October 22, 2017
A Sunday School teacher was telling her class the story about Andrew and Simon, and how the Lord called them to be “fishers of men”. Hoping to impress the story into the children’s hearts, she asked “And who catches men today”? One little boy blurted out “policemen”!
The teacher quickly pointed out the difference between policemen and soul winners. She said, “Policemen catch crooks and bring them before a judge. But soul winners catch sinners and bring them before a Savior”.
Does that definition describe you?
October 15, 2017
Last week we talked about how a mule, the offspring of a horse and a donkey, can’t reproduce itself. All mules are sterile. The problem is, most Christians are mulish too. They must be sterile, because they never reproduce themselves either.
Jesus’ command was pretty clear. He told us to go out and make disciples. How are you doing so far?
October 8, 2017
When a ship is in the water, all is well. But when the water is in the ship, it will sink. And so is the problem with the Christian. When the Christian is in the world, all is well. But when the world gets in the Christian, danger will threaten. Anything that clouds my vision of Jesus, or takes away my desire for the Word of God, or limits my prayer life, or makes Christian work seem weary…is wrong for me and I must turn away from it. No matter how pleasant it may seem, it is still wrong. Only Christ is right for me.
October 1, 2017
“Greed” means wanting more than you need. But, there is one situation where that is okay, in fact, it’s encouraged! Imagine a school of tiny fish, all afraid they’ll drink the river dry. And the river answers “Drink up, little fish, my stream is enough for you”. Or, a runner gasping for breath and afraid he’ll use all the oxygen in the atmosphere. And the atmosphere replies “Fill your lungs, little man, my air is enough for you”.
So I guess by now you know where I’m going with this. God said ‘help yourself, as much and as often as you like. My Grace is MORE than enough for all your needs.’ That’s 1st Corinthians 12:9, paraphrased. So it’s okay to be greedy. Go ahead. There’s enough for all!
September 24, 2017
The Welfare System in America is a wonderful safety net for those that encounter a sudden illness, or the loss of a job, etc. But it’s also an attractive alternative to working to support yourself. A while back the Associated Press ran an article about a man in Detroit who stormed into the office of the State Department of Social Services, while carrying a shotgun, which he used to blast several holes in the ceiling. Seems he was upset because the Welfare Department wouldn’t give him enough money to pay for a housekeeper. What more can I say?
September 17, 2017
The “main thing”, the thing that seems to drive some churches, can, slowly and subtly over time, begin to change. A church that begins its existence relying on Faith alone may, several years down the road, find themselves now to be driven by finances. “Who will be saved?” becomes “What will it cost?”.
I prefer to trust the Lord for all of our needs. But I also know that we have lost a lot of our people, who have gone from here to Glory. And I know God can replace some of those souls. But He expects our involvement. Bible historian Marty Martin says the one word that drives church growth is “invite”. That part is up to us. Are you willing?
September 10, 2017
Experts say pornography is as addictive as any drug, and far more dangerous, often leading to brutal rape and even murder. And it led to the downfall of once popular evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Reverend Glen Cole, longtime associate of Swaggart, said “It’s been his history for a good long while. He’d repent and it would stop for a while, but it would always start up again.” And eventually it led to the destruction of a multi-million dollar a year ministry.
When lust-fueled pornography becomes an addiction, the persons so involved become little more than animals in their desires and actions.
Jesus offers a cure, but Swaggart wasn’t willing to give up his obsession.
September 3, 2017
A Gallup poll released in the last part of the 20th century, titled “Unchurched America”, polled 2,556 adults who were not church-goers. “Unchurched” was defined as not attending a church in the last six months, barring holidays, weddings or funerals. Their findings were:
1. The unchurched are increasingly receptive to what the church is offering.
2. 63% say they believe the Bible is God’s Word.
3. 77% say they pray to God.
4. 72% say they believe Jesus is God’s Son.
5. 58% say they’re open to attending, if they find the right one.
Gallup’s conclusion: “People are ripe for the picking.”…but, it takes someone going to them with an invitation. Will that ‘someone’ be you?
August 27, 2017
What makes you angry? Discourteous drivers? Undisciplined children? Slow check-out lines?
Whatever it is that “makes your blood boil”, also endangers your health. From Duke University Medical Center comes this: “People who harbor hostility and anger towards others are five times more likely to die from heart disease.” And a Harvard research team found “If you let yourself get angry, you double your risk of a heart attack.”
So, come on, is it really worth it? With Jesus you CAN control it…and SHOULD!
August 20, 2017
‘Pride’ can be such a subtle thing that we sometimes don’t recognize it in our own lives. In C.S. Lewis’ book, “Mere Christianity”, he has an entire chapter on ‘pride’, and he names it “The greatest sin in the world”. In it he defines the right kind of pride: “I’m proud of my children.”, and the wrong kind of pride: “I have to be the best.”
After discussing the subtle nuances, and all the ins and outs of pride, he ends the chapter by stating: “‘If you’ have read this and are convinced that this does not apply to you, then it most certainly DOES apply to you!”
Remember James 4:16 says, that to boast in arrogance is evil. If you want to boast, then brag about Jesus!
August 13, 2017
Pastor Karl Rahner said, “The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths, and deny Him with their lifestyles, are what an unbelieving world finds to be simply unbelievable!”
Trite as it may sound…be careful what you do out there in the world. You never know who is watching you! But even more so than that: God is watching!
August 6, 2017
Long ago, when my daughter was little, she found a bird’s nest in a bush in the backyard. In the nest were two speckled eggs. Every day she would rush out in the morning to check on those eggs.
But then she spent some time up north with her grandparents, and when she got back home, she hurried to check on ‘her’ eggs. But the nest was empty, and she found the speckled eggs broken and lying on the ground. “OH NO!” she cried! “THEY’RE RUINED!”
So I got to explain how the eggs were just a sheltering place for the birds that had been inside. And those birds had now hatched and flown away.
The SAME thing is true of us, as well! One day, these bodies will be left behind, and our souls will fly away to be with the Lord forever! All Glory to GOD!
July 30, 2017
The federal government has income of $1.4 trillion dollars. It spends $1.8 trillion every year. At the early 1990’s, the national debt was about $3.8 trillion. Some 25 years later that total topped $20 trillion dollars! To service that debt now takes every cent paid in income taxes.
We have yet to see the impact of this massive indebtedness coming due. But no debt can continue to accumulate indefinitely. Eventually the compound interest curve makes even the repayment of interest all but impossible. (Source: U.S. Federal Reserve)
The only way to eliminate debt is to make that elimination your top priority. You can start with your debt to God.
July 23, 2017
An artist had painted a picture based on the story of “The Prodigal Son”. He showed the father standing by a gate, and the ragged son off in the distance.
A friend viewed the work and said, “You’ve got it wrong…the father should be running to meet the son”.
The artist said, “But no father would do that for one who had been so wasteful”.
The friend said, “True, but this is meant to show the heart of God! He is far more loving than mere human parents”.
Aren’t you glad our Father loves us that much?
July 16, 2017
In his highly successful book, “7 Habits Of Highly Successful People”, Stephen Covey writes…”I have participated throughout my life in organized church activities. I have found that attending church does not necessarily mean living the principles taught in those meetings. One can be active in a church, but not active in the Gospel THAT church espouses”.
As someone once said, “Just standing in a garage will not make you a Chevrolet”. It is so very important that when we leave the church service, we don’t leave the Gospel behind. Let the world see Jesus in you.
July 9, 2017
I wonder if we always realize the impact our words can have? Back in the 90’s, the Pepsi Cola Company launched the shortest advertising slogan ever. It was a single word…”Uh-Huh”, slang for “Yes”. It proved to be very successful.
There are other times when a single word can accomplish a lot. An “amen” can encourage the preacher, and may even wake up a few sleepers. At a ball game, the umpire’s call of “safe” or “out” can set thousands either for him or against him.
Just think of the encouragement your words can be, and then be careful how you use them.
July 2, 2017
For the past 50 or 60 years, Christianity has gradually lost ground in terms of our uniqueness as Christians. In his book, “The Twilight Of A Great Civilization”, Carl Henry wrote, “We have become so steeped in anti-Christian philosophy, namely that success consists, not of embracing the values of The Sermon On The Mount, but of an infinity of material things…of sex and status…that we don’t realize that much of what passes for practical Christianity is really an apostate compromise with the spirit of the age”.
We have such very clear guidelines as to how to conduct ourselves as Christians. Why are we letting the world win?
June 25, 2017
Worry is a destructive force, and often completely unfounded.
According to the National Bureau Of Standards, a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet, is composed of not quite enough water to fill a 12 ounce drinking glass.
That compares well with the things we worry about. If we could see into the future, see the outcome of the things that concern us, then we could relegate those things to their proper size and place.
If all those things we worry so much about could be reduced to their true size, we’d probably be able to stick them all in a water glass too. So give it to God and ease your mind!
June 18, 2017
Dr. M.R. DeHaan, founder of Radio Bible Class, said this:
“You can’t judge the spirituality of a Christian on the basis of his/her prayers, since those prayers are often made for their effect on the listeners. Even the liberality of one’s giving is not a good test, since that too might be done for personal recognition, or to ease one’s conscience. The surest test of the depth of our relationship with God is found in our willingness to forgive others.”
Beloved, is there someone in your life that you need to forgive, and yet you’ve been hanging on to that hurt, or betrayal, or whatever? And do you know that your stubbornness is keeping God’s Blessings from flowing to you? WWJD?
June 11, 2017
As acts of mindless terrorism increase in many parts of the world, we can’t assume that we will not soon fall victim as well. But what is the proper attitude we should have, concerning those who perpetrate those cowardly attacks?
You might recall the tragic bombing in Oklahoma City, and how the Christians wrestled with conflicting emotions of love and anger. Some of the callers to radio talk shows insisted that the perpetrator be shot on sight, while others pleaded for prayers for the bomber’s Salvation.
Which side would you take? Demand vengeance, or pray for mercy? And what would Jesus do?
June 4, 2017
I know you’ve all done this at some time. You pour iron filings on a piece of paper, and then place a magnet underneath and all those filings line up as if by magic.
Joel Gregory says, “Jesus wants us to put Him underneath our life, seek Him as a habit and watch your worries line up and begin to take shape”.
So I’ll say, “Pour all your mixed up cares and anxieties on Him, and let Him sort them out, line them up and deal with them”. Peter said, “Place all your cares on Him, because He cares for you”. And you can trust His promise!
May 28, 2017
The Gallup Corporation conducted a poll on American religious conviction. Their conclusions are a bit troubling for churches.
“We want the fruits of religion, but not the obligations.”
“We revere the Bible, but don’t read it.”
“We believe the Ten Commandments but can’t name them.”
“We believe in God, but one that does not demand total allegiance…we have other gods before Him.”
“Only 4 out of 100 Americans claim no religious affiliation or interest in religion.”
“The national trend is away from organized religion, and towards groups that make few demands in terms of doctrine and discipline.”
What do YOU think it will take to turn that trend around? The rise of a charismatic leader? The Rapture of the Church? The Return of Christ? All of those things are about to happen!
May 21, 2017
In his book “Dare To Care Like Jesus”, Leslie Flynn tells this story:
A Christian lady living in Nairobi, Kenya, had employed a young man as a house boy. After three months, the young man asked her for a letter of reference to a Sheik who lived nearby. Since he had just learned the routine of her house, she did not want the boy to leave and offered him higher pay to remain. But he told her he wasn’t leaving for higher pay. Instead, he was trying to decide whether to become a Christian or Muslim. Having worked three months for a Christian, he wanted to work three months for a Muslim and then decide which life to follow.
The Christian lady was stunned when she recalled the many times she had dealt harshly with him, and cried “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THAT SOONER?”.
Christian, is there someone watching you, to see if the Christian life is attractive? What is your life showing?
May 14, 2017
As we honor our Mothers today, let’s take a look at what she would be worth in the marketplace today. Ms. Sylvia Porter, financial analyst, says the nation’s some 2.5 million Mothers/Homemakers contributes billions to the nation’s economy each year. She assigned an hourly wage to such services as housekeeper, nursemaid, cook, dishwasher, laundress, shopper, chauffer, seamstress and nurse among others and arrived at a wage between $31,200 and $40,900 annually, depending on where in the country they lived.
That ought to be worth a dozen roses once a year, guys!
May 7, 2017
For many of us, that T.V. set in the living room is our major source of entertainment, and most of us have seen it grow from its infancy to the elaborate device it has become, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has gotten better.
In 1946, when the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” was produced, certain words were taken out of the original script because they were deemed to be unacceptable for movie audiences. Those words: jerk, lousy, dang and impotent.
We’ve come a long ways since then, but in what direction have we traveled? Up or down?
April 30, 2017
Here are some obscure facts for you to consider:
91% of all Americans believe that God had some part in forming the universe.
78% of Americans believe that they will go to Heaven. Most can’t tell you why.
45% of church membership is made up of people who “church hop”.
10% of people who don’t believe in God, still pray daily.
2.4% of people are homosexual.
74% of Americans don’t approve of that lifestyle.
97.5% of Americans are now forced to accept that previous statement.
Do any of those statements upset you? And what should/could you do about it?
April 23, 2017
Reverend Chuck Swindoll once said “A few things in life are absolutely tragic, no doubt about it. First among them is a joyless Christian”.
We have taken a close look at the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, to pay the sin-debt of all people. We then also celebrated the empty Tomb and the Risen Savior. When you realize that God did all that, just for you, how can you be anything but joyful?
April 16, 2017
An extensive study was held at Harvard University that tried to determine the best way to change lives. The results surprised those that conducted the study. It seems that with all the high-tech sophisticated equipment and advanced study techniques, the best way to affect the lives of others is by example! Simply stated, if you want to impact the lives of others, just “practice what you preach”!
Over 100 years ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What you ARE is so loud, I can’t hear what you SAY”!
So I will say, “BE the change you want to see in others”!
That’s what Jesus did.
April 9, 2017
In Tuesday’s newspaper (The Arizona Daily Star, April 4, 2017) was an article from Stockholm, Sweden about a company called “Epicenter” that is now implanting microchips the size of a grain of rice in the back of the hands of willing volunteers. The chips serve to “open doors, operate printers, order smoothies”. We have been teaching for years about antichrist and his “mark” on the forehead or the back of the hand, but to actually see it begin to come into play is both frightening and exciting. Jesus told us that when we see these things begin to happen, to “lift up your head, your redemption draweth nigh”. (Luke 21:28) Church, we need to be busy!
April 2, 2017
An old wrangler once explained the difference between horses and donkeys. He said when horses are attacked by wolves, they bunch up in a circle facing each other, kicking out at the enemy.
But donkeys in the same situation will circle up facing out, and kick at each other instead of the enemy.
How often do we see or hear about those in the church doing that same thing?…ignoring the enemy outside, while viciously attacking one another?
Shouldn’t we be at least as smart as horses? Face the enemy, and take the Shield of Faith to try to protect our weaker brothers or sisters?
March 26, 2017
God does not place talents and abilities into our lives randomly. He does not give us interests or limitations arbitrarily. Who and what we are is deliberate and purposeful.
It is therefore our duty to find, improve and strengthen those things that make us unique, and use them for the benefit of the church, and ultimately for the glory of God. This is the path to true blessings.
March 19, 2017
An elderly man had died and the pastor went to visit the new widow. He found her sitting at her dining room table, softly weeping. Spread out on the table was a beautiful set of china. It had never been used.
The widow said, “I have always saved this for when I had special company. Now that he’s gone I realize my husband was the best company I ever had, but I never set out the good china for him. And now he’s gone, and I can’t.”
Moral? Obviously, “the good china” is just a euphuism. Treat those close to you like “special company” while you still can.
March 12, 2017
The following are actual questions and answers given during court proceedings…
Q: “In exhibit 3, do you recognize this picture?”
A: “Yes, that’s a picture of me.”
Q: “Were you present when this picture was taken?”
Q: “What happened next?”
A: “He said he’d kill me so I couldn’t identify him.”
Q: “Did he kill you?”
Q: “The other son, the 20 year old, how old is he?”
Q: “Was it you or your brother who was killed in the war?”
Q: “Were you alone or by yourself?”
When you testify about your faith in The Lord, just keep it simple and true. The Holy Spirit will guide you.
March 5, 2017
The mighty Niagara River plummets nearly 180 feet at the place called Niagara Falls. Just before the falls there are some pretty violent rapids. Above them where the water flows more gently, there is a foot bridge across the river, and posted on the upstream side of the bridge is a warning sign. In large letters, it reads “Do you have an anchor? Do you know how to use it?” Downstream from there is what is called, “The point of no return”, the place from which there is no possibility of getting back to safety.
There is a point in the life of a sinner like that too; a point from which they will be caught in an irresistible undertow of sinfulness from which they will not escape. Your task is to stop them, before they reach that place. Will you warn them?
February 26, 2017
After six long years of being who-knows-where, Clem the cat came home. A lady in Bancroft, Wisconsin heard a cat meowing on the porch, and when she opened the door, a long-haired gray cat walked in, looked around for a minute, then jumped up on Clem’s old favorite chair and began purring. Family members were amazed but old photos made it certain, this really was Clem, come home at last.
God has instilled amazing homing instincts in some animals. Too bad that doesn’t include back-slidden Christians. Many ‘drop out’ for a variety of reasons…they get their feelings hurt or don’t get their way in something…and never find their way back to the fold. Why do some humans show less sense than some animals?
February 19, 2017
A dietician met with several members of a health club and asked them all about their daily routines. They all confessed to over-eating and such, except for one guy who was obviously the heaviest one there. He said, “I eat healthy, drink moderately, and exercise regularly”. She looked at his girth and asked, “Isn’t there something else you’d like to say”? And he said, “Well, I do lie a lot”!
That got a laugh but also reveals a truth. What we do in secret will become evident in public. That’s true spiritually as well as physically. Proper spiritual nourishment will result in a healthy church body.
February 12, 2017
Psychologists at Purdue conducted a study by using the school’s librarians. Half of them were asked to casually touch the students who came to them, the other half were to just do business as usual. Later the students were asked to rate the librarians. The students who were touched had much higher regard than those who weren’t. A loving touch is a necessary part of our human experience. Use it wisely.
February 5, 2017
Nine physically handicapped people successfully climbed Mount Rainier. One had an artificial leg, one was epileptic, two were deaf and five were blind. But in spite of their handicaps they reached the 14,000 foot summit and got safely back down on their own.
Asked how they managed, one of them said, “We got a lot of help from each other on the trip”.
There is no way we can safely negotiate life’s journey without a lot of help from each other, because we are all handicapped in some way, either physically, emotionally, or spiritually. We all have our flaws and need each other. That’s why the Lord gave us the Church.
January 29, 2017
In his book titled “Early Christians Of The Twenty-First Century”, Chad Walsh made this stinging but all-too-accurate remark:
“Millions of Christians live in a haze of vague piety. Their religion is a pleasant thing, demanding little except lip service. This is why I suspect Satan has called off his attempts to convert people to agnosticism. From Satan’s point of view, it is much safer to vaccinate people with a mild case of Christianity, so as to protect them from the real disease.”
I’m afraid Chad was right, and what we need to do is re-vaccinate those people with the blood of Calvary and give them regular, remedial doses of “go ye into all the world and make disciples…”. Maybe it’s not too late.
January 22, 2017
One of the problems of our time is the near-celebrity status of certain preachers. But, that’s not a new problem. Henry Ward Beecher of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York was in that position many years ago. In fact, one day he was to be out of the pulpit and asked his brother Thomas, to fill in for him. And when people flocked in to see Henry, but found Thomas instead, they turned around to leave.
So Thomas raised his voice to say, “All those who came today to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now leave. All who came to worship God may stay.”
Never forget Who we worship!
January 15, 2017
While talking with a friend the other day, mention was made of the popularity of those huge ‘mega-churches’. The friend, who had attended several such mega-churches, said how impossible it was to have fellowship with a huge crowd of strangers. And I wondered how a man could effectively pastor thousands of people he couldn’t possibly know by name and need.
It reminded me of this quote by Charles Spurgeon to an ambitious young preacher who complained that his church was too small. He said, “Maybe it’s as large as you’d like to give account for in The Day Of Judgement”.
Lord, guard me from ambition!
January 8, 2017
Grandpa walked past his granddaughter’s room as she was getting ready for bed, and saw her on her knees, hands folded and head bowed, and reciting the alphabet. He asked her what she was doing, and she said, “I’m saying my prayers, but I couldn’t think of just what I wanted to say, so I’m just saying all the letters, and He can put them together how He thinks best”.
There’s deep wisdom in that. The words we say aren’t nearly as important as our attitude as we say them. If we approach Him with openness and reverence, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His Holiness; He already knows what’s in your heart. Just pray.
January 1, 2017
In looking to the year ahead, I thought this little anonymous poem should bear our attention: It goes…
“I know three things that must always be…
To keep our nation strong and free.
One is a hearthstone bright and dear…
With busy, happy, loved ones near.
One is a ready heart and hand…
To love, to serve, and keep the land.
One is worn and beaten away…
To where the people go to pray.
As long as these are kept alive…
The nation, and people, will survive.
God keep them always everywhere…
The home, the heart, the place of prayer.”
Let’s make this our motto for 2017, and I pray that yours…will be blessed!
December 25, 2016
I truly hope you enjoy all your Christmas gifts, but I want to remind you of the best gift.
“If our need had been for information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, He would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been for wealth, God would have sent us an economist. But our greatest need was for forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.” (copied)
He will always be the very best gift!
December 18, 2016
I saw this notation the other day, but don’t recall where. It said “Too many churches, not enough Christians”. It reminded me of this story…
An elderly man was part of a tour group being shown through the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral. In hushed tones he asked the tour guide “How many souls were saved here last year”? The guide indignantly answered “Sir, this is a cathedral, not some common chapel”!
Isn’t that the trouble? Too many cathedrals, not enough chapels? Too many churches, not enough Christians?
December 11, 2016
Trying to live a Christian life without making the proper preparations is like sitting in a car that’s out of gas and rolling downhill. Everything seems fine until the road flattens out and turns uphill. Then you’re not only making no progress, you’re going backwards.
Fortunately God provides the power we need, any time we are willing to have it. By study of God’s Word, and studying the life of God’s Son, we gain what we need to make our lives what they ought to be.
December 4, 2016
As we begin looking at the birth of our Savior, I want to focus on the faith of that young Hebrew girl who believed the angel’s announcement. Here are a couple comments on mothers:
“Satisfaction comes from having a lasting positive impact on others. No one on earth comes close to mothers for having that kind of influence.”
“Every mother has the breathtaking privilege of sharing with God in the creation of a new life. She helps bring into existence a soul that will last for all eternity.” – James Keller
How amazing! The angel spoke, and Mary BELIEVED!
November 27, 2016
Evangelist Tony Compallo says “At rallies I like to ask people how they came to know the Lord. I ask how many were saved by hearing a radio program and a couple hands go up. Same when I ask about a T.V. program. I ask how many were saved because someone took the time to personally share the Gospel with them, and the response will be overwhelming, every time”.
There is no doubt that the most powerful form of evangelism is ordinary folks loving their friends enough to share Jesus with them. And remember, Jesus said, “Go thou and do likewise”.
November 20, 2016
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God…
…intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” (April 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation for a National Day Of Fasting, Humiliation And Prayer)
The above is an excerpt, for the full text, see the posting on the central bulletin board in the foyer at the church.
November 13, 2016
While we here in this nation enjoy a tremendous degree of religious freedom, the same is not true of other places in the world.
For example, in the nation of Nepal, there is an automatic one-year prison term for any Hindu who converts to Christianity. One man in particular has been jailed four times in the last ten years for telling others about Jesus.
This Christian man operates an orphanage and several other businesses, but suffers in wretched, vermin-infested conditions each time he is locked up for witnessing. But, his love and gratitude towards his Savior won’t allow him to stop.
November 6, 2016
Next Tuesday you will be asked to go to the polls and cast your vote for the next President of the United States. One thing that new President will inherit is the national debt. In 1990 that debt stood at around 6.5 trillion dollars. Now it is in excess of 20 trillion dollars.
The government has income of 1.4 trillion dollars, and spends 1.9 trillion dollars every year. By way of comparison, 1 trillion dollars would provide a 40 hour paycheck at minimum wage for every man, woman and child in the world.
Debt cannot continue to accumulate indefinitely. The compound interest curve eventually makes even the payment of interest on that debt an impossibility. (Source: Federal Reserve)
October 30, 2016
Some years ago, the Associated Press ran an article about how some customers were able to speed up service in a Post Office where 26 people were in line and only one clerk working. They began chanting “We want service!”, and kept it up until two more clerks appeared and opened their windows.
That was sort of a modern version of Jesus’ parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18). He said if men can be persuaded by persistent pleading, how much more will our Heavenly Father give ear to the prayers of His children.
Truly it is said; the saddest truth in the churches today is not unanswered prayers, it is unasked prayers. Jesus clearly said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer!”.
October 23, 2016
Bob Dylan, that pro-drug, anti-government troubadour from the 60s and 70s was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in literature. You knew that, but did you also know that this famously anti-establishment singer/songwriter has now become a Christian?
Being a Christian means listening to and following Jesus, and Dylan now does that. He has released several Christian albums.
But regarding that Nobel Prize; I ran across this: the biography of every winner includes “religious affiliation”. When James Watson won, he wrote “religion; probably Christian”.
As you journey through life, what will people say about you? “Probably Christian”? Will they have to guess? Or will they be able to say with confidence “definitely Christian!”?
October 16, 2016
You’ve probably heard this before but it bears repetition: In the Kansas House Of Representatives, a pastor from Wichita gave the prayer at the opening of the session. He prayed:
“Father in Heaven, we confess we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it ‘moral pluralism’. We have worshipped other Gods and called it ‘multiculturalism’. We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. We have exploited the poor and called it a lottery. We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed unborn innocents and called it a choice. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbor’s goods and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.”
He closed his prayer with a plea for God’s forgiveness, blessings and wisdom. As he prayed, several legislators left the room, some sat down. But did any really listen? Can any of us argue with what he said? And what do you think we should do about all that?
October 2, 2016
Today, as every first Sunday, we will think deeply of Christ’s death, and it is important that we do so as He asked, and remember THAT death; but we mustn’t stay there.
Michelangelo once railed against his fellow artists by saying, “Why do you keep filling gallery after gallery with endless pictures of Christ in weakness, Christ on The Cross, or worse, of Christ dead. Why concentrate on that passing episode as if it were the last word?…as if that were disaster and defeat? That dreadful scene lasted but a few hours. But for unending eternity Christ is alive, He rules in triumph!”
And he was right. The Cross is vitally important because of the redemption Jesus accomplished there. But we must not emphasize His death to the exclusion of His victorious resurrection. We must think of Him now as forever glorified in Heaven, from where He soon shall return for those who love Him.
As we partake this morning of the bread and the cup, let us remember with deep sorrow His horrible death, paying for our sins. But always remember the glorious promise of the empty tomb!
September 25, 2016
Jesus said, that we who have accepted His sacrifice as payment for our sins, and claimed His name, are now to be “The Light of the World”, as He was when He walked among us.
And as we see the world growing darker around, it means we need to be shining brighter. It is when the night is blackest, that we need the light the most. That darkness, no matter how deep, can not extinguish a light. At the bottom of the deepest darkest mine, where the darkness is complete, if you light just one little candle, the darkness will be pushed back a bit. Light enough candles and the darkness will be completely overcome.
The night gets darker only because the light fails. If we were reflecting that glorious Gospel Light, the darkness in America would not be advancing. And you don’t have to light the whole country by yourself. Just light up that small corner where you live, that’s all. And if we will all do that, as we are commanded to, the darkness won’t win.
September 18, 2016
“Integrity” is a simple little word that doesn’t get a lot of attention these days, from the halls of government to the homes of America. And we need to change that.
Simply put, integrity means doing what you say you will do. It means you can be counted on to keep your word and promises. When you promise to be faithful to your mate, integrity says that’s what you’ll do, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer.
If you promise the Lord you will serve Him and give Him the glory, integrity means doing that, if you are reduced to nothing or exalted to the highest degree.
If you promise a friend you will do a favor, you do it. If you promise a child you will spend a Saturday afternoon with them, you do it. A promise is a sacred thing, whether made to The Lord of the universe, or a tiny child. An unknown author put it this way: “Always remember that whether you are alive or dead will matter for nothing. What truly matters is what you live for, and what you are prepared to die for.”
September 11, 2016
In the ‘Hill County News’ from Scottsbluff, Nebraska was the following ad under the ‘sale or trade’ column: “Will trade one white wedding dress, size 12, never worn, for a 38 caliber revolver.”
I think you can figure out where that was going. Sadly, that is how we usually respond to one who injures us. Even when we know it’s wrong we still want to retaliate.
Here’s a better way: You remember back in the 1950’s how a small group of missionaries went to South America to present The Gospel to the Auca Indians? But instead of listening, the Indians killed the missionaries. Did the wives of those murdered men want to retaliate? No. Instead, they went to the same Indians, who, maybe because they were women, listened, accepted Jesus, and were saved.
That is how The Lord wants us to deal with those who injure us. That ‘turning the other cheek’ thing isn’t very popular anymore. But it is the right way.
September 4, 2016
A local newspaper recently printed the mug shots of six people who had also had their pictures taken by security cameras as they cashed some fraudulent checks. It seems so incredible that there are people willing to commit such crimes with stupidity, as well as boldness. We all know those security cameras are there. What were they thinking?
But then, God’s keeping a record that is far more sure than any human recording device. Maybe those whose crimes are captured on those security cameras have a hope of possibly being able to avoid being caught. It happens, I guess!
However, those who sin against God HAVE to know that there is no way, THAT sin, won’t be held against them by a righteous God…unless they realize their condition and flee to Jesus for escape. Upon their confession, they will find that their sins are gone, as if they never even existed. So, why don’t more people come to Him, and escape condemnation? It puzzles me!
August 28, 2016
The Pastor of a small church in Pennsylvania made a decision to convert the two hours each night he spent watching television into prayer time. As he began to pour his heart out to God nightly, God gave him a vision to reach out to some New York City gang members who had been involved in a brutal and senseless murder.
That Pastor was David Wilkerson who later pastored Times Square Church in Manhattan. God used Pastor David’s simple obedience to bring many street-hardened young toughs into saving faith in Jesus. One of those young toughs was Nicky Cruz, and his conversion became the basis for the book “The Cross And The Switchblade.” Pastor David also went on to found “Teen Challenge”, a ministry that soon went nation-wide. Thousands of young men and women have been brought out of crime and addiction, all because one man decided to convert TV time into prayer time.
Imagine what could happen if more Americans took that challenge seriously?
August 21, 2016
One of my favorite sayings comes from the bottom of a plastic soda bottle: “No deposit, no return”. Think about it; while we’re watching the Olympic contest in Rio, we marvel at the ability of the athletes to perform such amazing feats. They run faster, jump higher, swim quicker than would seem physically possible; how do they do it?
The answer is simple, but certainly not easy. Those athletes spend years, countless hours, endure aching muscles, in order to compete in a contest that may be timed to a thousandth of a second. They must be willing to endure untold hardships in their quest for “Gold”. They ‘deposit’ all that effort in hopes of the ‘return’ of Olympic glory. No deposit, no return.
How about you? I know you’re looking forward to a glorious eternity in Heaven with Jesus. That’s your ‘return’. What are you willing to ‘deposit’ to achieve that? Will you work? Witness? Pray? Or, are you content to just sit back and let others vie for the Gold?
August 21, 2016
A yacht competing in the America’s Cup race has a crew of 16. That includes some prominent positions such as the Navigator, who plots the course, and the Helmsman, who steers the ship. But the boat wouldn’t function without the “grinders”, the men who turn the heavy cranks that control the position of the sails. Mostly unsung and unseen, but vitally important to the operation of the vessel.
The laborers for Christ are very similar. There are those that lead large congregations, and those that have vast television ministry, reaching thousands.
But the cause of Christ is best served by countless small congregations across the land, where faithful, humble people serve the Lord. Quiet, and mostly unseen and unheard, but touching one hurting heart after another.
It is the huge, roaring waterfall that gets all the attention, but it is the countless small, flowing streams that supply the water.
August 14, 2016
I can’t stress too strongly the need for us to confess and repent of our sins. Repentance restores that right relationship between man and God, knowing that “it is a fearful thing for a sinner to fall into the hands of an angry God.”
Here’s a story that sorta illustrates that point:
Janine Brooks was a dental student in London when a man ran into her car, causing severe damage. But the man would not admit responsibility for the damage, and refused to pay for that damage.
Fast forward ten years. Janine is now a dentist and has an office in London. Guess who came into that office wanting to have a painful tooth pulled? He didn’t recognize her as the young woman he had wronged, but she certainly recognized him. She told him “sit down, this won’t hurt a bit.” She lied!
Wouldn’t you rather have your sins forgiven and forgotten? Repentence is good for the soul.
August 7, 2016
How often do we see someone saved by the grace of God, then launch into a whirlwind of Christian service, witnessing, working…but then slow down and ultimately quit altogether?
Robert Robinson was saved out of a life of sin. Shortly after, at the age of twenty three, he wrote the hymn, “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing”. But unfortunately his old habits of sin soon drew him back.
One day while riding on a train, the lady seated beside him was engrossed in a book. She came across a verse that she thought was very beautiful and wanted to share it with her traveling companion. She read aloud “prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the Lord I love.”
Upon hearing those words, Robinson burst into tears and said “Madam, I am the unhappy soul who wrote that hymn, many years ago. I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
In Matthew 13 Jesus told the parable of the soils and said sometimes the seed (Gospel message) fell in shallow soil, sprang up immediately, but then withered in the harsh sun because they had no depth. It is so important that all believers, old and young alike, remain fully involved in Bible study, corporate prayer and Christian service. Don’t let the harsh sun of worldliness cause your faith to wither.