Archive for September, 2012

Connected?

Hello friends,

Cooler weather is here at last. We have had our first frost, and I’m sure the folks with allergies will be more comfortable. Our biggest need is for some significant rainfall, but at this point, I think we’d even settle for a wet snowfall.

Alex is getting along well with his crutches, but is frustrated occasionally by his inability to get where he’s going quickly. We will check in with the doctor on Friday to get his stitches out and further instructions on his rehab.

In other news, we have become owners of a fifth wheel camper trailer. What remains is, will we ever take the time to use it for its intended purpose?

A few week ago, as I sat waiting for someone in Walmart, I noticed a fair number of people walking around with their smart-phones and other electronic devices in their hands. I wondered, is it so important to stay connected that you are reduced to having only one hand with which to get your work done, while the other is checking your messages?

I admit to behaving like this sometimes, but not at the extreme level. No yet, anyway. The question arises, “How often do we check the Bible for a message from the Lord?” Some of you will answer, “I have the Bible app installed in my device.” Next question: Are you seen checking that “app” as often as you check email or instant messaging? Most of the “important” messages we receive by way of social media are in reality not so important that we need to be “connected” in all our waking and sleeping hours. The messages I would like us to be focused on are those contained in God’s word. Now, there is communication that matters for eternity!

Consider these verses: “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97). “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises”) Psalm 119:148.

The most important message ever received from God is John 3:16… “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Continuing with the idea of messaging, we read this: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17.)

With whom are you connected most?

Connected through His Word,
Pastor Jerry

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Spiritual Heart Surgery

Here is a snapshot of last week: Tuesday morning, I made a run to Ord, taking some folks to a doctor’s appointment, Tuesday afternoon, I took Alex to a dental appointment in Burwell. Wednesday, I had an eye appointment in Ord, Thursday we went to Cairo, Nebraska to look at a camper trailer, and Friday Alex had surgery on his knee in Grand Island. It makes me tired just remembering!

For a rather long time, Alex has occasionally complained of knee pain. After a season of dismissing it as “growing pains”, we took him to see an orthopedic surgeon. He gave us a diagnosis, and suggested surgery to fix the problem. Part of the procedure involved some trimming of damaged cartilage. Alex is now using crutches to get around, and will be for 12 weeks. He is to apply no pressure to his knee joint for those weeks. There is not space to explain it all, but if you want more information, just Google “Osteochondritis dissecans.”

Corrective surgery such as Alex had on his knee involves a certain amount of pain and discomfort, leading to restoration and healing of the joint. Seeing the pictures of the inside of his knee joint, reminded me that sometimes God has to trim up some rough edges in the hearts of his children. It may not be visible on the outside, but we just might need the special touch of the Great Physician.

It may be caused by some sin we’ve committed, or maybe it is just the result of drifting out of fellowship with him by neglecting our quiet time, or skipping Sunday worship for a few weeks.

Many times the restoration of our relationship with the Lord calls for some internal repair. It usually involves some level of discomfort, maybe even pain, but it always leads to a restored fellowship with our Lord.

I’m reminded of the following scriptures: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). “Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:2).

After his sin with Bathsheba, David prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). In Hebrews 4:12, we read “The Word of God is living and active…, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Are you needing some “heart repair” from the one who knows the condition of your heart? Submit to His healing hand, and let him restore you to perfect spiritual health.

In His tender care,
Pastor Jerry

Good Times

Yesterday (Sunday) was the annual the Rose Church Reunion and Old Settler’s picnic. I preached, played music with old and new friends, and enjoyed a lot of great country cooking; three of my favorite things. Thanks to everyone who helped with the day! You are a blessing.

In the years since I became a Christian, and as I view life from the perspective of the Bible, one of the things I have noticed is that there are very many people, who when thinking of having a party, immediately think of alcoholic beverages. That was a part of my life at one time, but the Lord changed my mind.

Contrary to all the advertising, it is quite possible to gather a group of people for an afternoon, or a weekend celebration, and have a thoroughly enjoyable experience without consuming alcohol. The Bible really does not condone drinking, as some are led to believe. The apostle Paul advised a young pastor named Timothy to drink a little diluted wine for his stomach ailment, but that is about all the evidence I see for any use of alcohol (1 Timothy 5:23).

Other verses speak very differently of the subject. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”
Another passage reads: “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine…in the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper” (Proverbs 23:29-32).

Ephesians 5:18 gives this instruction: “Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery, Instead be filled with the Spirit.”

Approximately 50 people gathered Sunday for an afternoon for a good time, not one drop of alcoholic drink was consumed, and we all woke up this morning feeling fine.

This is not a rant on the evils of drink, but something that I believe deserves some thought.

In His everlasting love,
Pastor Jerry

Labor Day

It has been another busy week. I find that busyness is not a bad thing. The idea of just sitting, watching the world rolling along without being involved just does not appeal to me. What would be the purpose for getting up in the morning if there was nothing waiting for our participation?

After a busy week, it might be good to think back and see if we have made a difference in someone’s life. If we were to do that, would we find out we were only thinking of ourselves? I wonder if it might cause us to make some changes in the way we relate to others?

Since we have been observing the Labor Day “holiday” for the last few days, it might be good to check in with God’s word for some wisdom on the subject of work.

I would venture a guess that many of us don’t realize that our job is a gift from God. Most people probably see their vocation, or work, as more of a burden than a gift, but I believe in the case of the Christian, He meant for our work to be our ministry.

Ephesians 6:5-8 speaks of the slave/master relationship, but we would apply it in the employee/employer context. “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on your, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”

In addition, we are commanded to work, as a means to provide for ourselves, and for our families. Here are Paul’s instructions from 1 Thessalonians: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands…so that your daily life will win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thes 4:11-12). Also, “‘We gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle…Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat'” (2 Thes 3:10-12).

Finally, “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry” (Proverbs 19:15). “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4).

Points to ponder,
Pastor Jerry