Word of Encouragement

Chapter 8
Rise to the occasion. “I could never…” So many times I have heard someone say those words declaring they were not able to accomplish something. I used to get so nervous standing in front of a group to speak it would make me nauseous. How did I overcome the fear? At first I stood behind a written manuscript, then behind a pulpit. Now I have no barriers left. I guess you all know that because you keep moving away from the front row on fear I might call on you. Some even sit all the way in the overflow now not realizing I can still see them. When we are doing something for God instead of for ourselves, he always equips us and gives us the tools and the words that are needed for that moment in time. God does not leave us stranded. Sunday I challenged everyone to tell someone how they might be saved and I could see a few run into the fray while others were more reticent. I think we would all be surprised at the spiritual strength in us if we would just walk a little closer to the edge. Recently a friend showed me a rubber bracelet with the words “Follow Jesus” on them that he uses as a conversation starter. That is intentional and a great idea. Sometimes people just want someone to have a conversation with them about Jesus. If they want to talk about something else, they will let you know pretty quickly. I pray God put you in a place to initiate a conversation with someone about our Lord and Savior. Jesus died for my sins and I choose to follow him to heaven. He knows the way.
~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie


Word of Encouragement

Chapter 7 ” Stand up to bullies”
There will always be people who try to use power to get their own way. Christians should learn how to stand up against power brokers. On the playground when we were little, it meant taking the risk of getting whipped, in front of everyone else. As you might have guessed, my personality did not sit well on the same playground with a bully. Especially if the bully was picking on someone else, like my brother. I guess I am still that way. As Christians we have a responsibility to stand up for the less fortunate even if it means standing toe to toe with the bully. There is character in that, even if you get whipped. The option is to just step aside and let the bullies rule the world. As a kid growing up and protecting my brothers, I learned that once you stand up to the bully they will either leave you alone or bring help the next day. You never really whip the bully, not enough to change them. But standing up to it does something for you. It helps you realize you have value. I learned early on there are two things that are powerful to use against bullies: the voice of the people, a lot of people can stand up against strong power forces. And God. Nothing quite like having God on your side.
 
~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie


Word of Encouragement

Are we supposed to take a risk? Jesus does. He takes s huge risk on Peter. Every trip to Jerusalem was a bit risky, and the last one cost him his life. Why did he do it? Why would he go to Jerusalem when He knew full well they would kill him. All risks have a cost. If we succeed, there is a benefit, a reward. If we fail, there is a loss. We all do a risk/reward analysis of situations before we act. Driving to work is a risk, but the reward (making money) is greater than the risk. So off to work we go. Playing a game, like football, has inherent risks. Those who play determine the reward is worth it. The first time someone falls in love is a bit risky, but love is strong and always seems to be worth the risk. Unless of course we have felt the pain of betrayal, then we start wondering if it is worth it. Stopping love because it is too risky would take quite a bit of loss. So did Jesus do a risk/reward when He decided to go to Jerusalem? He decided to go and was there crucified. Was that a success or a failure? It seems so crazy to us that the cross was the victory. I often wonder how strong the temptation was not to go. And what exactly was the reward for being killed? In His book, MAKE YOUR BED, McRaven challenges seal recruits to “dare greatly.” Jesus dares to be great and turns the whole understanding on it head. “Any who would dare to be great must become a servant of all.” I hope and pray you dare to be great today.

~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie



Word of Encouragement

Chapter 6 Failure can make you stronger

Not everything in life works out exactly the way you have planned. In fact my plans so rarely work just right my kids ask why do you keep making those plans. Honestly, I have become better at making adjustments than at making the original plan, and maybe that is the point. Being able to make adjustments is a misunderstood skill. It has to be learned and can only be learned when plans start falling apart. When I was a youth pastor, I was notorious for changing the rules of a game in midstream. It drove everyone nuts but I wanted them to learn how to adjust. One time we were playing football and the rule change was, “when you score the other team gets the points.” They all just sat down. Very funny. I hope you know that God appreciates people who make adjustments and do not simply give up, sit down. If it is time for you in life to make an adjustment, I pray God lead they way.