‘Take Christ First’ by Rev. James Guthrie

Take Christ first, before you think of doing anything else: did He not say, “Without Me you can do nothing”? So, then, all you do without Him is sheer nothing, however pious and noble it may appear in the eyes of men.
Is He not the Alpha, and is not the Alpha the first letter? Then do not try to put a letter before it; do not say to yourself, “I will try to obtain a true recognition of my sins, and then I will go to Jesus to obtain salvation.” This is beginning with the Z instead of with the Alpha. By doing so, you make yourself like the fool who said, “I will learn to swim first and then I will go in the water.” Do you want to know your sins truly? Who is to give you that knowledge but Christ? Do you want to become better and more heavenly-minded? Who can give you that godly disposition of heart but Christ?
Indeed, everything you want is within the sheepfold of God; but how can you get within except through the door which is Christ? “I am the door,” He said: “by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Rev. James Guthrie

Sojourning in Denver

My wife, Carole, and I recently moved to Denver, CO from Sheboygan, WI and in doing so we left a city with a population of approximately 50,000 and came to a city with a population of approximately 3.6 million. Needless to say many things have changed dramatically compared to what we were used to.
Now please understand, I think that Colorado (the state in which I was born and raised, living here my first 30 years) is a beautiful state with beautiful mountains, lakes, streams, scenery, etc. It’s also home to a number of my family members (including four grand-children) and so there’s much to enjoy and be glad about. That being said, as I told Carole a few days ago, “The thing that I like most about living in Denver, is that I hate it.”
I hate spending two-and-a-half hours on I-25 going from southeast Denver to Colorado Springs (about 65 miles). I hate the brown cloud that blocks the view of the mountains on most days. I hate the effects of sin which are multiplied whenever and wherever a whole bunch of sinners live together in one place, whether it’s Denver, Dallas, L.A or wherever else it might be. I hate that Denver area house prices are insanely expensive. I hate that rent for a two-bedroom apartment is more than double what we paid for our monthly mortgage back in Sheboygan for a really nice house. I hate that our car insurance payment has more than doubled due to the fact that we now live in Denver even though neither Carole nor myself have ever submitted an insurance claim or had a ticket in over 30 years.
But then, with all of that which I hate about living in Denver comes this reminder (which I love); THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME!
In Hebrews 11:8-10 we’re told, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles (tents) with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
So, for 100 years Abraham and his family lived in a strange country, in tents, all the while keeping their mind’s eye fixed upon a much better place, even a heavenly one wherein they would dwell forevermore in the presence of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Had everything been wonderful for them while in the land of promise, had they been able to build a more permanent home which contained all of the modern amenities of that day and age, had their neighbors invited them in and embraced them as one of their own, had those and similar things been attained, they may have looked a whole lot more to life in the here and now and a whole lot less to the city yet to come, and to be honest, the same is true for you and me.
We can (and too often do) give into the temptation of seeking to find heaven on earth while forgetting that whether we currently live in a place we love, or a place we hate, this world is not our home and we too need to keep our mind’s eye fixed on the city whose builder and maker is God. We need to remind ourselves daily that we are merely sojourners while here on earth, and that in the end this life is but a vapor – here one minute and gone the next.
As the French theologian from the 1400’s, Jacque d’Etaples, said, ‘to be with Christ is to be in the land promised to the fathers…’ and that’s true since only IN HIM do we find our place of eternal rest. And so, even though there are things here in Denver which I hate (and also things that I enjoy and am glad about), my prayer is that God will use where we currently live as a reminder that our real home is with Him in heaven, and that while we’re still here on this earth that we will “sojourn well,” seeking always to do His will as church planters and as faithful servants of the Most High King.

Up and Running

Let me introduce myself – I am Pastor Chris Moulton, the mission pastor called to begin a RCUS church plant in the Denver area, now known as Mercy Street Reformed Church. I am 59 years-old and for the past 8+ years I have been the pastor of Reformation Presbyterian Church in Sheboygan, WI. I have a Masters of Divinity degree from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer Indiana, having graduated in 2009. Prior to that I was a school teacher, primarily teaching Physical Education and Biology and I also coached various sports including football, basketball, softball, and track.
My wife’s name is Carole and together we have four daughters, one adopted son, and eleven grandchildren. I spent the first 30 years of my life in the Denver area, graduating from Columbine High School on 1977 and from Metropolitan State University (then College) in 1989.
Having been called to plant a church for the RCUS (Reformed Church in the United States), I am excited to see what the Lord will do as we prayerfully move forward as His humble servants. Unless the Lord builds the house (including the house of the Lord, the Church) we labor in vain, and so we look to Him to grow this church plant while seeking to remain faithful to His holy, inerrant, inspired Word.
If you are not familiar with the Reformed Confessions (what we believe and confess the Word of God to teach), in particular the Three Forms of Unity, please take a look at the link on this website.
We are currently hosting three Bible studies: one on Tuesday evening which has to do with the subject of evangelism, one on Wednesday evening and another on Thursday morning both of which are going through the Book of Ecclesiastes. If you are interested in joining us please use the email form on this website to contact me.
One final thought – our ‘church-plant-verse’ is Micah 6:8 – ‘He has shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?’ Lord willing I will have future ‘Moulton’s musings’ on what that verse means but for now, let me assure you that the goal we have for ourselves and for all that are involved with Mercy Street Reformed Church is that we might live out those very things which God has shown to be good in His sight.

Pastor Chris