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May 2, 2017, 11:21 AM

May 3, 2017

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”  Titus 2:7-8

     “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians:  who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyles.  That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”   Brennan Manning

     What do we say to an unbelieving world?  What does our lifestyle say about our relationship with God?  What does our lifestyle say about our belief in the Bible?  We do not like to hear it, but we are trying so hard to intertwine the world’s standards into our Christian standards.  It simply will not work!   Peter reminds us (1 Peter 2:15) to be holy in all that we do.  The world has such a grasp and uses this hold to challenge Christians to compromise their beliefs.  As Christians, we live under grace but grace does not give us the right to join in all the ways of the world.  In fact, because of grace, we recognize God and what He has done for us.  As we recognize God’s mercy toward us we should strive to please Him in every way.  Think about our lives for just a minute.  Does my speech honor God?  Does my appearance honor God?  Do the decisions I make honor God?  What does my life really show to a lost world?

     Now, a very important question?  Does living the Christian life mean that we never give in to temptation?  Absolutely not!  However, when we do sin, do we acknowledge that sin for what it is, or do we overlook our actions with the famous excuse that “everybody does it”?  God has called us to live the abundant life.  The abundant life does not consist of a little bit of God mixed in with a little bit of the world.  Remember the Christian balance from Sunday morning?  The balance in the Christian’s life is this: one hundred percent of my cooperation and willingness to say yes to God and one hundred percent of God’s power and presence in my life.  Are we consciously and consistently presenting our lives to Jesus daily?

     There are lost people all around us.  They are looking for the abundant life that Jesus describes in John 10:10. Their problem is that they are looking in all the wrong places.  We have the answer, but do we exemplify the lifestyle that will encourage them to seek Jesus?  May we examine our life, repent, and ask forgiveness for those things we’ve done against God and live in a way that honors Him.  Only then will we have an impact on those around us and be an example for them so that they will want to seek God for the abundant life.

                                                                                                                     We love you,

                                                                                                                     Brad and Virginia

April 25, 2017, 11:08 AM

April 26, 2017

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”  Psalm 37:7

Is your first priority in life to obey God?  In order to be obedient, we must first learn to listen.    Our culture finds it increasingly difficult to listen to God because listening oftentimes requires a period of waiting.  All it takes is a quick glance around us to understand that we have no clue about waiting.  We are so accustomed to having our way and getting what we want that we rarely take time to seek God’s counsel.  In many ways, God has become very distant to us.  We have example after example throughout Scripture of the same thing happening with Israel.  We mentioned the church at Ephesus Sunday morning.  Jesus’ response to them was this: “You have forsaken the love you had at first”.  In other words, their love for God had grown cold and the relationship with Him had become very distant.  Are we there?

                When is the last time we experienced God?  Is God real to you in your daily walk?  Do you experience God during the events of a busy day?  Do you experience God during your devotion and quiet time?  Do you experience God as you walk outside in the beauty of nature?  Do you experience God during our “worship” services?  We have such a tendency to become schedule followers rather than God-followers.  We need to (and must) experience a fresh revelation from God!  Experiencing God may be totally different from the way things have been in the past.  Would we even notice if God’s presence was not with us on any given Sunday morning?  We become so entangled in our busy-ness that we have no time to seek God, much less to wait on Him for direction.

                Our society has begun paying the price for our lack of zeal toward God.  Things are certainly not as they once were.  We need revival among us!  I am not talking about a series of a few days listening to a great speaker.  I am talking about a change of heart and a real desire to be obedient to our Father.  May we be reminded of God’s promise to His people found in Deuteronomy 28: “The Lord will establish you as His holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to Him.  Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you.  The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity – in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land He swore to your ancestors to give you”.  Lest we forget, as wonderful as the blessings could be, there were also stiff consequences for disobedience.  Listen to these words, “however, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all His commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you”.  May we be careful to seek, listen and obey God as we faithfully serve Him this week!

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

April 18, 2017, 10:30 AM

April 19, 2017

I recently read again an excerpt from Patrick Morley’s book I Surrender.  I would like to share that excerpt with you this week as a reminder to “take time for the moment”.

A quiet teen-ager, David loved reading books and watching ‘Dr. Who’.  Countless volumes of science fiction passed before his eyes.  Birds of prey especially intrigued David, and he earned a college scholarship for his volunteer work repairing the broken wings of eagles.  He loved Christ.

Here are some excerpts from a letter received from his dad:

One evening when I came home I was greeted by a tall, slender, blonde teen-aged girl whom I had never met.  David had struck up a conversation with her in the grocery store and invited her to stay in our home!  Her name was Debbie.  Her parents had beaten her and kicked her out of their home.  She was battered, physically and emotionally.  She lived with us for five weeks, recovered, and now lives with an aunt.  She is now a Christian.  He took time for the moment, and it made a difference.

I scolded David several times for not being home on time in the late afternoons.  He said nothing in his defense for this repeated behavior.  Only much later did I find out where he had been and what he was doing.  One of his friends had an eye disease and was going blind.  He was reading books to her.  He took time for the moment.

One Friday afternoon about 3:45 p.m. I called my wife from work to tell her I loved her and see how her day was going.  She told me that David had stopped by after work for a visit.  He and I talked for a few minutes, arranging a shopping trip to buy his mother’s Christmas present.  We agreed to meet at 6:00 p.m.  I told him I loved him and heard the reply ‘I love you too, dad.  Good-bye.’  David died in an accident fourteen minutes later.

How precious that brief moment on the telephone has become.  How many fathers never hear those words?  How many of us are too busy to take time for the moment?  We are not really in a position to judge if we have time because we do not know what a difference that moment can make in someone’s life.  That moment has caused me to care more, look deeper, search harder, pray longer, and seek understanding.

May we learn to take time for the moment every day.  May God’s blessings be yours in abundance this week as we strive to please Him!

                                                                                                                                                             We love you,                                                                                                                                                                                                    Brad and Virginia

April 11, 2017, 11:10 AM

April 12, 2017

“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished”.  With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”  John 19:30

     It is finished!  Those three words really say it all.  Have you ever been involved in a project and finally got to the place of being finished?  God’s plan was being carried out from the time of Adam and Eve through the time of Jesus and beyond.  When Jesus uttered the words “it is finished”, He was saying that God’s redemptive work in the lives of mankind was accomplished.  God had accomplished exactly what He desired to do.  The sin of man was now fully and completely atoned for.  Now, through Jesus, man could once again be in a relationship with God.

     We have come to the point in our culture of taking Easter far too lightly.  Do we realize the magnitude of what Jesus did on the cross?  Do we realize the love God demonstrated for us in seeing His Son die upon the cross?  The world system does everything possible to take our eyes and thoughts away from the reality of Easter.  When Jesus arose the third day, He conquered Satan, sin, death and the grave.  The good news is this:  When Jesus is our Savior, we are conquerors too!

     This is an absolutely wonderful time of the year.  Spend some time outside and experience the beauty of God’s creation.  Enjoy the season but be reminded often of God’s love for you and the price that was paid so that you could have eternal life.  It is finished means that Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of a holy and righteous God.  He paid the ultimate price to redeem us from the clutches of death.  That means in Jesus we are secure in His arms!  Have a wonderful and blessed week as we give thanks to God for His indescribable gift!  We look forward to seeing you on “Resurrection Sunday”!

                                                                                                                       We love you,

                                                                                                                       Brad and Virginia

April 4, 2017, 1:48 PM

April 5, 2017

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:24-25           

     Why do people stop going to church?  Some stop going and vow never to return.  There are probably as many reasons not to attend church as there are churches.  A recent article interviewed four individuals to get a better understanding of why some do not attend church.  The reasons are numerous and varied but often involved hurt feelings.  There is no doubt we all need fellowship, encouragement, and love.  It is very easy to get our eyes away from the real focus of church as many attend church for the wrong reasons.  Until we get a true understanding of our role in the local church we will probably continue to have many difficulties along the way.

     As I read the article, two significant issues seemed to prevail.  From the information given, there seemed to be a recurring issue centered around a lack of commitment to God.  The past few generations have been so enamored with worldly issues that there has been very little room left for quality time with God.  Church attendance seems to have become a habit rather than a commitment.  Many attend church with the idea of “going through the motions” without the real since of worship and service.  This is often a reflection of very little commitment to Bible study and prayer at home.  We cannot expect church attendance to make up for a lack of commitment during the

     Another recurring issue focused on the concept of “me”.  Many today are expecting the church to be the place where all personal “wants” are provided.  However, the purpose of the Church is to glorify Christ and edify the Body.  We do that as we worship God together and serve Him both inside and outside the church using the gifts He has bestowed upon us.  We have become a nation of spoiled citizens.  As such, we have brought many of those same feelings into our Christian lives.  There is so much more to worship and service than having our personal wants met through church attendance.

     There are no simple solutions to the varied reasons many people will not attend church.  However, we must keep in mind that the Church is made up of saved sinners (including the pastor) who do not have everything right.  We should be striving to be more like Jesus each day which means putting away the things of the flesh and yearning for the things of God.  Will there be times of struggle and conflict?  Will there be times when things are not exactly as we like them?  Will there be times of frustration?  The answer to those questions is a resounding yes!  However, as we are growing daily in our walk with God, we become much more focused on pleasing Him rather than ourselves.  Our true understanding of worship and fellowship has its starting point in personal time with God.

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

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