Thursday, 6/22/2017

Good Morning, Saint,

It has been another swift week. The past seven days have passed as a speeding ship in the night. It seems I just get up and the next thing I am getting ready for bed. Time is fleeting far too quickly. Summer is here and June is almost gone. I have preparing for my 4-mile run in August and a friend from our church invited me to run another 4-mile fun in a nearby town on July 4. We are signed up and ready to go. In preparation I have been getting my legs, lungs, and body ready for these runs. Last Friday I ran a one-mile run in 8:15. I took a few minutes rest and then ran 3.2 miles at a rate of 10-minutes/mile. My sister way not happy about me running in the heat. I told her it was only 75 degrees outside. Here is my 70-year-old sister instructing her 72-year-old brother about what to do or not do. It was a stitch! We were both laughing so hard. Monday I ran 4.44 miles at my fastest pace of 9:45/mile. Yesterday, Wednesday, I ran my longest run ever since I began training. It was 5.66 miles in 57:20, a little over 10 minutes/mile. I crossed the 4-mile barrier at the rate of 9.52/mile. The reason I have all of these stats is because I bought a “cheap” Tom-Tom watch with a GPS built into it. I appreciate it because I can go on different trails, places, and streets not concerned about my mileage and it keeps track of all of it for me. I went to Wal-Mart looking for a good timer and ended with this neat keeper of time and distance. Now I shall get myself rested and ready for the big run on July 4. Tim and I are looking forward to this run together. May God be glorified in our fellowship and in our run. He has given us the bodies to enjoy the out-of-doors and running with each other.

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:  Exceedingly Evil Sin

There is sin and there is deeper sin. It is one thing to think a sin like “mental adultery or lusting”, it is yet another thing to actively engage in adultery or doing something to fulfill the lust of one’s heart. Paul is confronting the sin, the people engaged in the sin, and the entire church for this sinful practice that is allowed to go on with a couple in the church.

There is also the sin of committing an act only one time and no more. But to commit a sin once and to continue in that sin and knowing it is wrong and knowing that it offends God is what I call exceedingly evil sin. This is the kind of sexual sin that was happening between a man and his step-mother.

This is the kind of sin that was not happening between a couple like this in the heathen world or among the nations. The pagans did not tolerate this kind of immorality, but the Christians in Corinth not only tolerate it with the couple who attended Corinthian Bible Church, but as you read the context, the believers were puffed up with pride concerning the situation (v.2).

Someone had reported this situation to Paul and he was not pleased with the circumstance. It was a matter that should have never happened. Being tolerant was and is not an option in such matters.

Today much is stated about tolerance (broad-mindedness, acceptance, forbearance) with others in our world about different matters. Whether it be with the color of skin, ethnic background, or sexual orientation, we should be tolerant by the world’s standards. As Christians we are expected to be tolerant toward all people. It does matter if a Christian is offended because our God is offended by certain acts of sin like discrimination, abortion, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage, we are expected to support the world’s philosophy and be broad-minded.

But, we as Christians must stand up and be lovingly bold clinging to the Word of God. It is sinful to discriminate between sexes, ethnic orientation, and preferences that we harbor in our hearts. But when it comes to make judgment against abortion, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage, we must stand upon the Word of God whether the world agrees with our biblical standpoint or not. May we speak the truth in love. May we have an attitude of acceptance of others (Rom. 15:7), but we cannot approve of those things in this world that are sinful, especially exceedingly sinful.

Standing on God’s Word,

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, 6/21/2017

Good Morning,

Did you have a good weekend? In 2014 Linda purchased a used swing set with a “tree house” and a slide. The kids have thoroughly enjoyed playing on it for the last three summers. We have many pictures of all the grand kids swinging, gliding on the glider, and sliding down the slide. For three years I have desired to get the set level…it was not and I wanted to secure the two poles that held up the end of swing set. They have been set on sand and I wanted to set them in cement. There were some minor repairs that were also needed to be done, like one pole that needed to be replaced because the bottom was rotted out. Well, on Thursday I began the project and worked on it until Saturday evening at 8:15 p.m. There is a bit more to be done, but it is mostly complete…the most difficult parts of the project. The rest is a piece of cake. On Monday the two Brunner kids come to our home for the day as Linda cares for them 3 days a week for the summer. It should be ready for the swings to swing high and with bigger bodies on them this summer and for the summers to come. We do need a new canopy on it (it did for three years) and that will be ordered this week. The old one is really looking poorly…praise the Lord for the three years of use! Now that summer is here…let it be a fun time for the little tykes and those that come alone in the years to come. A blessed summer to you!!!

1 Corinthians 4:21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

Subject:  Dealing with Sin

Paul is speaking to the arrogant and proud teachers and guides of Corinthians Bible Church. He has just told them that he is coming soon to the city of Corinth. Are they ready for him to come? He is going to be coming either with a rod or with a spirit of love and gentleness, the choice is theirs.

That is the way a true spiritual father must deal with his spiritual children. Paul was being honest and blunt in this situation. It is not easy to be a “Dad”. We just celebrated Father’s Day in America. There are so many stories that I could share about being a Dad and about raising children, but I will spare you all of that. But, I remember the challenging times of having to make a decision of where I would deal with a child in a spirit of love and gentleness or did they need the rod in this situation for their own good.

The word for “rod” is the word staff as well. It was an aid in walking herding animals, and even beating people. It is the last phrase that Paul is referring to in this verse. There are at least seven verses in the book of Proverbs that deal with spanking by the parents of their children. I know that the philosophy of spankings if leaving the scene today, but it is God’s way of correcting a child’s foolish ways. It is not always needed in every situation, but it is needed from time to time to correct a child’s rebellious heart. Each child is different and each child must be brought up as God’s unique person with a personality to match.

The other way that Paul could have come to Corinth was with a loving (affectionate) spirit along with gentleness (meekness and mildness). The choice was not his to make, it depended upon the arrogant people in the congregation. Paul as an apostle had the authority from God to deal with the situation in Corinth just as a prophet of the Old Testament. As you will see in the next chapter, there is some serious moral issues going on in that church. It was not child’s-play that Paul is going to have to deal with in that assembly.

This is a type of situation that pastors in churches have to deal with their people. God must give us the wisdom of Solomon of how to deal with such cases. In our sermons we must also proclaim truth in love and not stay away from sermons that deal with specific sin when needed or when it comes up in expository preaching. There are times you might have to deal with someone in love and gentleness or with a rod of correction. Be strong and do as God’s Spirit leads you. Have a heart of caring to see repentance and a turning to the Lord in your counsel and admonition.

Ready to do HIS will,

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, 6/20/2017

Hi Believer in Christ,

Two years ago our neighbor to the west died after living near each other for 28 years. However, the last two years the house stood vacant since Don, the husband, died about 9 years before Lois who passed away in May of 2015. The house was recently sold to another couple. We began praying for an opportunity to connect with them, be a testimony to them, and, if they were not saved, to lead them to the Savior. They moved in about two weeks ago and being in the midst of our kitchen project, we have been over our heads in work and the needs of the daily project’s attention. Last Friday the woman named Karen came across our lot line and introduced herself as we met and chatted with her for about five minutes. We were working on the swing set in the middle of the day. We found out that her husband’s name is Chuck and they have a 29-year-old son who is a veteran from the Iraq-Afghanistan War. She wanted to know if we would “watch the house for them” when they were going to be gone on a vacation this week. God is so good in opening the doors. We exchanged phone numbers and shared a few things about each other’s lives. Now we can pray for the specifics of their salvation. We do understand that they are Jewish, that she is a teacher in a parochial school and Chuck is a maintenance man. Pray with us if you remember our neighbors. Thanks so much!

1 Corinthians 4:18-20Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.

Subject: The Kingdom of God

Paul has just finished talking about sending Timothy with the purpose of reminding the Corinthian believers about the ways that Paul taught them when he was there in Corinth. He now reminds them that some of the teachers and guides are arrogant (v.18) and continued to teach as though Paul was not coming to visit the saints in Corinth.

Paul assures them that he is coming soon (shortly). I am sure that he is making plans as he writes this letter. And, it is all depending upon the will of God. Paul made it a practice to run the course of his Christian life by the desires and purposes of God. Do you run your life by the will of God or by the will of your own pleasures and cravings? God placed in this world to be shining light and to please Him at all times. Our time, efforts, and actions ought always to please Him and bring glory and honor to His holy Name (1 Cor. 10:31).

Paul is wanting to face the arrogant people and confront them. It will not be about words (speech, message), but about power. It is the ability that the apostles’ had as they ministered to the believers in each city and to reach out to the unbelievers, especially the Jews in God’s power. Paul still lived in a time in which the power of God was unleashed through the apostles. Paul states this very clearly in his second letter to the Corinthians. He says, “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with sighs and wonders and mighty works (deeds).” (2 Cor. 12:12)

These abilities were given during this transition time (AD 29 – 70) so that the Jews, but even Gentiles would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior. As Paul stated, “Jews demand signs and the Greeks seek wisdom,” (1 Cor. 1:22). He further says, “Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.” (1 Cor. 14:22).  Yes, Paul would come with power in this way. It was the way the twelve apostles were to bring in the Kingdom of God (the Millennial Reign of Christ).

There is a lot of talk today in Christian circles about the phrase “The Kingdom of God”, but few take the time to give a good explanation of the expression. Some talk about the Kingdom of God bringing in the Millennium (1,000 year Reign of Christ) but without genuine power. That power stopped as Rome leveled the city of Jerusalem in AD 70. All signs, miracles and wonders ceased (1 Cor. 13:10).

The kingdom of God that we should proclaim is found in Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking (the Millennium upon earth) but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” This is the kingdom that we are to proclaim to this world and to the believers that are waiting for our eternal home in heaven. It is a spiritual kingdom based upon what Christ has done and given to us as children of God. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (see 2 Cor. 5:6-10; Phil. 1:21-24; 3:20-21).

Waiting for my real home,

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, 6/19/2017

Good Morning, Loved One in Christ,

Today I want to pay tribute to a family in our church that have been a real blessing to Linda and me over the past 23 years. We met Pete and Chelsea when they were dating and came to our church one Sunday morning. In a few short weeks we invited them over because they had some questions about the Bible. Pete was saved and I have the privilege of leading Chelsea to the Lord and her salvation. It was not a long time and we had Chelsea over at our home as a regular residence for the summer. The circumstances in her life had led to her not being able to stay at her current residence and needed a place to stay. We opened our home and it was a glorious summer…Linda really enjoyed many good moments with Chelsea. To make a long story short…I had the privilege of marrying them…they had two children and the first one was Justus. They found out that he was autistic during the first two years. What really impresses me is their care, love, and support of their two children. Justus just graduated from high school with high honors and is heading to higher education. We were privileged to be invited to his graduation party. What a blessing. We came at a time that an animal lover named Noel what sharing for one hour about the animals that she owns and shares many facts with the kids in school. Justus does not like crowds of people and so the parents thought this would be a way to take away the stress of lots of people. It worked and what a wonderful hour of enjoyable learning and watching Justus and the other smaller kids enjoy learning and petting the different animals. Pete and Chelsea are super parents who love the Lord Jesus Christ and are making a mark in this world for autistic children. They have a special place in our hearts. Linda and I are thankful to know them and be a part of each other’s families. How Good God is to Us!!!

1 Corinthians 4:16-17 - I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

Subject:  Reminders Are Needed

The apostle Paul was a great teacher who had the privilege and opportunity to teach the Corinthian believers for one and one-half years. This ministry was a great challenge to him, I am sure, as we read this book and see the spiritual and moral challenges that come to our attention as we read this letter.

Paul sends Timothy to remind (to cause you to remember) them of the ways in Christ as Paul taught to them years before. We need reminders of the ways (road, path) that we need to walk in Christ. When the word “in” is used with the word “Christ”, it speaks of relationship. We were joined to HIM at the moment of our salvation and that relationship should be continuing to grow and become more intimate as the years pass.

Notice that Paul did not just send anyone to Corinth, he sent a beloved (affectionately loved) Timothy. Not only was he Paul’s beloved child but he was also faithful (dependable, reliable). God wants His teachers to be dependable. They must be diligent in their walk with the Lord, their study habits, and in their presentations to the students. They must remind the people of God over and over again about the ways of Christ.

You need to understand the message of truth does not change. The way of salvation is fixed and absolute. One does not have to change the message for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Whether you share with people the gospel in a formal educational setting or in an informal one-on-one time at lunch or over a cup of coffee, the message is the same. Whether you share a learned outline or have your own way of giving the essentials of how to be saved, we need to share it with conviction and concern.

This goes for the moral and ethical issues that we must proclaim to those who are part of the Body of Christ. They need to hear as we preach and teach the truths of God’s Word each week, each month, and each year. Over and over again we must remind the believers of what God expects from each one of us in our daily lives.

If you are a teacher, how faithful (dependable and reliable) are you as you communicate truth to those that you teach. May you be a faithful minister of God’s Word to your hearers. What a blessed privilege to share truth with those who are God’s children. Be trustworthy and you will be rewarded one day by your Savior!

Striving to be faithful,

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, 6/16/2017

Dear Believer in Christ,

Last Thursday and Friday Linda and I were treated to two meals by some senior saints. On Thursday it was a home-cooked meal by a 96 ½ year-old woman of God. She has only been coming to our church for about one year. When she began coming, she became very, very ill and so I went to visit her in the hospital. I enjoyed getting to know her daughter, Grayce and son-in-law, Don. The elderly woman, Ann Ashley, came near to death while in the hospital. It was a very challenging time for the family. One evening I went to the room intent on having the Lord’s Supper with Ann and whoever was in the room at the time. We talked for a while, I shared Scripture, and we had a time of intimate fellowship with our Savior with great thanksgiving. I am not sure who spoke about singing a song of worship. That evening we had a trio of worship to our great God and Savior. It was a memorable evening and last Thursday was memorable as well. We have never had a meal prepared by a 96 ½ year-old woman of God before. What a rich time in the Lord!!! On Friday, Linda and I were treated by a couple of Christian widows in our church. They wanted to treat us out because we did not have a kitchen…yet. We welcomed the opportunity to be with them in fellowship and to enjoy a meal together was great. Because of some circumstances, we were late…much later than I like to be for any appointment, but they patiently waited & waited & waited. What a great time of laughing, fellowshipping, and talking about the “good-old-days”. After we went to Elaine’s house where the two companions (two dogs) were waiting for Elaine and Sandie to arrive. They made us feel very welcomed and we enjoyed their excitement of our coming. We had a great time of more fellowship and ended with a moment of prayer. We are so fortunate to have people who care about us. We are so very thankful.

1 Corinthians 4:15-16 - 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

Subject: Imitate Paul!

It may seem that Paul is being arrogant when he says that he wants people to imitate him. But, that is not the intent of the statement. Paul makes a fervent appeal, an earnest plea to the Corinthian believers to “do what he does”. Why would Paul make such a statement?

First of all, theologically. There were many forms of religion going around during Paul’s day just like to today. There were cults, false religions, and those that wanted to look like the real thing, but were off doctrinally. Sometimes for the young believer it is hard to tell the real thing from the counterfeit. It is important to have the correct theology. Correct theology leads to correct living.

Secondly, one must follow Paul morally. If one has the right doctrine, it usually leads to having the correct lifestyle that pleases the Lord. It is the will of God that every Christian live a life that is sanctified (holy – 1 Thess. 4:3). Holiness is a characteristic of a true believe in Jesus Christ. Our job is to lead a life that others would want to imitate (mimic). The morals that we carry with us in our daily thought life, speech, and actions is noticed by others even though it may not seem like it.

Thirdly, Paul’s dispensational pattern needs to be imitated. The Jews had their own view of what to do and how to live under the Law of Moses. This kind of lifestyle was not meant for the Body of Christ (Rom. 6:14). Things were different in this new way of thinking, believing, and living under “Paul’s ways” in Christ (1 Cor. 4:17). That is why Paul sent Timothy to teach them the very things that Paul taught in every church that they went and ministered.

God made it very clear that Paul was the one was given the stewardship of God’s grace (Eph. 3:2). It was not given to Peter because he was given the gospel to the circumcision (Jewish believers – Gal. 2:7-8). The ministry among the Jews by the twelve apostles included teaching and becoming zealous for the Law (Acts 21:20). The Jews, especially in Jerusalem, had been told about Paul and how he had taught all the Jews among the Gentile believers to forsake Moses (Acts 21:21). Yes, things were different in these Jew-Gentile churches and Paul was the one they were to imitate.

Are you imitating Paul and his message to the Body of Christ today? We are to live under grace and not the laws of Moses. We are to obey the moral laws of the Old Testament because Paul reiterates them in his writings. So, be sure that you are not allowing others to put you under the Mosaic Law and be freed by God’s grace (Gal. 5:1). Remember the grace of God “trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” (Titus 2:11-12).

Free to live by 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.