November 30

I cannot express how much I love this time of year.  Everything about it excites me, including the snow.  Here in central Illinois, we don’t get as much snow as I did while I was growing up in northern Michigan, but I love it anyway.  While snow is mentioned in the Bible over 20 times, it usually is using it to describe how white something is (whether it be leprosy, or our cleansed sins, or clothing).  But my favorite verse about snow is from Psalm 148, “Praise the LORD from the earth, . . .  all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, . . .” (vs 7-9).  All these inanimate objects are praising the Lord and doing his bidding.  The verses surrounding do describe humans and animals also praising God, but even things that cannot move or have a life of their own are a part of the praises reaching heavenward.  As another verse mentions, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40)  I hope this wonder-full season will keep you praising him too.

November 23

Contentment is a hard thing to apply to our lives, especially with all the discontentment around us.  Yet, Paul tells us the main way of gaining this hard fought idea.  It is not anything you can do.  It is done by relying on God.  It is gaining strength from the strength he has.  Who or what are you relying on that is as true and faithful as he?  Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

November 16

We can be the kind of examples people can follow.  And something I did not include in my message, is that you already are an example in many cases whether you know it or not.  You may not think others are looking to you as an example of Christianity, but more than likely you are.  The question is, are you a good example or a bod example?  Just remember that being a good example does not mean you are perfect or have it altogether.  We all stumble in our Christian walk.  What matters is how you deal with your stumbles and downfalls.  The important thing to remember is to always live your life as if someone is watching.

November 9

The elections were this last week and a lot of people nation wide voted.  It is good to see so many using the freedoms that this country offers in a productive way.  But we also need to remember, as I preached on Sunday to run with the end in mind.  Jesus is the one we really need to please.  He is the one we need to follow.  And if we seek him, he will see us safely home.

November 2

I am stealing this quote from Charles Colson’s book Loving God.  It falls right in line with what I preached on Sunday.  “We Christians are usually quick to say we want to ‘be like Jesus’.  But if we are honest about what those familiar Sunday School words really mean, we’ll see that compel us to adopt His attitudes; and that means belief in, and submission to, the Scriptures . . . It requires us to dies to self and follow Christ.  It demands that we recognized the sin in our lives and that we acknowledge and repent of that sin.”

October 26

These last two weeks we have been talking about Philippians 2 which is all about unity, humanity, and humility.  Jesus was Paul’s centerpiece on what humility was all about as he humbly went to the cross.  I read this on my desk calendar this morning that adds to this idea.  Charles Stanley says in his book A Touch of His Freedom, “Jesus Christ did not die for you because you were actually worth dying for.  He died for you because he considered you worth dying for.  He put your best interests above his own — and he willingly marched to Calvary.”  An interesting thought.  It was not our actual worth that Jesus humbled himself, it was how he considered our interests above his own.

October 19

One of the points in this week’s sermon was on unity.  And while our country is called the UNITED States of America, it is all but.  Quoting the Bible during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided cannot stand.”  It almost seems to be getting to that point.  With racial divisions, and political divisions, it seems like everybody is on one side or another.  There is very little middle ground.  And each side think they are in the right so much so that they villainize the other.  This name calling and demonizing just makes matters worse.  And sometimes it seeps into the church.  Mask-wearers vs. non Mask-wearers.  Calvinism vs. Armenian.  Traditional hymns vs. Praise songs.  It is important not just to call ourselves united, but actually be united.  This do not mean that we cannot think individually, but that we as individuals work together and seek the same things, like telling others about Jesus and his saving grace.  Do not become so caught up in the world’s divisions (and the divisiveness here in America), that it breaks up the unity we can have as believers.

October 12

The scary events of last week with my child almost having appendicitis and surgery was eye-opening.  Through it all, God allowed me to show patience (waiting for all the doctors/results) and reliance on God.  He was so good at calming my spirit and allowing his peace to overwhelm me in ways I have not experienced in a long time.  I hope you have times like this.  Not the medical scare, but times when God just overwhelms you with his peace and presence.

October 5

I skipped the first whole paragraph of Philippians to focus on abounding love.  But I do not want to do that here.  Because it’s message about how God brings his works to completion is another great message.  God is working in our life to make him more like Jesus.  And he is not done with any of us.  None of us are a finished work until we stand before him complete.  So I hope that you allow God to do his work in and through you and realize that God is not finished with you.

September 28

Good Friday as we mentioned on Sunday was not “good” at first.  It seemed like the end of the world to many other than God himself.  He knew what he was doing from start to finish.  However, the struggles and pain Jesus endured on that day sometimes parallel the struggles we face.  But God can (and sometimes does) redeem our “Fridays” and turns them into “Sundays”.  The days we feel are our worst defeat can quickly turn into our greatest victories.  Those days that seem like all is lost can led to days when all the pieces finally come together.  What days do you have that you need to ask God to turn into Sundays?