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#Monday#StartoffRight!

Monday, June 15th, 2020

“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down” is what the Carpenters sang back in the Dark Ages.  That’s circa early 1970s for you young ones. 🙂

Monday often sets the pace for the rest of the week.  It is “Back to work” time.  The attitude we have will set the tone for our day and our week.  Our Worship Team led us in worship this past Sunday with the following song. I’m not going to say much more about it.  The first time I heard it I was driving and Jo put her phone on YouTube and we listened to it in my truck. I was blown away by the sound and the lyrics.  I am starting your week off with that song. I guarantee that once you hear it, it will stay with you.

Here is the song.

#AllLivesMatter#NoMatterWho

Monday, June 8th, 2020

I wrote this for my Communion Thought/Mediation for this past Sunday (yesterday).  As I laid my head on the pillow last night I was thinking ahead to this morning’s Quiet Time.  This came rumbling back into my mind and when I woke up this morning it was still there. I decided I would share it with you today.

Events of the past week/week and a half have probably both sickened us and angered us. The death of someone should sicken and sadden us. The wanton destruction of lives and property is despicable and should anger us.  What I am about to say is not a political statement as you will see at the end:

Black lives matter.

White lives matter.

Chinese lives matter.

Russian lives matter.

American lives matter.

African lives matter.

Homosexual lives matter.

Straight lives matter.

Unborn babies’ lives matter.

Birth defected babies’ lives matter.

Young lives matter.

Old lives matter.

Rich lives matter.

Poor lives matter.

American lives matter.

Muslim lives matter.

The list is endless. Nowhere in the Scripture does it say anyone’s life doesn’t matter. Nor does it say anyone’s life is worth more than another.

How do I know that?  Romans 3:23 tells me “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  We are all infected with the same disease. It is called SIN. 

As a result…WE ALL NEED A SAVIOR.

And again, how do I know that? Because John 3:16 hasn’t changed. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV)  There is a saying which says, “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.”  It does not matter who we are. It does not matter what color, race, nationality, status in life we are. We all have to come to the cross on the same level-sinners in need of a Savior.  No one group of people is singled out as being more important or more deserving of God’s love than any other.  (End of devotion)

We all must recognize our sad, sorry state of the inability to meet God’s standards and realize we are all the same. No life matters more than any other. 

#Surrender#Preparation#ReadingGod’sWord

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

In my last post I mentioned that I was looking for something in one of my old journals. I found it, along with the thoughts from the previous post.  I would like to include what I was looking for in this post for you to keep and have available.

There is a story behind this. Back in late 2016 and early 2017 I was dry. I had been hit by a hit-n-run driver while riding my bike in November of 2016. In February I did an endo while going down a hill. To this day I have no clue what happened. But as painful as the lessons were, combined they woke me up from my slumber.  This reading was one of the first things I latched onto after the first accident (or shortly before). I knew I wasn’t right and something had to give. I share it with you:

O Holy Spirit of God,

come now and live forever in my heart and in my thoughts.

Be the inspiration, through the Word,

for all my thoughts and deeds.

Take possession of my imagination and grant

that all my thoughts may be in line with the Word.

Take possession of the deepest core of my will,

and through Your Word, control my life in its totality.

God-given Word, be with me in my silence and in my words,

when I work and when I relax, in the freshness of the morning

and also the melancholy of the night.

Grant me the grace, Spirit of the Word, to delight

in the mystery of Your pronouncements.

Make my heart an altar and pour the

purifying fire of Your love into it.

Spirit of the Word, be with me today in everything I do.

Don’t let me deny friendliness and courtesy to those around

me, for I know I’m being true to the Word in the way I treat others.

O Holy Spirit, be with me when I

read and study the Word today.

Grant that it would refresh my spirit

so that I will keep on seeking in it

the pure, and the good, and the true.

Lord Jesus, You broke the bread there at the lake,

break every day Your Bread of Life for me, O Lord.   Amen.

It reminds me of the hold hymn “Break Thou the Bread of Life” and I would find myself breaking out in a quiet song after reading it. May this reading open your heart to listening to God speak through His Word.

#AvoidThese!#Devastating

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

I’m a little bit late posting about the sermon this week. It, despite the encouragement to stay inside, has been a busy one. You can read here the approach I have taken starting this week.  That took me away from the office two afternoons.  But I am loving it and actually getting to see some people at a distance. It has satisfied, for now, my desire to see the people and to let them know I am thinking of them.

There is a tradition in Poland I read about. It started over 700 years ago. Every day from the steeple of St. Mary’s Church a bugle is sounded. The last note of the bugle is muted and broken, as if some disaster had befallen the bugler. This 700+ year commemoration is in memory of a heroic trumpeter who one night summoned the people to defend their city against the hordes of invading Tartars. As he was sounding the last blast on his trumpet, an arrow from one of the Tartars struck and killed him. So there is always a muted note at the end. The Krakovians (Krakow, Poland) have never forgotten this heroic warning.

Part of American history is the warning of Paul Revere that the British were coming. Some of you are old enough to remember the air raid drills in school where they hoarded us together in the hallway with no windows, sat us down, had us put our heads between our knees, and cover our heads.

Our life is filled with warning signs. Some very blatant; some as subtle as a lump or a cough or a stumble. Some are heeded immediately; some pushed aside as a cold or aging. The current Covid-19 virus has a list of warning signs of possible infection. The Bible is filled with warnings.

Some of those warnings are of a false gospel.  Read Galatians 1 for Paul’s feelings about the false gospel. In this week’s passage- Colossians 2:16-23- Paul warns them of three false teachings to avoid.  I’ll make it easy for you. They are legalism, spiritualism, and asceticism. You might be surprised how they are applicable to our day and time.  We will, once again, be using FB to stream the service. We have new equipment coming which someone donated the money for so please be patient with us as we try to overcome the hurdles which we were (admittedly) unprepared for.

Thanks for your prayers.

#Choose!#JesusAlone

Friday, April 17th, 2020

Confronting Christianity, the excellent book by Rebecca McLaughlin (2019 Book of the Year) opened with this introduction:

In 1971, Beatles star John Lennon had a dream. Closing his eyes to the atheist regimes of his day, he dreamed of a brotherhood of man with no heaven, no hell, no countries, no possessions, ‘nothing to kill or die for,’ and ‘no religion.’ This dream persists. ‘Imagine’ was sung reverentially at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Despite prescribing an antireligious pill swallowed by one tiny fraction of the world, it is seen as an anthem of unity across ideological differences. As its notes rang out in PyeongChang, the sister of the supreme leader of North Korea-a state that has tried ‘no religion’ and still found much to kill and die for-graced the crowd.

Eight years before ‘Imagine’ was released, another prophet shared another dream. He dreamed that ‘one day in Alabama…little black boys and black girls [would] be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sister and brothers.

The difference between Lennon’s dream and Dr. King’s dream was the issue of faith. Lennon said None; King said fulfillment. Who was right? Of course, that is not all we have been inundated with.  Our world is filled, no make that flooded, with aberrant philosophies and ideas-vain, Godless and empty.

Paul’s letter to the Colossians presents the only one that will satisfy, that will fill: to follow Christ.  After a two week hiatus from Colossians due to Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, I’m coming back. My first sermon is on the sufficiency of Christ from Colossians 2:8-15.  We are online as most churches are these days. We are still working  out bugs and I would appreciate your prayers as we navigate these waters.

He’s Alive!

Sunday, April 12th, 2020

Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It is not quite the Resurrection Sunday celebration we were anticipating that’s for sure.  The past few years we have had one service at a local venue (Abram Farm) that allowed us to be all together as one church family. This year was already going to be different due to the company that normally did our sound having to beg off this year. So, in spite of the graciousness of Bill & Suzie Abram, the owners of the venue, we were going to have two services at our building.

Then COVID-19 happened. Suddenly, we went from Abram Farm to our church building to a virtual celebration. But there is a great lesson here! The grave could not contain Him. What in the world would make us think a virus could? So we celebrate anyway. Virtually.

More could be said. But I’m not going to belabor the point. So I say, “Celebrate! Jesus is alive in our hearts. He is alive in our worship. He is alive seated at the right hand of His Father. Celebrate!”  I’d like ask you to listen to an old song. In my mind, one of the best Easter songs you don’t even know by my favorite Christian group of all time.

#LentEnding#33

Saturday, April 11th, 2020

Sunday, Resurrection Day, is the official end to Lent.  A sad time ends in a time of rejoicing.

Pastor and author John MacArthur once said:

Neutrality is not an option. Either Jesus rose and rightly demands your attention, repentance, trust and obedience, or he stayed dead.  If He only became a rotting corpse why should you follow Him?”  {Quoted by Andrew Warnock in Risen With Christ}

Although I don’t always agree with his views on some things, Biblical scholar N. T. Wright made this statement:

The only possible reason why early Christianity began and took the shape that it did is that the tomb really was empty and that people really did meet Jesus, alive again.

Hard to argue with either one. Resurrection Sunday is the crowning event of our belief system. Take away the resurrection and WE. HAVE. NOTHING. Peter knew it. Paul most certainly knew it (he devoted a whole chapter to it. See I Corinthians 15).

Rise up followers of Christ! Do not despair! If the grave could not contain Him, how in the world and why in the world do we get this crazy notion some virus will? So the church is not meeting in a building. Good!  Meet in homes. Meet with friends. Meet with loved ones. Invite others to join in the party. Celebrate the RESURRECTION OF JESUS with me!! 

Bet you can’t guess what my sermon will be about tomorrow!! 🙂 See you on the church FB page at 10:00.

#Lent#32

Friday, April 10th, 2020

Today, April 10,2020 is Good Friday. A day of sickness and death for many, but for people all over the globe it is a day with a different meaning,

From Darkness to Light.

From Pitch Black to Blinding Luminescence.

From Dark Rumbling Clouds to Glorious Sunshine.

From Hatred to Love.

From Loss to Gain

From Loser to Winner.

From Death to Life.

It’s Friday…but Sunday’s Coming!

#Lent#30

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

I’ve been listening to some podcasts lately. The bulk of them have been on Crisis Leadership; leading through this pandemic; what a true leader does during times like this, etc. But I took a break the past couple of days to listen to one podcast featuring two ex-JW’s, and one podcast featuring an ex-Mormon for close to 40 years. All three have embraced orthodox Christianity, biblical Christianity. One of the teachings of JW is they don’t believe in hell. Generally speaking, the grave is the end. Worm food. No torment. No suffering.

Jesus has promised eternal life. His death, burial, and resurrection secured that for all who follow Him. His resurrection “blew apart” the grip of the enemy, death and hell. By His resurrection, eternal life became a reality. Not just an empty promise talked about. A reality to be realized.  I believe in hell. I just don’t have to fear it.

One of the reasons I relish this “Easter event season” is it shows me in vivid color that the best is yet to come. For those, and those only, who trust in Christ.  Jesus once said, “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) The best is yet to come. Have you embraced Him?

#Lent#29

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

I have a grandson who is now 13. He hates losing. He has been that way ever since I can remember. He gets emotional, i.e. angry and (used to) cry when he didn’t do well or the team lost. He was probably around 8 maybe when we went to see the Pirates (my team) play the Reds (his team) at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The game had see-sawed. It looked good for the Pirates until the Reds rallied to tie it late in the game.  It was the bottom of the 9th with one or two outs (I can’t remember) when my favorite player came up and hit a game-winning Home Run. He was sitting on my lap so he could see better and immediately dropped his head into my lap. About a minute or so later-after I celebrated by yelling and clapping and the fireworks went off-I noticed his head was still there. So I lifted his head and he was crying! When I asked him why he was crying he said, “Because they lost and you should never lose or accept losing.” When I tucked him into bed that night at the hotel, I asked him why he said what he did. Who told him that? He told me and I was both sad and angry. I lovingly told him that it was good to win and to want to win, but sometimes losing is part of the game and life.  You accept it. Learn from it. And move on. Yeah, I know, maybe a lot for an 8 year old. But he got it!

It astounds me that people would give us so easily and want to follow a loser. A defeated foe. A supposed victory of death by crucifixion was changed three short days later by a victory. He thought he had won. He looked like he won, but that late inning resurrection snatched victory out of his hand and rendered him a big one in the “L” column.

Satan is defeated and will never recover. Follow Jesus. Don’t follow a defeated enemy. Jesus won!