Archive for January, 2012

A Force for God

Now that football season is nearly over…only the Superbowl left… I probably won’t get much TV time until baseball season starts. I did see a commercial today that caught my attention. It was a plug for the “US Navy: A global force for good.” Backed by the U.S. government, all of our military might should be considered a force for good . However, most of us wouldn’t qualify for a position in the United States Navy or any other branch of military service. The requirements would be too great.
There is another force this ad brings to mind: “The Church: A global force for God.” It is empowered by the God of the universe. Now there is a force I’m proud to be a member of. No physical examination is required, there is no boot camp with extreme obstacles to overcome, and the requirements are few. In fact, the Commander-in-Chief tells us He will carry the load. Listen: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). There is only one requirement to join, and that is to believe on Jesus Christ the Son of God.
It is a powerful force. Hear the words of Jesus: “I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8a).
The earliest members turned their world upside-down (Acts 17:6). Current members are still making a difference around the world.
A word of caution here… service in the Lord’s army is not easy by any measure. Its members are promised troubles and trials (John 16:33 and others).
In spite of this, the rewards are priceless and eternal. Faithful service for the Lord will result in heavens blessings and life everlasting. As has been said, the benefits of serving the Lord are out of this world!

Serving in the Lord’s army,
Pastor Jerry

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Pray Continually

Good morning,
A high profile NFL quarterback has been criticized in the secular media this season for praying in public, especially during football games. Let’s look as some prayer related scriptures from the Bible.
Colossians 4:2 tells us to “be devoted to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Understand that being devoted to something implies being faithful and loyal. It also means to give our time, attention or self, entirely to a particular activity.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16, we are told to “pray continually.” Philippians 4:6 says we are to take all our requests to God in prayer. Ephesians 6:18 tells us to “always keep on praying for all the saints.”
When reading these verses, we wonder how we would get anything done if we spend all our time praying? The meaning is not so much that we always go around praying with our eyes closed; you could get hurt or cause a major accident by doing that. Instead, we are to be continually in an attitude of prayer. That is, to be alert for people and situations that need immediate prayer. That is what it means to be devoted to prayer.
Individually, we need also to be in constant prayer for ourselves. If you are like me, there are too many times the devil causes our thoughts and our words, even our actions, to be less than glorifying to God.
A good verse to memorize as a personal prayer would be Psalm 19:14. “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be glorifying to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Remember, while praying for others, don’t neglect to ask God to protect you as well.

In His care,
Pastor Jerry

Anti-Virus For The Christian

Hello again,
After some really nice weather early in the week, there was a drastic change in the temperature, along with some very windy conditions. It’s hard to remember if I’ve seen these kinds of contrasts before. Usually, after a cold early winter, we get a “January thaw”. I don’t think there has been anything to thaw so far this winter. Even with the cold of the last two days, I can’t think there is much frost in the ground.
I’ve been setting up a new computer this week. Very early in the process, I was encouraged to install an anti-virus program. I started thinking about what an anti-virus program does. In effect, it keeps unwanted people from getting in and messing up your computer.
Applied to the Christian, an anti-virus program would keep wrong thoughts and actions out of our minds and our hearts. Guess what? God has an anti-virus program. It includes his word, and his Spirit. At the moment of salvation, God permanently installs his Holy Spirit into the heart of the believer, and by faithfully and consistently reading the Bible, the “program” is regularly updated.
Many Christians, however, fall short in the Bible reading part, so their adversary, Satan, is able to corrupt their thinking, and it shows up in their actions.
Many of the anti-virus programs I’ve seen, use a shield as part of their logo. In Ephesians chapter 6, we read these words: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:13-18).
We Christians have God’s “anti-virus program” installed, it is up to us to keep it updated. With all the attacks coming upon Christians today, it would be wise for us to keep our defenses current, by being continually in prayer and in the reading and study of His word.

In His power,
Pastor Jerry

Born Again?

Later this year, I will celebrate 30 years of being a Christian. This basically means I spent the first 38 years of my life without Jesus. It was in a little country church, out in the middle of the Nebraska Sandhills, that I knew I needed the new birth Jesus talked about.

Sometime back, I was asked what it means to be “born again”. The question made me think. After some time, I realized that there are very many people who have either never heard the phrase in their churches, or have not had the opportunity to read it in a Bible. And, the possibility exists, that those who have heard it haven’t had it explained. So in the short space available to me here, I will attempt a brief explanation of the term “born again”.

Jesus used the term when speaking to Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader, who had asked Him how he could get to heaven (John 3:1-7).

I found a very helpful definition of this “new birth” in the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary: The new birth is caused by the gracious and sovereign act of God apart from man’s cooperation (John 1:13). God brings about the new birth through the preaching of the word of God (1 Peter 1:23). The result of the new birth is a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17) which included saving faith and repentance (Ephesians 2:8), and obedience to God’s law (1 John 3:9).

Dead in our sins. Alive in Christ. Reborn spiritually. It only comes about through faith in Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

You Say You’re a Christian?

I came across this quote on Facebook: “I know you’re a Christian. You keep saying so. But otherwise, I wouldn’t know.”

What would happen if everyone who says he or she is a Christian actually lived in such a way that no one would have to be told? They would just see it in the life change of the person! I think we would find that many who see themselves as Christian would be so in name only.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Be A Man

Hello everyone,
What I got for Christmas: A nasty cold virus! We left for our lake house Monday morning, looking forward to a few days of rest and relaxation, and spent the time dealing with sneezing, runny noses, and watery eyes. We had to come back to Ericson to get rested up and ready for Sunday.
We found time for a little ice fishing, but the ice isn’t as thick as I’d like, and with thawing temperatures every day, we were somewhat limited in where we fished. It was still good to get away for a short time and a change of scenery.
Alex and I have spent a few hours watching football on television during “bowl week.” I’m always interested to see the variety of commercial ads during these games. We are told everything from what car or truck to drive, what is the latest fad in electronic gadgets, the best products to help us appeal to members of the opposite sex, and even what beverage to drink.
One ad that caught my attention was for a particular brand of hard liquor. In it, this so-called “Man’s man” is telling men to dress like men, etc., and above all to “drink like a man.”
My response to that kind of advertising is this: A real man doesn’t base his manhood on his preference in liquor, the car he drives, or his brand of cologne. The Biblical view of what makes a real man is based entirely on what’s in his heart, not on what’s in his bottle, his driveway, or his bathroom cabinet.
What’s my point? In this new year, men, let’s forget about Madison Avenue’s view of manhood, dust off those Bibles and find out what makes a real man. Here are a few verses for starters:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). Be courageous and strong (1 Corinthians 16:13). Be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith (Titus 2:2).
Married men, be considerate of your wives, and treat them with respect… so that nothing will hinder your prayers (1 Peter 3:7).
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
These are just a few of many scriptures relating to husbands, fathers, and men in general. Perhaps if we were more focused on these manly attributes, instead of the ones promoted by advertising gurus, our society would be in much better condition.
What if we were to do a better job of following God’s standards? Might we make a difference?

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry