“Where’s the Rewards, God?” :: PODCAST

Presented by Pastor Steve Shields at Curwensville Alliance Church on 3/26/2017

Often, you hear Christians express disappointment with life — or even with God — concerning a delivery that never arrived.

They thought that, if they had enough faith, God would deliver — that he’d give them the good life. Or if they served him enough, or obeyed him enough, or sacrificed enough — then God would pay them back.

That’s not the way Christian faith works, but a cursory glance at Christian faith could lead one to believe it should.

This podcast talks about rewards — and their place in Christian faith.

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Coping with Great Loss :: PODCAST

Presented on 3/12/2017 by Pastor Steve Shields at Curwensville Alliance Church

Mary Ann was light of Bob’s life. He was that dad — the one who doted on his daughter, and seemed to come alive when she entered the room. And why not? She was beautiful, gracious, and bright. When she moved to another state, he was sorry she’d left, but excited about what her future would be like.

And then the unthinkable happened. Mary Ann became sick and died — in a very short period of time. Bob was devastated. He was never the same. What parent would be the same after burying a child. But for Bob, it was different. His loss defined him — so much so that years later, his wife would say, “Our daughter died, and Bob’s not himself,” to new people they would meet.

I don’t judge Bob. I feel for him. My heart aches for him — not just because of his loss, but because that loss came to define who he was.

Pain can do that.

Pain can define who we are. But does it have to? 

This podcast addresses that question.

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ADVENT: Does Your Life Have Value? :: PODCAST

Presented at Curwensville Alliance on 12/18/2016 by Pastor Steve

Looking at the caller-id, when the phone rang this past week, I figured it was something important.

Pastor Steve, I was speaking to Cecil’s wife and she said his time is short. She was wondering if you would come over and see him.

Absolutely. I love my job and I love serving God by serving people in need. When I arrived, I asked his wife, “Why did you call me? What do you want me to do?” She was at a loss of words, so I said, “Did you call me to help him make his peace with God?” She said, “Yes.” And it wasn’t a “yeah” it was a “YES”.

Cecil didn’t look good, but he didn’t look as near to death as I’d expected. I saw no evidence of the congestion that is often evident in the hours before death. But Cecil hadn’t spoken for a while. His eyes were closed, and he wasn’t opening them. So I simply introduced myself and said, “Cecil, I am Rev. Shields. We’ve met before. I am here to help you make your peace with God.” To everyone’s surprise, he replied, without opening his eyes, “Okay.”

I explained that Christ is the One who makes peace with God possible. That Jesus had paid for our sins when he went to the cross. And that as we turn to him, trusting him, he changes our hearts and we find forgiveness of sin and release from shame. We find peace with God.

Then I prayed aloud, telling him, that if he agreed with what I was saying — if my words aligned with his thoughts, he should say them to God in the silence of his heart.

God, I know I’ve messed up. I have sinned. But I believe that Jesus died for me. I turn to him, asking for forgiveness. Please forgive me, because of Christ. Amen.

When I said the word, amen, Cecil said, “Thank you.”

I took my leave and when I arrived at home, there was a message on his answering machine from his son. Cecil had died in the time it took me to return home.

When things like that happen, it shows you the value of life — both the life of those you influence for Christ and the very life you live.

This podcast talks about finding meaning in life.

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