Pastor's Blog
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April 1, 2016, 10:02 PM

A Month of Birthdays

APRIL is the month for birthdays in our family.  Peggy's birthday is April 9th. Our first daughter's birthday is April 10th.  Our second daughter's birthday is April 12th.  Our third daughter's birthday is April 17th.  Peggy's Mom and one of Peggy's sisters was born in April.  My Dad's wife was born in April. Then our oldest daughter gave birth to her son ON Peggy's birthday...and the day before her own birthday!  There are also a couple of wedding anniversaries this month.  It is "a party month" for us!  People have asked how we dealt with all three of our daughters having birthdays eight-days apart.  I jokingly replied that we made one cake, put it on the table, then told our daughters to grab a handful on their birth date!  

Peggy "lost her birthday" when we had our daughters.  She ignored her birthday in order to celebrate our daughters' birthdays.  Since our grandson's birth, our oldest daughter has now lost her birthday as well and for the same reason.  Peggy would be quick to tell you she is very content in ignoring her birthday in order to celebrate with our girls and our grandson.  It is more important to honor them than have the focus on herself.  

The attitude Peggy and our first daughter have taken in regard to their birthdays is actually an admirable example all of us need to embrace.  Romans 12:10 (KJV) says, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another."  I realize the fun we have teasing ladies about their age and how purposely overlooking a birthday might be construed as having little spiritual foundation.  However, the idea of honoring other people more than yourself is a distinct characteristic of Christlikeness that ALL OF US need to demonstrate daily.  

Although this may not be your birth month, I encourage you to show respect, honor, and preference to others in an effort to honor the Lord.  Some of those you honor in this way have been pushed down and disrespected so often, they need their spirits lifted by the joyful experience of being valued.  Let God bless others through you in this way.




March 7, 2016, 4:25 PM

Grandpa The Hero

"Perspective" is an interesting thing.  It creates a "reality" for us that dramatically impacts our lives.  As I write this, Peggy and I are beginning our sixth-day vacationing in southwest Florida visiting our two adult children and their families. 

Yesterday, I became "a hero" to my two-grandsons.  I repaired a free-standing basketball goal to the degree they can now use it.  Previously, it was damaged too severely to be useful.  With only a 45-minute investment of my time (and a blood blister on my index finger), the boys can now play basketball in the backyard.  Grandpa is their hero!

We only get to be with our Florida grandchildren a few times annually.  Being a positive influence on them is extremely important to us.  On those rare occasions when we have the opportunity to "be their hero", we want to maximize it.  So little was required of me yesterday to be their "hero".  Their basketball goal is still in dire condition, but now they can use it.  It is fulfilling its purpose.  From their perspective, it is everything they want and need.  They have never had their own real basketball goal before.  

Each week we encounter people who have needs that prevent them from living life fully.  Most of them have needs that you and I can meet with very little effort.  In doing so, we can become "a hero" from their perspective.  Often it is simply a phone call or card to remind them we are thinking or praying for them; a brief visit at their home; taking a moment to sincerely talk with them; or the extravagence of taking them out for an ice cream cone.  To a lonely person, having someone care enough to call, send a card, or stop by is an act of heroism.  To the person who is struggling, having someone sincerely care and listen is priceless!  Look for the opportunities God provides you to be "a hero" to others and make a positive impact for Him!

 




February 13, 2016, 8:36 PM

The Origin of Valentine's Day

Many have wondered about the origin of Valentine’s Day. The following article was written by Stephen Crotts in an effort to enlighten us to the deep spiritual significance of Valentine’s Day.

To be young, wealthy, and in love—all in the third century, and to be a Christian...such was young Valentine. He would consummate his great love by taking her as his bride. Soon, they would be married. But his pleasurable, orderly world came crashing down around him when the Roman emperor declared all Christians “illegal citizens” and guilty of treason. All they had to do was say, “Caesar is Lord!” But all the Christians would say was, “NO! Jesus is Lord!

Rather than deny Christ, young Valentine was arrested in the crackdown. In jail, awaiting execution in the arena, he wrote love letters to his girlfriend. Beautiful, passionate letters assuring her of his great love for her. Theirs would be a love not lived out...arms never entwined in the embrace of husband-and-wife.

On February 14, 269 A.D., young Valentine was put to death, martyred for Jesus Christ. Since then, Christians have celebrated his fidelity to Christ, as well as romantic love, on the 14th of February by sending our own love letters to special people.  As we do so this year, let us, too, resolve to live unashamedly for Jesus Christ! Let us recall that still in our lives, as with young Valentine, there will be unfairness, unfulfilled longings, loneliness, and yet, love...love more powerful than a tyrant’s sword, more lasting than the centuries. For in Christ and in Heaven we shall love God and one another for all eternity. Nothing shall stop us there!

Be certain you tell those dearest to you just how much you love them and what they mean to you. We never know when those opportunities will cease. Be sure your love for God and for others is clearly expressed. 




January 29, 2016, 11:45 AM

Burned Biscuits

I read this on Facebook from TheDailyHeadline.com and it was too good NOT to share.  

 

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing…never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides–a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people.

I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that’s my prayer for you today…that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He’s the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn’t a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket–keep it in your own.”

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

 




January 18, 2016, 8:01 AM

CLOSED...Due To Lack Of Support


My favorite store on earth is BROOKSTONE!  It is a “gadget” store that specializes in new technology.  They have all sorts of innovative, interesting, and unique items for sale.  It is that creative signature of theirs that draws me back time and again.  I will go out-of-my-way to spend time at a Brookstone store.  If we are walking through a mall and find a Brookstone, Peggy knows instantly where I am going.  I was saddened a number of years ago to hear they were closing many of their stores nationwide.  I love that store!  However, I must admit I have never spent much money at their stores.  I love to browse, have my mind challenged by the innovative items they have for sale, and “play” with their products.  On the rare occasion when I come across a Brookstone, I want to spend a few minutes there, but I seldom support them by making a purchase.  When it comes right down to it, I am the kind of person who caused their company to have to close so many of their stores.  I love their stores, but I do not tangibly support them.

There are countless folks who treat their local church this same way.  They say they “love” the local church, but they do not support it with their attendance, their finances, their involvement, or in any other meaningful way.  They drop-in once in a while to check-things-out, but have no commitment to the local church.  When the church struggles, has to curtail its ministries, or is adversely affected in some other way, they feel badly about it because they consider that to be “their church.”  In reality, THEY are the reason these things are happening.  Last week I saw the statistics of a church that reported 160 official members, yet nearly 75% were “Inactive Members” which means they do not attend, do not support, do not participate, nor do they have any vested interest in the church.  It is accurate to say that church is in trouble! 

Are YOUR actions strengthening your local church or causing it to weaken?  If everyone was just like you in their attendance, commitment, and involvement in the local church, would it be thriving or closing?  God wants to build His Church through us!  He calls us to be actively involved in ministry, faithful to attend worship, generous in financially supporting His Kingdom-work, and vibrantly engaged in sharing His message of redemption with those who do not know Him!  He wants the local church to THRIVE, not merely “survive”YOU are the key to making that happen!  Your active support makes all the difference!  Strengthen your church by being the most supportive churchman you can be!  Let God use you to build His Church!


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