Saturday, August 19, 2017

Thank you, Joan!

One of our members, Joan Gorges, went to heaven to rest in the arms of her Savior.  She was a generous person and blessed many of our members.  Her legacy is our Prayer Chapel.  She paid for the entire construction, which included the stained glass window.  We were so glad she was able to be with us when we dedicated the Chapel following one of our 11 am services.  Speaking for myself, it is such a blessing to go to a quiet place, read "Treasuring God's Word," pray the daily hours and go over my prayer list.  It is the best part of the day.

I hope you will include in your day spending time in worship with the Lord.  Our Saturday service takes place at 5 pm and Sunday services start at 8 and 11 am.  My message for tomorrow is entitled, "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet."  Please come and join us this weekend!

Friday, August 18, 2017

"You won't get worms!"

At a downtown mission one evening the minister was preaching a sermon on the evils of drinking. To illustrate the point he put two glasses on the pulpit. 

The first glass he filled with water, the second glass he filled with a very good bourbon whiskey. The he dropped a healthy earthworm into the glass of water. 

Immediately the worm started to swim around. The he took the worm and dropped it into the glass of whiskey. Immediately the worm shriveled up and died. 

The minister asked the congregation of drifters, "What does this prove to you?" Immediately an old drunk enthusiastically raised his hand and said, "Preacher, if you drink good whiskey, you won't get worms!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I sense you are very thirsty

I am close to finishing up Philip Yancey's wonderful book, "What's So Amazing About Grace?" By the time I complete one of his books, nearly every page is highlighted, underlined or starred in some way. I loved his insight regarding Jesus' amazing meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well in John, chapter four:

John give the account of Jesus' impromptu conversation with a woman at a well. In those days the husband initiated divorce: this Samaritan woman had been dumped by five different men. Jesus could have begun by pointing out what a mess the woman had made of her life. Yet he did not say, "Young woman, do you realize what an immoral thing you're doing, living with a man who is not your husband?" Rather, He said, in effect, I sense you are very thirsty. Jesus went on to tell her that the water she was drinking would never satisfy and then offered her living water to quench her thirst forever.

So often we try to quench our thirst for living by pouring ourselves into our jobs, pursuing a special hobby, acquiring stuff or investing inordinate amounts of time into relationships, some of which aren't healthy for us.

But if we're honest we have to admit that nothing can really quench our thirst for authentic living except Jesus.  Our new life in Christ quenches our thirst. Jesus is the end of the seeking life. Jesus gives new life!  He refreshes us with His living water and living Word. If you are thirsty, go to Jesus. Now! He has exactly what you need to quench your parched, dry life.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Making weakness irrelevant

My former business partner used to say, "You can't make a quarterback out of a tight end." This was his way of saying that it's bad business to take an individual who doesn't have what it takes for a certain position or responsibility and thrust them into that position.  Both the business and the employee will feel incredibly frustrated.

The same mistake often takes place in the church.  Sometimes people are added to the ministry staff because they needed a job or have been loyal and supportive to the pastor or the church. But is that an appropriate reason for hiring a person for a specific task? Probably not, especially if that person isn't suited for that role.

I appreciated what Carl George and Warren Bird wrote in their book, "How To Break Growth Barriers:" One of the keys of effective leadership is to work from your area of strength, not weakness. As Peter Drucker...has said, "the purpose of organization is to make weakness irrelevant. To maximize what you do best, you need to be effective in empowering others."

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Welcome God In

When we invite God into our world, He walks in. He brings a host of gifts: joy, patience, resilience. Anxieties come, but they don't stick. Fears surface and then depart. Regrets land on the windshield, but then comes the wiper of prayer. The devil still hands me stone of guilt, but I turn and give them to Christ. I'm completing my sixth decade, yet I'm wired with energy. I am happier, healthier, and more hopeful than I've ever been. Struggles come, for sure. But so does God.

Prayer is not a privilege for the pious, not the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and His child. My friends, He wants to talk with you. Even now, as you read these words, He taps at the door. Open it. Welcome Him in. Let the conversation begin.

Max Lucado, "God Is With You Every Day," page 235

This weekend - worship on Saturday at 5 pm; worship on Sunday at 8 and 11 am. Study the Bible with your friends at 9:30 am and classes for the kids too! 

Friday, August 11, 2017

I got this Mom!

A crowded airplane was about to take off. But suddenly screaming and whaling filled the plan from front to back - a six year old boy began throwing a wild tempter tantrum.  It seemed that Mom could do nothing to calm the kid down.

In the midst of the commotion, an older man wearing the uniform of a Marine calmly walked down the aisle toward Mom and boy. The man looked impressive - his body was still lean and this uniform full of medals and stripes.

He bent over and whispered something to the boy.  And just like that the kid stopped crying, hopped up to his seat and fastened his seat belt.

The stunned travelers burst in applause as the older Marine walked back to his seat.  As the man sat down, the passenger next to him asked, "What was it that you whispered to the boy that caused him to stop making such a scene?"

The Marine smiled and said, "I showed him all of my medals and stripes and told him that they gave me the authority to throw on passenger out of the plane door on any flight I choose."

Adapted from Ken Davis' book, "Lighten Up and Live," page 136

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I love my church family?

Christian congregations are often referred to as a "church family." As a group of people we have lots in common - a heavenly Father who loves us, a Brother who loved us to death, and a Counselor who intercedes and helps us daily.

But some have the expectation that because we are a "church" family, we should be one happy family. Kind, considerate, understanding and always full of love for one another.  Those are not always the marks of our natural family and it is silly to expect that things would be different with the "church" family.

One of our members gave me an interesting devotional piece written by a favorite author, Philip Yancey.  It's entitled, "Building Community."

"Community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives," says Henri Nouwen. Often we surround ourselves with the people we most want to live with, which forms a club or a clique, not a community.  Anyone can form a club; it takes grace, shared vision and hard work to form a community.

The Christian church was the first institution in history to bring together on equal footing Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slaves and free. The apostle Paul waxed eloquent on this "mystery," which for ages past was kept hidden from God." By forming a community out of diverse members, Paul said, we have the opportunity to capture the attention of the world and even the supernatural world beyond us (Ephesians 3:9-10)

In some ways the church has sadly failed in this assignment. Still, church is the one place I visit that brings together generations: infants still held in their mother's arms, children who squirm and giggle at all the wrong times, responsible adults who know how to act appropriately at all times, and those who may drift off to sleep if the preacher drones on too long.

If we want the community experience God is offering to us, we have reason to seek a congregation of people "not like us."