Archive for December, 2007



   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Early in 2007 I became concerned with our church’s decreasing attendance and dwindling offerings. I had moved in the “seeker” track in an attempt to reach the lost in a culturally changing America. But while reaching a few lost ones, we were losing the past harvest. I sought the Lord about all this.

Then the Lord spoke to my heart. I’ve never tried to compare our church with others because I thought that was egotistical and wordly. But the Lord led me to think about the competition in our community. The largest churches around us are Sonlight Community Church in Angola (a Mennonite Church), Fairview Missionary (a Missionary Church), Dayspring Community Church ( another Missionary Church), Lakewood Park (a GAR Baptist Church), and County Line Church of God (a Church of God Church). These are all non- or anti-Pentecostal churches. They have all followed the seeker route and grown dramatically. And I know that for a business to succeed amid the competition, it must be first, fastest or better. But what was our “niche”? What does New Hope have to offer that none of these others has? And the answer was obvious: a solid belief in the ministry of spiritual gifts among the body.

And I also know that Pentecostal churches are much to blame for turning off people to spiritual gifts with their emphasis upon emotion (a function of the soul) and calling it a move of the Spirit. But the New Testament teaches us to believe in the supernatural working of a God who cares! And then I understood that we must find a balance between an expression of the gifts of the Spirit and keeping dignity in the House of God.

The Christmas movies we’ve all just watched prove to us that Americans really want to believe, but believing in Santa Claus or flying reindeer isn’t reality. And this upcoming young generation will not tolerate phony Christianity that just blesses ourselves at the expense of others. So I’ve decided to move into 2008 with a great expectation of a genuine visitation of God’s Spirit to set people free and give life as Jesus declared in Luke 4:18 (go read it carefully). That’s my New Year’s resolution.

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Merry Christmas

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

In 1965 Charles Schultz introduced ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, and it has since become a classic. In this simple story the Peanuts gang is getting ready for a Christmas play and nobody is paying attention. Charlie Brown finally yells out in frustration, “Isn’t there ANYONE who knows what Christmas is about?” Finally Linus steps up to quote the Christmas story, straight from the Bible.

According to a recent Gallup poll survey, a large majority of the US population believes in the Virgin birth of Jesus Christ according to the biblical account. But does anyone really know what Christmas is about? The commercialism of the west makes us ask the question anew. How many people will bury themselves even deeper in debt in a vain attempt to purchase their children’s love? And the precedent (no pun intended) we set under the tree each year locks the next generation into the same pattern of holiday indebtedness.

Let me encourage everyone to take a few moments this Christmas to read the Christmas story with your family. And reflect on what Christmas is supposed to be from God’s perspective. Someone has got to be reminded of what Christmas is about.

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Last Sunday I was chatting with one of our senior members before church.  He was telling me how much he appreciated me.  “You’re the only reason I come to this church,” he said.  I replied that he had a lot of friends here, as well, and then he agreed.  “But, I can’t stand the new worship!  I’m from the old school,” he said, “and I don’t like this  music today.”

I’d heard that before, so I carefully smiled and replied, “But these young folks wouldn’t come if we didn’t have it.”  He quickly responded, “I know it, and I’m with you!  I’m with you all the way.”

You have to have respect for an old timer who can speak his mind, and yet recognize that we’re not living in the past.  To reach the next generation takes new methods.  Let’s learn lessons from this senior citizen.

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

The other day I had a project that required the use of a battery powered drill.  When I got it out, the battery was almost dead, as I had not used it in awhile.  So I switched to the back-up battery and it was completely dead.  So I plugged in the charger and waited til morning.  The next morning I went back to my project and found that the charger was not working.  So I had to run to the hardware and purchase another charger.  I thought these battery-powered tools were supposed to make life easier!

The more I thought about it, though, the more I saw a life lesson in this story.  When our spiritual batteries run low, we go to God to recharge those batteries.  But there are times that our batteries are still not getting recharged, even though we’re going to church, reading the Bible, and trying to pray.  Sometimes our recharger is malfunctioning and we have to go back to the manufacturer (God) for renewal.  If your spiritual batteries are low today, go back to the manual (Bible) and ask God what He wants you to do now.  He’ll show you.

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