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Pastoral Resources

Sunday Bulletin Inserts

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Ultimate Soul Satisfaction

. They knew all the right theology, and they were very committed to doing ministry and the work of the church. Yet they lost the essence of their being, purpose, and joy. No amount of work in Jesus' name can satisfy the soul unless it is done enjoying the presence of Jesus all the while. It is in His presence, says , and we need it daily (. As we eat of the Word of God, we are able to grow deeper into our relationship with God Himself. The best way to come to know Him is to listen and learn what He has told us about Himself. As we do this, we are moved to change, to conform, to worship, to marvel, and to be totally and ultimately satisfied.

. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (, if only we would let Him take up our cause and take the weights off our shoulders. Christianity is ultimately about knowing a Person, a Person Who loves us more than any other and Who is Himself God. No one can help us more, understand us better, or comfort us more effectively than He. When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (. This process of drawing near as we pray, meditate on His Word, and let God have access to the entirety of our hearts and minds, is the key in enjoying the Living water ( of Christ that enables us to never thirst again.

As Christians, we have the right as children of God to have eternal, abundant life, and if we lack this, it is not God Who is to blame but ourselves. If we feel confused, off course, lacking joy, or losing our hope, we need to slow down, hit the 'pause button' on life, and spend time with Christ. We must come to Him with our hearts open, and we need to tell Him what is true and what we feel. He already knows, so there is no point in dancing around the truth. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, He will give us wisdom if we ask, and He will refresh our soul. Our hearts will be purified, our minds will be clarified, and our wills will be strengthened. Our emotions will be regulated, and our hopes will be regained. God will make His will clear to us as we apply His Word to our lives with the help of His Spirit. Then we will know what to do, how to do it, and we will have joy in the process.

Unconditional Love

My beloved friend Stan over at st if he had not returned to the father.

Under Attack

The past couple of weeks have been an absolute whirl wind. I moved apartments, am in midst of changing jobs, and if that was not stressful enough what was meant to be a weekend getaway turned out to be a very heavy weekend personally and spiritualy. I felt very much under attack, only to encounter the final blows on my flight home.

My return flight was very early in the morning and unlike me I was running late. I was flying with a friend however, and that helped keep me calm until she decided to leave me resulting in me not speaking to her out of anger and hurt. I was detained for an additional security check, I barley made it onto my flight so exasperated that I almost passed out. Since we are on red alert, I had to check my carry on and the baggage claim took almost an hour to return our bags after landing. When my bag did finally roll off of the belt it was ripped open! Can it get any worse? It did, I got on the wrong buss and ended up having to return to the airport to catch the correct one, missing my train back into the city and coming into work an hour and a half later then anticipated. Once at work one of my roommates informed me that our third roommate's boyfriend decided to play a practical joke on her (in our shared room) making it impossible to enter the room without setting off his booby trap, and setting us up for a major clean up. How is that for a visual?

1 Peter 4:12-19 12Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the 14Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. 15As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. 16God said, "I am holy; you be holy."

17You call out to God for help and he helps--he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living. Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. 18It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. 19He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. 20And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately--at the end of the ages--become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. 21It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

22Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it.

Until We're All Safe

I have very few all time favorite TV programs. 'Walker, Texas Ranger' is one of those because one of the things Chuck Norris made sure was present on his show was a strong and positive representation of God. There were even episodes where a blatant mention of Jesus needed in a person's life for a lasting positive change was the focal point. Hard not to like that kind of program. Another one is 'JAG.' The title is an acronym for Judge Advocate General and dealt with the workings of the JAG Corps in the Washington D. C. area. The writing was crisp, the plots interesting and the relationships complex.

Two of my favorite characters were Admiral A. J. Chegwidden, the JAG Director, and Gunnery Sgt. Victor Galindez, Office Manager. In one episode Gunney Galindez approached Admiral Chegwidden to request a transfer to an active duty station. After granting the transfer and reflecting with the Gunney that he wished he were going with him, Admiral Chegwidden said, 'Be safe, Gunney.' The Gunney replied, 'Until we're all safe, sir.' It had nothing whatsoever to do with the two main plots in the episode, but it had everything to do with the character of the series. JAG is responsible for making sure that those who sail the seven seas in our defense do so lawfully and justly. 'Until we're all safe, sir.' There's a lot in that simple response.

The apostle Paul was in the process of writing to his young protege, Timothy. He had just admonished Timothy to be faithful in the preaching of the gospel and patient in the things that might threaten to thwart his efforts. Then Paul waxed melancholy. 'For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.' 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Paul was about to be transferred.

That was pretty much the entire reason for the letter he wrote to Timothy. Paul had devoted his life to the presentation of the gospel to make sure that the world knew the Son of God, Jesus, as Savior. He had endured beatings, humiliations and even a shipwreck in the pursuit of preaching the precious message of Christ to the world he knew. It had been anything but a cakewalk. It had taken everything he had within him plus the influence of the Holy Spirit to keep Paul on the mark. He was getting older and wanted to make sure that all that he had begun and established would not suddenly collapse with his departure. He wanted the gospel to be safe; to be in safe hands which would bear it with the same passion he did.

His final comment to Timothy in this passage contains much the same content as that of the wordplay between Admiral Chegwidden and Gunney Galindez. He was letting Timothy know that he was going to be safe, but he wanted to make sure that those who come behind him are also safe. He would get his crown, but he wanted to be sure that 'all those who love His appearing' would also receive theirs. Timothy's challenge? To preach the gospel until we're all safe. Each subsequent generation of the redeemed is presented with that same mantle. So I pass on to you what has been committed to me. Be safe, until we're all safe.

Up-to-date

It is good to be back. Bet you didn't even miss me. Vacation time or retreat time that takes me away from the house also takes me away from the computer. That's right, I don't have a laptop or notebook or portable or whatever you would call it. I am stuck with one computer at one location and it stayed home while I was gone. I guess I'm just not up-to-date.

Speaking of up-to-date, while on the Hikes Point (Louisville, KY) Christian Church Golf Retreat with eleven of the nicest guys you would want to meet, one of the men was having some tire problems. Ed Wiley had just recently put new tires on the van he and his son-in-law, Norman Cartwright, were driving for the trip. The new tires were on the front of the van. When the van got up to a certain speed one tire would bounce.

Ed had it checked a couple of times before leaving Kentucky but to no avail. While in Myrtle Beach Ed got out early one morning and took the van to a local tire shop for them to look at it. The tires on the van came from a Big 'O' Tire shop here in Kentucky. The tech at the shop asked Ed what kind of tires were on the van. "Those are Big 'O' Tires," Ed responded. The tech deadpanned back, "Those are big ole tires cause that's a big ole van, but what kind are they?"

Ed realized that the man wasn't up on his out-of-state tire brands and had to explain that he had said, "Big 'O' Tires," not "Big ole tires." If you're going to be in the tire business you have to stay up-to-date. Gratefully, in the kingdom of God the only thing that changes is the way things are done and not the facts of salvation or the equipment we use to stay solid in the faith.

We still stand, "having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." Ephesians 6:14-17 That is always up-to-date.

Use Your Smiling Voice

I am not the cheeriest person you will ever meet. I don't smile as much as I should and I don't greet everyone with a perky "Good morning!"

One of my sons has, sadly, picked up on my doom and gloom morning philosophy and is either grumpy or anxious in the morning. Quite the opposite, my younger son has the disposition of Mary Poppins and is singing and prattling happily about nothing from the moment he awakens.

I'm sure I have been responsible for lowering the mood of more than one person who has encountered me in the morning, not by being intentionally rude or difficult, but just because I'm not ready to face the day quite yet. The moods of others can affect us more than we realize. I try to remember this for my children's sakes.

One particular gas station I frequent had a clerk who was just plain rude to the customers. She was rude to me on more than one occasion for no reason that I could fathom. She also treated a friend of mine rudely. She no longer works there. Now I am greeted by a smiling clerk who always thanks me and tells me to enjoy my day.

Another establishment that I call often used to have a receptionist who answered in a clipped voice and sounded as if it was a real imposition for her to answer your call and put up with you, even though that was her JOB! The new receptionist is at the other end of the spectrum. Now I am greeted with a "Good morning!" which sounds genuine and a tone of voice which implies, "I'm here to help."

What a difference than makes. The greeting sets the tone for the entire conversation – sometimes even the day.

I want to be more aware of the smile in my voice (or missing from it) as I encounter people, no matter the time of day or night. I don't want to be responsible for setting a negative tone for their day. I don't want to set that kind of example for my children. Most importantly, I don't want to be that kind of ambassador for Christ.

Sometimes when I put on a smile and make an attempt at cheerfulness I start to really mean it!