Mar 23, 2016

Easter Letter 2016

Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Lord;
I recently wrote the beginning blog of a series of messages for the church’s web site that I pray will help those who read it, and have not yet embraced the Gospel message of Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, to do precisely that; to repent and live in faith and fellowship with God our Savior in the power and presence of Holy Spirit, and in fellowship with His Body here on earth – the Church. The blog is titled, “The Greatest Question?”
Jesus came and gave us the answer to the greatest question, and isn’t that like our God to bless us not just in every way, but most assuredly to give us our greatest need?
All we have to do is receive it and live in faith and thanksgiving to Him for His greatest gift.
To that end, the Church over the many centuries has been led to offer formal times of worship, following in the long line of practices of God’s people since He brought them out of bondage in Egypt many, many centuries ago, to worship Him weekly. See Leviticus 23:3 for the beginning of God’s instruction to us to worship weekly.
Well Sunday, March 27 is this year’s weekly Sunday worship service that is paramount of Sunday worship services. Who do you know you can invite to join you? This year’s message will be geared to help folks understand what is their greatest need and how that need has been met, as well as serve as a reminder and reinforcement for those of us who have heard and heeded the message before.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead proves the validity of that message, and  shows us what God says about all that Jesus did and taught. Jesus did it all perfectly. He perfectly presented the truth of all reality to us for all time. The resurrection proves it beyond doubt.
So an entirely appropriate response by us to God for His love, forgiveness, and redemption is worship – formal and informal. And another aspect of the answer would be to invite others to join you in giving thanks to God for all His love He has poured out on all humankind. I encourage you to invite others – don’t presume you know they are already committed to worship at their home church. Many in our communities do not have a home church. We would welcome them wholeheartedly at The Solid Rock Church.
Worship service time is our normal time – 10:00 a.m. and we will have a reception after the service.
Also, at 6:30 a.m. March 27 is a Community Sunrise Easter Service at Lake Mirror’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. Join with other Christians of the greater Winter Haven area giving thanks to God.
Remember to bring bells with you to ring every time the word alleluia shows up in the service. And if you are able, please bring fresh cut flowers to put on the cross at the front door. What a great visual symbol of life.
Enclosed is an offering envelope should you be led by our heavenly Father to celebrate and give thanks for his Grace to you by giving to his church. We look forward to seeing you.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Andrew S. Doan
Sr. Pastor

Mar 17, 2016

The Dilemma?

If you have not read the previous blog post (The Greatest Question?), it will help if you go do so now. But if you really don’t want to, I ended with the the question of how do we know what we know, and how do we know that what we know is in fact true, real, something to put our trust in? Will we stake our life on the truth or validity of what we claim to know?
Again, some may say that level of knowing or confidence in some areas of life is unknowable. And that may be very true for some areas of life. But is it true in the question of “What happens after I die?” Or more specifically, “What happens TO ME after I die?”
That is the dilemma we all face: What will happen to ME when I’m dead? This can be viewed as a question of philosophy, or of religion. But again, we must ask how do those who write, speak, teach on these things know what they put forth is in fact true? Some make a best guess and leave it at that. Some make observations about people and things around them, and come to conclusions. Some read profusely on the topic and ascertain who has the best thoughts or who puts forward ideas that make the most sense. Some read, research, study widely, deeply, and over a long time and then bring together what they think are the best or most plausible ideas. Maybe someone will do all the above and conclude no one knew enough, and will come up with their own answer to the greatest question. But is any of that a valid way to answer our question? Again, how do we know that what one person puts forth as true is in fact true? Are they using a method of gaining knowledge that is universally true for everyone?
Another way of stating it after our research is all done is, “Is there something about this I don’t know?” Well, how would we know the answer to that question? We don’t know what we don’t know – that’s why we keep studying, seeking, reading, listening, etc.
And here’s the kicker… what if I die before I learn what I didn’t know that would have made a world of difference? Are we left to ourselves or to chance or to something else to be sure this doesn’t happen? How will we know?
As I wrote in the earlier post, when I asked this question I began with myself. Is there a better way to approach this question? If you have read this far, why do you even have that question? What is it about us that prompts the question? Why do you and I want to know?
This now gets into the area of subjective experience in life. Is the question of what happens to me after I die in the same category of importance as “I like chocolate better than vanilla” or “I like warmer climates better than cooler climates”?
There is an answer! I have that answer, and I’ll give it to you if you want it!
More to come next blog!!

Mar 9, 2016

The Greatest Question?

What would you say is, or could be, the greatest question one could ask that would apply across the spectrum of humanity regardless of time, culture, or personal circumstances? As we consider the plethora of cultures and human conditions that have existed down through the ages, does one particular question come to mind that very possibly could be on all, or most of, their minds too?
While many questions could possibly fit that criteria, I believe it is still possible that one in particular floats to the top of the heap of questions. That question is, “What happens after I die?” Do you have an answer to that question? If you do, how do you know it is true? How do you know you are not coming up with an answer that merely makes you feel better, but has no basis in fact?
Some have called that “the great epistemological question.” How do I know what I know? How do I know that what I know is true, or right, or correct?
Some answer that question by saying there is no way of knowing – that one would have to have complete, full, comprehensive knowledge of everything, and that will never happen, so it’s impossible to know the answer to that question.
But everyone must make some presuppositions. Even those who claim the answer is unknowable have made some presuppositions. A quick internet search will reveal the broadness of that topic. I’ll leave that to you to investigate.
My place of beginning is with one’s self. I know I have asked the “greatest question” in my past – long before I actually began to seek the answer. The question did not “dog” me every day, but every once in a while it would surface in my mind, and I’d ponder it for a time, and then get back to what I needed to do at the moment.
Have you ever seriously pondered the question of what happens after you die? Do you have an answer? If so what is it? If not, think about it and see what you come up with for an answer. And watch what you do and how you actually arrive at that answer. It can be quite interesting.
After all, as someone once said and I have often repeated it, “None of us are getting out of here alive.”
More next blog…