Archive for September, 2014

Rescue the Perishing

It is a pretty morning here. I’m looking out at the lake, and it is just like a mirror—no wind, and the reflection of the trees in the water is perfect. The house move is slowly progressing. We now have running water, electricity, and the septic system is functional. Heating and air-conditioning are expected to be ready soon.

This thought came to me this morning: If we were as dedicated rescuing lost souls, as we are to rescuing every abandoned pet and endangered wild animal, the world would be changed. What if we were as concerned with seeing people saved from the fires of hell as we are with saving whales and snails?

The apostle Paul had that kind of heart for his fellow Jews. Listen to his words: “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel” (Romans 9:3).

Further on in Romans, we read: “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1).

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Then, Paul asks the question—“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? (verses 14-15).

Jesus’ final words to his disciples (and to us) are these: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20).

I may have used this quote before, but it is still relevant: “If every person in the world had adequate food, housing, income; if all men were equal and every possible social evil and injustice were done away with, men would still need one thing: Jesus Christ!”  [J. W. Hyde]

People are dying daily without Christ. Does that bother us? It should.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry
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It’s Not About Me

It was a good week for us. Now that the house has been moved, the sense of urgency has diminished. This is a very good thing. I was able to get some dirt work done (you could call it landscaping), and last evening, we planted four trees. The job was made easier with something I once heard called “mechanical muscle.”

I have heard comments over the years from some who in various ways have indicated that they think church is boring. This will be my topic for our time in the Word this week.

First of all, we must define church. We tend to think of church as a building where we “go to church.” Simply put, the church is a gathering of folks who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Where they meet is not important.

The purpose of meeting together, no matter the location, is to worship the Lord. When we feel bored in our worship gathering, I submit to you that we have a wrong idea about worship. Let me ask a few questions in regard to this.

When you come for worship, do you get excited to hear the Gospel preached? Do songs of worship and praise stir your heart to worship God? Do you look forward to fellowship with His people? Worship is about giving, not receiving.

Worship is when we come before God, giving him praise and glory and honor for who He is. Worship is focused on the Lord. It is never about how I feel, or what pleases me. That part of our Sunday worship gathering we call fellowship with other believers is also not about me, it is about encouraging and supporting others in the faith.

Forget the music, the preaching, or what everyone else is doing or not doing. If I am truly worshiping, it is me focused on God, not me focused on me. As we worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24), we also remember the words of Paul: “Therefore, I urge  you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer you bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1).

You see, true worship is giving ourselves to the Lord for His purpose and will. So, we sing, “to God be the glory, great things He has done!”

For His glory,
Pastor Jerry

The Response to Persecution

Hello friends,
We are experiencing some fall-like temperatures lately. If nothing else, folks are reminded that winter is not too far away. There is a sense that we need to get busy finishing up those summer projects.

You are all aware of the events taking place around the world. Christians in other places are facing persecution and even death for their faith. Other people who are not Christian are being killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What are we to think of these things?

The Bible is clear that these things will be present in the world because of sin. Someday, the Lord will return and make everything right, but in the meantime, what are we to do?

I know there are those who think there is a political solution to everything that is going on, but the problems of the world will never be solved by political means. Politics cannot change the human heart, only God, working through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit can change the heart of man.

In Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus answered his disciples’ question concerning the end of time. Space does not allow me to quote it here, but you can read it in your Bible.

Persecution will come to the Christian. It is a fact. The apostle Peter wrote, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). John wrote in his first letter, “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13).

What is our response? Pray first of all for the enemies of God and His people. Pray for their salvation and for God’s Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and bring them to faith in the One True God. In the words of Jesus, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

Then, pray for our leaders. Paul, writing to Timothy said this: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority…” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Praying for our enemies is not an easy thing to do, but I believe we must pray fervently and without ceasing for God to bring about the heart change they so desperately need.

Praying,
Pastor Jerry

Moving Day

The move has been made. Our little house on the lake is now residing at a new location, by a different body of water. Another page has been turned in our life story.

Most of last week was spent moving the house. The phone rang at 3 PM Monday, and the man at the other end said, “We’ll be there tomorrow morning to load your house.” The rest of the week is somewhat of a blur, but by mid-afternoon Thursday, the house was in its new location.

We had been assured the house would be moved in September. We didn’t know it would be the second of the month, so we weren’t entirely ready when the call came. We hurried to Lake George and finished up by disconnecting the air-conditioner and the propane tank. There were still a few loose ends inside the house and the deck had to be moved back out of the way. We are thankful for neighbors with a tractor and loader, and the rain the night before that kept them out of the hayfield for a few hours.

We had been given plenty of time to make these preparations, but hadn’t developed a sense of urgency to get it done.

In the Bible we have been warned over and over that the Lord will someday return, and if we aren’t ready when He does, it will be too late to do anything about where we will spend eternity. When he does return for us, whether tomorrow or many years from now, it will happen. There will be a time when it will be too late. No one is guaranteed their next breath, or another sunrise.

Here is what the Bible says, and what we need to take to heart: “Now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2).”You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him” (Luke 12:40).

When we knew the moving of our house was at hand, a sense of urgency came over us. Decisions had to be made and soon. We had to take action, and we did.

The message of the gospel, that salvation comes through faith in Jesus, carries a sense of urgency. Again, to quote scripture; “Now is the day of salvation.” Will you take action now?

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Lake Meditations

The past week was busy, as usual. We started getting the house ready for its move, and I met with the house mover. He assured me the move would happen sometime this month. The weekend activities were many and varied, and we’re glad to start a new month and a new week.

I spent some quiet time out at the lake one morning last week, and here are some thoughts from my time there.

The view of creation reminded me that there is a Creator. The variety of colors and sizes of the trees around the lake reminded me that when we are rooted in the Lord, we are like trees planted by the water. (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

As I looked across at the carousel, I thought about how the old things remind us of our past,Then my gaze shifted to the new house foundation and was reminded of the future. There is nothing wrong with being aware of our past, and we make plans for the future here on earth, but it is more important to plan for where we will spend eternity.

The smooth water of the lake reflected the glory of God and his creation. “The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens” (Psalm 113:4).

The signs placed around the area warn of hazards and set boundaries for our protection, much as God’s word and his Law give warnings and limits for us.

The abundance of birds remind me of scripture that says He cares for the birds of the air, and He will most certainly care for me. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than birds” (Matthew 6:26)?

The cool breeze over the lake reminds me of the presence of the Holy Spirit. As the wind moves the water, so the Spirit moves the hearts of men.

The benches under the trees remind me of Jesus’ invitation to come to Him and find rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

On this day when we honor those who labor, I invite you to take some time to reflect on God and His Word. In Him we find true rest.

Resting in Him,
Pastor Jerry