Archive for March, 2012

Worship the Creator

Hello from our part of the world,
It has been a very good week. The weather has been spring-like, and new life is everywhere. The early spring flowers are blooming, and baby calves are coming in great numbers. I’m afraid we are going to have to start mowing the lawn, although it just doesn’t seem right.
Last Monday, we attended the funeral of a godly man, a neighbor from our home community. It was the celebration of a life well-lived, and the legacy of a gentle man; a WWII veteran. Then, Friday we spent some time helping our son get some carpentry work done.
Saturday, I was privileged to answer some questions from a young woman, who after getting the answers she was seeking, prayed to receive Jesus into her heart. I don’t know if there is a sweeter sound than the simple prayer of a person asking Jesus into their life.
I heard some Sandhill crane flying over yesterday, and I was reminded of a devotional thought from a few years back.
As I heard those crane, I thought about the Creator, and how he had made these great birds with the instinct to migrate to a warm climate for winter, and then to return north for the summer. There are many people today who see all these wonderful things and still deny or doubt the existence of God.
In Romans 1:20-23, we read this: For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”
Today we have people worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. They are more concerned with saving whales and minnows and “mother earth”, than they are with saving the lives of innocent children. They are more interested in self rather than God’s will for them.
The scripture goes on to say that God will judge those who refuse to acknowledge him as Lord, or give him his rightful place in their lives.
May we never forget who he is, or whose we are. He created the world and all that is in it. To Him be honor and praise and glory!

Remembering Him,
Pastor Jerry

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Easter: A New View

Hello everyone,
Here are some thoughts on the Easter season… I have been receiving some email devotionals during this season. One in particular caught my attention, and I’d like to share an excerpt from it. The author challenges us to look at Easter from a different perspective.
He writes: “This is exactly what I’d like to see us do with Easter. I’d like to see us standing in a new place, somewhere outside the realm of the familiar, taking a look at Jesus’ cross, passion and resurrection–beholding with new eyes!
Imagine arriving at Palm Sunday (the week before Easter) with your devotional life finely tuned, your understanding of God’s grace well-practiced, your walk with Jesus in full stride, and your sense of expectation fully engaged. Consider the implications:

What if we allowed everything Jesus achieved and is achieving to impact us as if we heard it for the very first time?

What if we’ve been looking at forty days of Lent from the standpoint of tradition rather than living faith?

What if our understanding of Easter has everything to do with religion and almost nothing to do with a transformational encounter with the living God?

What if we did something new this year, and all of that changed?” **

I’m trying to keep this in mind as I prepare my messages for this Easter season. I pray we all are able to see and understand what God was really doing, when he allowed his only Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. How much different would our lives be if that were to happen? What if?
In Him,
Pastor Jerry

**Reaching Toward Easter (Derek Maul)

Repentance

Greetings friends,
The Easter celebration is just around the corner. In some traditions, there is an emphasis on repentance in the days leading to Good Friday and Easter. For others, repentance is seen as a one time action taken at the moment of salvation. It is my belief that for most of us, repentance needs to be done daily.
I believe everyone sins at some level on a daily basis, therefore, we should not reserve special times for taking action in regard to our sin. Repentance means turning. That is, turning from our sin, and turning back toward God. It is a 180 degree shift in the direction we are going. We are either going toward God, or we are going away from him.
I believe the Bible teaches that as soon as we are made aware of sin in our life, we need to confess it to God and turn from it. Confession must be followed by repentance, or our relationship with God is broken.
Someone has been quoted as saying in regard to their sins, “I ‘fesses ’em as I does ’em!” In other words, we keep a short account in regard to our sins. For most people, this would require daily action.
Jesus preached repentance, as did John the Baptist. The apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote, “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20).
One final thought, true repentance will show itself through a changed life. John the Baptist told his listeners, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8).
Confession and repentance, they are not for just a season!

Love in Christ,
Pastor Jerry

Removing Sin

Dear readers,
The email version of this weekly blog is called “Lake City News”. There is a reason. I grew up in Rock County and Pony Lake was almost in our back yard. At one point in history, there was a town platted there, and it was called Lake City. In the “Remember When” column in our local newspaper this week from 100 years ago, there was this: “The poverty and wealth dance at Lake City was well attended and a good time was reported.” This would have been 1912. The dance hall, lumber yard, and post office at Lake City have long since disappeared, but it’s fun knowing I lived there.
I spent a day last week trying to remove some pesky beavers at Lake George (our other home by a lake). They have worn out their welcome. Actually, I don’t remember ever welcoming them, they just moved in without asking. I didn’t have any success with that project yet, but I’ll be spending some more time there this week.
Removing unwanted rodents could be compared to rooting out sin in our lives. Some of those things creep in, and one day we realize they are not as innocent as we thought, and it is much harder to kick them out after they become established.
In order to begin working on the beaver problem at our lake, I need to get authorization to use the means necessary to evict them. That came in the form of a permit from Game and Parks. I now have the authority to use physical force to remove the unwanted visitors.
As Christians, we have been authorized to deal with sin, and we also are given the necessary tools to get the job done. Our authority is granted by the Lord, and our helper is the Holy Spirit. In addition, we have the Word of God, which shows us the way to not only deal with present sin, but which also instructs us in the way to keep sin from taking over in our lives. The proper application of His Word is very effective in dealing with sin.
Of equal importance are prayer, confession, repentance and relying on the power of God’s Holy Spirit, not our own: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The very best way to enjoy freedom from sin is to never let it take up residence in your life. Here are three commands concerning temptation to sin: Flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18), flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14), and flee the evil desires of youth (2 Timothy 2:22).

In His Truth,
Pastor Jerry