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#SalvationforAll#AllLivesMatter

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

At the risk of being taken as political, I’m going to make a statement that I firmly believe: God does not care about a person’s race; a person’s skin color; a person’s nationality; a person’s social status; a person’s religious upbringing; a person’s education; a person’s job; a person’s political persuasion; a person’s state of residence; a person’s 401K, or any other distinction man may make. In our world today it seems like unless you state publicly, “BLM,” you are a racist or some other ugly moniker. I personally believe ALM- All Lives Matter- and refuse to say any one race is more important than another.

I believe God would say the same thing. How do I know that? The Bible says so. Here, check out Romans 10: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (v.9). Then notice the words in verse 11: “For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who…'” See that word? E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. Oh, but I love verse 12: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on ALL who call on Him. For E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” There’s that word again!! Twice everyone is used; once all is used. That shows God is not black or white; rich or poor; slave or free; American or Hispanic (take your pick); or interested in class, color, or creed. God is for EVERYONE, especially when it comes to salvation. Jesus died for all.

“Father, thank you that I’m included, along with all others who come to you and claim the Name of Jesus for salvation.”

#BirthdayReflection#68

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Normally I post my sermon idea for this week right about now. But I decided to hold off on that for a day and copy a post I ran at my other blog earlier this morning.  (By the way: I post a devotion there each day. I’d love to have you subscribe to be able to get it each day. Then feel free to comment). I’ll leave it here for the day then tomorrow post about the sermon for this weekend. Here is the post:

I turn 68 years old today. (Don’t applaud just throw money! 🙂 You can also throw in a shock emoji here). I was officially ordained on April 13, 1975, my late mother’s birthday. I could think of no better way to honor the one person more responsible for my faith walk (other than my grandfather) than her. So that means for 45 years I have been “officially” a pastor. But I have been preaching since the end of my Sophomore year in college (1972).  I’m not sure that little church in Irvine, KY ever fully recovered. Being a pastor has been all I have wanted to do (except play professional baseball or basketball.  But there was a huge roadblock to both. It’s called talent). 🙂

But it is time for a heart check. After reading 2 Cor. 2:17 I got reflective. “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s Word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” That verse led me back to I Cor. 2:1-5. (I encourage you to look it up or click on the link). It’s time for a heart-to-heart check with myself. Here are some thoughts based on the Scriptures:

  1. The word peddle used in 2 Cor. 2:17 means “to corrupt” in the Greek. It came to refer to corrupt hucksters, or con men who by their cleverness and deception were able to sell as genuine an inferior product. We would call them “cheap knock-offs.” It reminds me of the street vendors who sell “cheapies” that look original. People think they are getting an original but…nope. Fooled you!! This is a picture of a false teacher who worms his/her way in only to spew rank heresy couched in spiritual language. 
  2. Good language, perfect speech, even high falootin’ words cannot resuce a wrong message. I was visiting a couple Wednesday and was told that she really appreciated my sermon from this past Sunday on “What about Doubt?” She explained why and I cried inside that she lived so many years with inside turmoil. Our conversation went on and I commented how someone had said he didn’t think they (as a couple) would stay at OVCF (they came from a very strict, traditional church) because of our music. They both said, “Well, we don’t know the songs…although we are learning them…and do miss the hymns, but we stay because of the Word.  We hear the Word being preached.”  Is a pastor allowed to feel good? Proud…but not the bad kind? At peace? A sense of “I-did-okay?” I sure hope so because, to be honest, I felt validated. I hope that’s not wrong. I suspect if it is then God will bring me down a peg or two. 🙂 In a time of questions and evaluation, it was good to hear God say through them, “Good job.” I am humbled and eternally grateful that God chose me to do this.

I have no idea how much time I have left (who does?) but I do know this: as long as God gives me breath and as long as He gives me good health, I want to be found guilty of preaching the foolishness of the cross. I want to point people to the cross. For as long as I can remember my brother, Rob, has always signed his letter using Gal.6:14- “May I never boast except in the cross of Christ.” May that tribe increase.

Thanks for taking the time to read. Feel free to leave a comment if you would like.

#Doubts?#Faith

Sunday, October 4th, 2020

Have you ever had doubts? I don’t mean about faith things but doubts about other things? I ask that question because having doubts is almost like an everyday occurrence to some.  We find ourselves as adults almost acting like the three year old whose favorite question is “Why?”  Other than a little frustration we might feel when asked that over and over, we don’t chastise them for asking “Why” and call their faith into question.

Why then do we do that to adults who are either naturally inquisitive or have some serious questions about things? And when I say serious questions, in this case, I am talking about serious faith questions.  It comes down to this question:

IS IT WRONG TO HAVE DOUBTS?

I sure hope not because if it is I’m in deep horse do-do. Now…let me clarify.  My doubts are not the “what I believe about God, Jesus, or God’s faithfulness” variety.  My doubts come in other areas. I struggle, for example,  with understanding why things are the way they are. I struggle with not knowing what God has in mind in my life and if I will ever know. I don’t doubt His love for me, nor do I doubt He has an ultimate plan for my life. I struggle with Him not sharing it with me! 🙂

Methinks I am not alone.

I wish I could sit here and say that I have the kind of faith of George Mueller had, who ran an orphanage but determined to pray for everything and never ask for financial or any handout. Answers to prayers abound in his life story. Unlike most ministries today, he never asked for a dime.

There are two stories in the Bible I will be using Sunday in my sermon. The story found in Mark 9 of the father who has an encounter with Jesus, and one found in John 20: 24-29 where Thomas has an encounter with Jesus.  I will be finishing up with Psalm 13 and how it teaches us the importance of faith over feelings.  I’m planning on sharing them with you in a future post in the coming week.

My sermon, as you can surmise, is What about Doubt?  It is part of my series I’ve called Q & A. Tune if you are unable to be here for our morning worship. If you can’t do either, please say a prayer for us. Thanks.

#Dead#Zombies

Friday, October 11th, 2019

First, let me put you at ease. This is not a post about zombies. Not only do I think it is silly, but I have never watched even a moment of the TV show when it was on, nor will I while it is in reruns. As for New Death Experiences (NDEs) I have my own opinion which shall remain mine at this point. I have never been a horror movie fan so to talk about the macabre and living among the dead has never “yanked my chain.” I have enough trouble with reality. I don’t need people confusing the issue with other junk.

I have been a pastor long enough; I have been alive long enough, to know when death is either imminent or soon to take place. There are certain characteristics which manifest themselves. I suspect if we took the time to compare we would see some of the characteristics of death could be seen in some churches as well. There are all kinds of churches in various stages of “aliveness.” Some are vibrant; some are lukewarm; some are barely hanging on; and some are dead (but may not even know it).

This week’s postcard is written to the church at Sardis, the church I am calling the Dead Church. Revelation 3:1-6 gives us that letter and Jesus minces no words of judgment on them.  It is never easy hearing that you or your church may be dead.  I don’t want to sound harsh or judgmental but only kind and loving as I present the possibility that it could happen to us if we aren’t open to Christ’s leading. Please pray for me this weekend.

#OutofCommission#UGH

Monday, October 7th, 2019

In my weekend post I alluded to the fact that I have been crazy busy but it will soon slow down. Well…that slow down will begin occurring this week.

I began last week preparing for a procedure they want all 50+ year olds to have. My earnest prep took place today as I had to limit even more of what I ate or drank. Translated that means I ate nothing solid and drank some nasty stuff as well as a prep drink for a procedure which takes place tomorrow morning (Tuesday). I’m not a rookie with this procedure…unfortunately. I have had 4 of these and each time they have found polyps that required removal and diagnostic lab work. They have come back okay except a few were “pre-cancerous” so I submit myself to this on a regular basis. I have told Jo if doing this procedure  would keep me from getting colon cancer I would do it every 6 months…although I don’t want any doctor becoming that familiar with me. 🙂  So I would appreciate your prayers for protection during the procedure and a good report afterwards. So Monday and Tuesday I will be out of commission, especially Tuesday.

Wednesday we head to Ohio to celebrate my birthday (Wednesday the 9th) and to watch our grandson play his last football game this year on Thursday night. It has been the only one we have been able to see.

Then on the 14th and 21st it is actually a good “out of commission.” I am having eye surgery for cataracts which will allow me to GET RID OF MY GLASSES! I have worn them since I was in 4th grade and so I look forward (pun intended) to not having to wear them! No more cycling with sweat running down my glasses and my eyelashes spreading sweat all over my glasses! No more cutting grass or working outside and having to wipe sweat off so I can see! No more waking up and reaching for my glasses first thing! Can you tell I’m excited?

Finally, Braden turns 13 on the 17th and we wouldn’t miss his teen birthday for anything. So off to Ohio we go.

Whew! What slow down? Looks like another cruise to Alaska is in order. Donations accepted.  🙂  Just kidding.

That’s not all for this month but that’s enough for now. What does your month look like?

#Prison#PrisonLife#NoLongerSlaves

Friday, August 16th, 2019

Talk of prison and people’s thoughts will immediately go to Alcatraz, some military prison, or some form of incarceration. When Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of trying to rape her and he put Joseph in prison, it wasn’t a 5-star hotel. The Scripture specifically tells us he put Joseph where Pharaoh’s enemies were put. True to his nature and God’s blessing on his life, Joseph excelled. He overcame his prison life.

In truth, most people will never see the inside of a prison cell. They just live in a prison. Due to circumstances, expectations of others, guilt, pessimism or some other “bothersome” issue, they live in a prison of their own making, one without physical bars.

I’m going to focus on that kind of prison this week during my sermon. As followers of Christ we are no longer slaves to fear or to the enemy or his efforts to keep us down. I’ll be working on very short rest and am anticipating with a very tired body. I’d appreciate your prayers.

Here is a song for your enjoyment: https://youtu.be/2QigyB50yGw

*******************

After waiting for almost 8 months the BikeMS ride is this weekend in Lebanon, IN. Dave (from 3 Feet Please) is coming from Arizona to ride with me and his two adult children are coming to volunteer.  Jo and I left Thursday for Indy to spend the night in the hotel in Indy and to meet up with them. Jo plans to also help with the volunteer table for 3FP. Dave and I plan to do the 65 mile portion of the ride.  This is a fundraiser for MS and thanks to many of you and your generosity, I have been able to raise $1100 this year. Thank you so much!!  I do appreciate it more than you know but will appreciate your prayers even more. 65 miles will be double what I have been able to do (due to time constraints) at one time this year. Safety and health or my primary concerns. Thanks.  Here are pictures of the partners in crime.

Faith/Feelings?

Friday, February 8th, 2019

First, let me just say we needed Noah the past two or three days. It has rained like “cats and dogs.” So much so that school was let out early today (Thursday) and some of the kids were stuck at school anyway because the buses couldn’t get through. One school had all three access ways flooded. Oh…but tonight!!! It is supposed to go down to 18 degrees. Talk about a royal mess!

Anyway…now for my regularly scheduled post.  🙂

The battle between faith and feelings has been and will continue to be ongoing. There are many who doubt God’s faithfulness and love because their feelings have betrayed them. Enter Psalm 13.  I wrote about this psalm at my other blog here on January 8. When I decided to extend my sermon series on Psalms I decided to incorporate this Psalm into that series. I’m not going to reiterate here what I wrote there. I’d like to ask you to venture over there.

But one thing I do want to emphasize is what kept David anchored were his beliefs in the certainty of God’s character, based on the certainty of God’s promises, even though his feelings were all over the map. We would do well to do the same.

It has been a crazy week for me so I have not posted much on this blog. I do post every day at my other one since it is more devotional and based on my morning Quiet Time and journal. But I do covet your prayers this Sunday.

4th

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Happy 4th of July!

Not much is planned on this end. Jo is not “feeling” a cookout so we will be doing something else. After an early morning bike (I hope) for me (while she sleeps), we will be heading down to our church camp to visit some campers. Every week there are campers, either Ryan or I make a trip to camp to visit them. Two weeks ago Ryan was a co-dean for a Senior High Wilderness week. After a week at home, he and his family headed back to camp for a Middle School/Jr. High wilderness week. Yes…you are reading that right.

He is a glutton for punishment. He’s also a whole lot younger than me. He and Hope are younger than both of our girls! AAAAAAH!! (cue in MacCauley Caulkin in Home Alone after putting on after shave).  So anyway, we are heading down to visit them.

After that I have to go to Menards in Columbus, In. We are doing renovation and remodeling to the church building and the Menards in Bloomington did not have enough wainscoting. But Columbus had enough so I will combine two birds with one stone.

Jo gets a treat out of it. She gets a meal out. Yeah…she likes to keep me company. Do you think it might be for some other reason than my charming personality?  I do.

Something for me (an early morning ride).  Something for the campers (me!! 🙂 ). Something for Jo and Tami (who likes to tag along when we are eating out).

Have a remarkable 4th remembering what we all need…Freedom. I’ll encourage you to visit my friend, Martha, for her excellent post. She says it better than I can.

Light

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

My next to last post for the special music being sung at our Christmas Eve morning worship is a new one to me also. One of our ladies, Marge, will be singing this “older” song. I say “older” because it is sung by Watermark, a group which featured Nathan and Christy Nockels, who went on to be heavily involved in the Passion movement with Louie Giglio, some guy named Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and others.

Here is Light of the World by Watermark. This song is not to be confused with Tim Hughes’ song, Light of the World (you stepped down into darkness/opened my eyes let me see).

If there is ever a time in history when we need the True Light of the world it might be now. May you come to know the True Light and may His Word be a light unto your path.

Everywhere

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

We have recently been blessed with a family who brings a hunger and a joy to our church fellowship. They have attended off and on over the past 6 months or so but lately made a commitment to make OVCF their home. I’m glad they have and love seeing their smiles.

Mom (Heather) and daughter (Hannah) have come from a more traditional background. Mom knows the old hymns on a piano but loves our contemporary worship and learning the new songs. I look forward to the day she says she wants to play with our worship team. Hannah has sung in the school show choir and is now a freshman at Ivy Tech studying to be a paramedic. (Pray for her upcoming test). I asked her to sing for our Christmas Eve morning worship and she gladly agreed. I left the song choice up to her.

Hannah will be singing and Heather will be playing (and singing harmony) for this song. It is a new one to me, but I’m sure looking forward to them singing.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if this song was true all year long?