Archive for the ‘Fellowship’ Category

Making Music

The Gospel Music Jam under the carousel at Lake Ericson is history. The weather was ideal, the music was uplifting, and a good time was had by everyone. I think everyone agrees that we need to do it again. As Willie Nelson sang, “the life I love is making music with my friends.”

We are in prayer for the people of Texas this week, especially the Huston area, as they deal with epic flooding. There are areas not too far from us, where it is a bit wet, but we have never seen flooding like this, and I can’t even imagine that kind of destruction. Those of you whose hay harvest has been delayed for a time because of wet meadows, count your blessings. It could be worse.

Labor Day weekend is almost here. For most, it is the last weekend of the summer season. After living here at the lake for just a few summers, we know the really busy time is coming to a close. It is good to see all the families enjoying the lake and its activities, but the quiet season is something we look forward to, also.

Back to the gospel music we all enjoyed this weekend; someone remarked how good it was to just spend the afternoon listening to God’s gift of music, seated in the midst of His creation, and for a time forgetting the cares of the world.

Scripture is filled with references to music as worship and praise. Here are a few of them:
“Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre” (Psalm 33:2).
“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High” (Psalm 92:1).
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music” (Psalm 98:4).
“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp” (Psalm 147:7).
And from the New Testament: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

If you can’t sing, there are these from the English Standard Version:
“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”
(Psalm 95:1)
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” (Psalm 100:1)

Praising Him,
Pastor Jerry

Rejoicing in Blessings

Dear friends,
The heat wave continues in our part of the world. Air conditioners are working full-time, and losing the battle most of the time. It would be a huge blessing to see some rain, and a cooling down of the daytime temperatures. We’ll just have to pray along those lines.

This week, I am going to just share some observations and some fun things that have happened lately. There might be something here that blesses someone in some way. It would be great if that happens.

A tradition here at Lake Ericson with many of the residents is an evening tour around the community with either a golf cart or some other small personal vehicle. Saturday evening, two young ladies from down the street rode with us. As we drove along listening to them chatter and laugh in the back of the golf cart, I thought, how much fun it would be to return to a time when we had such a carefree outlook on life. Not to start life over, but just to visit there for a short time. It is kind of sad that we get so jaded in our outlook as we age. I’m reminded of the words of Solomon: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

Summer seems to be a time of celebration. Every town, both small and large, has a celebration of some kind. How many times have you seen one of those highway department signs alerting you to a “local celebration”, so you will be aware of traffic hazards?

There was a small celebration at the boat ramp across the street from our house Sunday afternoon. A young lady who had invited Jesus into her heart just a few years ago, allowed me the privilege of baptizing her in the lake. There were just a few friends present to celebrate with her, but I know the angels in heaven were celebrating, also. When Jesus taught the parable of the lost coin, he told of the woman rejoicing with her friends when she found it. He then said, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

Rejoicing in these,
Pastor Jerry

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

On Civility

Snow, wind, cold, and warm. All of these in one week. The snow turned out to be about 6 inches in our immediate area, but it was pretty fluffy and didn’t blow around, at least for the first day or so. The one breezy day, the temperature was near 30 degrees, so there was minimal drifting. Friday’s warm temperatures eliminated a lot of the snow.

Ice fishermen keep coming to the lake, but I feel that season may be nearing an end. As for me, I will
wait until ice out to do any fishing.

I will be returning to the dermatologist for removal of a bit more of my tissue. It turns out a biopsy taken last week returned a diagnosis of basal cell skin cancer, so more is required to be sure the cancer cells are all gone. Having gone through some of this before, it is a matter of trusting the Lord and my doctor. No worries for me.

The Bible instructs Christians to give proper respect to leaders, both secular and spiritual; in the family, in school, and in the workplace. These days there is almost a complete lack of respect for those in authority, and especially for those with whom we disagree.

There is a word we don’t hear much anymore. It is called civility. Here is an excerpt from an article found in The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity.

“Civility is not a biblical term, as such, but the idea is certainly present in the Scriptures. Indeed, taken as a way of describing respect for strangers, civility is a rather prominent biblical motif. In the Old Testament God regularly encouraged the people of Israel to show courtesy to those who were different from themselves. The theme is repeated in the New Testament. Christians are to “speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle and to show courtesy to everyone” (Titus 3:2).”

Here are some instructions: A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered (Proverbs 17:27). Honor one another above yourselves. Live in harmony with one another. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:10-18).

In other words, be nice!

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Family Reunion

Dear friends,
We spent the weekend reconnecting with family, some of whom we haven’t seen for most of twenty years. It was a good time, a perfect day, and an ideal location. It always interests me to see how well we have all aged (or not). I enjoyed the little kids and their exuberance for life. Then there are the older kids; they appear to be mostly bored and wishing they were home with their friends. And the old people? They just tell stories of how it used to be.

Family is one of those things the Lord has blessed us with, that too often we forget. It shouldn’t take a family reunion, wedding, or the funeral of a member of the family to get us together. In the “old days”, our families were not separated by distance as much as today, and yet with all the means we have available to stay in touch, it seems harder to stay connected. I don’t necessarily have any answers; I’m just thinking out loud here.

Time is fleeting. Life is short. We need to stay in touch, at least occasionally, because we have no guarantee that any of us will be here next week, or next year. This might be the time to remind ourselves if there is a broken or damaged relationship somewhere in our family, it is time to start the mending process. It would be better to have restored a relationship than a lifetime of regret for not doing so.

Today (Monday), I will check in at the hospital for a CT scan. It is just over a year since I had the medical emergency and night-time ride in the medical helicopter. The scan will tell the doctor if all is well, and if the medication is doing its job. This could be the reason for the thoughts on family and relationships this week.

I’ll leave you with two biblical references regarding our plans and the brevity of life: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes… “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live…” (James 4:14-15). “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever” (Isaiah 40:6-8).

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

On Respect for Others

A lot has been said and written in recent days about what is wrong with our world. After all the violence and killing of the past week, we all need to stop and think.

I believe we need desperately to return to a biblical view of the world and identify the real problem. Sin is the problem. Its remedy is Jesus Christ, and obedience to God’s word. Much of what is missing in our society today would return, if people would only use the Bible for guidance. We could begin by restoring respect for authority, for one another, for country and for God… beginning with respecting God, followed by all the others.

Sadly, I feel there are too few of us willing to say. “Wait! What are we doing to our country and to each other with this disrespectful and selfish attitude? Whatever happened to “love your neighbor as yourself?” We are at the point of “love yourself, and no one else.” Do unto others as you would have them do to you, has become “the only one who matters is me.” People have become worshipers of self, and the law is disregarded in every level of society, from the government to the man on the street.

The Bible says much about this word respect. Respect is something the Bible teaches at all levels of society, from families to the highest levels of government.

From the Old Testament: Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:3). “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord” (19:32).

And, in the New Testament: Romans 13:7— “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Finally, these instructions from Peter to the readers of his second letter, “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king (substitute mayor, governor or president).”

I wonder, might we begin to do these things again?

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

On Aging

Hello all,
Last Friday, I found myself sitting with an old friend in front of an eating establishment in a neighboring town. We were just sitting and talking about the old days…Wait! I’m not that old am I? Oh, I do remember something in the Bible about wisdom and gray hair. “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding” (Job 12:12); “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old” (Proverbs 20:29). Maybe that describes my friend and myself after all.

On the subject of aging, hearing loss is part of that process, especially for those of us who have had long-term exposure to noisy tractors, etc. Last fall, I became the owner of hearing aids, and the audiologist told me I would hear sounds I hadn’t heard for a while. What he said is true, and they do work well in a one-on-one situation, but in a crowd of people you hear mostly noise.

Maybe it is much the same for hearing God’s voice. If we haven’t heard from Him for a time, it may be time to get away from the noise of the crowd (think world), and tune in to what He is saying. I don’t think hearing aids are necessary to hear God’s voice, but you do need to get away from the loud sounds of the busy world.

Elijah the prophet, heard God’s voice at the mouth of a cave. In 1 Kings we read of his experience. After spending the night in a cave, the word of the Lord came to Elijah, asking why he was there. Elijah is told to stand on the mountain as the Lord passes by. We read this, “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks… but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake… after the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave” (1 Kings 19:9-13). Then he heard the Lord speak.

Has it been some time since you heard the gentle whisper of God’s voice? Just find a quiet place and listen.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry