Pastor's Blog
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January 6, 2019, 1:43 PM

What Are You!?


Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness

          If you read through Paul’s letters to the churches, in almost every case he identifies himself at the beginning.  This was not unusual for that time and culture.  We identify ourselves at the end of a letter, but they did it at the beginning.  But what I find most interesting is the way he identifies himself.  Read through the book of Acts and you learn that Paul was a tentmaker.  He had a job that paid the bills. 

          When a man meets another man, often the question is asked “what do you do?”  But what answer is given?  “I am a ______”.  I’ve never been asked “what are you?”  (probably the question was asked in someone’s mind, but never aloud!)  But that’s not at all uncommon.  “What do you do?”  “I am a public school band director.”  But not with Paul.  He never identifies himself as a tentmaker.  That was what he did, but not what he was.

          As a Christian, we need to remember the difference between what we do and what we are.  What we do pays the bills and gives us an arena for what we are.  Most people will have no greater number of people they can influence than those associated with work.  God has given us, as He gave Paul, a mission field.  We are to live upright and holy lives that reflect Him and look utterly different from the world.  We too, if we are called by the name Christian, are a servant of God.  May we, this week, be His servant in the world to which He’s called us.

 

God bless!

Pastor Russ




January 1, 2019, 4:12 PM

Don't Give In!


I Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.      

       

        Temptation is an interesting thing.  (See what I did there?!)  As you go through life, you’ll see other people fall for things that make you shake your head in bewilderment.  “Why would they throw away _____ for ______?”  But that’s the rub.  Your enemy knows you pretty well. 

        He doesn’t know us like God does.  That would truly be disheartening.  But he does know us and will tempt us with something that might not be of any interest at all to someone else.  I also think he uses another tactic: without perfect knowledge, I think he just continually throws stuff at us to see what will stick.  Have you ever had a passing thought of some sinful act that you thought to yourself, “No!”, and were able to just put it aside?  I think the tempter is just constantly trying stuff out to see what we’ll fall for.

        A lot of the time, though, he doesn’t need to be super creative.  He just falls back on his time-honored, proven set of temptations.  He’ll tempt you to use your time in whatever way you choose, leaving Scripture reading for last priority of the day.  He’ll tempt you to look at someone in a way to gratify a lust.  He’ll tempt you to take up an offense for someone.  All too often, he doesn’t have to think too far outside the box to lure a Christian to sin, sadly.

        That’s why we have to be alert.  If, as a child, you were raised to act a certain way that will help you avoid an awful lot.  However, that can also lead to pride and a feeling that you’re above most temptation.  If you didn't grow up in a home where you were taught to live by godly principles, it's not too late for you!  With the Holy Spirit and the scriptures, you can begin your own training.  In any case, remember, be alert! 

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

God bless

Pastor Russ




December 23, 2018, 4:51 PM

Go Tell It On the Prairie!


Luke 2:17  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child

          The shepherds were on the job that night doing their thing.  They went to work like they always did.  It might have been a stretch where things hadn’t been going well.  Perhaps the sheep had been stubborn, or the other shepherds had been difficult.  But they were there ‘keeping watch’, because that’s what they did.

        Then the angels showed up and gave them a message that changed everything about that night.  In fact, it changed everything.  They followed the Lord’s direction and went to see what they’d been told about.  After they’d seen Jesus, they weren’t just shepherds anymore.   They were something more.  They were missionaries. They still had sheep to tend.  They still had days and nights with difficult sheep and bothersome co-workers.  But they were changed.

        They spread the word.  In addition to my role as Worship Pastor, God called me to be a band director.  That is what I do and I’m not bad at it.  But my school doesn’t need me because of my skills as a band director.  Lots of people could do that.  God put me there to do more.  I am supposed to “spread the word concerning what I’ve been told about the child.”

        You might stay home and take care of kids, you might work in a factory, or paint houses.  You might daily see a lot of people, or not many at all.  But God put you there for more than the work you're doing.  Don’t make God feel like He needs someone else.  Spread the word.  Find a way.  Verbally, on-line, whatever.  It’s our responsibility and our privilege. 

God Bless! 

Pastor Russ  

 




December 16, 2018, 9:00 PM

Listen Up!


Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.       

        Many people have hopes that are wrapped up in things of this world.  They hope the election goes their way.  They hope their boss turns over a new leaf.  They hope their team wins.  But God’s people are to have a different origin to their hope.  The Holy Spirit, by way of Paul, tells us here that it is through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures that we should hope.

        Why should that be?  I believe it is because the Scriptures are God’s inspired Word.  They are His message to us.  They are, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, His truth for us.  I can’t tell you how often, as a teenager or young 20-something, I wished “God would speak to me in His own voice”.  As I sit here now, decades later, I smile at myself for that.  God speaks to us in His own voice every time we open His Word.  He has given us instruction for life in His Word.

        I might not find in Scripture whether I should buy a Mac or a PC.  I probably won’t find in there, where in the country I should make my home.  I didn’t read in the Bible that my wife was the one for me.  However, the guidance I do find in the Bible informs all those decisions. 

        Be very, very leery of people who would lessen the status of the Bible.  The only reason I can see to do that is to give one’s own words greater importance.  We are always to let the Scriptures stand in judgment over us, not the other way around. 

       The first Christians devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.  The apostles then wrote down their teaching for the extended Church.  It has been preserved for us.  I wonder, now that I’m a lot older, how many times God has thought of me: “I wish he’d listen to me when I speak”? 

God bless,

Pastor Russ




December 9, 2018, 1:54 PM

It's Not Too Late


Matthew 21:28-31  But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’  He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.  Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.  Which of the two did the will of his father?”

They said to Him, “The first.”

          Jesus told this parable to the chief priests and elders of the law when they came to confront Him about what authority He had.  I don’t think He’d mind if I made a different application with it today.  When my kids were younger, we had book called The Boy Who Said He Wouldn’t.  It was, of course, based on this parable.  As I listened to the words this morning, another thought dawned on me.

          The parable tells us that the son who said ‘no’ and later obeyed, was, in fact, the righteous one.  What Jesus didn’t address here was the time-sensitive nature of the father’s directive.  Obviously, the son wasn’t praised for his initial disobedience, nor for his procrastination.  He was praised because when all was said and done, he obeyed.  He did what the father commanded. 

          Are there things that we have not done yet?  Commands of the Father or even things as mundane as desires of a spouse or parent?  We mean to do them.  We plan to do them.  We’re gonna do them.  But they remain undone?  I mentioned the time-sensitive nature of the directive above.  It may not seem like it now, but there comes a time for everyone when opportunities for obedience are over.  Will we be proud of our record then?  Will those we live and work with also be proud of our record?

God bless

Pastor Russ


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