Oscar Wild said, “Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.” Brockway Wesleyan Church exists to celebrate the future Jesus has purchased for us with His death. Saint Paul says it is beyond imagination what Jesus has in store for those who love Him. He promises these things in spite of the many failures and glaring faults we see in ourselves and in each other Brockway Wesleyan is dedicated to the fact that God will accomplish all the things He has promised, and we are sure that they are for us, here and now. Yesterdays are behind us, and leave only memories. Tomorrow may or may not be what we have expected it to be. We have today to love our fellow human beings, care for our surroundings, and bring the love and life of Jesus into the world. We know that yesterday is under the blood of Jesus, our sin is removed as far away from us as it can be. We know that tomorrow is safe in the hands of Jesus, and full of His promises. Here and now, we know we are not alone because Jesus never leaves or forsakes anyone who comes to Him.
The mission Brockway Wesleyan has is to make much of Jesus and to bring people to Him. Not making much of ourselves, or making people just like us; but helping people find Jesus, know Him, love Him, and celebrate Him. Nobody is the same, so we look to Jesus to bring us together, and to keep us together. We have all been dead in our sins, but Jesus came to change that. Like the British preacher Leonard Ravenhill said, “Jesus did not come to make bad men good, He came to make dead men live.”
Family is very important to you and to us at Brockway Wesleyan also. Sunday’s at 9:30 we hold religious classes for every age group, bringing the whole family together at 10:40 for a celebration Worship Service. Sunday Evenings are laid back events with a family sharing atmosphere, encouraging testimonies, prayer requests, and comments during the Bible Discussion time. On Wednesday a free fellowship meal is provided, served by the teens, and then Bible studies are provided for different age groups. Children are celebrated and nurtured in a more direct and intensive setting at Brockway Christian Academy, which is entering its 38th year of continuous service to children, young people and families.
The Brockway Family would be so honored to make a place for you. Come join the celebration, and find the love of Jesus. We want to know God, together we want to help other people know Him too.
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IS GOD DEAD?
As the story goes, the parish priest brings two rowdy boys into his office hoping that a good talk would make a positive impact on their attitude, and behavior. The two had been were notorious thieves, and had been caught in the act on more than one occasion. As they sat squirming in the seats to which they had been confined by the priest’s secretary, the priest calls them into his office and looks them both in the eye sternly, his eyes filled with righteous indignation. With a low and almost menacing tone, the priest asks, “Do either of you boys know where Jesus is?” Of course the priest was preparing to tell the boys that Jesus was always watching them, and saw all they did. The boys understood his comments in another way. Each boy looked at the other blankly, but neither spoke a word. Again the priest asked, “Do either of you boys know where Jesus is?” Still neither would offer any kind of response. The priest made as if he were being called away to some immediate emergency, and told the boys to think about their answer until he returned. When the priest had left the room, the younger boy looked to the older and said, “Man, we are really in trouble now. Someone has missed placed Jesus, and they are looking to pin it on us.”
While that story is cute, it is not so far from where society finds itself Karl Marx is credited with saying that “religion…is the opiate of the masses,” insinuating that humanity has been enslaved and oppressed by religion, and God for most of history. (Mannis, 2012) More recently, the mantra “God is Dead,” (Nietzsche, 2002-2016) has so often been chanted, repeated, and reinforced in philosophy and pop culture that it seems to express the prevailing opinion of the majority. Many of us have wondered why God does not show Himself, since He is almighty. There is so much evil in the world, why does God not stop it, end the suffering, set right the injustices that run unchecked across our planet. “God, if your there, it would be a really good time for you to show up.”
While that question is uncomfortable for religious people, it should never be a challenge for a disciple of Jesus Christ. No one has ever doubted that Jesus lived, and walked the earth because it is a fact supported by the witness of history. The real question is who is this Jesus the “Christians” talk about. Is He real or a legend like Hercules or Robin Hood? Since Jesus claims to be God in a human body, that is a very fair question. I would like to offer a few answers:
- I believe in what Jesus left behind, and in what He didn’t leave behind. When Jesus exited the grave on the first day of the week (see Luke 24) he left the place empty except for the grave clothes. If the body had been stolen, it is more than likely the thieves would have taken the grave covering and the head wrapping the body of Jesus wore, but those were left behind. Only dead men need grave clothes: living men do not.
After he left the grave he was seen by up to 500 people at one time and in a variety of places, leaving no room for hallucinations; and leaving almost no room for legend to obscure the truth. Within thirty years of the time Jesus was raised from the dead, people were investigating the lofty claims of those calling themselves His disciples. No one found evidence to the contrary. For me the most stunning evidence that Jesus lives is that no one found His body. The Romans didn’t find it and the Jewish leaders didn’t even really look for it. I think they knew He was alive, but advanced the narrative that His body had been stolen to protect their own prestige and power. Finally, Jesus left behind people who really believed He was alive. These people believed it so much, they were willing to lose their lives rather than deny the living Jesus. That is some really stubborn faith.
- When I think about the fact that so many people believed in Jesus received a radical change in their lives as a result I am convinced that Jesus lives. The first followers of Jesus told His story all over their area, and thousands were converted. On Jewish leader, Saul of Tarsus, was increasingly angry and violent toward the Jesus followers, and determined to crush them. It was not long before Saul of Tarsus surrendered to Jesus, and began to tell the same “good news” the original disciples had shared. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is stunning evidence that God is working in this world, His world. The followers of Jesus continued to share the message of Jesus, and within three hundred years the world was radically changed. The message of Jesus, God’s Salvation for humanity, revolutionized the ancient world. The brutality of the Roman Empire was conquered by the Savior of Human’s, a living Jesus. That is really stubborn faith that works.
- Perhaps the most stunning evidence for Jesus being real, and alive is the fact that the Church is still around doing what it has always done: telling Jesus’ story and seeing lives changed. Not only have historical figures like the Saul of Tarsus and the Roman Emperor Constantine I been converted; there have been several radical conversions throughout the history of the church. A few more recent ones are Gen. Lew Wallace (Wallace, 2016) (Flick, 2016), who set out to write a book to disprove the New Testament, but put his confidence in Jesus instead. Also Jacob DeShazer (Deshazer, 2012), one of Gen. Doolittle’s raiders who found faith in Jesus in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, later returning to share the message of Jesus with the very people he had hated for imprisoning him. Finally, there is Louis Zamperini whose story of torture at the hands of Japanese prison guards has been popularized in the major motion picture, Unbroken. (Jolie, 2014) Louis found freedom from fear and self-destruction in Jesus, and dedicated his life to sharing the story of Jesus. (Hildebrand, 2010) What makes people change not only their way of thinking, but the entire direction of their lives? Can a dead God, a dead Jesus, do that? Before you say that they changed their own attitudes, listen to the what these people have to say about the change. They will tell you that Jesus, a living Jesus, changed their life. Still, today people’s lives are being changed by the power of Jesus message, and His story. My life has been radically changed by Jesus. I have been a slave to addictions, not to mention the many prejudices and bad attitudes I harbored. Jesus has exposed them, and set me free from the bondage they create.
So my answer to the question, “Is God Dead?” is this. If Jesus, God in the flesh, is still dead then who is changing all the lives of people around me? Who is it that is healing broken hearts?
Who is setting broken homes right, delivering addicts from the bottle, from the needle, and from pornography? I can’t say it is the power of positive thinking because that never worked for me, on the contrary, it let me down every time. Jesus changed me. For a long time, I didn’t see Him as the Deliverer because I was blind. One day I called out to Jesus in crazy desperation, and He delivered me. “I once was blind, but now I see.” (Newton, 1799)
I personally invite you to call out to Jesus, and let Him open your eyes to see something you never expected: Life, real life. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)
Pastor Jeff Lemire, Jr.
Jeff Lemire, Jr.
Brockway Wesleyan Church is the country church with Christ
in its heart and compassion for people.
Our Vision: To see our church, community, county and beyond transformed by the passion of Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision the people perish
Our Mission: To know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and to make Him known through encouragement, education and evangelism.
Mark 12:30,31 The Great Commandment Matthew 28:18-20 The Great Commission