Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15

About Me

I am a young man who is following God's call into pastoral ministry. I have been so blessed with the privileges which the Lord has granted me. I am blessed to serve the Mt. Joy congregation in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I am constantly humbled and amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The True Wonder of Christmas

People often talk about the wonder of Christmas this time of year. The beauty and splendor of the season. All of the lights and everything aglow. The sights of the decorations and the smells of the food on the table. The spirit of gift-giving and being together as a family. The twinkle in a young child’s eyes on Christmas morning seeing the gifts under the tree. But the greatest and real wonder of Christmas is found in the words of John 1:14. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” What really should bring wonder to us this holiday season is the truth of the incarnation; God taking on flesh and becoming a man without any way ceasing to be God. Adding humanity to His divinity.


Take a moment to reflect on what this means. The eternal God became a mortal man. The Creator became part of His creation. As Augustine simply stated, “Man's maker was made man.” The infinite clothed Himself with finite humanity. The One who holds all things together would be held in the arms of His mother. The One whom all things are dependent upon became dependent upon others. The Sustainer of all things would be sustained in the womb and at His mother's breast. The Bread of Life would become hungry. The Fountain of Living Water thirsty. The One who fills all space and time confines Himself to the single space of Mary's womb, then a feeding trough for animals, Calvary's cross, and Joseph's tomb. The Divine Word cries without being able to utter a word. The King of kings and the Lord of lords leaves His palace of heaven to lay on a bed of straw. The One who knows all things increased in wisdom as He grew older. For that matter we could say that the timeless One Himself could be spoken of as growing! The all-powerful One becoming weary after a journey. The God who never slumbers needing sleep. The One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills becoming One who had no place on earth to lay His head. The One rich in glory becoming poor so that we who recognize ourselves to be poor in spirit can become spiritually rich. The very Author of life would die. 


Wow! Just let all of that sink in! This truly is the wonder of Christmas! Mark Jones has put it well, “The incarnation is God’s greatest wonder, one that no creature could ever have imagined. God Himself could not perform a more difficult and glorious work. It has justly been called the miracle of all miracles.” Who could have ever invented such an idea? That the God of the universe would become a man. And that He would become a man in order to save us from our sins and God’s wrath that we so rightly deserve. To enter into this dark messed up sinful world and undergo such inexpressible and excruciating suffering for the salvation of us sinners. There really is nothing quite like it. As J. I. Packer has said, “Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the incarnation.”


                As you go through this upcoming holiday season, be sure to make time to ponder this deep truth that we celebrate. Don’t let it get lost in the hubbub and busyness of things. You will want to do whatever you can to keep it central in all that you and your family do. If you want to have a more worshipful Christmas, set your thoughts on this. Keep coming back to it again and again to have a reminder of it. The wonder of all wonders! God becoming man in order to live the life of perfect obedience that we continually fail to live, die the death which we deserve on account of our sins, experiencing the full weight of God’s wrath, and rise again three days later to conquer death itself and ensure that all who believe in Him will be resurrected as well after death. Could there be anything greater for us to celebrate? Anything that could possibly top that in importance? I cannot imagine anything.


Celebrating the glorious and wonderful incarnation with you,
Pastor Lee

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Which Jesus?

             A lot of people talk about Jesus these days as He is a popular fixture in our culture. References to Him as well as portrayals of Him can be found in movies, TV shows, advertisements, and books. It is hard to find someone who hasn’t heard about Him or at least doesn’t have their own conception of Him. However, with all that said, we need to be cautious not to assume that everyone who is talking about Jesus is speaking of the same Jesus whom we trust and follow. Rather than just blindly accepting that someone who speaks of Jesus or claims to believe in Him has the right understanding of Who He is, we need to further ask the question, “which Jesus?” It very well may be a false perspective of Him which does not correspond to the truth of who He is as He has been revealed in God’s Word, the Bible.

             For instance, Muslims have a Jesus that they believe in but they view him as being a prophet just like Muhammad and that of a lesser status than him. The Koran emphatically states that Jesus cannot be said to be God’s Son and that he did not actually die on the cross but merely appeared to. The idea is that he swooned from all the suffering and became unconscious, being mistaken to have died. The Mormons view Jesus as being one of a multitude of gods and the spirit brother of Satan who did not make full atonement for people’s sins, leaving them with sins they need to atone for themselves. According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus is not the eternal God but a created being, equivalent with Michael the Archangel. He is “a” god but not “the” God. There is also the Thomas Jefferson Jesus that some people believe in today. Our third president picked up scissors and literally went through the gospels and cut out anything supernatural that occurred in it. He believed that anything that could not be explained scientifically or naturally must not have happened. What this left him with was Jesus being only a good moral teacher. Not the sinless Son of God. And perhaps the most popular picture of Jesus out there today is what I would call “the tolerant inclusive Jesus.” A Jesus who is accepting of everyone as they are and being okay with whatever they want to do. This Jesus does not call people to follow him exclusively or to repent. According to him, we all are fine and don’t need saving. Just a little bit of guidance and encouragement to feel better about ourselves.

            All of these contradict the Jesus we encounter in the pages of Scripture who is the sinless Son of God, God in the flesh, both truly God and truly man, miraculously virgin born, really dying to atone for all of the sins of His people serving as their substitute sacrifice, and victoriously rising from the dead three days later to conquer death itself. And, as such, these groups mentioned above all wind up believing and following a false Jesus who, of course, does not exist.

            Now, you may be thinking, “While I realize that there are all these differences among these false religions and cults when it comes to Jesus, certainly you can’t be saying that it’s not the same Jesus in which they are referring to. They just got some of the details about him wrong. In the cases where he is presented on the screen or in some other book or advertisement and it doesn’t fully agree with the Bible, someone could still be introduced to Jesus even with these faulty descriptions of him.” Well, let me use an illustration to further communicate that these details in where they differ are so major that it actually doesn’t make sense for us to say that they are still talking about the same Jesus whom we know, love, worship, and follow. Suppose someone came up to you and asked if you were familiar with the man, “Lee Smith”. You more likely would probably say “yes” because you were thinking of your pastor who is writing this very article right now. Yet, as the person goes on and begins to talk about his pitching average and how they followed his career all the way from the Chicago Cubs up to his retirement with the Montreal Expos, and have all of his baseball cards, you would have to conclude that he is talking about a completely different “Lee Smith” than the one that you actually know. (The athletic ability or lack thereof of that one is nothing remotely comparable!) Why? Because the details are so very different and contradictory to the “Lee Smith” in which you are familiar that certainly you both cannot have the same person in mind, even though it is the same name. Such is the case with any portrayal or teaching of Christ which does not match up to what Scripture says about Him. They are so vastly different that we cannot say that they are talking about the same Jesus but have to recognize that it is another Jesus altogether.

            The reason this all matters is because the only Jesus who is able to save is the real Jesus we read about in the Bible. The “no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” is His name and not one of the same name with different characteristics. Jesus even says in John 8:24, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” The “I am” ultimately is a reference to God’s divine name “Yahweh” revealed to Moses back in Exodus 3:14. So, if someone does not believe that Jesus is God as He claims to be with all the characteristics of Him, they will perish in their sins. They cannot be saved. Salvation is found nowhere else outside of the biblical Christ. Any so-called Jesus different than Him will leave someone damned in their sin with no hope of redemption. Hence, why it is essential that someone not only believes in Jesus but that they are believing in the correct Jesus.

            So, the next time that you hear someone talking about Jesus, or He is mentioned in an advertisement, or is portrayed on your TV screen, be sure to ask the question, “which Jesus?” and check to see if He matches up to the true Jesus described in Scripture who alone can save. Don’t just assume that it must be the correct Jesus. Watch and read with an open Bible in front of you to evaluate it. And only receive the One found in those pages.

With my love in Christ,

Pastor Lee

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What God Thinks of Abortion

With the recent rightful overturning of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the debate over abortion has only escalated. Everyone from the President to local lawmakers, to your brother-in-law or neighbor down the street currently expresses an opinion regarding this dreadful practice. What matters though is not what any governor might think, how any president may view it, what any of those in Congress may say about it, or even how a judge might rule concerning it, but how the God of the universe views abortion. And He doesn't leave us guessing as to His perspective on it. He lays it out clearly in His Word (contrary to an article that I read over the weekend wrongfully claiming that the Bible basically says nothing about abortion).

Part of the debate concerning abortion centers around whether or not a fetus can be described as a person. Is it just a glob of cells or is s/he a living human being? The answer to this question often will determine one's view on abortion. All of the evidence that we are provided with in Scripture would lead us to conclude that the fetus is nothing less than an actual human being created by God with a purpose that He has designed for him or her. In Psalm 139:13 for instance, David acknowledged that he was knit together in his mother's womb. The “me” in that verse shows us that David understood himself to be a distinct person from that very moment. God declared to Jeremiah that He had a purpose for the prophet before He formed him in the womb (Jeremiah 1:9). Speaking of the sparing between Jacob and Esau while in Rebekah’s womb, the author says that “the CHILDREN struggled together within her” (Genesis 25:22). “Children” (literally “sons”) is plural of the same term used to speak of a child which has been born as seen with us being told that Eve “gave birth to a SON and named him Seth” (4:25). Those two warring brothers are presented as being persons in conflict, not merely cells bumping into each other. The unborn infant John the Baptist who jumped for joy at the coming of Mary in light of the news that she was bearing the Lord is referred to as being a "baby" (Luke 1:41) just as Jesus is described as being after His birth (2:12, 16). This indicates that no distinction is made between the child in the womb and one outside the womb. Both are identified as being a “baby.” These show us that, according to God, the location and stage of develop of a child doesn’t make a difference. And I think what takes the cake in this whole argument is that according to the Old Testament law, if a pregnant woman is hit and it harms the unborn baby inside her, the situation is treated like it was the harm of a person (Exodus 21:22-25). The same law of retaliation ("life for a life," "eye for an eye," "tooth for a tooth," etc.) applies to the baby injured or killed who was inside the womb when his or her mother has been hit as it does to those outside the womb. God seems quite clear that a fetus is certainly much more than a "glob of cells." 

With this being the case, when it comes to abortion, God clearly sees it as a violation of the sixth commandment, "thou shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13); the intentional, deliberate taking of a human life. In each of the Ten Commandments, we find that every negative has a positive side to it. So, if the expressed negative here is not to take a life, the implied positive part of the command would be to preserve life. And since an unborn infant is a human life, this command calls for the preservation and protection of that life rather than its premature death by abortion. As God's law reveals a lot about Himself to us, this specific command shows us the value that God places on each individual human life.

As I pointed out in my newsletter article last month, all human life is so valuable and precious to God that He instituted the death penalty for those who take it. "And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image" (Genesis 9:5-6). God didn't say that man's blood should be required if he sheds the blood of any animal but if his sheds the blood of another man. In fact, He even requires a reckoning from "every beast" that would kill a man. As His specific creation and a bearer of His image, God values the life of man so much that any man who takes another man's life actually forfeits his own. To God, it is no small thing to take the life of any human being, regardless of the person’s size, location, or ability. He or she is an image bearer of His and therefore has such value and worth that it is a grievous crime to murder them. A crime so horrendous that it deserves the most severe punishment possible.

And God has a special place in His heart for those who are vulnerable and defenseless. This is seen in regards to His continual care of widows and orphans; those who could not care for themselves in ancient times and were left often without any earthly support and protection (Exodus 22:21-24; Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 68:5; 146:9; Jeremiah 49:11). He also commanded His people to look after such and chastised them for neglecting them (Psalm 82:3; Ezekiel 22:7; Zechariah 7:10; James 1:27). Surely the unborn also fit the category of being vulnerable and unable to defend themselves.

For further evidence of what God thinks about abortion, we only need to read His commentary on an ancient similar practice of the pagans. They would literally sacrifice their children in the fire to their false god known as Molech (Leviticus 18:21). We are told that this is an "abominable thing that the LORD hates" (Deuteronomy 12:31). When you come down to it, abortion is basically the sacrifice of a child to the god of "choice" or "self." Isn't that exactly what those who justify the murder of tiny babies in the womb claim to be the reason why it should be permitted? That a woman has a "choice" of what to do with what (in this case "who) is in her body. That she is in charge of this living separate organism that is being housed inside of her and therefore she has the right to decide whether to carry him or her full term. It is all about her ("self") and what she wants depending on the circumstances that she faces. That trumps any rights that the child could be said to have. It really is not that much different when you think about it.


            In addition to that, Proverbs 6:17 points out that “hands that shed innocent blood” are part of “six things which the LORD hates, even seven which are an abomination to Him” (v. 16). You can’t get much more innocent than a precious little child in his or her mother’s womb who hasn’t had the opportunity yet to commit any crime. With abortion, it is as if the unborn child is receiving the death penalty for things that he or she did not do. So, what then does God think about abortion? In connection to the ancient practice of infant sacrifice and being the shedding of innocent blood, we can conclude that God views such a practice as being an abomination to Him.

While politicians, courts, and others may debate the issue of abortion, God is clear where He stands. And with Him being the Judge of the universe, His view is the only one that actually matters. Unless the President and these lawmakers and government leaders repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation that He offers, they will face this Judge and have to answer for the blood on their hands. Oh, may they heed the call of the gospel and experience the change that only Jesus can bring in their lives before they have to meet this Judge and give an account! And may those mothers who have aborted their precious little babies find forgiveness in the One who graciously died for every sin of those who come to Him in repentance and place their faith alone in Him.

Love in Christ,
Pastor Lee