SAVVY??

July 22, 2018

  “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

  Hard as it is for the believer to finally come to rest concerning his spiritual birth, it seems to be even more difficult for him to simply rest in the Lord Jesus for his life and service.

There are two stages in the Christian life. The one in which, after conversion, a believer seeks to work what God would have him do. The second, in which, after many a painful failure, he ceases from his works, and enters the rest of God, there to find the power for work in allowing the Father to work in him. (this second stage is only possible if you are not in a legalistic church, and one that grace is available but not cheap.)

It is this rest from their own work which many Christians cannot understand. They think of it as a state of passive and selfish enjoyment, of still contemplation which leads to the neglect of the duties of life, and ruins for that watchfulness and warfare to which Scripture calls. What an entire misunderstanding of God’s call to rest!

Truly to rest in God is to yield oneself up to the highest activity. We work, because He worketh in us both to will and to do (Phil. 2:13). As Paul says of himself, ‘I labor, striving according to his working who worketh in me with might’ (Col. 1:29). Entering the rest of God is the ceasing from self-effort, and the yielding of oneself in the full surrender of faith to God’s working.

Not only does the Lord Jesus live in us, but He becomes the motivating Object of our life as Christians. The law is no longer our motive or rule of life. It is entirely displaced by a Person, and that Person ‘the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ Henceforth the soul has a new center and source—it is no longer self-centered, but Christ-centered.

  “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:29

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

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.

only one way

June 23, 2018

  “If [since] ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

  The Christian cannot thrive but in his environment, “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

  “Let us rightly divide the Word of truth. To go back to the Psalms for proper Christian experience is to lose the savor of grace and to breathe legalism; it is to climb down from heaven to earth. If the Psalms are really understood, they yield a harvest of blessing to the soul; but they point to the blessed hope of the Savior.

  “If we confound the Jewish spirit of the Psalms with the Epistles, and take it as the expression of our feelings, we falsify Christianity. No doubt I shall find lovely confidence in the Lord in respect of His government of this world, the comfort of forgiveness, the happy confidence of integrity of heart, and remarkable prophecies of Christ; but where shall I find heavenly hopes, or my union with the glorified Lord Jesus, or even the out-flowings of divine grace, as manifested in His person on earth, or the blessed affection which flows from hearts acquainted with these?

  “Where is the blessed Spirit of adoption? Every saint knows the touching expression of piety which the Psalms furnish to us; but no intelligent believer can turn from the writings of John and Paul to the Psalms without finding himself in an altogether different atmosphere.”

  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).

Looking to the author and finisher of our faith.

Pray for my wife Sharon, she was found passed out at work this morning by her co workers. Spent the day in the ER with no definitive answers.

Good intentions

May 19, 2018

Okay I’d like to tell you a story about how good deeds can backfire.

We were pastoring a small church and we had a lady named Gail who’s husband had run off and left her with four children, one of them and infant. And she had no marketable job skills and with the four kids and no income they were hard-pressed every month for groceries and rent, the church did everything it could to help them and she would bring her kids to church and clean and help with stuff and Gail felt like she had to do something to earn the money and help that we gave.

So one day I came to church and she was  in the sanctuary sobbing and crying and I asked her what was wrong and she said that by taking public transportation, (The bus) she had spent over six hours in the hot summer sun and she was sunburned. The kids are sunburned. The baby was sunburned. They’re all dehydrated and hungry and I had told her before we leave to go into the kitchen at the church and help themselves whenever they came here. Of course she felt bad about imposing in doing that, but I told her she needed to get fluids in everybody so they didn’t get sick.

So we decided that the church would buy her car, so we had several people in the congregation that were police officers and they  told us that a police auction was coming up soon and there would be a lot of cars to choose from.

So we went to the police auction and bought her a car large enough to haul four kids around and it was taken to a mechanic and proven to be reliable and we put new tires and belts and hoses on it just to make sure. well three days later it’s the weekend and I get a phone call from Gail and she is just about crazy with panic and fear, seems she came out of the grocery store and there the car was with all the doors open all the door panels tore out, the backseat tore out, the trunk open and all the carpeted panels tore out the trunk. the hood was up and several engine parts were laying on the ground and she just couldn’t believe what happened to the car.

So we went to get her and called the police. one of our men from the congregation who was a police officer was there and he said the car that we had bought at a police auction was probably a drug car and when the drug dealer saw the car back at the grocery store they thought maybe the drugs might still be in there and they had stripped the car looking for the drugs.

So Bill and I, we put the car all back together made sure it was running and we followed Gail back to her home.

Last Sunday when she came to church. She was a little bit beside yourself and I asked her what was wrong, and she felt that what happened to the car was a sign that she was not leading her life right or there was some unconfessed sin or some nonsense. I told her that was not the case and that it wasn’t her fault, it wasn’t bad stewardship or anything else and let’s get over it and move on, the chances of it happening again are slim.

 I remember when I retired from that church as pastor one of the hardest things was hoping and realizing that the pastor that was coming in behind me would care as much for the poor folk that we had in that church and would do all that could be done to help them like we had. So, it’s been 30 years later, all her kids are grown up and become missionaries or evangelists or pastors and she is gotten remarried and life has turned out much better for her. that car is long gone. but you have to wonder sometimes why things happen.

The good news is that God is sovereign, and we won’t ever understand why things happen they way they do. But like the old gospel song. ‘trust and obey for there is no better way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.’

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

christ on cross

  “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (Phil. 3:7).

  Our Father has many reasons for administering trial —all good. Trial teaches us the futility of the old life, and the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus—our new life.

  “The Christian suffers the same calamities as others, perhaps even worse; he faces difficulties and losses in the things of this life; he has to be prepared to meet death itself. In all these circumstances he is calm and trustful; he is not only sure of ultimately going to heaven, but already abides there and enjoys something of it in his own heart.

 God is real to him and ever near. He knows a peace which passes all understanding, and he experiences a joy which no man can take from him. This, surely, should be our testimony in the world, but it can only be as the Lord Jesus Himself lives out this life in us.

  The world is divided into two things—pleasures and afflictions; I am more afraid of the pleasures than the afflictions. In afflictions you turn to the Lord. The danger is of being carried away by the very favors God has given to man.

  Those who suffer from chastening ought to be before the Father, owning His hand; and He who has wounded will heal. The Lord Jesus did not take the cup which He had to drink from us, from man, nor from Satan; but from His Father’s hand.

  “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Charlie, what he calls ‘man cancer’ he always has had a wicked sense of humor.

Pray for Paul C, a lost sheep,

Heavenly thinking

April 27, 2018

In the past two years, as I’ve watched people I love die, I’ve thought a lot about that mysterious, distant place called heaven. Within the blessed fellowship of my spiritual community, we’ve buried parents, siblings, friends. We’ve walked through the grass of cemeteries, sat in quiet funeral rooms and breathed the scent of flowers and the smell only a funeral home can produce wafting off the wood-grained lids of coffins. We have stood tearful on this side of heaven, while those we love have stepped onto the other side into glory we can only try to imagine.

Sorrow and pain have pointed our hearts toward heaven.

For us post-modernists, it usually takes such an experience with intense sadness and death to make us think about life beyond the here and now. For most of us, only great losses turn our thoughts away from our obsession with making for ourselves a heaven here on earth; only deep piercing grief causes us to contemplate the end of our days.

It hasn’t always been so.

In early Christian thinking, meditating on the hereafter was a common practice. It was considered a valuable, worthwhile exercise to not only examine life but also to contemplate death.

Richard Foster wrote, “The notion of reflecting on our own demise is actually an ancient spiritual discipline.”

You don’t have to look very far into classic Christian writings to discover how true that is.

Blaise Pascal was a brilliant seventeenth-century mathematician. He often was ridiculed by his intellectual peers for shifting his genius from mathematics to theology and apologetics. But nothing mattered more to Pascal than pursuing God, getting to know Him, and experiencing an ever-deepening intimacy with Christ.

His life was short—he lived only thirty-eight years, but he was a man consumed with love for God. Listen in as he prays, “…Grant then that I may so anticipate my death that I may find mercy hereafter in your sight.”

Teresa of Avila lived a century before Pascal, and her writings still vibrate with her longing for heaven. “O my delight, Lord of all created things and my God! How long must I wait to see you?”

Madame Guyon, writing to a dying friend, said, “I feel my loss, but I am very happy for you. I could envy you. Death helps to draw away the veil that hides infinite wonders.”

John Donne wrote that it is our job to make a home in this world while remembering that home is not here.

This is a challenge to us modern Christians, isn’t it? We aren’t in the habit of “anticipating” our death. We believe in heaven; we just don’t give it much thought.

How much time during the day do you actually contemplate heaven, your salvation, your Lord and Savior, your walk with Christ. Unless you’re a seminary student or pastor or have learned the discipline of daily devotions; it is to long a pause in between times.

You’ve heard the quote; “18 inches between your heart and brain, the longest journey ever.”

How far is it then to heavenly thoughts?

Make the journey more often.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

battle fatigue

April 23, 2018

Our sinful hearts make us all prone to limit God by human potential. The disciples fell into this error when they were faced with the crowd of 5,000 hungry men, plus women and children. Jesus asked Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” John explains that Jesus asked this to test Philip, since He knew what He was about to do. Philip did a quick calculation and concluded, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little” (John 6:5-7). Philip may have thought that he was giving a faith-stretching answer, because the disciples clearly did not have 200 denarii to buy bread. But he was limiting God to work through normal human means. But God had a completely different solution, namely, miraculously multiplying the few loaves and fishes they had on hand.

So even if we’ve walked with God for years, when we are faced with a seemingly impossible situation, we need to look to our hearts, which are prone to limit the Almighty by human possibilities. God has given us abundant evidence in Scripture that He is the God of the impossible. Nothing is too difficult for Him. The source of our doubts is not a lack of evidence. It is rather our, sinful hearts.

That should be a sigh of relief right now. Whew, I don’t have to get more faith, I don’t have to feel a tingle or get Holy Ghost goose bumps. The object of faith is God. I only have to reckon, acknowledge, believe what I’ve already believed. Christ is my Savior, He died on the cross and so did I, I believe, position myself there. That’s all I have to do and the Holy Spirit draws me to God.

That’s why it’s so important to have a firm bible reading habit, God will pour all that you’ve read for years into you heart and remind us of whom we serve.

The battle is Lord’s.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Start Right

January 29, 2018

Start out right

Did you know that most of the marriage problems that I deal with, at their root, is nothing but selfishness? Now another word for selfishness is immaturity. Big babies. And most of the time, but not always, most of the time these big babies are the men. They think that God gave them a built-in servant when they got married and she’s to wait on him hand-and-foot, for somehow he’s the head of the house and he’s little, Lord, and she’s his servant. And she’s to wait on him all the time.

A recent survey on marriage, taken in America, has some shocking statistics. Did you know that fifty percent of the women who were married said, “If I had it to do over again, I would not marry the same man.” That’s shocking. Fifty percent of the women. One out of every two women said if I could do it again, I would not marry that guy. They surveyed the men. Seventy percent of the men said, “I would marry the same woman again.”

Now guys, what does that say about us? Let me tell you something else. They put a new ingredient in the survey and they asked this question: Does your husband help you at home? To the wives who said, “Yes” to that question, 82% of them said I’d marry the same man again. 82%. Selfishness is one of the major problems. It comes across in so many ways.

I’m constantly amazed at the men who don’t help their wives at home. Most wives today are working mothers, they work 40 hours or more per week, spend 40 hours working at home, kids, meals, laundry. And the husband is out golfing on Saturday, comes home and expects a beer and sex 5 minutes after he gets home. That’s male immaturity, grow up guys.

Did you know that washing dishes with or for your wife won’t shrink your testicles?

But guys sure act like it will.

Come on guys be a partner with your wife in all that you do. My wife shoots as good as I do, she can sharpen a knife as good as I can. We both love to cook, I can sew on my own buttons. We don’t take separate vacations, have separate checking accounts, we take care of each other.

You can build a strong marriage or just let go out the window, your choice. It’s easier to make a good marriage than to fix one, so start at the beginning.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

BULLET PROOF MIND

January 27, 2018

MAKE UP YOUR MIND

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

  Just whose side are we on? The enemy who would occupy us with ourselves, or the Comforter who would occupy us with the risen Lord Jesus? The spirit of death, or the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? “Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16).

If we have only learned the Lord at our own side, the tendency is to be occupied with ourselves, or to seek to be an object of consideration; whereas if we have been led by the Spirit to His side, His interests and concerns will singularly occupy us.

The natural inclination is to make oneself the center of everything passing, how it pains or cheers oneself, even musing on oneself as if one were the one solitary object for the sunshine or the cloud to rest on. If I am a hero, or a martyr to myself, I look at and regard divine things as they suit my thinking about myself, and not as answering to what He is thinking of me. I am confining the Lord to myself instead of rising up and seeing myself lost in Him, and then following Him in all the greatness and blessedness of His work and ways down here.

  “We may love as Jonathan, and follow as Ruth, but until we know that we are united to the Lord Jesus Christ in glory, we will not be free enough from our own interests, to take up His.”

  “[Who] made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7).

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Praise from Anne, she has been sober 3 weeks, stayed on her meds, and the difference in her has been dramatic. Pray she keeps it up..

Pray for Todd, he’s been married a year and since Christmas his wife has been drunk, sleeping around and just mean tempered. He want’s to stay married, but she won’t come in for counseling or move back home.

Pray for Andrew, a very rare thyroid condition has him hospitalized and will have surgery on Monday.

Roger asks, to keep his mom (91) in prayer, she still lives at home and cooks and cleans, but he’s worried about her neighborhood really going downhill.