Archive for January, 2015

Post Only These Things

Dear friends,
The month of January has had its ups and downs. I think this would describe the temperature fluctuations we have experienced. I, personally, am glad for the warm-up of recent days. In news from the remodeling at the lake house, the kitchen project is winding down, and work is progressing on the sunroom that started out as a deck. I hope to get the walls up and the roof on it before it rains or snows again. Prayers appreciated.

For our devotional thought this week, I would like to address an issue that concerns me. It is the quality of some of the things Christian people post on social media. I am not opposed to social media. In fact, most of you get these articles by way of email, Facebook, or a link to one of my blogs. Even the newspaper version is sent weekly by email. If God’s people are to be light and salt to the world, and if we are to live in a way that reflects the holiness of God, why would we post these most profane and innuendo laden memes, comments, and photos for the whole world to see?

Not everyone does these things, but I see enough of it to be concerned. Is it any wonder so many people don’t see a reason to invite Jesus into their life? If Christian behavior isn’t any different from the rest of the world, why join them?

Here are some scriptures that just might cause us to think twice about those things we put out there on social media.

“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

“But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips (and Facebook pages) (Colossians 3:8).

“But among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or of any kind of impurity…because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place…” (Ephesians 5:3-4).

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—post these things” (Philippians 4:8 Pastor Jerry’s version).

It would benefit all of us to consider these things before posting anything.

In Christ’s love,
Pastor Jerry

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Identifying False Teachers

The January thaw is under way in our part of the world. The snow is melting away and everyone just has a better outlook. We were able to get some outside work done on the lake house, including the construction of steps, so we don’t have to climb on concrete blocks to get to the front door. This will greatly reduce the risk of injury, especially for someone getting along in years…

My current sermon series is from the Apostle Peter’s second letter. In it, he addresses the issue of false teachers in the church. You see, the presence of false teachers in the church is nothing new. They were present in the Old Testament in the form of false prophets; men who claimed to speak for God, but did not. Later in New Testament times, men came into the church with teaching that downplayed the importance of faith in Jesus, and obedience to his commands. Much of their false teaching was centered on immoral behavior and the idea that because of grace, they could engage in all kinds of immorality without fear of judgment.

Those false teachings are present in churches today. Some are preaching and teaching a “new morality”, much of which is disguised as “civil rights” along with other misleading definitions of sin. Let’s be clear about this. There is no new morality, it is only the old immorality repackaged. God’s judgment awaits those who teach this false gospel, and those who follow them.

Peter writes concerning false teachers: “They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute” (2 Peter 2:2-3).

There are four things to learn from our study: First, the church is not immune to false teachers. They are among us today. Second, promoting sexual immorality is heresy. It goes totally against God’s word. Third, Gods judgment is coming upon those who deny or reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Last, and most important, all sinners will be saved from judgment if they repent (that is turn from their sin), and trust the Lord Jesus, who bought them by His blood.

To Him be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever. Amen.

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry

Unchanging God

Dear friends,
Are you getting back to your regular schedule after the holidays? Have you adjusted to writing 2015 on your checks? Sometimes change takes some effort, doesn’t it?

With our recent colder weather, we’ve been content to stay home most of the time. I haven’t even been spending much time at the lake house. We’re looking for some warmer temperatures this week.

As I contemplate moving on from my role as full-time pastor here at the church, I have been reflecting on the journey that brought us to this point. Much has changed, but one thing unchanging is our God’s faithfulness.

Our church has been in existence for just over 20 years, I have been its pastor for 15+ of those years. We have seen members come and go. Weddings have been performed and I have conducted funeral and memorial services for several of our members. In its existence, the church has gone from meeting in homes, a gymnasium, a mobile chapel, and into our current building.

There will undoubtedly be more change in the future, but as we trust in the Lord and seek His will, I pray the church will continue to make a difference in our community and beyond.

Regarding God’s faithfulness, I see several truths. No matter where we are in our lives, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, He is there. Even for someone who doesn’t know God personally through a relationship with His Son, God is near. He is near enough to answer when an unbeliever confesses his sin and asks Jesus into his life.

Our Lord in not only near to us, He is faithful to keep his promises. He gives us guidance and strength as we travel the path He has set out for us. As God the Father, he is our Creator and Sustainer, as God the Son, He is our Savior, and as God the Holy Spirit, He is our Helper. He is unchanging and eternal.

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit…will teach you all things…” (John 14:26).
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen!” (1 Timothy 1:17).

In His grip,
Pastor Jerry

The Bible Stands

Hello again,
We are at the beginning of a new year; time to move into another stage of life, begin a new adventure, or even just continue on the path set before us. In any case, it seems with the turning of the calendar page, we get a fresh start.

The New Year may bring joy or sorrow, pleasure or pain, wealth or poverty. Whatever else it is, we can be certain it will not be exactly the same as last year.

In these times, it seems there are more people willing to publicly attack the Bible as outdated, and irrelevant for the times. False teaching about the meaning and importance of the Bible are everywhere. A recent front page article in Newsweek magazine insisted the Bible is “so misinterpreted it’s a sin.” The Bible warns us of false teachers and those who would twist the scriptures to the point of denying its truth and authorship.

Our devotional thought this week comes from 2 Peter 1:1-11. In it, Peter helps us learn how to recognize and avoid false teaching. We begin by understanding salvation. God is the source of our salvation. He provided the sacrifice for our sin in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty in our place. We then are saved by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross (verses 1-2).

Our salvation is sustained by God’s power, and His power is all that is necessary for “everything we need for life and godliness…so that we can escape the corruption of this world” (verses 3-4).

Our salvation is confirmed by certain characteristics of the true Christian. These are goodness, knowledge (of God), self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (verses 5-6).

Finally, having these things present in increasing measure, we will keep us on track in our spiritual lives, leading us to assurance in this life, and riches in heaven (verses 8-10).

This is from the Our Daily Bread devotional last week: “As the spiritual darkness of our world grows deeper, the light of Christ shines more brightly through all those who know and love Him. Jesus is our joy and hope—today, tomorrow, and forever.”

In these times, it is more important than ever for God’s people to be equipped to stand and defend what we believe and know to be the truth.

Standing on His Word,
Pastor Jerry