Ponderings of the Preacher...

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,

                                                     David

 

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,

                                                          David

 

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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,

                                                                                                   David

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,

                                                                                                            David

 

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,

                                                      David


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,

                                                                                                                    David

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,

                                                        David




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,

                                                                                                               David