This is a quote in a recent article from the “Family Research Council” newsletter – “We’ve all heard it said: This is the most important election of our lifetime. It’s easy to brush it off as just another political cliché. But the reality is that each successive election becomes the most critical election as our nation becomes increasingly divided not by party, but by worldviews.”
One of the concerns that I have is the number of people who would call themselves Christians, yet have no idea about how their Christian beliefs should guide their worldview. This is exactly why I am going to take some time to address some of our current political issues along with what the Bible has to say about them. I hope this will help you as you make your plans to vote in the upcoming election.
Isn’t it funny how we tend to shorten things? In terms of communication we will shorten our statements through initials and acronyms. Here’s one for you—EPR. Do you know what that is? It is the initials for “Extra Patience Required.” As a church we are about to go into a season that can be stressful.
This is the time of year that we begin to plan, in earnest, for the next year. We are trying to plan for ministries in 2021 with the continuing “unknown” of COVID-related limitations.
Right now our Elders, Personnel Committee, and Finance Committee are working on the budget submitted by several other ministers and ministries. In November this proposed budget will be made available to church members. On November 15th we will have a discussion about the proposed budget, allowing church members to ask questions and make comments about what is being proposed. On the first Sunday in December the church will vote on the budget without discussion.
Planning and budgeting can cause stress! So? EPR—Extra Patience Required! Ephesians 4:1-3 says,
“Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
So folks let’s all extend some extra patience toward one another and pray for one another. God bless!
Acts 13:1-3 gives the account of Saul (Paul) and Barnabas’ call to ministry. Verses 2-3 says,
“While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
For the past several years I have had the privilege of watching God move powerfully in Jon, Tianna, Nia, Cora, Atlas, and Mason Bowden. Knowing that God has entrusted them with His calling, the time has come for us to send them on their way. This will be a bittersweet time. This family is loved, and they will be missed. Still, in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s work, we bless them as they move away for Jon to attend seminary. Please join us this Sunday as Jon will be preaching, and we pray over him and his family before they move.
This morning (09/17) I attended a conference online. One of the issues that so many church leaders are facing is how to continue ministry during a pandemic that has no foreseeable end in sight. We want to think we will eventually get over this, but when? In the meantime, how do we continue to minister effectively? One of the conference speakers made an important comment. He said, “The limit of our ministry will depend on the level of our creativity.”
We could cry and moan and complain about how bad things are or how much we wish things were like they used to be. But that is not what overcomers do! Overcomers find ways to overcome, and that is what we must do as Christ’s followers, and as members of His church! So here is my word of encouragement to you which comes straight from the WORD—1 Peter 4:10-11,
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen
Pray! Ask God to show you how He has gifted you. Ask Him to show you how He wants to use You to be the solution! I would be interested to hear what the Lord shows you. Would you please email me to let me know? If you are interested in finding out how to discover your spiritual gifts we have a tool that can help you. Just request it and we will help you.
On Tuesday, September 11 two jets flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Another jet flew into the Pentagon in Virginia. Yet another jet, United Airlines Flight 93, was intentionally driven into the ground in Pennsylvania by a group of heroic passengers who would rather sacrifice their own lives than to give radical Islamists a victory. Everyone on board died in that jet liner. It was a day in which we saw the worst of mankind and the best of mankind.
On that day nineteen al-Qaeda terrorists killed almost 3,000 people. On that same day hundreds of American heroes sprang into action to treat, fire fight, rescue, pray, and minister. The work of the heroes lasted much longer, with far more positive impact than anything the terrorists could have done. That day has since come to be known as Patriot Day.
Of this event it was stated, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!” But I wonder if we have! Amid all of the violent protesting and political demonizing and pandemic fallout, we have forgotten who the real enemy is and we have turned on each other. Americans are quickly becoming our own worst enemy. There is a saying that goes, “United, we stand; divided, we fall!” Well?
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” – Philippians 2:1-4.
In recognition of this Labor Day, I want to take some time to thank God, and thank those who work to keep this country moving. When COVID-19 came calling, our country came to a standstill—or did it? The country designated some jobs as “essential”. Those who were given such a designation accepted the risks and went to work. Many others found ways to remain productive by finding ways to work from home, accelerating what was already becoming a trend. Some of our major industries reformatted their machines to provide products that the medical field desperately needed. While some products became virtually unnecessary others took off as a necessity.
The country has come back to life because we refused to ever quit living. Even now in the midst of a volatile political campaign that brings out the worst in politicians, and amid the chaos of violent riots, continuing pandemic concerns, and everything associated with these issues, we still get up each morning, get ourselves prepared to meet the day, and go to work!
With all of our challenges, I am so grateful to live in this nation where more people are trying to get in than are trying to get out. My encouragement to us is to continue to work; but as we work, we must continue to pray that God would bless us with a spiritual awakening. He is the only One who can truly save us!
I want to share a great story with you…. A man went to the bank to deposit some cash. The day was windy, and when the man placed the deposit in the drawer a $10 bill separated itself from the rest of the deposit and went quickly flew out of sight. The man making the deposit was a little upset, but quickly thought to himself, “Well, I guess someone else needed that $10 more than I did”. Still, he couldn’t help but watch to see if perhaps the money had somehow gotten caught in a visible, retrievable place. Nothing doing! Again came the thought, “Someone else needed that money more than me.”
The next day the man received a call from someone at the bank where he made his deposit. The bank teller on the other end of the line explained that he was the teller who had waited on him the day before. He said that, after work, he was heading to his car and found the missing $10 bill. He had deposited the ten dollars into the man’s account.
Surprised by the fact that the money had been found, and the fact of who found it, and what the finder did with it, the man instantly shared his appreciation for the integrity of the bank teller. The man who was now ten dollars richer expressed to the teller how much he appreciated what he had done. He said that it really wasn’t about the money, it was about what the teller had done. Ten dollars is ten dollars, but integrity is priceless!
The teller could easily have reasoned that the man didn’t need the money as much as he did, and that no one would know the difference. He could have easily pocketed the money and gone on his way…but he didn’t! He chose integrity over convenience.
By-the-way, this is no parable, this is a true story! I am the man making the deposit, and who lost the money. God bless those who labor honestly, especially this young teller who did the right thing! Matthew 6:4b – “…your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
“Welcome Back”! Many years ago when I was a teenager there was a sitcom with song lyrics that said—“Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out! Welcome back to that same old place that you laughed about”. Over the past few weeks it has been a blessing to see more of our church family, as well as some guests, returning to our morning services. While I am thankful that we are able to make our services available online, there really is nothing like actually getting to be together in person.
I am especially grateful for the young families who are starting to attend the services even if we do not have child care. Parents, please know that your children are a blessing for us to see, and even to hear! Your children in these services is not a bother, it is a blessing!
To those who have returned recently, welcome back! To those who anticipate making their way back to our live services in the future, we look forward to saying to you as well, “Welcome Back!”
Many years ago the group Petra recorded a song that said, “Don’t let you heart be hardened. Don’t let your love grow cold”. These words are in reference to Matthew 24:12. Jesus is talking about signs pointing toward the end of time.
- Verse 9 talks about widespread persecution. In America this is becoming more of a trend. In some other countries Christian persecution is at a fever pitch!
- Verse 10 warns about betrayal and hate. We hear about this daily on the news.
- Verse 11 speaks of the rise of false prophets, and many who will be misled. Christian resources abound, and many can be attained free of charge; yet, I personally see so much biblical illiteracy in this nation, opening people up to being misled by false teaching.
- Verse 12 foretells of an increase in lawlessness. In our country right now we have some city and state officials giving their consent to the unlawful actions of others, forbidding the protection of innocent citizens.
- The second part of verse 12 explains that the ending result of all of this is that “most people’s love will grow cold.”
This is where I am so concerned for church members who remain isolated from physical worship services. A coal removed from a fire will soon cool off and grow cold. The same thing happens spiritually if one stays away from the positive influence of other Christ followers.
The purpose of this article is not to make you feel guilty. I am not judging you, but I want to motivate you. I am encouraging you to return to church if you can. If, for whatever reason, you feel it is still unsafe for you to return to church, then PLEASE get creative about some other ways to connect with other Church members—phone, zoom, Facetime video, online worship services, Christian radio, etc. The writer of Hebrews said it best, “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25). Think seriously about this question, “Am I staying away from church out of genuine concern for myself and others, or out of personal convenience”? I love you church family!
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”– Proverbs 22:6. Over the years our culture has become more of a delegating culture when it comes to parenting. Many parents prefer to outsource the training of their children. Get them the right coach, the right teacher, the right church ministry, the right video gaming system, the right . . . ? But right now many of those resources are either gone, or have had to adapt dramatically!
As a church one of our goals is to provide resources that will actually instruct, encourage, and empower parents to train up their own children in the way they should go. This is why we are providing an at-home Vacation Bible School experience for families. This is an opportunity for Dad and Mom to actually be the ministers to their own children.
As a parent and a grandparent, it is my desire to see Christian parents raise their children to know God, to love Him, and to love His Word. I want to see children grow to be mature in their faith and service to God.
Parents, we would love for you to let us know how this time went for you and your kids. Please send pics and videos to let us in on your fun in learning!