THE PATH

July 11, 2018

  “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you” (1 Peter 4:12).

  The joy of sowing is exceeded only by the joy of harvesting; and yet both sowing and reaping are a matter of death.

  “If we follow and note the history and ways of any true servant of the Lord, we shall see, that on the one side they, like Moses on the Mount, or Paul in Arabia, are entranced with the brightness and most marvelous display of divine glory; yet on man’s side, those who know most of the divine ways, suffer most because of the indifference of those who have professed to be the Lord’s people.

  “It is nowhere admitted in Scripture that a servant can be merely the herald of the light of God’s grace; that is, that he should only have the joyful side of service. For every real servant, be he evangelist, teacher, or anything else, there must be the side of suffering, burden, and humiliation.”

  “We must bear in mind that, while it is the Father’s purpose, in His dealings with Job, to vindicate His own estimate of His servant; it is, at the same time, shown us how He educates or disciplines that servant so as to render him worthy of that estimate.”

  “In every trial, however gloomy, there are gleams of light and relief; but full deliverance is often delayed by our anxiety to obtain it. God Himself, and not the deliverance, is to be the satisfaction of His servant; consequently the deliverance is often postponed until we are without prospect or expectation of it; and then it may be accorded in a manner so transcendently beyond our conception, that we must see and understand the love and interest which surrounded us during the whole period of our trial.”

  “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:3)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

WEIRD

July 7, 2018

So, it’s summer, (1986) I’m an evangelist, we are doing the home school thing and we are on the road preaching across America. Some churches are churches we’ve been to before or pastored, others are new to us and also cross denominational. Assembly of God, Nazarene, Church of God, Church of Christ, Lutheran and Four Square and a bunch of some crazy churches called Charismatic something or other.

Dinner on the ground, tent preaching, brush arbors, white churches, black churches, inner city or out in a hay field. A great time and a real blessing.

Last church on the list and then back home. Small west Texas town, very small church. We’ve been told the pastor is on vacation and we can stay in the parsonage (preacher’s home, owned by the church). We are supposed to preach a short revival series; Sunday morning, Sunday night, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

So we preach a real barn burner on Sunday morning, lunch in the fellowship hall and a short prayer time. We are given the key to the parsonage and told to make ourselves at home.

We unlock the door and step inside……

No furniture, no appliances, nothing but an empty house. The preacher isn’t on vacation, he’s skipped town.

Now this was before most people had cell phones. I have to walk down to the corner drugstore and use the payphone to call a deacon. Twenty minutes later all five of them are there with their wives. Some are angry, some of the wives are crying. They call the bank president and he comes over. Monday, he’s going to check the church accounts.

It’s 5pm and Sunday night service is at 6:30pm, they’re all standing there in shock. Do we preach or pack it in. I say preach. I ask one favor, tell the congregation after the sermon not before.

Whoops, the deacons decide to open the service by telling everyone what’s happened.

Well I tried to preach heaven down and hell out. I should have just ordered pizza. Service ends with a whimper. Deacons come up and ask if we can fill in until they find another preacher. I didn’t even have to think about it. “I’m sorry but I have other obligations.”

As we are driving home, my wife says “thank you” for not staying. We figure whatever is going on, wrong or right, either the church was really screwed up or the pastor was or both.

That was 32 years ago, and today totally by accident I had lunch with that preacher. One side of the story, he says it wasn’t him, that the church should have had “Ichabod” written over the door. God was gone. Out of curiosity I called a friend of mine in that little town. The church is indeed gone, a daycare and a pizza hut is now on that spot.

Churches with no spirit in them, it’s probably more common than I want to admit.

Pizza any one?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ryan, throat cancer

Joe r, shoulder surgery

Don H, hip surgery on next Friday.

Susie K, praying for the adoption agency to work things out.

Katie R, first stages of dementia

And Ross, a brand new believer in Jesus, gave his heart to the Lord while listening to some old preacher on a cassette tape he got in a garage sale.

THE SECRET OF SUCCESS

July 4, 2018

“Whether, therefore, ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God “ (1 Cor. 10:31).

The present and eternal ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son; the past, present, and future ministry of the Son is to glorify the Father. Our life and ministry will bring glory to our Father to the extent that we abide in the Son, and are controlled by the Holy Spirit.

When one’s ministry or outreach flows from close communion with the Father, one’s influence and moral authority will be recognized. Moreover, such a workman is not carried beyond what he has received from the Lord, so that his ministry finds sanction in hearts without any pressure.

The object of all Christian life and ministry, of whatever kind, must surely be to bring glory to God. Any lesser motive is inferior. If this were kept in the forefront of our thinking and praying, it would have two beneficial results. The hectic strain would be taken out of our lives and service, and spontaneous fruitfulness would follow.

We can aim to meet the needs of people as a primary objective, and fret because so many of our efforts prove abortive. We may secretly pride ourselves on our ability to minister, or on our efficient service, and reap nothing but frustration. It is only when our whole outlook is made radiant by His glory, because if we are hungry to do His will and that only, then our activities will be quickened into new life, and others be truly blessed.

“He [Abraham]. . . was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roger S, ever since he lost his mom, he been (his words) unbalanced.

Pray Elizetia P. today became a U.S. citizen.

Pray for Susan H, on the forefront of the conservative movement here and in Washington and wants to pass the baton.

 

June 17, 2018

not ashamed

When you became a Christian, you became an ambassador for a kingdom. You were given not only “Good News” to share with others but also one of the most powerful communication tools ever developed: the conversation.

 A conversation is simply a form of interactive, spontaneous communication between people who are following unspoken rules of discourse in an agreeable and polite manner. What makes starting conversations about the gospel so difficult is we assume one of society’s “unspoken rules” is to avoid talking about religion.

 Consider all the Christians you’ve met. Almost every one of them came to the faith because someone had a conversation with them about Jesus. Similarly, millions of people of other faiths are “spiritual, but not religious.” They, too, are likely to have an interest in discussing religion.

 In his encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus showed how a conversation could be a powerful tool for revealing himself and his kingdom. We can unlock the power of conversations about the gospel by applying the following:

  ➤ Be open—When he sat at the well, Jesus was likely tired and parched and in no mood to talk. But when he encountered the Samaritan woman he remembered his mission was to “finish the work” he had been sent by the Father to do (see Jn 4:34). Remembering our mission makes starting conversations easier.

 ➤ Be interested in people—People like to talk about what they know. And the one thing they know better than anything else is themselves. People aren’t necessarily being narcissistic for wanting to talk about themselves; they might just want to talk about what they know with someone who appears interested. We will be interested in others when we remember we are called to love and serve them.

 ➤ Ask questions, but don’t interrogate—Rattling off a series of questions can be intimidating. Instead, show genuine interest by asking people about themselves. Asking follow-up questions based on their responses to previous questions shows you are listening and are sincerely interested in their thoughts and ideas.

 ➤ Uncover their burden—At some point in a conversation, a person is likely to say what they do for work or relate an experience they are going through. A simple way to establish empathy and signal you truly care is to respond with some variation of “that sounds challenging.” Almost everyone believes the work they do is difficult or unappreciated or that their life is, at least in some ways, burdensome. If they open up about the challenges in their life, it provides a key way to open the door to spiritual matters.

 ➤ The “prayer ask” opening—If the person is willing to reveal a burden, ask if you can pray for them about it. When you ask, though, the reason should be because you are truly interested in interceding to God on their behalf. It’s not a “technique” to turn the conversation, though it can help you gauge a person’s interest in talking more about the gospel. If it seems appropriate, you can then follow-up with other questions, such as “Do you think much about spiritual things?” “Does faith play a significant role in your life?” “What is your concept of God?”

 ➤ Listen carefully to their responses—You don’t have to agree with them, but avoid trying to show why they are wrong. Show them you are interested in their views, opinions and concerns.

 ➤ The “reason I ask” approach—After broaching a spiritual topic and listening to a person’s answers, you can transition by saying “The reason I ask is because . . .” and then explain why you think it is important to talk about Jesus. This is your opportunity to share the gospel, though you might find it easier to begin by first briefly sharing your testimony. Remember, however, that your testimony is your “witness”—it is not the gospel. It would be a shame to open the door for a discussion about the gospel only to forget the most important part.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Matthew, 40 years old and is stressed and suffering from anxiety attacks.

Pray for Carl V, looking for a new job

Pray for Susan K, just graduated from high school and will be leaving home for college in a month and is freaking (a little).

SUPER POWERS

June 13, 2018

Enterprise_5_hr

  “Partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world” (2 Pet. 1:4).

  We are to find out in Romans 6, through the gracious teaching of the Spirit of truth, all that happened to the Lord Jesus there on the Cross. Then we will know our own position and standing, since we were judicially in Him there.

Have you ever thought about God’s thought about you, that you are ‘to be conformed to the image of His Son’? ‘It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him’ (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

This cannot fail. The Lord Jesus presses on our hearts that He brings us into association with Himself. He ‘hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Eph. 1:3). He puts us in this position answering perfectly to His nature, and with a nature to enjoy it.

  “He imparts to us of Himself in order to qualify us for Himself.”

Not only is my blessing in heaven, but I need the Lord Jesus’ power to enable me to rise above the sense of my infirmity down here; for this world, instead of contributing to me, makes me feel my weakness and need, and that I must rise out of it to find and enjoy my blessing.

The very infirmity which this evil age makes me conscious of makes me draw upon the power of Christ, as the One outside it, passing into the heavens, so that I take pleasure in the very infirmity which is exposed here, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

  “God forbid that I should glory, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise from Anne, 42 days sober

Pray for Rachel, severe ear infection

Pray for Jay P, having knee surgery on Thursday

Cam, pray for this young mom and her battle with cancer.

Pray for Christina and Todd, spiritually curious, pray the right people come into their lives

4 R UMAX     PL-II            V1.4 [5]

THESE ARE USUALLY IN THE DOG BOWL IF I FORGET TO CLOSE THE SCREEN DOOR.

Everything here wants to bite me.

I thought life was supposed to get easier in old age, hah!

Not happening, I have an evening routine

Step one, it’s 10pm time for a final trip around the ranch.

Step two, put on my jeans, slip my .45 into its holster, lace up my boots, put on my hat and grab two flashlights. One is a tactical light the other a flood light.

Step three, pick up my Mossberg, 12 gauge with three loads, the first is double 00, the second a turkey load, the third is a slug, repeat, there is a light on the shotgun.

Step four, turn off the alarm on the first door.

Step five, go to the front door turn on the flood lights.

Step six, go to the garage door turn on the flood lights.

Step seven, hit the master switch and the yard and barn lights come on.

Step eight. Step out side and sweep the south yard for racoons or porcupines.

Step nine, sweep the west side, more raccoons or pole cats or bob cats.

Step ten hit the north side, watch for 300 to 400 lbs wild pigs, or skunks, or once every five years a mountain lion.

Step eleven, sweep the east side, usually a herd of 10-12 Axis deer.

Step twelve back to the south side where I radio my wife to let the dogs out.

Then repeat steps 2-11, then put the dogs back in, turn out all the lights , turn on the alarm. Put my wife to bed, and then write the devotional post for the night.

You gotta love the Texas hill country, fire ants, rattlers, black widow spiders and now that the drought has started, a house full of scorpions. I usually get bit at least 3 times a year, at least one in shower.

Two legged varmints I hardly worry about, it’s 13 miles into town. And not much in between. And they have to get past all the cattle fences, and all the other creatures I’m trying to not get bit by.

Oh yeah, a bible verse, He is my rod, my staff and my shield, but I also pick up a colt 1911 just to be on the safe side.

Whew, I’m worn out and that just the evening after dark routine, forget all the other animals, chores and equipment, pumps, wells, water tanks…

Praise God for country living.

Prayer requests, comments, questions, send to scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

If I remember we will have another bible give away this week, I picked up some nice bibles this week. Already gave several away to people while going around town.

Blessings.

YOU LITTLE ACORN

June 4, 2018

Called to Die

“That I may know Him. . . being made conformable unto His death” (Phil. 3:10).

The life that emerges from death is administered by a loving, nail-pierced hand.

If you follow this devotional sight at all, hopefully you notice its most predominant theme; “the growing Christian.”

We were never called to a stale or inactive life, yet the biblical theme for the growing Christian is death. We grow by dying to self, we conquer sin by ‘reckoning’ ourselves crucified with him.

As with the seed that is buried once for all, but then disintegrated through a gradual process that sets free the new life, even so does our Father deal with our old nature by delivering it to death with the Lord Jesus once for all, and then bringing about its mortifying in detail through the circumstances of daily life, until the power of the old man has lost its hold on us.

“We are going to have to learn death in order to know life. Redemption must be known first, and the ultimate effect will be death to sin, to selfishness; and all this is very trying. One might be tempted to say, All this trial comes upon me because I have not been redeemed. Not so; it is just because you are redeemed. We may seek to avoid the bitter waters of Marah, but our Father will bring us to them. He intends to break down what is of the old man, and then, in His own good time, He will pour in that which sweetens all.

But because God has brought me to Himself, He is putting His finger on everything that hinders complete dependence upon Him, or my soul’s full enjoyment of Himself. So count it not strange, though it be a fiery trial which is to try you; for the Father will have you drink of the very thing (death) that redeemed you.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

God bless from scumlikuschurch@gmail.com

 

FREE, FREE, FREE

May 23, 2018

I’m going to share the greatest spiritual secret there is, after salvation.

Cursed by wrong thinking?

Plagued by dark thoughts?

Constantly nagged by guilt?

Troubled by bouts of depression?

Suicidal thoughts, crowding in?

ONE CURE, NO CHARGE, NO $19.95, NOT $9.95, BUT FREE!

FILL YOUR HEART WITH SCRIPTURE.

Bible memorization, the secret of the ancients, the mystery of the saints, the strength of heroes from the hall of faith.

Seriously, if scripture fills your heart, it will stop cursing, swearing, irregular lifestyle choices. 100% organic, pure, full strength.

If what’s on your mind is God, bad thoughts banished, stop lust dead in it’s track.

Guaranteed 100% or your money back.

Try Bible memorization free, 30 day proof of a changed life.

Call 1-800-try Jesus (seriously don’t call that number I have no idea who will answer).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Jesus only (or ammo to go) helping you defend the gospel.

Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Or as Paul put it in Galatians 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Paul addressed Jesus as our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. John, in his gospel, speaks bout His pre-incarnate state and that He is the living Word. Paul says that He spoke all things into being and in Him and through Him all things hold together. Now these are very strong claims and it’s not surprising the Jews often accused Him of blasphemy.

You couldn’t spend much time with Him and remain neutral. As a result of the encounter, you’d either move closer to Him or further away. But one thing you couldn’t do and that is just to be indifferent. That was never seemingly an option. Jesus made the claim that the only way for us to bridge the gap between God and ourselves is that we receive this free gift that He is offering to us and that good deeds that we have- systems of human effort and merit- will fall woefully short. Frankly, as Paul puts it, I have to agree, if there was any other way by which we could in fact obtain salvation other than the death of Christ- then Christ died needlessly. What He did on the cross would be a considerable waste because such a desperate means would have been an error. It would have been a tragic martyrdom. Do you see where I’m going with this? If I deal honestly and simply with the primary materials themselves, it forces me into a position where I have to acknowledge that there’s more to it than just the idea that He could’ve said anything you wanted Him to say.

His claim to be divine. He claimed to be omnipresent- that was in Matthew- I am with you always until the end of the age and the other- wherever two or three are gathered in My name there I am with them. These are not the kinds of claims that are made just by an ordinary sage or someone like that. If you put the synoptic gospels together, you can derive a very strong case for His deity even from just those. The Jews understood His claims about the unique relationship He has with His Father and to them this would be blasphemy. John is more direct and explicit about it. It doesn’t mean he would depart from the basic teachings of the synoptics on these matters.

By the way, in Christianity, faith alone is the vehicle of salvation- it is by grace through faith. It’s something that stands apart and is unique just as the idea of the Trinity is unique. The idea that God is a community of persons, three-in-one, is utterly unique to the biblical vision. By the way that idea of persons in relationship is what human life is pretty much about if you hadn’t noticed yet. We have an ultimate basis for such relationship that’s actually imbedded within the context of community of the Godhead.

He fulfilled 30 Old Testament prophecies on the day of His crucifixion down to the details; He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, His garments would be divided, they would cast lots for His garments, they would pierce His hands and His feet, His side would be pierced as well but furthermore they would not break His bones and so on. The money that was used to betray Him would be used to buy the potter’s field. There are specific details being confirmed again and again in His life. There was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Micah 5:2 that He would be born in Bethlehem and on and on these details are fulfilled- from the tribe of Judah and so forth. How about His miracles? If you don’t believe Me on account of My words then believe on account of the works that I do- the works bear witness that I am the Son of God. My works themselves bear witness of who I claim to be. (John 11:37-38) We have the fulfillment of the prophecies, His miraculous life and His power.

He had an awesome power to change lives. I submit to you for example the woman at the well as being a marvelous illustration of that very thing. Mary Magdalene is also another marvelous illustration of how this woman is transformed permanently and irrevocably. He had the power to change and transform lives. He still has that power today. His resurrection is also another divine substantiation of His deity. We spent a whole hour discussing the evidence for the historical resurrection from the dead. He also lived a sinless life. In fact His disciples who lived with Him, ate with Him, walked with Him, and for three and one half years saw everything He did and they could make the claims that in Him there was no sin. Jesus’ credentials were unparalleled. The reality of His authority over disease, demons, nature and death are well documented. The claims and credentials back each other up. They support one another. His words and His works are a seamless tunic.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Part 3, fallen man, fallen mind

Ephesians 4:17-19

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of[a] the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

The root cause of the distortion of Gentile thinking is also identified:

because of the ignorance that is in them

because of the hardening of their heart

After describing the mental condition of heathen Gentiles, Paul presses on to disclose the causes of their mental dullness. Their thinking is futile because they are ignorant. Ignorance here surely does not refer to one’s intelligence. Neither does ignorance seem to refer to what one does not know. Ignorance, as Paul uses the term, refers to the “knowledge” which unbelievers possess, in which they place their trust, and from which they base their actions. It may be brilliant ignorance, but when compared with the truth of God, it is ignorance.

The mind of man and the heart of man are closely inter-twined. When Paul speaks of the “hardening of their heart” he refers to the impact which the hardened heart has on the minds of fallen men. Hardness of heart keeps one from seeing things as they really are. This was true of Pharaoh, who could not see the “finger of God” in the plagues of the Exodus, even when his own servants pointed it out to him (Exodus 8:19). It was even true of the Lord’s disciples, who could not understand what He was teaching them (Mark 6:52; 8:17).

The mental condition of fallen Gentiles ultimately works itself out in the moral lives of these unbelievers. Men who are excluded from the life of God do not reflect the righteousness of God in their conduct. And so Paul describes the moral outcome of the Gentiles’ mental decadence: “And they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness” (verse 19).

Those who are mentally blind become morally callused. They lose any sensitivity to what is right or wrong. Consequently, they give themselves over to the pursuit of fleshly pleasure.

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4).

Such men are not merely overcome by strong fleshly passions, they actively engage in the pursuit of these passions. They do not dabble in sin, they immerse themselves in it. They pursue the satisfaction of their fleshly appetites with a passion. They are greedy for fleshly pleasure. They can never get enough of it. They are, we would say, addicted to the pursuit of satisfying their fleshly urges.

The non believer is ignorant of God, defiling their lives with immorality. And yet they boast they need no god. Falling deeper into a meaningless life. Their spiritual compass broken, so they make themselves god, fashioned into their own image. The blind leading the blind.

And our calling is to be a beacon of love, compassion and mercy, to those that hate our God, who mock and defile.

Are you up for it?

Christianity, the toughest gig in the world.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Rickie R, failing kidneys

Pray for Norma, thyroid problems

Pray for Andrea and Todd, two great young Christians, who are going through the meat grinder. Pray for a blessing in their lives.