A word from the Pastor with your coffee …
We Are All Vulnerable
March 25, 2020
I’m a vulnerable adult.
That’s what the health professionals are saying, because I fit into a certain age bracket. That’s what my children are saying, because they are concerned about their father and want to take care of me.
I, too, say that I’m a vulnerable adult, but it has nothing to do with the coronavirus. It has to do with my heart, mind, eyes, and mouth. In fact, I think that we are all vulnerable adults, teens, and children!
During these days and weeks, when many of us are spending more time at home or alone, let us not think that just because we are protected from a virus, we are also protected from temptation (I Corinthians 10:12,13). We aren’t!
The Scriptures say:
- Guard your heart. (Proverbs 4:23)
- Guard your mouth. (Psalms 141:3)
- Guard your eyes. (Job 31:1)
- Guard your thoughts. (2 Corinthians 10:3)
- Be on the alert for the devil’s efforts. (I Peter 5:8)
As I “social distance,” I want to also “spiritual distance” myself from the sins of the heart, the mind, the mouth, and the eyes. Temptation doesn’t stay six feet away from me! What about you?
Friends, I not only care about your physical health, but I care about your spiritual health. Please do not neglect it during this difficult time.
Be strong in the Lord.
Feed on the Word.
Take thoughts captive.
Pause before speaking.
Protect your eyes.
Let’s build some good spiritual habits that will continue when this crisis is over.
– Pastor Marlin
Bless Your Household
March 20, 2020
In 2 Samuel 5 and 6, we read about King David’s experiences of victory, grief, anger, frustration, and joy. David was able, with God’s help, to conquer the mighty Philistines, regaining possession of the Ark of the Covenant. As the Ark was being transported back to Judah, a man was killed on the spot, trying to steady it when the oxen pulling the cart stumbled. David grieved the death of this man and was angry over what seemed unfair. So, he cancelled the transport of the Ark. Once bringing the Ark back to Judah resumed, David freely danced and celebrated with great joy.
The text tells us that after experiencing all of those ups and downs emotionally, “David returned home to bless his household.” I don’t know about you, but today that statement really grabs my heart.
Men of God … in these uncertain and ever-changing days, it is very possible that you are experiencing all kinds of emotions. Perhaps things are happening at your work that frustrate you, or even frighten you, because you sense your job might be threatened by disease and cancellations. Maybe you are already feeling an effect on your financial situation. Whatever you are experiencing, I have an assignment for you: When you go home, bless your household! Be a blessing to your dear wife and to your children. They need you more than ever.
Wives and children, when the man of your household comes home and brings you a blessing, please respond with love, respect, and gratitude. Do not be like David’s wife, Michal. As we read on in the story, when David returned home, sadly his wife immediately began criticizing him.
Let’s be “one another people” in our homes during this season we are facing. Give blessings and receive blessings in a way that produces harmony and peace amidst the turmoil. What a difference it will make.
A Prescription for Worry
March 17, 2020
Coronavirus, self-quarantine, social distancing, test kits, masks, handwashing, cancelations, closings, stocks tumbling, etc.
We are hearing these words all day long, every day. How are you doing with the ever-changing pandemic news and recommendations? Life can certainly change quickly, can’t it? It reminds me that we continue to have much less control than we tend to think.
What are your feelings and thoughts like these days? Do they include fear, anxiety, worry, confusion, frustration, or even anger?
I once met a pastor who carried a notepad with him wherever he went. When he would be in a conversation with someone who was sharing their fears and anxieties, he would take out the pad and a pencil. On a piece of paper from the notepad, he would write a Scripture reference: Philippians 4:6-8. As he handed the paper to the person, this pastor would say, “Read these verses twice every day and call me in a week.”
He told me that this was his prescription for anxiety and fear.
What do these verses say? Well, since you might not have a Bible handy, here it is:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable … if anything is excellent or praiseworthy … think about such things.”
Friends, in these uncertain days, do you need a prescription to address the anxiety and fear? I offer the same prescription my pastor friend presents. Read Philippians 4:6-8 twice every day and email me in a week (firstname.lastname@example.org). God’s peace can guard your heart and mind. It really can.
Trivial, and Not So Trivial Questions
February 12, 2019
“In 1900, how many American homes, out of every 7 homes, had a bathtub?”
That was the final trivia question in our annual Men’s Trivia Tournament recently. A team of two men answered it correctly to win the championship. Now, when you and I see that question, we most likely think, “Who cares about bathtubs in 1900? What does it matter?”
We would be absolutely right! It is a trivial thing, and that’s why we call the game “Trivia.”
I have two questions for you that aren’t trivial at all. In fact, they are of eternal importance. Jesus actually asked these questions, so I simply pass them on to you:
“What do you benefit, if you gain the whole world, but lose your soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Mark 8:36 NLT)
There is nothing that this world can offer, which would be of greater value than the joy of eternal life with Jesus Christ, the one who created us and loves us. He is the one who paid our sin penalty on the cross. He is the one who conquered death by His resurrection. He gives forgiveness, reconciliation, and a heavenly home to those who humbly repent and follow Him by faith. If we pursue anything, or anyone besides Jesus, we lose. And that isn’t a trivial thing.
Please surrender your entire life to Jesus today.
*By the way, the answer to the trivia question was “1” in 7 homes had bathtubs in 1900.
~ Pastor Marlin
December 7, 2018
One Sunday I asked the congregation if anyone had ever journeyed out of the country to celebrate Christmas. One person spoke up and said, “Pittsburgh!” Now, Pittsburgh isn’t outside the country, but I suppose it certainly is a lengthy journey from the Minnesota Iron Range.
The longest Christmas journey ever taken was from Heaven to earth. That is a long journey! It was taken by Jesus Christ, and it is the journey that we are celebrating these days.
Jesus, who existed in the beginning and was God, became flesh, making His dwelling among us. (John 1:1-14) He humbly emptied Himself and was made in human likeness; God becoming man. (Philippians 2:5-7) It must have been an amazing journey for Jesus! There is absolutely no way that you or I can figure out how Jesus did this, but we do know why He did it.
Jesus said that He came from Heaven to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10) He said that He made the long journey from Heaven to earth in order to serve and to give His life, as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45) Jesus came to die in our place, friends. He came to pay our sin penalty, so that forgiveness and a right relationship with our Holy Creator would be available.
Jesus took the long journey from Heaven to earth for you and me. What journey are we willing to take for Jesus this Christmas?
- The journey of repentance and surrender to the One who died for us
- The journey of change (an attitude or behavior)?
- The journey of restoration in a relationship that has been broken?
- The journey of service, obediently using our gifts and abilities for His purposes?
- The journey of trust during the season, even if life is hard?
It is time to choose your Christmas journey. When choosing, be sure to remember the journey Jesus chose with you in mind.