Defending God – 12/28

This years Christmas holiday celebration was very hectic for everyone including me. God blessed me and my wife throughout the week, with many wonderful times of getting together with our four children and their spouses, and most of our twenty-one grandchildren and their spouses. Of course, these get-togethers occurred at separate times. It was obvious that our children love my wife and I greatly. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to spend much time on composing today’s sermon. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining. On the contrary, I consider them to be a huge blessing.

Back From Eternity – 12/21

It’s usual for me to hum and silently sing the lyrics of my favorite hymns throughout the day. At this time of the year I include Christmas carols such as Oh Come, Oh Come Emanuel, Silent Night and Joy To The World. As I was crafting today’s sermon, I surprised myself when I unexpectedly switched to the following portion of the classic song, “Old Man River.”

I’m tired of living and I’m scared of dyin,
But ol’ man river
He just keeps rollin along.

The Miracle of Answered Prayer – 12/10/14

Think about it. Squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and reindeer can’t and neither can any of the birds flying through the sky or the fish swimming in the sea. In fact, of all the creatures that God has created, only human beings have been blessed with the ability to engage in conversation with Him. In
other words, folks such as you and I have been invited to pray to the King of the Universe.

An Appreciation For Miracles – 12/07/14

The longer I live the more I appreciate a miracle, a word which The American Heritage Dictionary defines as being “an event inexplicable to the laws of nature and so held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.”

As I get older and my health declines I’m acutely aware of the miraculous fact that it’s in him that I live and move and have my being. (Acts 17:28,) and that I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10) 28 And I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:28-29) Furthermore, I know that I won’t leave this world a second sooner or later that He has ordained. (Job 14:1,5)

Pain Enhancers – 11/30/14

I still remember the morning when I bent over in the shower and, whammo, I thought I must have pulled a muscle in my lower back. The pain was pretty bad and so I took some Advil. I continued my normal routine of serving as the pastor of a small congregation in South Burlington, Vermont, which, among other things, involved being out in the community visiting folks in the hospital as a chaplain, and shut-ins. I conducted bible studies in Nursing Homes and a Sunday worship service for the homeless in an Emergency Shelter. I constantly engaged in evangelism and ministering to people who were in need. The bending down and twisting around while getting in and out of my little Honda Civic was very painful.

Why Does God Allow Horrible Things to Happen? – 11/23/14

Every Sunday before Thanksgiving I like to remind myself of all the wonderful things I’m thankful for. This morning, I also want to speak about “some” of the many reasons why every follower of Christ should be thankful. So much so, that when we die and leave this world we will be able to enjoy an eternal thanksgiving with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Hold My Hand – 11/16/14

Are any of you folks dealing with seemingly never ending physical and/or emotional pain this morning? Has the Lord brought people into your lives that are? If you answered in the affirmative today’s message ought to be helpful. I’ll be citing excerpts from what I believe are the most helpful book dealing with the issue of chronic pain. Allow me to explain,

The Comfort of Reality – 11/9/14

Instead of continuing from where I ended last Sunday’s sermon, I decided to share with you a completely revised version of a sermon I first preached back in 1988. Although I have preached it a couple of times since then, I realize that the vast majority of the folks who visit my blog are unaware of it. The sermon begins with me saying

Our God is Trustworthy – 11/2/14

Although I would have enjoyed the fun of writing a follow up story to last weeks, I believe that God wanted me to preach the following sermon today. I’ve been hoping and praying that He will use it as a means of providing comfort, encouragement and hope to each of you folks, and especially to my daughter-in-law Veronica during her current divinely ordained ordeal.

The Unforgettable Halloween – 10/26/14

There were no parking places in front of the house of the needy family that the man was going to deliver a bag of food to. He had been volunteering to make those deliveries toward the end of each month for the church he went to. Not because he cared for needy people but he wanted to make himself look good in the eyes of people and help his business. On that particular night the closest he was able to get to the house just happened to be right in front of the entrance to the town cemetery. Instead of walking all around the block he decided to take a short cut through the cemetery.

The Wisdom and Power of God – 10/19/14

In my devotional, “If You Were God,” I said: “If you and I had God’s power we would change many things, but if we had God’s wisdom we wouldn’t change anything!” (1)

When I ended last Sunday’s sermon, I knew I would have my work cut out for me with this morning’s. How our Heavenly Father, One who is perfect in love and infinite in wisdom and power, how He could allow the horrible events that I’ll be speaking about in this sermon is beyond my comprehension. For instance,

The Wisdom and Power of God – 10/12/14

I don’t know about you but I spent a lot of time thinking about the awful events that were mentioned in last week’s sermon. From the moment I ended it I knew that I would have to have a follow-up. After all, when thousands of lives are suddenly snuffed out by catastrophic events such as earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and killer viruses like Ebola, as well as bloodthirsty terrorists such as ISIS and mass murderers in schools, your thoughts wonder about the victims and survivors.

Be Still, and Know that I am God – 10/5/14

Sometimes it felt as though God had knocked a stinking 350-pound gorilla off of my back. That’s how heavy my burdens often are. During such times I’m very appreciative of the fact that He has arranged for certain people to help me to carry my load. I know I would have caved in in the midst of these painful ordeals if it weren’t for these folks.

The Antidote for Worry – 9/28/14

I praise God for all the insights that were in my most recent sermons. By using them I was able to overcome the temptation to worry during this past week of wrestling with my latest divinely ordained circumstances. Of course, you and I should be concerned about all the evil taking place in our sin-drenched world but not to the point that we will worry. It’s been one of my heartfelt desires that through today’s sermon each of you folks will understand that God has given every Christian the antidote for worry.

Rejoice in the Lord Always – 9/21/14

It reminded me of just how saturated our world is with sin. Along with most Americans, I was completely unaware that another evil had arrived on the scene of human history. I can only imagine the horrible thoughts that raced through the minds of its victims. The possibility of those satanically crazed murderers infiltrating our country is terrifying. It’s unnecessary to describe the video footage.

The Blessing of Tribulation – 9/14/14

I hated every moment of the often-severe physical and emotional tribulations that I’ve suffered in my lifetime. It took a while, but I’ve come to have a deep appreciation for the positive effect they’ve made and continue to make on my character, and the wonderful hope that I’m presently experiencing. Here’s why. The Apostle Paul explained to the first Christians who were living in Rome that,

Comfort, Encouragement & Hope – 9/7/14

In today’s sermon I want to elaborate on a couple of scripture verses that I mentioned in my recent devotional: “If You Were God.” Then we will have a better understanding of the reason all Christians must go through seasons of pain and suffering. In his second letter to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul wrote:

A Christ-Like Walk – 8/24/14

Have you ever made the statement, “divorce is always wrong?” I honestly can’t remember having done so, but I suppose it’s possible. How about you folks? If you have, you’re in very good company. For instance, Dallas Willard, world-renowned theologian and scholar, in his book “The Divine Conspiracy,” admits to having this conviction. However, anyone familiar with the UCLA professor of philosophy would have a hard time believing what I just said. But, if I were to put his remark in context, they would be quick to praise God for this humble man’s honesty and spiritual maturity.

A Sure and Certain Hope – 8/17/14

Before continuing from where we left off last Sunday, I want to remind you of the fact that if we heed “The Terrifying Warning” that I explained in that message you and I will always be able to enjoy “A Sure And Certain Hope.”

A Terrifying Warning – 8/10/14

Last weeks sermon included the account of a man named Kaka. He lived in a village located in the isolated mountains of Nepal, India and had been searching for God for a long time. Continuing from where I left off last week, Brian Edwards tells us that:

Stay in Touch with the Spirit – 8/3/14

I’ll begin today’s sermon with the following account that Luke recorded in Acts 8:26-40 (NIV).

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road–the desert road–that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship,

What’s Your Ultimate Hope? – 7/27/14

In his most recent post on my blog, my friend Ed McGrath asked: “Why does God allow so much pain and suffering?”

Ed served our country faithfully and is a combat veteran of the U. S. Army during the Vietnam War. He served in Nam for a year as a machine gunner with an infantry unit that was part of a special-forces unit. Among his many awards, Sargent McGrath received the very high honor “Soldier’s Medal” for heroism.

An Ordinary Follower of Christ – 7/20/14

I’m always saddened whenever I read a newspaper article such as the following which reports that,“Disappointed health officials announced Thursday that a nearly 4-year-old Mississippi girl, thought to have been cured of HIV, has detectable levels of the virus.”

To Hell and Back – 7/13/14

As we saw last week, God had given Darlene Deibler Rose and her fellow missionary’s who were P.O.W.’s of the Japanese in the South Pacific during World War 2 enough strength to sustain them in each of their horrendous divinely ordained trials such as when:

Walking in His Strength – 7/6/14

I honestly don’t know who gets the most enjoyment out of watching a familiar scene unfolding for the umpteenth time in Grandma’s kitchen. It’s a toss up between her and me and anyone else who’s present. There they are, the three of them, Zac, Michael and Jake scoffing down plateful after plateful of whatever grandma whipped up for lunch that day.

Scoping out Christians in College – 6/29/14

I don’t know how often I’ve been told things such as, “No problem,” “You got it,” “Anything else?” The person always knew what he or she was talking about and I received exactly what I asked for. I’m sure you folks have had similar experiences, haven’t you? However, a college freshman asking someone if they knew if there were any Christians on the campus would soon find out that it isn’t “a piece of cake.” In fact, it’s often very difficult to distinguish a believer from a non-Christian. Try it some time.

The Three Babies and the Others – 6/22/14

To make a point in today’s sermon I’ll be quoting a couple of things from one of my favorite sermons in the “Stories About Heaven” series. I preached it on March 21st of this year. It’s called “The Wailing Chamber” and it features a man and woman named Matt and Jennifer who were two of my characters in that series. The following is part of a particular conversation they were having:

The Three Babies – 6/15/14

Today’s sermon is short and simple. I’m grateful for the feedback on my last three sermons that I’ve been receiving from my good friend Guy Rossi and my Granddaughter Amanda her dad Mike Jr. I’m indebted to Pastor Ernie Reisinger from whose insightful book “God’s Will, Man’s Will And Free Will.” I have quoted many excerpts. The following is the Authors Note in the front of the book. I have never seen anything like it before.

Especially for Amanda pt III – 6/8/14

I know that I couldn’t have endured any of my divinely ordained challenges, especially my latest one, if the Lord hadn’t revealed certain facts about the doctrines of the Providence of God The Sovereignty of God and the Doctrine of Election a number of years ago.

Especially for Amanda pt II – 6/1/14

It’s been my prayer-filled hope that today’s sermon is pleasing to the Lord and that it will be helpful to you folks who are reading it, and especially to the ones [Amanda and her Dad, Mike Jr.] that posted their comments on my blog concerning last weeks sermon. For instance, the following is what my good friend and former pastoral assistant Guy Rossi posted

Especially for Amanda – 5/25/14

I wanted to post today’s message concerning the “Doctrine of Election” on my blog earlier but it was impossible. I knew my granddaughter Amanda had some questions about the doctrine so today’s message will be the first of two parts. I’ll be quoting from the very insightful book, “Romans, An Interpretive Outline” published by P & R Publishing. Here goes:

The Most Despised Book in the Bible – 5/18/14

Continuing from where we left off last week, the pastor at Harvestime Campus Fellowship told the students Amy, Gus, Billy and Debbie that,

“In my opinion, chapter nine of Paul’s letter to the first century believers that were living in Rome is perhaps the most shocking chapter in the Bible. The truths contained in it are despised by every non-Christian who is aware of them. It’s a sad fact, but all too many Christians do not accept the entire Bible as being the divinely inspired Word of God. These folks pick and choose what they will and won’t believe-and they don’t believe what’s in chapter nine.”

Warts and All – 5/11/14

After welcoming the college students to the Harvestime Campus Fellowship and offering a word of prayer, the pastor said, “I’m going to attempt to continue to correct a fellow Christian’s misunderstanding concerning certain portions of the Doctrine of Election

Defending your Christian Faith in College – 5/4/14

Welcome to Harvestime Campus Fellowship folks. It’s nice to see you again. What’s on your mind today? Billy started the ball rolling by handing everyone a printed copy of an email that was in his inbox a few days previously. He said, “I received this gem a few days ago. It was posted on the Grace Gems website by a man named Frank Hall. It was so repulsive that I was going to delete it immediately. Then I prayed and asked God what I should do. I firmly believe that He wants me to share it with you folks today. So here goes.”

Mission Accomplished – 4/27/14

“Actually, I could care less, Matt. Seeing that Jesus is in the miracle business I just want to hear Him tell me that, “I love you, Tom.”

No sooner were Tom’s words out of his mouth than there were a couple of knocks on the front door. He opened it, looked from the right to the left, but there was no one in sight. Next he spotted a package by his feet. Mr. UPS’s, the friendly United Parcel Service driver had delivered it.

Three Little Words – 4/20/14

The man’s high continued uninterrupted into the fourth day. It was impossible for him to adequately describe what he had been experiencing. Words like serenity and euphoria were grossly inadequate. A crystal clear clarity of mind added to the feeling of well-being. The man never imagined such an altered state was possible. But it obviously was, and he, along with the other folks at the reunion, was enjoying every second of it.

He’s Joe, and I’m Moe – 4/13/14

As Matt was walking up the steps leading to the front door of the house where his Christian great-granddaughter lived with her unsaved husband he spotted the men coming towards him. They were the ones who were in the restaurant the previous morning where Matt and a few other missionaries to the Land of the Living Dead were having breakfast. The two well-dressed men were quickly walking down the street waiving their hands and motioning for Matt to stop.

Our Most Powerful Spiritual Weapons – 4/6/14

It was 2am on a bitterly cold December morning. A beautiful starlit sky illuminates a foot of fresh fallen snow, which, with the absence of the slightest breeze lay exactly where it had tumbled down from the heavens on the old country church. With the exception of an occasional snowplow the streets are deserted. But, unbeknownst to even the church mouse, the darkened church is packed with invisible people. Joyous men and women and older children of various sizes and ages are seated in the sanctuary. The man in the pulpit greeted them saying,

A Missionary in the Land of the Living Dead – 3/30/14

Today’s story begins with Matt saying,

“I promise that I will, Jesus,”

Then he and Jen left to take a stroll over to one of the many beautiful Heavenly parks.Their conversation consisted of a lot of small talk. She sensed that Matt was burdened and troubled about something.Rather than ask him what was on his mind, she began to softly hum a well-known wonderful hymn that is chock-full of comforting biblical facts.

Deployed to the Land of the Living Dead – 3/23/14

Picking up where we left off last week we learn that, upon arriving at St. Patrick’s Place, Matt and Jen were pleasantly surprised when they saw Jesus outside on the patio. He was seated at a triangular table amongst the other joyous diner’s. Grinning from ear to ear, Jesus waved to the couple indicating that He would like them to join Him.

“Good evening, folks. What brings you here, as if I didn’t already know? Ha Ha!”

“You already know?”

“Of course I do, Matt. You’ve forgotten that I know everything. I know every thought that you will ever have, and every word that you will ever hear, and everything that you will ever do, and every word that you will ever say. Although you realize that I already know everything, you have been able to factor in that knowledge whenever you and I are having a conversation. With that kind of an adjustment we’re able to engage in a normal conversation.”

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus – 3/16/14

“Are you satisfied with His answer, Matt? Did Jesus answer you questions?”

“Yes He did, Jen.”

However, from the tone of Matt’s voice, she knew that he was still deeply disturbed. So much so, that Jen broke the silence and asked Matt,

“What’s bothering you?

God’s Answers to Matt’s Questions – 3/9/14

“Matt took a moment to ponder those scriptures. Then, he looked and saw that Jesus was gazing into the darkened sky that was sprinkled with sparkling stars. With tear filled eyes, He asked, now do you believe that I love all human beings? I wanted to be your friend. You could have been experiencing infinite happiness and joy…forever. But each of you wanted to do your own thing instead of following me. Of your own free will you chose not to have anything to do with Me. You wanted to be your own god. I assure you that the excruciating agony you doomed yourselves to, will be infinitely greater than that which I suffered on Mount Calvary. Justice has been served!” All of a sudden-Poof! Matt was standing beside Jen and holding her hand.

The Weeping Chamber – 3/2/14

Last weeks story concluded with Jesus saying, “Matthew! Come closer! It’s time for Me to give you My verdict.” Matt did as he was commanded and listened to the smiling Jesus say, “Great job, My good and faithful friend! Go and rejoin Jennifer, and the rest of them Matt. Incidentally, don’t forget to be on the lookout for the special surprise that my good friend Charlie from the Orientation Center mentioned earlier.”

Something to Think About – 2/23/14

I ended last Sunday’s story with Jennifer saying to Jesus, “But You never told Frank what his new name is.” “I know that I didn’t Jennifer. To borrow one of you favorite sayings, I ask you, “Wouldn’t you like to know?” Then Jesus zoomed over to Jennifer and softly whispered in her ear, “His new name is Matthew, but you may call him Matt or whatever pet name you choose.” He will always be your Valentine’s Day sweetheart throughout eternity.”

Wouldn’t You Like to Know? – 2/16/14

Continuing where my Valentine’s Day story of two lovers ended last week, we read that: with their hands clasped tightly, Frank and Jennifer followed Frank’s Guardian Angel. He was just behind a heavenly host of joyous angels, the ones who had been assigned by God to minister to and protect Frank while he lived in our sin-infested world.

My Name is Jennifer – 2/09/14

The long seemingly never-ending dreary nights were always the worse.The lights are turned down low.Visiting hours will have ended and the anxious visitors, some of whom are crying hysterically,make their way towards a designated waiting room,where they will either spend the night,or head toward a hospital exit and go home. Loneliness, discouragement and fear often grip the patient.

The Lord is Watching over You – 2/2/14

I can’t help it, nor do I want to. That’s the way that I am because it’s how the Lord has made me. Day after day it’s always the same because they’re constantly flowing through my mind. However, even if it were possible, which it isn’t, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. I would become a different person, one who is restless and fearful and devoid of hope most of the time. So much so, that I would want to obliterate my unhappiness with alcohol and/or other mind altering drugs at every opportunity.

Strength for the Race – 1/26/14

Ever since the EMT’s rushed me out of my bedroom and transported me to the hospital by ambulance with a very painful back injury, my main concern was centered on doing everything I possible could not to reinjure it. From the moment I awoke in the morning until I went to bed for the night, I thanked God profusely for protecting me throughout the day and asked Him to please continue doing so on the following one-and He has!

One More Bouquet of Beautiful Thoughts – 1/19/14

I’ve experienced both kinds throughout my eighty-plus years of living in this sin-drenched world and I’ve hated each one of them with a passion. Those were the times when I sometimes had doubts of Gods’ love, mercy and compassion. In fact, I even went so far as to wonder if perhaps God was just a figment of my imagination especially during the last six or seven years while I experienced them. For instance, there have been times when I have literally cried like a baby asking Him what I did wrong that caused Him to treat me so despicably. I pleaded with Him to open my eyes so that I could see.

Another Bouquet of Beautiful Thoughts – 01/12/14

This morning I want to address the issue of something each of us is very familiar with. From the moment we leave our mothers womb and enter this sin-drenched world, we experience it. In one form or another, in various degrees of intensity and lengths of time, regardless of whether we are young or old, rich or poor, no man or woman or girl or boy can escape it.

A Bouquet of Beautiful Thoughts – 01/05/2014

Since the start this new-year there have been certain spiritual truths that have been flowing through my mind. So much so, that I’ve actually been bombarded by them. For instance, throughout the years I must have publicly quoted the following scriptures thousands of times on various occasions. They provide an awful lot of comfort, encouragement and hope for the followers of Jesus while they suffer in various degrees of intensity seemingly never-ending emotional/physical pain.