June 28

Yesterday at the end of the service I broke down thinking about the incredible servanthood that Jesus showed to his disciples and the incredible duty he calls us, his servants, to do others.  Our Savior and God stooped down to wash the dirty feet of his disciples is a picture that I cannot keep dry-eyed about.  And his subsequent message that we need to follow his example is overwhelming as I think about it.  No other God would do this.  But he did.  He is worthy for us to also show that same servanthood to others.

June 21

I hope everyone had a happy father’s day.  And for those men out there who are not actual fathers, be the kind of men your heavenly Father wants you to be.

June 14

Forgive one another is a one another command that is linked to other similar one anothers like Bear with one another, Be kind and compassionate to one another, Be kind to each other (and to everyone else), Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another (in love) and Carry each other’s burden.  Forgiveness is much more than telling others that you are sorry, but helping each other every step of the way with humility, kindness, compassion, gentleness, and patience.  How well are you using all these aspects in your forgiveness?

June 7

Some weekends, I do not get a chance to read from the devotional Our Daily Bread.  If I would have read the one on Saturday, I would probably included it in my Sunday sermon because it touched on many of the points I had already put into my sermon.  It is a good illustration of the principles behind offering hospitality in a loving and serving capacity.  I am going to post it below in case you did not read it.

“Rogelio served as our waiter during our weeklong vacation. In one conversation, he credited Jesus for blessing him with Kaly, a compassionate wife with strong faith. After they had their first baby, God gave them the opportunity to help care for their niece who had Down syndrome. Soon after, Rogelio’s mother-in-law needed live-in care.

Rogelio works with joy, often taking on double shifts to ensure his wife can stay home to care for the people God entrusted to them. When I shared how the couple inspired me to love better because of the way they opened their hearts and home to serve their family members, he said, “It is my pleasure to serve them . . . and you.”

Rogelio’s life affirms the power of living with generosity and trusting God to provide as we serve one another selflessly. The apostle Paul urged God’s people to be “devoted to one another in love . . . joyful in hope, patient in affliction, [and] faithful in prayer” as we “share with the Lord’s people who are in need [and] practice hospitality” (Romans 12:10–13).

Our life can change in an instant, leaving us or those we love in circumstances that feel impossible to bear. But when we’re willing to share all God has given us while we wait on Him, we can cling to His enduring love . . . together.”

May 31

This was not posted on Monday like usual.  I knew this going into this week because I had much on my calendar the first part of the week and was not in the office long enough to write this devotional.  The idea for this week that has been crossing my mind a lot over these last days in that God is with you in whatever circumstances that you face.  In the good times and in the bad, God is concerned and caring for you.  He loves you no matter what you are going through.  I have seen this time and time again.  And it gives me great encouragement especially in rough times.  You can trust that he will always be with you.

May 24

The holy kiss does not have a lot of information or scholarship behind it.  And I wish I could be definitive about it’s meaning.  But I think the message behind this command is that we need to show camaraderie among believers.  We need to let everyone who comes into our fellowship to have a warm and welcoming greeting.  That no one should feel unwelcomed or shunned.  This is based on many of the previous one another commands that we have already looked at and is an extension the love we have received from our heavenly Father.  We are all a part of his family and so a friendly kiss or hug or handshake or pat on the back, or high five or other greetings should reflect this.  It is not just another handshake or hello.  It is a warm, loving embrace whether literal or implied.  So allow your greetings to display how much you care for each other.

May 17

  I want to use this week’s post to let you know of some exciting things that have been happening behind the scene here at Groveland Missionary Church.  Here at this church we support several missionaries that are ministering in many foreign countries.  Well one of the missionaries we support monthly sent out an appeal at the beginning of the year for prayer and support for a new program for the youth he is working with over in Greece.  He wants to start a Bible quizzing program.  If you do not know what Bible quizzing is, a group of people (youth) are given a section of scripture to study and memorize for a month or so, then they gather together and are asked questions about the passages they studied in a game show type event.  The first one to stand up to answer the question correctly gets points for their team.  The team that gets the most questions correctly with the fewest wrong, win the quiz meet.  Well in order to figure out who stands up first, you need some specialized equipment.  This missionary was looking for help not only getting the equipment but also with other aspects of quizzing.
  I was on a quiz team for one summer and I knew that GMC also at one time had a quiz team.  As I looked around the church here, I found two sets of the specialized equipment that this church was no longer using.  The first set included two special benches and a quiz machine that you plugged into the wall and into the benches to use for quizzing.  The benches were big and heavy (very well built).  But it would have been a fortune to send that overseas and it would probably have to have been shipped- taking a long time to get there.
  But than I came across a small box not much bigger than a portable record player.  Inside was a quiz machine.  It had the control panel that would light up when the quizzers would stand up.   But even better it was designed to use little pressure pads that you could place on any chair or bench was available.  There was no need to ship specialized benches.  And to top it all off, it was not run by an outlet in the wall.  I was battery powered! (with common ordinary 9 volt batteries like those in smoke alarms)  No need for power conversion plugs for foreign electric outlets or anything.  This small, lightweight, all in one, battery powered box had everything needed to hold a quiz meet any time and any where with minimum set up and no outside power source.
  I was so excited that this missionary who we have help support for many years would not only be able to spread the gospel by quizzing, but that we could be the ones to help start him off with the very equipment that he would need.  We were not using it and if we did decide to start a quiz team again, we would still have the first set of equipment for ourselves.  After getting approval from the elders, we became his answer to his prayer.  With just a little postage (considering it was going almost half way around the world), we were able to fly it to him.  He just received it in the mail this week and is excited to use it to strengthen young people in the word of God.
  I hope that this encourages you and I am sure this quizzing equipment encouraged Nathan this last week.

May 10

I hope every mother had a good Mother’s day.  And even if you did not have a great mother or she may have passed away, I hope you have someone in your life who demonstrates God’s love to you in a motherly way.

May 3

May the 3rd be with you.  Does not have quite the ring to it as tomorrow’s greeting will be, but what can I say.  And speaking of May, we have a lot on the calendar.  We have Parent’s Night Out this Friday and Mother’s day next Sunday.  The following Sunday (May 16th) we are going to have a carry-in dinner.  That week, I will be traveling to Regional conference in Fort Wayne, the women have a sewing day, and our first Summer Movie Night on that Friday (May 21st).  And finally the church is hosting another Blood drive the last full week of this month.  In between all of these church events, I have other pastoral meetings and visitations that I try to include in my calendar (some are new this month after more than a year off).  Plus my family calendar is also filling up with end of the year events and concerts at my kid’s school and beginning of summer.  Hard to keep track of it all
I am glad that we are starting to get over this pandemic and are able to do more activities in and around the church.  I missed the fellowship over this last year.  And while I am an introvert and love alone time, it was too much even for me.  So I hope that you will be able to join us for some of these events.

April 26

Just a couple of quick things before I get into my main devotional.
  Yes it is my birthday today (26th).  I am turning 48.  Thank you for all your good wishes.
  Yesterday, I talked about the mask that some people wear.  I was talking metaphorically not the literal masks that people are wearing to prevent the spread of the Covid virus.  Hopefully the context of trying to hide or lie about who you appear to be on the outside in contrast to who you really are on the inside made that understood.  Sorry if there was any confusion.
  I did not focus on the command to pray for each other as much as the first command in that verse from James 5:16.  Prayer is a much broader topic that I could to a whole series on (and I have).  Here it is used in the context of prayers of healing and confession so I just included it in the prayer of confession.
  However, in my sermon preparation, I did come across a story from Our Daily Bread (from June 2, 2005) that I want to reprint here for us to think about this week.

  Prayer is a conversation with God, not a formula. Yet sometimes we might need to use a “method” to freshen up our prayer time. We can pray the Psalms or other Scriptures (such as The Lord’s Prayer), or use the ACTS method (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). I recently came across this “Five-Finger Prayer” to use as a guide when praying for others:

  • When you fold your hands, the thumb is nearest you. So begin by praying for those closest to you—your loved ones (Philippians 1:3-5).
  • The index finger is the pointer. Pray for those who teach—Bible teachers and preachers, and those who teach children (1 Thessalonians 5:25).
  • The next finger is the tallest. It reminds you to pray for those in authority over you—national and local leaders, and your supervisor at work (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
  • The fourth finger is usually the weakest. Pray for those who are in trouble or who are suffering (James 5:13-16).
  • Then comes your little finger. It reminds you of your smallness in relation to God’s greatness. Ask Him to supply your needs (Philippians 4:6,19).

Whatever method you use, just talk with your Father. He wants to hear what’s on your heart.