19 tells us what this victory means. 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned. 17 For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one, much more they who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

Notice again the idea of a free gift that is offered to mankind. That gift is salvation from the penalty of sin. The scriptures tell us that the penalty is death but a gift of full payment has been offered to save us from the penalty of death and to grant us eternal life in heaven with God rather than an eternity of suffering in Hell. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Ok so you are not a religious ruler, what do you make of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?

As we look further at the resurrection of Jesus an interesting statement is made in John 20:9 about the disciples who were closest to Jesus. For a broader look at the events leading to this comment listen to what John recorded about the resurrection morning. John 20:1-8 “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter, therefore, went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed.”

In these verses the interested parties of women followers and disciples are coming to the tomb to add spices and to take care of the body. Luke’s gospel verifies this in 24:1. They were expecting the body of Jesus to be there. Now they all find Him missing. The impact is seen in John 20:8 then verified further in verse 9. Then went in also that other disciple, who came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” The impact is ownership. The things Jesus had said came to pass. He told them He would rise again. Now seeing the empty tomb and grave clothes, they believed and took personal ownership of the truth of the sayings of Jesus, referred to here as scriptures, and the sayings of the prophets such as Psalm 16:10 “ For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

The ownership of Jesus’s claims was an act of faith. They had not yet seen Jesus walking the earth, but they believed He was risen from the dead. The same way that they believed we are to believe as well. Yes Jesus did meet with these folks after He rose from the dead and hundreds of others. But they believed before He did and took ownership of the claims of the scriptures. How about you do you believe what the scriptures say? We have looked at the free gift God offers to pay for our sin penalty. Without that gift we are condemned to hell. No person or group of persons can reverse that condemned status. Only God can change our status and that is through His gracious gift of His own Son.

Jesus died on the cross to pay our penalty. He rose from the dead to prove God’s power over death. One could say that to defeat death, the penalty for sin, Jesus had to not stay dead. That is exactly what happened. What the Bible tells us about Jesus, sin, man, and the salvation God offers needs to be owned by everyone of us. John 20:31 concludes the resurrection day events with these words.           John 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

How do you believe and take ownership of what the scriptures say about Jesus? Romans 10:9-10 tells us in plain language. Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

There you have the words to the prayer you can say to God. We confess that we are sinners and turn away from self and sin and turn to God’s offer of the gift of Jesus. We simply accept as true what the Bible says. Jesus died and rose again to defeat sin and sin’s penalty. Believe and own this truth today. Pray and tell God you are a sinner and that you now accept the free gift of salvation from sin’s penalty. Tell God you are turning to Him and turning away from sin. Tell God you want to be saved from death and Hell as described in the Bible. God will do as He says. He will save you and from this day forward you will be saved from sin’s penalty.

Resurrection Sunday is the perfect day to believe and own the truth of God’s Word.

If you have decided to receive the free gift of salvation we would love to rejoice with you and offer help in anyway that we can. Please click the buttons provided to leave us a message.

“A Foggy Morning Blessing”

A Foggy Morning Blessing


“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him.” (Psalm 32:1 & 2)

The other morning, I awoke early and went into mountains.  As I arrived in the Moraine Meadows I was greeted by our Lord with a damp fog that enveloped me completely. 

The nearby mountain tops, some climbing to 14,000 ft, were barely visible as the early morning light began to illuminate the eastern sky.

Deep in the meadow I could hear the elk awakening calls… but their shapes were hidden by the fog.


As I paused, I thought it a bit strange because lately I had been praying for God would allow me to see deep into the things around me…

For Him to give me an ability to more clearly describe what He sees and allows me to see on a different level…

For Him to give me His insights into what is seen and unseen. 

So… I wondered…

Why the fog?


And now, as I walked forth (camera in hand)… 

I sensed… this was different that times before when I have stepped into fog…

For, this morning I saw things I’ve never noticed before. 


I remember the nudging of the Holy Spirit… 

I remember His quiet voice…“There’s some things to learn in this fog”.

So… I ventured on, cinching my jacket to block the frigid air of the high mountains.

As I meandered into the meadow, frosty grass crackled like panes of glass beneath my feet. 

I pursed my lips and exhaled a stream of warm air. 

Steam formed and it swirled gently, never dissipating rather clinging to the mist that surrounded me. 


Then, I sensed the hand of the foggy haze reaching out… taking me in its grasp leaving a dampness that chilled my arms. 

The fog pushed in and out as though it were waves breaking gently onto an imaginary sandy mountain shore. 

My vision began to clear as I squinted in the early grey light with growing shades of pick, red and canary… trying to find just a bit of sight through the foamy whitewash.

I gingerly blew a second breath into the wetness of the air. 

Again the cloud twisted and turned, lifting itself into the vapor that washed past me. 

The cool moisture chilled my lungs as I took it in. 

Lifting my hand, I softly swatted at the smoky cloud and it moved, caressing my hand like sand filling crevices… constant and conforming. 

This blanket that covered the early morning hours pressed against me, wrapping me tight in its clutch. 

This is early winter in the mountains. 


Looking over my shoulder I could see the pinhole of light growing in the darkness, forming a single ray of light. 

Yes… daylight comes.

With each fleeting second that passed I watched the curtain rise and with it, the dense ocean of fog. 

The amber glow of the morning light became increasingly bright as the mist cleared and my skin lost its tackiness. 



God began taking the blanket of fog… 

Moving it in smaller portions into the deep valley…

Then blowing it slowly up the tall mountains…

And folding it neatly to be stored in the heavens. 


As I watched and listened to the birth of a new morning I saw with different eyes…

Standing in newfound amazement… I saw clearly again… the tremendous cloak of forgiveness which the Father offers me… offers each of us.

This deep feeling of abiding within the arms of a God who can cover me fully, forget the wrongs I’ve done, and yet warm me completely, brought me to a new level of humility I’ve never known. 


As my request was granted…

“There’s a lot more to fog than being blinded isn’t there?” I asked the Father. 


I remember His voice dee in my heart…
“Indeed. Took you awhile to notice.” 
“I guess was only looking at the surface.” 

I felt a warm breath that pushed away the chill of the morning air. 

“There’s so much more to see when you look deeper – squint a bit. Fog is really not just something to inconvenience you when you drive.” 
I smiled. “I get that now. It’s a cover. A quilt of sorts.” 
“Yes… What else did you see?” 
“I saw the movement in the mist. It carried your forgiveness toward me and it washed my fallacies out of sight. It clung to me, touched me physically, tickled my skin.” 
“So you saw something in a different light?” The Father asked. 
“Yes I did. I could see the thick film before my eyes, yet, my vision was perfectly clear.” 

“Good. You understand my love a bit better. If only more people would stand still long enough to look into the fog.” 

This morning was an exceptional Blessing…

God taught me that winter in the high mountain meadows offers sight to the blind. 

He covers us with His mighty love and forgives completely. 

I saw that… deep within the cold foggy mist of the Rockies.


I pray that each who read this will share in this Blessing…

And know…

He is ever so near…

Draw close… unto Him.


The Prize



Growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida where my father was a building inspector, in both the city and Pinellas County in the 40’s and 50’s was exciting. The county’s population in 1940 was 91,852. According to the 2013 census report it is now 921,319. The beginning of this massive growth started around 1946 as ex military personnel moved to the sunny south. Developers came into his office, purchasing permits, with layouts of subdivisions consisting of 400 homes or more. The post war expansion was explosive and the economy was booming.  How do I know his territory expanded outside the city limits?   Well, wild animals weren’t allowed to be pets in the city and Dad came home one day with a grin on his face. He said, “Today I had to inspect a building that had an 18 foot high doorway.”  We looked at each other and knew it couldn’t be for a man. Goliath was estimated to be around 9 ½ foot tall and the doorway was double that. After guessing a while, he told us it was for the Wild Animal Ranch expansion at the edge of the county. By now you might have figured it out, it was for a new tenant, a giraffe. In the years after World War II and up into the sixties, there were no Interstate Highways in Florida and no Turnpikes. Due to these modern changes, the Wild Animal Ranch, among other early attractions, was done away with and the world I grew up in as a kid is but a distant memory.   


For a number of years the State of Florida was doing a fantastic job continuing to recruit people from all over the country to move to this tropical area. Each one that stopped at the State line received a free glass of orange juice and a handful of brochures promoting a variety of events and places to go.  Due to the growth of Pinellas County and the hard work required from all the county employees, the administration put on an annual Thanksgiving event to recognize these workers. It was just prior to Thanksgiving Day and many were acknowledged for their part in making this Sunshine State a success. 


At the event county employees were handed a ticket about the size and quality of a 3 x 5 card. He or she was to put their name, address and telephone number on the card and return it to an usher who turned them in. At the end of the ceremony these cards were put in a big round drum with a crank, rotated several times, and then names were drawn. One by one each one was hoping their name would be mentioned. If called, the employee would run up to the stage to collect their prize which was usually a turkey, ham, food item, or a gift certificate. Each year our family attended, but Dad’s name was never called. One year when filling out the card, he said, “This time we are going to win something.”  When finished writing, he crumbled it up, and straightened it again before turning it in. His theory was that all the others turned in nice neat cards and they just stuck together in the drum. By making his ticket rough, he felt we would increase the odds of winning since it would stand out from the rest. Sure enough it worked and we took home a beautiful large turkey, big enough to feed our family, and some guests.


Have you ever though of ways you could increase your odds in the Christian life? Oh, I don’t mean trying to get Jesus to love you more. He has already shown you how much He loves you by giving His life on the cross. Romans 5:8, “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 2:11 tells us, “For there is no partiality with God.” He loves each of us equally. It’s not His love I’m talking about. How about your inner peace?  Do you think someone’s odds could be increased, in their peace with Him, by reading the Bible each day and listening to what the Holy Spirit is teaching them compared to someone that rarely opens up the Scriptures?  What about someone who is involved in some type of ministry serving others as opposed to someone who is content to sit on the sidelines and watch?  In both of those examples, wouldn’t the one who is more active increase their odds for a deeper inner peace?  


The Apostle Paul was zealous and I’m sure had that inner peace in spite of the suffering and obstacles he went though. He didn’t just occasionally attend a church service or only give a minimal amount of his time.  He was right in the middle of things. He was a leader to those back in his time, as well as, to those who read about and follow his life today. His focus was on the PRIZE; the PRIZE? Yes, Paul not only was looking forward to the PRIZE, but wants us to do the same.  1Corinthians 9:24- 27, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the PRIZE?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the PRIZE is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”


Paul continues this thought in Philippians 3:13 and 14, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the PRIZE of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul had a goal and he knew what it took to get there. What kind of goals do you have for your future destiny? Is it possible that this world with all its glitter and attractions has kept you from making a long range goal and striving for the PRIZE that awaits you in heaven?  


If Jesus allowed Paul’s feelings to be placed in the Scripture for us to read and be challenged by, do you think it’s possible that the Lord Himself has goals and is looking forward to a PRIZE?  You may be thinking, hold on a minute, God created and owns everything, what could He possibly want that He doesn’t already have?  That’s a legitimate question, but let’s analyze the Scriptures more closely and see if that question can be answered.


Yes, Jesus was around from the beginning. In fact He had no beginning. Revelation 1:8,22:13, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.”  He came to earth to die for us and give us the hope of eternal life. Prior to His human form, He existed. In John 8:58, the Scriptures tell us, Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” He didn’t use the word I was.  He wasn’t born like us. He always was. Genesis 1:26 tells us, God said, “Let Us make man in our own image.” The ‘Us’ in that verse is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In our own image means, we posses some qualities of God, here on this earth, and will receive more when we get to heaven.  We will never be completely like Him, but we have some similarities. We are emotional (we can feel, experience), we are purposeful (We have meaning, mission, a calling). We are moral (know right from wrong and able to choose). We will live forever (either with Christ or without Him). Yes, we will die in this earthly body, but our souls and new bodies are immortal. We have also been given a free will.


Since we have a free will, that gift can be a problem. Our very nature is bent on doing wrong, rather than right. We would rather do things our own way rather than to follow God’s will. God exercised His will by casting Lucifer from Heaven. The reason He did was because of Lucifer’s pride. Isaiah 14: 12-21 tells us the story. Over and over in those verses, Lucifer, that we refer to as Satan, said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”  Pride was his downfall and so it is with us many times. Sin is a three letter word with I in the middle. We can’t have the Lord on the throne of our life and keep ourselves there at the same time. So there is still a battle going on today between good and evil; between Christ, the risen Savior, and Satan His foe. Satan is doing all he can to discredit Jesus Christ, and yet He, the Lord, is using many methods to win our hearts. In addition to being cast from Heaven, Satan is doing all he can to get us distracted from a fruitful, content and peaceful life. Although Satan can’t do anything that God doesn’t allow him to, I john 5:19 tells us, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”


A passage that shows the battle more intensely is found in 2 Corinthians 4: 3-6, “But even if our gospel be veiled, it is veiled to those that are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” You see Satan wants to suppress this truth and it’s up to Bible believing Christians to reveal this truth. Now back to God’s PRIZE.  He knows everything from the beginning to the end; yet He is waiting for His PRIZE. Any idea what that might be? It’s you and me, just human beings; it’s believers that have placed their trust in Him. He is waiting for that last soul to trust Christ and then He will take us to heaven. Think of it, sometimes we don’t even get along well with family members and friends, why in the world would He want us?  That’s a good question. He cared enough to die for us and He wants us to dwell with Him in heaven. He knows when the time is right; we will be taken to be with Him where we will have a changed glorified body.  There will be no more sin.  It will be a perfect environment.


John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Fathers house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you maybe also.” He is also looking for sin to be done away with. 1Corinthians 15: 50 – 56 shows us our final victory and how we will be changed. Starting with verse 54, “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.”  “Oh death where is your sting? oh Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 


You see, if He thinks we are His PRIZE, shouldn’t we want Him to be our PRIZE?  Are we going to listen to Satan, the deceiver of all time, and settle for very little the world has to offer? Wouldn’t we be better off to realize this life is just temporal and place our trust in the One who created all things and has a home prepared for us in an eternal place that lasts forever? It’s my prayer that you will consider His offer and trust Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Then come visit us at Gateway Baptist Church where you can learn and grow more in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.      



11-3 Update

Work continues in many different phases of restoration. The hardwood on the main platform was completed on Saturday. This week men hope to install the hardwood flooring on the piano and organ platforms.

Many of the kitchen cabinets were installed on Saturday. We also hope to get more accomplished in there in the coming week.

The fabric (carpet) for the back wall of the auditorium is due to be delivered on Wednesday, and we hope to have it installed on Saturday.

The ducting for the HVAC has been delayed, but we have decided to go ahead with plans to meet in our building this coming Sunday, November 10th. It may be wise to dress warmly in case we are unable to have heat by then.

Please note, we do plan to move our AWANA ministry back to our building this week. The main classrooms for AWANA were cleared out on Saturday, so we believe we are ready.

Upon closer inspection, it appears that the organ will not be salvaged, so we need to find a new one.

Please see the jobs list for a list of work that needs to be done.

As announced, we would welcome everyone who is able to come to meet us at the building at 6:30 PM on Tuesday to help shuttle all of our auditorium chairs back to the main level.

More pictures have been added to the Restoration Album! Click below to access it.

10-16 Update

We are very pleased with the amount of work that is getting done each day! 

On Tuesday, the decking was placed on the platform. We are still waiting for the sound equipment to be installed underneath the platform. Please pray that this can be accomplished yet this week. 

The baseboards are almost completely finished and should be ready to install as soon as the carpet is put down. 

Bob Kaltenberger continues to lead in caring for the exterior of the building. We so appreciate his dedication in trying to help us restore the grounds and parking lot. 

Some decorating has been done in the ladies room and the mirrors are back up. On Tuesday the men build a temporary door for the ladies room. It is a little rugged, but what a blessing to have it! 🙂 If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, than we ladies can call it beautiful. What thoughtful men we have! (Thanks, guys!!)

Men continue to work on the electrical covers and outlets. Ladies have been faithfully cleaning lights and floors.

Shelves were put back up in the foyer closet allowing us to put many items back away. Yeah!

The foyer was also repainted Tuesday evening. That should be the end of the painting except for some touch up work here and there.

The men’s room partitions were also finished on Tuesday.

Yet this week, we are hoping to have the new foyer tile fully installed. We will need to use the northern side door to access the building while this work is being accomplished. 

Matters for prayer:

We need to get natural gas service to the building again. Please pray that the utility company will get this restored.

We need strength to make this final push. In the next two weeks we will Lord-willing get carpet and cabinets and appliances and our HVAC system back. There is much to accomplish!

We need to continue to seek the Lord to provide for the financial burden that all of this restoration is costing. We do rejoice in all that the Lord has prompted folks to give already!