Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

It’s Sunday evening, so it must be time for this week’s edition of Sunday Night Thoughts.  In weather news, which is where I normally start, we are back to winter in Eldred.  Since about Wednesday it has been snowing – mostly snow showers.  We have about two inches on the ground.  We got off easy – some places to our north got much more.  By the end of the week, it will be much colder, but statistically speaking it is the coldest week of the year, so cold weather is normal.  We had two weeks of rather unseasonably warm weather and no snow, so it’s nice to get back to it.

We are getting ready for the birth of our next grand baby. Her due date is the end of this week.  It was good to talk with Rebecca, Michael and Robert this past week.  I am so thankful for technology like Skype and Facetime.  We are looking forward to her arrival and can’t wait to see her.

I looks like my driving job is finally starting to go like I want it.  I got in almost a full week last week, and this week looks good as well.  It’s challenging at the end of the week, but I’m loving the opportunity.

This past Wednesday night we had a wonderful Spirit-filled, Spirit-let prayer meeting.  As the prayer meeting progressed it became clear that God is calling us to revival and more importantly he is calling us to have revival start with us.  God is doing a great work here at McCrae Brook and I continue to look forward to what he has in store.

This week we get to met with our local pastors.  We have a great local community clergy association.  We are preparing for a Lenten series of services.  Again, I am looking forward to what God has in store.

This past Friday night, my family led worship with our friends at First Wesleyan Church in Bradford.  They are doing a Friiday night worship service at a local coffee house in downtown Bradford.  The Wesleyan Church has been talking about Made New gatherings.  This service is one of those.  We will continue to partner with our friends there.

This morning we had a good service at McCrae Brook.  From the very beginning the theme is what the Lord requires of us.  We sang songs like “I Am Resolved” and “I Will Follow Jesus.” I preached on Pioneers.  It really was a very short lesson on the history of The Wesleyan Church.  Many were pleasantly surprised at the history of our church.  My challenge was to ask God to start revival in each one of us.

In just a few weeks, we will be holding revival services in our church.  Please be praying for our church as we have these services.

That’s about all I have for tonight.  See you next week.

Prayer for the Week

Prayer_Banner_22-760x176

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Message of the Cross

No automatic alt text available.Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany (January 29, 2017)


1 Corinthians 1:18-31 | New Living Translation (NLT)

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
    and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”


During the season that follows Epiphany, we continue to be in 1 Corinthians.  Remember that this season is about the mission of Jesus.  Why did Jesus come? What was Jesus doing?

Right off the bat, Paul declares, “The message of the cross is foolishness…” “To whom is the message of the cross foolishness?” we should ask.  Paul continues, “It is foolish to those who are headed for destruction!”  Then he goes on, “But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.”

Paul then lays out his argument.  I don’t think it would come as surprise to any believer that there are those who think what we do as foolishness.  They say that it is foolish to believe in God – it is foolish to believe in Christ – it is foolish to believe that Christ died for our sins – it is foolish to believe that Christ rose again from the grave – and so on.

He goes on to say that human wisdom cannot understand – human philosophy cannot understand the power of the cross.  It is interesting in verse 23 Paul writes, “So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.”

I like that Paul doesn’t leave us there for long.  In our human wisdom, the plan of salvation doesn’t make much sense – I think that’s the beauty of it.

The foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

It is important to remember that God’s kingdom is a backwards kingdom – God’s ways are not our ways.  Jesus us tells us to be first, you must be last.  If you want to be great, you must be a servant. Power is not important in God’s economy. Strength is not important in God’s economy.  Why else would powerful God become Emmanuel (Jesus) – God with us and lay down his very life for us?  We are his creation and we killed him.  Think about a God who was killed by his very own creation.  The ones that He loved. And He willingly gave himself up for our sake.  That is a very different economy.

Paul writes again, “God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.”

The reasoning behind that is so that none of us can boast that we can save ourselves – our wisdom can’t save us – our philosophy can’t save us – our good works – our good deeds can’t save us – because if they could – we would boast about it. That’s just the way we are – that is our human nature or our old man or perhaps to use a spiritual word – our carnal nature.  I love the last two verses:

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

As I write this, Pam, Anna and I are watching “Prince of Egypt.” We were watching the Packers/Falcons game but that was just getting ridiculous.  I am enjoying the animated adaptation of the Exodus.

The weather here in Eldred is very abnormal for this time of year.  Instead of being bundled up, we are wearing long sleeves and yesterday I ran in shorts.  We hit almost 60 on both yesterday and today.  It looks like all that changes tomorrow night.  By the end of the week, we will more than likely be back to winter. The break was nice.

I was able to get out for two runs last week. I really need to get out and do more, despite the weather.

This past week, Pam and I went to Buffalo for our monthly pastor’s meeting.  It was good to be with the Western New York pastors.  I love the vision that our District Superintendent has for our area.  It is good to hear how God is on the move here in this very historic district. We had a good meeting and following the meeting we went shopping and then used a gift card for Olive Garden.  Unfortunately we had some fog – at least for the first 20 miles. Finally the fog lifted and we were able to make our way home at a normal speed.

I have been working on some things for our local ministerial association.  We are working on having a Lenten series this year and working on Baccalaureate service.  I am excited the way we are working together.  Another thing that has been keeping me busy is driving for the local school transportation company.

This week I will be officiating a funeral.  It is for a lady who was part of our church.  Speaking of church, we had a great service this morning.  I love the way that God is on the move in our community and in our church as well.  I preached on the godly heritage that we have as Wesleyans and the heritage that we have in the universal church.  Next week the message will be focused on our heritage in the Wesleyan church.

That’s about all I have for tonight – have a great week.

Prayer for the Week

Prayer_Banner_22-760x176Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Live In Harmony

Hand, United Hands, United, Together, People, UnityThird Sunday after the Epiphany (January 22, 2017)


1 Corinthians 1:10-18 | New Living Translation (NLT)

10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. 12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”

13 Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. 16 (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) 17 For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.

18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.


This week’s reading continues where last week’s left off.  Paul is writing to the church at Corinth, but apparently from this passage, there are some divisions in the church.  We often think division in the church is a new thing – but it isn’t.  Division in the people of God has been around almost since creation.

Paul appeals to the authority of Christ. In his writings, Paul has clearly established that Jesus has been given authority by God over all things…and Jesus is also the head of the church.  Jesus himself said that he was given authority by God.

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus has not given us the authority to create division – we can do that all by ourselves – but Jesus has given us the authority to go out and preach the Good News.  Jesus tells us to go and make disciples.  Just this week, Pam and I were at our district leadership meeting (which I have really enjoyed) and we heard once again the strategic focus of The Wesleyan Church:

Celebrating every time a disciple makes a disciple and a church multiplies itself, until The Wesleyan Church has a transforming presence in every zip code.

We have been given authority to go and make disciples – Jesus gives us a good idea – in a concise statement as to what the church should be doing.  I love the strategic focus above. It gets to the heart of what we are called to do.

Yet, the church struggles with this – and we end up in division.  This is why Paul writes, “by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no division in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”

Paul tells us that there were some who say, “I follow so and so” or “I follow someone else.” We do not follow humans – Paul reminds us of that very clearly.  Christ has not been divided and neither should we.  Paul states this in a big way. First, he asks the question, “Have I, Paul, been crucified for you?” and then a second question, “Did I baptize you in the name of Paul?” Paul emphatically states, “NO!”

Paul then goes on to remind us, “Christ sent me to preach the Good News – not with clever speech.”  We are reminded that the Good News is above all else in making disciples. Paul fears in clever speech the cross of Christ will lose its power.  I think those of us who are ministers of the gospel are quite aware that there are many who think what we do is foolishness.  It makes no sense that the cross and the resurrection are our salvation. We want so much to do it on our own.  But for those of us who are being saved (I like that – being saved – it really is a crisis and a process) the cross is the very power of God.

The mission of Christ (which is what this season between Epiphany and Lent is all about, is preaching the Good News of the Kingdom.  He is calling each one of his followers to spread his light.  That should unite us in purpose.  Let’s join Christ in his mission – we are followers of Christ – not of human wisdom – but followers of Christ.  Let’s unite in Christ’s mission to teach the Good News of the Kingdom.