Pastor’s Corner

Pastor Corner

Last Sunday morning Paul Luther, the adult Sunday school teacher, told us about a homecoming where his people attend. There were several unique things about this homecoming but one thing that stuck in my mind was the concept of wanted posters. It seems that if you were not in attendance that they would put up wanted posters with your name on the poster. This got me to thinking, what if God put out a wanted poster? What would the poster say? Would my name be on one of them? Would everyone would be required to put up posters and report directly to God if they saw someone fitting the description. Romans 3:23 tells us that everyone has sinned and come short of Gods expectations, for God calls everyone to repentance and to believe in Jesus Christ (Acts 19:4). So under the description, would it have people wanted who are imperfect and have sin in there life. In the second chapter of Ephesians, Paul tells us that God wants people dead in sins to be made alive through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:5) and make them part of his family (Ephesians 2:19). I guess the poster could say wanted “people dead or alive” and even offer a reward. Through Jesus Christ a person can have the greatest reward known to mankind, which is eternal life (Romans 6:23). His poster would not be just for bad people, like in the post office, but for all people in spite of there faults. So I guess in a way God has put out a wanted poster in the form of the Gospel and all of our names are on it.

Pastor

It’s Hard to Die

It’s Hard to Die

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36).

Scripture: Luke 6:32-36

Jesus spoke many hard sayings. Is it really possible to show mercy in the same way God shows mercy? Do we really want the Father to forgive us as we forgive others? And that hardest saying of all: Are we ready to die for Him?

Jesus spoke that hard saying to those closest to Him: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Denying self runs contrary to our times; surely I have rights! But Jesus didn’t stop with a simple moral decision. Those who would follow Him must take up their cross daily. The cross meant one thing: death.

Dealing with this theme, the speaker at a men’s retreat handed out small metal crosses. He told the men, “Carry the cross in your pocket to remind you of Jesus’ command. When tempted to be selfish, finger the cross; when tempted to sin, finger the cross. Let it remind you that you died with Christ so you can live unto Him, not only in eternity, but right now.”

The speaker had it right: We can never know joy until we learn to die to self and give ourselves to others. But self doesn’t die easily. That is the meaning in Jesus’ words following this hard saying: If you live for self, you lose your life; die to self, you come alive.

O Eternal Lord God, give me the grace to surrender self so I may come alive to You. Then show me how to bring others to Your glorious cross. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.

(From the iPhone app “Devotions 365”.)

Family

Matthew 23:8 …ye are all brethren.

This past week the association that my home church belongs to held it’s annual revival. It is a full week of meetings, Monday through Saturday evenings, with business meetings and worship services during the day on Friday and Saturday, culminating on Sunday with Sunday school and a memorial service in the afternoon. At some point most, if not all, of the 37 churches of the association are represented, along with folks visiting from other churches and associations from as far away as Alabama and Missouri. It is a wonderful opportunity to worship and fellowship with folks you don’t see often and ones that you meet for the first time. It is also a great blessing to see how this diverse body comes together as one in the Lord during this time.

I was blessed to attend almost all of the events, missing Saturday evenings service. As I said, the worship, fellowship and the songs of praise were just outstanding. We were truly in one mind and one accord, so much so that each night the choir, which was never made up of the same folks, sounded like a group that sang together regularly for years. The Spirit of God flowed through out the week in all aspects of the meetings.

As enjoyable as this week was, I have to tell you I’m looking so very forward to Wednesday night this week. You see, due to the weeks meeting and other church events prior to that we’ve not met in our home church in about two weeks. And though I greatly enjoyed the fellowship of the brothers and sisters from the other churches, I miss my “family” at Gethsemane something terrible. It’s so sweet to have brothers and sisters in Christ that you (I) feel are truly family. Though I love all the brethren, that little group of Christians that makes up the Body of Gethsemane United Baptist Church holds an extra dear spot in my heart. I hope and pray that each of you are as blessed with a home church and “family” as I am. And I thank my God for each of them and for planting among them.

How It Unfolds?

Have you ever seen the sunlight slice through the clouds above, making a sharp beam from the skies to earth and wondered what it might look like when Christ returns? I have many times. Today a friend sent me an email that depicted some pretty vivid imagery on just that event. I don’t know who wrote it but, though not completely Biblical, it brought many things to mind, probably the author’s goal to start with.

If one searches the Scriptures we find many statements and clues to the Second Advent. But not all things are revealed to us. This has led to at least four, that I can think of, different views of end times events. These views have often separated God’s people when in fact they are not essential, which view you hold I mean, to salvation. There’s one thing that we need to know and proclaim as absolute: Jesus alone is the Way into Heaven.

Exactly how events unfold are speculation on our parts to the best of our abilities. The thing our people need to fully understand is they need to be ready when the events do unfold. The Apostle John may well have said it best in his First Epistle:

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

Motivation

In each of us in our different lives and interests we all have different things that motivate us. An athlete is usually motivated by compitition, a parent by love, and an employee by one of several things, the need to make a paycheck being one for sure.

As many of you know, I used to be in the car business; yup, I was a used car salesman, among many other “hats” I wore during my time in that business. We were paid twice a month and each half started a new; in other words if you had not produced, you made no commission, and therefore no paycheck. So I was comstantly motivated to make sales in order to pay bills, put food on the table, etc.

Today when we look around at the world, our own country, and even our communities we see things that we would have never imagained a mere few years ago. Unfortunately I’m speaking of bad, ungodly, unrighteous things that surround us and our families.

The Bible teaches that as the end draws near the world will become more depraved, false teachings more rampant, and a general moral decline will beset it. We know we are living in the last days now, the final age, the period of Grace, how ever one wishes to call it. These things and the very fact that the clock ticks away as I write this and you read it show we are coming closer and closer to the end.

For a Christian this is a twofold idea: On one hand we are closing in on our goal of finishing the race and being Home with the Lord. And yet we must be horrified by the thought of the vast numbers of people, family, friends, loved ones, and those we don’t even know, who are facing an eternity of torment. Should that single thought not be motivation for everyone one of us to tell at least one person each day of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

The Choice

A man shared the Gospel with two young ladies.  When he finished he asked the first girl if she would like to pray and receive Jesus as her Savior; she said yes. After they prayed, he then asked the second girl the same question; she replied that she wasn’t ready to make that choice.

That young lady may not have realized it but she had made her choice; to reject Jesus. There’s no middle ground, no gray area in this matter; it’s completely black and white, crystal clear. If your answer to Christ is anything other than yes, you are rejecting Him and saying no to His grace. It can’t be worded much simpler than that.

Luke 11:23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

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Go Tell!

Reverend Fun.com

Tonight’s lesson at VBS was entitled Go Tell.  It was about Jesus’ first appearing to the group of women and instructing them to go and tell the disciples he was risen.  The focus of the lesson was evangelism, taking from the women going to tell and us today being under the same commission, i.e. witnessing.

If we look at the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, in the first and second chapter, we find him speaking pretty extensively about “preaching”.  Let me use 1 Cor. 1:18 as an example: in this verse, the word translated preaching (Strong’s G3056) means- to speak; an intelligent discourse.  And in 1 Cor. 2:4 the word translated here as preaching (Strong’s G2782) means- a proclamation, especially of the Gospel and by implication the Gospel itself; the proclamation of Jesus Christ.

I think that when many of us read these verses we think of preaching as in what the pastor or a preacher does.  But it is clear that Paul was not referring to someone who is called to that office/position, rather he is speaking to the common man: you and me.  And if you take these verses, with the thought of these words meaning as I have outlined above, and put them in context will the verses in between the ones I’ve referenced I do not believe you can come to any other conclusion.  We are called to go and tell of Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross.  While the cartoon above was drawn to bring a smile to our faces, it should make us think just how serious the implications are of us not telling.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Heavenly Father,

I pray that I will always have the courage to go and tell of Your Son, the one and only Savior, when ever You call upon me to do so.

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