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Pastor Rod's Weekly Blog
December 8, 2019
This week there were many challenges for me; many times I had to “encourage myself in the Lord.” During my Bible reading this morning, Friday, I knew God was instructing me, this time by reading through the Bible. I started in Genesis, Job and Matthew. From Psalm 47:5 I was instructed to continually praise the Lord and I will have hope. From Lk 13:33—to continually be committing life to the Master; from Luke 15:10—that I can bring great joy to Heaven when I lead someone to Christ. And from the story of the wayward son, He promised to always accept with love and open arms.
December 1, 2019
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.“ I notice in this command there are no added phrases that give us an option to not do this act. Also notice, it does not say to give thanks for everything that comes your way, but to be thankful that you are loved by the Creator of the universe. And if He loves you He can make everything, the good and bad, work to your advantage. And to add to that, having an attitude of gratitude will give you freedom from having so much worry, doubt and fear. So don’t let this week of Thanksgiving be a once a year event, but make it a throughout the day action every week of the year.
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.“
November 17, 2019
James 1:19, “You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” What would life be like if all of us lived by this command? You do realize that it is a command, don’t you? We can have all kinds of excuses of why “we can’t” keep this command: Genetics, personality, or even the color of your hair, and many more. But if God gives a command, He can give us the ability to obey it. Think about this: In a time of conflict with someone, if we listen and choose to think before we speak, most arguments would be ended before they had a good start. So when there is a conflict arising, listen carefully, speak slowly having thought out every word you say, and then the anger will not get out of hand.
November 10, 2019
If we were to investigate our spiritual ancestry, I wonder how far back we would go. Would we be able to go back one generation, or two generations or further back? By reading the book of Acts, especially at the beginning, we will see who exactly are responsible for us being followers of Jesus Christ today. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. Acts 2:42-43. The first church in Jerusalem gave us the method God uses. Nowhere in the New Testament will you find God’s people growing in isolation. God’s way for the church is teamwork. That is, everybody receiving strength from others and everyone giving strength to others. We live in chaotic times and as the body of Christ we must stick together. And as a local church, by sticking together as a team we will have the strength to overcome all fears. Then, not only will we be in awe of what God is doing but also people outside of God’s family will be amazed.
Memory - Ephesians 4:2 NIV Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
November 3, 2019
Doug and I had a great visit in Myanmar. We will be sharing our experiences and our observations with you next Sunday. We were able to see three of the wells that were dug, and will have pictures of them. Our host, Paul, is a native of the country and is a remarkable man. He has been instrumental in the birth of over 45 churches in his country. He and his brother have a Bible college which this year have over one hundred enrolled. He is also leading in the translation of the Bible into more of the languages in Myanmar. There is so much more we will be sharing with you next week and the weeks to come.
Thanks to all the people who helped in the food booth at the carnival this week and for Cathy Byle for her leadership of overseeing the carnival.
Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
October 20, 2019
While getting prepared for the trip to Myanmar, I thought about how my preparation corresponded with how we can prepare for life. I started with taking pills and getting shots to protect me from getting a disease I had never been exposed to. This reminds me that to keep us from falling into sin there is this passage in Psalms chapter 119:9-11, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” And then, last Sunday night as I packed for the trip, I gathered some medications from various places in the house that would help me if I did get sick on the trip. This reminded me of what we should do when we give in to temptations: Philippians 3:12–16, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” I may not need the medicines or vaccines but I will always need the Bible. So here’s to your spiritual health.
Memory/meditate Psalms, chapter 119:9-11, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”
October 6, 2019
Have you recently sat around with friends and in your conversation talked about God’s Word and your walk with Jesus Christ? I get to do that several times a week at predetermined times but also sometimes it just happens. During these conversations, as the discussion centers on God, His goodness, love and the benefits that he gives us are repeated. And as we are talking and as we go our separate ways our attitudes and thoughts are more confident because we have focused on our Lord. In fact, that is a promise from God. Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” So I encourage you in your planned and random conversations with each other to bring up something that you can brag on Jesus. And during your day think often and thankfully about Him and enjoy the peace you receive.
Bible passage meditation: Isaiah 26:3, You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.
September 29, 2019
While driving through Eastern Oregon this week, and going over one hill after another, I was enjoying thinking about the Lord Jesus. I was confronted with a thought I don’t ever remember having before: How could God be hearing me speak to Him while at the same time hearing millions of other of His children praying at the same time? I knew that He was hearing me and that I am nothing special and that He was also hearing all of His other children. This boggled my mind for just a moment, and then I smiled to myself and recognized that our God has no limits because of who He is. He is the infinite God. And that just gives me more confidence in Him and what He will do through me.
Verse - Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.“
September 22, 2019
WHO ARE YOU?
If I were to ask you who you are, what would you tell me? Would you tell me what kind of job you have? Would you tell me whether you are a parent or not? Would you tell me where you live or what state you are from? These answers would tell me things about you but would not really tell me your true identity. Your true identity is what God says about you. You are either His child or not, depending on if you have trusted Christ as your Savior. If you are a child of God, He has made you great (John 1:12, ”Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”). How He views you is remarkable. He has loaded you with so many spiritual, mental, emotional and even physical benefits. So, as you read God’s Word, look for the positive ways He describes you. As you listen to sermons and hear of your worth in God’s sight, begin to believe it. Some have found it helpful to write down these characteristics as a way to begin living out their identity in Jesus Christ.
Meditation: Ephesians 1:3 Communion next Sunday night at 5PM
September 15, 2019
WHEN LIFE IS LIKE A WHIRLPOOL
We took our grandchildren to Splash, the wave pool in Springfield. My grandson Sam did not know how to swim at the time. His mom had told us either Grandma or I would have to be in the pool with Sam. As we left the locker room and came into the pool area we noticed over 50 life jackets available for the swimmers. So we picked one out that would fit and put it on Sam so we would be sure that his head would always be above the water. We headed out into the wave pool and went as far as I could stand and still have Sam’s head above the water. I pulled Sam along with me and when I went as far as I could, I let go and pushed him an arm’s length out facing away from me. As the waves got high and he felt like he had no control, he became afraid because he could not see me. At no time was he out of my reach - I had promised him that, but his fear overran his confidence in me. I reached out and pulled him close and then everything was alright. It made me think of how God tells us He will never leave nor forsake us, and yet when we don’t see Him and His working all around us, we become fearful and panicky even though we are never out of His reach.
So when life is like a wave pool and you feel out of control, remember His promise that He will never leave nor forsake you.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, beause God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV
September 8, 2019
In 1976 I had a 1974 Ford Pinto. In those days I was driving five days a week to Drain to work. My tires were getting slick so I bought two tires from the Chevron station. I should have known I was going to have problems with at least one of my new tires when the young man was balancing the tires. The first tire he balanced had just three weights put on but the second tire was different. First he would put some lead weights on one side and then repeat that on the other side. By the time he had finished I had twelve inches of weights on one side, and about fourteen inches on the other side. Driving to work the next day the car got to bouncing so much from the out-of- balance tire that I stopped and put the spare on. I have found that in the same way that an out of balance tire brings chaos, so does an out of balance Christian life. So what are the elements of a balanced Christian life? It is by making Jesus Christ the CEO of your life, by filling your mind with the Bible, praying regularly, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, and by connecting with other Christians weekly. Stay tuned, we will be giving instruction on how every one of us can be balanced.
Memory verse: Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
September 1, 2019
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
One of the reasons that our Lord has given us the indwelling Holy Spirit is so that we can tell others what Jesus Christ has done for us. Some years back I was a character witness for a man accused of starting a fight with his neighbor. I was first sworn in so that I would only tell what I knew for a fact. The lawyers never asked me what I thought, only what I had witnessed. When it comes to witnessing for Jesus Christ it is telling others what He has done for us in our lives. To do that affectively, we need to remember all the changes He has made and is continuing to make in our lives. Are you ready to share your life with others? I hope you do.
August 25, 2019
Some (and maybe many) who read this today feel as though they are going from one crisis to another. Others are discouraged, worried or just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I know that last week I focused on Matthew 11:28 -30. But I also know that some of you have not believed this promise. The way you know if you believe a promise of God is if you act on it. The first act is to trust Christ for salvation if you have not yet done so. The second is, if you are a believer in Christ, start following Him. That means you give up the rights and desires you have for your life, and submit to God’s desire for your life. Don’t be like the person who sees himself in the mirror and forgets what he sees (James 1:22). Rather, look at yourself and do something positive for your life and for those who are negatively affected by your attitude and actions.
Meditation - Matthew 11:28–30, “ Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
August 18, 2019
Why do we think it is important for people to come to Christ? Matthew 11:28 says: “Come to me, all you who labor and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” It is because life is difficult when you do not have the presence of God in your life. Those of us who do have the presence of God in our lives also go through difficulties, but God has given us hope through our Lord Jesus Christ. We know we are never alone and that the God of the universe has our best interest at heart whether we understand it or not.
Why do we think it is important for Christians to attend church consistently? Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” It is because we know that the person who abides in Christ (“learn from me”) will have a healthy soul, mind, resolve and emotions. The key is to abide in Christ, which is submission and obedience to Him. Is your soul healthy?
Meditiation - Matthew 11:28–30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
August 11, 2019
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.“ Hebrews 10:23–25 (NLT)
When we are not following God’s commands we forfeit the peace of God and the joy of the Lord. Not only that, we miss out on so many benefits of the Christian life. My prayer is that everyone in our church family will be making a practice of obeying God. When you make a practice of obeying God it will not only have an impact upon your life but will also have a positive impact the life of others. The passage above encourages us to motivate others to love and good works and to consistently gather together. Obeying God in these matters can bring us peace, joy, and a closer relationship with Him.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23–25 (NLT)
August 4, 2019
This week I will be going to two reunions. I will be seeing some people whom I have not been with for decades. One will be the Wilgus family reunion and the other will be my high school class reunion. There will be stories galore, and sharing what we have done with our lives. We definitely will talk about our past times together and also where and what we have done. Some will be coasting to the end of their lives, more so at the high school reunion, and others will be still looking forward to making a difference in this world. Someday there will be another reunion for believers it is called the judgement seat of Christ. We will be evaluated be Jesus Christ on whether we coasted through life living for ourselves or whether we lived our lives for God and others. I definitely want you to join me in serving God and others until He calls us home to heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:10
July 28, 2019
Thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving us a great Vacation Bible School. We know we were obedient creating an atmosphere for children to get closer to God. Souls were saved and seed was planted. We also want to thank all the adults and young people who gave their time and energy to serve God by serving children. A thank you to the parents for your investment in your children’s spiritual lives; also for the ones that prayed and gave financially. This is true fellowship, working together with God to build His kingdom.
July 21, 2019
Patty and I just got back from spending five days with over 90 kids between 3rd and 5th grade and a group of counselors to go with them. It was a fabulous week. Patty was a co-counselor of girls and I was a co-counselor for boys. It’s always an adventure when you spend a week eating, and sleeping, and playing with boys age 8-11. The camp, Camp Fircroft, was run very well with the director, which they called “dean” , just knowing how to work with children of that age from his past experience. The Gospel and Christian life was presented in a humorous way with scientific experiments. There were children that trusted Christ as their Savior and others impacted to live a life for Jesus.
I am looking forward to next year when we go again with more kids and counselors from Elkton.
July 14, 2019
The next two weeks will be dedicated to the children of our church and in our community. Tomorrow a small group of us will be going to Camp Fircroft, outside of the small town of Langlois. This will be a camp for elementary age children. They will be having a good time playing and learning about the Christian life. I encourage you to be praying for our group and the children that will be spending the week at the camp. We have some people in our church that went to this camp when they were young, 20 years ago [and at least one who went 50 years ago!]. The following week is our Vacation Bible School (July 22-26). It will be a busy time with many volunteers. I received a call from the Red Cross asking me to give some blood. I told the woman on the phone that I could not give the next two weeks and I mentioned being involved in Vacation Bible School. She then told me she was still singing songs she had heard in VBS during the nineties. So we want to work hard, play hard and pray harder.
Matthew 9:37-38 New International Version (NIV) 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
June 30, 2019
WHO’S HERO ARE YOU?
I was listening to Patty play the piano the other day when I heard her playing a familiar song. One of the few lines I remembered went something like this: did you ever know that you were my hero. I began to wonder if I were someone’s hero. How do we become a hero to someone else? I believe it is when we invest our life in someone else. When we follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ who said I did not come to be served, but to serve, and give my life a ransom for many. This is the call for everyone who has received the new life because that is the new life. When you begin putting the needs and desires of others ahead of your own you will be fulfilled. It starts in our homes and is lived out on our jobs and schools and wherever we are. It’s your move, will you take the risk or will you let the opportunities pass you by.
Meditation: 2 Corinthians 5:17
June, 23, 2019
HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN?
A couple of weeks ago while taking a shower after a hard day working on a hot day, I thanked God for the hot water. I wasn’t even thinking about what had happened just a mere two months earlier. I had been hearing some people complaining about the hot weather and was hot but how soon we forget. Remember what it was like not having running water much less being cold. That snow event will be remembered for years and people will take pride in the fact that they survived it with flying colors. I encourage you to consider this command of God to you: “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 When giving thanks in every situation becomes your lifestyle then you can live with confidence.
Meditation 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.
June 16, 2019
This past Wednesday night I was invited to speak at the eighth grade graduation. What a great group of students. My short talk was about making choices. I told them they were one step closer to being adults and that each step they took made their choices more important. The good choices would bring them positive benefits and the poor choices could bring negative consequences, both now and some for the rest of their lives. I remind myself and the people I am mentoring that the choices we make can benefit us now and forever, and the bad choices we make will harm us and rob us of many of the things God wants to give us. So I encourage you throughout your daily life to consider your choice.
Are you going to live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit or of your own reasoning?
Meditation – Proverbs 3:5-6
June 9, 2019
This past week I spent considerable time planning two projects. The first was planning the replacement of our front steps with some major changes; and the second was planning the route and times for a 2,100 mile road trip to Branson, Missouri. It took a lot of thinking and rethinking, then putting it aside so I could come back to it and reevaluate what I had missed or what would not work. Both of these events are taking place in the next couple of weeks so hopefully I planned well. But because of all my thought and effort, I can now relax and know I have a definite direction.
Are you planning the rest of your life? Our spiritual walk with the Lord is the most important part of our lives, but often Christians fail to spend time with God to see what His plan is for our lives.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. “
June 2, 2019
Summer has arrived. I know that Patty and I have a busy summer planned. We start with a road trip vacation in June, camping for nearly a week; being counselors at junior camp, and then Vacation Bible School in July. And that is just June and July. I’m sure that you will also have many activities this summer. I have found that when I am no longer in routine during the summer it is easier to miss my private time with the Lord and witnessing to others what the Lord has done for me. We don’t want to get slack in our walk with Jesus because then we set ourselves up for missing out on the peace of God and the joy of the Lord. So I encourage you to enjoy this wonderful time of year - take advantage of this opportunity to draw closer to God, fellow followers of Jesus and friends outside the family.
Meditation verse: Galatians 5:16 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” New International Version
May 26, 2019
Memorial Day I am always inspired by men and women who made our nation’s freedom and security possible. As the son of a World War II veteran, I have not known what it is like to not be in awe and thankful. For me it is not just one day a year, but throughout the year. So, thank you, those who served and especially thanks to those who gave their lives for others. Jesus said this: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” So thank you Jesus who rescued us and who put us in this great nation.
May 19, 2019
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24–25
Let me share with you three reasons to come to church on Sundays and in groups: First, to worship God with others; Second, to encourage and motivate others to love and good works; Third, to receive instruction on how to live the Christian life. Many people come thinking only of what they can receive and not how they can serve God and others. Now, if you are going to encourage others to love more and do good works, you will need to know them more. My challenge for you is to focus on Hebrews 10:24-25 and ask God how you can enrich the life of someone else.
May 12, 2019
I don’t know why, but hoses that kink up in the garden frustrate me. I don’t get irritated at very many things but hose getting a kink and people not using their turn signals push my buttons. You’re out in the garden going from row to row hand watering and then the water shuts off because of a kink. I see that also in a person’s Christian walk. A Christian is moving on at a steady rate, fellowshipping with God and other believers and then something shuts off the flow of peaceful and joyful living. For me it is when I do not start my routine of committing myself to God immediately when I wake up and when I don’t meditate off and on throughout the day by quoting verses to myself. What are the kinks in your life that shuts down the peace of God and the joy in the Lord?
Announcement: Our church serves the community by maintaining the lawns at the Elkton Cemetery. Next Saturday the 18th of May we will need to get a group of volunteers to spruce it up for Memorial Day. We will have opportunities for people with weed trimmers, to pick up faded artificial flowers and some raking and general yard work. It would be great to have a large group working together as unto the Lord and to benefit others. We will start at 8, or whatever time you can arrive in the morning. So bring rakes and clippers or anything else you might need.
Meditation: Romans 5:1
May 5, 2019
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? I challenge you to focus your mind on the Lord Jesus Christ. You can’t go wrong when you do this. It may not always make things go better, but it will never make things worse. Your first thoughts in the morning will be affected by your last thoughts when you go to sleep. So what are you thinking about when you go to bed? Are you thankful or are you complaining? I think everyone should have a wake up routine of speaking to God first thing. Here is what one man has said every morning for years before his feet ever hit the floor: “God I want to know you better and love you more.” This is what one lady repeats each morning: “Good morning Lord, I don’t know where you are going, but I want to go there with you wherever it leads.” I know I try to remember each morning to say to God I am thankful for this day. If you are doing this already, keep it up and leave me a note of your early morning power routine. If you are not in the habit of this routine, why not try doing it for the rest of the month starting tomorrow.
Memory: 1 thess 5:16-18 “God I want to know you better and love you more”
“Good morning Lord, I don’t know where you are going, but I want to go there with you wherever it leads
April 28, 2019
God truly blessed our church during the week that we remembered the last week of our Savior’s life as a man on this earth. Everything we did was to join Him in bringing praises for the sacrifice that He suffered and endured during the three years of His ministry and especially the day He was crucified and then was resurrected. To accomplish this it took many people. Some were seen and many were not. It took months of planning and more months of prayer. So I humbly thank everyone for the special Palm Sunday service, the Good Friday service and the Easter Service. I know that lives were changed and commitments were made. For those of you who received Jesus Christ as your Savior, we are here to help you get started in your new life in Christ. For those who renewed their commitment to follow Christ, we have tools to show you the way. Once again I thank everyone that had a part and the ones that came to the special services.
Verse 1 Corinthians 15:58
EASTER IN ELKTON
April 21, 2019
It is so good for us to honor together our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on this day that we celebrate His resurrection. It was His dying on the cross and giving His life for us that forgave our sins and it was His rising from the dead that gave us our new life in Christ. Today we will have a couple of men tell their stories of how putting Christ first in their lives has made a very positive difference. God has made promises to those who follow Him. Here are four examples:
There is so much to learn about in this new life in Christ. It is our goal that all of us would grow and experience the victory that God intended us to live. Next week we will begin new Bible classes at 9am. We will have classes for all ages from three years old up. The purpose of these classes is to help us grow in our knowledge of God’s greatness and His wonderful works; and of how He has given us a special and rewarding calling. So let us praise God today and every day and gather to learn more about Him.
He is Risen !
Many people come to Christ and find that much of their burden has been lifted, and their involvement with Him is very strong. But sometime later they slowly lose the “fire in the belly” that they once had at the beginning of their relationship with Jesus Christ. The last few weeks in my studies for the upcoming messages, I found a reason why some have lost that fire - their expectations of problem-free and trouble-free living did not become a reality. Yet, nowhere in the Bible do we see that the Christian life will be easy. Actually, we see the opposite: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” John 16:33 (NKJV). That is one of the reasons you need to be hearing the Bible taught, reading your Bible and studying your Bible. You will face many problems and disappointments but God has also promised that you can experience peace.
I encourage you to make a commitment to honor our Lord’s great sacrifice by coming to Good Friday Service at 6:30 pm this Friday; and then attend service next Sunday (April 21) at 10:00am as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Meditation: John 16:33
The next two Sundays are a time when people who do not normally come to church services are more likely to come. Also, it is a time when people who come occasionally will attend. We have planned special program for Palm Sunday next week, and Good Friday Service on the 19th and then Easter Service. I am encouraging you to invite your family and friends to join with us to celebrate our Savior’s great sacrifice for everyone. We also encourage you to pray for families and friends of all the others that attend. Because we believe Jesus Christ is the answer to every question in life and that only He can bring forgiveness and everlasting life, we want everyone who comes to hear the message of how to become a child of God. If we all invite and pray for people to come and hear the most important key to life, we will be able to rejoice as lives are changed for the good.
Meditation: John 14:6 I am the way……
WHO DO YOU TRUST While reading my Bible the other morning I was reading Isaiah 30 where the king of Judah had hired Egypt to protect them from their enemies. It goes without saying that God was ticked that they did not trust Him. Later that day, while thinking about their lack of trust, Proverbs 3:5-6 came to mind, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and don’t lean to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Thinking about myself, I asked myself if I was depending upon my experience or the experiences of others rather than on God? If I am worried, stressed or confused I know that I am depending upon myself or the opinion of others. It reminded me to continue to seek God’s direction in every decision. And I encourage you to do the same.
Meditation or memory verse: Proverbs 3:5-6
March 24, 2019
February 24, 2019
GOING FOR THE GOLD
Do you want to shape the future? Do you want to be remembered for more than just the temporal things you did? Do you want to be responsible for creating strong families and to be instrumental in people being in heaven because of you? Then it is time for you to get into the game. That is, get involved in our children’s ministry. You will be leading children to connect with Jesus Christ and to train them to live strong, productive lives. For some of you, you will find the passion of your life. Now is the time to get off the bench and into the game of eternal rewards. You may have to get out of your comfort zone and take a risk. Why not check it out and give it a try. Don’t focus on why it’s not for you rather focus on the difference you will make for the next three generations. We will supply you with the curriculum and the training you need. Sometime I will tell you about three ordinary teachers that were extraordinary and that made a huge difference in my life.
February 17, 2019
Seek the Lord
One thing I mentioned in last week’s message was that we would receive rewards. One morning this week I woke up with the thought that I was not seeking God as I should or as I wanted to. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I know that if I don’t seek time with him first, intake of the Bible and outtake with prayer, I will just give Him leftovers. He deserves more from me than that. When I don’t follow the practice that His Word, the Bible, is the first thing I see or hear it lowers my potential for being productive that day. So who is the one you focus on first? Is it on your problems? How about getting a scoop on all the things that went on in the world yesterday? Or is it reading about God’s great love and grace to those who follow Him. My challenge is (and I will ask you to take the same challenge) to “…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
February 10, 2019
Worshipping together as a family.
Dad’s and husbands, you are responsible for encouraging and leading your entire family to worship together in the church. It means your love for the church will grow even as you may disagree with something or encounter disagreeable people. If your family gets discouraged or discontent in your church, you should remind them that unconditional love is not always easy. You should also remind them that unconditional love has been demonstrated to us perfectly by Jesus. He loves us - sins and all - so much that He died on the cross for us. “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Romans 5:8. Will you lead your family to be good members of this church? Will you pray together for your church? Will you worship together in your church? And will you ask Christ to help your family fall deeper in love with this church because He gave His life for her?
Meditation and memory: Romans 5:8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
February 3rd 2019
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12 NIV
Every Christian has a role or function. Each body part therefore needs to do its work, or the whole body suffers. Because every part is different there can be beauty in the diversity as long as there is unity in the body. The Bible makes it clear that if one part does not do its job, the whole body does not function well. But if each part does its job well, the whole body rejoices and is stronger. Each part is to function in the Church - that is why we are encouraged to know our gifts and abilities; then we will know how we can best be used to serve the Church for the glory of God. What a biblical church member should continually ask God in prayer: How can I best serve my church? Don’t be asking should I be serving my church.
January 27, 2019
Gossip and other negative talk I recently read the following which was in an Employee Policy Manual: “If an employee has a concern about another employee, he or she is supposed to take that concern directly to that employee. If, for any reason, the concern can’t be presented directly, the employee must go to his or her supervisor.” I think that is good advice and it is also built upon a biblical principle: “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. “ James 3:6 NIV. How should you respond to the issue of gossip:
First – Don’t be the source of gossip. If you have any doubt, don’t mention it. Keep your tongue under control.
Second – If someone in the church or anywhere begins to share gossip with you, gently rebuke him or her. Kindly say you rather not hear gossip and you hope it won’t spread.
So here’s to loving your life and having good days: “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” 1 Peter 3:10 NIV
Memory and meditation: 1 Peter 3:10 NIV Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
January 20, 2019
This is the second week of our teaching series on rewards. This is such an important subject for people who believe in Jesus Christ and those who do not. For those without Jesus Christ, their destination is on the line: Heaven or Hell. But for those who are believers in Jesus Christ, how they will spend eternity on the new earth is on the line. Your life on this earth is so short compared to eternity so it would be wise to invest your life to receive benefits that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 3:13–15 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. Are you going to live your life to be rewarded throughout eternity or are you going to go Heaven without rewards? It’s all about serving and loving others. When you hear opportunities to serve I encourage you to get involved.
January 13, 2019
Corinthians 13:2 (The Message) If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
The evidence of faith is not how well you know the Bible, how powerful your prayers are or how much you give to others. It is all about how much you love others, not just a few people but all people. Love is putting other people’s needs and wants before your own and to do that you must observe and listen to them. Love is endeavoring to know what the other person is thinking and feeling. It is: James 1:19 (NLT) Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Most of our relationship problems stem from not listening and not considering what you say and the words you use in how it will affect the other person. In Ephesians 4, it says we are to speak the truth in love. The emphasis in that command is not on speaking but on love. If you are having trouble in relationships and people wanting to be around you, check to see if you’re more self-centered than others centered. You really cannot love the Lord Jesus Christ if, you are not truly loving others. The truth that 1 Corinthians 13 is something all of us should be familiar with.
Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 13:1
January 6, 2019
What better way to start the New Year than to emphasize prayer and the power of prayer. I am excited in what we will learn and look forward to the results. Many questions will be answered of how to pray and how to get results, as well as the things that hinder our prayers from being answered. This series on prayer will last six weeks. I encourage you to invest your time to learn and experience super natural power. Does this sound like an over sale? Consider this conditional promise from God: John 15:7 NIV If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. Does it sound too good to be true? Come and check it out.
Meditation passage: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. John 15:7 NIV
December 16, 2018
Have you ever had the problem of wanting to give someone a gift that already has everything? You rack your brain and just have no idea of what to give. That brings up the question, what can you give to God who owns everything?
“All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:16–18
Now, God is someone who has it all except…what He really wants is you and me. Not just a part of our lives but all of us. Would you consider renewing your total commitment of your whole self to Him? And if you have never gone that far in a commitment to Him, why don’t you make that your Christmas gift?
Meditation and memory - Colossians 1:16 All things were created through Him and for Him.
December 9, 2018
I just got a call from Becky asking me if I had sent my blog yet – the message that you are reading now. All I could say was I thought about it on Thursday but somehow had forgotten. You might not believe it but that is not the first thing that slipped right out of my mind. Today we are looking at Joseph’s [the “father” of Jesus] life, what little we know of it. But in my preparation, my understanding of that man and respect for him has grown. Every time he is mentioned in the Bible there is a crisis that must be handled. And every time God tells him, through an angel, what to do, he has obeyed. For example, Matthew 2:13–14 (NKJV), “Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’ 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt.” Because Joseph was a responsible man and obeyed God, he saved the life of Mary and Jesus.
Forgetting to get my blog in on time is not life threatening, but there is a lesson to be learned.
Memory and meditation= Colossians 3:17 (NLT) “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
December 2, 2018
One of the things I like about being a follower of Jesus Christ is that it is possible to be content and joyful most of the time. As we consider God’s infinite love for His children and realize all the promises He gives us if we follow Him, how can we not rejoice in the Lord always? When we are confronted with a conditional promise and we do the condition, we receive what’s been promised every time. I am thinking of the conditional promise we reviewed last Sunday, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Those “things” are all of our material needs, not necessarily our wants. And yet He supplies us with things that we did not realize we really wanted. Wow. So, I encourage everyone to search out God’s promises and if there is a condition to it, do it; expecting God to keep His promise because He always does.
November 25, 2018
“If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.” I Corinthians 13:2 (The Message),
The evidence of faith is not how well you know the Bible, how powerful your prayers are or how much you give to others, it is all about how much you love others; not just a few people but all people. Love is putting other people’s needs and wants before your own, and to do that you must observe and listen to them. Love is endeavoring to know what the other person is thinking and feeling. It is James 1:19 (NLT) “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” Most of our relationship problems stem from not listening, not considering what you say and how the words you use will affect the other person. In Ephesians 4, it says we are to speak the truth in love. The emphasis in that command is not on speaking but on love. If you are having trouble in relationships, check to see if you’re more self-centered than others-centered. You really cannot love the Lord Jesus Christ if you are not truly loving others. The truth of 1 Corinthians 13 is something all of us should be familiar with.
November 18, 2019
In 1976 I owned a 1974 Ford Pinto. In those days I was driving five days a week to Drain to work. My tires were getting slick so I bought two tires from the Chevron station. I should have known I was going to have problems with at least one of my new tires when the young man was balancing the tires. The first tire he balanced had just three weights put on, but the second tire was different. First he would put some lead weights on one side and then repeat that on the other side. By the time he finished I had twelve inches of weights on one side and opposite about fourteen inches of weights. Driving to work the next day the car got to bouncing so much from the out of balance tire that I stopped and put the spare on. I have found that just like an out of balance tire can start chaos, so does an out of balance Christian life. So what are the elements of a balanced Christian life? It is making Jesus Christ the CEO of your life, filling your mind with the Bible and praying regularly, connecting with other Christians on a weekly basis, and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Stay tuned, we will be giving instruction on how every one of us can be balanced.
Memory verse: Acts 2:42
November 11, 2018
Matthew 6:33 NIV But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Are you ready to experience freedom in your life? I am not talking about freedom from trials and tribulations, but the deliverance from worry, doubt, and fears. When we build our lives around the Lord Jesus Christ he gives us the confidence that he is sovereign. When we believe that God is in control and has the power to work all things for good, it will change the outlook on life. This is my prayer for you, that you would seek the rule of God, and the lifestyle he wants you to live not only first in time, but also first in priority. Give it a shot for the next three weeks. I know you will see a difference in your life.
Memory Verse: Romans 8:1
November 4, 2018
“If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, ‘Jump,’ and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 (The Message)
The evidence of faith is not how well you know the Bible, how powerful your prayers are or how much you give to others. It is all about how much you love others; not just a few people but all people. Love is putting other people’s needs and wants before your own, and to do that you must observe and listen to them. Love is endeavoring to know what the other person is thinking and feeling. It is “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19 (NLT). Most of our relationship problems stem from not listening, and not considering what you say and how the words you use will affect the other person. In Ephesians 4 it says we are to speak the truth in love. The emphasis in that command is not on speaking but on love. If you are having trouble in relationships and people wanting to be around you, check to see if you’re more self-centered than others-centered. You really cannot love the Lord Jesus Christ if you are not truly loving others. The truth in 1 Corinthians 13 is something all of us should be familiar with.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14NIV
Are you playing it safe? Are you pacing yourself? Have you forgotten the dreams that you had as a child taking on insurmountable odds? The next inevitable question is are you bored with life? One of the problems in society is the goal of surviving life rather than living it to the fullest. If we are able to live it to the fullest we will need to take risks including spiritual risks. We do this by stepping out in faith, reaching out to people, and trying new ways to serve in the church and community. I often ask people, “If you could do anything for the Lord and others with no limitations what would it be?” Most of the time what that person will come up with, is what they should try to do because God has put that desire in their heart. With this promise He will help them do what they never could do without him. I am writing this at 4:30 in the morning as I have seen the need for me to get out of my state of comfort and to take the risk of my God-given desire. How about you?
October 21, 2018
Ephesians 4:29-30 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Is your lifestyle bringing grief and sorrow to God? Are you wondering why you never can live in consistent fellowship with Jesus Christ? Why it is difficult to pray? And why you are getting your feelings hurt? The above verses could and will be the cause of the problems of the questions I just asked and many more problems. I am amazed at the things people say to and about other people. Jesus also said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. This means, that people fill their mind with such sinful thoughts that when they can hold it no longer it flies out. What is the answer? Pray for those you are at odds with. Not that they will be changed for your benefit but for their benefit. The next thing is to develop the habit of building everyone one up you converse with every time. Your life will never be right until you obey this command. This applies to everyone every time. Today is the time to change your conversational habit and be a builder of others not a destroyer.
October 7, 2018
Hebrews 10:24-25, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
Do you ever stop and think that what you are doing and the things that are happening right now can be some of your greatest memories in the future? So what are you doing? Are you living your life on purpose? What are you going to accomplish this week or month that will live on after you have gone to Heaven? Whose life are you making so much better by your influence that they will be thankful for you the rest of their life and perhaps throughout eternity? We will continue focusing on how to bear fruit by good deeds and works. Let us continue to pray and encourage each other how to live the abundant life through total submission to Jesus Christ. A great fear I have is that many of us will not invest our lives for others and miss so many eternal rewards.
September 30,, 2018
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Philippians 4:6&7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Biblical peace is not the absence of conflict or troubles; it is being calm and confident during all the circumstances of life. God has given us hundreds of promises in the Bible and peace is one of them. But the promise of peace is conditional. We all face, at some time, trials that look as if they will destroy us. And some of you who are reading this may be in circumstances that are hurtful and painful with no end in sight - you are doing everything you can just to survive and get through this. I encourage you to look at the above verses and read them in context believing that God can do the seemingly-impossible of bringing you peace in spite of your difficulties. The condition in John 14:27 is that you love God to the extent that obedience to him and his word is a pattern of your life. The condition in Isaiah 26:3 is that you meditate on Jesus Christ day and night and trust him to take care of you. The condition in Philippians 4:7 is that you have an attitude of gratitude no matter what happens, with continual prayer and praise to God. The question is, will you trust God to give you the peace He has promised? That will be manifested if you meet the conditions that He gives.
Peace be with you!
September 23, 2018
STUCK IN SECOND GEAR I was beginning my afternoon bus route one Tuesday afternoon. I had just picked up my high school students and was leaving the parking lot, pulling onto the highway, when it felt like the transmission was slipping. I drove through town at 25 mph crossed the Elk Creek bridge and then turned south onto 138. I pushed down the throttle, as I always do, the rpm’s maxed out and I was only hitting 30 miles per hour. After moving the gear shift several times I came to the conclusion I was stuck in second gear. Now I did not know if I would be able to finish my route. Well I did finish my route though I was 20 minutes late to my last drop off. I had to drive 30 mph to Oakland to trade buses for the rest of the week.
This incident got me to thinking, how many Christians are stuck in second gear? They are not experiencing the joy of the Lord, or the peace that passes understanding and are not living in hope. If you fall in that category I will give you the cure. Begin with praising the Lord for his word and works, and giving thanks to Him. Second, make a commitment to the Lord that you “desire to find your greatest joy in pleasing your Father in heaven and living in obedience to His perfect will.” That will cause you to experience living in overdrive and living according to the purpose that you were designed.
September 16, 2018
LIVES BEING TRANSFORMED BY GOD There is nothing quite like seeing God transform a person’s life. If you are involved with our church you will see it often, but not as often as we would like. Transformation is when the Lord radically changes us from the inside out. I think we are safe to call it a miracle because it is something a person can’t will himself - to make a complete spiritual change in his life. People that rely on the fact that they are “strong” don’t get to experience the transformation of God changing us from the inside out. We can change many behaviors by hard work, but the changing of our heart is so much more. Here is a passage on how to be transformed in your spiritual way of thinking. Romans 12:2 (NLT) “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” So if you are not being transformed then change the way you think. Or to put it another way, fix your attention on God not on the viewpoint of this world.
Meditation and memory: Romans 12:2 (NLT) “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
September 9, 2018
Where are you headed in this life? If you do not know, at the end of your life no matter when that is there will be regrets. The first and most important question is whether you will go to heaven or hell. That one is easily taken care of by humbling yourself and accepting by faith that Jesus Christ on the cross paid your penalty for sin. When you have done that you will receive eternal life. If you do not do that you will be eternally separated from God. But assuming that you have already by faith accepted that Christ has paid the penalty for your sin, the next question is how are you going to spend the rest of this life. Without a plan, goal or target your life will not meet its God-given potential. God has made you his special creation and he has a wonderful plan that you fit to benefit others and bring great praise to his name. A question that I was asked long ago and like to ask others is, “If you could do anything for the benefit of God or others, what would it be?” Initially forget that there are any limitations for you to do this. Write it down on paper. And I will share how to set the pathway to get there. That is, I will do it next week. I am praying that you have a great and blessed week.
September 2, 2018
Have you recently sat around with friends, and in your conversation talked about God’s Word and your walk with Jesus Christ? I get to do that several times a week at predetermined times but also sometimes it just happens. During these conversations as the discussion centers on God, His goodness, love and benefits are repeated. And as we are talking and as we go our separate ways our attitudes and thoughts are more confident because we have focused on our Lord. In fact, that is a promise from God: Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” So in your planned and random conversations with each other, I encourage you to bring up something that you can brag on Jesus. And during your day think often and thankfully about Him and enjoy the peace you receive.
August 26, 2018
As I was reading through Numbers, the fourth book of the Bible, I was reminded of how many times the Israelites complained as they were traveling through the wilderness on their way to Canaan, the Promised Land. In fact, because of one particular time they were whining, all the adults who left Egypt except two, Caleb and Joshua, would die in the wilderness.* Complaining and whining is the result of not trusting God. It is when we don’t think He cares or is unable to deal with the circumstances in our lives. It is when we think we know more than God. Although we may never rationally think that we know more than God, we are acting as if we do. We know Proverbs 3:5–6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take,” but how often do we think we know better and therefore complain and whine? So I encourage you to read Proverbs 3:5-6 every day and believe it.
*See Numbers 14.
Meditation: Proverbs 3:5–6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
August 19, 2018
Having two baptisms in two weeks was a special opportunity. Congratulations to each person who took the step of obedience to follow the Lord’s example by being baptized. The pastors of the church are excited and in prayer of how we can lead our church to make a change in each person’s life. We are working on following the instruction that God has given us in the Bible: Ephesians 4:11–13, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” So our command is to lead you to be able to do “…works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” We are a team, and it will take all of us to make an eternal difference in our community and the world.
August 12, 2018
Baptism last Sunday, baptism this Sunday, this is why we do what we do. When Jesus Christ was getting ready to leave His disciples He gave them a mandate, a commission. That commission is what we now know as the Great Commission. The disciples that were there that day were not the only ones who received the command. The command was also to all future believers, including us.
Matthew 28:18–20, “ Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” We must keep the main thing the main thing and that is to make disciples of everyone we can.
August 5, 2018
Our communion service last Sunday night was a very special time of remembering our Lord’s sacrifice, and our opportunity and calling to go and share the Gospel to as many people as we can. I never leave a communion service without having a desire for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. The next two Sundays we will be having baptisms at the river. Today we will leave church at 11:20 and go to the Yellow Creek boat landing to share in watching believers celebrate their new life in Jesus Christ. And we will do the same next Sunday. Who should be baptized? Everyone who has received Jesus as their Savior should be baptized. It gives a picture of how the death, burial and resurrection has taken place in the new believer’s life. It is how a believer confesses to the world that they are now a follower of Christ. So, if you have never been baptized after receiving Christ as your Savior, this is an act of obedience.
Matthew 28:18–20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them [emphasis added] in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
July 29, 2018
Why do we see some Christians that seem on top of things most of the time and other Christians seem to be emotionally down much of the time? I know they have received the same salvation, and the same promises, and the same position in Christ. But yet the latter seem to be missing the joy of the Lord and the peace of God. They both go through good circumstances and bad circumstances so what makes the difference? Next Sunday morning we will be looking at three commands that some people believe are impossible to obey in their lives, and some make it a pattern to obey those commands: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NLT), “ Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” I encourage you to read these verses repeatedly this week, or better yet memorize them. Then, think about and maybe do research on how to obey these three commands.
We will be having a river baptism next Sunday, August 5, at the Yellow creek boat landing, mile post 11 Highway 138. We will leave the church at 11:20 and take the bus and cars. If you have not been baptized since you have accepted Christ as your Savior, now is the time. Let us know today, or sometime during the coming week. My number is: 541-378-7386.
Meditation passage: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NLT), “ Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
July 22, 2018
In my Bible reading I came across this verse and it caused me to pause and consider how many people make this mistake:
Isaiah 45:9 (NLT), “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’”
The first question I had is how would a person argue with God and why? But then I considered the context (that is what had been written before and after this verse): God had been explaining who He is and His great abilities, wisdom, knowledge and power. And also comparing Himself to the idols they had made and bowed down to. Now I don’t suspect that any of you are physically bowing down to idols, but our idols would be those things apart from God that we depend upon to give us significance and fulfillment. So my question for you is, can you identify an idol in your life that is coming between you and God? If you can, that is the reason you will argue with God and question His love and goodness.
July 15, 2018
1 John 3:1–3 (NLT), “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.”
Have you ever read the book of Revelation and come away confused? Are you afraid of the book of Revelation? We have great news for you. Pastor Eric, who is an excellent Bible teacher, is teaching on the whole book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ Sunday mornings at 9:00. We use charts and answer questions and come away with an understanding of the end times. As you listen, discuss and learn you could come away with this motivation:
“And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure.”
July 8, 2018
Matthew 28:18–20 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
When Jesus Christ gave this command and commission to His disciples before returning to heaven, He was giving it to all His followers of all generations. Each of us has a part to be played in fulfilling His will. He has given gifts and abilities to each local church to reach their communities and the rest of the world by gifting each individual. So what is your part? It is important because only you are designed for that work. Some will be out front and some will be behind the scenes. But if everyone does not do their God-given part then the whole church will be less effective. So, this is my question for you: Are you doing your part for the greater cause of Christ, or are you still sitting on the sidelines?
Memory/meditation passage- Matthew 28:18–20 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
July 1, 2018
Garden Hoses There is one thing that I have noticed about working with lawn and garden hoses, they are notorious for kinking. Now you can be pulling your hose from one plant to another and the next thing you know, there is no water coming out of the end of the hose. So you have to lay down the nozzle and go back and mess around to uncoil the hose and then go back to your watering just so it can happen again. While going through this exercise one day last week it reminded me of the Christian walk. You are going along enjoying your walk with the Lord and then something happens in your thinking and you lose the peace and contentment with God in your life. It can be yielding to a temptation to sin or just becoming self-centered. And the only way that we can get to moving ahead is to stop and confess and begin putting our eyes and mind on Jesus and others. So expect your hose, your focusing on Christ, to become kinked, then confess and begin moving forward again.
Memory/meditation verse: Philippians 3:13–14 (NLT) “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
June 17, 2018
This is a big week at our church. Many hours have been involved in prayer, planning, recruiting, inviting, preparing and setting up. Now our prayer is targeted on the children that attend and their families; that they will begin or grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ. Pray for the staff and the safety of all involved. We know God is going to do a great work this week.
As you are praying this week, claim and meditate on this verse: “Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.” Jeremiah 33:3 NLT
June 10, 2018
We are excited and looking forward to our summer series on 1 Thessalonians. We are going to be looking at a remarkable church from the first century - there is so much we can learn from them and the teaching they received. As we enter the summer months be sure not to ignore God, His Word, and His church. Vacation Bible School is coming soon. We have many volunteers who have been working hard to make a great impact upon children and their families. Be in prayer, invite, and there is still time to volunteer.
June 3, 2018
Planting my garden is similar to maintaining my spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines include intake and application of the Bible, prayer, and giving time, money and talents. My greatest challenge in the garden is green beans. The first challenge is for the seed to germinate and begin growing. The second challenge is the battle against birds pulling the young plants out of the ground, and the battle against tiny aphids. My greatest challenge with my spiritual disciplines is scheduling time for Bible intake and prayer. If I don’t do this on purpose it will not happen. If I don’t maintain consistent spiritual disciplines I become ineffective in my life, but worse yet, God does not receive glory from my life. So just like I have to be diligent to get my beans to grow so I can harvest green beans, I must also be diligent to grow in the Lord so that I can bear spiritual fruit.
Meditation passage: John 15:8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
May 27, 2018
How do you view the Creator? Do you see Him as a part of your life or is He your life. Many see God as someone they can call whenever there is a crisis. He can bail them out of their problems and fix their hurts. But the truth is we are made for God, not the other way around. After all, Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” We were made for God and his Glory. We were forgiven and given new life primarily to show the wonderful grace of Jesus. Knowing our purpose (God’s glory) gives us direction on how to live. The bottom line is that living for our self or others will lead to disaster at worst, and frustration and disappointment at best. My prayer this week is that we would correct the alignment of our lives into following and obeying God’s Word.
Meditation passage: Colossians 1:16 “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” (New International Version)
May 20, 2018
Today is the second message in our series on the glory of our God in creation. Our goal is for each of us to be in awe of God and have a greater understanding of how great and magnificent our Creator and Savior is. I know that when people continually grow in their appreciation of the limitless love, justice and power of God and of how He truly loves and accepts us, they will have a greater love and confidence in Him. They will begin to really see the big picture, the eternal plan of God. They will know that there are no accidents with Him and that He will use good things and bad things to benefit our lives. Romans 5:2–5, “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Our prayer and desire is that we will all become more confident in our great God and Savior and live life confidently.
Bible meditation: Romans 5:2–5, “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
May 6, 2018
This is the last Sunday of our Forgiveness series. I believe it has been one of the most important and beneficial subjects that we have taught in our church. I am praying that everyone that has been with us through this series has been applying the biblical truths we have presented. I cannot express enough how important and life changing the upcoming workshop, The Road to Forgiveness, could mean to each of us. Jim Valez has spent much of his life helping people be delivered from their wounds from the past. He is a professional counselor and has taught many leaders how to help people. So if you need release from your past, or you would like to help others find freedom from their past, join on this coming Friday night and Saturday morning.
We are gearing up for our Vacation Bible School now - don’t miss out on getting involved in any way you can. Feel free to join the staff meeting in the auditorium at 11:30 this morning. You will not want to miss being a part of something that will have eternal value. More information will be coming. If you would like to give financially specifically to VBS, just designate on an offering envelope or on a check and put in the offering box.
Meditation passage: Philippians 4:4-8 (NIV), “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
April 29, 2018
There is one week remaining on our Forgiving series. We have been discussing a great issue in so many lives, if not everyone to some degree. I think that it would be good for many of you that have had victory by applying the principles of forgiveness to share with the congregation the actions you have taken. You can write it out so we could share them so that God is given the glory and others are encouraged to begin the lifestyle of forgiveness.
We also encourage you to invite others and to come yourselves to the Road to Forgiveness workshop, May 11 and 12. There may be questions we didn’t answer in our weekly messages that will be answered in the workshop. Don’t miss this opportunity to better your life and help others as well.
Vacation Bible School is gearing up. It is a known fact that people are the most likely to come to Jesus when they are children or in their teen years. Find a way to be a part in this eternal endeavor. Drop by next week at 11:30 after church for the all-staff meeting.
Meditation passage: Romans 12:19 (NIV) Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
April 22, 2018
This week while reading through Proverbs 19 I had to stop and read verse three several times: “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then get angry at God.” Many times we have seen this happen - people hear God’s commands and truths and then ignore them; then when self-inflicted trouble comes they blame God and get angry with Him. I would encourage you to not blame and get angry at God for your self-inflicted wounds, but face up to your part. Troubles are a part of everybody’s life, but the plan is to determine if our disobedience is bringing on that trouble.
We are in our third week of teaching on the command to forgive everyone. Now if you are unwilling to forgive someone (and that is your choice) when problems spring up don’t get angry and blame God, just recognize that you have chosen self-inflicted pain rather than to obey and forgive. I know I would rather go through the healing process of forgiveness, no matter how difficult and painful, because obedience is always the way to blessings.
Meditation passage: Proverbs 19:3 (NLT) People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.
April 15, 2018
This morning, Friday, I woke up with several verses bouncing in my head, such as: Psalm 119:10 (NIV) “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.” And John 15:10–11 (NIV) “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
I know that I am like most of you and I want to experience joy every day of my life. Joy is promised to us, but it is a conditional promise. The condition is that we obey the commands that Jesus gave His disciples. His commands for us can be broken down into two classifications and they are: Matthew 22:37–39 (NIV) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." There it is. Are you focused on God and His goodness and love? Are you serving the needs of others as well as your own needs? How can you know if you are obeying? The result will be a lifestyle of joy.
April 8, 2018
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is all about new life. Last Sunday, Easter, we saw a foretaste of new life for our church. For over a year we have taken corporate prayer in our church to a more purposeful and intentional level. We are praying with greater focus and expectation of how God really wants to use our church in bringing healing to our communities. The focus of our lives must be on Jesus Christ with nothing coming between Him and us, as a church and as individuals. It must be our mission and passion to influence Christians who have strayed from Jesus Christ, and people that have never had a relationship with Him, to follow Him. This will not only bring praise to God, but also bring people a life filled with the joy of the Lord and the peace of God. Are you committing your life to His mission? Throughout eternity you will be glad you did. So join with me in Romans 12:1–2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Vacation Bible School is our next big event. What will your part be?
Meditation verse; Romans 8:1–2 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
EASTER CELEBRATION AT ELKTON BAPTIST
April 1, 2018
Welcome everyone to our celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are over 60 benefits promised to each of us as a result of the death, burial and the rising from the dead of our Savior. In this morning’s message we will highlight three of those benefits. We have designed this service to focus on the life changing work that God has done in so many people in the last two thousand years, including examples today from our own church family. We believe there is irrefutable evidence that the Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to all societal and personal problems in the world. God established the church to proclaim to everyone everywhere the good news of Jesus Christ. For that to happen, people need to not only attend church services but also to be actively involved. So we invite one and all to attend and get involved in a church, this church. So that we can see homes and people in North Douglas County become healthy, vibrant and full of joy. Once again we are so glad that you shared your time with us today.
First of all, I would like to thank all of you who participated in our church clean-up yesterday. It is always special when our church gets together as a team and works on a project. Speaking of teamwork, that is what it takes to make our church function. It takes many team members: There will be some out in front where everyone can see what they are doing, and then there will be more members behind the scenes doing their part, which is just as important as those in the front. For example, weekly and daily there are many people who are preparing, praying, serving and inviting people to come and be a part of our upcoming weekend services. These weekend services are extremely important for the Kingdom of God. The first event is our Good Friday Communion service at 7:00 pm March 30th. (Luke 22:19 (NLT) He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”) And the second event is our special Easter Service next Sunday, April 1st at 10:00 am.
Be sure to set aside time to attend these events to show your appreciation to our Lord Jesus Christ; and to greet and welcome each other and the guests that will be with us.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16 (NIV)
This was one of the passages that I included in my message last Sunday; and this morning, Friday, I am realizing that I need to pick up the pace. So I read through Psalm 119 which is the longest chapter in the Bible, and also mentions a word for God’s instruction in all 176 verses. By reading Psalm 119 and then Ephesians chapters 4-6, which are God’s instructions for living, I committed myself not only to meditate on my identity in Christ but also to meditate on His instructions for my daily living. Not only is this the right thing for me to do, but here is the promised result: “Joyful are people of integrity who follow the instructions of the LORD. 2Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.” (Psalm 119:1-2 NLT) And I do like being joyful so much more than being sad.
Meditation Passage: Psalm 119:1-2 NLT Joyful are people of integrity who follow the instructions of the LORD. 2Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.
In three weeks it will be Easter. This is like the playoffs for churches around the world including the Elkton Baptist Church. We are encouraging everyone to be a part in making this a special Sunday for our community. Maybe in the following list you can find a place to exalt Christ by serving, and by helping our guests give their lives to Jesus Christ:
Also, Good Friday Communion service will be at 7:00pm Friday, March 30. This is an important time for all of us to show God the Father how much we appreciate Him for sacrificing His Son.
Meditation verse: Revelation 3:20 (NLT) Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
March 4, 2018
Sunday In four weeks it will be Easter Sunday. This is the most important Sunday for any church because it is the week that we remember and celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His resurrection - His coming back to life. His dying on the cross forgave all the sins we have done or will do, and His resurrection gives us a new life with freedom. So, I am asking you to begin praying now that the many people in our area who have not received the gift of everlasting life will attend church services. Also, please pray that those who have Salvation but are not living the victorious Christian life will attend. I am also asking you to invite people to come and experience being with our church family as we worship our great Savior Jesus Christ. Also pray for all those who will be organizing this special day. There may be a place for you to help in our service or in the preparation of our property. Let us look forward to a day of great victory.
Meditation passage: Matthew 18:19 God make disciples
February 25, 2018
If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:10-11
I just love this passage of Scripture. Any time I hear or read any promise from God that guarantees that if I do something it will result in me having joy, and especially fullness of joy, count me in. Often I hear people say to get over feeling down or to become happy they need to do or take something to mask their negative feelings. But Jesus tells us to serve Him and others without expecting anything in return and we will experience joy and peace. What a deal! It kind of reminds me of that old country song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” Check out this promise, and keep God’s commandments, to love Him and to love others like He loves us and we will celebrate and experience peace no matter what the circumstances.
Meditation passage: John 15:10-11 If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; 11 even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
You will have to sit in the front seat for the rest of the week.” “I promise I will be good if you let me sit wherever I want to sit.” I have heard that so many times by kids on the bus, but I know they will forget if I don’t follow through and make them sit in the front seat. I wonder if sometimes we try to pull that one on our Lord. “Lord, if you bless me or make me more comfortable I promise I will obey you.” But we can quickly forget.
For the next six weeks we will be teaching on what is sometimes called the Upper Room Discourse which did not all take place in the Upper Room. This will lead us to our Easter Service on April 1. So as you come each week I hope you will listen and then obey the applications you hear. And not wait for God to bless you first.
Meditation passage: Psalm 37:3-5 (NLT) “Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. 4Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. 5Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.”
February 11, 2018
I looked up on the internet how many times in the Bible fear not or do not be afraid appeared and apparently it is 365. Interesting isn’t it - I wonder if there is any correlation between how many days there is in the year and the amount of fear nots. How many opportunities have we missed because of fear of failure or fear of the unknown? How many times have we doubted God’s love and goodness because we were focused on problems rather than His great ability? The fear is not the problem, it is the not being courageous and doing what is right even when we do not feel like doing what He wants. Our meditation verse this week is a great antidote to fear. Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Also rehearsing to yourself and others of how God has met your needs and much of your wants in the past. One more thing that works for me is thanking God for the victories before I receive them. So, don’t be afraid but be courageous.
Meditation - Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
February 4, 2018
I came across an article on the 5 results of Christians not attending church. Last week I presented the first three, this week I will share the final two:
1. YOU WILL MISS OUT ON GOD’S PRIMARY DESIGN FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND WELL-BEING.
2. YOU DISOBEY GOD. 3. YOU MAKE A STATEMENT TO THE WORLD THAT GOD IS NOT WORTHY OF WORSHIP. 4. YOU CAN’T MINISTER TO ANYONE Too often people think that corporate worship is only about getting their own spiritual needs met. And therefore if they don’t have any spiritual needs at that time then there is no reason for them to attend. The problem with this view of worship is that it’s too individualistic and self-centered. As Christians, our lives are to be spent serving, helping and encouraging others. Missing church robs you of an opportunity to serve someone other than yourself. If you are gone on Sunday morning you can’t offer a word of encouragement to someone who needs it; you can’t welcome an unbeliever who doesn’t usually come to church; you can’t pray with a fellow member who is suffering; you can’t encourage the other members with your voice during times of corporate singing; you can’t encourage your pastor with your presence while he preaches the sermon he has labored over all week. These are just a few ways you can’t serve if you are absent on Sunday morning. 5. YOU SKIP OUT ON A FORETASTE OF HEAVEN. God created us to worship him. That’s the primary reason you exist. This is why the church was redeemed and this is what God’s people will do when Jesus returns and restores our fallen world. Revelation 22:3 gives a picture of this: “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.” In 1988, three whales became trapped under a sheet of ice near the city of Point Barrow, Alaska. In an attempt to save the whales, rescuers dug a series of breathing holes in the ice leading back to the ocean. Two of the three whales were rescued because they were able to get the oxygen they needed and were guided in the correct direction. Similarly, Sunday morning worship is a like string of breathing holes the Lord provides for his people guiding and sustaining them until they make it to their true home in heaven. Meditation: Psalm 100:4–5 NLT Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
January 21, 2018
What better way to start the New Year than to emphasize prayer and the power of prayer. I am excited in what we will learn, and I look forward to the results. Many questions will be answered of how to pray and how to get results, as well as the things that hinder our prayers from being answered. This is going to be a six week series on prayer. I encourage you to invest your time to learn and experience super natural power. Does this sound like an over sale? Consider this conditional promise from God: John 15:7 NIV If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. Does it sound too good to be true? Come and check it out.
Meditation passage: John 15:7 NIV If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
January 14, 2018
HWFW – HWLW Can you figure what those eight letters represent? I’ll give you a hint, if you apply them daily it will be more effective than medicine for you emotional and mental outlook. Here is the answer; His Word First Word and His Word Last Word. That means to read and meditate on the Bible before anything else in morning and read and meditate should be the last thing before you go to sleep. So instead of allowing your mind to worry about your problems and being anxious of what lies ahead, fill your mind with God’s Word and watch how it will affect your whole day. Your first thoughts in the morning will be connected to God and you will know He has got you covered. Give this exercise a tryout for the next few weeks and you might find yourself sleeping better and having more energy. It will be a lot cheaper than pills.
Meditation verses: Psalm 119-9-11 NIV How can a young person stay on a path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
January 7, 2018