Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's here - my blog vacation!

Hello everyone!

I stopped blogging around the first of this year.  It seemed to take up a lot of time and my schedule is full anyway so I decided to stop.  I figured that no one would miss me anyway.

But what I found was that I was missed.  I began hearing from people who told me that they enjoyed reading the blog and wished that I would resume it in some fashion.

Armed with that encouragement I came back to my old address, right here.  It's been fun.  I enjoy it a lot.  But in order to stay fresh and to look forward to sitting down at the keyboard, I'm going to take a break.

I'll be back on August 15.  Hopefully, I'll have many tales of what I did on my blog vacation.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay cool and stay firmly rooted in the love and peace of Jesus Christ!

Talk to you soon!

Monday, July 14, 2014

It was "one of those days"

I wonder if you can relate to this poem, entitled "Fancy Dive," by author and illustrator, Shel Silverstein?

The fanciest dive that was ever done
  Was done by Melissa of Coconut Grove
She bounced on the board and flew in the air
  With a twist of her head and a twirl of her hair
She did 34 jackknives, backflipped and spun
  Quadruple gainered and reached for the sun
And then somersaulted nine times and a quarter
  And looked down and saw
The pool had no water!

The apostle Paul was having one of those days in the City of Corinth (you can read about it in Acts, chapter 18).  He discovered that his hearers were not listening - they had closed their hearts and souls to the good news that Jesus is the promised Messiah.  Rather than continue to dive in a pool without water, so to speak, Paul turned the focus of his ministry to other people who were hungry for the truth.

Are you unsure about your next move? Seeking reassurance that the important decision you've made is the correct one? The Lord spoke to Paul in a vision (Acts 18:9).  The Lord speaks to you in worship and as you daily read and reflect on His Word.  Give it a try and see if you don't receive the comfort and guidance that Your Lord and Savior can offer.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Don't forget to worship this weekend

It's a busy weekend at Life in Christ.  The Memorial Service for a dear brother in the faith, Don Davis, takes place this morning at 11 am.  Later in the afternoon our 5 o'clock service features Holy Communion and a message from Pastor John Pope.  On Sunday, worship takes place at 8 and 10:45 am with Sunday school and classes for Junior and Senior Hi at 9:20 am.  The congregation will hold a Voters Meeting to consider issuing a call for an Associate Pastor and to hear a presentation concerning the possibility of constructing a new Education facility.  Looking for a friendly church? In need of a Word of hope and peace? Join us this Sunday at LICL!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wise words from Charles Schwab

Do you lead people? Are you responsible for getting the best out of people? I found this good advice in the classic, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," by Dale Carnegie.

I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest gift I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.  Charles Schwab

Thursday, July 10, 2014

God will help you too.

Ed Greer was a man who hated his life.  He was unhappy with work.  He felt that he was too pressured by his spouse.  So one day Greer decided to check out.  And he just disappeared.

His spouse and family searched and searched for him but they couldn't locate him.  Greer crossed the country and decided to live on the beaches of Florida.  Later, he assumed a new identity and moved to central Texas and found himself a good paying job.

Finally, after searching for seven years, the FBI found Ed Greer.  In an interview, when asked why he bailed out on family and friends, Greer explained, "I felt trapped.  I didn't like my life."

There are times in our lives when circumstances become so trying that we'd be quite glad to trade places with almost anyone.  The apostle Paul would have been more than justified to have bemoaned his luck and pray for a new and easier assignment.

Take a look at Acts 16:25: "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God."  Now backtrack and read verses 16-24 in your Bible.  What man, having been unfairly accused and unjustly flogged and beaten, finds himself able to have a worship service of praise to God in a jail cell?

The man who trusts in the Lord, that's who!

Perhaps Paul remembered the words of the Proverb: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

Your Lord is an ever-present help in times of trouble.  Believe that He can get you out of the tightest jam.  Paul trusted, was helped by God, and was even used to help bring a family to saving faith in the risen Lord (see Acts, chapter 16).  God will help you too.  Trust Him.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A table prayer

My dear, sweet wife and I got into Jan Karon's "Mitford" series of books years ago and we devoured them.  Karon's depiction of Father Tim, serving a colorful cast of characters in a small town in North Carolina made for such joy. I wrote this table prayer in my journal; I believe it is from "At Home in Mitford," although I didn't note the page.

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all You have done for us.  We thank You for the blessing of family and friends, and for the love that surrounds us on every side.  Above all, we give You thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What more do you need?

It's silly, isn't it, to think that if we just accumulate enough "stuff" (whatever kind of stuff you like) we'll somehow be happy and content with our lives.  I've had some interaction with "stuff" and "stuff" has never comforted me when I've been sad or offered wise advice when I was troubled.

In the Large Catechism, Martin Luther brings the focus back to where it should be - to God.

What more would you have or desire than God so kindly promising to be yours with every blessing and to protect and help you in all need.

1st Commandment, paragraph 41

Monday, July 7, 2014

The summer reading list

I was looking at the New York Times mobile app on my phone and discovered an article regarding the summer reading lists of famous, high profile people.  A lot of heavy weight reading going on there.  Makes me kind of ashamed to share my list with you.  It's not so impressive.  But I'm not that ashamed because here it is:

"Murder Being Once Done" by Ruth Rendell.  I began reading the detective fiction of PD James years ago and it was from her that I discovered Rendell.  I love her Inspector Wexford mysteries.  Reading her books is like taking a trip to London.  If you like mysteries, you'll love Rendell.

"Revolution in the Head" by Ian MacDonald.  There have been a number of books written by folks trying to dissect  the songs of the Beatles.  Beatles fans in the know continually recommend MacDonald's book.  I read the preface to the second revised edition over the weekend and I'm already hooked.  I understand he takes a pretty objective look at each song, not afraid to criticize bad lyrics or a lousy tune.

"One to One Bible Reading" by David Helm.  What is the best way for a Christian to reach out to a non-believer or a seeker? Helm suggests that sitting down one to one and reading through the Scriptures is the best way to introduce a person to Jesus.  He makes a pretty compelling case.

Of course, I'll be doing my "Treasuring God's Word" devotional reading and I'll read a Richard Lauserdorf's devotional book as well.  I'd love to read more but life is pretty busy at the moment.  This list should keep me going until fall.

What are you reading? Send me an email at licl@licl.org and let me know if you've got any recommendations.  My wife once asked me, "How many books do you need?"  My answer: "Just one more."

Saturday, July 5, 2014

You've got a friend

Ever become frustrated with a lack of spiritual growth? Ever get down on yourself for committing the same old sins over and over again?

You've got a friend - Paul the apostle.  He dealt with those struggles and wrote about them in chapter seven in his letter to the believers in Rome.  Come hear what he had to say.  Join us for worship at 8 and 10:45 am with classes for all ages at 9:20 am.  Or check out today's service at 5 pm with Deacon Danny Baker preaching.

Have a blessed holiday weekend!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The difference is persistence

From the pen of author Craig Brian Larson:

Even the most talented people may not get it right the first time.  In a 1995 interview ex-Beatle Paul McCartney said he once wrote a song with the first line: "Scrambled eggs, oh my baby how I love your legs."

Have you ever heard that song?

Not likely.  McCartney tossed away those words and wrote, "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away."  Since then "Yesterday" has been played on the radio more than six million times, more than any other record in history.

The difference between failure and success - between "Scrambled Eggs" and "Yesterday" - is persistence.

As I read through the book of Acts in our Treasuring God's Word devotions it seems that persistence is a trait that is demonstrated quite well by the apostle Paul and his friends.  They traveled with a singular purpose - to testify that through Christ Jesus there is forgiveness of sins and peace with God.  No matter how long and hard the travel, no matter how threatening the persecution, Paul and Barnabas persist in their ministry.  And through their persistent faithfulness, the power of God worked mightily in word and deed.

Nothing is as easy as quitting.  Sometimes there is nothing harder than "staying the course," or pursuing a goal or objective.  Psalm 37:5 reads, "Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him."  Through your persistent faithfulness, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, watch and see if the power of God won't work mightily in your life today.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My World Cup fever's gone - why do I feel so bad?

They call futbol (soccer) the beautiful game.  It can also be crushing, maddening, and heartbreaking.

Cheering for the USA in the World Cup has been, for me, like rooting on the USA Hockey team in the 1980 Olympics.  We were the underdogs, competing on a stage reserved for Brazil, Spain, Germany and Portugal.

We had the bad fortune to be placed in the "Group of Death."  No team traveled more miles to play its games than the US team.

And, still, we made it out of our group while Ghana and Portugal did not.  And even though we were outplayed by Belgium, our team nearly forced a shoot out.  With the hottest goal tender on the planet in Tim Howard, I would have liked our chances.  I would have liked them very much.

In 1980 the US Hockey team won the gold medal.  In 2014 the USA soccer team won the hearts of its countrymen.

Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jesus Calling

Here's some good news...Jesus speaks to us through His Word, the Bible.  You don't have to receive the Lord's good word through anyone else.  This Sunday's Gospel lesson provides a wonderful example:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  St Matthew 11:28-30