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Mid-Week Encouragement January 10th, 2024

Mid-Week Encouragement with Rev. Bruce A. Shields

      This week, I have spent much time thinking about what it means to be a follower of Christ. Most of us remember Matthew 16:24-27 

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay each one according to his deeds."

      These verses speak to me in a way we all need to see. Jesus makes the point that to follow Him, we must "deny ourselves" and "take up our cross," and then we can follow Him.

      It can be difficult to deny ourselves. Especially in a time where everyone is telling you to "do what makes you happy," "put yourself first," and so on. To deny ourselves is not natural. In fact, we start our lives quite selfishly and self-centered, thinking only of our wants and desires. To put the Spirit of God before ourselves is a must, according to Jesus.

      Taking up our cross is slightly different from choosing to put Christ first. It speaks of taking whatever struggles we have in life, our pain, suffering, whatever our cross may be, and following Him anyway. It can be tempting to use the things that happen against us as an excuse to not serve the Lord. Jesus says it doesn't matter what you are struggling with; pick it, and yourself, up and follow me.

      Jesus then explains it like this. If you wish to save your life (everlasting life with the Lord), you will lose this carnal one. But whoever loses his carnal life for His sake will find an everlasting one. There is nothing in this world worth giving up your everlasting soul for.

      Jesus will return in the glory of God the Father and all His angels, and the Lord will repay each of us according to our deeds while here in this world.

      I pray daily for the Lord to give me the power to deny my flesh and seek His Spirit and the endurance to pick up my cross daily, sometimes multiple times in a single day, and follow Him. I pray that I surrender to His will and serve Him well. And I pray each of you do the same so that one day we will all be together with our Lord for the rest of eternity!


Have a blessed week,

Pastor Bruce




Hebrews 10:14

            "14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."



Community Prayer, hosted by Susan Moon, will be on Thursday, January 18th, from 6 – 7:30 pm.


The House of Faith Year-End Meeting will occur on Sunday, January 28th, immediately after the regular service. All board members must be present, and everyone else is encouraged to stay, but it is not mandatory.



With Hebrew Scholar Chad Bird from 1517, a nonprofit organization that exists to declare and defend the Good News that you are forgiven and free on account of Christ alone.





Pastor Bruce's latest book on faith, Drowning in Milk: A Guide to Spiritual Growth, is available at the church, along with his other books, Heaven & Hell and The Minister's Manual, on the vestibule table just outside the sanctuary. All of his books are also available on Amazon.


Our new online giving system makes supporting our church easy. The new system allows you to give a one-time, weekly, or monthly donation of any amount. See for yourself at




Kari Sidel

Trenton & Hanna Shields

Edward & Julie Calhoun




1/1 Vivienne Esther Calhoun

1/7 Warren Heier

1/10 Lori Ulman

1/26 Richard Webber

1/31   Janet Fargo (Terri's mother)



If you need anything added, such as an announcement, birthday or anniversary, or prayer request, send it by email to


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