"God’s hand in everyday things"
Is it just me or do you also get inspired and see God’s hand in everyday things? I have a couple of wood projects underway. One of the projects is building a violin. Before you ask it is a violin “kit”. Most of the hard work is already done.
When a violin maker is done shaping the violin and before it is stained it is call a “Violin in white.” The name comes from the fact that it is pure untainted wood. A violin maker will stain the violin until he is happy with the color and then coat it with varnish. The varnish protects the wood and helps preserve the color. I am working on a wood project right now and I used coffee, tea and turmeric to dye the wood. Each of these stained the wood a different color.
All this makes me think of how when our sins are washed away we are like the Violin in white. We are pure and untainted by sin. Ananias told Paul to “be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev 7.13-14)
There are also other times when scriptures pop into my head. Like when I wash dishes I think about Luke 11:39 when Jesus is talking to the Pharisees. "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” Or when I see one of those awesome sunsets. You know, where the sky is filled with red. That always reminds me of Matthew 16:2-3 “He replied, When evening comes, you say, "It will be fair weather, for the sky is red", and in the morning, "Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast." You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you can not interpret the signs of the times.”
I hope you also see God’s message in everyday things. I would love to hear about the everyday or off the wall things that remind you of God’s message in your daily walk.
In his Service, Keith
"Listening for God"
This week during small group we talked about Isaac and Rebekah (Gen 24) Our discussions covered a lot of territory. One of the things we talked about was waiting on God. And that is what I wanted to bring up here. How many times have you pleaded with God in prayer? I for one am not a stranger when it comes to asking him for guidance or a blessing upon a decision. This is what is referred to as seeking the counsel of the Lord. Now, what happens after we cry out to the Lord, pour out our souls and request his help or guidance? What do we do? Just wait or try doing what we think is the right thing and hope God will defeat us if we are not going in the right direction?
Well Yes and No. We do need to wait on the Lord. Psalm 37:7-9 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land." And I also think we need to listen for the Lord. The answer you are looking for my not be some grand spectacular thing. The answer may not be screaming at you. It may be a whisper as it was for Elijah in 1st Kings 19.
I would guess that many of us are waiting on an answer of guidance from God. My advice is spend a little more time in the bible, spend a little more time in Prayer, spend a little more time taking time for God, and keep looking for God in the whispers. While you are doing these things please never forget you are not alone. Many of us are also waiting. And if you don't want to wait alone please call on a Christian brother or sister, one of the preachers, or one of the elders to come pray with you or talk with you or maybe just sit on the beach with you and watch the waves crashing on the sand while you wait for God.
In his service,
"SOWING THE SEED OF THE KINGDOM"
"...The seed is the word of God" (Lk. 8.11)
I often find myself absently humming a song or singing to my self while going about my day. One of the songs that I find myself singing is "Sowing the Seed of the Kingdom" originally written in 1888 by Palmer Hartsough then rewritten in 1903 by Fred Fillmore. The song as we know it goes like this;
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother, In the morning bright and fair?
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother, In the heat of the noonday’s glare?
For the harvest time is coming on, And the reapers’ work will soon be done;
Will your sheaves be many? Will you garner any For the gathering at the harvest home?
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, sister, In the still and solemn night?
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, sister, For a harvest pure and white?
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother, All along the fertile way?
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, sister? You must reap at the last great day! (Refrain)
The ideas in this song are supported in scripture;
John 9:4 “ As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”
Matthew 9:37 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.””
2 Corinthians 5:20 “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
John 4:35 “…….Jesus told them, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
Why does this song pop into my head every once in a while? I don’t know for sure but sometimes I believe it is the Holy Sprit reminding me to keep telling the story of Jesus to any one who will listen. With that let me encourage all of us to remain watchful and take every opportunity to tell someone about God, Jesus and His plan of Salvation.
In his service,
When life throws you lemons make lemonade. How many time have we heard that? If you are like me, a lot of the time your response is “yeah right”. I decided I would look a little deeper for a biblical response this month instead of just saying yeah right and moving on.
Each of us has our own version of trouble. Things that affect you may not bother me, but things that bother me, may be nothing to you. As Brent is fond of saying “Don’t borrow trouble” and the closely related “don’t worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for is self. Each day has enough trouble of its own….” Matthew6:34. Now that does not mean we are not to plan for tomorrow and just let stuff happen.
When troubles arise, my first thought should be something like Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” That can be hard to do if I am not dwelling on the things of God and I am worried about things of this earth (Colossians 3:2). It is much easier to deal with trouble when you are concerned with Gods’ will and not so much with your own will.
I should also remember what Paul learned. “….I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11. I know this is much easier to say than it is to do. As we read and study God’s word we will find it easier to deal with the lemons that come our way. This is my plan for dealing with whatever life throws at me.
-I need to keep my sites on Godly things and not the things of this world.
-Don’t worry about tomorrow’s issues. They will be there for me to take care of tomorrow. I need to concentrate on what is going on today. (Remember that is not ignoring the things I have to do today to plan for tomorrow. More on that in another article. )
-And lastly I need to learn (practice) being content with the way things are now. Not how I would like them to be. That is not to say I have to stay in the situation I am in, just to not let it overwhelm me.
In his service,
I remember as a kid on family vacations, if we were traveling on a Sunday, you could stop in just about any town USA and find a Church of Christ that was virtually a carbon copy of the one you regularly attended at home (Ephesians 4:4-6).
That’s not true today, nor is it true of many churches in our county and state. The true church is truly autonomous, i.e., independent, self-directed, self-sufficient and self-governing. These qualities are possible because true believers have determined they want a Biblical relationship with God where “self” is sacrificed to serve the true and living God based upon His Word, not our feelings. As a result, independent becomes dependent on God, self-directed becomes God-directed, self-sufficient acknowledges all blessings come from God, not man and self-governing is transformed into serving the King in His Kingdom through Jesus Christ His Son!
The only reason my childhood recollections of churches being the same was because they interpreted Scripture the same and behaved the same. Most church members were serious about Bible study; they believed it was God’s Word. We still do, but the world around us has changed and it is difficult to discern just what the world believes. Even so, God’s Word tells us there will always be a remnant of God’s people (Romans 11:2-5).
As a church, we’ve had some opportunities to do “good works” with local churches or organizations whose interpretations differ from that of this eldership; we have chosen a conservative path doctrinally because we are very mindful of our responsibility for your souls, and ours as well. Your elders want to inspire you, but not with gimmicks! We are here for you and available to you. Please work with us to make this church all that God wants it to be. Let’s not be content to be a “remnant of God’s people,” instead, let’s win this city for God. We are sons and daughters of the King of all kings! Do you understand this? Do you believe you are a son or a daughter of the King? If you do not, please come see me, but if you do believe this, doesn’t that give you confidence? It should!
I need to read Zig Zigler again! I remember a story he told attributed to J. C. Penny. Mr. Penny said, “Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I’ll give you a man who’ll make history. But give me a man without a goal and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” Zig Ziglar believed success occurs when opportunity meets preparation. I think he is right. Question, are you prepared? You may be only a “stock clerk” in the Lord’s church, but if your goal is to serve God, I want you on my team, no, God’s team!
So what are your goals? Maybe you want to lose weight and get healthier, or start a business, or become a musician, or perhaps write a book? Whatever your goals may be, having goals is an important part of our lives. Goals give us direction. Goals give us a sense of clarity and purpose. Goals give us energy as we actively work towards them. Goals enable us to move forward in living our best lives, to the best of our abilities, but the most important goal of all is to serve our Lord!
Make it your goal to serve God in some way. There are so many ways we can affect this community for good. Perhaps your goals can be incorporated into good work for God! Zig Ziglar inspired men to achieve great things in this physical world, but I’m talking about our spiritual lives in God’s Kingdom. We all need to work for things eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). I pray your most important goal is to serve our Master. Know this, most often that means we must serve others (Matthew 25:40). Let’s all do this together!
The older I get, the earlier it seems the sale ads for the holidays come out. This year around the City, Christmas decorations went up the day after Halloween. Then “Black Friday” sales started the day before Thanks giving. This year Americans broke sales records for Black Friday then on Cyber Monday we broke another sales records.
With all this record breaking spending Americans are digging themselves deeper in debt. The average household has $15,000 of Credit card debt, $27,000 of auto loan debt and $48,000 of student loan debt. You may be wondering why I bring this up. We just finished the 9 week class on Financial Peace. My goal for taking the class was to be better prepared for retirement. What I got out of the class was so much more. Please allow me to share some thoughts with you. The bible speaks more about money than any other subject. In fact it is mentioned some 2000 times. I am not a scholar but even I know that something that is mentioned 2000 times must be important. So if it is so important why aren’t we talking more about it in the Church? Maybe it is because anti-debt is anti-American or maybe the church does not want to be seen as pushing its members for money. I hope I am not stepping on too many toes here but I believe we as a Church need to start talking about money. Managing money, being good caretakers, being good givers. Now I am not going to talk about all 2000 verses here but here are a hand full of verses to get the conversation started.
Giving: 2 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Corinthians 13:3; Matthew 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 16:17 Stewardship: 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 12:47-48 Planning: Proverbs 13:16; Luke 14:28-30; Proverbs 6:6-8; Proverbs 14:29 Working Hard: Colossians 3:23; Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 12:11 Saving: 1 Corinthians 16:2; Proverbs 21:20; Proverbs 21:5; Genesis 41:34-36 Debt: Romans 13:8; Psalm 37:21; Proverbs 22:7; Matthew 5:42 Ethical: Proverbs 13:11; James 5:4-6; Proverbs 20:10; Proverbs 13:22
In this election cycle, it is easy to get caught up in all the political nonsense going on around us. So many things we need to study and vote on. It can be a little concerning to think about what kind of changes we may be in for.
In Ecclesiastes, we read of Solomon and how he tried everything only to find out that there is nothing new under the sun. Solomon’s conclusion came down to the one thing that never changed, “God.”
“Now all has been heard, here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
September 29, 2016
What is the Church?
The church is the “Called-Out Body.” The word church is used in two ways. "Church" can be used in reference to all Christians, or a specific congregation. Jesus uses "church" in both ways: in Matt. 16:18, Jesus promises to build His church, speaking of Christians everywhere who would respond to the gospel call. In Matt. 18:17, Jesus uses the word "church" regarding Christians in a local congregation.
There are several names in the Bible that identify the church. Here are some: My (Christ's) church (Matt. 16:18), church of the Lord, church of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 1:2), church of Christ (Rom. 16:16 ), the body, the church (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23 ; 5:23 ; 1 Th. 1:1), household [house] of God, church of the living God (Eph. 2:19; 1 Tim. 3:15; cf. Heb. 10:21), church of the Firstborn (Heb. 12:23), God's field, God's building (1 Cor. 3:9), the flock (1 Pet. 5:3; Acts 20:28). We are commanded to "do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," so it makes perfect sense believers would use a Biblical name for the church.
On Pentecost, Peter preached the gospel and people asked Peter what they should do in response to his message. He told them to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38). Those who obeyed the gospel received the gift of the Holy Spirit; they were saved, and added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:38, 40-41, 47). We are told in 1 Cor. 12:13 that they were baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit. The Church is God's Kingdom. The word kingdom signifies the domain of the King. God rules over the church; therefore, it is His kingdom. We must be born again to see the kingdom of God (Jn. 3:3). Jesus said, "'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'" (Jn. 3:5). We are born of water when we are baptized, and born of the Spirit when we are added to the church; we become a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Since we believed the good news about the kingdom of God and were baptized (Acts 8:12), we are members of God's kingdom!
The church is also Christ's kingdom; God put all things under Christ's feet (Eph. 1:22-23). He is Lord of lords and King of kings, having all authority in heaven and on earth (1 Tim. 6:15; Matt. 28:18). Therefore, He rules over the church, the kingdom.
As Christians, God has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His Son. As members of Christ's kingdom, we have "redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:13-14). Later in this epistle, Paul tells us exactly when these things transpire: "having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions” (Col. 2:12-13). I get excited when I think on these things, don’t you?
We are forgiven when we are baptized (Col. 2:12-13). We are forgiven in Christ's kingdom (Col. 1:13-14). Therefore, we enter Christ's kingdom when we are baptized. This perfectly harmonizes with Acts 2. We are forgiven and saved when we are baptized (Acts 2:38, 40-41). We are added to the church when we are saved (Acts 2:40-41, 47). The church is Christ's kingdom (Col. 1:13). Therefore, we are added to the kingdom when we are baptized, the time at which we are saved. Boy, it sure feels good to be a Christian!
May 26, 2016
As I sit here wondering what to write about this month my mind keeps slipping back to all the little things I have to do in my garden. I need to harvest some of the carrots, pull weeds and the plants that show signs of disease, prune the fruit trees, plant some new seeds, water and fertilize everything. Oh and try to protect my entire garden from the pesky gopher. You know thinking about it; tending my garden is not much different than tending to my spiritual life.
Pulling weeds and diseased plants is like reading my bible daily to keep the message on the for front of my mind and not let the knowledge I once had slip away. My dad would always tell me "Son, if you don't use it you will loose it" and with my memory, he is absolutely correct. Planting new seeds is the planting of the message on the hearts of my friends, coworkers, and just maybe the new couple I met at the car rally last weekend. Fertilizing and watering, well that is simply looking after my brothers and sisters in Christ. Offering a kind word when one of them is down. Celebrating with them when something great happens in their life and taking the time to pray.
Pruning the fruit trees and pulling diseased plants resembles getting rid of the distractions in my life. The things that pull me away from God and doing good. That pesky gopher, well I think of him as Satan working under ground to get me to stumble and turn from God.
I think it is time for all of us to attend to our spiritual garden. Cut off the things that cause us to stumble, and fill the new void with something that will glorify God. Lets spend more time in the Bible to keep our minds renewed. And above all PRAY. Ask God for guidance, for his blessing on your efforts, and for him to use all of us in his service.
If there is anything I can do to help any of you tend your spiritual garden don't hesitate to ask. I will always make time. And hey, who knows maybe you can help me pull weeds in my vegetable garden as we tend to your spiritual garden.
““I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-4
April 28, 2016
Last month, while camping on Santa Rosa Island, we went on a hike to the Torrey Pine Grove. Having been there before, we decided to take a different route on “Wreck Road.” Hiking on an Island usually consists of a lot of steep trails, with not a lot of flat ground. Wreck Road is a steep hike. We started climbing up and up and up. We had to take many stops to rest! A couple of times I thought to myself, “Is this worth it?” But, when we would stop and look back from where we started, we could see the distance we had gone. The new perspective of what we had accomplished made the next part of the climb a little easier. When we reached the top, we could see the interior of the island with all its wild flowers and rolling green hills and pastures. The climb was worth it! It didn’t seem like it was that hard now that we could look out over all of God’s beautiful creation.
This climb made me think of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
In this life, we may have to climb some steep, dusty, rocky, rough roads, but on the other side the Glory of God is waiting.
January 28, 2016
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11
I pray that we receive teaching and preaching, like the Bereans, with a great eagerness. More importantly we need to make the time to study the Scriptures every day. So, if what we hear is not the truth, we can gently correct it.
November 19, 2015Scarifice
What is lacking in our feeble attempts at sacrifice? Is it because we give God less than the best? Suppose, well in advance, I agree to teach a class. I spend weeks preparing for it, and when the time arrives, I teach faultlessly. Is God pleased? He is pleased with my best if I give it to show my love for Him. Motivated by any other reason is not what God wants from us.
What if circumstances cause me to give Him my worst? Suppose I was asked to teach, but at the last minute. I do my best, but I know I’ve not put in the time needed. I get lost and fumble through the class. My performance is a disaster. Is God pleased? Well, yes, He is pleased with my worst if I can do no better and if my motive is love for Him. God wants our best—and our worst. God can take our failure and turn it around if we are motivated by our love for Him. In fact, God wants only one thing; God wants everything
God does not want the pennies, dollars or hundreds of dollars that you put into the offering plate. He wants your whole bank account. He does not want your Sunday, even your Sunday and your Wednesday night. He wants your whole week. Jesus expressed this principle when He said, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26 NAS). "Hate" can be understood "give up." Therefore, to be Christ's, you must give up everything most precious to you. You must put it all on the altar of sacrifice. The meaning is that you must put everything in your life at God's disposal, acknowledging His right to use it or remove it or enlarge it as He sees fit.
Some (of us) have met a few times trying to figure out how we, as the body of Christ, can share the “Good News” to our friends and neighbors in Ventura. Many good ideas have resulted from these “Outreach Committee” meetings, but it will take your involvement for them to work! I encourage you to get involved in this effort, or some effort, to reach the lost. Remember, if your motive is love for Christ, then God will be pleased; if not motivated by love, then don’t waste your time.
In Malachi's day, the Jews thought that they were giving God every sacrifice the law required. But in their disregard of the law, they brought polluted bread and inferior animals; their sacrifices were not strong and unblemished, but lame and sickly. God was angry with the Jews. He said that He rejected their offerings as well as those who gave them (Mal. 1:7-10).
The man who goes to church occasionally and drops a dollar in the offering plate is deceiving himself. No doubt he thinks he is doing God a favor, believing that God should be greatly pleased with the hour he has given out of his precious weekend and with the dollar he has torn from his precious wallet. He is foolish; in reality his sacrifice is no sacrifice at all.
October 29, 2015Unworthy
Television, magazines and Social Media and constantly telling us we are unacceptable. We are too fat, too short, too poor. We chose the wrong car, our teeth are not white enough, our hair is not _________ (fill in the blank with anything that does not match your current hair style or color). Advertisers are spend-ing billions of dollars to make sure we feel insecure so they can sell you their products.
As a result of years of this kind of advertising Satan has gotten it into most people’s heads that they just don't stack up to the ideals of the world. Yes you read that correctly. Satan uses these lies to his advantage.
What does the Bible say about our worthwhileness?
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" Romans 5:8 God loves us so much he sent his only son to die for us. You see we are made worthy through the blood of Jesus. We are LOVED.
"Are not sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31 God know all about us and we are Valuable to Hi. We are VALUABLE.
“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I Cor. 6:20. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellency of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” I Peter 2:9. If we are obeying God's will we are worthy enough to be considered a possession of God. We are WORTHY.
"In him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace...." Ephesians 1:7. When we respond to Gods calling we are forgiven. We are FORGIVEN.
Do not believe the lies that Satan is telling you. God’s word tells us; We are LOVED and We are VALUABLE no matter what. The Bible also tells us if we respond to his calling and turn from sin We are FORGIVEN and We are WORTHY.
September 24, 2015What Can I do About It?
It is easy for me to turn on the TV or open the newspaper and think things are pretty bad in this world. Then I think about how bad things were when Jesus lived. Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
The world needs Christ just as much today as it did when He came and walked the Earth. So, what can I do about it? I can get up every morning and show the world Christ through my life.
as though God were making
his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ’s behalf:
Be reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:20
August 27, 2015I want to thank my church family for having the confidence in me to invest in me as an Elder. God knows we needed Elders; God knows we need more Elders “for the fields are ripe, but the workers are few.”
For years I cruised along as a Christian, trying to be good, trying to raise my boys to know God, loving my wife, avoiding sin and occasionally telling folks about Christ. When younger I viewed Elders with mixed emotions. I saw their wisdom and love for God, but I chose to focus on their humanity, mostly their shortcomings. “What makes them think they are better than me I thought; why should I follow them?” My focus on their weaknesses allowed me to feel a little better about my own flaws. One former Elder at Ventura devoted a great deal of time in me only to come to the conclusion I either wasn’t Elder material or I wasn’t ready.
I did not aspire to be an Elder, but as I matured as a Christian, I realized I wanted to really serve God and win hearts for Christ. Like many of you, I just wasn’t sure of how to do that. Now as an Elder, I have no magic formula except to be myself and allow God to use me.
I didn’t see it, but God saw something in me that He can use in His service. I used to think “others are doing those things.” Now I realize I am one of those “others.” The character traits God reveals in scrip-ture applying to Elders are what every Christian should be! They are not “just for Elders,” but are tools all Christians can effectively use to win souls for Christ. There are no super Christians or super Elders; there are just some Christians who have decided to allow God to use them. God makes them “super.”
When my name was submitted to serve, I knew I wasn’t all I could be for God; I certainly was not special. But in my favor, I was willing to allow God to use me; I believe “willingness” causes you to put your faith in God, not yourself. Your confidence in me has made me a better Christian, not a perfect Christian. I am striving to live up to your expectations as a servant; Jesus was a servant and I want to be like Jesus. Thank you for your expectations, they are Biblical. There were some who may have felt I was not “ready.” I respect their appraisal; despite that, I find myself striving to show them that I take this position seriously. None of us is all we can be for God, but our willingness to allow God to use us can always make us better!
Don’t be disappointed when your efforts seem to fail; you are to plant seeds and allow God to give the increase. Our timing rarely coincides with God’s timing. You may never see the fruits of your labor, but let Him have His way and use you anyway. Be patient with us Elders; we are learning and working hard to be the Shepherds God wants us to be. Even so, we are human and subject to failures. God can take all our failures and use them powerfully to show others that they too can be a Christian even though they aren’t perfect. I have good news for you; none of use is perfect; there is only one who lived as flesh and blood who is perfect, Jesus Christ our Lord!
I thank God for Brent and Keith, they are God fearing men and I see God working in them. We want to inspire this body of believers to let God use you for your good and His glory. We all need each other and will be a mighty force if we just let God’s power make us what He wills!
June 18, 2015
You may be missing out!
Our Sunday night services are a great encouragement to me. On Sunday nights the messages we have heard from our young men are outstanding. They have shared with us the spiritual highs and lows of their Christian walk. Their messages have been insightful and encouraging to hear. They challenge us to be better and more mature Christians. It is a wonderful thing to witness spiritual growth in our church family. I think if you are not making it to Sunday night services, you may be missing out!
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
May 29, 2015
Some years back I used a few lines from a poem by Charles Osgood in a Sunday morning lesson. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like I am doing all that God would have me do. This is especially true with “going and making disciples.” Mr. Osgood’s poem came to mind and it is worth considering again. This is a story about four people: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this the thing you have to ask,
is WHO exactly will it be who’ll carry out this task.
ANYBODY could have told you what EVERYBODY knew,
that this was something SOMEBODY would surely have to do.
NOBODY was unwilling, ANYBODY had the ability,
but NOBODY thought he was supposed to be the one.
It seemed to be a job that ANYBODY could have done,
If ANYBODY thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since EVERYBODY recognized that ANYBODY could,
EVERYBODY took for granted that SOMEBODY would.
But NOBODY told ANYBODY that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And NOBODY took it on himself to follow through and do;
What EVERYBODY thought that SOMEBODY would do.
When what EVERYBODY needs did not get done at all,
EVERYBODY was complaining that SOMEBODY dropped the ball.
ANYBODY then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And EVERYBODY looked around for SOMEBODY to blame.
SOMEBODY should have done the job and EVERYBODY would have,
But in the end NOBODY did what ANYBODY could have.
The shortened version goes like this: These four people were very busy people; this seemed especially true whenever there was an important job to do. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. When Nobody did it, Everybody got angry because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Somebody would do it, but Anybody realized that Nobody would do it. So consequently Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done in the first place.
Brothers and Sisters, the Bible does not tell the lost to go to church, but the Bible does tell the church to go to the lost! The best way to bring men to Christ is by taking Christ to men. In our politically correct world, something is really wrong when we care more about a person’s feelings than we do for his soul.
For many of us, rather than sowing seeds for Christ, we sow wild oats six days a week and then the go to “church” on Sunday and pray for crop failure. We look around and wonder why our attendance is down; isn’t ‘Somebody’ going out and sharing the “Good News” in Ventura? It seems ‘Everybody’ wants in on the harvest, but few show up at plowing and sowing time. When the church stops seeking the lost, the church itself is lost. None of us can enter into deep fellowship with the Lord Jesus, when we do not share His longing for a lost and dying world. Matthew 28:18-20 is very clear; we are to go and to make disciples. May God touch our hearts with the desire to be the disciples He wants us to be and make disciples of the lost. That’s a win-win situation!
April 30, 2015
There is a pandemic in Christianity today; a virus that is producing shallow Christians. Christians that are not cold or hot, but lukewarm Revelation 3:15-16. Okay, before you go thinking I have lost my mind or accuse me of being an old grouch who is out of touch, let me explain.
Many Churches today are sugar coating the gospel. They think it makes the Church and being a Christian more appealing. As a result there are a lot of Christians who believe that God is a big cuddly loving being who is their bestie. That God is their buddy and he will protect them from every earthly struggle or will make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Sorry to break it to everyone, but God is not your buddy! He is your heavenly father, who we are here to serve Corinthians 8:6. He is our God that we are directed to offer an acceptable worship to, with reverence and awe Hebrews 12:28. Suffering for the gospel’s sake is something we are to expect, not be protected from 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. Yes he will see that our needs are met but crazy rich is not a promise that I read about in the scriptures.
Another belief of shallow Christians is the belief that God will accept a person just as they are, no changes needed. Or will accept someone just because they are a good person. Once again, the Bible, "God’s Word", teaches us that God requires obedience, not just being a good person. He tells us that if our lives are to be acceptable to Him we must: Repent and be baptized Acts 2:38, Turn away from sin Acts 3:19, and Obey God's Word Luke 11:28 John 14:15. Living a good moral life, being a good person or doing good work is not enough. Not even attending Church is enough Mathew 7:21.
How many of you have heard someone say "I am a Christian but not religious," "I don't like going to church because it is full of hypocrites". Or "I feel closer to God when I am alone in nature not in a building filled with other people". First off the Church is the body of believers who meet at a location Romans 16:5. This body of believers is also a body of people who are sinners. Yes it is true, none of us are perfect. We all have sinned and fallen short Romans 3:23. But we should be doing our best to glorify God every day. If a Church is truly seeking to do God’s will then the term hypocrite is too strong a word to describe them. On the other hand, if we are a shallow congregation made up of shallow Christians, you know the ones, the ones who like partying (in moderation of course), cussing (but only when they hurt their self), participating in crude jokes (only around the guys) and living a worldly life when no one who knows them is around to see. In that case we would be Church of hypocrites. And as for why we need to meet with other Christians. The Bible says we are to: gather to study 2 Timothy 2:15, to Confess and Pray James 5:16, to Fellowship Acts 2:42, to Sing and Admonish one another Colossians 3:16, to encourage one another Hebrews 10:24, and in Hebrews 10:25 we are directed to meet together.
What is the Cure for this pandemic? First off, stop sugar coating the gospel. We have to offer up a well-balanced diet of gospel proclaiming both the milk and the meat of the word. Shallow Christians struggle to keep the faith when things get tough, so let us study the word and grow in the knowledge of Christ so we have an answer for the hope that is in us. Then we all can stand strong when things get tough. We must hold each other accountable and correct error. I know it is hard to confront a fellow Christian who is in error but remember if you turn a brother or sister from sin you have saved them from eternal death James 5:19-20. Each of us must use the talents God has blest us with to glorify him and serve his Church, this Church, our Church. Above all, we must remember LOVE, Love, love. Do all things in love.
March 26, 2015
At your school, work, the hair salon or gym, do people know you’re a Christian? Do your words,
actions and reactions show Christ to those you come in contact with? My hope & prayer is that
The best compliment I ever got from someone when I told them that I was a Christian was, “I thought you were!” I remember this because I had done something in my actions that showed them Christ. That should always be our goal. My worst fear would be to tell someone that I am a Christian and their response was, “YOU ARE?” or “You don’t act like one!” This would mean that my words, actions and reactions have not been showing them Christ in my life.
In our lives, we will sin and fail to show those around us Christ. Hopefully, as Christians, we are strong enough to say, “My actions were not Christ like and I have asked God for forgiveness. I ask you to forgive me too.” The impact this has on those around you, even when you fail, will show Christ.
As we mature in Christ, it should be evident in our lives to the point that anyone we meet would say, “This person has to be a Christian.”
February 26, 2015
With all it’s imperfections, the church is still a divinely ordained institution. Glory is given to God through the church. The church in any place is no better or worse than the members that compose it. In other words, the church in any locality is just what its members are. If its members are a questionable, through their sinful conduct, the church is dishonored in the community. Even it’s members are somewhat reluctant in telling others that they are members of the local church because of the perception of the world to those who believe in Jesus.
The church in the beginning, as described in the New Testament, had members who failed to live consistent with the divine law of God; consequently they brought shame and dishonor to the church, thus adding difficulty to the establishment of the church. The moral qualities of the Law, as well as the church, were broken down by sinful membership. The church at that time suffered because of evil conduct of its members; the fact remains true today and will always remain true. Men cannot live like the world lives in all kinds of sin; while members of the church, and expect the church to be exalted in the minds of others.
Christ is to be exalted by His followers so that sinners may be led to glorify Him. We are to be the “salt of the world.” There is no darkness in God and Christ; there should be no darkness in the members of His body.
Regular attendance is a sure sign of one’s own spiritual development. Every service of worship, preaching, teaching singing, giving and Christian fellowship should constitute for you and me a “standing engagement” with Christ! You cannot pray for the advancement of the church and fail to keep your engagement with Him. Willingly not being a part of the body’s activities is sinful. Your faithful presence at each service of the church, together with your constant prayers for its advancement and your willing performance of every good work will surely build up the church, both in faith and in numbers. Your presence is encouraging to others and this in itself can snowball in its effects upon the church.
Sometimes we allow most anything to interfere with attending services and justify that we went “to church” on Sunday morning. Do we allow such logic to dictate how often we pray or read the Bible or tell others about the good news of Christ? I pray you will think on these things in the spirit in which this was written; I love you my church family
January 29, 2015
This is the first of many articles that will appear in our bulletin and on our website under the heading of
Shepherd’s Pen. The articles that appear here are intended to keep everyone up to date with what is
going on in the congregation as well as to spiritually uplift and edify those who read it.
So let’s get started with this first edition of the new Shepherd’s Pen.
Bruce, Brent and I would like to let you all know that we are humbled that you desire us to serve as your Overseers. Our pledge to you is that we will do our absolute best at all times and we will seek God’s council through prayer and study of His word for every matter under consideration. The first matter before us is the selection of Deacons. Considering that we recently completed a long study on Elders and Deacons, I will not go into the qualifications. I did want to address the process though. During the month of February we will ask that you as members, select men from our congregation to serve as Deacons. Write down these names and give them to Bruce, Brent or myself. During the first week in march the Elders will talk to each man whose name was submitted by the congregation and ensure they have a desire to serve in the capacity of a Deacon. On March 8th we will announce the names of the men who were nominated. From March 8th - March 22nd if anyone has a biblical objection to any man presented they should seek out one of the elders and address the objection. On March 29th After all objections have been addressed these men will be appointed Deacons.
If you have any questions on qualifications or about the process we will use in appointing Deacons, please contact one of the Elders.