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The Pelicano
Go With The Flow
Treasure's from the trash
Chruch not as usual
Dissecting The 23rd Psalm


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Pastor's Blog

The Pelicano

The Pelicano was once the most unwanted ship in the world. For over two years it floated on the open seas. It could be called a Flying Dutchman of the 20th century. No port would accept it.
The massive ship was turned away from at least eleven countries including Honduras, Costa Rica, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and the Bahamas. It wandered the Caribbean, went to West Africa, sailed the Mediterranean and roamed the Indian Ocean. It was only allowed to dock long enough to refuel and then go back to sea again. During those years, the Pelicano changed names two times and owners once.

The reason for the wide scale rejection of the Pelicano is because in 1986, the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, didn’t have much brotherly love at all. The sanitation workers said they didn’t feel that love, so to speak, from the city that managed them. So they went on strike for almost an entire month.

A lot of trash can accumulate in a month in a city the size of Philadelphia. At first they tried to ship their trash to Ohio and Georgia. But the states refused to accept it. What Philadelphia ended up doing was incinerating their trash into 28 million pounds of scrap and ash, and dumping it into the belly of a ship later called the Pelicano.

The Pelicano became an infamous floating garbage dump with megatons of rotting trash containing toxic elements from arsenic to lead. No nation around the entire world wanted the Pelicano anywhere near them. It had a cargo of trash that it couldn’t get rid of.

Life has a way of unloading its junk on us, too, sometimes. Due to our sins, circumstances and also because of things others have done to us either intentionally or unintentionally, we get burdened under the weight of trash.

In fact, over time this trash becomes downright toxic. It produces the fumes of anger, guilt, pessimism, fear and bitterness. So we end up floating from one person to another person, or from one situation to another situation, only to discover that we get to hang around long enough to get some fuel, but no longer than that. No one wants our trash.

If weary describes you then I have good news for you. Because Jesus says that He offers freedom from what weighs you down. This freedom comes through one of the greatest words in the Scripture: Rest.

Jesus says that He has come to give you rest. He gives you a place to dock. He gives you a way to be rid of your trash. He gives you not only a rest in Heaven but also an ongoing rest while on earth. He says, Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest… Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus tells us that we can replace our trash with His yoke. He says that if we yoke up with Him and learn from Him, we will find the rest that we so desperately crave. We will find the freedom that we need.

No one knows exactly where the Pelicano is today. The story is that the ship which sailed around the world in search of a place to unload Philadelphia’s garbage eventually retired.

Like many ships of its size, once it had served its time, the Pelicano was most likely recycled into scrap metal. Pieces of its hull might be found in a car carrying a family around India today. Fragments of its deck might make up the shell of a tractor plowing a field of corn in Ohio. Portions of its bow might be in a schoolchild’s desk in New Jersey. Or sections of its bulwark might be part of a bridge over a bay.

Wherever the Pelicano is, it no longer carries its burden. And because of that, it is free to be more than anyone ever imagined it could be, and so can you. 


Go With The Flow

In the year 1763 along the Mississippi River, there was a town that was founded and established by French settlers.  They called this small town the little gulf- the reason they called it the little gulf is because it was the little sister of the big gulf city which was known as New Orleans. And over time it became a very prosperous and very prominent city. It was 32 miles northeast of Natchez, MS and the city was on the banks of the Mississippi river. Sometime later, a few years later a man by the name of Thomas Calvin bought the city and he had a dear friend and mentor whose life really impacted him and he wanted to honor him so he wanted to rename the city from the little gulf to Rodney MS,  because the name of the Mentor was Rodney.
So he named it Rodney and it became a very, very prosperous city in America. As a matter of fact by the mid 1800's it had discovered the industry of cotton. And Rodney was responsible for bringing much of that agricultural prosperity to the South. It all started there in Rodney. And so much so that Rodney becomes one of the busiest ports in America. By the late 1700's they had factories, they had schools, they had hotels, they had restaurants, they had beautiful homes, they had thousands of people living in this town of Rodney, MS. Interestingly it only missed becoming the capital of the state of MS by just three votes. 
But something happened that no one could foresee, the Mississippi river over a number of years began to change courses. And little by little not suddenly, little by little over the course of years the current and the river began to go in a different direction, and by the early 1900's Rodney MS was over 3 mi off of the river. It had built its whole commerce and prosperity, was built by the commerce with the boats coming in, bringing the products and all the activity from the river. But when the river went the opposite direction and there was a three mile distance, then suddenly there was no access to the river. All the commerce and all the wealth it produced the river provided had dried up. The town slowly began to wither and die, and if you Google it, it will talk about it being on the most prominent cities  that America ever had in its early history become quote - a ghost town. 

It’s a silent testimony that screams a powerful message to you and I today. No matter how many great things you have going for you, if the river ever leaves you, you die. The holy Spirit is a life giving Spirit, the presence of Jesus is a river of living water. And just like that little town in MS, when it lost the river, when the river went a different course, it dried up, it withered up, it lost its prosperity, it lost its life, and people began to leave in droves and abandon everything. 

The same is true for our life, there is no difference between us and that little city. If we don’t have the flow, if we don’t have the river that gives life, if the spirit is not leading us, if the spirit is not directing us, if we're not in the current of the spirit that brings all of the blessings of God, all of the success of God, all of the victories of God, it comes through the river. If the river ever shifts and leaves your live then everything you know and have can dry up. No matter what we have going for us everything else will die. We must go with the flow. 

Treasure's from the trash

Some time ago, a major newspaper ran a story entitled, “From landfill in Paraguay, sweet music emerges”. It follows a community in Paraguay that have formed an amazing orchestra that plays instruments created from pieces of trash found at their city landfill. This landfill receives more than 1,000 tons of trash every day.
More than 1,000 employees actually make their living by picking through the trash. A young man- Favio Chavez, a young professional and musician saw the desperate need of poverty among the people and their families who lived at the landfill, he decided to donate some of his time by offering music lessons to these impoverished children. At first Chavez only had about five instruments to spare, but he soon had 50 students signed up.
So he asked one of the trash-pickers, to keep an eye out for materials that might be used to fashion musical instruments. What has happened has been amazing. A cello was made out of an oil can and old cooking tools, a flute constructed from tin cans, a drum set that uses X-ray film as the skins, bottle caps that serve as the keys for a saxophone, a double bass constructed out of chemical cans, and a violin made from a battered aluminum salad bowl and strings tuned with old dinner forks. 

This recycled orchestra plays beautifully. They refer to themselves as the  Landfill Harmonic Symphony. Chavez claims that this amazing story has taught him at least one profound lesson: “People must realize that we shouldn't throw away trash carelessly. And we shouldn't throw away people either.” 

What creative, dedicated people can make out of trash is truly amazing. But I must to tell you – as amazing as that is, it isn’t nearly as amazing as what God can make out of people; especially people that have been tossed aside; overlooked, ignored – or even considered unusable.

The truth is, God is most often searching for His servants, miles away from the beaten path. He’s creating an orchestra by rescuing and recycling, discarded, people. God most often chooses the unlikely, not many from among those who are strong or noble or influential or impressive. 

You may be wondering what God can do with a life like yours. Sitting around in all the trash that your life has accumulated through the years. Let it be known that God specializes in hopelessness, He does His best work with impossible situations. God can remake, reuse, and re-purpose your life today. Invite Him today into your life and He can make "Treasures from YOUR trash." Join us at Vineland Road Christian Fellowship, where in every service God is present and restoring lives. 

Chruch not as usual

The definition of Usual is - Habitual or customary, common or an ordinary experience.
I don't believe we should have just a customary or common experience when we come into the presence of the most beloved in our lives. In fact it should be anything but usual. If you look all through the New Testament every time Jesus stepped on the scene, something unusual happened. If you remember the story of Lazarus in John chapter 11,  how Jesus lingered and waited a few days before He went to Bethany. In fact when He had finally arrived  Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. But then Jesus got involved and did an unusual thing and raised him from the dead.    
Or when Jesus turned water into wine, in John chapter 2, that was an unusual place for a miracle was at a wedding. And His mother was the one leading the charge. She came and told Him Jesus they had ran out of their drink, and she told Him He needed to do something about it. And He looks at her and told her that is wasn't His time yet, He was saying He wasn't ready. And His mother looks at the servants and tells them to do whatever He says do it. Wherever Jesus went unusual things happened. Unusual things happen when Jesus was around.  So I don't believe that Jesus ever was, ever will be about the habitual, or customary or common things. So with that in mind, there could be no way Jesus would want us to just to have a common experience in His presence 
In Luke Chapter 5 we read of an unusual church service taking place in Capernaum. Over the next few weeks I want to examine five reasons that made this church service a bit unusual. Lets discover the first reason.
1. The Bareness (Vs 18)
We know the story of the man that was sick with palsy that was outside the building where the service was taking place. But it was not the need of that man that made the service unusual, Jesus had healed many people by this time in His ministry, it was not the crowd that was there to hear Jesus. After all Jesus was preaching to thousands.  But there was something about these men that made this service a bit unusual. I don't think it would be too far fetched to think there was other in Capernaum that had a physical need their life. I'm sure there were others that had palsy, blindness, or some other type of handy cap.  The bible say "... and much fame followed Him..." (Luke 5:15). So there may have been hundreds of sick people outside the building that night. But what made this church service so unusual was the man;s desire to get to Jesus with his need. In fact four men took up his cause and was willing to do anything to get this man to Jesus.  
There are hundreds of thousands of people that attend a church service every week, but the sad part is they never get to Jesus with their need. They sit and hear about the blessings of God but never discover them for themselves. If we would like to have church that is not the norm, then we must have the same desire as these men did. Getting to Jesus at all costs. If we would approach every service with this mentality, I believe God would bless. If you recall the Woman with the issue of blood, who had to press through the crowd to get to Jesus. It is sad to see that there is less pressing in our services and there is more pretending in our services. Sure, Christ touched thousands and thousands of lives while here on earth. But only the ones that came to Him. Do you want to have church that is not just the norm? Get to Jesus with your need!

Dissecting The 23rd Psalm

A while back, my Mother in law handed me a booklet called the “Promise Finder”. As I began to look through it, I noticed some pretty interesting things. But I stuck it on my office shelf and knew that I would revisit it again but not sure when. A Man had left this booklet at the restaurant where my Mother in law manages. So she picked it up and brought it to me the next time my in-laws visited my wife and I. The writer of this booklet's wife had just recently just passed away. And he looked for comfort from the 23 Psalm. He had studied the 23 Psalm and included his notes in the booklet. As I began to pray and seek direction on our next study topic for our Wednesday night bible studies, God directed me back to that little blue booklet on my shelf. So I pulled it out and began to study and with his help and the Lords, I spoke on “Dissecting the 23 Psalm”
 Psa 23:1  The LORD is my shepherd; ……….This is Relationship.
                  I shall not want. ……….This is Supply.
Psa 23:2  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: This is Rest.
                he leadeth me beside the still waters. ….....This is Refreshment.
Psa 23:3  He restoreth my soul: ……….This is Healing.
                he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness. …….This is Guidance.
Psa 23:4  Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..This is Testing.
               I will fear no evil: ……….This is Protection.
              for thou art with me; ……….This is Faithfulness.
              thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. ……….This is Comfort.
Psa 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: …….This is Favor.
              You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. ……….This is Abundance.
Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:….This is Blessings.
              and I will dwell in the house of the LORD ……….This is Safety.
              for ever. ……….This is for Eternity.
I don’t know the man’s name that left the little blue booklet. I wish I could give him credit, but the Lord knows and I believe will bless him. But it is always refreshing to read one of the most beloved chapters in the book of Psalms, the 23 chapter. So when you are down or feeling of no value. Look what our shepherd does for you! Remember He loves you and cares for you. You can be full and running over! You can find Jesus Christ and His love at every one of our services. Come and be with us and experience His great mercy.

A Spiritual Check Up

Pastor Matthew Chester & Vineland Road Christian FellowshipI hate going to the Doctor. I would rather stay at home and just hope I get better. Although rarely do I ever just "get better."One thing I really don't enjoy are the routine checkups that I have to endure. But I understand that it is in those routine checkups that my Doctor is able to evaluate my health. He is able to see and examine things that I may miss on the surface. He is looking our for my greater good, he tells me the things I need to hear, even if it hurts. He does these things to ensure my health and longevity.   

Sometimes in our spiritual lives, we must put ourselves in God's grand spiritual checkup Doctor's office. There are times we need God's Holy Spirit to search every "hidden" corridor of our heart. The places where no one see, sometimes even us. 
Recently, my Wife and I, flew to Kansas City, MO for a funeral of a dear friend. Jade and I served has Youth Pastors under him for nearly three years. As we were in flight, I had a little booklet that Jade had gotten a few years ago. As I was reading this booklet, God began to deal with my heart.  This booklet was titled "A Spiritual Check Up" As I began to turn every page my heart was wanting more. I realized I need an appointment with the Great Physician. So although painful at times, I know it is for my greater good that God gives me a check up and examines my life.  

Allow God to give you a spiritual check up. Maybe your maintaining weight(s) that has been holding you down for years. It could be that the sickness of sin has invaded your bloodstream. It could be something less serious. But what ever the ailment- JESUS CHRIST IS the prescription. Try Jesus today, ask Him to search your heart.