blog

 

PASTOR’S PEN

 
THROUGHOUT THE WEEK

A Fragile Setting in me

     I have a fragile setting within me that is easily misled.  It tends to follow with the direction of current times.  It can easily be swayed by a passionate plea that tends to be the stories of our times.  It can be rallied by the latest sports contender and their drive to be the best.  For me, it can be the emotions that flow while watching a well-recognized star bring to life a story on the screen.  I have always loved a good movie.  It may be a fervent newscaster telling the news as he sees it.  For many of us we watch the news digging for the next tidbit of knowing and when you have finally heard it for the qua-zillionth time it becomes the mantra that we say to anyone willing to listen.  A tender word from those that I love will cause my heart to jump and my fragile attitude to follow.  Same way when the one I love rebels or angrily spouts their feelings – it will shape mine.  You see, I have a fragile setting within me – my mentalness can be easily led.  My mentalness fits so many aspects of my being: my cerebral, my rational, my intellectual, my spirituality, my emotional – my being.

    When you tie my mentalness to my soul it can easily begin to develop into my spiritual DNA.  My soul will smell of the garbage found within this world.  So, my opinions may reek of my emotional misledness as it is filtered through my soul.  It may have the scent of idol-ness, the savor of infidelity, possibly the stench of greed, or the aroma of pride.  It may even become more overpowering when combined with more than one.  Do you see, I have a fragile setting within me – that is easily misled?

     What can we do about this weakness of being misled?  First, humbly accept 2 Corinthians 5:17if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  Next, seek to be a new creation.  What would you fill your spirit with?  Try 2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  Or this one Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Finally, lean on the Holy Spirit to help you.

     Know that it is so easy to be misled and armed with that knowledge begin to build a mentalness that is God reinforced.  You must build it with prayer, bible time, socializing with brothers and sisters in Jesus and following the Spirit’s within you.  Then our fragile mentalness begins to develop muscle that will overcome this world.

I’m mentally building on Sunday, C U then.

Bill


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Numbers Board

     Several years ago, there was a board that hung in the parlor showing the number of those attending Sunday School.  It was taken down a few years ago.  Part of the reason was that it didn’t reflect the full number of those attending our small groups this includes our Sunday School. 
 

     A sheet is passed around every week among our leaders called Report to the Minister.  It is a brief statement of the previous weekend’s numbers, offerings, visitor’s names, upcoming events and several other communication things.  Again, among the numbers was the Sunday School attendance.  While at the leadership retreat we talked of several things to come.  One was to update the Sunday School attendance to show Small Group attendance.

     The Small Group figure is more inclusive of all the varied aspects of education.  Many of you may be unaware that on Wednesday night our Little Tree Ministry has between 40 to 50 first through fifth graders attending (this doesn’t count the kitchen help & sponsors present).  Meanwhile just across the driveway is our Wednesday Bible Study with approximately 10 to 15 in attendance.  Two settings not found in the Sunday School Attendance.  When you start counting we have several small group settings that are happening every week at FCC.  The common priority among all these groups is Christian Education and fellowship.

     The first century church showed repeatedly in the book of Acts the approximate number of those attending.  It was a tool whereby the church and leadership could determine further direction.  Pray for leadership as more things from our retreat begin to show up in our church family.  We are driven to be the beacon of Jesus’ light to a new generation.

C U Sunday,

Bill

P.S. –  Our Easter celebrations were wonderful.  Thank you to so many for making our Easter celebrations spectacular.  Our FCC volunteers make the difference in what we do.


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Resurrection day is coming.

     Resurrection Day is coming!  Our day will be full of worship.  Our focus will be upon Jesus and the empty tomb.  Easter Sunday will start with our Sunrise Service.  This will begin at 7:00 am.  We will gather in the Fellowship building then celebrate with communion.  We will begin our “Easter Walk” from there.  We will walk to three sites that give priority to the life of Jesus in that last few days.  At each site, we will be led in meditation by one of preachers.  Chairs will be available for those who need them.  Two things that you need to do: dress warm and come with an attitude of meditation.
 

     Next will be our Easter Breakfast.  We will enjoy a couple of our FCC highlights, our cooks and fellowship.  The schedule for breakfast will be 8:30 to 9:45 (approximately).  The cooks have great bearing on the times.  The Kum Dubl class will be our hosts this year and we must say thank you.  Please help them out by being willing cooks and servers.  Every year it is so good to hear the laughter and the buzz of conversation as several will be attendance.  This has tended to be one of our largest fellowships.

     The climax of our Easter Sunday will be the 10:30 worship.  We will be one service strong, both on site services will be one in the main building.  We will celebrate Easter and unity.  Plus, our radio program has been produced for decades from the setting and will go out on Easter too.  Our desire is to worship Jesus as one family.  Our choir will lead with the cantata, “Crimson Love.”  What is amazing is all the Easter songs that you may know.  Come ready to listen or even sing the ones that you know.  Then we will finish with communion, our family supper with Jesus.

     We will begin our day with the Lord’s supper and we will finish our day with the Lord’s supper.  There will be multiple volunteers and servants all day taking care of so many things.  Pitch in and help as you are able.  Knowing that your service is noted by God.  Thank you for being part.

C U Sunday,

Bill


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Do you sense spring coming?

     Do you sense spring coming?  Winter will soon be history and another Easter is rising before us.  With the coming of Easter, several key things will be happening in our church family.  First, I would urge parents if your child is between the ages of 8 to 10 to consider bringing them to Pastor’s Class.  This is a study of Basics of the Faith.  We will be meeting Saturdays, March 3rd, 10th, (note, no 17th) 24th, and 31st at 10:00 in the Parlor of the main building.  Our class will be finished between 11:15 and 11:30. 

     Next, the Missouri Christian Convention is the 16th & 17th of March.  The church leaders have paid the registration fees for our church family.  If you are interested in attending take time to fill out a registration form or go on line to www.mcconvention.org and register.  Just follow the directions for rapid registration.  Also, if needing a ride take time to sign up at our welcome centers.

     Finally, we want to pack the house on Sunday, March 25th.  This last Sunday cards were handed out, so you might consider who to invite.  While you consider, pray, pray and pray.  This next Sunday appointment cards will be handed out that you can share.  When going somewhere new it is rather intimidating, so not only invite, but make an appointment and bring them with you.  Sunday, March 25th is Bring a Friend Sunday.

     Easter is the next week, April 1st.  No fooling!  We will open the day at Sunrise (7:00 am) with an Easter walk.  We will gather at the Fellowship building and visit three sites that have changed our world, the garden, the cross and finally an empty tomb.  Following our Sunrise walk will be our annual fellowship breakfast (no Sunday School).  Then at 10:30 will be our one service in the main building.  We will celebrate Easter and family.
C U Sunday,
Bill

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The Test of Time

     Successful ministries are often woven into the daily activities of church and then forgotten as to the sacrifices made to build them.  This past Sunday when the roads were icy, and services condensed down to the 10:30 hour service.  We found many relying on a tried and true ministry, the radio.  In an age whereby, the internet avails so much information that you could spend a life time and still only tap the edge of information.  In an age whereby, television taps the reservoir of satellites and you could watch a program produced from the other side of the world.  Who would have thought the radio would be medium by which the church family connected?
 

     Every week one donor or another contributes to the ministry that has worked for decades.  Searching among the archives I found a list of dedications that dated back to 1952.  In the same book, I found the price dropped from $22 (1950) for 45 minutes of broadcast to $17.60 in 1951.  This last Sunday it cost our donor $53.30 for an hour.  When you consider that the hourly minimum wage for 1951 was 75 cents.  The success of this ministry can only be counted fully in heaven.

     We are blessed with ministries that have stood the test of time.  It may be the nursery and countless families that have enjoyed the care provided.  It may be the Sunday School that began as a ministry to children of the late 1800’s because Sunday was the only day many of them had off from work.  Later the bus ministry that still provides countless people a ride to church.  All of these have a few things in common: the sacrifice of the volunteers it takes to make it happen whether donor or manpower, the commitment to keep the ministry going even when the sacrifice digs deep, and the vision that sprouted seeing a need and moving to use this opportunity to lift Jesus.

     Thank you to the many that pack a brown bag for children who go hungry.  Thank you for  the countless meals provided on Wednesday night.  Sound has ventured from a raised pulpit, to a room requiring two or three to run all the equipment, thank you for your efforts.  Many successful programs have become woven into the fabric of our church family and as time passed they are overlooked.  May we continue to have a vision for new ministries at FCC and the generations to come until Jesus comes.

C U Sunday

Bill


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Direction to our Journey

     When the early pioneers traveled west they would choose an object of geography to give direction to their journey.  Hence Chimney Rock in Nebraska, or Pike’s Peak in Colorado became rather famous objects for direction.  But there was the priority of day to day travel in the plains that sought simple objects like a grove of trees, or a city water tower, or a high point that could be easily distinguished.  As the church we know to follow scripture/Jesus is our direction and these clearly stand out.  We know that we are to be light/righteous in a very dark time.  We seek as individuals to be obedient to the will of God.  Like our ancestors though we need simple objectives for our daily journey.  Many of these become the things scheduled and publicized for our church family.

 

     Leadership tends to influence the nature of those priorities.  Leadership seeks to communicate clearly the vision behind those priorities.  Leadership disciples the relationships and church family that will embrace the call of God.  The writer of Hebrews (13:17) knew the urgency of leadership and admonishes the first century church to “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

 

     February 16th & 17th several of our leaders will gather in retreat to dialogue about the day to day priority of vision.  We will gather at Maranatha Retreat Center overnight to pray, fellowship and discern the vision to come.  Pray for our leaders as they gather.  If you would like to come, talk with me soon as arrangements can be made.  Finally, just as Hebrews (13:7) says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”

 

     Thank you to the many men and women who serve and have served as leaders to our church family.  Your vision has been the guiding light of our church family for decades.  Thank you.

C U Sunday,

Bill


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Thank you

    The year is moving forward so quickly.  So, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the many Christmas goodies and the church gift to Susie and me.  Christmas at our house was a full blown family gathered treat.  Andy and his family were here from China and the girls with their families were able to come.  Our house was full and thankfully the neighbor next door let us use her’s too.

     I would remind you of “Without me” (sermon on January 7th) that Joseph said to Pharaoh in Young’s Literal Translation.  Many of you made new year’s commitments as to “without me”.  I would urge you to keep it up.  Keep praying, keep hungering for God’s word, keep thriving to love the unlovable, and remember that God doesn’t need us – He chose us so tell him thank you.

     This next few months the sermons will be spent walking through the book of Hebrews.  Take time to read the book over the next few months a time or two.

     A visitor was headed toward the informal service at 10:32.   She commented that she would prefer the more formal service and they directed her to the main building and the more formal setting.  We at FCC have a variety of service opportunities that appeal to several, yet we are one church family.  Many comments are made regarding our radio hour.  Many love the ability to tune in and follow the worship of the day.  Celebrate our variety of settings and pray for our oneness.

     Thank you for being the wonderful church family that you are.  This March will mark my fourteenth year that I have served with you.  This will open a new page in my life.  Every day from here on will be longest that I have lived anywhere.  Thank you for your continued efforts to follow after Jesus.  Thank you for including me in your walk.

God Bless and c u Sunday.

Bill


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God Sees it all

     Daily I see the news which is full of the injustices of our world and pain fills my being.  The pain is so full and deep within me.  Compassion wells from deep within me as I see the man on the corner and realize that he is only one in several that I have seen today.  I feel so small and helpless.  As I go to make a visit at the hospital my heart aches with the family for all that they are enduring.  Then I cry as I leave because my presence is all that I have to give.  I stand in the line of bereavement just to express my wordlessness as we hurt over death.  I understand from a young age the experience of a loved one’s absence.  All I can really give is my fragile understanding in their pain. 
 

     Then the thought begins to illuminate how does God feel?  If I hurt who sees only a tidbit of this world’s pain, how does God feel who sees it all. 

     Sometimes we are selfishly blinded by the deceitful whispers of Satan, that God could do something about it.  The lie that surely our creator whose universal, omnipotent ability could solve all the world’s pain.  We buy into the lie and forget the Bible’s truth that God made us in his image (Genesis 1:27).  Part of the image is our ability to choose and with choice comes consequence.  Even God knows this.  After all he feels every pain of this world for choosing to make man in his image.  God bears that consequence.  Listen as John 1:12-13 describes God’s desire, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

     Then my day is made when I see a small happening of kindness.  Maybe it is my old age, but I find that I am stirred, and my eyes begin to water at this small deed of kindness.  It may be as simple as a little one sharing their food with someone who has none.  Or it could be a dear one kissing a broken being while they hurt.  Or a stranger holding a dying patient’s hand because they shouldn’t be alone right now.  Then, I realize that I see only a small tidbit, but God sees it all.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

John 3:16

May your Christmas be full of God’s love.

Bill


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The Christmas Priority

     The prophetic voice of our today seems to come through a lighted monitor.  It may be held in a hand or started by a remote, but it calls to us much like the outspoken false prophets of the scripture.  Its manipulative glow lights up our nights and fights for our attention during the light of day.  Many think it is the voice we should hear. 
 

     The message that it proclaims is so diverse and compelling.  Everyone can find a message that they seek to hear.  The only thing you must do if you don’t want to hear it is change it or tune in to another voice.  The voice of this prophet calls us to want only the best, or seek the thing that will grant us happiness.  The voice of this prophet will inform us of anything we want to know.  The voice of this prophet says that your will reigns.  During some seasons the voice of this prophet even gets louder.  The voice of this prophet will even pick up on your moods and desires so that it can shape itself to appeal to you more.

     The Apostle Paul would write to his young protégé, Timothy (2 Timothy 4:3-4), For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”  Who knew that our faceless prophet (teacher) would even have the blueish halo of electronics.
 

     So, what do we do?  The techie stuff isn’t bad.  But what do you tune into on the techie stuff?  During this season of Christmas, what plies for your attention?  The prophets are many and the desires they reach out too are beyond our imagination.  I would urge you to read the stories of Christmas from Matthew 2, Luke 1 & 2, John 1.  I would urge you to read them daily to remind you of the Christmas priority.  Dwell on the call of Jesus to love God and love your neighbors found in Mark 12:28-31.  You can even read these scriptures on the techie stuff.  Then pass these thoughts along to family, friends and others.

     In the Old Testament, the people of the day would seek out the prophets that told them the news they wanted to hear.  Several occasions these people would testify to the fact they didn’t want to hear certain prophets who told truth because people didn’t like it.  Don’t let your Christmas belong to the false prophets.

C U Sunday,

Bill


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Your Second Wind

     While counseling, the question was asked, “Do you have any suggestions as to how to deal with change?”

     I shared a few thoughts calling them core beliefs: first know that God is present and loves you.  Next your commitment in marriage to the one you share your world with is vital in dealing with change.  Another is the children that your marriage relationship brings into this world.  These core beliefs are tools to deal with change because you know that no matter what they love you.  Family loves you.  Then I mentioned that scripture has a little known character trait that it declares so loudly and yet so overlooked  — endurance. 

     Randy Gariss in A Lifetime Love calls it “Gut it out.”  We have in our church family several young people that run cross country competitions.  If you ask they will tell of a time in the run that my coach used to call, “your second wind.”  When you feel as if you are about to collapse and can’t run another step you will get a second wind and new energy to run further.
 
     In the book God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis is asked the question by an inquisitor of Christianity which of the world’s religions gives the greatest happiness. He answers with honesty, but with his signature wit, about the reality of Christian discipleship.
     “While it lasts, the religion of worshipping oneself is the best. I haven’t always been a Christian. I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.
     Christianity certainly gives us peace in Christ, but it is not always an easy discipleship. Our Lord Himself taught and demonstrated that to us on the cross.”

 

     Endurance isn’t an easy quality in a culture that calls us to a life of ease and comfort.  A choice will need to be made.  God’s word in James 1:2-4 calls it perseverance.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
     Hebrews 12:1b-3 let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

     Scripture is loud about endurance.  We are called to express “joy” in our trials.  During this season of gratefulness let God know that you are grateful for your trials and find strength in God, your spouse and your family.  Endure for the faith.

 

C U Sunday,

Bill

 

 


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