God is Near

November 4, 2020

I an going to start with an illustration that should clarify what I want to say in this blog. Psychologist Jean Plaget carried out psychological experiments in which he observed that very young babies ,
(under 6 mo old) would be clearly interested in a toy placed a few years in front of them until Plaget placed a blanket over the toy. Then the infants showed no further interest, assuming that the toy was no longer there.
I have observed in my self (full disclosure) and in others that there are times where it seems that our focus is on God such as when at church, at prayer, reading the bible and meditating. However there are other times like the infant where we are distracted from our focus on God as though he wasn’t there.
But if we are true Christians , and we have given our lives over to Christ, then the Holy Spirit is with us all the time and we should be looking to that Spirit to guide us in everything that we do. We need to have the attitude that we don’t venture into our day without opening our heart to that Spirit.

But we sometimes want to go it on our own. Sometimes we say that we can handle it God . another illustration drives home this point. A man was in the parking lot of a big box store and couldn’t find a parking place. He kept driving around and finally in frustration he said “God, find me a parking place.” Shortly a place opened up and the man said “never mind God I found one on my own”
We might chuckle at this but too many of us have the attitude that “God is there if I need Him” Jonah thought that taking a ship to Tarsus rather than facing Nineveh, that God would no longer be in control of his life. But as you know the story, Jonah did come face to face with God once again.

We need to understand and acknowledge that God is ALWAYS with us. And that we need to surrender control of our life , for God has the perfect plan for each and every day. We should:
“lean on the everlasting arms of God” Amen

A treasured find

October 1, 2020

I am going to get personal again this month
As those of you who know me know that my wife passed away last October. I rejoice that she is with her Lord , that she is not suffering and is at peace. I tell myself that every day. The chore of going through old files and keepsakes can be tough sometimes.
I say all of this to introduce a devotion that she had published in a daily devotional guide. I came across it the other day. I see the evidence of her devotion to God and to her friends and family in everything I go through.
With your indulgence, I am going to print it exactly as she said it in 1995.
She made reference to this scripture: John 15: 12-13. which epitomized her loving attitude.:

“As a child growing up in the small community of Boonville , Missouri, I belonged to and attended the local Methodist Church., Sunday School, vacation bible school. Church socials and dinners were a regular part of my simple life.
Childhood faded into youth and youth into adulthood. Choir and musical events in the church became connected to my spiritual life. In music there was a special closeness to God. The words of the hymns cementing forever beautiful bible verses in my mind.
One composition especially stands out for me, ” I walked Today Where Jesus Walked”It would bring tears to my eyes and chills to my skin. I could just imagine walking in His steps.
Years later I would have that opportunity. A trip to Israel , where the shores of Galilee, the river Jordon, the peaceful hillside of the Sermon On The Mount, The Garden of Gethsemane, the way of the Cross placed my feet in His footsteps and sent this beautiful song through my mind once again.

The song is sung often in springtime and its lovely words and music remind me of “the peace that passes all understanding” and that Jesus died for our sins because He loved us. May we be mindful of His sacrifice and love and “gp forth and do likewise”
prayer: Jesus forgive us for not living our lives as you would have us live. Thank you for loving us anyway. Amen”

Thank you sweet lady the love of my life and my inspiration for 38 years………Amen

Memories

September 4, 2020

Our memories are gifts from God.. The bible is full of stories of faith and how God walked through life with yesterdays faithful. What is implied is , if God was with Abraham and Sarah in a new land, Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness, Meshack, Shadrach and Abednago in the fiery furnace, God has been and will be with is today and always.

You cannot escape the presence of God . The bible says “when I go to the depths, you are there, when I ascend to the heights you are thee” (Psalm 130;9 ) and the gift of memories is a gift to remind us that we are not forgotten, abandoned or discarded. God’s relentless hopeful pursuit of us cannot be thwarted by momentary lapses of memory or even the embellishment of the story leaving God out of the picture!

We talk of the past as history. Our faith reminds us to make of our lives HIS story . Let God stir in the pages and each line of the tale of our living . And tell your family where you have seen God at work in your life. And maybe some day your son or daughter will tell stories of how God was working in your life. What ever you do, be sure and make a memory with God.

This leads me to look at my personal situation. I am in a new town with new doctors. After 25 years seeing the same practitioners who knew me backwards and forwards I am facing physicians who don’t know me and want test after test.They take my oral history with a grain of salt. It seem that what has gone on before doesn’t mean anything now. I have been referred to doctors whose specialty is something I can hardly pronounce let alone understand. I get concerned when they them say that they want to do further tests.

BUT…..I know that God is with me. God knows me and has my history on His lips. I wish I could just say to all of those healthcare professionals , Check with God he knows all about me and can give you all the information you need……… So I go about doing what they all say with the assurance that God will be my comforter and my guide through all of this.. AMEN

Is it August already?

August 15, 2020

I recently moved from a small town to a medium sized city. Even though people universally have become more civil to each other, I find that people in the city are either more burdened that those in the more relaxed atmosphere of the small town or they are just in more of a hurry. Oh there have been exceptions.But what I have found that when you first meet them, they display the city attitude, until I respond with respect, interest and a smile. It is no wonder how peoples attitude changes when you are nice to them and are concerned with what is going on in their life. So my conclusion and my point is that if you are nice and treat others with respect and interest, that is the response you will receive.

In this blog I really want to address our commitment to Jesus Christ. So many of us go to church each Sunday and even attend a bible study and participate in the churches outreach programs but in reality are not believers in the sense that they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A lot of pastors (and not enough) give an invitation at the end of their service , inviting people to accept Jesus a their savior. In my time in the pulpit I gave the invitation at each service. I led them through the sinners prayer but I didn’t require them to come forward.
Some in my congregation asked why do you invite then each week to accept Christ as their personal savior when very few seem to acknowledge it. My answer was that they prayed the prayer and the rest is up to God and them.

I was motivated to discuss this topic after I read Ann Graham Lotz analysis of the disciples and their journey as faithful believers.She talked about how they followed
Jesus and did his bidding, helping him with his mission on earth and then she said , this is what happened to them :
Phillip was tied to a pillar and stoned to death
Matthew was nailed to the ground with spikes and beheaded
Jude was beaten to death with sticks and clubs
Simon was tortured and crucified
John , son of Zebedee was tortured and exiled.
Simon was tortured and crucified
James, brother of John was beheaded
James was pushed from the top of a building , then his broken body was
beaten to death
Andrew, Peters brother, hung on a cross for 3 days before dying.
Bartholomew was beaten crucified and skinned alive after being
beheaded
Thomas was thrown into a fiery furnace then speared with a javelin
Peter was crucified upside down.

Why did they all (with the exception of John) die a gruesome death? Not for saying that Jesus of Nazareth had been crucified but that he had risen from the grave , that he had conquered death and he was alive.

We are all children of God and we are his disciples. What do we say to the non-believers? Are we afraid of the consequence? We may not suffer the same fate as the original disciples but we may be looked down on, we may be persecuted , But if we have given our life to Christ then He commands us to spread the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Giving our life to Christ means following Him and sharing our love of God. That may mean that we are not popular or accepted but it does mean that we are following the command s of Jesus and He will reward us if not in this world but in the world to come.
May that path be the path for you to meet the Savior some day. Amen


Do We Believe Bible Prophecy?

July 2, 2020

Over a 1000 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem , God had spoken many prophecies about His coming. He spoke them through men like David, Moses, Isaiah and Micah.

In order for Jesus to be the true Messiah, he had to fulfill every prophecy that was ever spoken and written…and he did,every single one! Here are just a few:

He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:140
and he was (Matt 1: 18:25)
He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
and He was (Matt 2:1-6)
He would be taken into Egypt (Hosea 11;1)
and He was (Matt 2:15)
He would heal the sick and make people whole (Isaiah 5;3)
and He did (Matt 8)
He would be crucified ((Psalm22; 14-17)
and He was (Matt 27:31)
He would die for our sins (Isaiah 53)
and He did (John 1; 29; John 11;49-52)
He would be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:10)
and He was (Matt 28: 1-10)

There are many prophecies about Jesus second coming that of course have not yet been
fulfilled……..but one day,as we have seen about all the other prophecies in the bible, they will be fulfilled. One day we will see the glorious return of our Lord and Savior.

Will you be ready for that time.?Will you be expectantly waiting for that wonderful celebration?
I pray that you now have that hope. But if you don’t know Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord you either do not understand what that means or you don’t care. In either case you will not be with Him in paradise.

You can make sure of your standing with Christ if you confess your sins, ask for forgiveness of your sins and ask Him to come into your life. If you do you will be considered His child and he loves and takes care of His children.
Now is the time to do that as we do not know if we will have a tomorrow. Amen.

Here and There

June 11, 2020

From High School in Lafayette California to college in Manhattan,Kansas to corporate jobs in Southern California and Salina Kansas. to Topeka Kansas to Everett and Robinson, Scranton, Goff and Wetmore in Kansas to Lakeview Heights in Missouri to Lake Creel and Florence in Missouri (we lived outside of Lincoln Missouri) to the last two years in Boonville,Missouri.

I have friends and relatives who grew up in the same town or county in which they were born Of course, if asked, I would say to them that they really needed to broaden their horizons. A relative of Marilyn’s was a B-17 bomber pilot in WW II stationed at one point iin England ,bombing factories in
Germany. He served 4 years in the Air Corps and when the war was over came right back to the place he was born and where he left for the service. I asked him. if in seeing the world he would want to live somewhere else and he said it never occurred to him to do anything else;

All this is to say, as we well know we are all different in our approach to life. God’s plan for me probably would not be right for most people. However I am so grateful for the places i gave been
and especially the people I have met along the way. I told Marilyn many years ago when we were considering a move to Missouri, because of where I have been and the different people and situations that I have encountered , you could drop me anywhere and I would not only survive but thrive.

I have been happy here in Boonville.I have met a lot of wonderful people in the church, Lions Club, Mizzou Physical Therapy where I exercise three days a week, downtown merchants , library employees etc. When Marilyn passed away various people started asking again about maybe me moving back to Kansas.

You know, I wouldn’t have entertained a move but things that Marilyn and I envisioned for our living in Boonville haven’t worked out since her death My daughter Cindy who bless her heart has not pushed me moving until recently .She now argues that she and her brother can’t take care of me if I am in Boonville. (although the medical system at Univ Missouri is excellent)

I consulted with some good friends (from Houston and from Milford Conn.) with all the factors I considered in whether or not to move, They agreed that I needed to be by my family. So, August first 2020 I will be in Wichita Kansas/ All my grandkids and greatgrandkids are in Wichita. Marilyn and I lived there for a few years before she got promoted and we moved to Topeka. So I am familiar with the town.I have a church, East Heights United Methodist Church There are still some people that we went to church with and socialize with, so I feel the decision will be a good and satisfying one. My daughter Cindy is 60 miles north in McPherson and son Scott is an hour and a half in Manhattan.

I thank everyone who made Marilyn and me feel welcome in Boonville.OF course this is Marilyn’s home town and she got reacquainted with many people she had known in the past. I was happy that she fit right in here.

God has called us to welcome strangers and I know that this town will embrace all those who come here to live. Not only welcome them but invite them to church. social group or civic organization.

It has been a pleasure and I will miss you

Pastor Bill Siebert

a tribute to my wife Marilyn Robb Siebert

May 13, 2020

I first met Marilyn in 1980 at an insurance convention. We ran into each other every day at lunch. I finally asked her about her job. She said she was a District Sales Manger for Shelter Insurance. I introduced myself and my company and said that I lived in Salina., she said she lived in Wichita but Salina was in her territory. We met up there for coffee and from then on when she would come to town we would get together.One thing led to another and I  asked her to marry me and she said yes. We were married November 7, 1981.She came into the marriage with three children and I with two children.
And over time I began to really know about Marilyn. I want to relate about her  life before and after I met her. She was born in Boonville, Missouri . Her mom was kitchen manager at the training school in Boonville and her dad was an electrician for the city. She graduated from Boonville High School. was member of the Nelson Memorial United Methodist Church where she was baptized and confirmed and she taught elementary Sunday School.
She held secretary jobs in Boonville until she was referred to Shelter Insurance in Columbia. She spent time in the secretarial pool when she was promoted to secretary to the Vice President of Marketing.
In that job she came into contact with most of the agents and sales managers. One day she went into her bosses office and said that she had become very familiar with the sales managers and she would like to be a district sales manager. Her boss thought enough of her to give her the opportunity.She went to school for a time and then she was to be appointed to a district in the company. To make a long story short, all the state managers she interviewed turned her down for various reasons

She went into her bosses office and said that nobody would hire her. He called the rest of the upper management sales team and said , “get this woman a job” Ultimate;u the state manager of Kansas had a opening so she went to Kansas to interview and he hired her right away. She was very successful and took many of her agents to company conferences all over Europe and in the United States. One year she was named District Sales Manager of The Year.
This drew the attention of upper management and she was promoted State Sales Manger of Kansas. After a time being the only woman manager she was promoted to company recruiter, to help bring in new agents (men and women) into the company. She would fly to different parts of the company territory for interviews. One Thursday night upon arriving home she expressed a desire to retire. That decision was made in time and we made plans to move to Missouri and build on land that had been in her family for over 100 years.She loved it there and enjoyed being closer to her children. Shortly after we moved into our new house two men came to the door and said they had heard that I was a pastor and would I become the pastor of Yeager Union Church. Marilyn said well he is on church business now  and he is appointed in the Methodist Church and can’t do it. They then said can you help us…..So Marilyn preached every other Sunday.This was the church that her father and grandfather attended. I remember every once in a while we would travel from Kansas to attend the annual meeting
After I retired from the Methodist Church Marilyn asked if could take over….I became the full time pastor of the church at that point and Marilyn became board secretary. She also promoted building a new fellowship hall, re-roofing the original church building. She spent a lot of time and I might add a lot of her own money in the projects.

At one of the board meetings of the church the cemetery trustees reported that they had loaned a business in Sedalia $5,000 because they could get better interest. Marilyn spoke up and said you can’t loan cemetery trust funds,it is against the law. Well they got really upset and at the next board meeting put up their own slate of officers. Again Marilyn spoke up and said that being that they were not members of the church they were out of order. Without going into a lot of detail, the trustees sued the board of the church and we went to court. Marilyn spent house getting ready for the trial and she spent all one day on the stand (as board secretary)
Well we lost the case and were told that anyone who wanted to come to the annual meeting and vote on any matter of the church was welcomed. The next board meeting the trustees had several of their people there and voted the existing board was voted out of office.

Marilyn never went back to that church. It was a blow to her that we were no longer part of what had been a 9 year love affair with the church and its people. Marilyn’s focus turned to homestead and her children. In 2017 Marilyn’s daughter Carol committed suicide and as you can imagine, all the “what if'” questions and what she could have done. haunted her.

Later that year we decided that we couldn’t take care of our large home in the woods and 10 acres. We put the house on the market two different times and it didn’t sell. Marilyn had said several years before that if we we were not able to sell the house we would give it to Show-me Christian Youth Home. We eventually did that and moved to Boonville. Marilyn purchased a small 150 year old home and did a lot of work on it. We discovered after a while that it was too small and was not handicapped friendly (for me) so we decided we would build a house on the back half of our property –this was a new project for her-as you can tell from reading-she needed a project. So she designed it, contracted the builder and off we went.

In the middle of this Marilyn had a seizure. After an emergency room visit she was admitted to the Neurology floor at University Hospital in Columbia. She was discharged the next day and put on high-power anti-seizure medicine. The usual go-go person I knew now had to sit in a chair a couple of hours a day and wanted to go to bed early at night. The Neurologist cut the medicine down but that didn’t do much good.
A month later she started having stomach problems.Again, not going into detail we took her to the emergency room twice. She ended up in intensive care and after 2 days they wanted to operate. The doctor came out a few hours later and told us that she did not have a viable bowl and that she would die withing 24 hours…….She passed away 7 hours later..on her birthday October 19, 2019.
She is buried at Walnut Grove Cemetery in Boonville,Missouri.
She was loved and is missed by all her family. She is now with her Lord and can be at peace.

Holy Week

April 5, 2020

I am posting this on Palm Sunday. This day we recognize, commemorate, and celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.This scripture is so full of symbols of the purpose of Jesus Christs’ being on this earth that whole studies could be centered around it. In the past (meaning when I was still preaching full time) Not only would we read the Palm Sunday scripture but the whole passion narrative leading to Easter.
How can we fully understand the crucification, death and resurrection of our Lord if we haven’t been through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday? Many people in my church were regular church goers but only on Sunday. So we lived the last week of Jesus’s life through the biblical account of the passion.

Do you understand what happened on Thursday and Friday of the last week of Jesus’ life? First Maundy Thursday was when Jesus shared the Last Supper , the Passover supper, with his disciples. It is then he washed their feet to demonstrate his humility and love for them. It is then that he gave them His commandment: “this commandment I give you, love on another just as I have loved you”
Maundy is the shortened word for Maudatrum which is commandment.
We also weekly or monthly celebrate Holy Communion–in remembrance of Christs passing of the bread and the wine at the supper. We also come to the table as the disciples did to “break bread” with the Savior.

Good Friday is the day that Christ was nailed to a cross (the Roman most cruel way of execution) Everyone thought that all was lost The messiah was going to die. People have asked, why is it called “Good” Friday? the most common answer is that when Christ died on the cross, He took our sins from us forever. It also meant that the resurrection was to come. We remember that scripture tells us that he shouted “Why have you forsaken me” We now know that in dying he took the sins of the whole world on Him…as God could not look on sin God turned away from Jesus.. Christ’s final words from the cross were “it is finished”

As we go through this week, I hope that you can find a way to be in worship this Thursday, Maundy Thursday and on Good Friday. Tony Compollo told of being a seminary student in his community and all the pastors would get together for a service on Good Friday. Tony was pretty nervous around all these experienced pastors but he gave a short sermon and quickly sat down. The congregation nodded politely . The closing sermon was given by the pastor that organized the service. He stood , looked over the crowd and shouted: “its Friday, but Sunday is a comin” The congregation stood and cheered.
Let us also remember that Sunday is a comin! Amen.

The Wonder of Creation

February 29, 2020

In a devotional. I was reminded of the astronauts circling the moon 10 times in 1968. As those memorable pictures of the earth came into view each time they came out from behind the moon. They knew what they would do. Each was prepared to read a portion of the Genesis account of creation.As the earth came into view, we heard “In the beginning God created heaven and earth. and
the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep”

As each one read more of the story , one could not deny the existence of God. They gave credit to God for His creation. There is clear evidence of God’s marvelous handiwork everywhere you look but the view of this earth from space was a special validation of the existence of the God who loves us and wants the best for us. Just the other evening , the moon and some bright stars caused me to just stand and look at the sky , thanking God for where I was and what I have.

Just think of the countless trillions of stars that were created on the fourth day. Myriad of different birds, fish and land animals created on the fifth and sixth days.Who but God could have done all this in one week! An unbeliever told a boy “I will give you a quarter if you can tell me where God is” the lad replied, “I will give you 50 cents if you can tell me where God is not”

God gave his perspective through Jeremiah, “Do I not fill heaven and earth? Says the Lord”
(Jeremiah 23:24) Revelation 4:11 sums up the matter with these words: “you are worthy Lord to receive glory, honor and power: for you have created all things ,and for your pleasure they are and were created.”

If you don’t already, may I suggest that every morning , thank God forgiving you rest, thank God for the day you had yesterday and ask God to be with you this day and guide you in all you do, especially
guide you to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and His creation. Every evening thank Him for guiding you this day and praise Him for all He does for each one of us. Amen

Are we seeking the right thing?

February 7, 2020

Some people are satisfied to let life go by and not think much of how things could be different. But many are seeking for something. That something may be changing their hair color, multiple affairs, drinking binges, wearing outlandish clothes. A few go on shooting sprees before killing themselves.

What does Jesus say about “seeking”. Well in Luke 11: 9-10 He says “seek and you will find…he that seeks finds” a little later he says “seek not” a little bit after that he says “but rather seek”( Luke 12: 29-31) So Jesus approved of seeking , but he told us that not all seeking brings the desired results.

When Jesus said “seek not” he was referring to food and clothing. Does Jesus not care if we are cold or hungry? The answer is in verses 31 and 32.”but rather you seek the kingdom of God, and all things shall be added to you ..for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom”

How are we to seek the Kingdom of God? You really can’t if you don’t have a personal relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. When you have that relationship, then you can communicate with the Holy Spirit through prayer. God also speaks to us through His Word. He wants you to have a happy productive life, being Christlike and shining your light in the world.

So lets keep on seeking but ask ourselves “am I seeking for the right things in the right place?” Jesus said “for what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?'”(mark 8:36)
Satan promises much fun and satisfaction if we go seeking his ways ,but he is a liar. Jesus doesn’t promise an easy life but a fulfilling one, with the greatest reward in the life to come.; What a contrast! Amenl