Pastor John E. Russell
Senior Pastor
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I love the fact that during the Christmas season most people are much more open than usual to talk about or hear about Jesus. After all, the whole reason for Christmas has to do with the birth of Jesus. He is the reason for the season. However, with so many forces coming against Christianity on almost a daily basis, it is refreshing to hear people speaking about and even singing about our Lord and Savior.

God's Word teaches us in Ephesians 5:15-16 to live wisely and make the most of every opportunity. This week is definitely a time of opportunity to wish others a Merry Christmas, along with God bless you, have a blessed Christmas, I'll pray for you, are you coming to church? or any number of other ways to open the door to further discussion about Christ. Then we can talk about how God has blessed us through another year. We can tell them about the little girl who was so cute as she lifted up her hands to God while she sang a Christmas carol with her classmates in front of the whole church. We can tell them about the little boy who put a present under the Christmas tree for Jesus. Or maybe about how much more meaning Christmas has to you now that you have a real relationship with Christ.

We had our Christmas service today at church, and I was blessed to see so many people at peace with one another, sharing their hearts, love, and laughter and truly enjoying each others' company. While watching our children sing their carols, I was totally amazed at how well they sang. And, best of all, after the service during prayer someone gave their heart to the Lord.

I thank the Lord for our church. God has blessed us abundantly in every way. But most of all, I thank God for the large number of people who are sincerely trying their best to love and serve our Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

God bless you during this Christmas season,
Pastor John

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Hebrews 5:7-9: "During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him."

What does it mean that Jesus had to learn obedience? Had he been disobedient and now had to learn to obey His Father? Not at all.

The truth is that Jesus always obeyed His Father. He was without sin. He was perfect. However, as our High Priest, He had to experience being obedient and learn obedience first hand in the midst of great suffering. Jesus was tested and tried in the fire and came out perfect.

Notice in verse 7, Jesus offered up "prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears" to his Father. Why? So that He could endure the pain and suffering He was destined to go through and still be obedient. No one had ever, or would ever, have to endure the agony of bearing the sins of all humanity, the punishment for those sins, and the separation from His Father because of those sins. Only Jesus could do this. His obedience was proved when He said, "It is Finished." He had perfectly obeyed the will of the Father, even unto death, and we are now the beneficiaries of His obedience.

Finally, in verse 9, we see this salvation is for all of us who obey Him. Jesus left us with a perfect example of obedience. He didn't come here to playact a role. Jesus' suffering was real, more real than ours could ever be. His flesh was the same as yours or mine and yet He showed us it can be done.

What can we learn from this? God has given us His Holy Spirit, the same source of strength that Jesus relied upon, to enable us to be obedient and to accomplish His will. Obeying God's Word is not impossible, though we may struggle and we may suffer. We have been given the ability to be more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who loves us. We may have to offer up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who can save us, but save us He will. We just have to remember this one thing: Philippians 4:13 - "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Pastor John