Do you enjoy storms? Well, it depends upon the severity and situation. Sometimes a snowstorm or a thunderstorm can be relaxing, beautiful, and an exciting event. But when a storm crosses the threshold of safety and becomes a danger, that’s when I don’t enjoy storms.
I remember one winter night while driving in the mountains of Southwest Virginia I encountered a “white out” snow storm. The visibility out my windshield was almost nonexistent. I tried everything: headlights on high beam and low beam, rolling down the window and putting my head outside to see if that would help. Nothing helped! I admit it was frightening. Eventually a truck passed by with headlights strong enough to penetrate the snow. I immediately pulled my car behind the truck and followed it out of the snow storm. I’m sure the driver of the truck was aggravated to have someone following so close on their bumper, but I was so very thankful to have them lead me out of the storm!
Jesus was once caught in a storm. It happened as he and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee. As they made their way across the lake a storm suddenly arose. The storm was so violent that everyone’s life was in imminent danger. The disciples woke Jesus from his sleep and he rebuked the storm, bringing the sea to an immediate peace!
Jesus faced many types of storms in his life, just like we do. Once when Jesus visited his hometown of Nazareth the citizens became so angry at his teachings that they decided to kill him! They took him to a cliff outside the city and were going to throw him over to his death. The Bible tells us that Jesus miraculously walked through the angry crowd to safety! Wow!
Can you identify with these stories of Jesus’ life. I bet you can, because life was no different then than it is now. Life, all life, everybody’s life, will include storms. I guarantee it!
The Bible gives us an assurance that Jesus will not leave us in times of storms. Jesus is not a “fair weather” friend. Jesus is a true friend. I invite you to join us Sunday morning at 10:00 AM as I preach a sermon entitled “Jesus, A Faithful God In Times Of Storms”. You can join us in the sanctuary, on Facebook or YouTube. 🙂
-Pastor Jeff Carico
Well, it snowed! ❄️🌨☃️ How much this winter storm will affect you will largely be determined by where you live. Some areas received greater snowfall accumulations than others, but in general, everybody got some snow!
In the early morning hours of Sunday I made the decision to have online worship only. At first it seemed as though the weather would hold off and in-house sanctuary worship would be possible. It was raining but the temperature was in the mid 30’s and things seemed very hopeful. But then, suddenly, things quickly changed. The wind really picked up speed, the rain turned into drops of ice and snow, our church parking lot became a dangerous ice rink, and the decision became obvious and easy: online worship only today. As I checked social media messages it looked as though most churches in our area made the same decision.
Some churches posted that they had cancelled church for the day. I made sure I did not phrase our announcement that way because we did not cancel church, we simply moved the format! Our Worship Service was online!!! We honored and worshipped God, I preached, and I felt the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit! We had church!
God is building his church. I see it every day. I see people worshipping. I see lives being influenced and changed. I see commitment, dedication and perseverance. I see acts of love and kindness. I see obedience. I see people and families honoring the Word of God in their homes. God is building his church, I see it every day! (If you don’t see it, maybe you are in the working church. Just saying!🙂).
In the last couple of years First Assembly has had to learn to adapt, make quick changes, and be flexible. But we have never stropped having church! God has never stopped building his church! Amen.
I look forward to seeing you at in-house worship this Wednesday as we return to our regular worship service options. Let’s help build his church!
-Pastor Jeff Carico
Please check the following sites for our worship schedule this weekend. Any weather changes will be posted at least one hour before service time.
-Church Answering Machine
Pastor Jeff Carico
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!! 🌨☃️❄️ The first winter storm of 2022 has come and gone. Children and teachers have enjoyed their first vacation snow day from school, filled with sledding and making a snow man. Hot chocolate, boots, coats, gloves, snow angels, and lots of memories for all. Cars have been parked at the front of the driveway in preparation for the next morning’s drive to work. Grocery store shelves are emptied of milk, bread, and any necessity for the anticipated storm to come!
Do you like snow storms? Having grown up in a mountainous/high elevation area not too far from Bristol my winters were always a snowy experience. One of the adjustments I had to make when I moved to Bristol 30 years ago was a winter with significantly less snow in the winter season. However, I will testify that in my 30 years of residency in Bristol we have seen some significant snow storms, filled with large accumulations of snow, ice, power outages, and hazardous travel conditions. One of my favorite memories is last year’s 10 inch snow fall on Christmas! (Not to mention a couple of 24-30 inch blizzards in the 1990’s!).
One of the great things about living in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee is the opportunity to experience four distinct seasons of the year. Each is unique with it’s own amazing and beautiful qualities. The changing from one season to the next gives us something to look forward to, plan for, and anticipate. It keeps us looking forward, moving in the right direction. I like that!
In reality, each season of the year shows us the inexpressible creative ability of God. Only an intelligence far beyond ours could create such a place as planet earth. If we honor God and live within his teachings planet earth can be a good place to live, willed with joy and fulfillment. I became a Born Again Christian in 1975. Since then I have certainly had some very hard times, some serious challenges (as life always brings!), but I have found Jesus to be a very good friend who will walk beside you in the challenging times. He has been my friend. He did not leave me. Because of him I also have had some very good times. Some very happy times. Yes, if we honor God and live within his teachings planet earth can be a good place to live.
Take some time this winter season to see the greatness of God around you. Acknowledge him. Honor him. Worship him. Amen. 🙂
-Pastor Jeff Carico
Pastor Jeff Carico
Pastor Carico is the Lead Pastor of First Assembly.