Archive for July, 2013

Come.Follow.Go.

I’ve been reading some good books this summer. More than one of them addresses the tendency of western Christians to downplay the importance of the lordship of Jesus Christ. Most want to claim Him as Savior, but few want to let him be Lord of their life. They may give lip service to His lordship, but are unwilling to let him have complete control.

We seem to say, “it’s alright to ask Jesus to save me, but I want to retain control of my life.” It’s the idea that, “I’ve got my ‘fire insurance” to keep me out of hell, but as far as actually following Jesus, no, thank you.”

When will we finally quit playing games, and get down to living out the commands of Jesus?

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he tells his disciples, “Come, follow me”. For three years, then he taught them how to live as his followers, and as he is about to be taken up to heaven, he says, “Go, and make disciples….” (Matthew 28:19). The biblical text could read, “Go, and while you are going, make disciples of all nations.”

Everyone who claims Jesus as Savior, has not only the responsibility to respond to His invitation to “come, follow”, but also to obey the command to “go and make disciples.” What did He say about how people would know those who are his disciples? If we obey his commands (1 John 2:3). It follows then, that the Christian will be sharing the gospel, making disciples and teaching those who come to faith in the Lord because of their obedience to His Word.

It has been said we are to “preach the gospel, and use words if necessary.” I don’t believe very many people have ever placed their faith in Jesus because of the actions of a Christian. Scripture says “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

Let’s be about the business of telling folks about the Lord Jesus. It is a command, not an option.

In His Love,
Pastor Jerry

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Believe the Book

We’ll be taking a couple of days off to try out the camper. This is a trial run, the first since we acquired it last fall. It’s been awhile since we have gone camping, so we’ll see how it goes. I can tell you we aren’t going far, just in case it doesn’t work out.

As I was learning the ins and outs of getting the camper ready, I found the owners manual to be almost useless. There are references to procedures that do not apply to that particular piece of equipment. And, nowhere does it give specific instructions on how to connect the supply hose to either use city water, or to fill the supply tank. Even more important, there is no label identifying the connection to flush the “black water” tank. In a few days, I’m sure I’ll be able to rewrite the manual with more than general information.

I’m glad God’s instruction book gives us clear instructions about how to live, and about the way we are to maintain our relationship with Him. The ten commandments leave no doubt about His will for us. Read through them. They are quite specific, and notice–they are not called the “ten suggestions.”

Commands given by Jesus, and in the writings of the apostles leave no doubt about Christian living, though many people today claim the Bible is not clear on many issues. I don’t think the Bible could be any more clear when it speaks of how a Christian is to conduct themselves. Here are just a few examples:

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). “We should not be idolaters…We should not commit sexual immorality…and do not grumble…” (1 Corinthians 10:7-10). “Carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).

I could give a more complete listing, but our space here is limited.

Using the reasoning, “the Bible isn’t relevant to our times”, some folks are even “rewriting” the Bible, but I can tell you they are going to be in trouble someday. God has specifically addressed this issue in Revelation 22:18-19… “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book…”

Unlike the owners manual for our camper, you can believe the Bible, it is God’s inspired, unchanging Word.

Trusting His Word,
Pastor Jerry

Where Is God?

In the dark times of trial, we cry out to God for him to intervene. We plead for His help and assurance, or even for a miracle. We may reach the point when we echo Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane; “Please, take this cup from me.”

In the face of an impossible trial, we might wonder if God is there, or does he even see or care about our situation? Someone wrote the following during an extreme trial in their life: “In the pain of the situation, when I closed my eyes to pray, I envisioned an empty throne. There was no answer, only a cold silence. Years afterward, I had the thought that the throne was empty because the one who fills it had stepped down to sit beside us as we cried.”

If you are in that dark place today, may you find encouragement in the following:

When in rough waters, He is in the boat with you. (Luke 8:22-24). His is the gentle whisper in the stormy night (1 Kings 19:11-15). God is everywhere you are (Psalm 139:7). He shields you with his everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27). He will never leave you, or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He has prepared a place for us and will take us there for eternity (John 14:1-4).

Keep in mind here, that these promises are for His children; for those who believe in the name of Jesus, and confess him as Lord and Savior, will receive eternal life (Romans 10:9-10).

Child of God, he is not absent in your time of trial. He is very much in it with you, and he will bring you through. Depend on it.

Held in His everlasting arms,
Pastor Jerry

Coffeehouse Worship

Sometimes I see things posted on social media that just stop me in my tracks, so to speak. Here is an example: A person visiting a certain city for the weekend asked help locating a church to attend. This recommendation for one church appeared… “they make great lattes (and you can drink them in church).”

What? I thought we were talking about finding a church, not Starbucks. I believe the Lord would have us choose a church based upon the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the proper worship of a holy God.

The object of our worship is Almighty God, Creator of the universe. This is worship: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29).

Who may worship the Lord? “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false” (Psalm 24:3-4).

Jesus, speaking to the woman at the well, had this to say concerning worship of the Father… “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).

Paul, in Romans 12:1, had this to say: “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.”

For true worship,

Pastor Jerry

Bringing Up Children

Dear friends,
Surveys and the statistics they produce are indicating that more and more, fewer and fewer young adults are attending worship services on an regular basis. Not all churches are experiencing this, but very many are. It seems there is a general feeling that “religion” is not relevant to the times, or that it is simply unimportant.

I believe for one thing, that there is a mindset among our young and not-so-young men that says “church is for women and little kids”. I wonder then, if it hasn’t filtered down to where young mothers consciously or not, have decided if Dad isn’t going to take part in the spiritual nurturing of the family, then why should she give up her “precious hours”, to do work they should be sharing?

Our church conducted a Vacation Bible School last week. The majority of children who attended were brought to the church by their grandparents. In another time, mothers brought their kids to VBS, and stayed to help out with various activities and to provide snacks for the kids. Not so anymore.

I thank the Lord for godly grandparents who will take the initiative to take their grandchildren to Sunday school or to Vacation Bible School when mom and dad are too busy with their own lives.

The Bible instructs parents, and specifically fathers, to teach children the ways of the Lord: In Mark 10:14, Jesus said, “Bring the little children to me.”

Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:4 are, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

I’m not here as a prophet of doom, but I believe parents must bring up children in the knowledge and instruction of God’s moral law and his truth. If we continue down the path we are on, not only is the church in serious trouble, but the culture as well. I do not believe it is too late, but that time is coming.

Praying for revival,
Pastor Jerry