God and the Problem of Pain and Suffering Pt II – 12/29/13

“I sat in my office on a Tuesday afternoon talking with Jack, and thinking, there’s something terribly wrong here. Jack was angry, confused, and lost. I dipped into Jack’s life and tried to get his story out spoonful by spoonful. He just couldn’t take more than a spoonful at a time. I’ve never had an experience quite like that. His story wrenched my heart and I wept.” “Jack was blind and crippled. But Jack wasn’t born blind and he wasn’t born crippled.

God and the Problem of Pain and Suffering – 12/21/13

“The front page of the Evening News of India, Tuesday, October 12, 1976, ran the following story:

“All 89 passengers and six crew members were killed when an Italian Airlines plane, crashed within minutes of takeoff at Santa Cruz airport, at 1:40 am, today. The plane was only some three minutes airborne when its pilot noticed a fire in one of the engines. He was reported to have told air traffic control of the fire, and said: “I am coming back.”

All Things are Working For Your Good Pt II – 12/01/13

Tim Keller says that, “We can often see how bad things “work together for good.” (Romans 8:28) The problem is that we can only get a glimpse of this in a limited number of cases. But why could it not be that God allowed evil because it will bring us all to a far greater joy than we would have had otherwise? Isn’t it possible that the eventual glory and joy we will know will be infinitely greater than it would have been had there been no evil?

All Things are Working For Your Good – 11/24/13

Its been my prayerful hope that what follows will help us to understand this passage. I’ll start with a woman named Emily who says that, “If you had asked me what I was thankful for before September, I would have said that I am thankful for my family, my home, my job, and for God

The Bullied and the Bullies pt III – 11/16/13

She had a tremble to her, the inner tremble you could feel with just a hand on her shoulder. I saw her in a grocery store. I had not seen her in some months. I asked about her kids and husband, and when I did, her eyes watered, her chin quivered, and the story spilled out. He’s left her. After twenty years of marriage, three kids, and a dozen moves, gone. Traded her in for a younger model. She did her best to maintain her composure but couldn’t. The grocery store produce section became a sanctuary of sorts.

The Bullied and the Bullies pt II – 11/08/13

Frank Peretti tells us that “One Christmas, Mom and Dad surprised me with a dummy named Jerry, and that little wooden-head became my alter ego, bringing out the ham in me. We entertained our family members and put on shows, and Jerry even went to school with me a few times to perform for my class. Jerry and I became pretty close. He helped me come out of my shell. We won ourselves some new respect from my classmates, and, he never had a problem with my looks or size.

The Bullied and the Bullies – 11/03/13

Frank Peretti says that his disfigurement “is called cystic hygroma, a birth defect that usually develops on the side of the neck, so I suppose the role of the doctor’s forceps in delivering me is debatable. Whatever the case, the folks at the hospital never got a clue or never wanted one.”

All Things Happen For Their Good – 10/27/13

As soon as I woke-up each morning during the past week and a half, I found myself humming the tune of a wonderful old hymn and I continued humming away on and off throughout each day. However, as much as I like the hymn, all I could remember was the first line of the lyrics.

Food for Thought – 10/20/13

During the 1930’s and 1940’s a man by the name of Adolph Hitler used the spirit of impurity to defile an entire nation and pollute millions of other people. His approach was simple but diabolical. He mesmerized the people into believing that he had a plan, a direction that would lead them to a better life. This included pointing out those people (Jews, the elderly, the handicapped, homosexuals, gypsies) who would interfere with the plan and how they were creating a barrier to the future of Germany.

Victims of Slanderous Gossip – 10/13/13

Many years ago an unknown author wrote: “In a small Eastern European town, a man went through the community slandering the rabbi. One day, feeling suddenly remorseful, he begged the rabbi for forgiveness and offered to undergo any penance to make amends. The rabbi told him to take a feather pillow from his house, cut it open, scatter the feathers to the wind, then return to see him. The man did as he was told, then came to the rabbi and asked: “Am I now forgiven?”

Beware of Backstabbers – 10/6/13

“You will be gossiped about. If it has not happened yet, get ready, because some day you will find yourself in the cross-hairs of the sin of gossip. My friend “William” did.”

A Deadly Poison – 9/29/13

“I can’t take it anymore. I am going to a lawyer to start divorce proceedings.” The words were sharp. Sandra was adamant in her decision to divorce Ken, unwilling to listen to any contrary opinion. It appeared that a thirty-year marriage would end in brokenness and hurt.” Pg. 11

True Love in Action – 9/22/13

“The older I get, the more I wish my father had disciplined me more often than he did, and the more I grow in Christ, the more I pray for my heavenly Father’s loving discipline. When we’re immature we see discipline as a negative thing, but as we grow we begin to see it as one of the most enduring blessings of life. Discipline assures us that we’re loved and cared for. It shows us to whom we belong. It demonstrates we are worth another’s time and energy. It makes us confront, confess and repent of our sins. It humbles us, brings us to our knees to weep over our sin, and draws us close to the embracing arms of our loving protector.”

True Love – 9/15/13

“I’m glad no one really believes the Bible anymore, or they’d stone me.” These were the words of a gay activist, replying to a Christian who was using the Bible to condemn homosexuality. The activist argument was clear: Since the penalty for homosexuality in the Old Testament was death, how can you say you believe the Bible? And if you don’t believe it, then don’t use it to argue against homosexuality!”

The Courage to be Meek – 9/8/13

Concerning the characteristics of a godly Christian, Jerry Bridges in “The Practice of Godliness,” says, “I suspect that of all the character traits of godliness in this study, gentleness will be the least appealing to many male readers. For some reason we seem to have difficulty believing that manliness and gentleness can be part of the same personality. Men often want to see gentleness in their mothers and wives, but not in themselves.

The Spirit of Gentleness – 9/1/13

Whatever month of the year you choose, heart-rending calamities fill the news from coast to coast and around the world. And if we had the connections to know about them, we would see that they fill our churches as well. Calamities strike the world of unbelievers and the children of God with mind-numbing pain. Some of these tragedies come directly from natural disasters, and some com from the sinful acts of man against man

Semper Paratus – 8/25/13

As usual, the pastor was the first to arrive at the bible study. His thoughts wandered back to last week’s. He remembered encouraging Mac and big and little Jen to make the time to read their copy of the notes that he had used to teach them, and then search the Bible for themselves to see if what he had taught was indeed scriptural fact. The pastor also constantly encouraged the group to add biblical knowledge to their God given faith and apply it in their every-day lives.

Don’t Settle for Less – 8/18/13

As soon as Mac and big and little Jen were seated around the large oval table, the pastor opened the Bible study with a word of prayer. Then the group sang a hymn which was followed by a time during which they each offered their thanks and prayer concerns to their heavenly Father.

Fighting the Roaring Lion – 8/11/13

It’s inevitable! At a specific moment in time, which God alone has decreed, all of us will die and leave this world. It’s been my prayerful hope that we follow in the footsteps of a fictitious young man named Bobby, a man who unexpectedly had his life snuffed out in a split second. The following parable will explain what he experienced at the moment of his death.

The Angelic Presence – 8/4/13

Was it luck, chance, or God? Bible believing men and women together with likeminded girls and boy’s are unanimous. As far as they’re concerned, it’s a no-brainer. Of course, God delivered a certain poem to some people, a poem that I had chosen to use as my next Wednesday devotional. In this morning’s message we’ll be looking at how God delivered it.

God’s Awesome Deaf Ear – 7/28/13

Although they knew it wasn’t my fault and I couldn’t help it, some people, especially those who lived in my home, sometimes screamed at me. That’s how exasperated they became and I can’t say that I blame them. I don’t know who hated my deaf ear the most, them or me.

A World of Glorious Love – 7/21/13

I met them last Sunday morning when Pastor Eddie Hilderbrand of the University Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama pinch-hit for me in this pulpit. His team of summer missionaries was used by God to bless the folks in our church enormously throughout the week. I especially enjoyed fellowshipping with them every day as they conducted VBS. So much so, that I was sorry they had to leave. I would like to have spent a lot more time with them, and I will, but it wont be in this world. Those are the kind of folks we will delight in living with in heaven throughout eternity.

God Exalting People – 7/7/13

I concluded last week’s sermon when I said, “When it’s time for me to pass the baton it must be to a man that will be a God exalting pastor. Of course, the members of the pastoral search committee must also be God exalting people. Otherwise they are apt to make a regrettable mistake.”

A God Exalting Pastor – 6/30/13

When God relieves me of my pastoral duties you folks will have the responsibility of searching for a man to be my successor. In last’s weeks sermon I quoted excerpts from a tremendously insightful book to assist you in that endeavor. “Feed My Sheep” makes a passionate plea for preaching. The publisher explains that,

A New Life in Christ – 6/23/13

I want to thank those of you who have been faithfully praying for me throughout the week and asking Him to continue giving me the strength to, among my other ministerial responsibilities, to proclaim the cause of God and truth from this pulpit. I hope this message is as much of a blessing to each of you as it has been to me.

A Wonderful Fathers’ Day – 6/16/13

All of a sudden last Tuesday morning I woke up from a sound sleep. The clock on the night-stand indicated that it was fifteen minutes after midnight. Wonderful thoughts started racing through my mind. They were so inspiring that I knew without a doubt that I was going to enjoy a wonderful Father’s Day.

The Handwriting on the Wall – 6/9/13

I’m delighted every week as I witness “The Parable of The Good Samaritan” being emulated in the lives of each of you folks. I’m sure it pleases Jesus too. I’ll explain in detail after we read the parable and some other Scriptures concerning God’s definition of love.

Sweet Hour of Prayer – 6/2/13

It wasn’t until I put its last component in place that I realized how much God had blessed me with a very uplifting message to deliver to you folks last week. I was so encouraged by that sermon that my mind has been racing all over the place looking for ideas; ideas which, with the Lord’s strength within us, you and I will be able to make a contribution towards changing our society from being a culture of death to one of life.

A Culture of Life pt II – 5/26/13

I want to start by thanking you and the folks who read my sermons on my blog for expressing your honest opinion about last week’s sermon. It’s obvious that we love each other very much. Each of you has in one way or another inspired and encouraged me. So much so, that this morning I’m very optimistic, and, considering my age, fairly energetic and full of all sorts of hope.

A Culture of Life – 5/19/13

Among the many amazing events that took place in Bethlehem twenty one hundred years ago when Jesus was born, is the fact that He came and lived in a society which could accurately be described as being a culture of death. That truth was evidenced by what has been referred to throughout church history as being the slaughter of the innocents. Allow me to explain.

Mommy, Please Kiss Me – 5/12/13

This year’s Mother’s Day is just ten days shy of my 80th birthday. It appears that I’m getting up there in age. From the depths of my sentimental heart I truly believe that my Mom was the ideal mother for me just as the woman who is the mother of our children is the perfect wife for me. I thank God often throughout the year for blessing me greatly though these two women. I can’t help wondering how many men can echo my sentiment.

How to Break the Bonds of Depression – 5/5/13

The September 6th online edition of The Washington Post reported very disturbing results of the correlation between the decreased usage of antidepressants and a dramatic increase in suicides among young people. “Warnings from federal regulators four years ago that antidepressants were increasing the risk of suicidal behavior among young people led to a precipitous drop in the use of drugs. Now a study has found that the drop coincides with an unprecedented increase in the number of suicides among children.”

God’s Grace Was Shining like a Thousand Suns – 4/21/13

Last Wednesday I reached a point where I just couldn’t continue. I knew that I had to stop. It isn’t that I was quitting and giving up on composing today’s sermon but I sure needed to take a break. That’s how profoundly affected I was by reading various accounts of the horrible genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1996.

The Desire to Forgive – 4/14/13

I ended last week’s sermon by asking, “If you were a Rwandan and had lived in the midst of those horrors what would your reaction be? Now apply the same question to the Risen Savior. What would Jesus do?” The answer to that question is a no brainer, isn’t it? Of course Jesus would tell us to forgive them. But that’s a lot easier said than done. In her book, “As We Forgive,”

What Would Jesus Do? – 4/7/13

Everyone attending this worship service has been wronged by someone else. In one way or another and in various degrees of intensity, each of us has experienced the unpleasant consequences of another person’s sinful behavior towards us or someone we care about deeply. We experience a variety of feelings such as mild annoyance, disappointment, and sorrow, as well as anger, bitterness, resentment and hatred. None of us can deny the fact that very often we are the ones who have committed the wrong.

The Good Shepherd – 3/31/13

It only took about five minutes for me to realize that it was an answer to my prayers. I had been asking God to bless me with a special Easter message for a couple of months, and, as of Palm Sunday morning, I was still waiting for Him to respond. That afternoon I opened the gift that Laurette had given me after church and saw that it was just what I needed. The title of the book is, “The Lord Is My Shepherd” by Robert Morgan.

The Most Underutilized Gifts – 3/24/13

When Laurette suggested that I preach the story about Joseph and his brothers and their father Jacob, I had no idea how much God was going to use it as an instrument through which He was going to bless me and many of you folks, too. Nor did I know the series would continue this far (Palm Sunday) and, Lord willing, Easter Sunday and beyond. So thank you Laurette!

Until the End of Time – 3/17/13

This series of sermons about Joseph and his brothers and their father Jacob has been providing us with awe- inspiring examples of the Providence of God working in and through each of their lives.

God’s Never Ending Activity – 3/10/13

My days are filled with all sorts of divinely ordained opportunities to bring glory to God with everything I think, all that I say, and through whatever I do. I’m thankful that I’m never bored. However, toward the end of each day I get tired, and I look forward to slowing down and going to sleep. I need a break from this whirlwind of activity. I’m able to calm down and relax because of the fact that God is “always watching, never sleeping,” Psalm 121:3 (TLB).

The Land of Forgiveness – 3/3/2013

It’s been my prayerful desire that those of you who are Christians, will, as a result of hearing this message preached, trust and obey Jesus regardless of your circumstances, and that the rest of you will choose to accept the gift of forgiveness for your sins which is available through Jesus, and then, also follow Him into “The Land of Forgiveness.”

Some Thoughts to Ponder – 2/24/13

In appreciation to the folks who let me know how sorry they were that last week’s sermon had to end when it did and that they were eagerly looking forward to hearing its continuation, I’ll start right now. I hope that each of you took my suggestion and studied the online version during the week.

The Spirit of God – 2/17/13

In the story of Joseph and his brothers we’ve been seeing a remarkable chain of events as they were unfolding. These events serve as a wonderful illustration of what is referred to as being the Providence of God. J. I. Packer defines it as being, “The unceasing activity of the Creator whereby, in overflowing bounty and goodwill, He upholds His creatures in ordered existence, guides and governs all events, circumstances, and free acts of angels and men, and directs everything to its appointed goal, for His own glory.”

They Were Madly in Love With Each Other – 2/10/13

I took advantage of the opportunity that the Lord gave me last week to share some recently learned information in last Sunday’s sermon. I was appalled by the enormity of human trafficking in our country during events where there are thousands of people gathered in one city such as at the Super Bowl, the World Series, and big conventions. Although she didn’t say anything to me about the sermon and the Super Bowl after hearing it preached like her brother Jake did

God Moves in Mysterious Ways – 2/3/13

Although it was only enough to whet your spiritual appetite there was lots of food for thought in last Sunday’s message. Judging from the feedback I received, my mission was accomplished. I’m encouraged whenever you folks dig deeper into the Bible in search of spiritual facts. It’s nice to know that I’m useful in serving God’s children.

The Dreamer – 1/27/13

Almost 63 years ago I was a scrawny 17-year-old-kid who wanted to serve in the U. S. Coast Guard more than anything else in the world. I dreamed of being stationed aboard one of their Weather Patrol cutter’s up in the freezing North Atlantic during the Korean Conflict. I wanted to experience the thrill of being on the ship while it was being battered by 100 foot waves as it tried to navigate through the fog shrouded nights away from huge icebergs.

The Joy of God is my Strength – 1/20/13

Last Tuesday, two of our grandson’s, 11 year-old Kaegan who is autistic and his 8 year-old brother Finnegan along with their Mom Cathy hung out at our home for several hours. As usual, it was nice to have them and a lot of fun. I was even able to snag a brief interview with the boys to share with you folks in today’s message.

Forgive as I have Forgiven You – 1/13/13

Depending on the intensity of torment endured, some folks choose not to forgive certain people. Others don’t believe it’s possible. According to Jesus, the choice we make will determine if we will live in eternal misery or happiness after we die and leave this world. For instance He taught:

The Strength to Forgive – 1/6/2013

I received the following email this past week from a person who has been reading
my sermons on my blog. “Hey, Pastor Mike. I’m trying very hard to forgive as the
Bible says, but it’s impossible. The truth is that I don’t want to forgive those men
for what they did to me years ago.