Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Written by Pastor Stuppy

February 18, 2015

What do you see when you look at a cross?

If you were to walk into any Christian book store or look into any display case at a jewelry store, the one symbol that you will find every where is the cross. We display crosses on the walls of our homes, our lapels, on jewelry, and on the steeples of the church. They can be found in cemeteries, on car bumpers, on necklaces, just about everywhere.

A non-Christian coming into the United States from a non-Christian country might wonder why there are so many crosses. After all, crosses are instruments of death. In fact, it was one of the cruelest forms of punishment devised by man until many years after the birth of Christ. I've read that the cross was first used as a means of punishment by the Phoenicians and later adopted by the Romans to put to death slaves and the most hardened of criminals.

Death by crucifixion was a slow and cruel way to die. Death by crucifixion was an agonizing process. For in spite of the indescribable pain caused by the wounds and by the unnatural strains and tensions placed on the body - the heart, brain, lungs, and vital organs remained undamaged – at least for awhile. Sometimes death was delayed by as much as 4 days. How awful such a death must have been.

And yet, this cruel instrument of death, is found everywhere we go. It is boldly displayed before all. And yet it when we look at a cross our first reaction is not to be repulsed. We don’t see it as something repulsive. We see at as a symbol of victory.

During the Lenten season which begins on Ash Wednesday, our thoughts are directed to the cross. As believers gather to worship their thoughts turn to the pain and suffering that our Lord and Savior endured for us. The cross serves as a vivid reminder of what our Lord went through for us.

But the agony of the cross was only part of our Lord's suffering. The cross stands as a symbol of the agony Jesus went through as he endured the pain and torments of hell, as he faced the wrath of his Father. This he went through in our place. He was punished in our place. And all of this culminated on the cross.

But the cross stands for something else as well. We see it not only as an instrument of death but of life. For through Jesus' suffering and death, we received the gift of life. The enemies of Jesus, Satan included, may have thought that the cross would bring Jesus' plans to an end later learned that it brought them to fruition.

So we view the cross and the Lenten season with mixed emotions. We see the tragic results of our sins, the pain and suffering of our Lord. But we also see in it the path Jesus took to win the victory over sin, death and the devil.

Take time this Lenten season to review, in God's Word, what Jesus did for you. Come to his house for worship and prepare for the glorious Festival of the Resurrection!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Written by Pastor Stuppy

February 11, 2012

Love is at the heart of Valentine’s Day and our life as a child of God.

"Will you be my valentine?" That's the question everyone is asking each other this Valentine's Day. Tradition has turned this day into a day for sweethearts. It's an opportunity for a young shy boy to let some girl know that he has a crush on her. It's a day for those dating to express their fondness for each other. Husbands may find themselves in deep trouble if they forget to do something for their wife on this special day and vice versa.

It's nice to express our love for each other. Husbands and wives may go days, weeks, or even months on end without expressing their love for one another. Friends may simply take their friendship for granted. They never let their friend know how much their friendship really means.

Telling someone that we love them, that we value their friendship is something that should be a regular part of our life. How much better off we would be if we regularly told others how much we cared for them. Wouldn't marriages be much healthier if spouses expressed their love every day? If candy, flowers, or cards were not given simply on anniversaries, birthdays, or on Valentine's Day?

We need to have more love for one another. After all, isn't that one of the marks of a child of God? Read the epistles of John. Read the Lord's words in the gospels and over and over again you will find the call to show love to everyone, even our enemies. Take note that the love of romance or friendship is not the type of love God calls for in his followers. It is a special love, divine love, love that comes from God and dwells in the hearts of those who believe in him. "God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son that whosoever believes in him shall have eternal life" (John 3:16). That’s the kind of love God is talking about. That’s the kind of love God wants you to show to those around you.

Is that how you feel? Is that what you do? Look into your heart, deep inside, and explore your feelings. Think about the people around you. Do you love them or simply put up with them? Do you love all people, like Jesus asks, or are you selective? Do you find reasons or excuses for withholding your love from some?

Like his Father, Jesus showed us what our love is to be like. We see his love in the tears he shed for those who rejected him as he wept over the city of Jerusalem. We see his love as he reached out to Judas and sought to rescue him before it was too late. We see his love for the world as he laid down his life on the cross.

Unconditional love - that's what Jesus showed us. It is love that has no strings attached. His love reaches out to you and me in spite of what we have done, thought, or said. He loves us even though we are sinners through and through. How can that be? I don't know. All I know is that he does. He loves because that is his nature. "God is love."

Let this Valentine's Day be a reminder of God's call to love all people just as he loves each one of us.