Pastor's Blog
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February 24, 2019, 6:55 PM

No Excuses!


Exodus 32:1-2 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”                 

          It’s hard to figure people sometimes.  Choices that are made, paths taken, etc.  Here’s Aaron, who not only had seen the miracles of God, but had been an active participant, facing a dilemma.  His brother who, apparently, was not only the brains of the outfit, but the soul as well, is gone.  Now Aaron is in charge.  Now he's calling the shots!  Now people come to him.  He'd long been the spokesman, but now he could be the real leader!  His first big issue?  The people come to him with a horrible request.  Make us a god.  Should he have known better?  You’d think so.

          When he was faced with this decision, he didn’t hesitate at all.  Perhaps he was hoping to be seen as decisive.  Maybe he wanted to be seen as a man of action.  Possibly he had heard people whisper that he was only Moses’ mouthpiece.  For whatever reason, he immediately made the a decision, the wrong decision, and it cost them all dearly.

          We might be willing to cut people some slack today.  We see people (hopefully not us) in the church making horrible decisions.  “They don’t have the direct hand of God visible.  They’ve never heard the voice of God.”  Really?  We have the Scripture.  The living Word of God!  We have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.  When Jesus left, He promised to send a Counselor.  The Counselor has come and we make wrong decisions when we don’t read God’s word and let His Spirit enlighten us.

          Where does that leave us?  No excuses.  I won’t save any for myself.  You shouldn’t either.  We have His word.  Let's read it daily.  Let's meditate on it?  Let’s follow it!

God bless!

Pastor Russ




February 18, 2019, 7:57 AM

Changing Priorities


Judges 21:18   But we can’t give them our daughters as wives.” For the Israelites had sworn, “Anyone who gives a wife to a Benjaminite is cursed.”    

          Having just finished our Wednesday series on Judges, we found that the book of Judges has some great stories!  Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephtha, and Samson are all very interesting.  However, the more we dug in, the more we could see the overarching tragedy rather than the momentary heroics. 

          Starting way back in Genesis, the Israelites begin a quest.  They are headed toward the Promised Land.  The goal seems to be: get to the land God promised us, and serve Him there.  It’s a good goal.

          In Exodus, we see the major event that propels them towards completion: the deliverance from Egypt.  As soon as they were delivered from Egyptian bondage, God spelled out His designs for them.  They had served Egypt by force, God was wanting them to serve Him out of love.   

          In Leviticus, God gives them the details of what He’d begun in Exodus.  He was specific about important matters to them as a nation, and as individuals.  What seemed, at times, like a list of all they couldn’t do, was actually a guideline for a better life.

          In Numbers, they faced the crisis point of whether they would trust God and enter the land.  Sadly, they failed and had to wander for forty years learning anew to trust and obey the One who had delivered them.

          Deuteronomy reviewed God’s law for a new generation and provided Moses’ final words to the people.  Leadership was handed to Joshua who led them into the land and many victories.

          Then we come to Judges where, time after time, the people turned their backs completely on God.  The book itself is a spiral downward into deeper sin and more egregious behavior.  In the final chapter we see another sad story containing today’s verse.  Read the verse again.  Note that the problem they have is the breaking of their own word.  They seem to have long since quit caring about God’s Word.  Now their own words are elevated.  Think about it: as God's Word became less important, their own words became more important.  What God thinks about issues diminishes as their own opinions are elevated.

           So sad.  Sadly, so timely.

God bless

Pastor Russ




January 27, 2019, 7:37 PM

Why Not Today?


Hebrews 4:7a – God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.”

          God is a god of order and desires His people to be people of order.  Orderliness is a positive character quality because it reflects something so true of God.  Our God of order has ordained times.  What the world sees as random, the Christian sees as plan.  Your birthday is when it is because God ordained it to be so.  Your place in time is God’s plan.  We may gain contentment from knowing this.

          Another thing that God has set a time for is just the right time to do important spiritual things.  Read through the first few chapters of Hebrews and you will see over and over the mention of God’s prime plan for when to take care of spiritual issues.  When is that prime time?  Today.  When should we make things right with God?  Today.  When should we set our spiritual house in order?  Today.  When should we live as a spiritual example to our loved ones and coworkers?  Today.  When should we recommit our way to Him in Bible reading?  Today.  When should we make sure our tithe is up to date?  Today.  When should we practice good character?  You guessed it – today!

          God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  But He is the God of today!  We can’t redo what we did in the past.  We can try to make it up to people, but we can’t truly undo it.  But we can make today a milestone in our spiritual journey.  Commit your way to the Lord completely.  Today!

God Bless!

Pastor Russ




January 21, 2019, 9:04 AM

Says Who!?


John 14:6   Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

          Opinions abound.  We are inundated by ‘experts’.  Any news station or website has been taken over, it seems, not by reporting, but by opinionating. This happens, I'm sure, for a variety of reasons from politics to paternalism, to just plain bullying.

          In any case, Jesus spoke authoritatively when He spoke.  Some today want to take His words like they take the words of one of our modern-day opinion shills.  “His is one more voice.  I’ll gather evidence, then decide”.  What seems perfectly reasonable is, in this case, utterly destructive.

          Is it reasonable that I, a finite being, should judge whether the Creator of the Universe stacks up to other finite beings’ ideas?  Does Jesus need my approval?  Does Scripture need me as an expert witness?  I would tell you that the answer is emphatically, NO!  Anytime you hear someone questioning the veracity of the Scripture, you should be suddenly on your guard.  If they contradict Jesus?  Reject them as a legitimate voice of reason.  I know it’s not tolerant.  I understand it’s not open-minded.  It’s probably not fair.  But I will side with Scripture.

          I decided long ago that I would take God at His word.  I am willing to run the ‘risk’ that someday I’ll stand before Him in judgment and He will lovingly, but sadly, shake His head and tell me that ‘you didn’t need to believe all the Bible’.  I decided to think enough of God and His word, to not worry so much what other people might think of me for believing Him and it.  If people in the world think I’m crazy for believing in Scriptural truth?  OK.  If other Christians think I’m misguided because I don’t pick apart the Scriptures so that I might be one of the ‘smart people’?  OK.  I will stand with Jesus, Jeremiah, Moses, Paul, etc., etc., etc., who were mocked for believing God.  I'd rather have His approval anyway!

God Bless!

Pastor Russ




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


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