Tag Archives: church banner

What Can We Give to God?!

  Another wonderful banner from the PCO banner team!  “What can we give to God” who has so richly given us all things and above all has given Himself on the cross for our sins (Galatians 1:4).  The banner provides a few answers to this deep question: money (tithes), praise/thanksgiving (represented by the music note!) and skills/talents/gifts/good deeds represented by what I think are sewing thread).  Let’s break  this down: 

One of the least preached on subjects in many churches is the biblical concept of tithing.  God owns everything and He has declared that we are to give Him 10% (even though He owns 100%!) as a sign of trust/reverence/dependence.  It’s a way for us to remember His sovereignty and to remember to trust in Him and not in our bank accounts.  “Will a man rob God?  Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in mine house, and test me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:8-10)                                               “Whoever offers praise, glorifies Me (God).” (Psalm 50:23)  Psalm 50:23 is obviously referring to the God of the Bible.  To give thanks to any “other god” (false gods) is blasphemy of course.  Contrary to popular belief, all religions do not “follow the same God just under a different name”.

   “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20)  There is power in praise!  An ungrateful Christian who is “not into praise” is no Christian at all!                                               

Another thing we can give (back) to God is to use our talents, skills and gifts (which God has given us!) for His glory.  A lady named Dorcas in the New Testament is a good example of such generous giving.  “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.”  (Acts 9:36)

We know that she used her seamstress skills for the glory of God as it is written, “All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.” (Acts 9:39)  One thing that must be made clear is that we do not give to God in order to earn his merit/grace/favor.  We do it as an act of worship/praise/thankfulness for all that God is, had done, is doing and will do.  The primary thing we are thankful for is God’s taking the place of our sins on the cross.  God does not need anything from us! 

“And He (God) is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17:25)  But we have the privilege of being able to give.  Many Christian songs have lyrics about coming before God “empty handed” but this is not necessarily true.  One repeating verse/concept over and over again in the Bible says, “No one is to appear before the LORD empty handed.” (Exodus 34:20, Deuteronomy 16:16, Exodus 23:15, )  Each believer is to give as he is able and as God has blessed him (1 Corinthians 16:2, 2 Corinthians 8:12, 9:7-8)  We can bring thanks, praise, a contrite and thankful heart, humbleness, respect/awe for our Creator as well as use our gifts and talents for His glory.  If God has provided everything in our lives, how can we then say we come before Him empty handed?!  We bring our very bodies and soul as living sacrifices!  The greatest thing we can “give God” is trust/faith, knowing Him to be a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:19) (Hebrews 11:6)

Ringing in the New Year – PCO Style!

The NewYear means different things to different people.  Some celebrate.  Some don’t.  Those who choose to celebrate do it in a number of different ways.  There are some (many, I dare say…) who choose to get crazy drunk and end up starting the NewYear with an agonizing hangover.  Others choose to spend the evening with family and friends.  Many Christians around the world ring in the NewYear at church in prayer with fellow believers.  I think it’s the best way to start a new year, turning it over to God.  The main message preached by Lead Pastor, Michael Peppin, was from Hebrews 12:1-12.  In this passage, we learn that the race laid out before us is a SET race.  It has already been marked out by God.  While that is true, the Bible also makes it clear that we have personal obligations in running this race.  We are to “lay aside every weight which hinders us.”  One of the most poignant points that Pastor Michael mentioned which would be good for ALL of us to consider is: “What sin made you stumble the most in 2009?”  Another important point from the service, which matched the banner on the wall you see here, is that we must consider the goal.  Saying “YES” to Christ means saying “NO” to other things.  We, as Christians, do not forget that Jesus is “the author and perfector/finisher of our faith”.  “I am no longer my own but yours.  Your will, not mine be done in all things, wherever You may place me, in all that I do and in all that I may endure; when there is work for me and when there is none; when I am troubled and when I am at peace.  Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded; when I find fulfillment and when it is lacking; when I have all things, and when I have nothing.  I willingly offer all I have and am to serve You, as and where You choose.  Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am yours.  May it be so for ever.  Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven. Amen.”  What better to start the NewYear than in sharing communion with other believers!  Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.  “And so, LORD, we obey His command with this bread and this cup, by which we recall His death and resurrection, the source of our life and salvation.  Grant that we, who share in this Holy sacrament, may be united by Your Spirit and grow into perfect love.  Bring us, with those who have done Your will in every age, into the light of Your presence and the joy of Your kingdom.  On the back of the church bulletin, was this BEAUTIFUL letter from Pastor Michael Peppin:

Dear Fellow Christians,

Someone said, “Life is like a coin, you spend it only once.”  2009 is past, and what is passed cannot be retrieved.  So this calls us to live with priorities in mind.

Jesus gave to His disciples this priority when He said, “Seek first God’s Kingdom…” (Matthew 6:33)  This means that we must, in 2010, come to terms with which kingdom we are going to serve.  The kingdom He represented was altogether different from the “me-ism” of today.

This “me-ism” philosophy is best described in these words: “I’ll have my own way, Lord, I’ll have my own way.  I’ll be the potter, You be the clay; I’ll mould You and make You after my will While You are waiting, yielded and still.”

King Nebuchadnezzar, in the Old Testament book of Daniel is a classic example of this philosophy.  Then as a broken man, he surrendered to God’s Kingdom and authority. (Daniel 4)

As we step into 2010, be assured that the kingdom of the world will not only confront us but assault us.  If we are here just for ourselves, then to stay on the top of the heap, we will manipulate, deceive and scheme.  But if we are committed to His kingdom, then “we will seek His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).  We will be governed by kingdom concerns.  This means, that in 2010, every step we take, will make us ask: “Is this His will?  Would this honour God and bring glory to His Name?”

People who are committed to Christ the King will strive for excellence and not for mediocrity.  People who know their God will resist the pressure of the world to conformity.  The pastors and their families, the PCO council and our staff join me in wishing you a Christ-centered NewYear.  In His love, Michael Peppin  It’s later than we think!  Here‘s an incredible presentation performed by Jess and the gang!  Enjoy!  Happy New Year to everyone out there!!!  Wishing you all of God’s richest blessings in 2010!!!

2nd Week in Advent in the PCO

  A wonderful banner taken from Luke 2:14.  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.” (KJV) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (NIV)  Jesus’ birth created praise among the angels.  God’s peace and good will are extended to those “on whom He sees fit to bestow His grace”.  Some manuscripts have the last half of this verse reading “and on earth peace among men of good will”.  The KJV’s reading expresses the divine intention to offer peace and good will to all men.  Paul, Deepa and Jessica Rajesh lighting the advent candle (of peace. this week).  Reader: We light the candle of peace to remind us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and that through Him peace is found.  Dr. Ebenezer’s choirs “Muscat Men’s Chorus” and “Muscat Christian Harmony” sang a few Christmas carols to our delight.  Don and Dotty spreading some Christmas cheer!

“Festival of Carols” – 2nd Week of Advent

  During the 2nd week of advent, there was a special combined service in the Bosch Hall of Ghala at 9:30am.  It was a service of scripture and carols with choirs and instumentalists.  Like the beginning of every Friday morning 9am service, Pastor Jack Buteyn led the children of the PCO in a short song before sending them off for “Sunday Friday school”.  The song he taught them this time was, “I am a C…I am a CH…I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.  And I have C-H-R-I-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T and I will L-I-V-E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y.”  Cute stuff and the kids loved it!  Dr. Ebenezer leading his choirs, The Muscat Men’s Chorus and Muscat Christian Harmony, during their “Christmas Lullaby“.  The Muscat Singers singing “Carol of the Bells“.  The 3rd choir, which you can only see a few members of in this photo on the far left, is the British School Community Choir.  I was not in a good spot to capture their photo so unfortunately that’s all there is.  Susan Ebenezer doing one of the 11 readings during the service.  The reading I was most impressed with was a reading/song by Vinoo Peppin/Carina Krogh.  (I really wish I captured that on video!)  Here is the text they read/sang:  Silent Night /  I heard them sing the beatiful carol, Silent Night.  How lovely the sound.  But, on another occasion I also heard them cry out, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.”  Holy Night / On that holy night long ago, a star led shepherds and wise men to the manger.  Yet on another night some thirty years later, the same stars shone down showing the way for soldiers and thugs to Gethsemane.  All is calm / The calmness of the night of Your birth brings to mind the calmness You showed, as all about you throng demanded Your death.  All is bright / The reverent brightness of that nights contrasts the darkness which came over the whole land until the ninth hour.  For the sun stopped shining, and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Round yon virgin, mother and Child / The image of one at peace.  Yet now I see You on that cross, LORD.  Those long thorns piercing Your scalp.  Your Holy brow dripping with sweat and Your Holy blood.  Holy infant / And carrying Your own cross, You went out to the place of the skull.  Now those huge awful nails, tearing through Your holy hands and feet.  And in spite of all the pain and agony which You experience, You suffer even more as You see your mum crying at the foot of the cross.  So tender and mild / Then in total agony, You gasped, “My God, my God.  Why have You forsaken Me?”  But as You glance at the crowd and then to the heavens, You ask Your Heavenly Father: “Please forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.”  Sleep… / And there You breathed Your last.  Dying a death which I deserved.  Jesus, You died for my sins.  You were sinless, yet you chose to take on my sin.  You loved me that much that You died for me when I was yet a sinner.  In heavenly peace… / When will we get it?  When will our hearts and souls be touched by this Holy Saviour, Jesus Christ?  When will we turn from ourselves and our wicked ways and, in peace, turn to You, Jesus?  Sleep in heavenly peace. / Mia culpa, mia culpa.  Mia maximum culpa.  Please forgive me.  Please forgive me.  Please wholeheartedly forgive me.  I love You, LORD.  An appropriate choice by the PCO banner team as “Joy to the World” is the most-published Christmas hym of North America.  Interestingly, Isaac Watts wrote the words of “Joy to the World” (based on Psalm 98) as a hymn glorifying Christ’s triumphant return at the end of the age, rather than a Christmas song celebrating His first coming as a babe born in a stable.”  Another awesome banner rightly created for this festive season!  “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

So far, it’s been a great Christmas season here in Oman.  We’re looking forward to upcoming events/concerts at the PCO!

Sing to the LORD all the Earth!

1 chron 16:23  This Ruwi Church banner comes from 1 Chronicles 16:23 (“Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; show forth from day to day His salvation.”) and Psalm 96:1 (“Sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.”)  Here’s a song to match this lovely banner – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8rY7dwwqYs  Good job, PCO banner creation team!