Archive for September, 2011

In God We Trust

September 29, 2011

I appreciate that we still have the saying “In God We Trust” on our money.  These days it seems even more important to realize that our ultimate trust is placed, not in our government, nor our own resources, but in God.

As the fiscal year for our country comes to an end, we have serious problems  facing our country.  I regularly pray that our leaders will make good choices and good decisions, that God will give them the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength and courage to do what is right.

I think I need to pray harder…perhaps you will join me.

Perhaps we can hold meaningful discussions of possible solutions, rather than shouting matches of entrenched ideology.  Perhaps if we worked together, we would collectively find the wisdom and strength that we need to build a stronger country.

May God help us.

Feed My Sheep

September 22, 2011

My starting point for this message is a portion of scripture that I always thought would make an excellent message to preach to pastors.  However, I believe that it can be applied to all who love the Lord.

I.  Care for the Sheep  Ezekiel 34:1-6

The job of a shepherd is to care for the sheep, not just to benefit from the sheep.  We are not talking however, about sheep, but about people.

We are to strengthen the weak.  Those whose faith is faltering need to be encouraged.

We should bring healing to the sick.  We can pray, and if possible, provide medical assistance to those who are in need.

We should bind up the broken.  There are Christians who have been broken by what they have experienced in life.  God offers healing.  We can be made whole again.

We should bring back those who have been driven away.  Some Christians have left the church because of  negative experiences.  We should seek to restore them to fellowship.  Christians are not meant to be alone, but to be a part of a community of believers.

We should seek the lost.  We need to be actively witnessing to the those who do not have a relationship with Christ.

II.  God is the True Shepherd  Ezekiel 34:11-15

Ultimately, it is God Himself who will care for His people.  However, He works through us.

III.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd  John 10:11, 27&28

The image of shepherd continues to be used by Christ.  He will take care of His people, even to the point of laying his life down for His sheep.

IV.  Those Who Love God, Will Feed His Sheep  John 21:15-17

Three times Peter is asked if he loves Christ.  Three times he is told to feed,or tend, “my sheep”.  As Christians we are to love God, and to love people.  If we love people, we will seek to strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the broken, bring back those who are driven away and to seek the lost.

A Brief Scare

September 13, 2011

We have been looking for a camper trailer for two years.  We were looking for some specific things.  We wanted a hard shell, no pop-ups.  We wanted a bathroom, a dinette and a separate bed that could be left up.  It needed to fit our budget, (which was pretty small)  be less than 3000 pounds, and not more than 30 years old.

It took two years, but we finally found one.

On the drive home, with the trailer in tow, we had a problem.  A couple of miles from home the van started to shake a little,  then there was a loud bang and the engine started making a very loud noise.  I pulled over thinking that I had blown either the engine or the transmission, the very problem we were trying to avoid by keeping the weight under 3000.

For the moment, it seemed as though our new purchase had cost us our van.  That wasn’t what we had planned, or hoped for, in our search.  Our joy was seriously dampened.

It turned out to be that a spark plug core  had blown out.  I didn’t even know such a thing could happen.  The fix was to simply replace the plug.

I thank God for watching over us, helping us find the right camper, and protecting our van.

God is good.

9/11 Memorial Sermon Outline

September 12, 2011

America changed on 9/11.

Before that day, we were confident and unafraid; almost untouchable.  Terrorism was a problem for other countries, but not for us.  In the immediate aftermath of the attack there was much fear.  I remember assuring people , that everything would be all right, that, as Christians,  we can place our trust in God.

Psalms 61:1-4

I)  We Became More Vigilant

Our security measures increased greatly after 9/11.  Airport security was changed forever.  The Department of Homeland Security was created.  The Patriot Act was initiated.  The War on Terror was begun, and fought around the world, but especially in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As Christians, we too, should be more vigilant.  We should watch out, for our enemy “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”.  I speak of course, of the enemy of our souls, Satan, or the devil, our one true enemy.  He would seek to destroy our faith, or, at least to render us ineffective for the Kingdom of God.

II.  An Increased Appreciation for Those Who Serve

Since 9/11 we have an increased appreciation for those who serve  in the military, law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel.  This appreciation is well deserved and we do thank them for their service.

As Christians, we should appreciate those who serve, especially those who serve as missionaries.  Missionaries leave their homes and families to wherever God may send them.  There are many forms of service to God.  We should show appreciation to  those who serve the Kingdom of God in diverse ways.

III.  We Remember

We should remember those who have given their lives.  Those who died on 9/11 and the thousands who have died in the War on Terror.

We should also remember those who have died in service to the Lord.   There are still people who die a martyr’s death.  We should appreciate those who have given their lives in service to the King of Kings.

IV  The Future

As we look to the future, we continue to place our trust in God.  He is a faithful shepherd who will guide His people safely through the journey of this life.

Psalms 23

 

 

A Better Plan?

September 8, 2011

Who, in their right mind, would spend a dollar, that they need to borrow,  to make a dime?

I ask this question in advance of the president’s speech tonight because I am hoping that he is not going to propose spending billions of dollars on a job stimulus project.

We would  have to borrow the money.

We would get back only a small portion in taxes.

It would provide only a temporary improvement.  When the federal money runs out, those people would again be out of work.  It is not a permanent solution.

I sincerely hope that he has a better plan, than spending money we would have to borrow.  The increased debt would last longer any benefit.

That Your Joy Might Be Full

September 6, 2011

Here are the main points from the sermon I preached on Sunday.  Please take the time to look up the Bible verses.

I.  God is Faithful  Lamentations 3:22-26

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.  That means both to spend time in His presence, but also to be willing to wait for His timing.

II. That Your Joy Might Be Full  I John 1:4

The purpose of this epistle is so that his readers joy may be full.  We may identify several keys to that end.

III.  Do Not Love The World  I John 2:15-17

Sometimes Christians allow the things of this world to be more important to them than God.  That is never good.  God wants to be our first love, our first priority.  If God is reduced to second, or third place in our lives, we can expect our joy to be diminished.

IV.  Trust God  I John 4:17-18

Fear is the opposite of trust.  You cannot be both afraid and joyful.  If we trust God we have nothing to fear.  If we truly love God, we will not be afraid, either of Him, or of anything.  We will recognize that “greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world”.  (I John 4:4)

V.  Obey God  I John 5:1-5

The greatest commandment is to love God, the second is to love one another.  If our lives our filled with love, we will keep the commandments of God.  It won’t even be difficult because we are simply living out the love that is within.  A life filled with love is a life filled with joy.

Conclusion:  As Christians, if our joy has been diminished,  we should ask ourselves  three questions.  Is God first in our life?  Do we trust God fully, with all the details of our life?  Do we truly love God and is that love expressed by a life of obedience?

Is your joy full?

Come Be With Us

September 1, 2011

When I was in the Marine Corps, going through training to be a tank crewman,  at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, we had one weekend of liberty.  I remember that I went off by myself and got a hotel room.  I did a lot of thinking, a lot of praying, and a lot of listening to music on my Sony Walkman.  I also wrote a song that, strangely enough was accompanied with bongos.  I am a drummer and percussionist.  The only instrument that I had brought with me was a set of bongos.  Anyway, the song came into my mind the other day while I was out for a run and I thought that I would share the words.  You will have to use your own imagination, for the sound of the tune, rhythm and accompaniment.   It has occasionally be done in church, so some of you have heard it.

 

Holy Spirit come be with us

come and fill our hearts today.

Holy Spirit come be with us                                    ( chorus)

come and fill our lives we pray.

 

Oh Lord God above

you are the one who gives us love.

For you loved us so much

that you gave your only son,                                (verse one)

to die for us on Calvary

and wash our sins away.

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your love.

 

chorus

 

Oh Lord God above

you are the one who gives us joy,

and we know that we need you                             (verse two)

we need the strength that your joy brings

to face our world today

we need the strength that your joy brings.

 

chorus

 

Oh Lord God above,

in a world of trouble and pain

you give to us a peace,                                          (verse three)

a peace not of this world,

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your peace

 

chorus

 

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your love.

Oh Lord God above                                     (bridge)

come and fill us with your joy.

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your peace.

 

chorus

 

I remember singing this song in my hotel room and having a sense of the presence of God.  It was meaningful to me at the time, and so I thought I would share it with you today.