February 10

Heaven is a wonderful place from what the Bible tells us.  And I am looking forward one day of dwelling there.  And this is not just a hope, but a real destination which was paid for by the blood of Jesus cleansing me from my sins.  I know without a doubt that He died and rose again.  And one day (I hope soon), He will come back to take me home.  If you do not have this confidence and would like to know more, please contact me here at the church and I would be more than happy to lead you down the path that leads to everlasting life in God’s kingdom.

February 3

In my sermon this last week, I started off with a list of people who were raised from the dead.  I listed 7 including Jesus.  These were not from a list I found, but from my own memory of the Bible.  However, my memory failed me because as I was starting to prepare next week’s message, I recalled another resurrection story I failed to list.  In Acts 9, Peter raised a woman named Dorcas (also called Tabitha) back to life.

January 27

A lot of sickness has gone through our house these last few weeks and it is hard sometimes to get into the office to get things done when you have to watch a child home sick from school.  My schedule has been a bit disrupted from the norm and I find myself distracted more easily when I am wondering what my kids might be going through.  However, it is encouraging to know that Jesus as my shepherd is with me fighting the battles I am going through.  He knows what I am going through and he helps me get through them.  I find I need his guidance even more when I do not have the strength to make it through.

January 20

It is going to be a busy week for me this week.  Not only do I have the usual sermon to prepare, but with the sad passing of Elmer Birkey, I will have to do a funeral with all the prep it takes.  Plus the annual meeting is this next Sunday, so I need to get that information put together for the reports that will be presented.  So I going to make my thoughts here short.
The idea that Jesus wants to give us a full and abundant life is a wonderful thought.  Especially when paired with the image of the gate proceeding it in the context and the shepherd image right following.  The idea of a shepherd and all the love and care that it conjures up is so fulfilling.  God is looking out for us and giving us so much.   Plus that guidance and direction he gives.  And walking with us through both good times and bad.  This truly is a full life.  I hope I never take it for granted.

January 13

As you might be able to see, I am not writing this on January 13th.  I am a few days behind due to some sickness in my family.  However, I have been thinking about this light that we talked about on Sunday. My first point was about Jesus doing miracles even today.  Some of those miracles are “natural” i.e. medications the help cure or heal, doctors performing surgery, etc.  And God has blessed and provided through some of these means “miracles” that might not have happened not too long ago.  I do not believe like some other religious groups that God only heals via supernatural ways by faith believing.  Doctors and hospitals all are involved with health and healing in the Christian’s life.  But I also believe that does not deny the fact that God still uses supernatural healing.  Miracles happen.  People who are prayed over or anointed with oil can be healed by a direct touch from our Maker.  I even struggled whether or not to include in my sermon a time for me to ask if anyone wanted the elders and I to lay hands on those who needed to be anointed.  I only decided not to because I have never done anything like that on a Sunday morning and felt too apprehensive about it.  I do not feel I have the gift of healing and it would scare me if a supernatural healing would happen because of something I did.  It might “go to my head” and knowing how many of this congregation have physical needs . . . . well I will just say that while I know the Spirit can and does, actually experiencing it would freak me out.  Besides, I know many times that our prayers times have seen many answers to prayer for healing.  Also I would be more than happy to anoint and pray for someone if they ask me (they take the initiative) but a little scared if I would initially ask the congregation who wanted to be anointed.  Hope this confusion makes sense to you.  If not, come and ask me about it and maybe I can flesh it out more on a one on one basis. Until next week, God Bless.

January 6

Well it is a new year.  And with most new years, one of the things many people do is make new years resolutions.  In my sermon on Sunday, I challenged the congregation to start a Bible reading plan.  We need to ingest more of God’s words to keep our hungry souls filled.  So I would like to also challenge those who read this blog to also start a reading plan.  It can be short like reading through the book of Psalms twice (read one chapter a day for all 150 chapters and repeat), reading through the book of Proverbs once a month for the year (31 chapters in 31 days: repeat 12 times), or read through the entire Bible in one year.  There are many plans out there.  Just goggle Bible reading plans and thousands will pop up.  I am using a plan from YouVersion (https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/158).  It goes in Biblical order.  But one problem I have found with Bible order plans is you start to get bogged down in February when to get to Leviticus.  This is also the time of year when other new years resolutions fall by the way side.  To combat this there is another type that divides the Bible in 7 sections and you read one section per day (https://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/).  Also on that website they have chronological order of the Bible which puts off reading more “boring” sections of the Bible until you have made it more of a habit.  I also like this because it places the Psalms with their historical times in David’s life and Paul’s letters into the history of the book of Acts.
     If you use your phone as a source for your bible reading there are many apps out there that you can you. 
     Let me give you a couple of tips for reading the Bible through.  1. Choose a reading plan that is right for you.  If you have limited devotional time, reading 2-4 chapters may be too much at first. Choose a three year plan if that is the case.  I would rather you read something then have you say, “I cannot read that much” and read nothing at all. 2. Choose a good translation.  If this is your first time attempting this, I would suggest the New Living Translation or another readable version.  KJV or NASV might be too difficult on your first go around.  3. Do not get discouraged or quit if you miss a day or two.  You can either read twice as much the next day until you catch up, or just continue being a few days behind the rest of the year and finish in January (or February).  The point is don’t stop until you reach your goal.  4. Do not read just to read (and boast that you finished).  Each day ask God to show you new things in the section you are reading.  And you know what, God will do what you asked.

December 30

Another year has passed us by.  And I looked looking back on the sermons I put together this year.  It is good to look back every once and a while and see God’s faithfulness.  But God also wants us to look forward and not dwell on our past accomplishments.  He wants to do new and exciting things to further his kingdom and bring more people to the saving knowledge of Jesus.  So as we look into 2020 we need to “let our light shine before others so that they may see our good works and glorify God in heaven”

December 23

Christmas is coming this next week (in just a few days actually).  So want to use this opportunity to wish all of you who read these posts a very Merry Christmas.  And I hope that your new year will be filled with hope, life, salvation, and joy (the four Advent messages from this year).  And as I preached in my message this last week (it is posted under the Media heading), I hope that the prayer for all of us is, “Jesus, I want to get to know you better this year”.  This is a prayer for those who do not know much about Jesus to those who have known him for most of their lives.  We all could get to know Jesus better.

December 16

As the days are counting down until Christmas, the more we need to expect the Savior.  That is what looking for, preparing, and welcoming him are all about.  Each season we need to allow our hearts to be open to what he wants to do in our lives.  He wants to come and shed a light on us again this year.  Whether or not you have a personal relationship with him, our hearts needs that light to shine bright in us.  Let it cast aside the darkness that has crept into our lives this last year.  Even those who know Jesus sometimes try to hide in the dark.  But ready or not, here he comes with his light once again to expose those things we try to hid and get away with.  I hope each of us will embrace the light once again this year.

December 9

Jesus came to bring us life.  But sometimes that life seems enamored in suffering and pain.  And the holidays don’t seem to be much help.  As hard as it is to think about for many of us, depression and suicide increase during holiday seasons.  Maybe it is the contrast between the outer happiness and joy that is seen around us with the inner hopelessness and sadness that some feel that accounts for this.  When we think we should be glad like “everyone else”, but still suffer on the inside, we injure ourselves even more than usual. What many people do not understand is that even though many people seem holly and jolly on the outside, are not always that way on the inside.  So do not be discouraged by the masks people wear.  The great thing about Jesus is that he can give us the life on the inside that we show on the outside.  He can fill the void in our lives.  He can encourage us and strengthen us.  His Spirit can fill us with love, joy, and peace throughout the year, but most often during our times of discouragement.  As my old professor said, “Never forget in the darkness what you have learned in the light.”