Archive for October, 2016

Good Soil

The camper has been winterized, and sits waiting for that warm spring breeze again. Winter, I feel, is just around the corner. As I look at the calendar, Thanksgiving and Christmas will soon be here. Some of our lake community residents have left for a warmer climate, leaving us to deal with what comes next. I do think those of us who stay are more inclined to welcome those cooler temperatures, even if they might be accompanied with an occasional snow storm. I’ve always said I wouldn’t want to live where the temperature is the same the year around.

Regarding the election this week; I recommend everyone get out and vote. I know it’s tempting to stay home, but the truth is, there is a choice, and if you stay away from the voting booth, you may contribute to a result you will regret later. I won’t politicize this column, but I would encourage you to exercise your right to vote. It’s a freedom a lot of people do not have.

Our mums have performed beyond anyone’s expectations. They were planted in very good soil and with all the extra nutrients, have grown to enormous size. In fact, Milrae had much smaller plants in mind when she planted them. This reminds me of the seed Jesus described in the gospel, that produced up to 100 times what was planted. Soil quality is everything, whether planting crops or flowers. It is even more so when seeds are planted for the Lord.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus speaks of a farmer sowing seeds on various types of soil. Some fell on the path, some on rocky places, some among thorns, and “still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop. To his disciples he explained, “the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding many times what was sown.”

Several questions arise here; are you the good soil that has received the gospel seed? If so, does your spiritual growth reflect that? Also, are you seeking to plant those seeds in others? Healthy plants produce good seed that produces good crops.
Note: As you plant those gospel seeds, don’t worry about the soil quality. God’s Holy Spirit is in charge of preparing soil.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

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Don’t Wait!

We are finishing up our last camping trip before cold weather sets in. No one knows exactly when that will be, we just know it is coming soon. The leaves are falling; many trees are already bare. The ones left with leaves are many-colored. Each on a different shade of red, orange, or yellow. Soon the tree line will be only cedars and pines with any color. Where there were signs of warm summer, the landscape will transition to winter, with its shades of gray and brown turning white with the winter snows.

The lake is being lowered for winter season, and people are getting their properties winterized. Those of us who are permanent residents are also making preparations for colder weather. We try to remember where we put that snow shovel, and which closet holds our winter coat and gloves.

As a nation, we are preparing for a general election and the choosing of a new president, along with other elected officials.

I wonder how many are making preparations for their eternity? The Bible speaks of making preparations for the day our earthly journey ends, yet in spite of all the signs and warnings, there are still a lot of folks who haven’t made those preparations.

These are the words of Jesus: “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come… So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:42-44). To the Pharisees and Sadducees, He said, “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:2)

Peter wrote, “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:3-9).

Frozen water pipes can be repaired. To delay responding to God’s invitation of salvation has eternal significance. Today is the day of salvation. Please, do not wait.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

On Serving Him

I didn’t go fishing last week, but I did go to the annual meeting of the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists and catch a cold. So, from Wednesday to now, I’ve been in survival mode.

These annual meetings are for the purpose of conducting the business of the convention; electing officers, approving a budget for the coming year, etc. But, there are also sermons and Bible studies that both challenge and encourage us. Today, I’ll share just a couple of thoughts that caused me to examine my own life.

One statement was this: We need more dish towels, and fewer show towels. In every home, there are usually some show towels. You just know they are put on the towel bar for show. They are purely decorative, and not to be used for drying. But you also find dish towels. They are placed where they can be used for drying the dishes. If you want something dried, you find the dish towel.

In Christian service, there is a need for ‘dish towels’. We are to be useful in service to the Lord, not just hanging around for show. Jesus is our example, as he washed the feet of his disciples on the night of the Last Supper.

The other comment from one of the speakers that struck me, was the following: “If you ain’t dead, you ain’t done.” This relates to my thoughts last year when headed to Good Samaritan Hospital on a helicopter, in the middle of the night.

I realized that if I survived whatever was wrong with me, that God must still have work for me to do. I did survive, and I am now in relatively good health. Although I retired from the pastoral role in my church, I am convinced that there is still more for me to do in the line of ministry. I will wait now to see where my Lord leads me. There is a hymn with these words: “Where He leads me I will follow. I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.”

These are the words of Jesus: “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be” (John 12:26). To all of His followers, His command is, “come, follow me.”

Do you know Him? Are you following Him? Remember, “If you ain’t dead, you ain’t done!”

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

On the Changing Seasons

I have worked outdoors most all my life, and looking from my current vantage point, I see that my view of the changing of the seasons was more oriented to my work than to the actual God-ordained seasonal changes.

Maybe it is because of another birthday, but I’ve become more aware of the gradual transition between those seasons. Lately, I’ve noticed a subtle change taking place as summer makes way for fall. Leaves turn from green to gold, temperatures cool, and the winds are becoming more northerly. Nature seems to be taking a short rest in anticipation of the changes ahead. There is a quietness to the mornings and evenings that wasn’t there in the hot summer months.

We have the idea that the seasons change quickly, but that is a misconception. There are slow, but inevitable signs of coming change. It is much the same in our own lives. We don’t suddenly wake up some morning and discover we are teen-agers. Likewise, we don’t arrive at old-age overnight. There is constant change, leading up to each stage of life.

It is the same with our spiritual life. It seems as we get older, there is a new awareness of the changing seasons of our lives. God has a plan for each person, and there are seasons of change as he brings us to maturity. When we become Christians, we do not stay the same. There are stages of growth, each one leading to another, until he takes us home to heaven.

It was King Solomon who wrote “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

In his book “The Seasons of God”, Richard Blackaby reminds us there are seasons in our lives. They aren’t all about just being born, living to a ripe old age and departing from this life. Instead, he focuses on the fact that just as in nature, the seasons keep repeating throughout our individual lives. At each stage in life, we each move from a beginning to an ending, only to move on to another beginning, and so on.

Here is the problem; as we go through life, we get caught up in our labors and our own self-effort, and fail to see those seasons. In particular, we overlook what God is doing in us, for us, and through us.

Reflecting,
Pastor Jerry

Lesson From a Turtle

The fishing report has improved again. Last week I mentioned catching some fish. I went once this week, but came home with 2 northern pike in the 3 to 4-pound range. They were very tasty, and I see more fishing in the future.

Here is something fun. Search Google Maps for “Grace Bible Church, Loup City, Nebraska. There is a view of the congregation standing in a circle praying for their new church building, just as the satellite passed overhead. God is good!

Now This: One morning recently, I watched a small turtle come from my neighbor’s lawn, cross the street and make its way down the boat ramp to the lake, never turning to the left or to the right. This reminds me of those faithful believers, who plod along their way, focused on the goal, the salvation of their souls.

Hebrews 11:1-2… Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).

“Though you have not seen him, you love him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9). Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).

We may say with the apostle Paul, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the goodness of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Pressing on,
Pastor Jerry