Archive for the ‘Great Commission’ Category

Hear and Obey

The lake community was a busy place this past weekend. From turtle racing, football watching, and the annual Labor Day auction, there were plenty of things to do.

From my vantage point, I have the opportunity to observe many things. Some are amusing, some not so much, and some give me ideas for these articles. Just watching how people operate their vehicles sometimes will illustrate some spiritual truth.

Here is the thought for the week: You can turn the steering wheel in any direction you want, but if you’re not moving, you do not change directions. Intentions have to be followed by action. You may say, I want to go over there, and point your wheels in that direction, but until you engage the transmission and press the accelerator pedal, you aren’t going anywhere.

In the days before power steering, one could only turn the wheel with some effort. It was easier to steer the vehicle (or tractor) when moving forward. These days, you can turn the steering wheel effortlessly while sitting still, but there is still no change of direction unless you are moving.

It’s the same way with prayer, changing habits or lifestyle, or with following Jesus. Good intentions lead nowhere without a commitment to action. The commands of the Lord require action on the part of the one who is commanded. Here are a few of those commands:

Leave, and/or go. “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). What happened next? “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him” (verse 4).

Follow: Mark 1:17… “Come, follow me, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” The command to follow usually preceded by the command to come. That is, to come to Jesus, and then to follow him. One cannot follow him without first coming to him in faith.

Give: Believers are to give to the poor. This command follows the command to sell our possessions in order to have resources to give.

Commands are meant to be obeyed. Intentions mean nothing if not followed by actions. It’s been said before, but God cannot direct your steps unless you are moving. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Post Only These Things

Dear friends,
The month of January has had its ups and downs. I think this would describe the temperature fluctuations we have experienced. I, personally, am glad for the warm-up of recent days. In news from the remodeling at the lake house, the kitchen project is winding down, and work is progressing on the sunroom that started out as a deck. I hope to get the walls up and the roof on it before it rains or snows again. Prayers appreciated.

For our devotional thought this week, I would like to address an issue that concerns me. It is the quality of some of the things Christian people post on social media. I am not opposed to social media. In fact, most of you get these articles by way of email, Facebook, or a link to one of my blogs. Even the newspaper version is sent weekly by email. If God’s people are to be light and salt to the world, and if we are to live in a way that reflects the holiness of God, why would we post these most profane and innuendo laden memes, comments, and photos for the whole world to see?

Not everyone does these things, but I see enough of it to be concerned. Is it any wonder so many people don’t see a reason to invite Jesus into their life? If Christian behavior isn’t any different from the rest of the world, why join them?

Here are some scriptures that just might cause us to think twice about those things we put out there on social media.

“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

“But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips (and Facebook pages) (Colossians 3:8).

“But among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or of any kind of impurity…because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place…” (Ephesians 5:3-4).

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—post these things” (Philippians 4:8 Pastor Jerry’s version).

It would benefit all of us to consider these things before posting anything.

In Christ’s love,
Pastor Jerry

Rescue the Perishing

It is a pretty morning here. I’m looking out at the lake, and it is just like a mirror—no wind, and the reflection of the trees in the water is perfect. The house move is slowly progressing. We now have running water, electricity, and the septic system is functional. Heating and air-conditioning are expected to be ready soon.

This thought came to me this morning: If we were as dedicated rescuing lost souls, as we are to rescuing every abandoned pet and endangered wild animal, the world would be changed. What if we were as concerned with seeing people saved from the fires of hell as we are with saving whales and snails?

The apostle Paul had that kind of heart for his fellow Jews. Listen to his words: “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel” (Romans 9:3).

Further on in Romans, we read: “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1).

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Then, Paul asks the question—“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? (verses 14-15).

Jesus’ final words to his disciples (and to us) are these: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20).

I may have used this quote before, but it is still relevant: “If every person in the world had adequate food, housing, income; if all men were equal and every possible social evil and injustice were done away with, men would still need one thing: Jesus Christ!”  [J. W. Hyde]

People are dying daily without Christ. Does that bother us? It should.

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

Who Will Go?

In news from home, changes are taking place again in our lives. I suppose over the next few weeks, I’ll be able to share a little more information with you. Lest anyone worry, it is all for good. If there is anything I’m learning, it is that change comes to everyone, and it is of little use to try to deny or avoid it.
I was in Topeka, Kansas on Friday for a meeting. Some of the discussion centered on the real need for pastors in rural areas. The problem is, much time and money is being spent in urban settings, at the expense of rural ministry.
I arrived at the realization that I needed a Savior through the ministry of a small rural church. I pastor a small church, and even though it is in a town with a population of 92, it is considered a rural church. I personally can relate to the prophet Isaiah, who heard God ask, “Who will go?” and Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8).  In my case, I could answer “send me”, because I could be bi-vocational, but there are little churches in communities and villages where there are no opportunities for work. Those places need a pastor who is supported by other folks who have the means to enable him to answer God’s call to ministry.
There are people in these areas who desperately need the Lord, and the scripture asks the question, “How will they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15).
There are people in heaven today, who are there through the ministry of a tiny church in the middle of nowhere, but there are many others who may die without Jesus because there was no one where they lived to tell them about Him. The need is real, what can you do to help? The rest of the quote from Romans 10 reads, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
This is not an appeal for funding or commitment to become a preacher, but if you feel God is calling, you need to know He doesn’t dial any wrong numbers!
Serving Him,
Pastor Jerry

It’s Not About the Building

Dear Friends,
We spent Saturday and Sunday at Lake George. We had planned to stay through Monday, but as someone once said, “the best laid plans”… I’m sure we’ll get another opportunity. I was asked recently, “just where is Lake George?” The short answer is: 9 miles north of Rose, Nebraska on highway 183. Now everyone knows.

There are some who believe I can’t be separated from my pulpit on Sunday morning. It is not true. Thanks, Tom Huffman, for filling in for me. I did enjoy the day off.

While in the neighborhood, Milrae and I spent a couple of hours in the basement of the Historic Rose Church. We were installing a new light in the basement, in preparation for insulating and drywalling the ceiling. It is hoped that this project can be completed sometime soon.

I wonder at times, as we endeavor to preserve and maintain the old centers of worship, if we have left out something very important. When the population base is reduced to very small numbers, and the people show no interest in spiritual matters, are we making a building an idol? The psalmist says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Maybe this applies to his “house”, as well? Have we forgotten to include the Lord?

On the other hand, God spoke to the prophet Haggai, chastising the people of Israel for neglecting His house. “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains in ruins” (Haggai 1:4)? It is true, I believe, that we need to maintain a presence for the Lord in a community. I also believe we need to include the Lord, by being in constant prayer for his guidance and his provision in the effort.

Lastly, we press on, because in any area, no matter how thickly or thinly populated, there are people who need the Lord. We are called to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. Even to the scattered residents of the Nebraska Sandhills. Would you pray for the unreached people in the lesser populated areas of our state, and for those who are willing to invest in them?

Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry