Sunday Afternoon Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

A little early today, but since I’m awake to do it now, instead of after my nap.  We just got back from a wonderful meal at Sprague’s Maple Farms. Those of you from the Southern Tier know what I mean.  The kids took me out for Father’s Day.  Which Happy Father’s Day to all my father readers.

It’s been a good week here in the Brook.  I finished up my first official season of driving van and bus for the year.  We start back the week after July 4th, but I have a few weeks to break.

Summer has arrived – with both heat and humidity.  It was warm in church this morning – more on that later.

Yesterday was our district conference. This was our first District Conference in two years, because of the timing of our move. It also was our first District Conference as part of the Western New York District and pastors of the McCrae Brook Wesleyan Church.  Here in Western New York, it is a one day gathering.  Part of that is because we gather at other times of the year – our district doesn’t spread over a large geographic area, so we can get together on a regular basis.  Our church was recognized several times.  1) we were recognized for a 13% gain in attendance. 2) we gave 10% of our income to missions and 3) we were in the top 4 per capita giving in our district for giving to Global Partners.  Pam and I are excited to be part of a church like McCrae Brook.  We also got to see our good friend Wayne Richards, who now is with Habitat for Missions.  I love how this organization is partnering with churches for missions.  It was also to be with so many of our district friends.

We continue to be part of Emmaus Road, which is a ministry of First Wesleyan Church in Bradford.  This week, I led worship by myself.  We had a great spirit of worship.  God is on the move in McKean County and Western New York.

One last thing for today and that is that today was an exciting day.  Pam preached and I led the children’s worship.  We had 41 in worship this morning.  The only other Sunday we have had that many was on Easter Sunday and that was over two services.  I am beyond excited and many people were touched by Pam’s message.  Just last week we had 21 in worship, but we are now back to averaging 29 for the month of June!  It’s always amazing how God works, because it was hotter than a firecracker in church today.  I think it was somewhere around 85, even with the windows open. But God’s presence overcame all that.

That’s about all I have for this week. Blessings…

Prayer For the Week

cropped-cropped-cropped-worship111.jpg2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Remember, O Lord, what you have wrought in us and not what we deserve; and, as you have called us to your service, make us worthy of our calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

When We Were Utterly Helpless

blindfolded-1732539_640Second Sunday after Pentecost (June 18, 2017)

Romans 5:1-8  New Living Translation (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

If I’m not mistaken, we are picking up in Romans, right where we left off before Lent and Easter.  The reason I say that is that I remember writing about being made right in God’s sight through faith.  Again a reminder that Paul did not write with chapters and verses – it was one long letter.  He gets done telling us that we are made righteous with God through faith and then goes into today’s passage. Because we are made right with God through faith, we can have peace.  Whoa!  (and I say that in a good way.)

I’ve come to this passage many times because it reminds us just how great God’s love is for us.  We are reminded that we can have peace in our hearts because of the work that Christ Jesus has done for us through his death and resurrection.  Because of our faith, we are in a unique place – it is a place of grace – it is a place of undeserved privilege.  Because of our faith, we know that we will be able to share in God’s glory.

Here Paul reminds us of why we go through trials and why we suffer.  It’s a passage I’ve quoted many times.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Trials help us develop endurance.  As a runner, I have been relearning this endurance thing.  This winter in Eldred was tough and I lost much of the endurance that I had just regained back in the fall.  Finally my body is starting to respond.  Endurance takes time to develop.  We need to have perseverance. The old saying goes “Rome wasn’t born in a day.” Things take time. We live in an instant society.  Trials help us develop endurance. Endurance produces strength of character – we need people – we need believers who have a strength of character. Strength of character then strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  See the progression…God dearly loves us. He gave us Jesus to save us from our sins and we have the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

How great is God’s love – Paul tells us when we were utterly helpless – when we couldn’t even help ourselves – much like a little baby is after it is born – completely dependent on its parents.  This is what we were like before Christ – completely helpless.  When we were completely and utterly helpless – Christ came and died for each one of us – all 7 billion people on the planet now and everyone who died before.

We are reminded that Christ came to die for us, not because we were good – but because we were sinners. We know that we would have a hard time dying for someone who didn’t deserve it – we wouldn’t like dying for someone who was worthy of dying, but Christ, in his great mercy died for us…He took our place. He didn’t wait until we got our act cleaned up. No, we were too helpless for that.  He came when we were sinners.

The sacrifice that Christ made, makes us right in God’s sight through faith – it saves us from God’s condemnation – and it restores us back to the relationship with God that was designed in the Garden of Eden – Christ was the second Adam.  Because of Christ’s work, we can be friends of God – and we can rejoice in this wonderful new relationship!

Flag Day


Today is Flag Day.  It is a “forgotten” holiday in that it is not a federal holiday, so people don’t get off of work and almost all businesses remain open.  We do celebrate today.  This is the day in 1777 that Congress adopted the current American flag.

In addition, June 14 is significant in that it is also the birthday of the US Army.  Today marks the 242nd birthday of the US Army.


Our flag is a beacon of Liberty, a symbol of hope for all people who “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed — that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…” On this Flag Day, we American Patriots display and pay homage to our national flag.