#HardActstoFollow

Written by cycleguy on May 9th, 2024

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! And that begs a question: “How is it that Pastor Bill is preaching on mothers and well…he is a not a mother?”  That is a very fair question to ask. 🙂 The past several years I have taken the “easy” way out and had several women contribute to the service. I gave serious thought about doing that again this year but decided to give it a rest for a year. 

Women, especially Christian women, are told to follow the examples of other women. For the Christian women they are encouraged to be like so and so (you fill in the blank) in the Bible.  Or they are told to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. Talk about an impossible task! Yikes!  Ask a woman who is her favorite woman in the Bible and you will hear Ruth or Sarah or Deborah or Esther or perhaps other well-known ones.  This whole month I am preaching on different women in the Bible. Last week I preached on Rahab and the woman caught in adultery in John 8. I was surprised with the positive response from it. (And I’m still getting it). 

This week, Mother’s Day, I decided to take one we often hear about (Ruth) and two who are mentioned often in the same breath (Mary & Martha). Simply put Ruth is a story of redemption and Mary and Martha (with special emphasis on Martha) is on being a servant. Not a slave but a servant. I look forward to sharing Mother’s Day with the ladies-and one in particular 🙂 – but also talking about how Ruth and Mary and Martha serve as examples for us.  Please join us in person if possible. If not, I would love to welcome you to our live stream. If you do watch, I would love to read any feedback you may have. Our services are at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m.

 

Sober Cycle

Written by cycleguy on May 6th, 2024

SOBER CYCLE REVIEW

First things first. I confess I have never had a drink of any type of alcohol. None. So it is a legitimate question for you to ask, “Why then are you reading this book and now doing a review of it?” Fair enough. That was the first question I asked myself when I read the original version. (This is a second edition of that book and I’ll mention at the end what is different). Here is my answer: As a pastor, even though I have never had any issue with alcohol (the first sentence tells you why), I know there are people in the churches I have pastored in the past and even now in this current one, who have had struggles with alcohol. The cold, hard truth that also comes into play is that there are other addictions besides alcohol-porn, tobacco, meth, cocaine, sex, lying, etc.- that are just as treacherous and just as gripping on a soul.

Sherry and I share a kinship-we both love cycling. That is what drew me to the first book to begin with. When I heard she was coming out with this second edition, I immediately pre-ordered it (then waited). I’m going to be honest…I have no clue if any of the print/story part of it is new. It has been a couple of years since I first read it. But that was a good thing. When I picked up this second edition it was like reading it for the first time and I HAD TROUBLE PUTTING IT DOWN…for the second time. I remembered how it started and obviously know how it ended, but all the material in between was like reading it for the first time. What I really appreciate about Sober Cycle is the brutal honesty and transparency Sherry showed. That shows the transformation which has taken place in her heart because she certainly had no transparency or honesty while in the throes of her alcoholism. From the people I have spoken with about their addiction that is a big part of it-hiding and lying.

Sherry is very upfront, not only about her struggle with alcoholism, but also how she finally broke that chain. She calls her ministry She Surrenders for a reason. It was the moment she surrendered her struggle to the Chainbreaker (Jesus) that she finally began to experience victory on a permanent basis. No more binging. No more alcohol-free day(s)/month(s) only to revert back to what she was.

I’m proud to know Sherry, even though we have never met face-to-face. My guess is if that ever happens there will be big smiles, lots of laughter, and maybe even a bike ride in the picture. I have given away a number of her books to alcoholics as well as their families. I don’t see that changing in the future. This will be my go-to book to encourage and help anyone I know who is struggling or loves someone who is. I recommend you buy a copy, read it, and then find someone to pass it on to, especially if they are a struggler with this, or any, addiction for that matter.  

What’s new?  There is a book club study guide to work through. There is a short Q & A section. But perhaps more importantly, there is a short blurb (page and a half) about Selah House Recovery, a place for women to go who need help recovering. I’m a firm believer that our experiences were never meant to be kept to ourselves. Selah House is Sherry’s effort to give back and help other women who are chained to this insidious monster.

 

#OutofthePit

Written by cycleguy on May 2nd, 2024

Have you ever wondered if you have gone too far? Even worse, have you ever wondered what you would ever do with the skeletons in your closet?  Skeletons don’t have to be about immorality. While it is true that something “big” like an affair, addiction to pornography, an abortion, or addiction to drugs or alcohol get the headlines, there are other skeletons. Lying. Plagiarism. An issue with anger. An event from the past not involving immorality.  But here is what is so important to hear and believe: no closet is covered so deeply that God’s grace can’t reach it and clean it out and rearrange it.

The two ladies in this week’s message have messy closets. One is a prostitute. One is caught in the act of adultery. The story of Rahab is found in Joshua 2 and 6 and Matthew 1. The story of the woman caught in the act of adultery is found in John 8.  Both are discussed freely and fairly. From the Pit to a Future (Rahab). From the Pit to Forgiveness (John 8).  Some might wonder why? Why in the world would you talk about these women? Simple. God’s grace run deep. It reached them and set them free and on the right path.

We all need that encouragement. We all need that reassurance. Please join us this Sunday in person at 9:00 and 10:45. If you unable to, please join us online. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

TheDeceiver

Written by cycleguy on April 25th, 2024

Many people have a fear of something. Arachnophobia=fear of spiders. Aerophobia= fear of flying. Claustrophobia= fear of tight spaces. Acrophobia= fear of heights. Cynophobia= fear of dogs. Astraphobia= fear of thunder and lightning. Trypanophobia= fear of injections. And there might be one dreaded one I left out: Ophidiophobia= fear of snakes.

Most people dislike mice. Many freak out about spiders. I despise moles because of what they do to the yard (but I’m not afraid of them). However, bring snakes into the picture and for many people you would have thought the end of the world was happening. There are a lot of reasons people avoid snakes, but there is one we all either need to avoid or prepare for.

THAT snake is the topic of this week’s message I’ve entitled The Deceiver. I’m pretty sure most people have gotten rid of the notion that the devil is dressed in a red skin suit with a pitchfork in his hand and horns on his head.  Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah14 tell us about his origin and his desire. He wants nothing more than to deceive the followers of Jesus. My sermon this week will be taking a deeper dive into who he is and his tactics so we might be better prepared for his schemes. One essential I will bring out is that Satan is willing to do a little bit of good to reap a lot of bad.

I invite you to join us this Sunday in person or via live stream.  If you watch the live stream, please feel free to let us know you are there or even comment.

 

#HeStartedIt!

Written by cycleguy on April 11th, 2024

Who doesn’t remember the sibling arguments of “He started it!” “No I didn’t. He did!” “Nu-uh. He did!” Yours may have been somewhat different in words (that is if you had a sibling), but the idea is the same. Pointing the finger at who started it.

With Adam we can truly say, “He started it” because..well…he did. Go back to the garden in all its pristine beauty. All its harmony. Unblemished. Sort of hard isn’t it? We have no clue what that would be like since for over however-many-years we have had to deal with imperfection and disease and impurity because of sin.  No longer is our “dream world” possible.

We often talk about the fall of Adam and the curse we all have as a result. But we also have a second Adam who took care of that curse by His death on the cross. We were made in the image of God but sin messed that up. Adam is still our father and all of us have been created in God’s image. We are not random particles. We were not and are not an obscure idea. We were not an afterthought. We are not an accident or a chance. Even before I was a glint in my parent’s eye, God knew me. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thanks to sin that is all messed up; thanks to the Savior a fix is available.

My sermon series is Yes, They are Real. I’m taking characters of the Bible for the next three months. This month I’m taking the foundation of it all-God, Adam, Eve, and the Deceiver. This week’s message is on Adam. Please feel free to join us in person or via live stream on either YouTube or our Facebook group (you have to ask to join).  We will spend some time talking about Adam, but most of our time will spent with the second Adam. See you then!

 

#CreatorofAll

Written by cycleguy on April 4th, 2024

How do one go about describing the indescribable?  How does the finite describe the infinite? Better yet, where do you start?  Over the next three months it is my hope and prayer to talk about people in the Bible who still influence us today. I’ve titled it Yes, They are Real. They cause us to reflect. They cause us to look inwardly at our motives and actions.  But to begin the series, we have to start with the ONE who created it all and us.

That, of course, is God. He is our Source. He is our Foundation. He is our Beginning Point.  All one needs to do is read Genesis 1:1 and that can be seen: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  My plan this Sunday is to start with a look at God. Certainly not exhaustive (how can it be?).  From there it will be a progression. Adam. Eve. The Deceiver. All in April. In May I plan to spend time the whole month on women (after all Mother’s Day falls in May). In June I plan to spend time with different men (you guessed it…Father’s Day).

Anyway, this week’s message is trying to answer two questions:

  1. What do we need to know about the God of creation?
  2. What does creation reveal?

I hope you will join me either in person or online. We meet at 9:00 and 10:45 and our live stream is at that same time.

 

#JesusIsVictorious

Written by cycleguy on March 28th, 2024

Billy Graham was once interviewed by TIME (remember that?) magazine about Christianity. He replied, “If I were an enemy of Christianity, I would aim right at the Resurrection, because that is the heart of Christianity.”  Theologian Peter Kreeft once wrote: “Every sermon preached by every Christian in the NT centers on the Resurrection. The Christian church would have never begun…Christianity stands or falls with the truth of the resurrection. Once you disprove it, you have disposed Christianity.”

There have been many efforts of people trying to disprove the resurrection. From liberal religion scholars to people like Thomas Jefferson to other truth deniers, they have all tried. AND. ALL. HAVE. FAILED. You know what is interesting? People will not argue the historicity of the crucifixion. They do believe Jesus died on the cross. (It is kind of hard to deny history, although we do have those in our culture who are trying to redefine it). While they believe Jesus died on the cross, they don’t or have trouble believing Jesus rose from the dead.

With this coming Sunday being Resurrection Sunday, it just stands to reason I would preach a sermon on…well…the Resurrection.  I’m going to spend some time in I Cor. 15:12-19 to show what happens if the resurrection didn’t happen and then I am going to reverse that to see what we have because Christ rose.

We did something different this week. We are meeting at Abram Event Venue, which is just south of us, so we can meet together in one service. However, they do not have internet, so live streaming the service, plus the logistics of getting all the equipment there would have been a nightmare makes that a no-go. So we prerecorded the sermon with some Scripture and Pastor Ryan leading communion. I’d like to invite you to watch the video if you are unable to meet in person with us.  Then I’d like to hear from you. If you are able to join us, our service starts at 10:00.

 

#IncomparableJesus

Written by cycleguy on March 14th, 2024

I love the movie Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. The movie opens with him as a conquering general of the emperor, Marcus Aurelius. When the emperor is killed by his sorry excuse for a son, Commodus, Crowe’s character is banished from the army. He rides home only to find his wife and son have been murdered. As he lays on the ground, he is picked up by slave traders where he is trained to be a Gladiator to fight in the Coliseum. When Gladiator kills the retired undefeated gladiator once known as the greatest of them all, Commodus wants to know who Gladiator is and what is his name. After trying to avoid exposure, he finally removes his helmet and says, “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant of the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Let me ask you a question: Who is Jesus…really? Why are people trying so hard to make Him seem less than He is? My focus this Sunday morning is to answer the question of who Jesus is. I’m going to be talking specifically about His Virgin Birth and why it is vital to a person’s belief in the truth of Christianity.  Two thoughts will pervade: Jesus’ birth is incomparable and Jesus’ life is incomparable.

Interested? Please join us in person or via live stream at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m.  If you watch, please let us know. Drop me a line via email if you like. I will try to get back to you asap.

 

#JesusIsGod

Written by cycleguy on March 7th, 2024

Sometimes modern scholarship gets it wrong. Sigmund Freud, for example, said, “God was an invention of man.” (I wonder how far that got him?)  Albert Einstein admitted to the existence of a cosmic force in the universe, but concluded it was unknowable.

Sometimes the religious world also gets it wrong. There is no end to what the religious world thinks of God and who He is. And when you get into some of the doctrines of the church, WOW! is about all I can say. If I were take a poll on “What do you think is the most confusing doctrine in the Bible”” it is my honest guess/wager that confusion about the Trinity would be at or near the top of most people’s list.  While the doctrine of the Trinity is a major foundation of the Christian faith, it just may be the hardest to understand.  It is made even tougher because of the “woke” efforts of some to take away or deny Jesus’ divinity.

I KNOW I don’t have all the answers and I certainly KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I fall way short of understanding the Trinity, I’m going to try to talk about it this week. I’m going to use an idea in a book by Todd Miles called “Superheroes Can’t Save You” and try to describe it using what he calls The Ant-Man Heresy. Curious? Tune in Sunday at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m. to found out what is going on. The sermon is entitled Jesus Is God. We would love to have you.

 

Jesus is Real

Written by cycleguy on February 29th, 2024

A little over two years ago, a local business had a statement on their sign that I must admit rankled me a bit. In fact, if I were to be honest, it ruffled my feathers (and I have none). The sign consisted of three words, words which startled me and I suspect others because fortunately it didn’t stay up very long. I would like to believe it was because of repentance at the blasphemy, but I’m guessing it was more because of blowback.  Those three words were “Jesus was woke.”

The long version definition of “woke” is “a word to describe someone who, whether consciously or unconsciously, has adopted grievances and activism rooted in Cultural Marxism and Critical Theory, especially related to the intersectional oppression matrix of race, gender, and sexuality.” WHEW! Did you get that? Let me put that in my language: a bunch of crock centered around race, gender, and sexuality that finds its roots in Cultural Marxism and Critical Theory. I could add more but that should suffice. To say Jesus followed Marxism and was concerned about Critical Race Theory is heresy. If you ask me what I think, I will tell you “it comes from the pit of hell and smells like smoke.”

During the month of March I am going to try to tackle some of the more radical ideas about Jesus. This week’s sermon is entitled Jesus is Real. To put it another way: what is it we believe about Jesus? If you care to read ahead, spend some time in I Corinthians 15:1-9. You will find all you need to know about Sunday’s sermon in that passage.

I invite you to join us if you able to in person. If you would like to but find yourself unable to physically join us, please join us online on the church’s FB page or via YouTube. We would love to have you. And make sure to let us know if you watch!