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Monthly Archives

December 2017

Pastor’s Pen: God’s Faithfulness

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Dear Tabernacle Family,

Today, on this 52nd Sunday of 2017, we bring another year to a close. As we anticipate the fresh year that awaits, let me encourage you to pause and reflect upon God’s faithfulness to you over these past 12 months. Yes, we could delve further into the past than just these last 365 days, but take a moment to remember where you were at this point last year. What was happening in your life when 2016 was coming to an end? Were you experiencing heartache or sorrow over a recent loss? Perhaps you were fearing what the next days or weeks might have in store as you stepped into the New Year? Where there relational, medical, financial, or some other areas of concern, that gripped your heart in that hour? Can you remember wondering, “How will I ever make it?”

Well, beloved, here you are, a full year later; so, let me celebrate with you today: You made it! By God’s grace, and His faithful grip on your life, He held onto you, guiding, and guarding your heart through what may have been the most turbulent time of your life. He was there, each of the days that comprised the past dozen months – hour by hour, moment by moment, breath by breath. He was there, although at times you may have sensed His absence more that His presence. He was there, though He seemed silent when it seemed you needed to hear His voice the most. He was there – His eyes upon you and His heart toward you, fully confident in His ability to bring you through the days you never thought you would survive.

He was there, and He is here! It may be that everything that you were facing as 2017 opened has yet to be fully resolved, but take hope in this: The same God who walked with you throughout this past year has promised to walk with you in the New Year. No matter what circumstance or situation you are facing today, you can declare with confidence, “I am going to make it!” Such a pronouncement does not arise from a sense of self-reliance, where you think you have what it takes to make it on your own, but instead, it bursts forth from a heart of Christ-dependence. Having personally experienced God’s faithfulness in your past and present hours, you are now fully persuaded that He will be just as faithful in the days that lie ahead.

In God’s grip,

Pastor Jim Ruddy

Pastor’s Pen: Make Room for Jesus

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Dear Tabernacle Family,

Most of us are familiar with circumstances of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary were turned aside by a “No Vacancy” sign at the Inn. As a result, the incarnation occurred in the lowliest of places, as Mary, “brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Lu. 2:7).


It was a difficult night in Bethlehem. The City was overcrowded with people coming to register for the Caesar’s census. Every available accommodation was taken. A more important guest would never come knocking, Jesus was turned away.

Jesus explained the kind of difficulties He continually faced: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Mt. 8:20)

After His mock trial, Jesus died an agonizing death on another man’s cross. He took the place of Barabbas, who was released from the penalty of his crime because Jesus died in his place (Lu. 23:18-24).

After Jesus had died, Joseph of Arimathaea, requested His body from Pilate. After preparing the Lord for burial, he laid Him in the tomb Joseph had intended for himself. Jesus could not even claim His own grave (Mt. 27:57-60).

Jesus’ resurrection was refuted by the Jewish religious leaders and then covered up by lies and falsehoods. (Mt. 28:12-15). Even to our day, this supreme victory is doubted and criticized.

There was “No Room” for Jesus in His Birth, Life, Death, Burial or Resurrection, but you and I can write a different story. This Christmas, with open and joyful hearts, let’s determine to do everything we can to make room for Jesus! Merry Christmas!
With joy,

Pastor Jim Ruddy

Pastor’s Pen: The Importance of Children

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Dear Tabernacle Family,

I have heard it said that Christmas is for children. Certainly, no one can argue that children approach the holiday with a wide-eyed wonder that is often lost as we grow older. When our lives are consumed with the busyness, the shopping, the parties, the “To Do” lists, it is hard to find the time to turn our hearts and minds to the awesome reality of the Christmas story.

The great and holy God of the universe came to earth as a tiny baby in a manger so that we might be reconciled to Him. God chose the form of a baby to accomplish one of the most significant events in human history. That baby in the manger would become our Savior and Lord. Children are an important part of the kingdom. Jesus repeatedly used children as an example of how we are to live.

Today our preschool department is presenting a short musical program for your enjoyment. We pray that you will be blessed and uplifted. We also pray that, as you watch the program today, you will open your heart to what God may be saying to you about becoming involved in our children’s ministries here at The Tabernacle. Every week, a dedicated group of volunteers donate their time and energy to teach our children. There are never enough workers. We need help in all areas from nursery to pre-teen, on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Tuesday night. Whatever your ability or availability, we will find a place for you. If you would like to volunteer, call Pam Kellner at 712-1711 or Adam Batt at 712-1718.

In Matthew 18:5, Jesus said, “Whoever receives one little child like this in my name receives me.” Put yourself in position to receive abundant blessing by offering your time as a gift to God and to the children of this church. You might just reclaim some of that wonder and joy that has been missing from your celebration of Christmas.


Pamela Kellner

Pastor’s Pen: The Gift of His Presence

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Dear Tabernacle Family,

As a child, I remember standing in this sanctuary with my family, listening to the sounds of worship filling the room. I remember feeling something that I couldn’t quite explain, something both beautiful and powerful. I would look at the faces of people standing near us and see expressions of peace and joy. Hands were raised, voices were singing, and they were all lifting up one name – Jesus! What I could not articulate as a child, yet felt in my heart, was the wonder of God’s presence being enthroned in an atmosphere of corporate worship. I am grateful beyond words for those experiences as a child and throughout the years of my life.

This morning, our Kairos Kids Worship and Arts Choir will be ministering in worship by sharing God’s Word, leading in song and in dance. I am so grateful for the opportunity they have, not only to join our corporate worship experience, but to step out in their gifts and lead. Since September, I have had the pleasure of working with these children every week in various forms of worship and arts. They have been singing, drawing, dancing, and even trying some fun drama techniques. Also, we take time each week to reflect on God’s Word and pray for one another. If there is one thing I hope, it is that all of our children at The Tabernacle grow to love God’s presence both personally and corporately. I am so grateful to have been raised in a church family that has always prioritized the presence of God. What greater gift could we give our young people than an open door to experience all the Lord has for us in His very presence? Thank you Bishop Stearns, Bishop Reid and Pastor Ruddy for keeping that door open for us all. Pastor Aimee, thank you for your friendship and for your vision of worship that extends to and covers our precious Tab Kids!

I would like to personally thank all the parents for your help and support this year as the vision for Kairos Kids Worship and Arts Choir has been unfolding. Your kids are amazing and a joy to work with! A big thank you goes out to Amy Gould for covering administrative details, to Danielle Cofta for working with our children in dance, and to Kayla Sych for media arts oversight. One Call Worship ministry, thank you for supporting our kids today as they lead!

Come, let us adore Him together,

Erin Paolercio
Worship Minister, Kairos Kids W&A Director

Pastor’s Pen: God’s Love

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Dear Tabernacle Family,

As we open the Advent Season, a time of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas, it’s fitting that we give ear to the truths presented in our Holiday Musical, “Wrapped in Love!”

When I consider the theme of love in the Bible, I am always drawn to the inspired words found in the 1st Epistle of the Apostle John. John, who is affectionately known as “the apostle of love” pens these 105 verses as a love-letter to the Church, and in doing so, he uses the word “love” 46 times, comprising 25% of his letter! If anyone would be qualified to speak about the subject it would have to be John, seeing he was shown a unique, personal affection by Jesus himself. Six times in his Gospel, John refers to himself as “The disciple whom Jesus loved,” and we see him sitting closest to Jesus at the Last Supper.

Who better to give us a definition of what constitutes true love besides John. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 Jn. 4:7-8). These last three words form one of the most profound statements of the whole Bible and perhaps, for many people today, one of the hardest to believe: God is love! When we look at the world with all its evil and suffering, we may be tempted to question, “How can there be a God who really loves?” Yet, in the face of all this, John insists, love is the very nature of God.

Never was more meaning crowded into a few words than into this short phrase, God is love! John is not identifying a quality or characteristic which God possesses, but instead, he is making a statement about the essence of God’s being. It is not simply that God loves, but that He is love. That is, in His very nature, God is love. Love is not to be understood as one of God’s many activities; but rather that all of God’s activity is loving activity. Hatred, envy, malice, evil all have their source in something else other than God. He neither originates them, commends them, nor approves them. God is love, and love is never absent from His being or from any of His actions.

The fullest expression of God’s love came to us in the Person of His Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. God gave the gift of His Son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, placed Him in a manger, and offered this gift of love to, “Whosoever will!” My prayer is that you will receive this gift and allow your entire life to be wrapped in God’s amazing love.

In God’s love,

Pastor Jim Ruddy