NORTH LIVERMORE — At the North Livermore Baptist Church August 29  service, the congregation was welcomed by Pastor Bonnie Higgins at 9:30 a.m. to begin the service. The Call to Worship was read and the Invocation/Lord’s Prayer was recited. The hymns that were sung was “To God Be the Glory”, “Blessed Assurance”, “Amazing Grace”. We concluded the service with “Go Now in Peace”. Linda Lyman is the organist and Janet Diaz is the pianist each week.

The sermon, titled “New and Improved”, and reading the scripture from Matthew 9:14-17.  Pastor Bonnie began giving examples about how we seem to buy into the new and improved products that we hear about.  And when Jesus says that everything is made new under Him, many people don’t put much thought into it.  Jesus tells us in Revelation 21:5 that “…I am making everything new…”.  The scriptures in Matthew 9:14-17 tells us that the way things were done in the Old Testament is changed in the New Testament because of Jesus.  Jesus has come to save us and show us a new way to get to Heaven, through Him.  Jesus was bringing the message new and improved about God.

As Pastor Bonnie read the scriptures, it began as the first of three parables at a wedding feast with the Pharisees and some followers of John the Baptist. The followers of John the Baptist were wondering why Jesus and the disciples were not fasting like they were suppose to be.   Fasting was important part of the religious leaders in those days.  Most of them only fasting to show others how good they were and not for the reasons God intended fasting for, which was to get closer to Him.  When people go to a wedding, there was always a lot of food there.  So, Jesus is saying why fast when there is so much to be eaten.  Why would you fast at an event that was going to have plenty of food?  Jesus brought grace with Him in the New Testament and in the Old Testament was plenty of laws.  Since Jesus is referred to as the bridegroom, Jesus and His disciples were at the wedding to celebrate and to eat.  In this parable, Jesus is telling us that there is a time to fast, but not when you are celebrating Him.

Fasting should never be about your stomach, it should be about your soul.  Food is not the only thing that is withheld from yourself in a fast.  You can give up television for a night for example.  Giving up the time you spend watching it and devote that time to reading the Bible and praying during that time.  As Jesus told them, there will be time later to fast when He wasn’t with them.  Jesus has gone ahead of us, now is the time to set aside time to spend with Him. We should be fasting now as we wait for His return.

The second parable Jesus talks about is sewing a new patch onto an old garment.  We wonder what this means to us now. Jesus is telling us that He didn’t come to improve on the Old Covenant, He came to replace it with a New Covenant.  Jesus tells us this when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  Even in the words, Jesus tells us “This cup is the new covenant in my blood…”   As we understand who Jesus is, we know that He didn’t die to patch up our lives, He came to give us a new life in Him. Jesus came to give us a new lease on life, to transform our lives to serve Him. Jesus came to make our lives new and improved.

The third parable is about some old wine skins.  The old wine skins, those used before with wine, once emptied, the skins would harden up.  New wine skins were soft and flexible.  The old wine skins would get hardened because once the wine was poured into it, the fermentation process would begin and gasses would be released. If it was a new wine skin, it would be able to stretch to accommodate the gas that was released, if it was an old wine skin, it wouldn’t stretch and it would crack and split open and leak out.

What does the wine skins have to do with us? As Christians we should want to have a steady flow of the truth and new ways that Jesus has for us. We must understand that Jesus is the new wine and that for us to grow as Christians, we must let go of the old and bring in the new. We shouldn’t let our hearts get hardened by this world, Jesus brings us the new and improved way to live.  We need to let go of the old ways we had before we found Jesus.  We need to let Jesus guide us in His new way.  His way is the only way to Heaven.  Jesus is showing us the new covenant of His grace, His death and resurrection brings us salvation and our lives of gratitude and joy serving Him will bring us to the feast He has waiting for us.

Announcements listed in the bulletin was that the congregation will be collecting Canned Pasta for the Food Pantry in the month of September. If anyone would like to become a member should see Pastor Bonnie. There will be a time for baptisms after the church service today. Our fall programs will begin October 3.  We are collecting donations for the backpacks/school supplies for the local schools. In coming events – Sept. 11 Deacons and Trustees meetings. Sept. 18 will be a gospel concert featuring Randy and Holly Sadler at 4 p.m. The AA meetings are held on Friday nights at the church.

For information, check out our website at northlivermorebaptistchurch.org. You can email the church at [email protected] Pastor Bonnie’s office hours are Monday and Tuesday’s from 9 a.m. to noon.

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