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Pathway’s New Senior Pastor

Pathway Christian Church of Harlan is excited to announce the installment of their new senior pastor! Eddie Arnold was born and raised in Southern California and is a Navy Veteran of 22 years. It was during his service in the military that the Lord placed a calling on his heart to enter the full-time ministry. He attended Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, receiving his master’s degree in theology and then continued his studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Pastor Eddie, his wife Sarah and their two kids moved to Indiana in May 2017 and they quickly developed a deep love for the community. Pastor Eddie has a passion for the expositional teaching of Scripture and a desire to see the people of Harlan and the local area come alive for Jesus Christ. Pathway is a non-denominational church that places a strong emphasis on the supremacy of Christ and the verse by verse teaching of the Bible, and they are excited to see what God has in store for Harlan!

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A Living Hope

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. (1 Corinthians 15:20)

When we look at the world around us, it seems like it is spinning out of control. The 24-hour news cycle is a constant message of doom and gloom. Media alerts on our phones continually inundate us with the reality that we live in a dark and fallen culture. Murders, suicides, corruption and hate are the daily headlines. Many ask themselves “why are these things are taking place?”, but few are willing to accept the answer because it is controversial and divisive. 

We have stripped the Word of God from his rightful place in our lives. We have slowly drifted from a God centered society where school prayer was encouraged and the Creator was exalted, to a form of secular relativism where truth is determined by our own personal, subjective feelings. We are continually being inundated with the lie that life has no absolute meaning, no true purpose. Our children are indoctrinated in the public schooling system from a young age that they are simply an evolutionary accident that is here today and gone tomorrow. And the reality is, we have created a culture that is hopelessly lost and desperately looking for answers. However, those of us who have a personal relationship with Jesus know the solution to this dilemma. Hope is found in Christ alone!

Critics of the Christian Faith will immediately say, “How can Christ be the answer for the world today?” He was crucified over 2000 years ago. “How could He possibly be the answer to the world’s problems”. This kind of talk may sound impressive, but it leaves out one important historical fact: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. If there is any one fact of history, which convinces us that there is a God, it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If there is any one fact of history, which convinces us that there is hope, it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. People speak about the great events of world history, but there is no greater event than this – the mighty resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Why do we say, “There is hope”? – We say that there is hope because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Death could not hold our Savior. He broke the power of death and gave us a living hope. 

But to know and enjoy this hope, we must come to God on His terms. First and foremost, we must understand our spiritual condition apart from Christ. All have been born into this world spiritually dead in our sins and separated from God (Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 3:23). The Bible tells us that there are none righteous, no not one (Psalm 14:1-7). And in God’s courtroom we all stand guilty and deserve to be sentenced to death (Romans 6:23). But glory to God, He made a way for our sins to be forgiven and for us to be brought back to life! While we were justly sitting on a spiritual death row, God demonstrated His love for us by sending His perfect Son to die in our place, taking all of our sin and all of our punishment for that sin on the cross of Calvary (Romans 5:8). On that cross, Jesus endured the agonies of hell in our place so that we could be forgiven and reconciled back to God. And then after three days He rose from the dead forever defeating death for all who would place their faith in Him alone. He died to give us life. He rose to secure our hope. 

Do You Have the Living Hope?

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The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)

Fall is here and you can feel the briskness in the air! The days are slowly getting shorter, the leaves on the trees have begun to change from their deep green to the beautiful golds and reds. The tree squirrels seeing the shifting of the seasons work diligently to fill their storehouses for the coming winter months. For some, the new season brings the joy of life as children and grandchildren are born. But for others, it’s a time of grief as loved ones are lost. One thing for certain, all things change. 

We change so easily that we must exert great effort to keep from changing, we try and hide our signs of aging and go to great lengths to maintain our physical health and mental acuity. But no matter how diligently we try to fight against time, we ultimately are only here for a little while to laugh and weep and work and play, and then we are gone. Yes, this is a melancholy thought at best. But you see, God has placed within each and every one of us a longing for something more, a thirst for the eternal. He has created each and every one of us with a void within our hearts that can only be filled by the One who is incapable of change. 

We see our imperfections and wish that we could change them. But with God, He is who He is, always and effortlessly, and everything that He does is consistent with His perfect unchanging nature. He is absolute holiness, love, wisdom, mercy and grace. But He is also unchanging in His justice and wrath against sin. His perfection is such that He cannot diminish or grow, and there is absolutely no variation in His character. The self-existing I AM is incapable of change, for if He did change, He would cease to be God (Mal. 3:6).

But the question must be asked, can we really know what God is like? Jesus declared “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:7). You see, the eternal righteousness of the Godhead was revealed to us through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. When God humbled Himself by becoming a man, He showed us the fullness of His divine love, mercy and grace. He demonstrated the depths of God’s unchanging love by dying in our place on that cross. And as our High Priest, He is praying us into heaven and interceding on our behalf before the Father (Heb. 7:25). You see, His love for us is just as strong today as it was 2000 years ago, and His arms are still held out wide to all who will come. 

Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28). Friend, there is only one sure and solid foundation. There is only One who can fill the void within the human heart because we were created by Him and for Him. His name is Jesus Christ and He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

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A Tale of Two Men

Once upon a time, there were two men who lived in a land far away. These men were very much alike. They had similar backgrounds, similar interests, similar lifestyles and though there is no way to know for certain, they very well may have been close friends. But what’s fascinating is that one fateful day, these two men found themselves in the exact same situation, the exact same set of circumstances. But, in one decisive moment, their destinies went in complete opposite directions. In one instant, these two who were once so alike, so similar in so many ways, were now polar opposites, as different as darkness is from light.

The story of these two men is found in the Bible. There isn’t that much written about them, but what is written about them tells us a lot about something that is vital to every one of us, and that is our eternal destiny. And when I say eternal destiny, I simply mean where we ultimately end up after we die. For these two men, that end was now staring them both in the face. They didn’t have years, months or days before they met their fate, but a few short hours.

We meet them in the 23rd chapter of Luke. Two men, one was on the right and the other was on the left of Jesus. Their situation is identical. Both are guilty criminals given the death sentence. Both are there, suffering the pain of crucifixion. They are both hanging there, slowly dying a horrific death right next to Jesus. And as they press against their nail pierced feet pulling themselves upward in agony to fill their collapsing lungs with air, breath after excruciating breath, it doesn’t stop them from hurling insults at him, saying the same things Jesus’ enemies are saying.

But as we continue reading through Luke’s historical account of that day, something interesting happens. At some point in time, things begin to change. The two men that were so similar now seem to see things differently. Something happens in the heart of one of them. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he begins to observe things as they are. He rightly sees his spiritual bankruptcy and recognizes that all that he is receiving is due payment for his crimes. He starts to view himself for who he really is, a wretched, wicked sinner who is in desperate need of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Think about this, moments earlier this man could not care less about the identity of Jesus Christ. But then he has a 180-degree change of mind. Instead of mocking Jesus like the man next to him, he begins crying out to Him for mercy, for pity! Moments earlier, this man likely thought that Jesus was a nobody. But then through the power of God moving in his heart, his eyes are opened to see Jesus with clarity, as the true King and Son of God. Think about these two criminals. They both were guilty and deserving of death; not only death on a cross, but eternal death in hell. But only one of them recognizes the need for Jesus’ mercy. Understanding that what is happening to him is just, he then cries out for Jesus’ amazing Grace.

And what is Jesus’ response? He says to him: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Not tomorrow, not a few months, not several years, but TODAY. Friend, this is true for all who put their faith in Jesus Christ, for all who understand their dire condition and need for God’s mercy. Now, did this man get to heaven because he was good or because he religious? No. Did he get to heaven because he went to church, or because he was baptized? Absolutely not! What was it that saved him? He understood that he didn’t deserve heaven. He clearly recognized his sinful, wretched condition and that he deserved an eternal death sentence. You see, God in His infinite grace, sovereignly and instantly opened this man’s eyes to see his need for a Savior, and then granted him faith to believe in Jesus.  

And in those moments as he hung there next to the Lord of Glory, this low down, dirty rotten criminal put his faith in the Savior. He trusted in Christ’s righteousness, not his own and He surrendered his life to Him as his Lord. And when Jesus saw this man’s faith, He confirmed and comforted him by giving this assurance. Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Friend, the words Christ spoke on that cross are as powerful today as they were then. The message remains the same. The question is, like this thief, do you recognize your need? If your life was demanded of you today, do you know your eternal destiny? Have you surrendered your life to Christ? If not, what are you waiting for?

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Where has Your Mind Been Lately?

Colossians 3:1-3, Written by Pastor Eddie Arnold Pastor at Pathway Christian Church of Harlan  “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3)”.

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! These are the wonderful words that are heralded during our Easter celebrations; that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and has risen from the grave. But as soon as Easter passes, in many cases, so does the celebration of His resurrection until the next Easter season. But this should not be! You see, as believers, this marvelous truth should be held close to our hearts daily because it’s the heart of the Gospel message, that through the power of His resurrection we too have been brought back from the dead. Our old lives that were once dominated by sin and the world were put to death on the cross with Him. And when Jesus came back to life, you and I were raised up with Him to the newness of life (Rom. 6:6, 7; Eph. 2:6). Through His resurrection, we were given a new nature; one that desires what He desires and loves what He loves. His resources have become our resources. Beloved, this is the power and the mystery of the Gospel. We are no longer slaves to who we used to be but have been given everything we need to live a life pleasing to Him; to serve and honor Jesus Christ in all that we say and do! 

Now, here in chapter 3, Paul gives us a command. He says, since you have been raised with Christ then seek Him with all of your being. In other words, We are to have our hearts and minds steadfastly and intently focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, where knowing Him is our greatest desire, pleasing Him is at the core of our commitments, becoming like Him is at the heart of our ambitions, and bringing glory to His name is our deepest and most consuming passion of our lives. This is a command and call of every Christian. These are the churches marching orders. Set your minds on things that are above and quite worrying about all the chaos that’s going on around you because this world is no longer your home. 

It’s unfortunate, but I believe Satan and the world system has done a pretty good job of distracting us from what is really important. But this should not be the case for believers, because we have a living hope, and we are citizens of a different country, a heavenly one.  You see, it’s the trials of life that reveal what we are really trusting in and in what we truly love. During this past month when eating out was not an option and going to the movies or sports venues was off the radar, what has dominated your thoughts and actions? Has your heart been lifted heavenward where Christ is seated, or have you been consumed with the things that are going on around you? Have you been spending time with the Lord in His Word, meditating and memorizing it and drawing near to Him in prayer? Or has your downtime been filled with sitting on the couch watching NETFLIX? Has your mind been devoted to things that have eternal value, or have you allowed the world system to shape you? Understand, to grow in your walk with the Lord, you must continually put off the world, and then put on Jesus Christ where He is your highest love and greatest desire. We must seek first His Kingdom and righteousness. 

Beloved, the things of this world are fleeting. They are here today and gone tomorrow. The question that we all need to answer is, what am I living for? The world, or for Christ? Understand, “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ! We would like to invite you to come and join us this Sunday at 10am as we worship the Lord through His Word. Due to the COVID-19, social distancing will be adhered to, face masks/coverings are highly recommended for all in attendance and other controls have been put in place to ensure a safe church environment. 

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The Only Cure

1  Peter 3:15-16, Pastor Eddie Arnold, Pathway Christian Church of Harlan…  

When we look at the current world situation, all appears to be spiraling wildly out of control. Over these past few months, we have all endured the effects of the COVID-19. From home quarantines, job losses, to the ongoing fear of the unknown, to now seeing our cities being torn apart by hate and violence that has spawned out of the peaceful protests over George Floyd’s senseless murder. Needless to say, our world is dark, hurting and filled with chaos that seems to have no end in sight. However, these conditions have caused many to look for a greater purpose in this life, a greater good; a place of refuge and peace; someone or something to make sense of all that is happening. Now more than ever, people are looking for real, lasting hope. They want to know that there is something more than what this world has to offer. You see, for those of us who know and walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, these current circumstances have created an open door for us to confidently share the Gospel with a lost and dying world. 

But in order for us to share the hope that we have been given, we must live and know the Gospel. In Peter’s first letter he writes: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame (1 Pet. 3:15, 16). 

The Apostle gives the church a command. He says honor Christ in your heart as Lord. In other words, live your life with Jesus at the center, your greatest treasure, your Lord, Master! Because when you are consumed with who He is, those who are around you are going to want to know why you have such a hope! They are going to want to know why you are different; why you have such a peace and joy in the midst of all the trials and tribulation. And when God opens the door for you to speak the truth, you need to be able and ready to give them the answer with gentleness and respect.

Beloved, if someone asked you to share the Gospel with them would you be able to do it? Could you open the Bible and walk them through what it is to have eternal life, to be a child of the King? You see, the great tragedy of our day is there are many who profess the name of Jesus but have little or no understanding of His Word. Yet, the Bible makes it clear that that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). As Christians, we were not only commanded to believe the Gospel and be saved, but then to be ready to stand in defense of the truth as a bold and fearless witnesses for Him. Understand, if you belong to Jesus, you have been commissioned as His ambassador to make Him known (2 Cor. 5:18-20).  

We are living in a time where people are searching for answers. And for those of us who belong to Jesus, we have been entrusted with the life-giving cure. However, before we can administer the cure, we must first address the cause of the sickness. There is no good news without first coming to terms with the bad news. We must understand our spiritual condition apart from Christ. All have been born into this world spiritually dead in our sins and separated from God (Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 3:23). The Bible tells us that there are none righteous, no not one (Psalm 14:1-7). And in God’s courtroom we all stand guilty and deserve an eternal death sentence in hell (Rom. 6:23). But God in his kindness and mercy made a way for our sins to be forgiven and for us to be made right in His sight. 

While you and I were justly sitting on a spiritual death row, God demonstrated His love for us by sending His perfect Son to die in our place, taking all of our sin and all of our punishment for our rebellion on the cross of Calvary (Romans 5:8). On that cross, Jesus endured the agonies of hell as our substitute so that we could be forgiven (2 Cor. 5:21). And then after three days He rose from the grave, forever defeating death for all who would place their faith in Him. But to receive His forgiveness we must turn from our sin, confess our allegiance and trust in Him alone to save us from God’s judgement (Rom. 10:9). We must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). This is the Gospel by which we are saved and there is no other (Acts 4:12). And as a believer, you need to know it; you have been empowered to live it and you have been commanded to share it (Matt. 28:18-20). For a world that is sick and hurting, God has given His church the cure. We need to know it well, hold it close to our hearts and be ready to share it with all who will listen!

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He Has Risen

Written by Pastor Eddie Arnold Pastor at Pathway Christian Church of Harlan  

Easter is almost here! For the Christian, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. We contemplate the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we celebrate the fact that He is not dead, but alive and seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty!  But what if there was no resurrection? What if Jesus who died for our sins and was buried in accordance with the Scriptures still remained in the grave to this day? Would we have anything to celebrate? Yes, it is true that we could attend the Good Friday service to remember his life and death; how He took the full wrath and anger of God by dying in our place. But ultimately, if there was no resurrection and His body was still in that tomb, would we have reason to hope? 

The Apostle Paul when writing to the Corinthian church put it this way. If there is no resurrection, your faith is futile – it accomplishes nothing, and thus man’s sin problem still needs a solution. There is no life after death, the Lords promise of a new heaven and a new earth are empty, and all who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished! Paul says, if this event did not happen, we who believe in Jesus should be pitied! (1 Cor. 15:19)

Now, it is true that there have been many who have tried to deny this well documented historical event. But the fact is, the evidence for the resurrection is overwhelming. First, we know that Jesus died on that cross, as verified by the Roman executioners who were in charge of his death (John 19:33-34). Second, He was buried in a tomb and which was personally observed by women (Luke 23:55). Third, the tomb was found empty on Sunday morning by Mary Magdalene and the rest of the women, and then by Peter and John (John 20:3-8). Finally, Jesus appeared to the rest of the twelve and then to over 500 believers at once (1 Cor. 15:3-8). The only reasonable explanation for these events is that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead.

When that giant stone rolled away from the tomb on Easter morning, it announced the greatest victory in the history of the world. First and foremost, the resurrection was God’s stamp of approval telling the world that His demands for perfect justice were fully satisfied through Christ’s cross. His sacrifice has been fully accepted, death has been crushed and Satan has forever been defeated! Death no longer has a hold on us, and we can shout out with the words of Paul: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting (1 Cor. 15:55)”? 

But just as importantly, by His resurrection, He has forever ensured that all who have placed their faith in Him will not stay in the grave but be resurrected to the newness of life. Paul told us in his letter to the Corinthians; “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1).” Because Jesus lives, we can have confidence that to be absent from our physical body is to be present with the Lord.  

You see, the resurrection is the truth in which everything hinges. It is an exclamation point of God’s joy and celebration of all that Christ did for us in his dying. Christ is alive today for this reason: to deliver to us personally and powerfully everything he died to obtain. Including the joy of knowing that death has no hold on those who belong to Him. Friends, Easter is coming and if you belong to Jesus, it is a time to celebrate! He has risen, He has risen indeed! If you don’t have a church family, we would love for you to come join us this Easter!

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Revelation

By the end of the first century, Christianity had spread throughout the Roman empire and throughout Asia Minor. But becoming a follower of Jesus was not a decision that was made lightly, as it came with a hefty price tag. Christianity was hated and seen as an enemy of the state for several reasons. The Romans viewed Christians as disloyal citizens to the government because they would not acknowledge Caesar as the supreme authority over their lives. They were labelled atheists because they didn’t submit and worship the Roman pantheon of gods. They were accused of being cannibals because they partook of the Lord’s Supper which symbolically identifies with the body and blood of Jesus. And economically, Christians were seen as a threat to society because they no longer purchased the idols of wood and gold in the marketplace which in turn angered the local merchants. From the top of the government all the way to the man on the corner selling his merchandise, Christians were hated. Their faith was considered illegal and many were tortured and put to death.

No one was immune from the suffering, not even the apostles. And as the last living apostle, John had been banished to a small volcanic Island called Patmos because of his testimony of Jesus. Like the other Christians, John was in a bad spot. He was an old man, probably around 90 years old and forced to perform hard manual labor in the quarries under the scourge of a whip. Yet, John lived a life sold out life for Christ because he understood that following Jesus meant tribulation, and pressure, and trouble, and affliction. He knew full well that suffering was not something that only a few of Jesus’ followers were meant to endure; but rather, was part of the normal Christian life. Suffering was a family affair. 

Jesus told us that: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). But it is also important to know why we suffer. Peter puts it this way: “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Peter 4:15, 16).

You see, as a Christian, there is privilege in our suffering. There is purpose in suffering for name of Jesus. Not only do we identify with Christ in His earthly trials, but our pain produces endurance, and endurance builds godly character! Like the old saying goes… “A Christian is like a teabag – not much good until it has gone through hot water.” Now, John could have thrown in the towel. He could have quitHe could have walked away from the faith when the heat was turned up. But he didn’t.  He fought the good fight and his painful circumstances only made him love his Lord that much more deeply. 

But the question must be asked. What carried John going through his daily trials and tribulations? What kept this 90-year-old man going day after day? After all, the world around him was getting darker by the day. And from an earthly perspective, there was not much hope. So where did John go? He went upward. Yes, he lived on the island of Patmos, but he also lived in heaven. You see, though his earthly circumstances were dire, he had a living hope! Instead of focusing on his present conditions, he set his eyes on the heavenly reality of who is ultimately in control. He dismisses the chaos and chooses to worship (Rev. 1:10)! This is a good lesson for all true believers. Worship requires us to put all of life’s distractions and hurts out of our mind and focus solely on the One who is worthy of all glory honor and praise. For John, his joy wasn’t tied to his present situation, but in the reality of who he served! He didn’t let his emotions control him but trusted in the truth of who God is.

Beloved, who carries us through our trials and suffering? Who enables us to persevere when life gets difficult and we feel like we cannot go on? It’s knowing that Jesus is with those who love Him; and knowing that He is walking with us through it all (Romans 8:28). Like John, we need a fresh vision of who Jesus is!

“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength” (Rev.1:12-16)

When we look at the growing hostility in this angry world, it’s easy to get discouraged. But John’s vision of the glorified Christ was given to us as the answer to the chaos. John was told to write these things down for us, not so we would have some head knowledge about who Jesus is, but that we would bask in awe of His glory and splendor and to confidently stand in His might in the midst of the storm (James 1:2-4). 

Understand, the Lord Jesus Christ is not this little pathetic man that we see hanging on crosses around people’s necks and in certain churches. Neither is Jesus presently buried in a tomb somewhere in a distant land (Rev.1:18). No! We serve a Jesus who is presently seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty and He is ruling over His creation (Heb. 1:3). We serve a Jesus who empowers us through His Spirit to make it through the difficult times. A Jesus who has felt our pain and sorrows (Heb. 4:15, 16). A Jesus who is praying for us and interceding in our lives and sanctifying us, making us more into His image (Heb. 7:25). We serve a Jesus who purifies His church with the power of His Spoken Word. A Jesus who is omniscient, and judges with absolute Holiness and righteousness (Heb. 4:12). We serve a Jesus who controls His church with His mighty right hand and protects those He loves (Col. 1:17, 18). And absolutely nothing happens outside of His perfect sovereign will. Friend, this is the Jesus of the Bible. He is awesome! My question to you is simply this. How Big is your Jesus? John was given this vision so that when things seem hopeless, we would come back to these truths. And, like John, it should create in us a heart to fall at His feet and worship; to not give up, but to stand strong in His strength. Amen! If you do not have a church family, we would love for you to come join us on Sunday mornings at 10AM as we continue on our verse by verse journey through the book of Revelation!