Thursday, 6/29/2017

Good Morning, Friend,

What an exciting week this has been. It is Wednesday when I am writing and much has gone on during the past few days. On Tuesday evening we had four people from our church come and help on three different projects to get ready for our next steps in the remodel program. John Reed came to help with the staining a million pieces of trim (okay, there were not that many, but a lot). Vickie Love came along to help John and my wife in the staining process. While that was going on, Donnie Patterson came along and did some important shimming of the “hole-in-the-wall” area that will accept the cabinet top as well. He got inside our “hole” and scoped out the situation and later crawled back inside to nail in the 2x4’s to get it ready for our counter tops. As Donnie was finished with his project, Greg Cox came along to do some necessary plastering at the north end of the kitchen. He does more in 2 minutes than I do in 20 minutes. He is an expert and very efficient in what he does. The work is progressing quite well. We have some priming and painting to do after the plaster dries. Linda is becoming very excited as we see each day pass, but we are both patient as we wait for each phase to fall into place all in God’s timing. On Wednesday morning I received a call that the counter tops may not be going in on Thursday. The machine that attaches the sink to the bottom of the counter top is broken. It is made in Italy and it may not be done in time so they would have to reschedule it for next week…maybe Friday. At 3:30 p.m. I receive another call saying that they have it fixed and will be on schedule for Thursday at about 10:30 a.m. God works all things for His glory.

1 Corinthians 5:8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (ESV)

Subject:  Celebrate with Sincerity & Truth

Paul has just talked about cleansing out the old leaven (sin) that the new lump (batch of dough…our lives) can be unleavened. This is not talking about our position, but our state or spiritual condition at this time. Our position in Christ never changes, our condition can change moment by moment or at any time in our relationship with the Lord. Our position is steadfastly secure in our eternal destiny in heaven because it is a free gift of God. Our condition in Christ is changed when we sin or live in sin as a believer in Jesus Christ. When we are living in sin, the only alternative to be restored in fellowship with our God is to repent. That involves acknowledging our sin and agreeing with God that what we have done is wrong and seek His help not to commit that sin again. Then we need to thank Him for His grace, mercy, and forgiveness and move on in our spiritual walk.

It is at this time that we can celebrate (observe a feast) and rejoice because the old leaven (sin) is gone. Wickedness and a wicked attitude and our fleshly nature can get a believer down in the dumps. It can cause depression, a lack of joy and peace, and even a lack of security in our salvation. The longer we hold on to sin and not confront it, confess it, and surrender our wills to God’s will, the deeper and longer you may have challenge of getting to the “abundant life” that we can have in Jesus Christ.

What festival is Paul talking about? It could be a fellowship meal with other believers in Christ. It could be a time celebrating the Lord’s Supper. It is at this time that one needs to come without yeast (sin) in our lives along with sincerity (purity of motive) and truth (reality) in our hearts and minds. It is here that we truly enjoy our times of fellowship and worship in the feasts with God’s people and with the Lord.

God is always looking at our hearts. He sees deep inside and discovers who we are and what we are truly like (truth). He looks for the motivation that we have down deep inside and sees how it plays out in each day that we live.

There are times we become a hypocrite (actor). This is not a good place to be when it comes to our relationship with God. Obviously, He sees through our pretending to be a good Christian and He knows that we are just playing the part. He also knows when we are putting up a front for others to see us, but we are not sincere in what we believe and live out in our lives.

So, be genuine and transparent with God and others. Things are not always fantastic in anyone’s life. We all have struggles, challenges, and afflictions that weigh us down. Some have more than others. These things that weigh us down can cause us to feel like God abandoned us or is not there for us, but He is. You can trust HIM because He is faithful.

Celebrating with sincerity,

Pastor Les

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 6/28/2017

Good Morning, Friend,

Yes, bread is my weakness as I consider my diet of food, especially with a healthy spread of butter on top of the bread, toast, or cracker. I still enjoy soup and bread and butter for a meal. That is why I must run 4 miles, play a match of racquetball, or do something to get rid of the calories that I have consumed. I enjoy eating salted things like popcorn, a Townhouse cracker, a saltine cracker, or some other food with a taste of salt in it. Sugar is not my sweetness 95% of the time…so there are times that a desire for a sweet item in my life comes alive. My wife and I enjoy Oscar’s Custard… one scoop of the vanilla flavor. It is a small treat that we share on our date nights once in a while. There are times that I am tempted to succumb to a sweet food, but most of the time I can resist it. Most of the time I am not bothered by other people eating or drinking sweetened products. Put some popcorn with grapeseed oil, and Celtic Sea Salt in front of me and I melt. God has given us different likes and dislikes for food. I am glad for that…I am thankful for the weaknesses that I have with food. I am even more thankful for the Spirit of God to give me discipline to resist eating things that will cause me to gain weight and discipline to exercise. It is one day at a time, one meal at a time. It is a daily challenge and it will be a challenge the rest of my life. I rejoice in life and I am thankful to God for all that He has given to me. Are you thankful?

1 Corinthians 5:6-7Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Subject:  Just a Little Yeast

I remember the days when my mother made home-made bread making about 4-5 loaves of bread at a time. She would mix the ingredients together and let the bowl of dough rise in a bowl. She would take the bowl of dough and pound it down over and over again…let it rise again…and finally should would bake the bread. She wanted to make sure the yeast had gone throughout the entire piece of dough. I could hardly wait for the bread to come out of the oven…l so enjoyed the crust with melted butter just oozing into the thick slice of bread. And, then another piece of bread and butter…yum. The home-made bread with a bowl of chili was out of this world!!! One-half a loaf of bread went with that meal!

Yes, boasting is not a good thing. Boasting is “to express an unusually high degree of confidence in…being exceptionally noteworthy” about a matter. Just as I boasted in my mother’s home-made bread from the oven, so the Corinthian believers were boasting about the man that attended even though he was living in sin.

Paul asks the question, “Do you not know that a little leaven (yeast) leavens the whole lump?” He was saying that they should know that just a small piece of leaven (representing sin) in this passage, will spread to the entire congregation of believers.

Paul states a command to the Christians in Corinth. They were told to “cleanse out” the old leaven (yeast). They were to clean out and throw away the man who had sin so that the believers in the church could be unleavened (without evil or sin). That is the reason why Jesus Christ, our Passover lamb was crucified on a cross and was sacrificed (slaughtered) for our sins. He saved us so that we would live a life without sin.

But, you say, “I cannot live a sinless life!” Yes, that is true, but we were not meant to live lives with known sin abiding within us. We just do not go on living in sin and giving ourselves an excuse to sin more. Just because the grace of God is available, we are not to take advantage of that grace and do as we please. We were meant to please God at all times. If that is not your goal, you are not being a good Christian. As Paul said, “Clean out that sin in your life so you can become a new batch of dough without sin.” Strive by God’s help to live a sinless life. We need to do the best that we can to be holy and godly before the Lord. No excuses, please!!!

Striving to please God,

Pastor Les

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 6/27/2017

Good Evening,

Yes, it is Monday evening when I am writing to you. It has been a very, very busy day with a lot of small things in the pot. I did break away to run a 4 mile timed run in 39 minutes. It was cool, but the run was GREAT! I sure enjoyed doing it. I just came in from the church in which we had a Constitution and By-Laws task force meeting. We have been working on it for some time. We have two non-members, Gary Teeter & Matt Pohle, and Linda Zunker the church’s office manager involved in preparing the draft for the Board of Elders. You may ask why two non-members on this team? Well, Gary was on the Same-Sex Marriage task force when we went through that process and did a great job. Matt is a young man and it is my plan (not sure it is God’s plan) that one day he will be a church elder at GBChurch or wherever God puts him and his family. Both guys are good thinkers and are biblically concerned about a Scriptural document. We have been able to hammer out some very delicate material over the past months and are putting together a clear, simple, yet concise document that can be used for years to come. We have great unity and great input by each of the members on the team. It has been a privilege to watch God work in each meeting and see the progress. Tonight we had a great leap of work done and it may be just one more or two more meetings and we shall be done with our work unless the Board of Elders sends a part it back to the task force. It is a joy to be at this place with this document because it has been on my “bucket list” for the past 26 years to complete. We shall see what happens from this point in time. It is always in the Lord’s hands!!!

1 Corinthians 5:3-5 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Subject: Delivered Over to Satan

Have you seen any church deliver a church member over to Satan because of some sin in his or her life? It would have to be a very serious matter to do so. The issue in this chapter is a man is living with his step-mother and is having an immoral relationship with her. They are living together as husband and wife. It is forbidden to have this kind of relationship under the law and Paul addresses this matter in the dispensation of grace.

What Paul would like to see is a repentant heart from this man. It is a chance to change the course of his life. We do know the end of this story and he did repent. But, unknown to Paul, he instructs the Corinthian Bible Church to make a judgment of this man and his sin. They were to assemble with Paul’s spirit present and deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.

Can a church do this today? Can I pray that God will take a person’s life if he is living in known sin? I would say it is possible, but my heart would be praying for repentance and a crushed heart for the Christian sinner. There have been times that I have had opportunities to pray such a prayer, but I asked God to convict that person of sin and to change their attitude. The purpose of delivering the person over to the devil is cause them to face their sin, repent of their sin, and seek the face of God once again.

But, there is one thing that Satan cannot do, he cannot take away the eternal destiny of any person who has sincerely trusted Christ as one’s personal Savior. The name is permanently written in the book of life. Heaven is one’s destiny when a person takes that step of faith! “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul & body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28). Yes, this man’s soul and spirit will be saved in the final Day of Judgment!!!

So will yours and mine. It should not give you license to sin, but should allow us to be thankful for God’s grace. We should desire to live holy lives for His glory! (Rom. 5:20-6:1). May you and I surrender ourselves to holiness by the grace of God!!! May we be thankful that we are eternally saved and know that there is no sin that we commit that can keep us from going to heaven forever!

Saved by God’s grace,

Pastor Les

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Monday, 6/26/2017

Dear Believer in Christ,

Do you like to play dominoes? I have not played them for a long time…the game, that is. There is another “game” of dominoes and we play it every day. If one thing is done, then we can do another thing in the scheme of the day, week, month, or year. But, if the one thing is not done, it stalemates the rest of the sequence of events of our future.

I just received an email from a couple of special Christian friends and co-laborers in Christ that come to our church. They were disappointed to have missed Sunday’s service. They had a visit of a friend from a nearby city. During her visit on Friday, it led to the next domino…she broke her wrist, she went to the urgent care and it was hours and hours of time, the doctor said to her, “you need surgery, but I cannot do it.”,…too late to go to Madison…a night’s rest...but she could not drive the next day so they drove her to Madison…she lives in the country…they settled her in and did some things to help her to get by for the next few days…it was late Saturday when the young couple got home & in bed (they are a little older than me)…they were just plain tuckered out from the last 40 hours of unexpected events. PLEASE PRAY FOR JOAN (BROKEN WRIST)…JERRY & JUDY, THE GOOD SAMARITANS! Thank you! That is the game of dominoes (smile). The four of us are young…since we all have eternal life, we are at the beginning of that looooong period without end (smile).

We have our game of dominoes coming up for us. Some painting needs to be done…a steel door installed…the cabinet counter tops are supposed to be installed on Thursday…the back splash installed…the flooring on July 5…then we need to have doors put on in our home (12 of them)…stained trim work…put up all the trim work…electrical man complete his work…new appliances delivered & installed…plumbing work done…three different inspections. (Whew! That is the game of dominoes. PRAY FOR US DURING THIS TIME!  THANK YOU!!!

1 Corinthians 5:3-5 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Subject: Assessing Sinful Situations

As a leader or as a group of leaders in a church, it is not easy nor is it enjoyable to deal with sin or with the people who are committing the sin. Sometimes the person does not even see the sin in his or her life. At other times, it is blatant and obvious to both the accused and the accuser(s). One of the matters that the Bible is filled with in the Scriptures is sin beginning with Adam & Eve in Genesis 3.  Even before Genesis 3, God had to deal with the sin of the chief of angels and one-third of the angel in heaven. God does not enjoy dealing with sin, but He is always fair and just when He does finally deal with it.

The apostle Paul truly loved the people in Corinth. They had become very special to him as he saw one after another come to trust Christ as Savior. However, they did not move forward with great strides to maturity. In fact, they were still immature in their faith and were worldly in their life-style. This is not a good combination for a local church body, but it was reality.

It is because of the status of this church that Paul had to step in and take charge of the situation. The leadership was weak and did not have the courage or even the courage to judge this sinful circumstance. Since Paul was not in Corinth, yet he was with them in spirit, he had already considered the matter and concluded what should be done. The facts were undeniable. It appears the man was coming to the church and probably not the woman.

Paul told the leadership to call a church meeting and decide what to do about this man. They were to consider Paul’s judgment on the matter as they met. We shall talk about it tomorrow!

May we handle each person who has great value in God’s sight and desire the very best for each one of them. If you were in this man’s shoes, how would you want them to treat you and your sin? May you have compassion on those that sin after the flesh and make poor decisions. Pray for them, love them, accept them, and yet do not approve of what they are doing.

Living for HIM,

Pastor Les

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible ?(The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.? Used by permission.? All rights reserved.

Friday, 6/23/2017

Hi, Believer in Christ,

One of the reasons why I fell behind in doing some spring jobs is because of my involvement in the Kitchen Project. But, I knew that would happen and it appears that the “worst” consumption of time is behind me (we shall see). One of the jobs listed for this spring is the swing set project. It is nearly done, praise the Lord. Another job that I have completed is the flower bed for Linda to plant her flowers. That is also done. There is a matter of putting down weed killer in some spots around the church and parsonage this coming week, Lord willing. It is anticipated that we shall be having our new counter tops installed on June 29. That is exciting for us! It is a milestone because a number of things can now happen because of that install. The flooring can be installed after the counter tops. The next item to get done will be the electrician. The appliances can be put in their places in the kitchen. The plumber will be next and connect everything that needs water and sewer from the kitchen. Then there will be three inspections that need to be done. There are a number of small, but important needs to be completed. We have 13 doors that need to be taken out and install new ones. There is the staining, sealing, and putting a second coat of varnish on the trim through-out the kitchen, hallways, and around each door (that seems like a lot of work to me). We do have some more plastering and painting to be done. So, each day we are one day closer to getting things done around here. We even have a drawer for the silverware! Whoopee!!! We are thankful to our God!

1 Corinthians 5:1-21It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

Subject:  Our Attitude toward Sin

Attitude (our approach, outlook, mindset and viewpoint) is critical in our lives. How we set our posture “for” or “against” an issue is vitally important. Paul was aware of some of the Corinthians and their arrogant attitude toward the sin that was happening in their church. Paul was addressing this sinful situation head-on.

Paul said that they should be mourning over the man who was living with his step-mother and having a sexual relationship with her instead of being conceited and proud about it. How could anyone be proud about this kind of sin in the church? It is really beyond me. Instead of being humble, a number of believers in Christ were bigheaded about the matter. How can it be???

Paul directly states in verse 2 that the Christians should remove (take away, carry off) this couple from among the midst of the congregation. In our church, the leadership and/or membership should vote to remove the couple from the membership rolls. They should have the courage to make a judgment against the man and this woman. They should be “kicked out” of the church until there is repentance and actions fit for repentance.

Such actions would include a regret for having hurt the Lord God by their sinning. There should be sorrow for the way they have rejected the Word of God by their own sinful ways. There should be confession to the Lord and in this case to the church body for bringing such embarrassment to God’s church. This type of sin would bring shame to any church because even the pagans would not tolerate such fornication in their culture. Today in America, this type of sin would be acceptable in our worldly society, but it should not be happening in our church among the believers.

It may sound harsh that the people involved in this sin should be removed from membership and from even coming to the church until restoration of fellowship with God has been completed. Even then, there should be accountability that it does not happen again. This is not a minor offense toward God and His people.

How would you deal with this kind of a matter in your church? Would you be strong enough to stand upon the written Word of God and judge the matter? May God give us as believers the wisdom, love, grace, and strength to carry out tough-love in matters that deserve our attention!!!

Standing Firm upon the Bible,

Pastor Les

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.