From the Pastor’s desk…

April 16, 2018

I love the sport of fishing.  Once a week I will be on the water somewhere trying to catch the “Big Ones” and I will have an exciting time doing it.  I’ve talked to many people over the years who told me that they don’t go fishing because it is “too boring.”  Those people don’t catch anything and have a boring time because they probably don’t have a clue as to what they are doing. I can honestly say that I don’t ever remember having a “boring time” trying to catch the “Big Ones.” There’s a reason for that.  I’ve invested much money and time learning how to fish.

Before I leave on a fishing trip I must ask myself a question.  “What kind of fish do I want to catch today? I must first make that decision.  The answer to that question will determine the location that I fish, the type of fishing rod I will use, and the lure or bait that I will use. If I answer that question by saying, “I’m just fishing for anything that bites,”  I will be setting myself up to have  “a boring time.”

Jesus said that His people were to be “fishers of men.”  Do you know what Jesus means by that? It means Jesus wants us to lead others to Him.   Before that can happen, I must get to know “the water.”  It means that I must know the people in my community.  It means that I must be able to relate to the people who live in the community that I do. It means that I must  get to know the people that I work with. It means that I must get to know the people that I do business with and build a relationship of trust with them.  That trust will be the “hook”  or the “bait-lure” that I will need so that they will listen to me when I introduce Christ to them.

The sole purpose of the church is to “catch” people for Jesus.  Take the time to get to know the people that you see week in and week out.  Build a trusting relationship with them and “catch”  them for Jesus. You certainly will not be bored.  It is possible for you to become a very good “fisherman.”  The choice is yours!v

From the Pastor’s desk…

April 9, 2018

A little girl had accidentally dropped a small coin into her mother’s prized vase.  Naturally, she put her little hand in to recover it, but found as she gripped the coin and held it tight, she was unable to withdraw her hand, so she screamed and struggled to get her hand out.  Her cries attracted the other members of the family who all advised and pleaded with her to open her and withdraw it with ease.  But no, she would hold on to her precious small coin and continued to struggle, squirm, and scream.  Finally, the costly vase had to be broken; and with her fist tightly clenched, she screamed, “I’ve still got it!”   The far more costly vase was sacrificed for the sake of the small coin.

What are your values?   What in life is most important to you?  It’s my prayer that we all see the “big picture.”  Values are an issue of the heart.  Where we invest is where our rewards will be.  May we be a people who are investing in the Kingdom of God.

A few days ago I walked into a hospital room to visit a faithful member of the body of Christ. As I approached her bedside I asked, “How are you feeling today?”   With a big smile on her face she replied, “I’m very well.  I’m going to Heaven! The Lord showed me! I saw so very many beautiful angels!”

She will soon be receiving the return on her investment!

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose,”……Jim Elliot

 

From the Pastor’s desk…

April 3, 2018

As Jesus tried to comfort His disciples before His crucifixion, He said to them, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you,” (John 16:7).   Jesus also said, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me.  Because I live, you will live also,” (John 14:18, 19).

On Pentecost Jesus did send the Holy Spirit. And Jesus also said that we would receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on us and then we would be witnesses unto Him (Acts 1:8).

Have you experienced the resurrection power of Jesus Christ?

“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you,” (Romans 8:11).

Resurrection strength is a supernatural strength that is available to the children of God because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Receive that resurrection power by faith.  I have learned that in nearly every conversation with others opportunities will arise to mention the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection power. In spite of what you may think, people are hungry for the truth. They want to know and see God.

Henry Ward Beecher once said, “The strength of a person consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and going in that way too.”

From the Pastor’s desk…

March 26, 2018

This week is known as “Holy Week.”   What does it mean to be “holy?”  Is it possible for us to become “holy?”    “Because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy,” (I Peter 1:16).

Augustine is considered to be one of the greatest theologians of church history, but his lifestyle before coming to Christ was rebellious and sensuous. He was known to be “the life of the party.”

One day, after becoming a Christian, he was walking in front of a bar he used to frequent. In front of him and walking toward him was a prostitute, smiling as she assumed Augustine had finally returned after his ridiculous little phase of religion.  As they approached each other, Augustine continued to look forward and passed her without even looking at her.

“Augustine,”   she said. “Don’t you recognize who just walked by?  It’s me!”   For a moment, he stopped, turned to her and simply said, “Yes – but it is no longer me.”

In 2Corinthians  7:1, Paul writes, “Since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” In other words, God’s promises should affect our behavior.

Holiness is really an internal quality perfected or completed in our lives by claiming God’s promises of our new identity and possessions and by allowing the Holy Spirit to change our behavior.   We begin to become holy when we allow His exceeding and great and precious promises paint the picture inside of us of who we really are;  “the righteousness of God in Christ.”

From the Pastor’s desk…

March 19, 2018

“Your outcome in life doesn’t depend on your income, but rather on how you overcome.”

There has been and always will be a constant battle or struggle between good and evil, between the works of the flesh and the Spirit of God.  Even the Apostle Paul talked about his struggles in the seventh chapter of Romans. “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:14,15)

He then continues to talk about his “struggles” and finally concludes, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25).

In other words, Paul did not and could not experience victory in his life as long as he relied only on his own strength and power. Only when he completely yielded his life to the Spirit of God did he experience victory over sin and self.

How about you?  Have you been experiencing victory in your daily walk with God?  Have you been relying too much on your own strength and will power?  Or, have you completely surrendered your will and life to the Spirit of God? That is a personal choice and an everyday decision we all must make.  Rely on self, or rely on the Spirit of God?  What will you do?

From the Pastor’s desk…

March 12, 2018

I was visiting a family in their home recently.  For the first few minutes, I listened as I was being informed of “all their troubles.”  After a few minutes one family member asked me, “Well, how are you doing today?      Before I could speak someone said, “He probably was doing well until he came to this house!”

I responded by saying, “I’m always doing well!”

How’s your attitude and outlook on life been lately?  Has your attitude been “upbeat” or does life have you “down in the dumps?”  I’m sure we all have experienced both emotions.

Because of our faith in Christ and belief in His Word, we can experience an attitude of joy in spite of the difficult circumstances we may be facing.  Joy is not the absence of problems, rather  joy is the very presence of God in the midst of problems.

In spite of negative circumstances we can be joyful because…

  • God is with us. “When you pass through the waters I will be with you,”  (Isaiah 43:2).
  • God has a plan for you. “I want you to trust Me in your times of trouble,” (Psalm 50:15).
  • God will help you. “Why are you cast down? Trust in God,” (Psalm 43:5)

I believe that joy is experienced by knowing and understanding the truth.  It was the Lord Jesus who said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” (John 8:32).  And the truth is that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives.  When things seem to be “crashing in” on you, learn to trust God’s plan.  As we trust we will experience the presence of God, which is joy.

“He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness.”  (Isaiah 105:43)

From the Pastor’s desk…

March 5, 2018

“Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:14).

The truth is a requirement for spiritual and emotional health.  Why?  Because God is truth and His Word is truth (John 17:17).  Most of our unhappiness is caused by the lies we tell ourselves. The truth sometimes is painful to face.  For that reason, we sometimes ignore it. But in the end, the truth is always revealed. The truth always comes to the surface eventually.

One day C. H. Spurgeon was walking through the English countryside with a friend. As they strolled along, the evangelist noticed a barn with a weather vane on its roof.  At the top of the vane were these words:  GOD IS LOVE.  Spurgeon remarked to his companion that he thought that was a rather inappropriate place for such a message. “Weather vanes are changeable,” he said, “but God’s love is constant.”   “I don’t agree with you about those words, Charles,” replied his friend.  “You are misunderstanding the meaning.  That sign is indicating a truth:   Regardless of which way the wind blows, God is love.”

No matter which way the “wind is blowing” now in your life, speak the truth.

From the Pastor’s desk…

February 26, 2018

The man known as “America’s Pastor,” the Rev. Dr Billy Graham, died during the early morning hours of February 21.  During a televised interview in 2010, I listened to Rev. Graham talk about his calling to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  During his latter teen aged years, while attending a Bible College in Florida, Billy Graham heard God say, “I want to use you to preach my Gospel around the world.”  Very late at night, laying on the wet soil, Billy Graham responded to God, “If you want me to serve you, I will.”

Rev. Graham said from that day on he began to prepare.  Billy Graham continued, “I would study, I would pray,  I would preach to birds, alligators and cypress stumps.”  His classmates would tease him and ask, “How many converts did you get today, Billy?”

Billy Graham went on to minister to the down-and-out in gospel missions in downtown Tampa, at the Tin Can Trailer Park in Palmetto Beach and at the dog track in Sulphur Springs. By the late 1930s, Graham’s preaching drew up to 1,000 people.  Rev. Graham ended up preaching worldwide crusades as well as being a Pastor to Presidents.

The truth is we all have the responsibility of leading people to Christ. May we keep that in mind as we talk and do business with people this week. The Kingdom of God increases one soul at a time, one life at a time. May each of us do our part to lead people to Christ this week.  Perhaps someone’s name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life because of the way you live your life this week.

“If you know God, live in such a way that those who know you that don’t know God, will come to know God because they know you.”   That says it all, doesn’t it?

From the Pastor’s desk…

February 19, 2018

“And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day thou shall you eat of it you shall surely die.’” (Genesis 2:16, 17)

A good friend of mine retired a few years ago. Soon after retiring he and his wife were visiting friends that lived in a southern state. Their first impression of that community was a positive one. They immediately thought it would be good if they also would move to that warmer climate and get away from the winters in Western Pennsylvania.  It wasn’t long until their property in Western Pa. was sold and they moved south.

“Retirement is so good,”   he thought.

Well, guess what?  It wasn’t long until they moved back to Western Pennsylvania. My friends soon realized that they missed Western Pa. very much. They missed their many friends, their family, the Penguins and the Steelers. They missed about everything, even the weather. They really didn’t fully appreciate all the blessings they had in Western Pennsylvania.

We all are like that at times in one way or the other, aren’t we?  Just like Adam and Eve, we too sometimes believe that what we have now is not enough. “If only I had just a little more,” we say at times.

Adam and Eve didn’t realize just how blessed they were without partaking of that Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And sometimes we don’t fully realize just how blessed we are right now.  Be sure to express your love and appreciation to those close to you.  Be sure to express your appreciation to our Lord for the many blessings He has bestowed upon you.

From the Pastor’s desk…

February 12, 2018

The Lenten Season begins this week. Some people say that they are giving up something during Lent. Perhaps it’s television that some will give up?  Perhaps it’s chocolate? Perhaps it’s a favorite CD that some will not listen to during the Lenten Season?

Is Lent a time of self-denial for you?  Jesus really isn’t concerned with chocolate, television or CDs. Jesus is concerned about what is going on in our hearts.  The Lenten Season is a good time to do away with those things that are spiritually unhealthy.  Perhaps it’s a little pride, or self-centeredness, hypocrisy or laziness?

To me, Lent is really an attitude.  It’s an attitude of honesty and humility as we confess our sins to God.

But Lent is also an attitude of relief and joy, knowing that our sins have been forgiven, that our Lord has washed away all of our sin because of what Jesus did on the cross.

If you temporarily give up certain things during Lent as a sign of love for your Savior, that’s fine. But what Jesus is really concerned about is what is going on in your heart?  Have you allowed Him to cleanse it and make it whole?  I trust that you have.  We all need to ask God to do that from time to time. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10).