I once owned a pet rabbit named Thumper. It was a gift from a neighbor lady for feeding her pet rabbits while she was out of town for two weeks. He was fun at first, but after a year or so, I lost interest. Mom suggested we take him out to Grandpa Cook’s farm because he raised rabbits. On our next visit, we took him out there and he was placed in the rabbit cage with some others.
Several months later we drove back out to Concord Township to visit Grandpa again. I took a walk out to the rabbit cage and Thumper wasn’t there. I asked my Mom what she thought happened to him. “They probably ate him!” she declared. It never dawned on me Grandpa had a different purpose for his rabbits than I did.
It was an eye-opener for me. But it got me thinking about raising animals. I didn’t want Thumper to die. I felt a little betrayed by Grandpa. But I had to deal with it and go on.
Life is like that with death. We must deal with it and go on. Funerals and Memorial Services help us deal with death. But only we can let go of our hurt and go on.
I finally got in a 4-mile run Monday morning. I got out of shape over the winter (I hate the boring treadmill), and had some knee problems that forced me to walk periodically. But I got a new pair of running shoes and wore them for the first time Monday. My knee gave me a little difficulty, but didn’t force me to walk this time. So I went 4 miles straight. Perhaps I can decrease my time on the next run.
Running a race takes determination and persistence. If we’re not training in whatever our venture is, we won’t be very able. Training is when we practice repeatedly until we have it down. Training is developing your body to function to its capacity.
Running your race with God means you keep working at it and don’t allow yourself to get out of shape spiritually. No short cuts in this race. So press toward the mark of the high calling in Jesus Christ.
Today we are having a staff luncheon at New Hope to say farewell to Pastor Sean and Stephani. We’ll have a time of reminiscing about their time with us.
I remember taking Pastor Sean with me to visit a young lady in the DeKalb County Jail. We both thought it would be a great experience for him. However, at the time he was only licensed as a minister, and not ordained. They had the rule that you had to be ordained to visit in the jail outside visiting hours. They would not let him in so he had to sit in the lobby and wait for me to finish my visit (about 20 minutes). I guess the Lord was teaching him patience.
Pastor Sean has been with us for 7.5 years and we all wish him well in his future endeavors.
What will you remember about Pastor Sean?
The property where we live is bordered on the north by an overgrown fence-row. The farmer who previously owned the land used the edge of the field to dump whatever debris he didn’t want. I find it enjoyable to take a small section of that overgrowth and turn it back to grass.
It requires cutting out brush, raking and burning 25 years of dead weeds and crabgrass, hauling off bricks, broken mortar and rocks, and using an adze to loosen the dense root system so I can sift through the soil to remove nails, glass and other junk. My goal is two-fold: First, to skim off enough good topsoil to fill in low or sunken areas around the property; and secondly, to reclaim that wasteland into level, grassy areas so you would never know it was a dump.
I guess that’s what God has called me to do in lives, as well: level off and reclaim. I hope my style of sermons help to level you off and reclaim God’s purpose in your life.
I heard about the little child that sat in church with his parents for the first time. The little guy watched as the ushers passed the offering bags. When they neared the row of seats where he sat, the youngster piped up in a voice that was easy for many to hear, “Don’t pay for me, Daddy, I’m under five”.
Who should pay for church anyway? In the 1890s many churches rented pews, or members owned their own. Only their friends and family could sit there. That’s one way to finance the church. Some churches receive pledges from the members at the beginning of the year and send a collection letter at the end of the year if its not paid in full. I guess that’s another way to do it. In the 1940s and 1950s some churches just passed the offering again if they didn’t receive enough money the first time. Others will send you a $10 book if you’ll send them $100.
The only “right way” I know for a church to collect offerings is to remind people that God said the tithe (tenth) belongs to the Lord, and He will rebuke the devourer if we do that. The real church doesn’t need any gimmicks or strategies, just challenge people to live for God. So, the people who live for God pay for it, no matter how young or old. I’m paying my share this weekend. How about you?
Tags: giving, stewardship
“Writer’s Block” is what they call it when a writer can’t think of anything to write about. Sometimes the thoughts just shut down and ideas don’t come. What’s a writer to do?
“Preacher’s Block” is a similar condition when a preacher can’t think of anything to preach about. There is so much in God’s Word, but nothing seems to connect in the preacher’s head. We want to give a God-anointed message, but sometimes nothing seems inspired. We go from one dead-end to another.
In the early days of my ministry I would sometimes be up until 3AM on a Sunday morning wrestling with God’s Word for that anointed sermon idea. Once God re-directed my message in the shower on a Sunday morning. I had to scramble to get ready, but it was freshly inspired! Of course, those were the days before I had to get an outline to the projector people and the general theme to the worship team.
God is a creative God and we have to keep close to Him to have the creativity flowing.
Today I’m teaching a class on Deliverance at the SEND school in Kendallville. Deliverance is an important ministry for Christians. People get exposed to all types of spiritual bondages as they live with dysfunctional parents, experiment with neighbors and friends, watch demonic-inspired movies, and get abused by selfish people.
Then they come to Christ and have a wonderful conversion experience. They have a Savior and a new set of beliefs. But, they still have some spiritual attachments that haven’t been deleted yet. They’re like Lazarus just risen from the grave, all bound up in his grave clothes. They need delivered before they can really be free in Christ.
The content of the class will contain the ingredients of deliverance ministry and how to help people get free. Let’s get serious with each other in helping them get really free in Christ.