Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

Peace Amid Chaos

Dear friends.

Warmer weather is finally here. If you are not happy with this, we need to talk! I noticed the annual frenzy over Ground Hog day. I don’t believe the shadow of a woodchuck has anything to do with the weather in six weeks. Truth is, spring comes when it comes. In any case, we will be ready when it gets here.

The news seems to get stranger every day. People are doing things to other humans that are outright insanity. There are ideas floating around that have us asking, whatever happened to common sense, morality, and decency? Then there was the Chinese balloon that floated over North America last week. People are concerned about where the world is headed, and how are we to respond to these things?

I do know from the study of God’s word that there will be times of uncertainty and unrest in the world. Jesus spoke of things that will precede his return. He warned of storms, earthquakes and the like. I am not going to say we are close to his returning, because no one knows the answer to that except God the Father. Suffice it to say Jesus said he would return at some point, and the world has been moving in that direction for over two thousand years.

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:3-9).

The Bible is clear, if we are to have peace in the midst of all that we are seeing and experiencing, we would be wise to place our faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can give you peace in a chaotic world. Trust in him today, and know true peace.

In Him,

Pastor Jerry

Carry On

Dear readers,
January has been interesting in the weather department. So far, we’ve had rain, sleet, snow, lightning and thunder, all in the same night! We had no issues with power outages here, but some were off for a short time. The volunteers here at the lake were out cleaning off the streets early after the storm, and did a great job. Thanks for your effort, guys.

As we prepare for this year of 2023, I’m prompted to go to God’s Word for some encouragement. Sometimes, the thought of what lies ahead is a bit scary…especially in our current situation and culture. A favorite Bible passage of mine is Psalm 62:1-8.

Psalm 62:1–8… My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
How long will you assault a man?
Would all of you throw him down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
They fully intend to topple him
from his lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse. Selah
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

These are encouraging words in uncertain times, and they have helped me many times in the past. A lot of attention has been focused on congress in recent days, and we pray our leaders will get back to the task of governing. Romans 13:1-. We are to pray for our government officials, that they would come to Jesus, and that they would govern justly. God has placed those in government because he wants them there, but make no mistake, government is not the answer to the mess we are in. God is the only one who can heal our land.

There will come a time when Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth and the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9 will be fulfilled. “For to us a child is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.” Until then, we carry on.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

A Savior was Born

Dear friends,

We finally received a bit of moisture. It was not much, but much more than we have had recently. As we continue to observe that first Christmas, I’ve been reflecting on different parts of the story.

As I thought about the Christmas story this week, I remembered those crisp clear nights out checking cows when stars were shining in a black sky. There was total silence, except for cow sounds. I then remembered the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds. Suddenly, the sky was full of angels praising God. What a mind blowing experience that must have been!

Terrified might have been a bit of an understatement, but the angel assured them it was all good. They went and saw the baby, and began to tell everyone about the experience.

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you. You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

                Glory to God in the highest heaven,

                and peace on earth to people he favors.

When the angels had left them and returned to heaven…, the shepherds hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:8-20).

Many years ago, the message of salvation through faith in Jesus came to me; not in the stillness of a dark night, but in the preaching of the gospel from our pastor at the time. Like those shepherds of old, this news changed my life. Do you know the Savior? Have you understood the message of the angel? Do you tell others what He has done for you?

In Him,

Pastor Jerry

Good News

Dear friends,

Our weather is seasonal for the most part, and we received two to three inches of snow. It didn’t stick around too long, but we are thankful for the moisture it provided. We certainly won’t complain if we get some more, even if it comes as snow. It seems everyone is gearing up for the Christmas season. The Lake Ericson Trail of Lights event was held Friday and Saturday evenings. The wind held the attendance down on Friday, but there were many who braved the elements and many more attended Saturday.

As we celebrate this season, it is always good to review what happened at Christmas, and why. Old Testament prophets wrote and spoke of a coming Messiah. In Isaiah 7:14, we read, ‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.”

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shouldersAnd he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. From the prophet Micah we read, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, thought you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will rule over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (Galatians 4:4-5).

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

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, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve (1 Corinthians 15:3-5).

The simple truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is this: We are all born sinners, separated from God. The way to restore our relationship with God the Father is to confess our sin and by faith confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. See Romans 10:9-10.

In Truth,

Pastor Jerry

Seeing Clearly

Dear friends,
We had a great weekend, grandson Alex and his fiancé and her little girl akibg with our grandson Ethan visited Saturday evening. Sunday morning, we traveled back “home” to Sybrant Community Church, then spent the afternoon with dear friends. Good times!

On a recent morning, I awoke to heavy fog over the lake. As the sun rose, and the fog began to lift, I was able to slowly see the trees and buildings more clearly. It reminded me of the process of coming to faith in God and his salvation.

When the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ begins to shine in our hearts, we get a glimpse of who He is, and why he came. It may be just a spark at first, but as we begin to respond to that spark the light will become brighter.

As the fog lifts and the sun breaks through, we see clearly what was hidden. It is much the same when we begin to realize that we need Jesus. Sin has blinded us to the presence of God, but when the fog of disbelief begins to lift, we are able to clearly see the light of Christ.

When Jesus healed a blind man as recorded in Mark’s gospel, he healed the man in two stages. After he had put saliva on the man’s eyes, he asked him what do you see? ” He answered, “I see people, they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes… then his eyes were opened and he saw everything clearly” (Mark 8:23-25). It was a process of learning to see clearly as his faith grew. Sight was there, but it was not complete.

In the words of the song writer,
“Just like a blind man, I wandered along.
Worries and fears I claimed for my own.
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight,
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.”

As the fog lifts and the sun breaks through, we see clearly what was hidden. It is much the same when we begin to realize that we need Jesus. Sin has blinded us to the presence of God, but when the fog of disbelief begins to lift, we are able to clearly see the light of Christ. Have you seen the light?

In His light,
Pastor Jerry

Look to Jesus

Hello friends,
It was another warm week. Our last good rain was a week ago, and we are ready for more. The heat is stressful for the cucumbers, but they are producing well with frequent watering. Small tomatoes are forming and we have been stocking up with bacon in anticipation of some BLT sandwiches! Disclaimer: Most of the work in this garden is done by my sweet wife.

Do you ever feel you are losing the battle against temptation? Here are some encouraging thoughts:
“As believers, we’ll struggle with indwelling sin for the rest of our lives. The greatest saints have experienced such bitter, unsuccessful struggles with sin, it almost drove them to despair. As the old hymn says, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.”

Proverbs 24:16 reads, “… for the righteous falls seven times and rises again …” (ESV). The righteous fall often, but they get back up, looking heavenward. Put another way, we struggle a lot, but the trajectory of our lives should point heavenward; our lives are a cry for God to change our hearts.

But there are some who seem to just be going through the motions, participating in church like it’s a club or social organization. They don’t have evidence of a desire for God or a supernatural change. They’re not concerned about living in community or using their gifts to serve the body of Christ. And they’re content in not growing. It makes you wonder if they’ve ever really experienced the gospel.

When you struggle, do you get back up again, repenting and believing in faith that God is who he says he is, faithful to save you? Or do you go through the motions, unconcerned with how you’re living your life? The faith that saves is the faith that endures.” [Pastor J.D. Grear]

Remember these words from the apostle Paul: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins…” (1 John 1:9).

Looking up,
Pastor Jerry

Some Good News

Dear friends,
As we enter summer’s heat, prayers would be in order for some timely rains, specifically without hail or damaging winds. We have had enough of those for this year.

Have you heard any good news lately? It is hard to find good news these days if we look at the world and all that is taking place around us. It is easy, it seems, to focus on all the bad and overlook any positive reporting. Maybe it is a lack of good news, but it is possible we are looking in the wrong places.

There is good news in the Bible, much good news in fact. God called his creation good, but Adam sinned and brought judgment on man and on creation. In spite of this, God had a perfect plan to redeem both man and creation. He would provide a way for man’s sin-debt to be paid, leading to the salvation of sinful man and the restoration of the created world.

The plan God had for paying man’s penalty for sin would require a perfect sacrifice, which God himself would provide. That perfect sacrifice would be God’s own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is good news.

At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

John the Baptist introduced Jesus by saying, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world… I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God.” The next day John was with two of his disciples, and as Jesus was passing by, John said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:29-36).

More good news from a familiar passage: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and 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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-19).

Good News!
Pastor Jerry

The Presence of Evil

Dear readers,
It’s another of those early deadline weeks, so this is being written on Saturday. The lake community was busy this weekend. Fun and games were enjoyed by many, and there was a family friendly movie after sunset. Summer, I believe, is officially open for business.

Once again, evil has reared its ugly head in our country, there is nothing else to call it. If a person murders children, or any human being, that person can be called nothing but evil. It is satanic. People come up with all kinds of excuses for this behavior, but the main reason is the presence of evil in the world.

I believe the evil that is so often in the news is a direct result of the lack of knowledge of God and his will for mankind. We have taken God out of the schools, and out of much of the public square. Churches are teaching that if we love everyone, it will be a world of peace.

Scripture has a different view. In Genesis chapter six, there were only a handful of people who acknowledged God for who He was. Scripture records that “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time (verse 5).

Paul said, “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one… There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-12, 18).

John calls Satan the evil one. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Paul reminds us that “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

What we must do is return to teaching biblical values and morality to our children, in order to turn them from disobeying God to trusting in His commands as set out in His Word.

The full solution to evil awaits the coming age. God will vindicate His children and wipe away their tears (Revelation 21:4).

For Him,
Pastor Jerry

One Way

Dear readers,
After a very cool overnight temperature (28 degrees here), we had a beautiful Sunday. Let’s hope this was the last we see of frost until fall. Our new garden plants and flowers escaped any damage because someone (not me) covered them all the night before. On the topic of weather, it would be good if all God’s people continued to pray for rain, as many areas are still in need of beneficial rains.

I had the pleasure of speaking at Grace Bible Church in Loup City on Sunday, and the ladies who provide the music let me join in. We had a guitar trio… two acoustics and an electric bass. It is good when God’s people worship in song.

The message for Sunday focused on the need for Christians to know what they believe and why. To quote a well-known evangelical pastor, we need to “remember what we know.” A survey from 2021 found that nearly three-fourths of U.S. adults said they believe in heaven, but there was widespread disagreement about how to get there. Among all Americans, nearly 40 percent said heaven will be the home of those who do not even believe in God. Among those calling themselves Christians, 58 percent said there are multiple religions that can lead to heaven. (Pew Research Center, November 23, 2021).

Many preachers today are preaching from the culture, making their message acceptable to everyone. We need preachers to preach the Word of God that convicts people of their sin, in order to turn them to the Savior. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). It does not speak of many ways, nor any other “truth.” He also said this; Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13).

Jesus also said, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:7-9). Paul wrote, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

What Should We Do?

Hello friends,
After the winds of last week, we will not complain about a mild 25 mph breeze. We continue in prayer for those affected by the wildfire that destroyed so much in the south-central part of the state. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to dedicate some extra time to pray for rain. The lack of beneficial moisture is at a critical stage. We have some spring flowers starting to bloom, so I guess it’s time to start watering.

This week following Palm Sunday is when we begin to contemplate the events leading up to Easter, or to Resurrection Sunday, as I prefer to call it. It began with betrayal by one of his disciples, followed by the illegal trial orchestrated by the religious leaders who hated him, then the horrible mistreatment of him by the Roman soldiers, culminating in his death on a cross and burial in a borrowed tomb. We can never get our minds around what he went through as he suffered for us. He had asked the heavenly Father to spare him, yet yielded himself to God’s will. We could never pay our own sin debt, so he willingly took it upon himself.

Then came Sunday morning. The women who had followed him came to the tomb to prepare his body for burial, but found the tomb open, and the body of Jesus nowhere to be found. An angel sitting by the open tomb said, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said.

Jesus is alive! So, we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday. Friday was good, in spite of the horror of the crucifixion. Good, in that from this we have forgiveness of our sins, and the promise of eternal life for those who believe.

Peter, in his sermon to the Jews on Pentecost said this, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:36-38).

Have you trusted him for your Savior?

Because He Lives,
Pastor Jerry