Archive for August, 2009

31
Aug

EMAILS

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Trials of Our Faith

Email is putting the Post Office out of business. Email communication is much quicker, is paperless, and much less expensive than sending a letter. And multiple large attachments are replacing expensive packages.

When I sent letters, I used to always put in an introductory paragraph, and then a closing paragraph. In emails, I just get right to the point. The body of the message is all I send. I still carefully choose my words, however, and usually reread it before I send it, because I don’t want to say the wrong thing and offend someone I care about.

Once I click on ‘Send’ it is gone. Where does it go from there? How do I know the message is on the way and how can I be sure they got it? I just have to trust the server and the mysterious internet system to get it there. It’s out of my control! Although I can’t see what’s happening, my faith in the internet system assures me that my letter is as good as there.

Likewise, whenever we’re faced with a problem, our faith is challenged. Knowing that it’s impossible to resolve the difficulty ourselves, we recognize our need of God’s help. First, though, we must go to Him in prayer. Until that moment, we’re still holding on to our problem. We know the situation won’t get resolved until we let go and commit it into God’s hands. Once we ‘Send’ the message, we then must trust God to take over until the problem is resolved in His way. We can’t see what He’s doing, but “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

29
Aug

MR. FAITH

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Trials of Our Faith

Three people were walking up a mountainside. The one in front was called Mr. Fact; the middle one, Mr. Faith; and the third, Mr. Feelings. When Mr. Faith looked at Mr. Feelings, he stumbled and made no progress. Then someone called to him: “Keep your eyes on Mr. Fact, not Mr. Feelings!” He obeyed and made the grade and soon reached the summit.

Mr. Faith lives inside of you. Don’t follow Mr. Feelings because he is fickle. Always keep your eyes on Mr. Fact. Mr. Fact resides in your Bible! Read it, follow it and keep your eyes on it and you will reach the summit.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Do you have experience looking at Mr. Feelings? What has been your experience with him?

28
Aug

GOD OF ALL COMFORT

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Trials of Our Faith

One day in 1932, pianist, singer, and songwriter Thomas A. Dorsey (not big band leader Tommy Dorsey) discovered his need for God’s comfort. He left his pregnant wife Nettie at home in Chicago while he drove his Model A to St. Louis to sing at a revival meeting. All went well, and the crowd responded enthusiastically. At the end of Dorsey’s performance, he received a telegram with the tragic news that his wife had died in childbirth. Within hours, the baby boy also died.

Filled with grief, Dorsey sought answers. Should he have stayed in Chicago and not gone to St. Louis? Had God done him an injustice? A few days after Nettie’s death, Dorsey sat down at the piano and began to play. Finally sensing God’s peace and closeness, he began to sing some new words and play a new song:

Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand;
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light;
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).

What is it you need from the God of all comfort?

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27
Aug

ALLIGATOR WRESTLING

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Trials of Our Faith

A friend of actress and comedienne Gracie Allen once sent a small, live alligator to her as a gag. Not knowing what to do with it, Gracie put it in the bathtub and then left for an appointment. When she returned home, she found a note from her maid. “Dear Miss Allen: Sorry, but I have quit. I don’t work in houses where there is an alligator. I would have told you this when I started, but I never thought it would come up.”

How do you deal with unexpected surprises? Does your faith stay strong in spite of the alligators that appear out of nowhere? There will be a few of those alligators on the journey, you know.

Jesus warned His disciples of this in the Parable of the Soils when He said, “When tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matthew 13:21). We must wrestle those alligators!

What alligators are you wrestling this week?

26
Aug

MENTORING

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

In his book The Fine Art of Mentoring, Ted Engstrom tells the following story of a young man who was an apprentice in a bank, rising rapidly in his career. The board of the bank had decided to name him as the new president, to succeed a feisty, crusty old man who had been president of the bank for many years:

One day the young man, who was soon to be president, came into the old man’s office and said, “‘Sir, as you know, I’ve been appointed by the board to succeed you as president of the bank, and I’d be very grateful for any counsel and help that you could give to me.’

The old man said, “Son, sit down. I’ve got just two words of counsel for you. Two words.”

“What are they?”

Right decisions.”

The young man thought a moment and said, “Sir, that’s very helpful, but how does one go about making those right decisions?”

The old man responded, “One word.”

“And that is?”

Experience.”

“Thank you, sir. I’m sure that’ll be helpful. But really, sir, how does one go about gaining experience?”

The old man smiled and said, “Two words: Wrong decisions.

One of the values of mentoring is passing on those experiences we have gained by our own wrong decisions. What is one lesson you learned the hard way that you can pass on to others?

25
Aug

ABFs

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Sunday twelve of us from the church who have expressed interest in Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) groups travelled to downtown Akron, Ohio, to visit The Chapel, a large church that has developed a large network of ABFs. We got there a little late so we were rushed to get to our respective groups all over the three story facility.

Anita and I attended a group that was middle life couples. There was a 15 minute fellowship time with coffee and refreshments, then the leader made some announcements that tied the ABF to the larger church, as well as a couple of announcements that pertained to only that ABF, and then introduced the teacher, who was a substitute that day. The leader had introduced us to the group and told them why we were there, so the teacher began by asking if we had any questions about ABFs. We asked a couple of questions, and the rest of the teaching time the group members took turns telling us about things their group does and has done. They sacrificed most of their teaching time to really paint a clear picture of ABFs.

Then we went out to eat with Jeff Martinelli, who heads up the ABFs (about 60 of them) and fired more questions to him. I think we’ve gained a good understanding of how these can work and benefit our church community.

You’ll be hearing more about it.

24
Aug

EVERYTHING

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

I thought the Family Fun Fest went well this year: the weather was a little chilly but better than hot and humid; the rain held off til a few sprinkles at the end; the food was great and sufficient; I met some new people I hadn’t met before; seven people got baptized in the lake; and Pastor Stine and his planning team pulled it all off without a hitch. Thanks to everyone who worked together to make it happen.

Have you ever thought of all the work it takes to make something like that happen? It all begins way ahead with setting a date and reserving the park. Then it takes a steering committee to make decisions and organize all the working parts. Then there are all the workers to make it run smoothly, all the ordering and hauling of supplies, set up,  tear down, clean up, etc., etc. And all most of us did was show up and enjoy.

I see a lesson in all of this for us about God. He has arranged for everything we need for spiritual life. All we have to do is step into it. God is so good.

What was the best thing about the Fun Fest for you?