Archive for the ‘Salt and Light’ Category

Stand for the Truth

Last week it seemed somehow we skipped fall, and went right into winter. Those balmy Indian Summer days evaporated into cold and snow. I know, we haven’t had any great amount of snow, but really, I had hoped for a longer time of nice weather. One thing is for sure, I am not in control of the weather!

We got to go back to our old neighborhood church this past Sunday. I was invited to preach in the absence of their regular pulpit supply person. If you are so inclined, you might pray that little congregation could soon get a new pastor. There is much talk about reaching rural America with the gospel, and that church goes beyond most folks’ concept of what is rural. Sybrant Community Church is soon to celebrate its 100th year as a church. That this church is still in existence,qq is a testament to the faithfulness of God to His people. It is a gospel witness in that community.

Teachers of another gospel, one that is completely different from that of Jesus and His apostles, have been around since the beginning of Christianity. Now, it seems to me that we are witnessing these false teachers in increasing numbers. As many contemporary churches are trying to accommodate all the unbiblical ideas and even heretical teaching, in an attempt to “reach more people”, the gospel is being watered down and even ignored. Many people are being led away from the truth by these people.

The apostle Paul had harsh words for the church in Galatia. He wrote, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6-7).

“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). “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine…. They will turn their ears from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 2:2-4).

Folks, that time is here. Pray for, and join with those who proclaim the truth of God’s Word. Spiritual warfare is real.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

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A Turning Point

Dear friends,
Are you excited about the New Year? To me, it is good to think of a new year as an opportunity to make some course corrections, and to reevaluate where I am headed. However, I think at this point I am more motivated by the thought that spring is coming. I’m just not dealing with the cold this winter, and yes, I know this hasn’t been a particularly hard winter.
In our Sunday school lesson this week, it was suggested that an encounter with Jesus Christ is a turning point; a new beginning. When a person becomes a Christian, he or she has a change in priorities. In fact, a true conversion experience creates change.
In the passage of scripture known as the Beatitudes, Jesus clearly identified the characteristics He expects His followers to exhibit. They are not options; they are Jesus’ expectations for all His followers.
There are eight of these characteristics, and they are found in Matthew 5:1-16.
The poor in spirit: True happiness comes when we realize we are spiritually bankrupt and must rely on God’s strength. Those who mourn: refers to those who have true sorrow for our sins, which leads to repentance. The gentle: This implies humility and trust in God rather than a self-centered attitude. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: Those who yearn for true justice, personal righteousness, and salvation.
The merciful: The word merciful implies generosity, compassion, and forgiveness. It is second nature for those who have experienced God’s mercy to show the same mercy to others. The pure in heart: Purity of heart is single-minded devotion to God. The pure will see God and experience intimate fellowship with Him. The peacemakers: Peace describes a state of wholeness and completeness in our relationship with God and all others. Those who seek to make peace do the work of God and will be called sons of God.
Finally, the persecuted: It is an inevitable fact of life that true followers of Christ will be persecuted. Those who are persecuted because they serve Christ can rejoice, because their reward is great in heaven.
Those who possess a genuine Christian character are going to make a difference in the world. As salt, which both flavors and preserves, and as lights shining from a hilltop, they will have an impact on the culture in which they live.
Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

Going Home

I’m writing this morning from Livermore, Colorado. We have had a good visit with friends, and later today, we will visit my brother and sister-in-law further down the road. We hope to return to Ericson Tuesday or Wednesday. That will depend on the weather, and it sounds as if Tuesday might be the day to head back home.

Thinking of going home, early this morning I was remembering a time several years ago when a cow of ours somehow got across the fence, and into an adjoining pasture. I didn’t know she was gone until the next morning when she was standing on the wrong side of the fence, wanting to get back into her home territory.

Knowing a little about bovine behavior, I figured she wasn’t welcome in the other group of cows, and she decided home wasn’t too bad. (I’m not too sure cows make too many conscious decisions, but who knows?)

Scripture reminds us Christians that we are aliens and strangers in a foreign land. One version of the Bible calls us strangers and temporary residents. We are in this world, but our true home is heaven. Many times, we don’t feel welcome in our world, and long for our heavenly home. The difference between us and a stray cow is that we are placed in this world by the Lord, and he expects us to remain here and influence our world on his behalf until he calls us home.

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, told of his desire to go to be with the Lord. He wrote, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians 1:23-24). His desire was to be in heaven, but he also knew the Lord wanted him to stay in this world until his work for the Lord was completed.

At times the world around us seems to be moving further away from any notion of a sovereign God, and we, like Paul, sometimes desire to be at home with the Lord, but again, he has left us here to be salt and light to a dark world. And, when our work here is done, rest assured, he will take us to that home he has promised us.

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry