Archive for April, 2009



   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

In the early days of America missionaries came from Europe to evangelize the native Americans. In 1805 a number of Indian chiefs and warriors met in council at Battle Creek, New York, to hear a presentation of the Christian faith by a Mr. Cram of the Boston Missionary Society. It is said that after Mr. Cram made an excellent presentation of the Gospel, and the life-changing power it holds, one of the chiefs, Red Jacket, got up to speak.

Red Jacket said, “Brother, we are told that you have been preaching about the Great Spirit to the white people who are our neighbors. We are well acquainted with our neighbors. We will wait a little while and see if the effect of the Great Spirit is upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less inclined to cheat and belittle Indians, then we will certainly consider what you say.”

People are watching. When was the last time you became aware that non-Christians were watching you?

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Former Evangelist Dwight L. Moody told the story of a Methodist minister, on his way to a camp meeting, through some mistake took passage on the wrong riverboat. He found that instead of being bound for a religious gathering, he was on his way to a horse race. His fellow passengers were betting and discussing the events, and the whole atmosphere was foreign to his nature. He asked the captain to stop his boat and let him off at the first landing, as the atmosphere was so distasteful to him.

The story continues to relate how, on the same occasion, a sporting man, intending to go to the races, by some mistake found himself on the wrong boat, bound for the camp meeting. The conversation about him was no more intelligible to him than to the man in the first boat, and he, too, asked the captain to stop and let him off the boat.

Mr. Moody concluded: “Now what was true in these two cases is practically true with everyone. A true Christian is wretched where there is no fellowship, and an unregenerate man is not at ease where there are only Christians. A man’s future will be according to what he is here prepared for. If he is not regenerate, heaven will have no attractions for him. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.”

Ever found yourself in a place where you were very uncomfortable? Tell us about it.

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Ministry can be difficult. There was once a minister who resigned after years of frustration and lack of progress in the lives of the people he served. He decided to become an undertaker.

The former minister told of old Buddy who was an alcoholic and who, over a five year period, proclaimed he was cured several times, only to revert back to the bottle each time.

He then complained about Sister Sue who had a perpetually bad marriage and who ended up in divorce after two years of counseling from the pastor, although she had apparent progress.

He explained his decision, “At least now when I straighten people out – they stay that way!”

We have to remember, it is not our job to straighten people out; only the Holy Spirit can do that.

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

The old saying goes, “Let your conscience be your guide”. Your conscience is developed by your environment: by what your parents and schoolmates taught you, by your religious convictions, your superstitions, etc. The Holy Spirit can and should play a role in that, but many don’t listen to that still small voice. A story from The Philadelphia Inquirer illustrates this problem.

A 12-year old boy was caught stealing a watch. He told police that previously he had shoplifted a gift for his mother, and he felt he had to do the same for his dad.

His conscience convicted him about not slighting his father, but he had no difficulty stealing what belonged to another. There is a problem with this picture. His conscience was working, but his value system had tainted his conscience.

The only way to have a pure conscience is to know God’s value system as it is outlined in the Bible, and then live by that value system, regardless of how we feel about it. Let’s adjust our conscience.

When have you seen this tainted conscienceness work in someone’s life?

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

I have an insurance policy
Written in the blood of the Lamb,
Sealed by the Cross of Jesus,
Redeemable wherever I am!
The company will never go bankrupt,
It is bonded by God’s promises true;
It will keep every word of its contract,
Exactly what it says it will do.
I don’t have to die to collect it,
No premiums do I have to pay;
All I do is to keep God’s promise
And walk in His holy way.
No collector will ever come calling,
It was paid on Calvary’s tree;
It insures me for living and dying
And for all eternity.
-H. H. Hover

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

One of the keys to successful negotiations is to always let the loser save face. President John F. Kennedy understood this. In October of 1962, after more than two weeks of tense negotiation, the Cuban missile crisis was resolved when Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev agreed to remove all missiles from Cuba, if Kennedy, in turn, promised not to invade the island.

The only reason the US considered invading at all was to remove the threat of the missiles. According to Kennedy advisor and biographer Theodore Sorensen, the Preident then “laid down the line for all of us. No boasting, no gloating, not even a claim of victory. We had won by enabling Khruschev to avoid complete humiliation – we should not humiliate him now.”

How many marriages would have been saved if we just made the other party feel like we compromised. How many church splits could have been averted had one side simply refused to not humiliate the other.

How has allowing the other person to save face helped you? What is your story?

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Anita and I spent Monday and Tuesday at a two-day pastor’s conference in Grand Rapids, MI. We heard a speaker there by the name of Bob Hazlett that ministered on the topic of spiritual gifts. We went a little skeptical (not that we don’t believe in spiritual gifts, but because people who focus on the gifts exclusively usually end up out of balance and a little “flakey”). But we were impressed with his accuracy, tact, and focus upon the word.

On the long, dark, rainy drive home late Tuesday night we talked about the topic. Here are some of my thoughts:

Jesus used parables to teach spiritual truths (Matthew 13:34). The Old Testament is about God the Father setting patterns for believers to follow (1 Corinthians 10:11). It is obvious the dead being raised, lame walking, blind hearing, and deaf hearing, are a pattern of what would happen in the spiritual lives of men and women, not the physical (otherwise, the only people who can be saved are sick or injured people). And those things do happen today in the spiritual lives of all who believe.

Yet, we cannot deny that many physical healings followed Jesus’ ministry. And Jesus said we would do greater works than He did (John 14:12). Mark clearly predicted that these signs would follow those who believe (Mark 16:17-18).

So, we cannot focus entirely on one without the other. There must be a balance.

What thoughts do you have regarding spiritual gifts in the church today?

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