Archive for April, 2017

Harnessing the Wind

There is no fishing report this week. I hope to remedy that situation soon. Saturday, the lake community held its annual spring cleanup day. The weather was perfect for the projects that were planned, and if you were paying attention, you could see the Lord’s blessing on the day. I want to personally thank all who were involved. It takes a lot of cooperation and effort from everyone to keep everything nice for residents and visitors.

Sunday afternoon, I took a trip to northeast Holt County for a meeting of our local church association. This is an area with a recently installed wind farm. The approximately 200 wind turbines can be seen from a great distance, and were a reminder to me again, of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.

In the Bible, the Lord Jesus speaks of the Spirit as unseen, like the wind, but working His power in the life of a believer. That power shows up in the changed life of a person who has given his life to Christ as his Savior and Lord. Let’s see what the Bible actually says about this.

First, in relation to salvation, and eternal life. A man named Nicodemus asked about miracles Jesus had been doing. Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again!”

Nicodemus has another question. “How can a man be born again when he is old?”

Jesus continues; “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit… The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:1-8).

Jesus, as he was about to ascend into heaven, promised to send the Holy Spirit. These are His instructions to his disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised… In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:4-8).

This same Holy Spirit is given to every believer. His power is our strength, much as the wind powers those wind turbines.

Amen!
Pastor Jerry

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He Lives!

For those who have been asking about fishing reports, I finally have something to report. I have been seeing fishermen on the lake recently, so I decided it was time for me to get serious. Thursday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours fishing from the lake shore. Having had no success, I was about to give it up as wasted effort, and decided to make just ‘one more cast.’ As soon as my lure hit the water, I thought I must have gotten snagged on a tree limb. As I reeled in the line it felt like dragging dead weight. About ten feet from shore, the “log” started trying to escape. It turned out to be a 31 inch, 7 ½ pound northern pike. After some deliberation, I put it back in the lake. Now you know there is at least one nice fish in Ericson Lake.

Sunday, we celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord. It was a great time of fellowship and worship, and I trust your Easter was the same. I really believe, that many times we fail to adequately understand the significance of this most important event in Christian history.

Have you ever considered, of all the religions in the world, Christianity is the only one with a living Savior? Every other religion’s founder is dead, and his followers can name the place he is buried. God raised Jesus from the dead, and He resides in heaven today.

In dying, Jesus paid the penalty for all the sins of all people. Yours and mine. Past, present and future. In doing so, He gave us the opportunity to spend all eternity with Him. Salvation from sin and its penalty, is available to all who believe this, and who by faith will accept the gift offered.

“For God so loved the world, He sent his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17).

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

He Lives! Praise be to God for His indescribable gift!

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Persecution: A Blessing?

Sunday, I had the pleasure of preaching at two small rural churches. I was helping out a fellow pastor, who recently had surgery. The churches are about a 40-minute drive from each other. It is good to see small congregations in out-of-the-way places contending for the faith (Jude 3).

This week, as we contemplate the events leading up to the death, burial, resurrection of our Lord, here are some thoughts related to our time.

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great numbers of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3).

In our day, it seems anytime Christians speak or act in a way that reflects Jesus Christ, they are criticized by many. Such as, when the Vice President of the U.S. makes a commitment to never be alone with any woman other than his wife, and is verbally attacked by the liberal media. Anyone who points out that God calls sexual immorality sin, is labeled intolerant, or judgmental. If anyone holds to biblical values and morality, they are shouted down or persecuted in some way. If we say Jesus is the only way to a relationship with God, we are called narrow minded and intolerant.

These are the words of Jesus. “All men will hate you because of me” (Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13). “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets” (Luke 6:23).

There is good news! Godless men may accuse and abuse us, but victory is ours through the power of God, who raised Jesus from the dead! Recall the words of Peter and John, when commanded not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus: “Judge for yourself whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

Truth,
Pastor Jerry

Spring Things

Dear friends
Here we are in the month of April. One fourth of 2017 is history. Now that is a sobering thought. I wonder if I used that time wisely? I’m not sure I want to know the answer.

Saturday, we traveled to Kearney to a barbershop music concert. It was maybe the most entertaining 2 hours I have spent recently. There was some good clean comedy mixed in with the music, also. This is something of a rarity these days, and it was good to experience this once again, also.

Signs of spring are becoming more and more obvious. The flower bulbs we planted last fall are pushing up leaves, and the promise of blossoms is seen in little buds among those leaves. I have found that deer like tulip and daffodil leaves, so preventive measures have been taken.

Driving down the road, we see little calves in pastures and in calving lots. It is a busy time of the year for livestock producers, as I well remember. I do have to say, I appreciate them more now, from the window as we pass by.

Spring also brings thoughts of resurrection and new life, as portrayed in the biblical account of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s remember the words of the apostle. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is the heart of the Easter message.

Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” The early Christians took those words seriously, as we read in Acts 5:42… “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

By faith in Him, we are born again spiritually, we become a new creation, with a new life and a new identity. And in this season of new beginnings, we can celebrate our own new beginning and the promise of resurrection from the dead when our Savior returns for us on a day that seems to be fast approaching.

May we never get tired of telling, or of hearing, the old, old story!

In Him,
Pastor Jerry