Thinking of Others

May 3, 2023

We all have times when we aren’t very motivated or very creative. But for most of us these pass over time. A great way to overcome those times is to focus on other people. Doing for others has proven to be a great way to get the positive energy going again.

There are a lot of ways to reach out to others , but one way that can really benefit a person and give you the satisfaction of being someone who thinks about others rather than self.. I call it being

An ENCOURAGER- an encourager can help others by doing the following: 1-Call people. Show your interest by calling and talking to people , asking them about their life and how you can help them. 2-Text, email or facebook people-again showing you care about them and their life. 3-Write a letter. If you want to walk a person through a tough time, write a letter, not the internet, so they have a hard copy they can refer to at a later date. 4-Complement others. Notice looks, behavior, ideas that you appreciate and tell them, complement t them.

5 Pray for them. God hears our intercessary prayers . He cares about all of his creation. Letthem know you are praying for them. 6-Give them your time. There really is no better gift than being there for them. Face to face is best. But anyway you can connect with them and hear them is so important An example I heard the other day was a teacher that was very upset because one of the students was killed in an accident. She tried to remain stoic for the other students until one of them came up to her and said, “you look like you could use a hug” they both let their emoations out. The teacher said that the hug was the thing I needed most. 7-Point them to Scripture. I am not waving a bible at people as a solution to their problems. But you can show them scriptures that will help them understand God’s help for them. 8-Fill a need. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take care of something that the person really needs. Take time to find out what burden you can lift from them. 9-Be forgiving. Jesus tells us time and time again to forgive others. Holding a grudge blocks anything you truly want to help them with. 10-Finally be a good example. God says to shine our light in the world . How we act, hjow we love, how we handle life’s challenges is an example for others to follow.

Following these examples prompts me to think of God’s greeting to those who love Him and are called to be his Disciples, when we get to Heaven “well done good and faithful servant” Amen


Happy Easter!

April 4, 2023

Easter week is very meaningful to me and to so many. Starting with Palm Sunday.We recognize Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the people celebrating as he rode into town on a donkey. In actuality the people were celebrating that Jesus would take control of the city and end Roman oppression. Of course they got it wrong. Some understood why he came but not even all the disciples were fully aware of his mission.

The next day Jesus went to the temple and saw the people changing money and selling doves for the sacrifice. He drove them all out. The next day Tuesday he went to the temple again and was confronted by the chief priests and the elders. They challenged Him as to what authority He was doing those things. They left confused as to where He was coming from..Wednesday He and his disciples were preparing for the Passover. He tells many parables at this time.

Thursday was the Passover Feast. Jesus gathered his disciples in the uppper room and gave them the new covenant. Then He passed the bread and the cup and said “this is my body and this is my blood which will be sacraficed for you and for many” He then led them to the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed for God to take the burden from Him. But in a statement that all should live by He said “Father take this cup from me, yet but not my will but what you will”

Jesus was tried and convicted. The Romans didn’t want anything to do with what happened to Him, so they turned him over to the crowd. On Friday they nailed Him to a tree to die. Again He stated a lession for all of us “Father forgive them for the know not what they do”. The nineth hour Jesus cried out, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Then He said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” Then He died. He was buried in a borrowed grave.

As Paul Harvey says, now the rest of the story.. To Ilustrate I relate this story…..It was on February 27th 1991 at the height of Desert Storm that Ruth Dillow receved a very said message from the Pentegon. It stated that her son Clayton Carpenter, Private First Class has stepped on a mine in Kuwait and was dead. Ruth Dillow wrote, ” I can’t begin to describe my grief and shock, it was almost more than I could stand. For three days I wept. For three days I expressed anger and loss. For three days people tried to comfort me., to no avail because the loss was too great.”

3 days after receiving that call, the telephone rang . Thevoice on the other end said “Mom its me, I am alive!” Ruth Dillow said “I couldn’t believe it at first, and then I recognized his voice, and he really was alive. The message three days earlier was a mistake” She said ” I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cart wheels, because my son who I thought was dead was really alive. I am sure none of you can really understand how I felt”

Prhaps we can’t feel what Ruth felt but if we walked the pages of the New Testament we have some idea because they (we) experienced some of the same things. We have heard the biblical account many times before. But we who are here today need to have the same emotions that Ruth Dillow and the women at the well had. Christ was dead and now he is alive! We should be laughing, crying and shouting Hallalujah! Happy Easter! Amen.

Are we truly Christian?

March 10, 2023

I know I have dealt with this before, but we need to keep reminding each other that saying we are a Christian does not lead to the conclusion that we have givin our life to Christ. Some examples: Saying you are a doctor does not denote that you are a surgeon or a general practioner or a scientist. I have had the title of Pastor. That does not mean that I lead a church congregation or that I am on staff at a church or that I teach at a seminary.

Well you get the point. I bring this up again because I read statistics by organizations like Barna Research and Baylor Univeristy-I will mention them in a minute. A while ago I read an article called “God Athesim, SO WHAT?” It was written by Cathy Lynn Grossman in USA Today. I want to quote what she said in the article “the dirty little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so many people for whom spiritual interest, thinking about the ultimate question is minimal”

This drove home to me that we who are called Christians may not be Christian in the sense that to be Christian is to understand that if you know someone who is not a believer , it is our mission to make them aware of the loving grace and redemption of a relationship with the Lord

These research organizations have some startling results. The Baylor study said that 44% spent no time seeking “eternal wisdom” and another 19% said it is usleless to search for meaning. Another of their studies revealed that 49% never wonder whether they will go to Heaven. A Barna study said that 40% of young adults didn’t know if God exists, don’t care if God exists or don’t believe He exists. Three out of 4 millinnials believe that all faiths are of equal value. most rejected the existance of absolute truth.

Are we to sit by and let almost half of the people in the United States (of those surveyed) not feel a need be conneceted to a higher power (God). What does the scripture say “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matt 9:37). if I walk the Christian walk and as a Christian, not in name only, then I must believe and act on Jesus’ commission to us to ” make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19)

I pray that during this Lenten season you examine your relationship with Jesus and if you haven’t given your life to Him , now is the time to ask Him to come into your heart, forgive you of your sins and agreee to follow Him the rest of your life. Amen!

Tis the Season…..

February 16, 2023

This month is a momentous time in the life of the Church

It starts out with Ash Wednesday. in 2023 it is February 22nd. This is the day that begins the Lenten season. In Ash Wednesday the worshipers receive ashes on their foreheads in the sign of the Cross. The celebrant then wll say something like “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”. Traditionally the ashes are the burnt palm brances that accompanied Palm Sunday.

Lent is a 40 day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Saturday. (excepting Sundays which are considered feast days) The word Lent comes from an old English word “Lectin” which means spring. Although Lent can occur in winter (as it is this year), it portends the coming of spring and especially the celebration of the Risen Christ. The 40 days also represent the 40 days that Christ spent in the desert.

The goal of the Lenten season is to come closer to God, to reflect on our Christian life. We sometimes fast or give up something during this period. Many have decided this is a time to give up pleasires such as sweets, alcolol or tv. Giving up something is just one way to observe Lent. Maybe you want to add something to your life such as intentional daily bible study, volunteer at a shelter or intentionally contact friends and neighbors with a note or a phone call. Or you can begin a giving program of your funds your time and your talent..All of these things should be a act of worship and sacrafice not just a good thing to do.

I urge all of you to come to a stronger faith, a more solid relationship with Jesus Christ this season…Maybe a good time to understand the whole of the Christian Calendar and all the Holy days that we observe. I pray that your spiritual life will be enhanced during the next 40 days. Amen.

Dealing With Our Past Struggles

January 13, 2023

We all have struggles in life. We don’t always express those struggles to others. People who know you,people in your small group, —

your family, all may have known some of your struggles and mabe they have shared their struggles with you, but most of all they are people that have worked with you , studied with you and prayed with you and will reach to help you through the valley.

Your grief may be for something that happened many years ago and you didn’t deal with it at the time. Now you have an outlet, a sounding board from those people who know you best. I can’t express strongly enough the need to come to grips with your unresolved grief. Because what happend to you may be frozen in a life that is less fulfilling because of it.

Examine your past life. Did you have a traumatic event that you haven’t brought out in the open and now in today’s light realize that you can move forward knowing that it doesn’t have the grip on you that it once did?

God wants you to have life and have it abundantly. Take advantage of the opportunities that God puts in front of you to escape what is burdening you. Like I said, it could be a close friend that you have not confided into this point. It could be your small group that you now feel confortable with sharing your burden (that is the case with me). But especially it can be God and the Holy Spirt.

Call on God to bring you out of the “abyss” and bring you to a life that is positive and that reflects the love of Christ to others. Now lets turn our focus on what you as a loving person can do for others and therefore help you to as you turn from your own struggles to look beyond yourself.

Consider these positive actions: 1) call people you love and are concerned with; 2) Write a letter; 3) complement others; 4) pray for them; 5) give them your time; 6) point them to scripture; 7) fill a need; 8 8)be forgiving; 9) be a good example.

Resolve now to move beyond your past troubles and to be the positive loving person you can be. You will be the beneficiary of the care of others and your care for others… Amen

What Does Christmas Mean To You?

December 17, 2022

What does this season mean for you? Decorations, Santa Claus, shopping, parties, etc.? Or does it mean that our Savior Jesus Christ was born on December 25th (don’t correct me, I know that theologians say that he probably was born in the spring) We need to realize that this birthday was not a day for a young girl to give birth in a stable, it was the day that Christ came to earth to be with the people he created.

The first to know that were the shepherds , as the angels announced the birth to them. They saw the Christ child and told all the people they came in contact with (the first evangelists) Do we really understand what that means to all the people? God created all that we know and see. He created us in his image.

You remember He established the Garden of Eden for His people. and then he created man and woman. However they sinned against God and were banished from that utopia. From then on all creation was burdened with sin. We can go on and on in the old testament about God trying to guide His people Then he sent his Son to be with us and to guide us and yes to heal us. Then in the ultimate reason Jesus came to earth was to die on the cross for our sins, all of them, past, present and future. His resurrection three days later was the final gift from God to His people. He was saying that all who believe in Him will never die, because at the end of our earthly life we will be with him in Eternity.

Do you understand that God loved us so much that he sent His Son to live among us and then to die on a Roman Cross to take away our sins and put them on Jesus??

So as we focus on this season, let us focus on Jesus Christ’s coming to earth to save us from our sins. Yes God wants all people to come to Him to be redeemed so that we will live with Him in eternity.All we have to do is acknowledge Him as our Savior, that He died for ur sins and then ask Him to come into our lives ,and guiding us through the Holy Spirit. Amen and Merry Christmas.

Preaching the Bible

November 14, 2022

I may have addressed this in the past but I can’t help but bring it up again. One preacher I heard said “We preach God, We worship God, we worship Jesus Christ and we preach the bible” But then he said, if you don’t like it you can get out!’

How can a person called by God to preach the Gospel, tell people that don’t believe like him to get out?? Would Jesus say to those aroud Him, if you don’t believe me then get out?? Another pastor is in the news a few years ago for damming America and it’s racist culture.. What is going on here? How can anyone who follows God’s word, the bible, persecute those that don’t believe as they do.. As a pastor I am offended by those called to the ministry, condeming or putting aside those that don’t think like they do.. We are supposed to love all people and if they aren’t believers then we should extend the had of compassion and present to them Christ’s message to all peoples.

Millions of people today are going to church on Sunday and being fed off the wall theology. There are more and more churches today that if you attend services a couple of times, you realize that what is preached is not the word of God. There are some churches that hardly refer to scriputre in their messages.

One prominent person who is using their popular platform to espouse their religion , but if you look at what they are teaching in their classes it is NOT the Jesus of the bible. And some of these people (and they are not necessarily preachers) are promoting Idols through their new age theoligy.

There are “pastors” today that will tell you that they have questions about the resurrection of Jesus Christ!! Think about that for a minute… No wonder people are disillusioned and don’t really know what to believe. I almost feel like forming a “truth squad” to follow some of these preachers and tell God’s truth. The true follower of Jesus Christ, the true Christian is called to go and make disciples baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The fastest growing churchs in the United States are two..those with the feel good theology and club atmosphere and then there are the:

fundamental denomiations. What does that tell you ? That some people will buy into a church as long as it make me feel good when I leave and they want to join an “organization” . The reason for the growth of the second one is that they don’t sugar coat the gospel and those people that are searching for a walk with Christ that will acknowlege their searching for peace on earth and a way to eternity/

There are a lot of denomiations in the middle of those just described, and their attendance is dwidling. People have a spiritual side and want as way to express it Too many of these church services are routine, rote and frankly boring.

Unfortunately we will not bring everyone to Christ, but we can share the Gospel with those we come in contact with. But in order to do that, in order to be motivated to do that we need to believe the following:

1-God loves us and has a plan for us; 2-Man is sinful and separated from God therefore he cannot experience God’s love and his plan for their life; 3- Jesus Christ is Gods ONLY provision for mans sin. Through Him you can experience Gods love for you.; 4- We must individually receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. Then his plan for you can be known.

Knowing that, experiencing that in our heart, and accepting Christ as our Savior will give us the uncomromizing message that all we meet need Christ or they are lost. Those of us as disciples or those of us called to preach, cannot fail our Lord who guides and directs us… Amen

The people of Ukraine

October 8, 2022

I want to relate an experience I had as a pastor in Missouri. I have mentioned this in a blog several years ago.

A Baptist preacer contacted me about some members of the Ukrainian Church wanting to reach out to other churches. It seems that a member of our congregation had gotten acquainted with a Ukrainian man he worked with. In one of their conversations the man I will identify as Vladimir, acknowledged that yes, they did want an invitation. We said that we would love to have them come, not knowing who, why and how many and what they were going to do.

That Sunday, a group of about 25 men, women and teenage boys and girls came and as we found out they were an orchestra . They played several numbers,and a couple of the young people played solos on the violin , fllute and sang. Then a couple of the older ladies stood up and told stories of the trials of escaping to come to the United States…… we were mesmerized…. then we had the opportunity to talk to each of them. Of course most spoke english but for some it was difficult.

A year later we heard that the Unrainian community had built a new church. We drove by there and sasw this magnificient church with a large parking lot. The front door saidt that services were at 10:30. So one Sunday we went to the church. We were almost late and the parking lot was full. We drove around looking for a place when a man ran up to us and asked if he could help (of course he spoke Russian) I said english and he said ok. I told him we were looking for a parking place. He directed us to a spot that wasn’t really a parking place but he said it was ok…. right by the front door!

We followed him in and he asked where we would like to sit, the main floor or the balcony. We said the balcony so he took us up and found us seats . The balcony wasn’t completely full but the first floor of the sanctuary was. Of course the service was in Russian. We said to ourselves lets just enjoy the people and what was going on After a few minutes a young man came and asked us if we would like an interpreter. We said yes and for the rest of the service he gave us the english version of what was being said. They had a big choir that sang beautifully and two other solos. Two young ladies read poems about their lives in the US.

The first speaker introduced himself and said that he was from Seattle Washington, and it was his first time at that church. He gave a rousing sermon on listening for God, using several scriptures that were put on a big screen to make his point. Another choir piece and then the next speaker who said he was from Oklahoma. He talked for 20 minutes and his subject was being worshipful in the sanctuary and raising your children as Christians both in church and at home. Another choir piece and then 15 minutes of annoouncements. The Pastor then talked about missions and a youth bible study starting the next week, and why it would be helpful to have them in the class.

The last thing the pastor did was invite all the missionaries that were in attendance to come forward with their families. They honor different ones each week. The congregation prayed for them and the service ended with the congregation saying the Lords Prayer.

Some other observations. This was as worshipful a church service as I had been to for a long time. There were about 350 in attendance. All the women wore dresses with a head covering. All the men had on slacks and a nice shirt. Same with the children….and the children ! there must have been 10 little babies, 70 5-10 year olds and another 75 teenagers. Our interpreter said that they usually have one or two guest preachers and the regular pastor preaches as well. We arrived at 10:30 and the service was over at 12:20. A wonderful and unique opportunity that is now more meaningful with the suffering of the Ukrainian people at this time. We need to pray for all persecuted people but especially the people of Ukraine.Amen


September 9, 2022

Our church has started a prayer program of praying for a different country each week. We hear about the country and its struggles and the facts regarding the population and the percent that has not heard the gospel message. So for a week the congregation prays that Gods word and helping hands will be a reality for them.

I am involved in a ministry called Pioneer Bible Translators.The organization sends biblically trained ministry teams throught the world to make contact with people groups in the different countries. The organizations mission is to make disciples through bible translation. Currently Pioneer Bible has translated the bible in 13 languages in 28 countries.

As a reminder, Jesus commanded his disciples (us) to to make disciples of all nations. He was referring to peoples, tribes and languages. There are approximately 17,000 people groups (groups that share a common language and culture). Another category is called the unreached. That equtes to 7,000 people groups. These are among those that are unknown and the church has not sufficiently been able to reach them. It is estimated that out of 7.75 billion people in the world today, over 3 billion are unreached. That means that they would have never heard of the saving Grace of Jesus Christ all their life. What is to become of them?…you answer that.

Let us not forget that in addition to being spiritually hungry many in these countries are physically hungry. Not only do missionairies work to preach and translate the Gospel but they help the tribes to be growers of produce to eat an sell. Other missionaries are there to help tribe members start a business in order to be able to buy the necessities. There are many organizations in addition to the one mentioned above that work in country to provide for the people One I am acquainted with is Samaritans Purse a program of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In addition Doctors Without Borders provide medical teams to these groups and tribes.

I urge you, in your local church, to find out if you have an active missions committee which will connect with any organization that has it’s mission to help those in foreign countries.. Like I said earlier, we are called to make disciples of all nations. But in order to do that we first must show the love of Christ in our lives by giving those we meet “a cup of cold water”. Then they might see our love for them.. God Bless you all…Amen

Do You Know A Skeptic?

August 3, 2022

Lets talk about skeptics.. first we need to define the word: Webster defines it as “a person who doubts or questions”

Before we envision a skeptic as a negative person, we need to understand how skeptics work in our society. In Western Philosophy , skepticism has been identified since the 5th century. The tradions has persisted among great thinkers in modern use. It is doubting what has been presented at face value without any substantial evidence.

Let us now get in context. The church has not always been a safe place for people who doubt or ask questions. A majority of the population believe in God and most believe that Jesus exists however there are barriers to people having a complete view of God and Jesus. One barrier that is familar to us all is people reconciling faith and science .They need empirical proof before they believe. Another barrier is that people admire Jesus and what he taught and how he healed the people but they cannot accept his Divinity. another barrier is that people have no relationship to Christ through prayer .In addition some people have deep-seated instincts when it comes to responding to Christians and or the Church.

I am now going to take a different tack. Lets take a look at some biblical examples of what I am trying to say; Peter stepped out of the boat in to the water to walk to Jesus in great faith .However when the waves and the wind came up he began to sink. Peter in his skepticism knew that he couldn’t walk by himself and he cried “Jesus, save me!” We know of doubting Thomas . He was skeptical that Jesus had really been nailed to a cross and was now alive. But when Jesus said to him put your finger in my side and look at the holes in my hands and feet, Thomas cried, “My Lord and My God!”

As a pastor. I have delt with many “skeptics”, but you know what, some of those skeptics were a boost to my ministry. To be challenged , to be questioned helped me solidify in my mind the direction that I thought the church should go. We dropped some plans and institued others because we had to examine those ideas in light of being questioned by some members of the congregation.

By encouraging Christians toward an honest faith, protecting the vulnetable and cultivationg empathy, skeptical people helped the Church to live as God intended. Jesus draws near to those who doubt, so we can too. Amen