Lord You Are Good

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Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

Instead of writing this from home, I am writing from Houghton College.  We are here for a week of Refresh Retreat and Family Camp.  If you are thinking tents or RV’s and Outdoor tabernacles, this retreat is far from that.  The only way we are considered to be roughing it is because we don’t have any A/C.  I am looking forward to this week.

Tomorrow and Tuesday I will be teaching a seminar called, “Worship:Bridging the Gap.”  We will look at the various gaps between big and small, old and new and the gap between the generations.  I only have an hour and it’s the first time I’ve done something like this.  Really looking forward to it.  We are trying to figure out what other seminars we want to go to. Derek Vreeland is our special guest speaker and had some great words on opening night. The afternoons will be filled with free time. I look forward to getting to know our district family better.

Tomorrow I get to run somewhere I’ve never run before, should be interesting.  We did have a good week this past week.  At the end of this week, we get to see part of our Canadian family and we are looking forward to that as well.

We had another good service this morning and I am grateful for what God continues to do and continue to ask for his power in my life and in our ministry.  That’s about all I have time for tonight. Need to get up early to get my run in.  Blessings.

Prayer for the Week

cropped-cropped-cropped-worship111.jpgO God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Running Update

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It’s been a long time since I wrote one of these, but this was the kind of week that I needed to write this.  Over the last couple of weeks it has been a struggle, but for some reason, this week things changed.  I’ve had several strong runs this week, two six-milers and a long, slow 10-miler today.  Today’s pace was a 10:15 min/mile, which just a few weeks ago, I was struggling with that pace on short runs and one of my six milers was under a 10 min/mile pace.  In addition I have 130 miles of walking and running for the month and if all goes well, I will finish July under 200 pounds.  The first time I have done that since December. Yes, very excited about all of that.  Pressing On!

 

What Shall Separate Us?

lucky-ladybug-1949618_640.jpgEighth Sunday after Pentecost | July 30, 2017


Romans 8:26-39 | New Living Translation (NLT)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Over the last few weeks, we have looked at life in the Spirit.  Not only have we done this here on the blog, but Pam and I have been preaching a series on the Fruit of the Spirit.  I love the reassurance that comes from first verse in today’s reading.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness

Interesting…The law only served to show how weak we are…that we are incapable of following God’s law. The Holy Spirit, however, knows our weaknesses and helps us.  Paul even mentions that the Holy Spirit works in our prayer life, interpreting the groans that we make sometimes – the Holy Spirit helps us pray to God when we don’t know what to pray.  How cool is that?  The Holy Spirit, as Jesus reminded us, is our Advocate – he is our go-between – he knows how to intercede between us and God, because He knows the Father’s will.  That struck me as very special this morning.  It reminds us – as most of this passage does – that Christians do not have to walk around in defeat.  The Holy Spirit wants us to have the victory. In light of that statement, listen to Romans 8:28:

28 And we know that everything works together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

God wants the very best for us.  That doesn’t mean however that we won’t go through trials and suffering.  The New Testament is very clear about that.  Yet, God chose us – he wants the best for us and He is making us into His new creation.

I love this last section in chapter 8.  Paul asks the question?

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?  

We are reminded that God gave up his own Son, Jesus for us – and that God wants the best for us and he will give us everything we need.  We are reminded again that Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us and he is also pleading for us.  Wow – not only do we have the Holy Spirit working on our behalf, but we also have Jesus pleading for us.  I think for too many people, they think God is watching on high, just waiting to strike us down at any moment – the moment we do just one thing wrong.  I can understand when someone says that they wouldn’t want to serve a God like that.  But that’s not the picture that we receive here.

Paul asks the question, “Can anything ever separate us from God’s love?”  Paul asks a second question, “Does it mean that he no longer loves us if with have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?”  There are those who would say that these things that are mentioned above are a sign of weakness – a sign of a lack of faith.  KNOW this…Christ loves us!  He really loves us and nothing can separate us.  We need those things listed above so that our faith will grow.  I don’t know about you, but my faith grows the most in the valley, not on the mountaintops.  The mountaintops are great, but in the valleys, that’s where the real work gets done.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  

We can live in the victory of Christ, even when it seems like all around us is falling apart. God loves us.  The last section are some of my favorite verses in the scriptures:

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is nothing – absolutely nothing that can separate us from God’s love.  Some use this verse to say that once we are a believer in Christ, that we can never not be a believer.  No, the same free will that God allowed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is still available to us.  After reading this again this morning, I don’t know why someone would want to walk away from their relationship with Christ, but it is still possible…otherwise there wouldn’t be warnings about falling away in the faith in the scriptures.

I want you to notice something.  All the things that are mentioned here are outside forces.  There is no outside force in all the heavens or earth that can separate us from God’s love, but if we want – we can walk away.

Enough said about that…God loves us, he really loves us.  He desires a loving, intimate relationship with His children.  This morning I’m reminded of two songs that I’m going to leave you with.  Blessings….

God Moments

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear.

1 Peter 3:15-16a

So, yesterday I had one of those moments.  It was a God-ordained moment.  As most of you know, I am a bi-vocational pastor. That means that I have to supplement the income that our church so graciously provides.  For a small church, we receive a generous income and housing.  To supplement what the church provides, I work for a local student transportation contractor.  How I got into that is another story.  Suffice it to say that Pam and I were in switching our title and registration at the local notary.  The contractor knew I was the new pastor at McCrae Brook and is always looking for willing drivers.  It actually works out very well for me.

My current route takes me over to Bradford twice – once at 8 and then at 11.  Some mornings I forgo that and just stay in Bradford.  This allows me to take my computer and Bible and work on sermons – or as is the case this morning – Powerpoint slides and this blog post.  We don’t really have a local coffee shop, so I go to the local Sheetz. They have a nice little eating area and there are also small tables where I can set up and they have free wifi that doesn’t cut off after a half hour.  I always order some food and then go to work.

Yesterday, I was working on my sermon, when a young man sat down in one of the booths.  I nodded hi, thinking nothing of it, but that led to him initiating a conversation. We talked about several things, but eventually he saw my Bible and my laptop and that took us into a little conversation about God.  It was brief because not long after we started, his phone went off and he left.

It really did get me to thinking about the verse above.  I know some of my other pastor friends do this, but I really never expected that to happen, but it was cool.  You never know when God is going to show up, even in a Sheetz. So always be ready give an answer for the hope you have – and do it with gentleness and respect! Amen.