Word of Encouragement

What should we do when we get discouraged?  DIscouragement often stems from a limited perspective.  We see things with short sighted vision and limited or no peripheral vision.  So here are two suggestions to help us when we start getting the blues.

Put your glasses on so you can see long distances.  Go to the Bible to help gain courage and establish the deep rooted truth that God is in control.  Very often we run up against circumstances that are hard to se our way through.  It is important to trust God, and trust is all about being in a relationship.  Trust is a gift we give to God and one He relishes.  The gift affects us in that we learn that the God is trustworthy unto us.  Such knowledge is quite astounding in the courage it gives us to face adversity.
Looking around can be a distraction if we are looking around for ourselves.  When we are discouraged, we look for something that will help us, something that will alleviate or change our circumstances.  This sort of looking around rarely helps.  But should we choose to look around to see if there might be someone we can help, some friend who needs a listening ear, some child longing for a hug and a word of encouragement.  Should we choose to fight our own discouragement with encouragement to others, then we will see our way through.

~Grace & Peace~

Pastor Ernie


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Word of Encouragement

Another mass shooting, this one in a church on a Sunday morning. Oh my. God we need some help here. Hear our cry as your people. We repent of our evil ways. We confess that we have thought we know better ways to live than to follow your precepts. We are sorry that we have become so arrogant as to think we have better answers than the ones You gave us. Do not leave us to ourselves. Hear our cry for mercy, hear our voice again. Leave us not to ourselves. Leave us not…

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Israel did not repent, they did not pray and they were cast from their land, swallowed up by their enemies. The land did not receive the healing God desired to give it. We should pray church. We should pray for God to hear our voice again. We should pray for repentance and humility to rule the land and guide the minds of our leaders and our citizens. We should pray for Godly leadership to rise and corruption and greed be brought to an end. Humble us God. Humble them! Bring us all to our knees.

~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie


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Word of Encouragement

This past Sunday I shared a critical thinking for the church that is too important to our future simply to assume we all understood.  Here is a brief summary:  we are moving into the letters of Paul and Paul loves lists.  He presents us with many of them.  Romans 1 has a list, a long one.  The purpose of the list is twofold.  First, for the believer, the list exists to be inclusive not exclusive.  Paul does not present behavioral lists to exclude people from the kingdom.  Rather he presents them so that we (believers) are reminded that we are sinners in need of a savior.  So Romans 2:1 follows the list and Paul says believers are not to judge others.  The second reason Paul presents the lists is to remind us that what we do matters to God.  We are not free to just do whatever we wish.

As important as it is that believers not be judgmental, the more important teaching of Romans 1 is that everyone is responsible for responding to the truth of God.  Paul says creation itself should have been sufficient evidence for us to humble ourselves and worship a good and loving Creator.  When someone (or a church or a nation) chooses to reject God and create idols, God’s response is simply to turn us over to ourselves.  Simply put, we get to make up what we think is true based on our own opinions.  In our society, this means that those we elected to office will determine what is true and the truth will be handed down to us.  We will not vote on it.  And if we are being handed over to ourselves, we would vote in favor of godlessness.

The evidence that we are being handed over to ourselves is seen in the lists Paul gives us throughout his letters and in the call to become Holy Jesus offers his disciples.  So what are we to do?

We are to seek holiness and accept the reality that God’s people have always been called to be different and set apart.  We are to remain steadfast and cling to the truth.  We are to understand that eventually others will be drawn to the truth.  Light in the darkness always gets attention.  In short, we are not to conform to the pattern of the world but to be transformed by the Spirit of God. Romans 12:1-2

~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie

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Word of Encouragement

In the end, I realize I am just a single person with little ability to influence anyone in the direction of what is true. Without God empowering what I am learning, there is no hope it can really change me or anyone else. We are entering the letters of Paul in our 27/90 readings and this will be a most challenging month of reading and thinking. I had considered saving the more difficult readings for small groups but have decided that would not be beneficial for the whole church. Over the next few weeks I plan to be as bold as Paul. Rather than lead us to truth in subtlety, I will be running full force into it.

This week I plan to lay a foundation for the rest of the writings of Paul and I hope for our lives. Please read Romans 1:1-2:4 before church. Next week, November 5, will be PG 13 as I talk about marriage, human sexuality and the call to holiness in our world. Please read 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:12-7:40. Small children should go to Promiseland. Teens and maybe even preteens should be in church with you. Be prepared to converse with your family about the teaching. Parents, use your discretion. Husbands bring your wives and wives your husbands.

~Grace & Peace~


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