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Father

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

A lot has been written about our earthly father and his influence upon our lives. You know…

“I am who I am today because of my father.” (Positive)

“I am who I am today because of my father.” (Negative)

“My father’s example was one I wanted to emulate.”

“My father’s example was not one I wanted to emulate.”

“I desire to raise my children the same way my father raised me.”

“I desire to raise my children differently than my father raised me.”

I could go on and on. Many people who are much smarter and wiser than me have said, “Your view of God is very often tied to your view of your earthly father.” In my case, I concur. Conditional love and acceptance. AWOL at times. Preoccupied with other things. I could go on but this is not a body slam on my late father.

I know some, many who have come to see me in my office or at a meal, who have screamed for a father who loved them. “What was wrong with me?” “Why couldn’t he just love me the way I was?” “Why did he try to live his life through me?” The litany goes on. Little girls especially need their father to be more than a biological necessity.

During Pastor Appreciation Month (which is also my birthday month) our worship leaders had this wood hanging made for me. I treasure it. I have it displayed on a table in my office. It just might be the first thing people see when they walk by or enter.

The song I’m highlighting today is one of my favorites from which this plague comes. Hope you enjoy it.

 

ChristmasEve

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

 

Over the past two weeks I have been featuring the music of our Christmas Eve morning worship.  I’d like to share with you in this post all the music we will be doing that morning. I’m going to repost the links to the special songs which will be sung so it will all be in one place. I wish copyright laws were not as they were because then I could tell you we were recording the whole service and you could listen on podcast. But we are unable to do that so I’ll just have to tell you what is going to be sung.

By the congregation (not in order):

Joy to the World (not the Three Dog Night version) 🙂

Silent Night

O Come All Ye Faithful

Messiah with a little bit of help from Hanna and the worship team

Adore

O Holy Night (Note: we did these two songs back-to-back this past Sunday and it was extraordinary! Talk about worship!!)

Special Music:

Noel sung by Hanna

Heaven Everywhere sung by Hannah

Mary Did You Know? sung by Diana

Breath of Heaven sung by Kaedance

Light of the World sung by Marge

We will also have an instrumental trio playing Hallelujah and Silent Night (with the worship team and congregation joining in).

I truly wish you could join us for the celebration. We owe a debt of thanks to Bill & Suzie Abram the owners of the Abram Farm Event Venue. They are allowing us to use it at a greatly reduced price…FREE!

May your Christmas celebration be one which is joy-filled and God-honoring.

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

 

 

Breath

Monday, December 18th, 2017

One of our teenagers sang a couple years ago. Scared. Nervous. Fairly new to singing, at least outside her home. She has grown up into a beautiful young lady with a lovely smile, a more “open” personality, and more active singing role in the school choir.

Two years ago she sang Breath of Heaven and did a lovely job. After two years of more public singing and some voice lessons (from Hanna), Kaedence will be singing this Christmas Eve morning. I have asked her to sing Breath of Heaven again. I’m looking forward to it!  Here is the song she will be singing in case you haven’t heard it before.

What a difference a breath makes!

Messiah

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

In an effort to slow down some last week and over the next couple of weeks, I’m continuing my “musical” posts. No, it is not me singing. You DON’T want that. 🙂

One of our young ladies, Hanna, has already been featured in the post Noel. She will be singing that as a solo. She will also be leading our worship team in another song which has become a favorite of ours. It is called Messiah. Personally, I like Hanna’s version better than this one, but this is the original.

Messiah: Long-awaited. Longed for. Desperately needed. Here for all.

OneWord

Friday, December 15th, 2017

 

And no I’m not trying to explain my titles. For several years I’ve tried to use just one word to describe my blog entries. Yeah…it has been a stretch at times. But I think that is called poetic license. 🙂

We have several young children “running” around the church these days. I love seeing them do that, even if sometimes it is during the sermon. 🙂 🙂 That means only one thing really: they are more wide awake than their parents or some adults.  But what I find interesting is as they learn to talk. I have yet to hear, no matter how smart the parents think their child is, a child speaking in complete sentences right off the bat. You know…”the ramifications of the hyperextension of the patellar tendon…” We would be calling the Menses society for sure and/or posting it on YouTube or some other media site. “Hey! Look at my smart child!” But it is one word. That’s it. One word. And very often unintelligible words to boot. I’m always at a disadvantage because “Jo” is easier to say than “Bill.” Mine usually comes out “bull” or something like that.

When you think of Christmas what one word crosses your mind? Trees. Lights. Carols. Gifts. Love. Prophecy. Substitute. Grace. Jesus. Aaaah yes…Jesus. The one word…the one Name…which should be on the lips of every Christ-follower this Christmas season.  Why? Jesus gives the meaning to the season; we are the reason.

I’m continuing my series on “Familiarity Breeds…” with a sermon using One Word: Jesus. I’ll also be looking at the names Jesus is given in Isaiah 9:6. Thanks so much for praying.

Excitement

Friday, December 8th, 2017

 

Perhaps you have heard the story about the little girl who came home from Sunday School triumphantly waving a paper. “Mommy!” she said. “My teacher says I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen!”

The mother studied the picture for a moment and concluded it was indeed a very peculiar Christmas picture. “This is wonderfully drawn, but why have you made all these people riding on the back of an airplane?” the mother gently asked.

“It’s the flight into Egypt,” the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment that the picture’s meaning was not immediately obvious.

“Oh,” the mother said cautiously. “Well, who is this mean-looking man at the front?”

“That’s Pontius, the Pilot,” the girl said, now visibly impatient.

“I see. And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby,” the mother volunteered. Studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, “But who is this fat man sitting behind Mary?”

The little girl sighed. “Can’t you tell? That’s Round John Virgin!”

We laugh, but the sad truth is that little girl’s mixed-up perspective of Christmas is not really a whole lot more muddled than what the average person carries around. In fact, many are so jaded they don’t even want to hear the Christmas story anymore. Look at the faces of many of the people walking around the stores. Many of them are haggard-looking, definitely not all that thrilled about Christmas.

When did we lose the excitement of Christmas? At what age did it become so “old” to us? Well…something excited the prophets! Something excited the shepherds! Something excited the angels! That very same something should excite us also. My sermon this Sunday is about that…Familiarity Breeds Excitement. And as you might be able to piece together it is about the prophets and the angels and the shepherds. And hopefully…me.

Willingness

Friday, December 1st, 2017

In 2001 author John Grisham broke from the norm. Usually writing crime dramas which focus around lawyers and courtrooms, he wrote a book which was totally different. I don’t know why he wrote the book he did, but it was successful. Perhaps, since he is purported to be a Christ-follower, he shared the same concerns about the Christmas season as you and I might. Anyway, he wrote a book called Skipping Christmas which followed Luther and Nora Krank’s desire to have a different kind of Christmas. They have it in their minds to skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because on December 25th they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But the weary couple is soon to find out that skipping Christmas beings enormous consequences-and it isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

Like the Kranks, we may find ourselves wanting to skip Christmas. I’m not so concerned about skipping Christmas as I am with losing Christmas. No, the date will never be changed. No, the season will never be skipped over. Even many merchants, who make no pretense at all of believing the Christmas story, want it to stay. Their reasons are different, than say yours and mine, but the point stands.

This week, and throughout the month of December, my sermon series has a working title of “Familiarity Breeds…” But rather than contempt I want to flip that idea to four other topics. You can see them on the banner above. Thanks for your prayers this weekend. They are greatly appreciated.

Invasion

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Mention history and ask for examples of invasions and one is likely to hear about Normandy, an invasion so horrific the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan and other movies like Band of Brothers cannot do it justice (although they tried).  over 150,000 troops were committed to the initial invasion, employing 6900 vessels, 4100 landing craft, and 12,000 airplanes flying 14,000 sorties. The death tool was astronomical.

History is filled with invasions like that. In one sense, the great invasions of history are analogous to the way in which God chose to deal with the enemy’s rule over the earth. He invaded, but not with guns and ammo and an army trained and armed to the teeth. Instead, He chose a different kind of invasion. One of the HILLS of our faith is God became flesh and lived among us in the person of Jesus Christ (Christmas). Then He lived a sinless life only to find Himself being led to a cross where He would die for the sin of the world and then raise from the dead (Easter).

That is one of our Core Beliefs, a HILL we will die on defending. Your prayers are much appreciated

Lighthouse

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Meet Nina and the Lighthouse at Presque Isle. Presque Isle Light is one of three lighthouses on Lake Erie. It is located on the northern shore of Presque Isle State Park.  It stands 68′ tall, was constructed in 1872 and became automated in 1962. For more information about this lighthouse go hereThis site here also gives some really interesting insight into the lighthouse.

I spent five years pastoring a church in Sandusky, Ohio so I made frequent trips to the lighthouse at Marblehead, OH. If captains and sailors could speak today I’m sure they could tell fantastic stories of Marblehead, Presque Isle and others. Countless lives were saved and ships averted disaster because of the light from the lighthouse. It used to be manned by individuals. What a lonely job that must have been! But what an essential job it was also.

The importance of the lighthouse cannot be diminished in any way. Its light shined through all kinds of weather. I used to drive to Marblehead in the middle of January just to see the ice build up and to see how far out it went. You could see Kelly’s Island from the lighthouse and there were times it was shut down and only a plane could get people off the island. I don’t know how many lighthouses are still working and shining its light, especially with the more sophisticated equipment on ships these days.

Nina is Dave’s daughter. Dave wrote about the death of his friend, Lynn. Nina was riding on a tandem with him when the accident happened. The Presque Isle lighthouse was Lynn’s favorite. Part of Dave and Nina’s therapy was going to the lighthouse and having the above picture taken. Therapy comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Below is also some of Nina’s therapy and her tribute to Lynn. I wanted to use this during the week I was having my surgery and had guest writers but it was unavailable. Nina drew this from a postcard and drew it all freehand. I’d say quite a gift!

The spiritual application is easy. Jesus once said, “I am the Light of the World.” Elsewhere the Bible says, “People who live in darkness have seen a great light.” I’ll close this long post with this song. If you have trouble with the lyrics (which you shouldn’t) click on Show More below the video.

EveryMorning

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

There has always been a dichotomy of thought. Should a person’s Quiet Time (QT) be in the morning or is it okay to have it in the evening? Middle of the day? To be honest I have always been a “have it in the morning kind of guy.” Not because that is the only right time, but it is the time that I am sharpest and most aware. I usually find myself busy in the afternoon so it is easy to push it aside. By the time night rolls around my philosophy is night time is good for one thing…sleeping.

Sometime in March I was perusing a Christian bookstore when I ran across a devotional by Paul David Tripp called New Morning Mercies. It is subtitled A Daily Gospel Devotional. I decided I needed something to liven up my morning QT so I bought it. After the first devotion, March 19th, I was hooked. By the end of the first week I had begun to think of other guys I would love to involve in this. How could I do that? So I bought 3 other copies and gave them away to 3 guys. (I later added a fourth). Then started an “email club” where each day we send our thoughts via email to the group of 5. Comments can be made on each other’s thoughts. It has been a super exciting adventure! I’m looking now to maybe adding another group (5 is as big as I want it to be) and would love to have a women’s group get started as well.

The devotions are solid. Real solid. No fluff. No prosperity garbage. Just solid gospel devotional. Lots on GRACE! (My favorite topic). Real challenging spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Each devotional takes about 5-10 minutes to read (I underline also) and includes a Scripture at the end for reference. My plan is to go through this once then the second time through use the daily Scripture for my QT. I have yet to run into a boring morning mercy. And trust me, it is aptly titled: New Morning Mercies. These devotionals have got my brain wired.

Tripp started out by tweeting three tweets a day. They were so popular that he was asked/encouraged to expand on them and do a devotional based on them. This book is that expansion.

I am partial to the gift edition. It is a hardback in a slipcase. It also comes cheaper in paperback.  Here is the edition I like.

New Morning Mercies (Gift Edition): A Daily Gospel Devotional

I think you ought to give this a good, long, honest, hard look. You will be really pleasantly surprised. If not, send me the book. I will put it to good use. 🙂  And by the way: I would not be opposed to having an online email with some of you if you find that appealing.