Ponderings of the Preacher...

September 17, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities.  One of the bestselling novels of all time, this was a story about the difference between two different places that were not so far apart geographically but worlds apart politically – England and France. The story had its setting in 1775 as the French Revolution was beginning to take shape.  Dickens began his story with these words:

     It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was  

     the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it

     was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it

     was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,

     we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.

It seems incredible that life could be so different for those who were living just a few miles apart, but it was. 

     I have another story to relate.  I call it the “Tale of Two Bills.”  Here’s how it goes.

A well-worn one dollar bill and a similarly distressed twenty dollar bill arrived at a Federal Reserve Bank to be retired.  As they moved along the conveyor belt to be burned, they struck up a conversation.  The twenty dollar bill reminisced about its travels all over the country. 

     “I’ve had a pretty good life.  Why, I’ve been to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the finest restaurants in New York, performances on Broadway, and even a cruise to the Caribbean.”

     “Wow!” said the one dollar bill.  “You really have had an exciting life!”

     “So, tell me,” said the twenty, “where have you been throughout your lifetime?”

     “The one dollar bill replied, “Oh, I’ve been to the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Christian Church …”

     The twenty dollar bill interrupted, “What’s a church?”

     Whether we take our twenty, fifty, or hundred dollar bill to church may actually determine whether the people of this world will experience the best of times or the worst of times; whether they will be going direct to heaven or going direct the other way.  We can have an impact on our world by the monetary gifts we share.  In a few weeks, we will once again be challenged to consider making a promise in faith so that others can hear about Jesus.  Let’s begin to pray that God would lead us in making that decision.

                                                                                              C U N   Church,



September 3, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     This past Sunday, we distributed the book Take God at His Word written by Dr. Kregg Hood.  This begins a four week series of sermons and lessons on the topic of giving.  However, I do not want you to think that this is only about giving.  The purpose of this study goes far beyond the goal of increasing our giving.  This study will help us experience the blessings that God wants to share with His children.  This book and the sermons and lessons that accompany it will help us all better understand what the Bible has to say about money, financial decisions, and trusting God to care for our every need. 

     Doug Parsons a minister near Houston, Texas wrote the following about Take God at His Word.

Money, money, money.  Everybody has his hand out.  There is a style of asking for dollars that offends.  Instead of trying to sweet talk, harass, coddle or plead – why not try the scriptural way of giving?  That’s why Dr. Kregg Hood’s new book, Take God at His Word, is so on target.  In this small, easy-to-read, but dynamic book, he presents a biblical, honest, and encouraging study of the promises of God as they pertain to giving.  It is an excellent guide because it covers a subject on which, we need a sound, biblical perspective.  I recommend it to all who seek to do God’s will.

    For many of you, the book will simply be a confirmation of truths you have already discovered and experienced.  You have been practicing biblical stewardship for a long time.  That’s okay because we all need to be reminded periodically of the truths found in God’s Word.  Perhaps for some of you, the book may be a real challenge to your faith.  You have never really looked at what the Bible says about stewardship.  Regardless of which group you may be in, please pray that God will speak to us during these next several weeks and that He will be glorified.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning when the First Christian Church gathers for worship.

                                                      C U N   Church,


August 20, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     In the book of Joshua we have been reading about a “holy war” that was waged by Israel against the Canaanites.  The Canaanites lived in the land promised by God to the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God had commanded the Israelites to totally annihilate the Canaanites and take possession of their land.  That sounds like jihad to me.  Jihad is a term that we have associated with radical Islamic terrorists.  Actually the term jihad can have different meanings and unfortunately the meaning we have associated with the word has become the dominant one in our thinking.  One of the other meanings is “the human struggle to promote what is right and to prevent what is wrong.”  That sounds like a worthy and admirable struggle to me.  In fact, that is the kind of struggle in which we as Christians are involved.  We are trying to change the world; we are trying to promote what is good and we are trying to prevent what is wrong.

     We do not wage our jihad with guns, missiles, or bombs.  “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. “ (2 Cor. 10:3-4)  So what are some of the methods we use in our holy war? 

     “Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  It is possible as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:9-21

     I hope to see each of you this coming Sunday morning.

                                                                                                   C U N   Church,


August 6, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     In light of the recent shootings and the strife that divides our country, I am reminded of the words of a song that first became popular in 1965.  Here are some of the lyrics of that song.

   “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”  The lack of love for one another will eventually and certainly destroy us.   That sad and awful truth is illustrated very clearly in the following poem.


The Cold Within

Six humans trapped by happenstance in bleak and bitter cold.

Each one possessed a stick of wood or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs, the first man held his back

For of the faces ‘round the fire he noticed one was black.

The next man looking cross the way saw one not of his church

And couldn’t bring himself to give the fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes; he gave his coat a hitch

Why should his log be put to use to warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store

And how to keep what he had earned from the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge as the fire passed from his sight;

For all he saw in his stick of wood was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group did naught except for gain;

Giving only to those who gave was how he played the game.

Their logs held tight in death’s still hand were proof of human sin.

They didn’t die from the cold without; they died from the cold within.


     The words of that 1965 song are still true.   “What the world needs now is love sweet love.  Not just for some but for everyone.”

The golden text of the Bible, John 3:16, says that God loved the world.  If we are to be like our Father in Heaven, we also need to love the world or as Jesus instructed us, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

     I hope to see you this coming Lord’s Day morning.  Let’s all do our best to be in attendance at our worship service!

                                                                                                                         C U N   Church,



July 17, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     On Thursday, July 4, our nation will celebrate 243 years of independence.  Praise God for the United States of America.  It is still a land of freedom and opportunity.  It is my privilege to be a citizen of this great country.  Our country is indeed unique among all the others on the face of the earth.

     Only in America can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

     Only in America are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink

     Only in America do people order double cheese burgers, a large fry, and a Diet Coke.

     Only in America do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counter.

     Only in America do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and leave useless things and junk in boxes in the garage.

     Only in America do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.

     Only in America do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

     Only in America do we use the word “politics” to describe the process so well: “Poli” in Latin meaning “many” and “tics” meaning “blood-sucking creatures.”

     Despite the obvious and sometimes humorous paradoxes that are a part of our lifestyle, I still wouldn’t trade my citizenship in America for citizenship in any other country on earth.

     As we celebrate our freedom on Thursday, let us also pause to pray for our country, its leaders and its citizens.  Let’s give thanks to the Author of Liberty for our liberty.  Let’s repent and ask for forgiveness for our sins.  Let’s ask for His guidance and help so that we might be a nation that honors Him and follows His commands.

     I hope to be able to see each of you this coming Sunday and personally greet you.  Let’s all do our best to be present for our worship service!

                                                                                                              C U N   Church,


July 2, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     On Thursday, July 4, our nation will celebrate 243 years of independence.  Praise God for the United States of America.  It is still a land of freedom and opportunity.  It is my privilege to be a citizen of this great country.  Our country is indeed unique among all the others on the face of the earth.

     Only in America can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

     Only in America are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink

     Only in America do people order double cheese burgers, a large fry, and a Diet Coke.

     Only in America do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counter.

     Only in America do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and leave useless things and junk in boxes in the garage.

     Only in America do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.

     Only in America do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

     Only in America do we use the word “politics” to describe the process so well: “Poli” in Latin meaning “many” and “tics” meaning “blood-sucking creatures.”

     Despite the obvious and sometimes humorous paradoxes that are a part of our lifestyle, I still wouldn’t trade my citizenship in America for citizenship in any other country on earth.

     As we celebrate our freedom on Thursday, let us also pause to pray for our country, its leaders and its citizens.  Let’s give thanks to the Author of Liberty for our liberty.  Let’s repent and ask for forgiveness for our sins.  Let’s ask for His guidance and help so that we might be a nation that honors Him and follows His commands.

     I hope to be able to see each of you this coming Sunday and personally greet you.  Let’s all do our best to be present for our worship service!

                                                                                                              C U N   Church,


June 18, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Will anyone remember what we have done?  Probably not.  Oh, for a short time we might be remembered, but those memories will soon be forgotten.  Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:11, “There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.”  For that reason, there is a concentrated effort to make sure we do not forget.  We celebrate holidays and anniversaries to help us remember.  Most recently, we celebrated Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that our country might be free.  Ten days later we observed the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in World War 2.  It won’t be long before all of those brave men who participated in that invasion will be gone.  May we always remember what they did for the cause of freedom! Those days are important and should continue to be observed, lest we forget.

     Will anyone remember what I have done?  If anyone does remember, what is it that they will remember?  This past week at Upwards Soccer Camp, I had the privilege of teaching the kids.  Those lessons were about what the Bible says concerning playing, practicing, sportsmanship and a few other subjects. At the end of the week I was walking across the parking lot when I passed a mother with her little girl.  The little girl pointed to me and said to her mother, “He told me about Jesus.”  I was impressed.  She remembered.  If I could choose one thing that people would remember me for that would be it.  He told me about Jesus.  It doesn’t matter if they remember my name or anything else that I did.  What matters is that they would remember that I told people about Jesus.  That would be the legacy I would choose to leave.

     I look forward to seeing you this coming Lord’s Day morning and being able to greet each of you personally.  Let’s all do our best to be at church this coming Sunday!


June 4, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Yesterday morning as Delaine Donaldson led in the Communion mediation, he mentioned that in our culture vice (sin) has become virtue and virtue has become vice.  This is not the first time  in history this has happened.  Isaiah who lived 700 years before Jesus came to this earth wrote “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20).  Obviously, this same thing was going on in ancient Israel.

     This does seems to be an accurate description of our culture.  During this last legislative session of the Illinois General Assembly, there have been several pieces of legislation that have been approved.  Our governor and many state legislators are proud of their accomplishments.  They have called it successful,  progressive and good for the people of Illinois.  That description may fit some of the legislation that has been passed.  Time will tell.  But other pieces of legislation passed have designated what used to be called evil good.  Let me mention a few of these.

     1. Legalization of recreational marijuana – For years using marijuana has been illegal.  It was thought it would lead to using stronger drugs.

     2. Legalization of sports betting – This has not been approved yet but it probably will be.  For years, gambling was considered a sin and thus a crime.  No longer.

     3. Relaxing the restraints on abortion – While many states are passing laws intended to protect the unborn, Illinois has passed a law that denies the unborn have any rights at all.

      4. Requiring the sexual preferences of historical figures to be taught to school children – I am not sure what the sexual preference of historical figures has to do with their contributions to  our country and world, but if that person is a part of the LGBT community, it must be noted.  The Bible still calls homosexuality a sin.  This legislation is just another way of negating the teaching of God’s Word.

     If we dare oppose this agenda, we will be branded as intolerant and judgmental.  Just ask Cory Musgrave, a minister from Fairfield, who had the prayer to open the day’s proceedings in the Illinois House.  Some legislators walked out and others turned away from him.  He was condemned on social media. 

     But we cannot remain silent.  We must continue to speak God’s Word in love.  We have been called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  “Dear God, please give us the strength to be your people in this place and at this time.”

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning when we come together for worship.

                                                                                                       C U N   Church,




May 21, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher  . . .

     Why am I a Christian?  This was the question that was posed in Sunday School this past week.  It is a good question to consider.  Am I a Christian because my parents were Christians?  Am I a Christian because that was the way I was raised?  Or am I a Christian because my faith is based upon facts and is true?  My faith is not just a subjective (based on personal feelings and choices) thing but is based on historical facts.

     May is the month of graduations.  High School students are soon to be leaving the protection of their parents and going out into a very hostile world.  When I say “hostile,” I mean unsupportive of their faith.  This is an extremely critical time for these students.  Will they remain true to the faith that they have confessed or will they renounce it?  They will be facing many challenges intellectually and morally.  Let’s pray for them as they go into the world.

     Let’s also continue with the work of preparing our kids who are still at home to face a world of unbelief and skepticism.   Let’s prepare them to carry out the command found in 1 Peter 3:15.  “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.”  There are reasons why we believe what we believe – more than “Mom and Dad believed it,” and “The Bible says so.”   Our kids as well as their parents and all believers for that matter need to be able to give a reason for their faith.   Let’s remember what Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:16.  “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

     I encourage you to come to the adult Sunday School class for the next several Sundays to learn the reasons for our faith.  You will be glad that you did.

     I hope to be able to greet each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning when we gather for worship.  Let’s all do our best to be present!

                                                                                                                      C U N   Church,


May 7, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

             In 1930, the Southeastern part of Illinois was the top producer of Red Top grass seed. Red Top grass is grown for hay, pasture, and erosion prevention. It seems amazing that Southern Illinois was the top producer of anything, and this fact might lead to being proud of that accomplishment. However, when you consider some other facts, that pride is short-lived. At that point in time Red Top was grown because the land in this part of the state was not suitable for producing other crops. The quality of the soil was poor, and it was not considered fertile. Thankfully, the fertility of our soil has dramatically increased in the last several years. We have gone from a really poor soil to a better soil. This was accomplished through much effort, investment of resources, and time. Poor soil does not become better soil merely by accident.

A week ago, I preached a sermon about identifying the type of dirt we are. Jesus’ parable about the sower and the seed identified four different types of soil. Some of the soil was poor quality and didn’t produce any crop, but one soil was good and it produced a crop. God wants us to be productive in order to show Him to others and bring glory to His name. If we are identified as hard packed soil, shallow soil or soil infested with thorns, let us not become discouraged. We are not without hope. Poor “spiritual” soil can be changed into productive soil even as the poor soil of the 1930’s was built up to become the productive soil it is today. But we must remember that improvement did not happen without effort.

Remember the “formula” Jesus gave in Luke 8:15. If we will listen to God’s Word, meditate on it (think about it, pray about it. Study it), and persevere (keep on putting forth our best effort), we can with God’s help become productive soil. May we pay attention to the admonition that Jesus gave at the close of that parable. “He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:9)

I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning as we come together for worship.

                                                 C U N   Church,



April 16, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     I want to encourage you to be in church this coming Lord’s Day.  Typically Easter and Christmas are days where church attendance goes up.  I hope ours does.  We need to be reminded periodically of what our potential for attendance really is.  As you are making plans to attend, why not invite a friend, family member, or neighbor to attend with you.  Easter is a time of year when people are probably more open to an invitation to attend church than at other times of the year.  Some regular attending church folks become upset when the attendance goes up on those special days.  Their reasoning is that those who only come on special days ought to be coming throughout the year.  That’s true, but if they come on Easter then they are at least hearing the message about Jesus one time.  That’s better than not hearing the message at all.  It may only take one time for God to plant the seed in their heart and great things may result.

     The theme of our service on “Resurrection Sunday”  is “An Easter to Remember.”  There will be a photographer available prior to the services to take pictures of you and your family.  I hope you take advantage of that and you preserve some memories through photos.  Since not everyone can get their picture taken at the same time, come early and then enjoy the light  breakfast in the fellowship hall.  The message I will be preaching on Sunday morning is entitled “An Easter to Remember” and comes from Mark 16.  Something unexpected, unforgettable and unstoppable happened on that first Easter morning and our world has not been the same since.

     We will be celebrating Jesus’ resurrection in song and also by observing the Lord’s Supper.  Each family group whether that is 6 or 1 will receive a free copy of Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ Answer Booklet.”  This is a tool that will help strengthen your faith in Christ and can be given to a friend to help them in their faith walk.  Those will be available at the Information Center.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Sunday morning!

                                                 C U N   Church,




April 1, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . . 

     Most people like jokes.  Today is April 1 a.k.a. April Fool’s Day.  For those people who like jokes and tricks, this is their holiday.  I hope that you enjoy the day but temper your jokes with a little bit of kindness and understanding.  Don’t be mean or cruel in the tricks you try to pull on others.

     April Fool’s Day is also a holiday for another group of people – atheists.  I am very careful about calling anyone a fool.  Many years ago in high school, I was friends with a boy who often called people “a fool.”  I began doing that as well until my parents told me about a passage in the Bible that warned about calling anyone a fool.  “But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22b)  Upon learning about those words Jesus spoke,  I stopped that practice immediately.  Be very careful about calling another person “a fool.” 

     However, I believe I am on safe and solid ground when I call an atheist a fool.  Listen to what the Bible says about those who deny the existence of God.  “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalms 14:1a)  That statement is repeated in Psalms 53:1a.  If God calls an individual a fool, then I am safe in making that evaluation as well.

    Although it is true that anyone who denies the existence of God is a fool, I must not make that statement with a mean spirit, but I should be saddened by the state of that person.  Let’s not say that the person is a fool self-righteously, judgmentally or vindictively.  Rather, let us say that in humility – But for the grace of God that could be me.  Let us say that in compassion – caring for that person in their lost state.  Let us say that prayerfully – asking God to touch their hearts so that they might turn from their unbelief and come to salvation.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning and to be able to greet you personally.

                                                                                                                C U N   Church


March 19, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Yesterday morning I shared a message about attaining righteousness before God.  Moses in Deuteronomy 6:25 told the Israelites that if they were careful and obeyed completely the laws of God, they would be righteous before God.  The kicker in that is the phrase “obey all this law.”

 What if we obeyed 99.9% of the time?  That means 999 times out of a thousand chances to obey, we got it right.  Wouldn’t that be good enough to be declared righteous before God?  Is 99.9% good enough?  Take a look at the following statistics and I think you will agree that as good as 99.9% is, it is still not good enough.

     If 99.9% were good enough then:

107 incorrect medical procedures will be performed by the end of the day today.

2 million documents will be lost by the IRS this year.

22,000 transactions will be deducted from the wrong bank accounts in the next 60 minutes.

268,500 defective tires will be shipped this year.

103,260 income tax returns will be processed incorrectly this year.

18,322 pieces of mail will be mishandled in the next hour.

291 pacemaker operations will be performed incorrectly this year.

20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions will be written in the next 12 months.

114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes will be shipped this year

315 entries in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language will turn out to be misspelled.

12 babies will be given to the wrong parents each day.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look acceptable to me. 

     As hard as we try and as good as what we might be, it is still not good enough!  “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law” (Romans 3:20a).  But praise God we can be declared righteous in his sight by faith in Jesus Christ!

     I hope to see all of you this coming Lord’s Day morning.  I will finish the series of sermons from Deuteronomy by preaching on the “The Greatest Promise.”  See you then!

                                                      C U N   Church,


March 5, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Six men were gathered on top of a mountain (Luke 9:28-36).  Three of them were sleeping and three of them were talking with each other.  These six men were truly a “Who’s Who” in religion.  Their names were Peter, James, John, Elijah, Moses and Jesus.  If you had been a part of that group, what would you have wanted to talk about?  Perhaps the crossing of the Red Sea or the receiving of the Ten Commandments would have been your choice of topic.  Or maybe the challenge on Mt. Carmel with God answering prayer with fire may have been your focus.  The three that were conversing were talking about Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension (Luke 9:31).  In the coming years the three that were sleeping couldn’t stop talking about Jesus, His life, death, resurrection, etc. This simply emphasizes the importance of Jesus and His sacrifice for us.

     There is something else that stands out about the three men who were engaged in conversation.  It has to do with their graves.  Elijah never had a grave because he was taken into heaven without ever having to die.  Moses has an unknown grave because no one witnessed his burial.  God Himself buried Moses.  Jesus has an empty grave because He was raised to life never to die again and is now at the right hand of God in heaven.  The Bible tells us that as followers of Christ we will be like either Elijah or Jesus.

     If we are alive when Jesus returns, then we shall not die but we shall be changed and caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 4:17) We shall never experience death.  However if we should die before the Lord returns, then at His coming we shall be raised to life never to die again. (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).  That sounds like a win-win situation.  “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:18).

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day when we will continue to talk about Jesus and all that He has done for us.  Let’s all do our best to be in church this coming Sunday!

                                                                                                               C U N   Church,





February 19, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     A week ago on Wednesday night in our Bible Study, we were discussing the parable of the Good Samaritan.  It is one of the most well known teachings that Jesus shared.  In that parable, Jesus taught us to show compassion to others.  In the words of that story, He explained what the Golden Rule would look like if actually put into action.  In my column this week, I thought that I would share a couple of stories that illustrate compassion and concern in action.

     Dwight Morrow, the father of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, once held a dinner party to which Calvin Coolidge had been invited.  Coolidge at the time was not President of the United States.  After Coolidge left, Morrow told the remaining guests that Coolidge would make a good President.  The others disagreed.  They felt Coolidge was too quiet, that he lacked color and personality.  No one would like him, they said.  Anne, then six, spoke up: “I like him,” she said.  Then she displayed a finger with a small bandage around it.  “He was the only one at the party who asked about my sore finger.” 

     “And that’s why he would make a good President,” added Morrow.

     Mamie Adams always went to a branch post office in her town because the postal employees there were friendly.  She went there to buy stamps just before Christmas one year and the lines were particularly long.  Someone pointed out that there was no need to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby.  “I know,” said Mamie, “but the machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.”

     You know, people can watch a church service on TV or listen to one on the radio, but I hope that they choose to come to our services because they know someone will ask about how they are doing and really care about the answer.  I am convinced that we do have a caring congregation.  Keep up the good work!  Let’s make sure that people who attend our services really know that we care for them.

     I look forward to seeing you next Sunday morning.  Let’s all do our best to be present!

                                                                                                                C U N   Church,


February 3, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

             Super Bowl LIII is now history.  That’s a relief for fans who like lots of scoring.  The game Sunday night was the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history.  USA Today said, “The game was so blah that the NFL’s halftime commercial, which featured some of the game’s all-time greats in a promotion for the upcoming 100th anniversary season, was the highlight of the entire night.”  How blah was the game?  It really depended on your perspective.  Defense is definitely a big part of the game so punters and defensive coordinators would have loved it.

The disappointment in the game by a vast majority of fans points to the one-sided focus many fans have.  If it is not a high scoring affair, then it is a boring game.    

This reminds me of how some people might feel about church services.  They like the spectacular and the glitzy.  If a worship service isn’t entertaining, then it is “blah” and boring.

I wonder what the reviews on the worship services held this past Lord’s Day around the country would be.   I am afraid that many of the reviews would say that church was boring and dull despite the fact that Jesus was in our midst, the very Word of God was preached, the Lord’s Supper was observed, praise was given to God in song, and communication was made with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.  Worship truly is amazing.  Over emphasis of the spectacular has prevented the appreciation of the amazing.

When you come for the worship services next week, be prepared to experience the amazing presence of God.  He will be there–will you?

                                             C U N   Church,


January 15, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Already we are half-way through the first month of this new year.  Time has a way of passing by doesn’t it?  Opportunities come and go and we must be ready to take advantage of those opportunities when they present themselves to us.  In Colossians 4:5 we are encouraged to “make the most of every opportunity.” 

     I want to remind the men of some upcoming opportunities.  For the past several months on one Saturday evening a month, we have been getting together for a time of food and fellowship.  This gives us a chance to spend time together, become better acquainted, and encourage one another in our walk with the Lord.  The next time we will be getting together is January 26.  You are invited to come and be a part of this gathering.

     As amazing as what it may seem, this will be almost the last newsletter in which I can promote this next men’s event.  Oil Belt’s annual men’s night is being held on Friday night, February 8.   There have been several men from First Christian who have attended this event in the last several years.  I want to encourage you to go with us to Oil Belt on that night.  Supper will be at 6 p.m. with the service at 7 p.m.  The registration is $20 but the church has felt so strongly about the importance of our men attending that they have agreed to pick up the cost of registration.  The theme for the service is Man Up: Make Disciples.  Please let me know if you would like to go.  This is only about three weeks away!

     Finally, I want to say thank you to all the men who are serving Christ in our church.  I appreciate your willingness to be doing His work!  Remember the encouragement we are given in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.

     “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.  Do everything in love.”

     Our attendance at church this past Sunday was down due to the weather.  If we miss out on this next weather system predicted for the weekend, let’s do our best to be in the worship services this next Lord’s Day morning.

     Have a wonderful and blessed week!

                                                                                                               C U N   Church,


January 2, 2019

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Happy New Year to each of you!  I pray that God will bless you abundantly throughout this new year of 2019.  I also pray that each of us will remain faithful to Him throughout the New Year.  Thanks to Brother Martin for reminding us this past Lord’s Day morning to set some goals for the coming months.  In the next few lines, let me offer some challenges for the New Year in the form of an acrostic.


     Help others who are in need

    Assemble with other Christians

    Pray earnestly every day

     Pray for great blessings

     Yield not to temptation


     Neglect not your opportunities

     Examine yourself daily

     Work diligently for the Lord


     Yield to God’s will

     Exercise yourself in serving God

     Aim at being like Jesus

     Redeem the time


     The thought that I would like for our congregation to be focusing on during these next several months is “Christ, Above All.”  The books of the month, the sermons, Bible studies, etc will focus on this theme.  Let’s join together in learning how we can put Christ above all in the life of our congregation and also in our own personal lives.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning.  Let’s start the New Year off right by being in church!

                                                                                                                  C U N   Church,


December 18, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Do you hear what I hear?  When Christmas time rolls around, I hear the songs that I have heard for years and that convey the message of Christmas.  Some of you may be tired of hearing the Christmas songs blaring on the radio, but bear with me.  In this and the following paragraph, I have shared some thoughts about Christmas and within these words have included the titles of 25 different Christmas songs.  See if you can find all of them.

     We (Irma and I) wish you a merry Christmas!  As we think about Christmas and the wonderful gift God gave to us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, there are many thoughts that might come to mind.  To some, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but to others it can be a really blue Christmas.  Christmas is a family holiday and since there’s no place like home for the holidays many promise themselves and their family that “I’ll be home for Christmas.”  Many of the things we associate with the holiday such as a white Christmas, winter wonderlands, and sleigh rides have more to do with the weather of the season rather than with the meaning of the season.  To many, Christmas is about Santa Claus coming to town and keeping an eye out for Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.  Unfortunately we forget to keep our eyes peeled for the Savior who may come at any time.  His first coming brought joy to the world on that silent night so many years ago.  Will His second coming be welcomed by people today regardless of whether it comes at mid-day or even if it came upon the midnight clear?  Good Christian Men, rejoice at the news but be sure to go tell it on the mountain so that everyone may be ready for our coming Lord and not be left wondering, “What child is this that was born in that little town of Bethlehem?”  To be able to say that I heard the bells on Christmas day whether those are silver bells or just jingle bells will not be sufficient; we must also know the One for whom those bells ring.  O come all ye faithful Christians and proclaim the glad news that the Savior was born and be ready to welcome Him along with all the angels from the realms of glory.  So once again, may we encourage you to have a merry little Christmas or as some might say have a holly jolly Christmas!

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning!

                                                                                                                              C U N   Church,


December 4, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Former President George W.H. Bush died this past Friday, November 30.  He was the forty first President of the United States.  There is a story that has been shared about the former President that should motivate each of us to be better citizens of our country.

     In 1989, President Ronald Reagan began a tradition that has continued with each succeeding President of leaving a hand-written note to the man who would be taking over the job of leading the nation.  President Bush left such a note to Bill Clinton.  Although Clinton had defeated Bush in the 1992 election and they disagreed on a number of issues, the note that Bush left Clinton contained nothing but encouraging words.  The last words of the note were “You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.  Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.”  In a time where strife and division characterize our country’s leadership, those simple words should motivate us to have a little more understanding and respect for others.  We may vehemently disagree with others on different issues, but we should never allow that to cause us to be disrespectful and hateful toward others.  Somewhere along the way, we have lost that sense of patriotism that the older generation seemed to have.  May God help us to love and respect our American neighbors.

     I want to remind you of all the activities that are coming up in December.  Be sure to read this newsletter to see what is coming up.  I hope that you can be a part of these activities and enjoy the blessings of this Christmas season.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning when we gather for worship.

                                                     C U N   Church,



November 20, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Since Thursday is Thanksgiving, I thought it would be good to share with you some thoughts about giving thanks.  Thanksgiving is not always an easy thing to do.  Some might even call it art.  That is the title of the following article.

     It is thanking God for the gift of life by living it triumphantly.

     It is thanking God for your talents and abilities by accepting them as obligations to be invested for the common good.

     It is thanking God for all that men and women have done for you by doing things for others.

     It is thanking God for opportunities by accepting them as a challenge to achievement.

     It is thanking God for happiness by striving to make others happy.

     It is thanking god for beauty by helping to make the world more beautiful.

     It is thanking God for inspiration by trying to be an inspiration to others.

     It is thanking God for health and strength by the care and reverence you show your body.

     It is thanking God for the creative ideas that enrich life by adding your own creative contributions to human progress.

     It is thanking God for each new day by living it to the fullest.

     It is thanking God by giving hands, arms, legs, and voice to your thankful spirit.

     It is adding to your prayers of thanksgiving, acts of thanks-living

-          W.A. Peterson                                                                             

     May each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving and may each of us be able to live our lives in such a way so as to express our thanksgiving to the One from whom all blessings come.

     I hope to see all of you this coming Sunday.  Let’s all do our very best to be present for our services this coming Lord’s Day.


November 6, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Thank you so much for all the kind expressions of appreciation given to me and Irma during the month of October (Pastors’ Appreciation Month).  We are thankful for your support and encouragement whether it was by word, card or gift.

     Yesterday (October 28) sitting at the table eating lunch, we began to see something interesting unfold.  As you know Henrietta Street is under repair and the section of street just past our house to the north is closed.  There is a sign posted at Henrietta and Temple saying that the road is closed and only local traffic should use the street.  Despite the notice, we daily see several vehicles attempt to go through Henrietta.  They have to turn around and go back.  Yesterday, it was more than just several who tried to go through on Henrietta.  Due to the parade in town, there was a huge amount of traffic.  In just about an hour’s time there were approximately 100 vehicles that tried to go through on Henrietta but were forced to turn around and go back.  At times there were as many as five vehicles in front of our house.  Some were circling in the clinic’s parking lot across the street while the others were waiting their turn to do the same.  For an hour there was an uninterrupted stream of traffic on a street that led nowhere.  They were all trying to find a way to get to the big event – the Halloween Parade.

     I was reminded of how people are trying to get to heaven.  God has told us how to get to heaven.  Through His Word the Bible, He has posted clear instructions.  Jesus is the Way.  All the other ways have been closed.  Despite those instructions, people still try to bypass “the Way” and go an alternate route.  They travel down life’s road until they can travel no further and are forced to turn back.  It would have been so much better if they would have heeded God’s directions and warnings.  Portions of lives that have been wasted living for sin and self could have been used for Christ and His Kingdom.  Praise God that many have eventually heeded God’s instructions and turned around to go the other way!   However, there are some who never listen.  Even yesterday in the “great parade” on Henrietta, there were some who chose to bypass the road closed signs and go through.  The ones on Henrietta were able to make it but those who disregard God’s warning signs will eventually perish and be lost forever.

     I want to encourage you to continue walking faithfully on the “Way” that God has shown you and to continue to try to help others on the wrong road see the right way.

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning

                                                          C U N   Church,




October 15, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Sometimes, preachers say the dumbest things.  In the early 1970’s, David Bycroft came home from a church conference and announced to his church (averaging less than 100 in attendance) in Tyro, Kansas, that someday their congregation would increase to 500.  Someone in the congregation laughed that day.  That individual probably thought the preacher was out of his mind.  Preachers can say the dumbest things.  The church now averages close to 1000 in attendance.

     Yesterday, Andrew Bloemker from Feed the Crave stated that he thought the world could be won to Christ in his lifetime.  Preachers can say the dumbest things.  However, after explaining how that could actually be accomplished, it didn’t sound so dumb after all.  We can make a difference in the lives of our friends, family, and neighbors.

     Next Sunday, we are asking each of you to consider what you might be able to give so that others in our community, our region, and the world might be able to hear about Jesus.  You might be saying that the little bit of money you have available to give can’t really make a difference.  With God’s blessings, it can and will make a difference.  Even as a boy’s lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish was used to feed a multitude, our small amount of money with God’s blessings can be used to bring the message of salvation to many.  Be praying this week, asking God to guide you in your decision.

     Who can I personally influence for Christ?  Invite someone to come with you to church.  Your personal invitation is a powerful thing.  You can make a difference!

     I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day morning.  Let’s all do our very best to be present for our worship time!

                                                                                                   C U N   Church,


October 2, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  Colossians 4:2-6 (bold print and italics are mine)

     When it comes to opportunities to share the message of Christ with our family, friends and neighbors, we need to make the most of every opportunity.  I want to remind you of some of those opportunities that are approaching.

     Don’t forget the Faith Promise Rally in October when we will have the opportunity to learn how we can partner with our missionaries in sharing the gospel of Christ with others.  Remember, you can make a difference!

     We need your help in our community outreach at Treat Town on October31.  We will have the opportunity to interact with dozens of children and their families.  May we use that opportunity to share Jesus’ love with them!

     Operation Christmas Child is coming up in November.  We will have the opportunity to share the message of God’s love with children from around the world.  Plan to be a part of that.

     Salvation Army will be looking for volunteers to help with its bell ringing campaign on the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sign up to help with that program that helps administer God’s love to those in need in our community.

     The Christmas season provides a good opportunity to invite others to come to our church services.  Christmas is one of those seasons when people are more receptive to an invitation to come to church than at any other time.  Invite your family, friends, and neighbors to come for our children’s program, the adult Christmas play, and Christmas Eve candlelight service.

     The next three months are packed with opportunities for us to influence others for Jesus.  Pray that God will use our efforts to reach out to others.

                                                                                                            C U N   Church,



September 4, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     I hope that all of you had a safe and happy Labor Day weekend.  Labor Day is exactly what it sounds like, a day to honor those who work.  According to Wikipedia, Labor Day had its origins in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew.  Trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor and Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. 

     Labor is commanded by God.  After God had planted the Garden of Eden, He placed Adam in the garden to “work it and take care of it.”  We often complain about having to work, but the Bible teaches us that work is actually a gift of God.  “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil-this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).  God created us for the purpose of working and honoring Him.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).  The Bible urges us to work for men as if we were working for God.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24). 

     I am grateful that my salvation does not depend on my work.  However, because God has saved me, I should be working for Him.  My love for the Lord should be a motivating factor in my service to Him.  In writing to the Thessalonians, Paul mentioned their labor prompted by love and the work produced by faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3). 

     In addition to these Scriptures, there have been many songs written encouraging us to faithfully serve our Lord.  Among some of those songs are “To the Work, To the Work,” “We’ll Work ‘Till Jesus Comes,” and “Work for the Night is Coming.”

     Let’s be faithful in our service to the Lord!  I hope to see each of you this coming Sunday morning as we gather for worship.  Let’s all do our best to be present. 

                                                      C U N   Church,


August 20, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.   He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

(2 Corinthians 1:3-4) New Living Translation

     It was my intention to have written this column this morning.  However, things did not work out so that could happen.  Let me tell you about three of the things that kept me from writing..  The first incident involved a man by the name of James.  He was sitting out in front of Wal-Mart with a sign indicating he needed help.  As we passed by, Irma rolled the window down and asked him if he was hungry.  He replied that he was.  She told him to meet us at McDonalds.  We bought him some breakfast sandwiches and a drink.  I believe that we were a comfort to him.  When I got back to the office, there was a man by the name of Dave waiting.  He needed help in getting a copy of his birth certificate so that he could acquire an I.D.  After making four phone calls to Chicago and making a couple of trips to Wal-Mart, we were able to help him get that worked out.  I believe we were a blessing to him.  This afternoon, a man came by the office to talk with me with the express purpose of encouraging me.  He certainly was a blessing to me!

God brought comfort into my life so that I might be able to pass it on to others.

     Even as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, God comforts us in our difficulties so that we can pass that comfort on to others who may need it.  Who are you blessing today?  To whom are you supplying comfort? 

     Make me a blessing!  Make me a blessing!

     Out of my life may Jesus shine.

     Make me a blessing, O Savior I pray.

     Make me a blessing to someone today.

     I look forward to seeing you on Sunday and being able to greet each of you.  Let’s all do our very best to be present when the church meets for worship!

                                                                                                                    C U N   Church,


August 7, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Pride is a dangerous thing.  We are warned in Proverbs 16:18 that “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Paul admonishes his readers in Romans 12:3, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”  Despite these instructions found in the Bible, pride continues to be a problem each of us deals with.  I found a website on the internet that even gives a list of things of which we can be proud.  That list included your attitude, what you have learned in life, your accomplishments, your financial decisions, your leisure activities and hobbies, your relationships and compassion for others, and your physical achievements.  John warned his readers that the boasting of what he has and does – doesn’t come from the Father but from the world.  He added to that thought by saying “the world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:16-17)

     Is there anything about which we can boast?  Jeremiah wrote in his prophecy, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me that I am the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

     Aren’t you glad that you know the Lord and have been able to walk with Him?  Aren’t you glad that you have experienced His grace and His wonderful blessings?  Aren’t you glad that you have a loving Father and a loving Savior who died in your place?  Yes!  Yes! And Yes!  How blessed we are! 

     But even in this boasting about knowing the Lord, may we not be puffed up with pride, but may we make that boast in humility and in gratitude.  May that humility and gratitude motivate us to share the message with others so that they too can say, “We know the Lord.”

     I hope to see each of you this coming Sunday as we worship together.  Let’s all do our very best to be present.

                                                        C U N   Church,


July 17, 2018

Ponderings of the Preacher . . .

     Another VBS completed.  Thank you to all who helped with VBS this past week.  It requires a big sacrifice of time and energy to make a VBS program work.  I found a poem about a VBS worker that I would like to share with you.

                            ODE TO A VBS WORKER

My dishes went unwashed today, I didn’t touch a bed;

The kids and Dad just had to go a little underfed.

But there’s a real good reason for this overwhelming mess,

And that’s because it’s time again for my church’s VBS.

My dishes and my beds, you know, will always wait for me.

But those little children there at Church won’t wait that patiently.

For they are growing up right now before our very eyes,

And I must do my part to see their souls‘needs supplied,

I’m tired and weary now; it’s true, and just a bit undone;

But, thank you God, for your small friends – I love them everyone.

Lord, give me strength and patience and a heart that’s full of cheer,

That you might find me once again in VBS next year.

It is impossible to know the results of a VBS at the time it takes place.  The love that is shown, the Word that is shared, the encouragement that is given, and the lessons that are taught will produce fruit sometimes many years removed from the actual time of VBS.  Only God knows what kind of results will come from our efforts.  Continue to pray that the seeds that were sown will sprout, grow, bloom, and produce fruit.

     I appreciated having Mark Wilkinson share the message this past Sunday morning.  I will be back in the pulpit this coming Sunday and Pastor Martin will be preaching the last Sunday of this month since it is a fifth Sunday.

     Let’s all do our best to be present for our worship time this coming Sunday.  I hope to be able to greet each of you.

                                                                                                               C U N   Church,