Pastor's Blog
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September 29, 2014, 1:33 PM



This past Saturday, Peggy and I finally had a chance to take a ride on our motorcycle!  It was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the low 80s, bright sunshine, and a minimal breeze.  We were out for only a few hours, yet it was great “wind therapy” for both of us. 

We were only a few miles outside of Decatur when I noticed the farmers had already harvested some of their soybeans and corn.  Shortly after that, I saw the combines in the fields, along with tractors, grain trucks, and other equipment needed to bring in the harvest.  For a fellow who grew up as a southeast Missouri farm kid, there was a unique excitement that shot through me at those sights!  I instantly remembered all the hours we put into getting the fields ready, planting the seed, cultivating the fields, pulling weeds, going to great efforts to insure we had the best harvest possible, then finally…the culmination of all our work was THE HARVEST!  It was the highlight of our year!  Even though my contribution to the overall effort was minimal, as a teen I found myself thrilled that we were bringing in the harvest!  All our labor was paying off.  All the long, hard hours in the fields was being rewarded.  The little seeds we put in the ground months earlier became a harvest beyond what logic said we should have.  There was nothing as thrilling on the farm as harvest time!

In the church, we often feel we labor for long hours, working months or years, planting spiritual seed.  There is a very common tendency to believe nothing much is happening in response to our efforts.  If we are not careful, we become discouraged that things have not happened in the time frame we wanted or expected.  It may even seem all our attempts to bear spiritual fruit have been useless.  However, Christ has told us our labor for His Kingdom is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).  He promises we WILL enjoy a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).  The spiritual HARVEST TIME is coming!  Continue reaching to the unchurched with the love of Christ!  Keep sharing the hope of Jesus with those who do not know Him!  Hold on and know the Lord is at work in ways we cannot see!  Be faithful for the Lord is working through you to prepare the way for spiritually lost individuals to come to Him.  Victory is near!  Salvation is close at hand!  The spiritually dead are soon to be transformed by the life-giving power of the Savior!  Get more involved.  HARVEST TIME is coming! 

August 16, 2014, 7:45 AM

The Family Reunion

July 25-27, 2014, was a very special time for me.  It was the first family reunion the Palmer Family has had in fifteen-years!  My grandmother was the oldest of the eleven-children in Walter and Zella (Hamilton) Palmer's family.  The memories I have of my Palmer-relatives and the gatherings we had at Christmas time are nearly sacred.  There was always plenty of food; an abundance of laughter; singing Christian songs around the piano; conversation about church; a sharing of how God had been working; and an immense amount of love shared.  My great-Grandpa Palmer was a man of deep faith in God.  His legacy and heritage is seen in the fact every one of his eleven-children lived for the Lord!  The story was repeated at this reunion how during the 1930s when Walter Palmer worked in the coal mines of south-central Missouri, the company demanded he work on Sunday.  He told them he would not, because that was the Lord's Day.  He would be in church worshiping God with his family.  They informed him if he did not show up, he would be fired.  Sunday came...and my great-grandfather was in church with his family.  He went to work on Monday as usual, but the foreman was gone.  On Tuesday, when he arrived at work, the foreman immediately called him into the office and fired him for missing work on Sunday.  They gave him the pay owed to him, then sent him home.  While being fired for his faith seemed to be a great difficulty for him and his family, he trusted God to honor his obedience.  Within ten-days of him being fired, the coal mine went bankrupt and shut-down.  The miners employed there never received one-cent of their back pay.  God watched over my great-grandfather providing him with finances to care for his family...finances he would not have had if he had compromised his faith and worked on Sunday.

There were nearly one-hundred of us gathered for last month's reunion.  As typical for any Palmer-gathering, there was more food than any of us needed, constant laughter, telling of stories, joyful renewing of relationships, catching-up with one another, and a tremendous worship service on Sunday morning!   As much fun as we had, it was bittersweet.  Of the eleven-Palmer siblings, only seven are still living.  There have been a number of deaths since our last family reunion...deaths of both the older members of the family and some who were not-so-old.  We were reminded of another "family reunion" that will take place one day in Heaven.  We were urged to not miss that reunion!  At our Heavenly Reunion, there will be no aches, pains, pills to be taken, no difficulty walking, and not one cane anywhere in sight!  When we see Jesus, we shall be like Him for we will see Him as He is!  It is going to be a glorious day!!! 

Friends, don't miss THAT reunion for the world!     

July 25, 2014, 6:03 AM

Don't Miss The Obvious

Back in February, we traded cars.  The 2013 Honda Civic we bought was brand new and had the features we wanted.  I wanted a sporty-looking car and Peggy desired a sunroof.  We both wanted a car that got very good gas mileage, and was within our budget.  The car we bought has those features, plus “bonus features” that are fun, but nothing we really felt we needed.  One of those features is a back-up camera.  When you put the car in Reverse, a monitor on the dash shows you what is immediately behind your car.  I have joked that you can see what you are about to back over! 

While on vacation in Florida in June, I brought back a souvenir I definitely DID NOT WANT!  As I backed out of a parking space at our daughter's apartment, I was very careful to watch the back-up monitor, check the rearview mirrors, and make certain I avoided all the cars in the parking lot.  As I backed out of my parking space, I turned the steering wheel and immediately felt a very slight ‘bump’ on the front, passenger side of the car.  Instinctively, I knew it was not good!  I had scraped something.  Prior to getting into the car, I walked around the vehicle and saw several concrete barrier poles guarding a ‘no parking area’ next to where our car sat. They were in plain sight…except when you are backing-up in a car.  The poles were below my sight line.  As I backed out of the parking place, I gently scraped one of the poles.  Had I backed-up an additional four-inches, I would have missed the pole entirely.  I was sickened!  My only consolation at the time was seeing all the other colors of paint on the concrete pole and knowing many others had experienced the same feeling I had at that moment. 

Just as I should not have missed the obvious fact that obstacle was two-feet from our vehicle, we must be certain we do not miss the obvious in our spiritual lives.  We can become so busy doing all the stuff Christians are suppose to do, that we miss or neglect the most obvious of spiritual disciplines.  We can become so involved in living our Christian life and serving in church that we fail to make Prayer the foundation of our lives; Bible Study can become a mere routine rather than a time feasting on God’s personal message to us; Tithing can degrade to little more than a “tax payment to God”; Sharing Our Faith can become limited to talking with other believers rather than being the message of hope God wants shared with unbelievers; and Personal Spiritual Growth may be ‘assumed’ instead of pursued.  We must be careful to not wreck our spiritual lives by neglecting or missing the obvious things which will keep us strong in our faith.

July 16, 2014, 5:05 PM

Your Influence Matters!

Peggy and I traveled to Tampa, Florida, in June to visit our daughter, our son-in-law, and the three grandchildren they have provided us.  We spent just over a week with them.  We arrived in time to celebrate our grandson’s fifth-birthday!   The day we left there to visit with our son on the east coast of Florida, we received a text message from our daughter stating she could definitely tell our grandson had been with us!  His language was different.  He was not using some of the slang terms our daughter and son-in-law use.  Before he went to bed, he told her they needed to pray.  He even led in prayer, asking for God to draw them closer to Himself.  Our daughter confessed she had never heard our grandson say that before!  She noticed his entire attitude and demeanor had dramatically improved.  She attributed all those positive improvements to the fact our grandson had spent a week with Grandma and Grandpa!  To be totally honest, neither Peggy nor I realized at the time that we were making that kind of impact on our grandson. 

Often, we forget that our influence makes a difference.  If you are like me, you wonder if anyone cares about your thoughts or is even listening when you vocalize your opinions.  Whether we are aware of it or not, our influence affects the people around us.  One quick example is when we recommend a particular restaurant to our friends and because of our words, they go there for a meal.  Or perhaps we tell someone of a negative experience we had at a specific restaurant and because of our comments, they decide not to spend their money there.  Those are minimal examples, but do show the power of our influence.

Our attitudes, perspective, and actions have a significant influence on others.  Embracing a positive mindset which sees the possibilities in even the most dire situations…living and acting with complete faith in God’s Word and His promises…expecting and anticipating God’s best for your life…choosing to purposely be a friend to people you do not know…choosing to never give up because “can’t” never accomplished anything…and a host of other personal choices, can be a life-changing influence on those whose lives we touch.  Only eternity will reveal the impact made by the individual who lives a God-honoring, faith-filled life of obedience to Jesus Christ!  Acts 4:13 records Peter and John before the Jewish religious court.  That verse says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”   We must live such Christ-centered lives that He can impact our communities through our influence as our daily influence touches those around us. 

July 8, 2014, 8:27 AM

Dealing With Delays

PATIENCE is a commodity that is always in short supply.  Our fast-paced society has infinitely added to our impatience.  If our Internet connection takes more than a few seconds to connect, we get aggrevated.  We consistently seek devices which will help us speed along the normal workings of life.  As we plan our daily lives, if our schedule is interrupted, we often are frustrated that things did not go as we had planned.  As sad a truth as this may be…delays are a normal part of life. 

During my Freshman year in college, I remember praying for God to help me be more patient.  The more I prayed, the more problems arose complicating my life.  One evening Rick Geiger, a friend of mine, came to my dorm room and I shared with him all that was happening in spite of my praying for patience.  I can mentally envision Rick standing there telling me, “You asked for it!  The Bible tells us that ‘tribulation bringeth about patience'.”  It has been more than thirty-five-years since that brief conversation, but I have never gotten away from that powerful reality.  God uses ‘tribulation’ and He also uses ‘delays’ to instill patience within us. 

How should we deal with life’s “delays”?

1—We must make certain all aspects of our life and all aspects of our current situation is fully surrendered to the Lord with nothing held back.

2—We must remind ourselves GOD has everything under control, even when it seems things are totally out-of-control.

3—We must recognize the fact God is working even when we do not see Him working.

4—We must trust God, not what we see with our physical eyes.  Romans 8:28 teaches us God will work in every situation to bring us closer to Himself.

5—We must wait in faith for God’s purpose.  Often we believe we know His purpose when actually, God has something far greater in store than what we think.   It is vital for us to wait on Him and not rush forward with our plans. 

Nearly all my life, I have heard it said, “God’s delays are not God’s denials.”  That statement has proven true over and over in my life across the decades!  I still do not like waiting, but God has helped me to deal with the delays and trust Him with the results.  His timing is perfect!

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