Archive for the ‘Christian Living’ Category

Blessings

We have survived the great blizzard of ’18! We were able to keep the house in a state of semi-warmth with the camper generator and a cord run through the window to power a little electric heater. Kudos to the power company linemen, who brave the elements for the rest of us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Counting our blessings was easy this week, and today I would like to highlight some scripture passages praising God for his goodness. I have found my postings taking on somewhat of a negative view over the last few weeks, so it’s time for a brighter outlook.

The Psalms are packed with praises to God, as are the writings of some of the prophets and New Testament writers. Here are some examples:

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens (Psalm 8:1).
I will praise you, O Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High (Psalm 9:1-2).
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1).

Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praises to you, they sing praises to your name” (Psalm 66:1-4).

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself (Psalm 89:1-2).

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and redeemed his people (Luke 1:68).
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

Let’s just praise the Lord!
Pastor Jerry

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Church Etiquette

It is time once again for news and views from our house. As always, the weather is a common conversation topic. It’s interesting to note, temperatures that seem rather chilly in the fall seem almost balmy these days. Anything over fifty degrees sends me outdoors in my shirtsleeves.

I have had discussions concerning the tendency these days for people to dress casual for about every event or activity. What used to be jacket and tie at the very least, is now athletic shoes, denim jeans and tee-shirts. Many times these discussions come around to what to wear to church.

Along that line of thought, there was a post on Facebook this week resisting the trend to casual. The sign at the church door read: “It’s all about love. PLEASE, no food or drink, no cell phones, lots of love allowed.”

Here are my thoughts on the clothing issue. As far as God is concerned, it is not so much about our appearance as it is about the condition of our heart. I don’t believe this is an excuse to dress shoddily, or be uncaring about our appearance as we gather to worship. Christ doesn’t require us to clean up our act before he accepts us. He does expect to see change in us, as a result of making Him Lord of our lives.

As for the food and drink issue, here is the comment that accompanied the sign at the church door: “Why are some churches so fearful of food, drinks and cell phones? I’ve never seen a food or drink or a cell phone walk into a sanctuary by themselves. Generally speaking, there is a person attached. And churches need people more than clean carpet or quiet sanctuaries.”

Of course, we should welcome all to enter our church buildings, regardless of dress, food or drink, or whatever. But we are to love them enough to point them to the Savior, praying that the Gospel will touch their hearts, and bring them to salvation.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. (Luke 19:10). Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

God, Our Hope

Hello friends,
We spent some time last week shopping for home improvement projects. We have installed new flooring in the kitchen and dining areas of the house, with new carpet to be laid in the master bedroom this week. I am reminded once again, that as we get older we are less flexible and it takes longer to recover from the effects doing physical labor. Nonetheless, it is satisfying to see the end result.

I have observed that it is no wonder young people of the day have little knowledge of what it means to live a moral life. First, there is no real understanding of the moral teachings of the Bible. This is partly due to the fact that few have had any exposure to the Word of God. Second, there is very little in the way of personal examples of moral living in the general population.

I suppose I started down this line of thinking as I was skimming the “for sale” posts on Facebook. There was a post in which a man was selling a washing machine. It read, “Selling for my mother, because she is moving in with her fiancé, and doesn’t need it.” Really.

This is not an isolated incident. Everywhere we look, there are these kinds of relationships, many of them among even those who are senior citizens, and who grew up with a shared understanding of moral values. Some say they cohabit because of finances, or for any number of other seemingly rational reasons. But to the person with a Christian worldview, these are just not right.

There are other examples of the lack of morals in our society. We see them in politics, sports, business, even in ‘churches’. There must be a return to common sense, Bible based values, or I fear our society will self-destruct. There is an answer, it is found in God’s instructions to Israel: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Also, in the New Testament; “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

Following Jesus

Hello all,
After a few warm and windy days, it appears the lake ice will be leaving soon. Ice fishing has been very popular for several weeks, but a new season is coming quickly. We will transition to daylight saving time this weekend, so there will be a longer period of daylight at the end of the workday (unless you are an agriculture person, and nothing will really change).
I attended a session of Sandhills Christian Leadership Center on Saturday. It is a course of study for those who wish to be further involved in ministry in their local churches, and who may feel led into pastoral ministry. It is sponsored by our local Baptist Church association. This was the third of four class sessions that began last October.
One of the topics of the day was “Making Disciples”, from Pastor John Shields. I will share some of his thoughts.
Marks of a disciple, or follower of Jesus Christ:
1. Disciples develop a lifelong commitment to learn and live God’s Word. To those Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine…” (John 8:31).
They believe God’s Word is His clearest authority and revelation for life.
They believe God’s Word transforms those who respond in faith
2. Disciples increasingly live like servants, not owners. These are his words: “So, then, none of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Luke 14:33).
The cost of really following Jesus is everything you have. Wealth and worry keep many from following Jesus.
3. Disciples have a deepening love for Jesus. We are called to love Him more than parents or other family, even more than ourselves. Luke 14:26.
This will cause relational tension with those who don’t know Him. This tension may be with family, friends, or co-workers.
These tensions can distract some from following Jesus.
4. Disciples deepen their love for other Christians. “By this all men will know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).
5. Disciples embrace Jesus’ mission as their own, and His mission was to glorify God.
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
The bottom line? If you want to follow Jesus, you have to follow Jesus, and no one else.
In His grip,
Pastor Jerry

Our Message

Dear friends,
First, a few words about the weather. Warmer. Not much snow. Spring is near. The realization came to me this week that Alex graduates from High School in just a couple of months. It makes me wonder where the time went.

In our current culture, and on a larger scale, the world in general is becoming more anti-Christian. There is no concept of sin, or of a holy God who will judge the world. To the modern way of thinking, there is no sin, it is just that mistakes are made.

In all the talk about the problems of our world, there is little to no talk of a sin problem, which is the root cause of many of the headline stories in the news. Where are the ones will proclaim the truth? There is a great need for the gospel to be preached in every corner of the world, starting with wherever we may find people without hope, without a future, without a reason for living. Usually, in your own family, or neighborhood you will find them.

Here is my challenge to my fellow believers: We may know people who need the Lord, but we don’t know what to say, or how to say it. Consider this; if we are really thinking about what we say, any conversation can lead to a discussion of spiritual matters. The conversation of the Christian should be with a view to lead people to examine the moral and spiritual truths of the Bible.

I believe too many Christians are trying to find a way to get along with those of other religions, or of no religion, rather than showing them the true and living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

These are our instructions: “Therefore go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season” (1 Timothy 4:2).

This is our message. Jesus died for the sins of all (John 3:16). Salvation is found in no one else (Acts 4:12). By grace through faith we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). He is God; “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8).

Finally, always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15).

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

What Can You Give?

It has been a good week for us. There were trips to Grand Island, Albion, and Ord. Doctor’s appointments, shopping at Menards and working together on some little projects around the house. Last Sunday, I spoke at a church in Chambers, Nebraska, then made it back home in time for a carry-in dinner and annual business meeting at our church. Next week, I’m off to Loup City to speak at Grace Bible Church, filling in for a friend. I was told recently by another friend; “You ain’t retired.” This was just affirmation of the fact that if you make yourself available to the Lord, he will keep you busy doing his work.

Speaking of doing the Lord’s work, I came across these verses in my daily Bible reading this week. In Exodus, when the tabernacle was being built, Moses had instructed the people to bring offerings of materials for construction. We read this: All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do. At one point, the workers came to Moses and said, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work. (Exodus 36:5-7)

Now, I know of no preacher who has ever said to his congregation, “Don’t bring anything else as an offering to the Lord’s work, we already have more than enough.” There are never enough resources for doing the Lord’s work, whether financial giving, or gifts of time and talent. There are never enough people willing to teach Sunday school, lead Bible studies, or evangelize their neighbors, their family members and acquaintances.

Jesus emphasized that we use our gifts until he returns (Luke 19:13). Can you even imagine how Christ’s church would grow, if there were more than enough resources and people to do the work? It would be amazing, I am sure! In what way are you helping grow the kingdom?

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

God Said No?

As I read my Bible each day, every now and then a verse, or even a phrase will catch my attention. It happened again this week. As I was reading in Genesis 17, I saw these words; God said no! I suppose I was reading without really paying attention, but those three words stopped me short. What? God said no?

God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a child, but Abraham thought he had a better plan. “Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael were acceptable to you!’” But God said “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac.” God said no! His promise still stood, and he would do what he said. Abraham just needed to wait on the Lord’s timing.

I wonder how many times we, in spite of his promises to us, thought we had a better plan? His answer is always the same: No! Just wait for my timing. God was patient with Abraham, but insisted He would carry out his plan for Abraham’s promised heir. It was up to Abraham to be patient, waiting in faith that God would do as he said.

Malachi 3:6… I the Lord, do not change. Also, God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he not promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)

1 Samuel 15:29; He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.

Paul speaks of the Christian’s faith as “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:2)

If God should say no to your plans, rest assured, he has a better plan for you. Remember these words from scripture. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19:21). “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Truth,
Pastor Jerry