June 8

I love the sermon I mentioned in my message, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”.  I dislike “scaring people” into heaven (or out of hell as the case may be).  Fear is however a motivator many times to get us out of our “comforts”.  Fear of dying from a heart attack or high blood pressure has motivated many people to a healthier lifestyle.  Fear of catching a virus has put masks on our faces.  And certainly fear of hell has lead to many conversions, rededications, and recommitments.  Unfortunately fear is usually temporary- as are many of the changes it inspires.  So the lasting impact is lessened.  This is another reason why preaching on God’s love is so popular.  Love typically inspires more long lasting impacts.  However, I think we need to occasionally need to preach and teach about a God who will not allow sinners into heaven and will indeed send them to hell.

June 1

I did not do justice to my sermon yesterday in light of all the racial unrest in this country over this last weekend.  Police brutality, protests, riots, looting and unrest has been in our nation and on the news.  I could have devoted my entire sermon on Micah 6:8 instead of the last 5 minutes.  To tell you the truth, I really do not know what to say about the whole situation.  I cannot understand the fear, hatred, oppression, and biases that blacks and other minorities feel because as a white man I have never had to deal with those frustrations, let alone experience them on a daily basis.  I do not know what they have been through because I have never experienced it myself.  I have never been pulled over because of my skin color alone.  I have never had people look at me in disgust because of where I lived or grew up.  I do not know the fear of wondering if some cop will abuse his power if I say or do something to defend myself.  Yet they live in that world.  A world of bias and prejudice and degradation.  They want to be heard.  They not only want to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God, they also want justice for themselves (which too often they do not get).  They want mercy.
This is a dark world.  And as I concluded in yesterday’s sermon, we need to be the light.  Be the light to these who are looking for is.

May 18

I totally forgot about posting here last week like I normally do and I even forgot about adding last week’s sermon (Mother’s Day) to the website either.  Sorry for that.  I know there are some people who frequent this website and this blog to listen to the sermon and read the devotion here.  And since I missed last week, I want to again wish all the mothers out there (including both my mother and my wife) a happy Mother’s Day.  They deserve all our love and respect.
Today I have been encouraged by a lot of little things.  Taken individually they are a snippets of good news but added together they have made my morning bright.  So my encouragement to you is to thank God for the little things in life that He has given us to make our day better.  As the old hymn says, “Count your blessings; name them one my one; Count your many blessings see what God has done”.

May 4

Today is “Star Wars day” because of a slightly twisted line from the movie, “May the force be with you” changed to May the fourth be with you.  May 4th.  And the idea of the the line in the first place was a reliance on a mystic cosmic force that controls your destiny.  It is the same kind of thinking today.  I am not sure if any of you saw this commercial on TV yet, but it is a total pro-science/anti-God commercial about saving the world from this pandemic.  Watch it and see you if had the same reaction I had.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl0tEfLve1U.  After watching this commercial myself, I looked over at my wife and gasped.  Science will win? Trust in science and it will succeed?  Stop putting your trust on other things (like God) because science is better?  Do not get me wrong in saying that God does not work through science.  I know many people who God has gifted with insights and wisdom in scientific ideas.  But science will not save us.  God is just as capable of confusing the research of scientists as He is of giving wisdom to cure it.  We should not think that a cosmic force or science will save us.  Only God can do that.  May the Lord be with you.

April 27

One of the key messages in Joel that I was not able to bring out in my sermon is the phrase “Day of the Lord”.  Normally when we think of the day of the Lord we think about the end time prophesies of Jesus’ return to earth and the final battle between good and evil.  But if you look carefully, Joel uses the phrase to refer to events in his own day.  So in essence we are all living in the day of the Lord.  God’s timing and order of events both now and in the future are known only to him.  We may get hints and minor details here in Joel.  But just as this swarm of locust time is unknown, sometimes we have to understand that the time of the end events are unknown.  We need to be ready.  I am sure when the end time events start to play out, we will understand more about what the Bible predicts about and every thing the Bible says will happen will happen.

April 20

Again, the week has gotten away from me.  Sorry.  We looked this week at the first of the minor prophets: Hosea.  And the message we learned from this book is that God loves us.  His love will not let us go.  However his love does not exclude punishment for sins or consequences.  The kindness of his wrath is to bring repentance and a return to his loving arms.  His true wrath will only be felt by those who refuse to return or trust in God.  We all have been given opportunities to confess our sins and we will continue to have them until we die or Jesus comes to take his children home.  Since we have no idea when either of those events will happen, do not put off this choice.  Please see the love that God has for you before that day comes when you will not be able to change your mind and you will experience what God’s wrath really is all about.

April 13

Well we survived Easter Sunday without gathering together.  And even though it was hard not to see people gather to worship a risen Savior, we all know that the message has not changed in 2000 years.  We serve a risen Savior who is in the world today.  And that, it so happens, is where the church finds itself.  We too are in the world ministering to those around us.  We are not the church gathered but the church scattered.  The church is not closed, it is now unenclosed.  I hope this will not just be a time of hunkering down and staying isolated, but that we, like Jesus did on earth, be like physicians who are not healing the healthy but going to the sick and dying.  Even now we can in our own self-distancing can reach out to those who need a spiritual touch.  When you cannot touch others physically, you can still touch them spiritually.

April 6

If you noticed, I did not post this on the 6th (Monday) like I usually do.  To tell you the truth, I forgot about it until today.  With the quarantine, my schedule has been thrown in a loop this last month and the new routine has not yet set in yet.
As most of you know this is holy week; the week we celebrate the passion and the resurrection of Jesus.  And this is “Maundy Thursday”.  If you did not know (I had to remember again), the reason it is called Maundy Thursday is because in Latin Maundy is our word for “command”.  It is to remind us of Jesus’ commandment to his disciples in his last supper to “Love one another just as I have loved you”.  And in today’s world, this should take on new meaning with all that is going on.  It should also remind us of a similar command to love God and to love each other.  How are you showing love this week?

March 30

Well we are at the end of the month of March.  And as far as the coronavirus goes, it came in like a lamb March 1st and is going out like a lion, just the opposite of how March should be.  However, I hope all of you reading this are safe and well.  It has been a long month of coping and it looks like maybe another month of separation.  And it looks like one of my worst fears is going to happen.  When I thought about canceling church two and a half weeks ago, I thought, “If we start canceling church now, we might not be able to worship on Easter together.  And more and more that seems to be the case.  I can think of nothing worse than having no fellowship and worship and praise being lifted up on this holiest day of the year.  Yes we can still listen to music on the radio or sermons on Facebook, but not being together corporately to hear and participate in giving God the glory for the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ is the WORST thing that could ever happen.
This is other then the resurrection not happening in the first place.  Let me remind you of what Paul says about the resurrection.  “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. . . . And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Cor 15:14-20)
This is Easter.  Not a worship service celebrated once a year, but a realization that our preaching and our faith are real every day of the year.  (P.S. you might hear this line in one of my sermons coming up.)

March 23

As a pastor I have to  make some tough choices these days.  With the virus spreading in our country and things on lock down, I have to decide how and when to open our doors.  We have been blessed because of the blood drive on Monday and now we are a lunch distribution center for the Morton lunch program.  And because of the idea of the later, more places are becoming distribution centers in Morton.  This is putting less strain on families who need lunches but also want to stay close to home during this quarantine.  But I know that our Parent’s night out and our Easter Egg hunt are going to have to be cancelled.  And if things go the way they are, celebrating Easter itself together physically may be out of the question.
On the plus side, Facebook and other social media are bursting with sermons and other “church” activities like never before and many more might be reached this Easter because of this blooming.
So stay in prayer during this time that God’s word will continue to go forth.  Maybe this will be the start of a revival and a change in the hearts and lives of this nation and around the world.