Here you will find outlines of current and past sermons, listed by date of delivery, as well as special notes from Pastor Jim.
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Who Is This Word? - 2/17/19

WHO IS THIS “WORD” 02 17 2019

John 1: 1-5

The Bible, … it’s not just for Sunday anymore.
The problem is, … most people wouldn’t know the Bible … or the truth of the
Bible, … if it hit them square in the middle of their face.
In our nation today, … we have an embarrassing high Biblical illiteracy rate.
On a cold winter day, January 12, 2007, … A man wearing blue jeans, a long-
sleeved T-shirt and a Washington National ball Cap, … went into a metro
(subway) station in Washington DC … and near the entrance, next to some
garbage cans, … opened his violin case, … took out his violin and began to play,
… leaving his violin case open to collect tips.
He played six “Bach” pieces for about 45 minutes. … During that time, since it
was rush hour, over a thousand people went through the station, … most of them
on their way to work. … Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed
there was musician playing. … He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds
… but then hurried up to meet his schedule. … A minute later, the violinist
received his first dollar tip: … a woman threw the money in the till and without
stopping continued to walk. … A few minutes later, … someone leaned against the
wall to listen to him … but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again;
… clearly he was late for work. … The one who paid the most attention was a
three year old boy. … His mother tugged him along but the kid forced a stop to
look at the violinist. … Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to
walk turning his head to look back all the time. … This action was repeated by
several other children. … All the parents, without exception, … forced them to
move on. … In the 45 minutes the musician played, … only six people stopped and
listened for a while. … About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their
normal pace. … He collected $32.17. … When he finished playing and silence
took over, … no one noticed it; … no one applauded.
The subway would-be audience didn’t know this … but the violinist was Joshua
Bell, … one of the absolute best violinist in the world. … His violin was a rare
Stradivarius made in 1713 … and worth 3.5 million dollars. … Three days before
his playing in the subway, … Joshua Bell played at a sold out Boston’s stately
Symphony Hall where the seats average $100 each. … This is a real story.
Joshua Bell playing, incognito in the metro station, … was organized by the
Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and
priorities of people.

The outlines were: … In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: …
Do we perceive beauty? … Do we stop to appreciate it? … Do we recognize the
talent in an unexpected context?
Jesus experienced much the same lack of fanfare: …
John 1:10: … “He was in the world, and the world was created through Him,
yet the world did not recognize Him.”
Jesus, … who made the world, … came into the world … but the world did not
know Him … and even today, still does not know Him … but He left us His Word.
Why Trust the Word? … Why should we believe?; … Because Jesus is the Word!
Read this for yourselves in John 1:1–5
The Gospel of John introduces Jesus far different from the other Gospels.
Matthew and Luke list Jesus’ genealogy and prophecies plus describes the events
surrounding His incarnation as a baby, born of Mary, in the little town of
Mark starts off by introducing John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus’
public ministry.
But John is way different. … Through John’s Gospel, it was clearly John’s purpose
to let people know in no uncertain terms that Jesus came from God and that Jesus
is God.
John 20:31: … “But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah,
the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.”
In fact, … even to the most casual observer, … John’s Gospel starts off in a very
familiar way; … John 1:1a: … “In the beginning”
We know these words from Genesis 1:1: … “In the Beginning God created the
heavens and the earth.”
Jesus was in the beginning. … Time has a beginning and it is clearly documented
in Genesis 1:1. … Jesus was there at that beginning point of which time was
created. … Like God the Father, … Jesus was present before there was time.
We could use the term, … “eternity past” … but what is eternity?
Our mind cannot comprehend the non-existence of time … but the scriptures are
clear. … Time itself is a creation of God … and time had a beginning … and time
will have end.
So eternity is not so much as time without end … but timelessness: …
And there was Jesus before time began.
Isn’t it interesting that John introduces Jesus as the Word: … “In the Beginning
was the Word”

In the Greek, … the word is “logos”. … In Greek culture, the Stoics understood
“logos” to be the rational principle by which everything exists … and which is of
the essence of the rational human soul.
More generally, … “logos” can refer to inner thought, … hence ‘reason’, …
even ‘science’.
“logos” can refer to outward expression, … as in “speech” or “message”, …
which is why “Word” is still thought by many to be the most appropriate term, …
provided it does not narrowly refer to a mere linguistic sign … but is understood to
mean something like “message”, … as in the following: …
1 Corinthians 1:18: … “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who
are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved”
“Message” … in this verse is the Greek “logos”
Jesus is God’s message to us. … Jesus is God’s “Word” … because … “the Word
was with God.”; …but John 1:1 goes even further. … Not only was the Word, …
the Logos, … from God … and the Logos was with God … but John makes it very
clear; … “and the Word was God”
This is foundational to the doctrine of the Trinity. … Though the Holy Spirit will
be included later, … the fact is, … Jesus the Word, … Jesus the Logos, … is God!
Take caution of anyone who tries to tell you differently. …
The Jehovah Witnesses have a Bible Translation called … “The New World
Translation” … which is an atrocity. … They translate this verse as; …
“The Word was a god.” … Anything that denies the deity and co-equal status of
Jesus with God the Father is heresy. … As the Word that was with God … and the
Word that is God, … we see that the Word was the very agent of creation.
Psalm 33:6: … “The heavens were made by the word of the LORD, and all the stars,
by the breath of His mouth.”
Psalm 33:9: … “For He spoke, and it came into being; He commanded, and it
came into existence.”
God spoke the “Logos” … and creation happened.
Colossians 1:16: … “For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or
authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
The Word of God we hold in our hands is the very power of the universe. …
Through these Words, Jesus calls Himself: … “I am the Alpha and the
Omega,” says the Lord God, “the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the
Almighty.” (Revelation 1: 8)

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. … Notice the
last two words; … “The Almighty.”
Those words are reserved for God alone. … Jesus is God and Jesus is all in all and
Jesus is everything. … So John introduces Jesus, … as the One from the very
John 1:2–3: … “He was with God in the beginning. 3  All things were
created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created.”
Again; … The Word, … the Logos; … Jesus is from the very beginning.
The Word of God, … spoken by God, … who was God, … spoke all things into
existence. …
Friends, … the very words and deeds of Jesus … are the words and deeds of God.
So what is this to us?
John 1:4: … “ Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.”
The Word, … the Logos, … does not merely possess life; … He is life …
and the giver of life.
John 11:25: … “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one
who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.”  … Jesus gives, not only physical
life … but more importantly, … He gives us spiritual life in Him.
Knowing Jesus, … knowing the Word, … the Logos is with God … and the Logos
that is God, … is the very definition of eternal life … and that life is; … “the light
of men.”
John 8:12: … “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk
in the darkness but will have the light of life.” … Jesus is that light … but there is a
problem with that light; … the darkness doesn’t like the light
John 1:5: …  “That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome
Like the world class violinist who played in the subway as a street musician, …
those who passed by did not hear or appreciate the talent right before them. …
Jesus came and brought light into a world of darkness … but the world failed to
see or to even notice … and still does not see today.
In the Gospel of John, … life and light are central themes. … Isn’t it interesting
about life and light in comparison to death and darkness. … Death is the absence
of life … and darkness is the absence of light.
John 3:19: …  “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and
people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.”

Because men reject the very light that is life, … they are clearly choosing their
own death … because they reject the One who is life … but here is the greatest
miracle of all time, … the greatest miracle of the entire universe: …
John 1:14: …  “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.”
Why is this so significant?
John 3:16: …  “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only
Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
This is truly Good New. … This is truly the Gospel … but even though God sent
the Word, … the Logos, … He sent Himself into the world, … to be the Light of
the world … and Life that brings life, … that Light that is life; … it is rejected by
John 1:11: … “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.”
The “Word” we hold in our hands, is all about Jesus through and through. … It is
in this understanding that all of scripture need to be viewed and interpreted.
John 5: 39: … “You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal
life in them, … yet they testify about Me.”
The “Word” points us to Jesus; … the “Word” testifies of Jesus; … the “Word” is
Jesus. … Moses pointed out to the children of Israel in the desert: …
Deuteronomy 30:19: … “I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that
you and your descendants may live,” (Prophetic words for today!)
Moses put it out plain and simple; … choose life! … Yet this insane world will
painstakingly choose death. … The Word is rejected. … The Word that is light, …
the Word that is life.
Profoundly, … our Lord’s message was Himself. … He did not come merely to
preach a Gospel; … He Himself is that Gospel. … He did not come simply to give
bread; … He said, &quot;I am the bread.&quot; (John 6:35); … He did not come only to shed
light; … He said, &quot;I am the light.&quot; (John 8:12); … He did not come purely to show
the door; … He said, &quot;I am the door.&quot; (John 10:7); … He did not come solely to
point the way; … He said, &quot;I am the way, the truth, and the life.&quot; (John 14:6)
Why trust the Word?; … The Word is all about Jesus. … The Word is Jesus.
John 1:12: …  “But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be
children of God, to those who believe in His name,

Have you received the Word, … the Logos, … have you received Jesus?
There is no other way!

Personal Note - 1/27/19

Pastor’s Corner 01 27 2019

At the time of this writing (01-23-2019), I am about 17 hours away from surgery on my neck; …
more precisely, the C-3 and C-4 vertebrate. Compared to my previous neck surgery in 2012, this
should be a walk-in-the-park! Having said that, no cutting on the human body comes without risk
… yet, isn’t it amazing what science, through the Hand of God, can do, now!
These surgeons work with such skill, … it is hard for a lay person, such as myself, to grasp.
We think this is amazing, … approaching miracle status, … what those precision hands can do
… but how much credit do we give to the Hands that invented their hands?
“For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
(Psalm 139: 13)
Our Holy God conceived of those hands before they even took form! Without God, there would
be no neck to work on, … no hands to initiate the healing.
Just today, I was given the news of a person on our prayer list that was soon to begin treatment
for cancer. Yes, … the big “C” word. Cancer that was diagnosed to be in the lymph glands
already. She was scanned yesterday … and the result was; … no sign of cancer at all!
Was this a misdiagnosis … or was it the healing power of God through the many prayers that had
gone up for this individual?
I will accept this as a miraculous healing of God.
Why doesn’t this happen every time we pray for someone in dire circumstances?; … I simply
don’t know but this does not take away form God’s ability to heal and our faith in Him as the
ultimate healer.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s
declaration.” (Isaiah 55: 8)
I am just one of thousands that will be experiencing the surgeon’s knife this week and there is
only one God to oversee all of that … but I praise Him and worship Him for all He is in my life
… and what He offers to all who would listen.
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who
believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16)
This is the real healing; … the healing of our perishable bodies and this diminishing planet … so
that we can be in His presence for eternity.
With that assurance, I / we, can face anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Jim

Raging Bull - 1/13/19

RAGING BULL 01 13 2019
Ephesians 4: 28-32

For most of us there are certain things in life that when we think of them …
bring us a feeling we often describe as bitterness. … This could be an event that
took place years, … if not, decades ago; … something someone said and even
though that individual has long forgotten about what they did, .. we haven’t …
and as a result, … we now have bitterness.
Bitterness comes in different forms and causes a variety of different results.
Certain foods have a bitter taste. … This lemon is one of them. … Let me ask; …
does the mere mention of lemon juice just do something to your mouth? …
It brings a kind of bitterness to us.
OR, … Perhaps we are involved in a conversation with someone and they bring
something up; … an event or a person; … it could be from years ago … but the
feeling we have; … perhaps even the bad taste we get in our mouths for that
person, … comes back to us immediately. … Have you experienced that before?
I know I have.
I believe we all have … and we may even stop and think: … “I haven’t thought
about that for a long time” … or maybe we are one who might actually say: …
“I think about it all the time.”
The writer of Hebrews understood this emotion and wrote these words: … “Pursue
peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.  15  Make
sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness
springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many” (Hebrews 12: 14-15)
Now when it comes to this emotion called bitterness, … I think there are several
points we could agree on today: …
1. At one time or another … every one of us have had … or have now … feelings
of bitterness toward another person.
2. Many times we know the source of our bitterness … but not always.
3. Most of the time we do not know what to do with this emotion.
Fortunately for us the apostle Paul did know what to do. … Paul has plenty of
reasons to hold bitterness in his heart. … To name a few: ….
*Three times they beat him with rods for sharing his faith.
*Once they stoned him, … somehow he survived
*Five times the Jews gave him 39 lashes with a whip. … It was thought that if an
individual received 40 lashes, it would kill them. … He literally was beaten within
an inch of his life five times.


Paul said that every day he felt pressured; …why? … Because he was serving the
Lord. … Ever tried to do something good … and yet you are criticized for it?!
It happens and it can bring a great deal of bitterness into our life.
Bitterness; … the way I would define it is like this; … Bitterness is an intense
feeling caused by some event where we have been wronged / mistreated.
It happened to most of the disciples; … it happened to the Old Testament prophets,
… to Paul, … Stephen … and of course, … to Jesus.
They stoned Stephen because of his faith. … He performed miracles. … He helped
a lot of people, … so they lied about him, … produced false witnesses to testify
against him … and then they stoned him.
The Bible says this… “They were stoning Stephen as he called out: “Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit!”  60  Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do
not charge them with this sin!” And saying this, he fell asleep.”
I’ll be honest, … I’m not sure that would be my response … and I’m not sure it
would be yours either.
For most of us this root of bitterness gets hold of us and it does exactly what the
New Testament warns (for this, … I like The New Living Translation); … “Watch
out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many”.
All of us know what poison does. … It destroys life. … Fortunately, Paul tells us
what to do to prevent being poisoned.
I am not aware of any problem Paul mentions where he did not also offer a
solution. … That’s a good way for us all to live. … We have too many experts who
know everything that is wrong … but few who can offer solutions.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there is a problem … but it does
take one to know what to do with the problem.
Years ago a man named Nikola Tesla visited Henry Ford at his factory which was
having some kind of problem. … Ford asked him if he could help him identify the
problem with his generator. … He told Tesla that none of his own repairmen knew
how to fix it. … Tesla walked up to a wall and made a small X in chalk on one of
the boilerplates and said your problem is right there. … Ford was thrilled and told
him to send him a bill. … The bill arrived for $10,000. … Ford asked him to break
it down and he replied: … “sure, 1 dollar for marking the wall with an X and 9,999
dollars for knowing where to put it.”
Paul begins here by telling us to get rid of: … “All bitterness, anger and wrath,
shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice”.


Why does he put all of these together in one basket? … Simple; … They’re all
connected. … To us, … this is fighting, … brawling; … we say someone got into a
brawl … but really it’s not as much a fist fight … as it is fighting with words.
Somebody slanders us; … they say something about … your mama …
and bitterness turns to rage, … which turns to anger … and suddenly a fight breaks
It’s a poison … and the longer poison is in our system, … the worse off we are.
Paul says get rid of it!
So how do we do that? …
When two or more irritations are connected … and that connection is causing a
problem, … we have to take one of two actions: … (1) either break the connection
… or … (2) make one of the two go away. … This is how I see the connection: …
(1) Bitterness can lead to rage. … It’s like the Incredible Hulk. … Come on; …
you remember your old comic books and the TV series with Bill Bixby and Lou
Bitterness is that root! … If we keep putting our hand into a vat of poison, …
eventually, enough poison may absorb through our skin to damage the whole body.
You see, … we are the one who controls what comes into our body. …
That’s why Paul tells us to get rid of it … and we can get rid of it before it destroys
(2) Anger can cause brawling. … In fact, that is the primary reason any brawl
actually takes place. … Two or more people are angry. … The anger escalates …
and suddenly there is a brawl.
(3) Slander can cause us to feel malice toward someone. … Malice is the desire to
cause injury to another. … A person tells a lie … and our character is damaged.
It is then our desire develops to hurt them back; … to exact revenge. …
That’s what malice is.
Now we know this but let me spell it out; … the size of the root determines the
quality of the tree. … Strong roots; … strong tree. … Damaged roots; … damaged
tree / damaged character.
Paul say get rid of the damage. … Get rid of the bitterness … and keeping with
Paul’s style of teaching, … when he directs us to get rid of something, …
he tells us what to put in its place. … Like breaking a bad habit, … it is often
effective to put something good in its place.


Here are three suggestions Paul gives us: …
(1) Be kind to each other. … One thing is for sure, … if we show kindness to
someone who has hurt us, .. we just succeeded in confusing them. … They won’t
know how to respond. (Proverbs 25:21-22) … “If your enemy is hungry, give him
food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22  for you will heap burning
coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.”
(2) Show compassion. … Show mercy to those around you, …even to your
enemies. … (Matthew 5: 43-44, 46) “You have heard that it was said, Love your
neighbor and hate your enemy.  44  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for
those who persecute you,” 46  For if you love those who love you, what reward will
you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?
Jesus always placed the responsibility for doing the right thing on the believer.
We wonder how can someone be that way; … how could they hurt me or someone
else so badly? … The truth is if they don’t know Christ they don’t really know any
better … and until they see that Christ has really made a difference in our life …
then they may not realize that Christ can make a difference in theirs as well.
Be kind. … Show compassion.
(3) Forgive, … just like Jesus forgives us.
Harry Houdini, the great escape artist gave a certain challenge wherever he went.
He could be locked in any jail cell in the country, he claimed and set himself free
quickly and easily. … He always kept his promise except on one occasion.
Houdini entered the jail in his street clothes; … the heavy, metal doors clanged
shut behind him. … He took from his belt a concealed piece of metal, … strong
and flexible. … He set to work immediately but something seemed to be unusual
about this lock. … For 30 minutes he worked and got nowhere. … An hour passed,
and still he had not opened the door. … By now he was covered in sweat but he
still could not pick the lock. … Finally, … after laboring for two hours, … Harry
Houdini collapsed in frustration and failure against the door he could not unlock.
But when he fell against the door, … it swung open!
It had never been locked in the first place!; … But in his mind, … it was locked …
and that was all it took to keep him from opening the door and walking out of the
jail cell.
If we have bitterness toward someone, … we will stay locked up. … We will never
be set free. … When we refuse to forgive someone, … they hold us … as the
When we refuse to forgive, … there is no one we will hurt more than our self!!

Faithfulness - 1/6/19

Galatians 5: 22

Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary has a pretty extensive entry under
“Faith/Faithfulness.” … That’s expected because “Faith” and “faithfulness” are
pretty big subjects in the Bible. … But here’s the part in the Holman’s definition
that caught my eye: … “… faith (a human response to God) … and faithfulness (a
virtue of God and his servants).”
It seems like the more we study Holy Scripture, … the idea that these attributes
(the fruit of the Spirit) that God wants us to have … are really qualities of God
Himself. … We’ve lived under this idea (at least I have) … that the Bible is a list
of rules for human behavior: … “God wants you to be good, to be faithful, to be
kind, to be gentle, to love, to experience joy, to have peace” … but the bigger
message is that God is good, … God is kind, … God is gentle, … God is the author
of love, … joy … and peace.
God is simply saying; … “Be like Me.”
It’s a lot more personal than many of us would have imagined.
So, … in light of Holman’s definition, … what’s the difference between “faith”
and “faithfulness”? … To me, … it’s the difference between an act … and a habit.
When I started to truly absorb the Gospel, … the message of who God is and how
He wants to interact with me, … I either had to accept that it might be true …
or might not be true.
If I accepted that the message might be true, … I had to believe in it enough to act
on it. … When I acted on it, … that was faith.
That initial act of faith may not have been too powerful on my account; …
I probably just raised my hand in public or mouthed a silent prayer; … but it was
sufficient as far as God was concerned … for the moment.
If you’re old enough, … you remember what a “Red Man Writing Tablet” was.
It had a red paper cover with a picture of an Indian on the front. … The pages were
a sort of wood-pulpy grayish-white and they had rows of lines printed on them.
Each row consisted of a solid top and bottom line with a dashed line in the middle.
If you recall, … these were the tablets on which we practiced writing our ABC’s in
first grade. … We were taught to stay inside the lines and that the capital letters
reached from top to bottom … but the lower-case letters couldn’t come above
dashed line in the middle (unless they had little sticks like b’s and d’s).
My six year-old intuition told me that that’s why they were called … “lower-case.”


Technically, … I learned to write when I was six. … Upper-case, lower-case; …
Aa, Bb, Cc; … I learned them all, … all twenty-six of them.
That was my first act of writing.
As the years went by and I progressed through the first grade, second grade and
beyond; … I practiced and my writing advanced. … By third grade I was learning
cursive. … By sixth grade I was writing stories. … By eighth grade I had a
pen-pal. … The older I got … the more I learned what writing was all about.
Today in my 70’s, I’m still writing. … Some days I do a lot better than those
stories I wrote in grade school; … some days I wonder.
I do know; … I’m a lot better at writing today than I was that first day I put pencil
to my Red Man tablet. … I’m hoping (if I’m still around) … that ten years from
now I’ll be a lot better at writing than I am today.
It’s a progression; a habit. … The more I practice it, … the more I learn.
That’s about as close as I can come to explaining faith and faithfulness.
For us, … faith is that first act; … like the first time I focused all my concentration
on making that first “A a”. … Then it’s on to the next act and the next.
Each act of faith grows us just a little.
With each act of faith … we become just a little more comfortable with acting out
our faith. … By persistence we get better; … but then the challenges to our faith
tend to get a little bigger also … and that’s good!
It’s like writing lessons. … The lessons I faced in fifth grade composition were a
lot tougher than those I conquered in third grade cursive. … The educational
system planned it that way. … It was a progression. … I was supposed to be
making progress with each lesson; … tackling tougher problems as I practiced.
Faith is a progression. … Each lesson is a little tougher than the last. … When that
progression becomes a habit, … or as Holman puts it; … “a virtue,” …
faith becomes faithfulness. … Faithfulness is a kind of running record of acting
on faith.
Another thing I noticed was that the Bible mentions God’s faithfulness many
times … but never states that God has faith … or acted on faith.
Faithfulness is a sign that, … through the Holy Spirit, … we’re taking on God’s
qualities; … having faith … or acting on faith … is not an attribute of God.
That’s our territory only. … God doesn’t need faith … and He doesn’t need to act
on faith … but He is faithful.


“Faith”, … according to Webster, … is “trust, confidence, complete acceptance of
a truth which cannot be demonstrated or proved by the process of logical thought.”
That’s why God doesn’t need faith. … He’s the author of all truth; … He was there
at the beginning … and He will be there at the end … or the Second Advent.
As a matter of fact, … concepts like beginning and ending … don’t have the same
relevance to God as they do to us; … because He exists beyond our sense of time
and space; … beyond past and future. … He knows the past and future because He
is in the past … and He is in the future.
He’s not “was” … or “going to be.” … He just is.
That perception defies our logic; … which is exactly why we need faith …
and He doesn’t!
Faithfulness is another matter. … Faithfulness signifies “reliability” …
or “trustworthiness to adhere to an original precept.”
Faithfulness, … on God’s side of the equation, … means that He can be trusted to
reliably complete what He started … or bring about what He promised.
Faithfulness; … on our side of the equation, … if faith is defined as “humanity’s
response to God,” … translates a reliability … in responding to God.
To respond to God by trusting that what He says is true and then acting upon it …
is faith. … To make a habit of reliably responding to God by trusting that what He
says is true and continually acting upon it, … is faithfulness.
Faithfulness then, … in the relationship between us and God, … is God reliably
doing what He says He will do … and us trusting that He will … and reliably …
acting on it.
So how do we develop the “virtue” of faithfulness?: … Practice, practice, practice!
Respond to God. … Trust that what He’s saying is true, … in spite of our ability to
justify it logically.
Act (another word for obey) … based on what we know God wants us to do …
and trust that He’ll keep His promise. … Do it over and over again until it becomes
part of our resume.
That’s faithfulness.
God doesn’t expect us to live a life of blind trust. … He’ll throw evidence our way
that our faith is working. … Be prepared!!!! …
Like I said, … this faithfulness stuff is a process. … Just when we think we’re
getting the hang of it, … a challenge comes along that our logic can’t cope with.
That’s why it’s called faith; … each step gets a little bigger.


I really don’t think that Jesus was just being metaphorical when He told His
disciples, … “…For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you
will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be
impossible for you.” (Matthew 17: 20)
We make it a metaphor because we don’t believe it; … it defies our logic …
but that’s kind of the point of faith; … isn’t it?
What defies our logic right now? … What’s the situation we know we’re supposed
to do, … that we can’t do, … because it’s impossible?
If God says that nothing is impossible and we, … “respond to God” by obeying
Him even though the chances of success … “cannot be demonstrated or proved by
the process of logical thought.”
That my friend, … is acting on faith.
We act on faith, … God proves Himself faithful … and the task our logic told us
was impossible yesterday … is now possible.
Our logic readjusts and we’re ready to move up to the next … “impossible”
It’s a progression. … Keep at it long enough … and moving the mountain doesn’t
seem so metaphorical.
By-the-way, … I didn’t learn to write that day I scratched my first capital “A” on
the Red Man page. … I haven’t finished learning to write yet. … It’s a process, …
a progression.
If we think “faithfulness” began and ended the day we lifted our hand in Church
… or mouthed a silent prayer, … think again.
That was an act of faith; … our first … but not our last.
“Faithfulness” is a progression. … If we’re sitting fat and happy in the Christian
life and our faith hasn’t been challenged for a while, … we’d better check our
progress chart!
The Holy Spirit’s job is to mold us into the likeness of God. … How we know
that’s working is demonstrated when we start taking on attributes that belong to
God; … kindness, … goodness, … faithfulness; … the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
“Fruit” means “produce” … “product” … or “result.” … The end result of the
Holy Spirit doing its work in us … is that we begin to take on the likeness of God.
It’s not a single event; … it’s a lifelong process.
I promise, … you and I are not there yet; … but we will be one day. … That’s the
way He meant for us to be in the beginning … and that’s the way we will to be in
the end.

Year-End 2018 - 12/30/18

Pastor’s Corner 12 30 2018

The last Pastor’s Corner, I was amazed that Advent 2018 was already upon us. Well, this is even
more shocking to me; … 2018 is GONE!
Of course, that proclaims that 2019 is on us!
What will we do different in 2019 that will add our little part to the Kingdom of God?”
Well first, … we might just get our act together. We make these resolutions every year, whether
we want to admit it or not, and to what end. A year passes, … we didn’t follow through, …
everything remains the same.
Why is that? We mean well each January 1 st … but few of the task ever get done.
I would suggest that we are missing out on the number one priority for every year and that is to:
… “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. The
second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22: 37, 39).
Do we really love the Lord like that? … We love our family, we love our boat, we love our
truck, we love our dog or cat. If that is the case, where have we left room for our Lord and
Savior, Jesus the Christ? See what I mean about “the number one priority for every year”.
Do we really love our neighbor as our self? We concern our self with personal home security,
many of us carry a firearm for protection, we build a fence, if not a wall, we teach our children
not to speak to strangers, we look with distrust at those who are not exactly like us in appearance
and speech … but do we really try to get to know that neighbor that we put so many barriers up
in front of?
I’m no exception; … I often find myself in this personal abyss.
What do you think 2019 would be like if once a week, we denied our self just one luxury and
gave that time, money or honor to God? What do you think 2019 would be like if just once a
week, we made it a priority to truly get to know a neighbor (that can be our next door neighbor
or a total stranger in the line at Walmart)?
That may not sound like much but that would amount to 52 extra acknowledgements of our Lord
and 52 souls that have now been affected by our walk with Jesus Christ. Take those and their
Godly acts that they apply to life around them … and the snow ball gets bigger and bigger!
Let’s pray for 2019 that we all can: … “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all
your soul, and with all your mind. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself”.
That resolution is one that will affect not only you and those close to you … but possibly the
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Jim

Advent "Hope" - 12/2/18

ADVENT “HOPE” 12 02 2018

Romans 5: 1-5

“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who
know themselves to be poor and imperfect, who look forward to something greater
to come. For these, it is enough to wait in humble fear until the Holy One himself
comes down to us, God in the child in the manger. God comes. The Lord Jesus
comes. Christmas comes. Christians rejoice!” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich
Bonhoeffer’s Christmas Sermons.)
Advent is the season of preparation for welcoming Jesus into our lives and into our
world. … Now, I worded that very carefully; … not as “the season of preparing for
Christmas” … but rather, … I jumped to the end point. … At Christmas, … we
celebrate that Jesus came, … the manger story, … the shepherds and angels, …
the gift given and then passed on.
The point of that, … or the application of that story for our lives today, … is we
welcome Jesus into our lives and into our world.
That we would be transformed by the living reality of God, with us.
Every moment, … every day, … every decision, action and purpose, … lived with
the reality of a God who loves us so much that He would leave Heaven and walk
this earth with us. … Christmas takes us to that place … of welcoming God into
our lives, … choosing to make Him the center … and so the season of Advent is
the season of preparing to welcome Jesus into our lives.
I began with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor killed just at the end of WWII
for his involvement in a plot to assassinate Hitler because of his world view!
It begins with our need. … With our recognition that we need God to be a part of
our life, … that we know we are “poor and imperfect”, … that we need to be
rescued, … we need to be forgiven, … we need to be adopted by God and
transformed from slaves to children of our King.
One of Bonhoeffer’s account is those … “who look forward to something greater
to come.”
That line is all about hope.
A Kingdom of Hope:
This first week of Advent, … we focus our preparation on the theme of hope.
We lit the first candle, … which leads us in reflecting on the hope that we have; …
that just as God came once in flesh, … God still comes. … Our role, as “Joy To
The World” reminds us, … is to … “let every heart prepare Him room.”


Hope is one of those words that I always feel the need to re-define. …
In our daily use, … the word “hope” generally means; … “something I’m unsure
about, but would really be nice.”
For example, … “I hope it would be 76 degrees tomorrow”, … or … “I hope my
brother is in a better mood”, … possibly, … “I hope I get lots of Christmas
When we turn to Scripture, … which we will in just a moment, … the word “hope”
carries a much different meaning.
In Scripture, … “hope as expectation of good is closely linked with trust… this
hope is not a consoling dream of the imagination… this hope is thus trust… this
hopeful trust is always demanded. The righteous are always referred to what God
will do, so that hope is not directed to anything specific, nor does it project its own
view of the future, but it consists rather in general confidence in God’s protection
and help.” (from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT)  , 2:522-
We see the difference: … when Scripture uses the word “hope”, … it is a confident
assurance of something good in the future. … It is trust; … a trust based on the
character of God and the promises of God, … the “general confidence in God’s
protection and help”.
We need to keep that definition in mind as we read Romans 5:1-5: “Therefore,
since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ.  2  We have also obtained access through Him by faith into
this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  3  And
not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction
produces endurance,  4  endurance produces proven character, and proven
character produces hope.  5  This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love
has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
To unpack this Scripture: …
This is classic Romans; … jam packed with truth. … It is full of beautiful words
and concepts, like; … “declared righteous”, “faith”, “peace” “obtained access”,
“grace”, “rejoice”, “hope”, “endurance”, “character”.
We don’t have the time this morning to address each of those, so instead I want to
read the passage again, … this time from a different translation.
It unloads a number of those concepts in the translation … and helps us to
understand it a little better:


“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace
with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  2  Because of our
faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now
stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they
help us develop endurance.  4  And endurance develops strength of character, and
character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5  And this hope will not lead
to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us
the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (New Living Translation)
Before narrowing our focus to the topic of hope, … I want to point out the passage
is focused on Jesus. … That is clear in vs. 1; … all of this is because of what Jesus
has done. … Also in vs. 2; … Jesus is the one who “brought us into this place”.
Vs. 5 brings us right back to that same focus; … now on God the Father and on the
Holy Spirit.
This is critical because that is where our hope comes from.
Our hope is not the; … “I hope it will be warmer soon” variety; … our hope is the
“my hope is in Jesus … and in Jesus everything will be good” variety.
We have confident assurance, … not wishful thinking … because Jesus came, …
died … and rose again!
What do we realize about hope?
With this foundation, … what does the Holy Scripture tell us about hope?
The last line in vs. 2 (in the first translation) says, … “we rejoice in the hope of the
glory of God”. …
The second translation declares; … “we confidently and joyfully look forward to
sharing God’s glory”.
It tells us that our hope is something to rejoice in, … to be excited about, …
to draw strength from because our road, … no matter what potholes, … mountains
… and struggles it may contain today; … our road leads to the glory of God!
That is our destination … because of what Jesus has done!
The second point we need to understand about hope … is that it is the end point of
the process that suffering causes us to go through. … Paul tells us that suffering
yields perseverance (or endurance), … next comes character, … and after character
comes hope. … When God allows us to go through suffering, … He wants to bring
us to hope (that may be difficult for some of us to grasp).


That makes sense when we remember this idea that hope is trust for the future
based on the character of God; … through suffering, … God’s desire is that we
come to rely on Him more than ourselves, … that we have this confident assurance
that because of God’s character, … everything will work out for good!
The last encouragement we grasp about hope is in vs. 5: … “this hope will not
disappoint us.”
Because of God’s love, … experienced in us through the person of the Holy Spirit.
Our hope is solid. … Our hope is sure. … Our hope is a certainty; … it is as
certain as the very love of God for us.
How do we apply this?: …
What does it mean to live in hope? … This is where I tie back in to our theme of
the Kingdom of God. … We know we live, now, … in the Kingdom of God.
It is not just something for after we die. … Hope ties the “now”, … which is real
but incomplete … and the “not yet” together.
Hope is the anchor, … the cable that ties those two together.
We can live now … because of the hope we have for tomorrow, … which is based
on the character of God … which is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Living in hope is about trust, … it is about confident assurance, … it is even
about recognizing that whatever struggles and sufferings we face today, …
God’s love is stronger.
God’s love is permanent. … God’s love is constant … and that is something we
can hold on to.

Advent - 12/2/2018

Pastor’s Corner 12 02 2018

Can you believe it; … here we are at the beginning of Advent 2018! I guess the saying; … “The
older you get, … the faster time flies” is becoming more relevant the older I get (how do you get
“70” to sound like middle age?).
Last Sunday, the congregation banded together to decorate the sanctuary for the Christmas
Season and what a GREAT job they did! It is absolutely beautiful!
But isn’t that what Christmas is?: … “Beautiful”. It is not only a beautiful time of the year with
all the Fall colors in their full glory … but it is the time we celebrate God coming down .. so we
can go up! If we believe there is beauty here in our community, … can we imagine the beauty of
Heaven?! Can we picture in our mind’s eye, the angels in all their magnificence, hurrying about
doing the Triune God’s work and the singing of His glory! Heaven is described as having streets
of gold … but that is only so we mere mortals can picture it … but when we get there, we will
see a reality that makes the image of gold look like mud. After the Second Advent when our
Spirit is reunited with our perfect physical body, we will behold not only our self but all of those
loved ones gone before us in a brilliance that is beyond our mortal comprehension!
This is the “Beauty” Jesus (the Second Person of the Triune Godhead) left to come to earth as a
simple human baby to an impoverished set of parents with His first home shared with stable
animals and what they leave behind, to lie in a bed of dirty straw rapped in rags for clothing.
Jesus left the majesty of Heaven behind to not only be born fully human into a situation that
would frighten us today … but to be on the earth for about 33 years to face the cross, nails,
thorns and suffocation.
He came down, … so we can go up!
16  “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who
believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3: 16
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Jim

Give It Up - 11/18/18

GIVE IT UP! 11 18 2018
Deuteronomy 26: 1-11

&quot;The First Fruits&quot;
The Lord God said; … “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you
as an inheritance, and you take possession of it and live in it,  2  you must take some
of the first of all the land’s produce that you harvest from the land the Lord your
God is giving you and put it in a container. Then go to the place where
the LORD your God chooses to have His name dwell.”
As we gather this morning to celebrate the day of Thanksgiving which comes upon
us this coming Thursday, … our thoughts turn to the Pilgrims who came to
America and celebrated what we have regarded as the first Thanksgiving … but as
you heard the first lesson read from Deuteronomy, … the first Thanksgiving was
really celebrated by the Israelites as they moved into the promised land.
God told them, as they came into this land flowing with milk and honey, …
they were to take the first fruits of the ground, … place them in a basket and take it
to the priest. … There, they were to relive through the words of that speech which
begins, &quot;My father was a wandering Aramean. He went down to Egypt with a few
people and lived there. There he became a great, powerful, and populous nation,&quot;
(Vs. 5b); … God’s deliverance in their lives.
Because God had delivered and blessed them, … God asked them to return to Him
the first fruits of the ground, … to give thanksgiving to Him for this act of
deliverance in their lives.
For the Israelites, … their thanksgiving was seen in the action of God as He
delivered them from Egypt and brought them into this land flowing with milk and
honey. …
The Pilgrims gave thanks for the deliverance which came to them during their first
year on the North American shore. … They were delivered from hunger by a good
summer crop, … they were delivered from war by peacefully living with the
Native Americans, … they were delivered from cold by building strong sturdy
homes … and we could go on and on.
Deliverance brought thanksgiving into their hearts.
Can we think of Thanksgiving as deliverance for us??
Think about that for a moment. … Usually, when we think of this time known as
Thanksgiving, … we list all those possessions we are thankful that we have …
or been blessed with. … But what about being thankful for all those occurrences
we have been delivered from; … that we don’t have to experience?

Maybe this story will clarify the point:
&quot;There was a man who lived with his 6 children in the suburbs of Philadelphia. …
Just before school was to start, all of his children were in need of new shoes.
At the same time the washing machine wore out. … To top it all off, because of bad
weather, … his work as a carpenter, had dwindled to almost nothing.
He was able to scrape together enough money to buy the children shoes … but he
ran an ad in the paper wanting to buy a used washing machine.
One day the phone rang … and it was someone who had a used washing machine
to sell. … He went to the home and noticed they had all the goodies he wished for
his family. … After talking to the man of the house concerning the washing
machine and how he would get it home,… the conversation got around to
children. … Claude, … the out of work carpenter, … began complaining about
how expensive it was to raise six children. … Especially when they all needed
shoes at the same time.
The woman of the house then left the room crying.
The poor carpenter asked had he said something wrong. … Her husband explained
that they had only one child who had been paralyzed from birth … and he had
never needed a pair of shoes.
When Claude got home, … he picked up the worn-out shoes; … worn out from
skipping rope, kicking rocks, and jumping puddles, … then went off to be by
Kneeling by his bed, he gave thanks to God for the worn-out shoes in his house.&quot;
Claude was thankful for the deliverance he had been granted! … His children
could walk, run and skip rope. … They could wear out a pair of shoes.
Claude had been delivered from the pain of the other family who could not watch
their child run, kick rocks, jump and wear out shoes.
Have you been thankful for the deliverance which has been granted in your life ?
Think about all the food each of us will consume Thursday. … Are we thankful we
have been delivered from the pain of hunger, … the sickness of malnutrition when
countless men, women and children around the world are now dying a slow and
painful death because of the lack of food?!
A housewife as she worked around her house, began to think about all those
situations she had been delivered from, … even as she tackled all the household
chores many get tired of doing.


Listen to her thoughts: &quot;Lord, … thank You for this sink of dirty dishes, … we have
good food to eat. … Thank you for this pile of dirty laundry, … we have nice
clothes to wear. … I’d like to thank You for these unmade beds, … they were all
comfortable last night.&quot;
She was thankful in the midst of her work … because she knew in her heart,
she had been delivered from hunger. … She was delivered from the extremes of
the elements with the clothes waiting to be washed. … She was delivered from a
fitful night … as she slept in a warm house and a comfortable bed.
Thankful hearts develop as we recall all those acts of deliverance which God
brought into our lives. … We can and should be thankful for these acts.
I would venture to say, … most people take their good fortune, … their health,
their wealth, … their warm clothes … and abundant food for granted …
or see them as their due (the word “Entitled” comes into play, here).
They are not thankful … but expect this as something owed to them by life …
or by God.
It is not owed … but given freely from God.
When we realize that everything in life, … those life-acts we have been delivered
from … and all of our possessions, … all come from God, … we have a very
difficult time being thankful ..;. because we realize we depend on God for
everything … and most of us, … even if we don’t want to admit it, …
are self-centered enough not to want to be depend on anyone, … let alone God.
Paul Tillich, a famous theologian of the 20 th Century, … has this to say about
thanks and thanksgiving: … &quot;The reason most of us do not respond to ‘thank you’
or do not say ‘thank you’ … is because we instinctively realize that it makes us
somehow dependent on that person. … If I thank you, … I am saying that I am
dependent on you … and I am publicly affirming it before God and people. …
Gratitude is an action that has its roots in grace, … the free undeserved love-
action of God. When we are truly grateful, … we become starkly aware
that we are wholly dependent for everything upon God and upon our fellow human
beings who are made in His image. … When we are truly grateful, … we recognize
that God has favored us, … whether we deserve favoring or not.&quot;
Thanksgiving is our acknowledgement that we are dependent on God for all His
acts of deliverance … and all His blessings in our lives.
Thanksgiving is a twofold time for us. … We are &quot;thankful&quot; for being delivered,
… and we are “thankful” for the blessings we have.


Our thanksgiving to God is an action commanded by God. … In our reading today,
… He commands the people to put the first fruits in a basket and take it to the
priest. … God wants our physical act of response, … a physical movement on our
part. … Thankfulness toward … is not a self-conscious attitude dutifully displayed
in response to the demands of religious custom. … Neither is true thanksgiving just
something we say or a gift we bring.
True &quot;thanksgiving&quot; is simply the quality of life that we live.
Thanksgiving is a daily attitude of gratefulness toward God who delivers us from
painful situations … and who grants to us many blessings.
Thanksgiving is an attitude which acknowledges God is indeed in control of life.
… Without God nothing would be possible.
We are a people who have been delivered and blessed.
As we look around this world, … let us see our deliverance and blessings …
and not be jealous, … selfish, … or self-centered.
Let us truly be a grateful people, … dependent on God for all of life!
I close with the following poem: …
Today upon a bus,
I saw a lovely girl with golden hair...
I envied her, … she seemed so young
I wished I were one-half so young
I wished I were one-half as fair
When suddenly she rose to leave
I saw her hobble down the aisle;
She had one leg; she used a crutch
As she passed, she flashed a smile

To Be A Veteran - 11/11/18

TO BE A VETERAN 11 11 2018

2 Timothy 2: 3-4

In many Churches, just like ours, … there stand two flags; … the American Flag
and the Christian Flag. … These two flags represent two types of freedom. …
One is a freedom that allows us to go where we want to go, … say what we want to
say, … to live where we want to live, … to dream big dreams and pursue them.
You’ve heard this many times … but it bears repeating: …
It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
Veterans, over the centuries have sacrificed so much to obtain and preserve this
precious freedom … which includes the God-given right to worship our Creator
anytime, … anywhere.
That leads us to the other type of freedom, represented by the Christian Flag; …
a greater freedom that can only be found in Christ, … who died as a ransom to set
us free. … This is a freedom from a life of futility , … freedom from the enslaving
power of sin, regret, hate and bitterness. … It’s the freedom to love God … and
love our neighbor.
To serve either of these flags (and the freedoms they represent) faithfully and
effectively, … we must meet certain requirements. … Before one can become a
Veteran, … we must first be a good soldier.
So my question for you today is; … what does it take to become a Veteran?
Not just a military Veteran … but a spiritual Veteran?
The Apostle Paul knew a little something about that.
Having enlisted in the Lord’s army after encountering Jesus on the road to
Damascus and enduring countless dangers, labors … and snares as a result, …
Paul was a Veteran Christian, … if there ever was one.
Toward the end of his life, … while facing execution for his commitment to Christ,
… Paul sat in a cold Roman prison, cut off from the world, … with just a quill and
some parchment. … Paul knew that he would soon be executed, … so he wrote his
final thoughts to a young pastor named Timothy, … passing to him the torch of
leadership, … reminding him of what was truly important … and encouraging him
to keep the faith.

In 2 Timothy 2:3-4 (and for this, I prefer the New King James Translation), …
Paul states: … “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus
Christ.  4  No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life,
that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
In these two short verses, Paul uses four “e”-words: … endure, engage, entangle
and enlist; … each representing a different aspect of what it takes to become a
Veteran soldier of Christ.
I will start with the last “e”-word, which is, … “ENLIST”
You can’t become a Veteran if you don’t enlist. … As Paul says in another
translation, “A soldier wants to please his commanding officer” (2 Timothy 2:3-
4 NIV).
Thankfully, … our country no longer uses the Draft. … Recruitment officers are
sent out to encourage people to volunteer … but men and women have the freedom
to choose whether or not they serve in the American military today … and people
make that choice for different reasons.
Many enlist so that they can go college, … others out of a sense of patriotic duty,
… some were raised in military families … and still others … because they’re
looking for some sense of direction or purpose for their lives.
No matter what the reasons are, … it’s a tough decision; … life changing, …
to simply leave everything behind.
God does not force anyone to join in the service of His Kingdom, either.
He does send out recruitment officers, … that’s you and me, … to encourage
people to serve in His Army … but it’s our choice to enlist.
Following Jesus is a life-altering commitment that requires full devotion.
When we make the decision to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, … our life
must change. … No longer are we able to be the commanding officer and general
of our life. … We’ve given that over to Christ. … He is now the leader of our life.
The first step to becoming a spiritual Veteran is enlisting.
The next step is ENDURING
American soldiers in every branch of the military have a lot to endure, … not the
least of which is the grueling nature of basic training. … If ones not ready for it, …
they will be worked harder than they have ever worked. … Not only does the
soldier have to endure the physical aspect of the military … but there are the
mental and emotional stresses of being away from their families. …
In order to be successful in the military, … one has to endure the different
situations and circumstances which come their way.

Likewise, … if one wants to be a veteran Christ follower, … they also have to
As Paul told Timothy; … “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier
of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3 NKJV). …
In our country, … we are so thankful that we don’t experience the kind of
hardships they do in other parts of the world; … hardships like the ones Paul
experienced. … During his missionary journeys, … Paul was flogged, stoned,
shipwrecked and more … but I need to tell you, religious persecution is not only
happening in foreign lands, … it’s also happening right before us … and we need
to be ready for persecution (Sermon for another day).
We will be challenged in ways we could not imagine, … we will have trials, …
temptations … and tribulations in this life which we never thought would come our
way. … It’s not the sicknesses and illnesses Paul is talking about; … he’s talking
about persecution for being a follower of Jesus Christ. … As soldiers of Christ, …
we have to endure. … We have to keep the faith. … We have to trust God’s plan is
better than our plan, … even in the middle of our struggles.
We enlist, we endure. … The next is: … “ENGAGE”: …
While I’ve never experienced war, … mush less, a soldier’s uniform, …
I have great respect for those who have experienced war. … Every soldier goes
through basic training, … so that when the day of battle occurs, … they will be
ready for the war. … They go through that, so they will be prepared to engage the
enemy. … Through training exercises and combat practice, … the soldier is
prepared to always be ready for battle.
As Christians we need to do the same. … Paul explains; … “since the weapons of
our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of
strongholds. We demolish arguments  5  and every high-minded thing that is raised
up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.”
(2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
In-other-words, … as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, … we have to be prepared to
engage in spiritual warfare. … We battle temptation. … We stand opposed to false
religions and worldviews that are hostile toward Christianity. … We are called to
defend our faith with reason and precision. … We can’t be afraid to stand up for
Jesus in public or in our personal relationships. … God is counting on us to “take
captives,” … which means surrendering our own thought and beliefs to Christ …
but also leading others to do the same, … with gentleness and respect.
In the Lord’s Army, … we don’t kill our enemies; … instead, … our goal is to
make them our allies.

In the Lord’s Army, … we aren’t fighting alone. … Just as soldiers in a squad,
platoon or company, depend on each other, … Christ followers rely on our Church
family to support us and stand beside us.
In order to be a Veteran, … we must enlist, endure, engage … and finally, …
we have one don’t; …don’t get ENTANGLED
Paul teaches: … “ 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of
this life”
I’ve used this one in a previous sermon … but it applies here also; …
A new recruit, shortly after joining the Navy, … asked his C/O for a pass so he
could attend a wedding. … The officer gave him the pass … but informed the
young man he would have to be back by 7 p.m. Sunday. … The recruit said; …
“You don’t understand, sir, … I’m in the wedding.”
The officer shot back; ... “No, … you don’t understand, … you’re in the Navy!”
When you serve this (American) flag, … you are expected to be completely
committed to your country and to allow nothing to prevent you from performing
your duties and serving faithfully.
When you serve this (Christian) flag, … you are also expected to be completely
committed to Christ and His Kingdom. … You are expected to serve Him
faithfully, … not allowing anything to keep you from doing His will.
Unfortunately, … countless Christians, … after coming to faith in Christ, … do get
entangled in the affairs of this world. … They let other concerns become more
important to them than Jesus. … In fact, Jesus told a story about that very thing.
He talked about a farmer who scattered seed everywhere he went. … Jesus said, …
“A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some fell along the path; it
was trampled on, and the birds of the sky ate it up.  6  Other seed fell on the rock;
when it sprang up, it withered, since it lacked moisture.  7  Other seed fell among
thorns; the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.  8  Still other seed fell on good
ground; when it sprang up, it produced a crop: 100 times what was sown.” As He
said this, He called out, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!”
(Luke 8: 5-8)
If we are entangled in the concerns and pleasures of the world, … we need to
bookmark Luke 8: 5-8!
We need to be careful about what we let distract us from Jesus.
“More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing
value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of
all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3: 8)

So, … we ENLIST, … we ENDURE, … we ENGAGE … and we don’t get
I carry this still, from a sermon Rev. Mike Baldwin gave at Bethel Christian
Church several years ago; … a single piece of a puzzle. …
We are a piece of the puzzle … and we need to believe that. … We may start out
as a simple recruit, … we might begin as a lowly private … but we have a role to
play in God’s kingdom. … The goal, … in the Christian life, … is to become a
veteran; … one others can look up to, … someone people can look to and say “he
or she is a great example of living the Christ-like life.”
Be someone people witness about as to how you made a huge impact on their life
… and how it gave them a new direction and purpose in life.
Does anyone here today want to give testimony about someone who filled that
place in their life?: … How that person made you a “Piece of God’s puzzle”, …
fulfilling a part of God’s Kingdom!

Trust - 10/28/18

Pastor’s Corner 10 28 2018

“Trust”: … A firm belief in the honesty and reliability of another; … faith: … That’s what
Webster’s New World Dictionary has to say about it.
Trust is good to have. When we have trust, there is much less stress. We trust that the sun will
come up tomorrow, our coffee will be brewed, our job will still be ours when we get to work, our
Nation will protect us … and the list goes on and on.
That’s all good!
But if it is so good, … why do we have so much trouble extending trust to those around us.
I’ve recently caught myself not trusting those close associates that have been put in charge or
called to manage projects of interest. I think to myself; … “What are they doing!” – “What are
they thinking!” – “Why didn’t they listen to me?!” – “My idea is much better!”.
I find myself needing to look in the mirror and say to myself: … “What are YOU doing?!” –
“What are YOU thinking?!”
Am I the only one guilty of this sin? Some reading this might need to find a mirror for
This world and all of its activities have been functioning just fine for a few million years before I
screamed as the doctor held me by my ankles and swatted my behind (now try to get that image
out of your minds). If I was a betting man, I would place a wager that this planet will continue to
function pretty good on its own after I’m pushing up Daisies.
We can’t all be the head of a committee, … we can’t all be in charge … and if two of us have
different ideas, … how can we both be right?
I guess what I am getting at is to trust those around us to do their best job, … to be creative in
ways that you and I just might be able to learn from … and remember, … “The meek shall
inherit the earth”.
I’ll leave you (and myself) with this: … “The one who trusts in himself is a fool,
but one who walks in wisdom will be safe.” – Proverbs 28: 26
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Jim
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