Archive for April, 2012

The Last Shall Be First

Dear friends
I’m starting on a somber note this week. Some who read this are personally acquainted with my mom. Others have read of her in this newsletter down through the years. Mom passed away Saturday, about six weeks short of her 91st birthday. We are glad she is with the Lord, but we will also miss her here.
We received a high school graduation card last week. At the top was inscribed the class motto, and I quote: “If you’re not first, you’re last!”
Now, I know that every class tries to come up with a meaningful motto that no one else has ever used, but I wondered how this one ever got approval from a class sponsor. One of the first things I thought of was, the Bible says “But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matthew 19:30; 20:16). To his disciples, Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35).
Obviously these statements from the Lord contradict the class motto. The idea of being first comes from the value system of the world that says getting to the top of the heap is what is matters most. Jesus indicates here and elsewhere that in His view, our status is measured in completely different terms.
As I spent time with Mom during her last hours on this earth, I was acutely aware that at the end, our position in the world means absolutely nothing. At that point the only thing that matters is our relationship with Jesus Christ. All the “stuff” we strive for is meaningless when we stand at eternity’s threshold. At the end of our lives, the only question left to answer is “what did you do with Jesus?”
I know the choice Mom made. What about you? What will you do with Jesus?

Held in His everlasting love,
Pastor Jerry

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God’s View of Marriage

Dear friends,
Spring time brings out a lot of things. Flowers and leaves on the trees, dandelions, colts, calves, kittens, and others.
Love blossoms in spring, also. Wedding plans are being made as couples, young and not so young, prepare for life together.
The culture of today seems intent on downplaying marriage, and those who chose to marry seem committed to the vows they make only as long as things are going well. I may be a voice “crying in the wilderness”, but at some point I believe we need to return to taking those vows seriously once again. Many of us are too familiar with the tragedy of divorce and broken homes. Children bounce back and forth between parents, and have nothing that could be called stability in their lives.
I believe some of this relates to the fact that young men are not taught to respect the ladies the way they once were. More and more we hear stories of verbal, emotional and physical abuse leading to divorce. Granted, these occurred in the past, but I believe it is much more prevalent in our day. If young men were taught the biblical standard for husbands, wives would receive much better treatment.
I also believe that if husbands behaved as they should, their wives would be much more apt to respect them and their position as head of the household.
I’ll close with some scriptures that speak to this topic: Speaking of marriage… “Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6).
Of husbands… “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19).
This one for wives isn’t popular with some, but it is in the Book: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18).
I believe it begins with the husband having a right relationship with the Lord. This then will affect his relationship with his wife, and in turn he will receive her respect.
If God’s plan is allowed to take precedence in the marriage, everyone benefits.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Think Before You Click

Hello everyone,
I was reminded this week that in spite of our well-laid plans, it only takes a moment to erase them all. It wasn’t a major incident, just a gentle reminder. It happened while I was working on my message for this week.
About 10:30 Saturday morning, I was putting the finishing touches on my sermon. It was on my computer screen, and I was going to open a different window to check a reference. As I did this, I was asked if I wanted to save what I was doing. Without taking the time to consider my options, I clicked on the “No” button. Instantly, the results of hours of work disappeared!
This time the hasty mouse click only affected me. There have been times, when I sent emails that I should have proof read first, providing someone with misinformation. Other times, I have sent things that I might not have, had I taken the time to think about what I was about to do, because someone was offended.
I’m reminded of some very good advice from the scriptures. These have more to do with the way we handle our words than with making wrong judgments concerning computer functions, but I think they apply to the use of words and how we may wish to be able to take them back at times.
“He who answers before listening–that is his folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13). I might paraphrase that one in this way: He who clicks without thinking–that may be to his embarrassment and shame!
“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways” (Proverbs 14:8). Finally, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…” (James 1:19). Pastor Jerry’s paraphrase: Be quick to consider the result of your click.”
This isn’t very deep, nor is it profound, but it may provide food for thought.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Stand Up For Jesus

It was a great week. It is a blessing to me when I see people come out for the special church days. Our Good Friday service was attended by 30 people. There were 20 for brunch on Easter morning, followed by 48 for Resurrection Day services. God is up to something in our community, and it is exciting to be a part of it.
It seems the culture and our society is bent upon silencing Christians and our message. Every day I hear of more pressure on believers to abandon their faith and beliefs. I can only think it is going to get worse. If you read a newspaper or magazine, watch any news on television or listen to it on the radio, you know this already We should not be surprised at all this, we only have to read the words of the Lord to understand this is the way it is going to be as his return draws near.
Jesus said, “When (not if) you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say” (Luke 12:11). He is saying that opposition will come even from “religious” groups, along with government and other authorities. He says even families will be divided on these issues (Luke 12:51-53).
The apostle Peter wrote this to Christians: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though some strange thing were happening to you…If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Peter 4:12-14).
This is not the time to be silent. We who claim the name of Jesus need to be ever watchful, remembering that we are called to be faithful to God and to His truth. We must be willing to defend our faith, even when it is unpopular with those around us. The Resurrection of our Lord, which we celebrated yesterday, gives us hope. It tell us we have a home in heaven someday. That hope allows us to persevere in the face of difficulty and even persecution.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of the beginning words of the old hymn– “Stand up, stand up for Jesus!”

Standing on His Word,
Pastor Jerry

What Did Jesus Do?

Dear friends,
Another week has gone by. It’s April already, and from all appearances we have moved directly into early summer. I think we might want to start praying for a few April showers before too long.
Yesterday, a worship service was held at the Rose Church. It’s been awhile since the church met there, and we pray this is the first of many such gatherings and ministry in that part of our world. Although just 13 folks were present, you knew the Lord was in that place. The next worship service will be held there on May 6, at 4 pm. Mark your calendars now.
Now, on to some thoughts concerning this week leading up to the Easter celebration. I have a t-shirt that has the slogan WWJD on the back. It means, What Would Jesus Do?” It is a fine saying, and helps us to live out Jesus teachings. However, I think we need to answer another question first.
The more important question for this week is, “WDJD?” What Did Jesus Do? This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. I have compiled a list that answers this important question.
For claiming to be God, Jesus was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. This was part of God’s plan to redeem humanity from the bondage of sin. Jesus then went willingly to Calvary, where he died on a cross for my sins and yours. You already know John 3:16…For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…
He was buried in a borrowed tomb. Three days later, He rose from the dead to prove he has power over death. Speaking of Jesus, Paul says he was “declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead…” (Romans 1:4).
Because of what he did, and because I have placed my faith in Him, I have eternal life. Again, John 3:16…”That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Through faith in Him, I am a child of God with all the rights and privileges and responsibilities of an adopted son. Read John 1:12. “to those who believed in his name he gave the right to become children of God.”
We are adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will..(Ephesians 1:5).
Finally, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).
That is what Jesus did!
After we act upon the truth of what Jesus did, we then can answer the question, What Would Jesus Do?

In Him,
Pastor Jerry