Archive for September, 2016

On Etiquette

Hello everyone,
For those who have been asking, I did do some fishing last week. Early in the week, I went out, but I was told the “fish were biting yesterday.” Later, I actually caught some fish that were big enough to eat. In the process, I experienced a late summer rain shower and got really wet. The lesson is this: when it looks like rain is coming, don’t take time for a few more casts, take shelter.

More food for thought. Etiquette is something that has been left behind in our rush to equality. Those who choose to kneel at the playing of our National Anthem are not breaking any law, but they are ignoring what is called ‘flag etiquette.’ Men used to open doors for ladies, and tip their hats to the ladies when meeting them on the street. When have you seen either of these actions lately? Table etiquette, also, is basically ignored these days, but in doing so we break no laws. We live in a country where we are free to do many things, including speaking our minds, and peacefully protesting. This, I assume, means kneeling instead of standing for the presenting of our nation’s colors, or ignoring the rules of common etiquette. As for me, I will continue to open doors for ladies, and stand for the National Anthem. It’s my right, and I will respect your right to choose how you will respond to these things.

A search for the word etiquette yielded this: “There are no hard and fast rules or laws on the subject of etiquette. In a nut shell, having good manners is showing courtesy and consideration for other people at all times in all circumstances, putting yourself in their shoes and thereby not being offensive, rude or disrespectful.”

Here is some biblical advice from Peter’s first letter: Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors…For it is God’s will that by doing good, you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect for everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:13-17).
This should be seen as good advice for all.

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

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No Middle Ground

Those little showers keep coming, the grass keeps growing, and we mow. This time of the year, I begin to eagerly anticipate putting the lawn mower in storage for winter.

Now for some commentary on the time in which we live. Much of what I read and hear these days from Christian leaders is this; Our nation and the culture in general is becoming more and more secular. As Christian values and beliefs are being pushed into the background, believers must prepare to take a stand for Christ and the Bible. There can be no compromise, there will be no middle ground.

The Bible speaks plainly about the times in which we live: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such things come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron… Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourselves to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:1-7).

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

What are we to do? “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25).

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:6-8).

This is something I read this week. “What we need above all in the church today is for each Christian to have a profound personal knowledge and experience of God himself and a deep knowledge of the Scriptures as his authoritative Word.” (Impossible People by Os Guinness).

Stand firm,
Pastor Jerry

Stand or Fall

Dear friends,
I drove to Topeka, Kansas last week for a meeting of Southern Baptist leaders from Kansas and Nebraska. As I traveled from the Sandhills of Nebraska to the Flint Hills of Kansas, I saw green. Usually, by mid-September, the pastures and crops are beginning to show traces of brown. Not so this year. Obviously, the Lord has blessed this whole section of the country with timely rains, although some of those rains have been excessive in certain areas.

Part of the discussion at our meeting centered on the Great Commission, that is Jesus’ command to go into all the nations and make disciples. More specifically, there was information on what the Kansas-Nebraska Convention is doing to take the gospel to rural America. If you know me, you know my heart is for reaching those in our part of the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. The need for people to hear and respond to God’s message of salvation is not limited to metropolitan areas and foreign countries.

On another somewhat related topic, Christians are facing challenges we have not seen in this generation. The world is abandoning any thought of God, and those who claim allegiance to the God of the Bible are being marginalized and shouted down at every turn. It isn’t going to go away anytime soon. The question is, will we stay true to the gospel and the truths of the Bible? Will we take the Great Commission seriously, and continue to share Christ with those we meet, or will we sit quietly and let the secular world-view prevail.

Know this, if we take a stand for God and his Word, we will face adversity, trials, and even persecution. We are told in the Scriptures to expect these things. Those same scriptures also remind us of the danger of failing to confess Christ as our Lord.

These are the words of Jesus: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him… I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God…” (Luke 12:4-9).

In Truth,
PJ

Hear and Obey

The lake community was a busy place this past weekend. From turtle racing, football watching, and the annual Labor Day auction, there were plenty of things to do.

From my vantage point, I have the opportunity to observe many things. Some are amusing, some not so much, and some give me ideas for these articles. Just watching how people operate their vehicles sometimes will illustrate some spiritual truth.

Here is the thought for the week: You can turn the steering wheel in any direction you want, but if you’re not moving, you do not change directions. Intentions have to be followed by action. You may say, I want to go over there, and point your wheels in that direction, but until you engage the transmission and press the accelerator pedal, you aren’t going anywhere.

In the days before power steering, one could only turn the wheel with some effort. It was easier to steer the vehicle (or tractor) when moving forward. These days, you can turn the steering wheel effortlessly while sitting still, but there is still no change of direction unless you are moving.

It’s the same way with prayer, changing habits or lifestyle, or with following Jesus. Good intentions lead nowhere without a commitment to action. The commands of the Lord require action on the part of the one who is commanded. Here are a few of those commands:

Leave, and/or go. “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). What happened next? “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him” (verse 4).

Follow: Mark 1:17… “Come, follow me, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” The command to follow usually preceded by the command to come. That is, to come to Jesus, and then to follow him. One cannot follow him without first coming to him in faith.

Give: Believers are to give to the poor. This command follows the command to sell our possessions in order to have resources to give.

Commands are meant to be obeyed. Intentions mean nothing if not followed by actions. It’s been said before, but God cannot direct your steps unless you are moving. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).

In Him,
Pastor Jerry