Thursday, 6/15/2017

Good Morning,

While working on the garage and cleaning it up, it felt good to be able to put one vehicle into the garage again to keep it out of the elements and especially the heat that came our way. While cleaning up the area where we had the trim boards ready to be stained and putting them above the floor until that time to stain, I noticed a propane smell. I investigated it further and saw the tank from which it seemed to be coming from. It was one of three tanks that I had filled for the use this summer. I checked the valve and it was closed and tight. I pulled the tank from under the storage shelf. The tank had been sitting there for one month or so and I could not figure out why it was smelling now and not before. I seemed to hear a leak, but it was inconsistent and I cannot hear that well even with my aids in my ears. I called Linda to come out and asked her if she could hear the leak. She affirmed it, but could not definitively tell its source. It was one-half hour from U-Haul’s closing time so I rushed over there to have them detect the problem. I drove in and the attendant checked over and had never seen this before. The manager came over and took a screwdriver and released some of the propane gas out of the side of the valve area. She also had never seen this before. It was hot outside and said that it must have been the heat that caused the escape of gas from the back side of the valve assembly. It seemed to have worked and it is now in the red shed beside the garage. I thank God for safety.

1 Corinthians 4:14-1514 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless[a] guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Subject:  One Spiritual Parent

The apostle Paul takes up his spiritual fatherhood in these two verses. He assures them that he is not bringing up these circumstances in the lives of many of the apostles to make them ashamed (embarrassed). Paul did speak to the Thessalonian believers about a matter to make them feel ashamed (2 Thess. 3:14), but not with the Corinthians. He was writing these words to admonish (warn, instruct) them as his beloved children. That is what a father does when he loves his kids.

As we learned from the first chapter in Corinthians there have been people who have been their “guides” (instructors, leaders) in Christ. There were those who were proud and arrogant teachers for the Corinthian believers. Paul uses the word “countless” (innumerable, very, very many). Yet, they did not have many spiritual fathers. Paul was one of the main and founding father of the Corinthian Bible Church.

He had come to Corinth with a passion to win many of the heathen Gentiles and religious Jews to Christ as Savior. He began in the synagogue in Corinth (Acts 18:4). He left the synagogue the last time and said, “From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” He began reaching out to the Gentile community and many were brought to Christ as Savior. There was a great harvest of souls for all eternity and Paul was the spiritual father of many of them.

He set up shop at a house of a man named Titius Justus which right next door to the synagogue (Acts 18:7). He stayed in Corinth for one year and six months teaching the word of God among them (v.11). Paul loved these people as a father loves his children. A parent does not have to “pull rank” on their children, but be open, honest, and transparent in their love as well in the education of truth.

Paul was that kind of a father to these Corinthian believers. He had been there to comfort them in their afflictions. He had rejoiced with them in their successes, their victories over sin, and the changes in their lives as they surrendered themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. He also was a father that warned his spiritual children of the pitfalls of sin, of listening to the wrong people in this world, and helping them to be spiritually aware of the temptations that would come their way.

Who was or is your spiritual father in this world? And, are you spiritually reproducing and becoming a spiritual parent yourself to others? It is what we do as Christians. We reach out to the lost and strive by God’s help and grace to win them to the Savior. We just do not let them stand by themselves, we learn to love them, teach them, and support them through the thick and thin.

A father to many,

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, 6/14/2017

Hi There!

What a blessing to enjoy a bowl of popcorn with some grapeseed oil on it (lower in cholesterol) and Celtic sea salt. I am farmer as you know and butter has been the way to treat a good bowl of popcorn…and I mean lots of butter. Many years ago a godly woman by the name of Maria came to a Time Out meeting with some popcorn and put the grapeseed oil on the treat. I was hooked because it had a healthy factor and it tasted great. At the time Maria purchased her grapeseed oil from the school program (cannot remember the name). Anyway, she eventually could not get it and we were on our own. We found it in a couple of places and it was named “Portobello”…the name of the company. Well, about a year or so, there was no more at our Health Hut and we bought them out at the time. We looked on-line and found that there was no place that carried it anymore. We were on a hunt to find a good tasting grapeseed oil for our popcorn. We tried brand after brand and finally one day tried the Wal-Mart brand. It was as good as the Portobello brand and so we purchased a case through Wal-Mart by the Internet. Recently we went to Trader Joe’s and found the first grapeseed oil on their shelves. We bought one bottle for just $3.49 which was a “steal” and took it home to test it out. I was skeptical, but it was good…real good. We went back and took all the bottles on the shelf. We have at least two brands that we can purchase for our future needs. We do thank God for His provision. Our grandsons had some popcorn today…they enjoyed it greatly…they came back for more and more and more.

1 Corinthians 4:11-13 - 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

Subject: The Real Situation – Part 2 

When the apostles were slandered, they responded by encouraging words. How do you do that? They were often treated as the scum of the world and became the refuse of ministry. How can one be involved in the work of God and still keep an optimistic heart and mind in the midst of all of the negative statements and treatment by God’s people and the world?

The word “slandered” is to say things that would “give a bad reputation” to someone. In return, the person who is slandered responds by words of encouragement as if nothing has been said. At times this can be verbal or non-verbal encouragement. I remember a couple in our church who became our “enemies”…in fact, a number of couples who rallied to go against me and the leader-ship of the church. I remember visiting those people in tough times in their lives and made every effort to minister to them in ways that would please God.

I knew what was being said about us as we came to encourage them. For one of the families, Linda baked a pie and we took it over to them. We just stayed a few minutes and left. It must have made an impact upon them as their attitudes changed over time. It did not happen all at once, but as time moved forward, they became relaxed in our presence and began fellowshipping with us (having things in common). During the business meetings there were less and less arguments and disagreements during the meetings.

I am sure that we left two of the pastorates as the scum (world’s garbage, rubbish, and offscouring) of the world. Some of the people did not have much good to say about us or what we did in the ministry. All they found were the flaws, the mistakes, and the things that were not done correctly. We became like refuse. That is not a good feeling when you have poured your heart and soul into a ministry.

There was a time that I went to a Board meeting and the chairman of the Board said, “Pastor Les, we have a list of 14 things that we want to talk to you about.” I listened and tried to respond to each of the complaints as best as I could. This was only a few months after I had been at this church. We had moved hundreds of miles away and unknown to us, we would be moving away from that city one year to the day that we began to another ministry. To many of those people, we had become scum. Because of the way the ministry ended and the shortness of the ministry in that church, I even questioned whether I should be involved in the pastorate.

Paul and the apostles had many tough years of serving the Lord. It is not always bad and tough. But, the pastor’s job is to please the Lord and not people (Gal. 1:10). As apostles, missionaries, and pastors serve the Lord, adversity and afflictions will come. May God have mercy on the people that are part of the adversity in the ministries of those who serve the Savior so faithfully.

Giving my best,

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, 6/13/2017

Good Enjoyable Day to YOU,

Last Tuesday Linda and I went to the family doctor for our Wellness Check-up through Medicare. He called on Wednesday morning with the good news that we were healthy specimens and he was pleased to tell us the numbers on our blood tests. We are so very thankful!!! One of the minor problems that I have had was a rash in a couple of places for a couple months. I shared it with him, he looked at it and prescribed some hydrocortisone and told me to change my soap. He recommended some Dove unscented soap. I went out and purchased some and tried it that very evening and the rest of the week. It really helped. We are going to miss our family doctor. He has been very caring, very wise, and helpful all these years. Good doctors are not easy to come by, but we are trusting God for another good M.D. for our senior years. He recommended a doctor and we are planning to go with his suggestion. He has recommended a doctor for two of my major surgeries and they have been excellent men. We are thankful to God for the medical wisdom to stay healthy when we have physical problems…but God has been so very good to us over the years and decades.

1 Corinthians 4:11-13 - 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

Subject: The Real Situation – Part 2

Today, the real situation about apostles, missionaries, and many preachers (pastors). Linda and I know how it is to live in humble means. The first full-time pastorate and church that we served the Lord we lived 35 miles away for nine months as I went to Bible school. In the spring we moved to Delton as we began building our parsonage which would not be fully completed during the next five years. In fact, Linda and I have never owned a home in the last 46 years of ministry. We lived on $20 a week when we first started and received $40 a week when we moved down to Milo Bible Church. The first six weeks, Linda and I lived in a tent trailer as we helped get the foundation built, the walls, trusses, and roof put on. We moved into the parsonage unfinished with particle board on the floors, 2x4 studs on the walls, and the gable ends not yet put up. Mosquitoes had a field day with us that first summer and the flies were around by the hundreds every morning from the farmer’s manure pit. How we made it, we never will know, but God’s hand was upon us.

Verse 12 talks about Paul and the apostles working with their own hands to make a living. In our first two ministries, I always had two jobs, one of being a shepherd and the other part-time or full-time working in a variety of jobs. It was always my prayer that God would give me a full time pastorate job so I did not have to divide my time…but I had to wait upon the Lord. The Lord had to test my faith and teach me a lot of lessons the hard way. One of the most important lessons was humility and trusting HIM (Ps. 37:4-5).

Paul uses the word “labor” which implies difficulty and trouble, toil and hard work. Linda and I know all about that as we labored and toiled with our hands. We worked hard in many ways yet God was with us and cared for us in our insufficient funding of our needs. We learned to get along on meager food, clothing, and transportation. I learned how to do body work on our vehicles to keep them going and looking halfway decent for the Lord’s glory.

There were times we have been reviled (abused, slandered, and insulted strongly). It hurts when you are striving to minister to God’s people and sometimes they turn on you. We have had our names smeared in trying to do good and had to learn to forgive and bless (bestow divine favor) upon those who abused us. I remember a man who would not even shake my hand when I extended it each Sunday to greet him with a smile.

Yes, we have been persecuted (harassed, oppressed) by the people of this world, but it hurts even more when it is a member of the church in which we were serving. We always chose to uphold the Scriptures no matter what may come our way. We have been misunderstood, verbally scorned, and treated with harshness. Yet, as with Paul, we endured (were patient…put up with the harassment). We said to one another, “We can respond in a loving way that pleases the Lord.” Even our children have been verbally attacked as we learned to love as Jesus loved.

These are some of the tests of an apostle, a missionary, and a pastor and family. God is building our character as well as all those involved in a ministry. How do you and your church treat the pastor and family in your church? Are there times that they face some of these challenges in their ministries? Have you ever been a part of causing verbal abuse or oppressing those that are serving the Lord in your church?

Learning to forgive and bless,

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, 6/12/2017

Good Morning, Once Again,

How the weekends fly by. And, the weeks fly by just as fast! But, what a joy to be involved with a busy schedule and many tasks to complete. Saturday was a busy day that made me weary and tired, but it was very profitable. I slept in until 9 a.m. and that is a miracle. I have been used to getting up around 7 a.m. for many of the people coming to look at a specific area for a bid on the project, needing to be someplace for ministry, or just automatically getting up because my timer in my mind says, “It’s time!” So, the Lord helped me sleep in late on Saturday. I decided to take my run…I really wanted to do one on Thursday or Friday, but my schedule did not permit it. We had the Hale High School Graduation going on so I decided to go on a different run. I ran my first mile in 10 minutes and then I headed toward Greenfield Park. It was a nice run through the park meeting a number of bikers, walkers and runners. I headed for a bike/run/walk trail that begins in West Allis and goes all the way to Madison if one desires to do so. What a beautiful morning with a temp of about 78 degrees. I completed 4.85 miles in 50 minutes. I cooled down and headed for the shower. The next five hours were involved in clean-up on the patio, cutting up lots of card-board from the cupboards, pantries, and cabinets. I then worked on straightening up our garage. I came back inside and worked on my Power Point for the morning service of the pictures that Linda had taken of the project of the last two weeks. The next session of the Iron Men 2 is this evening with our study in Revelation 6. I had done the Greek translation last week and needed to get my notes ready for Monday evening. And here I am trying to get one completed e-devotional ready for Monday. We shall see what Sunday brings my way. I rejoice in a healthy body, a mind that still works, and a body that enjoys physical activity. You have a great week!

1 Corinthians 4:11-13 - 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

Subject: The Real Situation – Part 1

Last week the apostle Paul spoke about the sin of judging one another and how it impacts one’s life and a church. Instead, we need to be thankful for what God has given to us and we should not spend our time on being critical, judgmental, and condemning.

Paul then proceeded to speak about the apostles being a spectacle for Christ Jesus. In fact, they would even become a fool for Christ if necessary. Well, for the next three session I want to talk about the afflictions of the apostles. He shares these challenging times in three verses and I will take one verse a day to share the depth of his tough experiences.

He already began in verse 11 by saying the Corinthians were wise, strong physically, and held in honor. He goes on to say that until this very hour, many of the apostles are hunger (in a state of hunger) and thirst (have not drunk water for some time), are poorly dressed (wear rags), buffeted (roughly treated) and homeless (without a permanent dwelling or residence).

The apostles were wearing rags, but the Corinthians were well-dressed. Many of them had many changes of clothes in their closets. The apostles did not even own a closet for their clothes. The apostles were roughly treated by Jews and Gentiles of the world as well as some of the people within some of the churches. The Corinthians on the other hand were reigning as kings and walking around proud and arrogant in their assemblies. Many apostles faced beatings, slander, and even death at the hand of others.

Most of the Corinthian believers owned their own homes or lived in nice apartments while the apostles had no place to call home. They traveled the countryside and stayed in modest places along the way. I am sure many times they would sleep out under a tree in the forest. They were sacrificing the “good life” to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

On which side of life do you find yourself? How well taken care of is your pastor, the missionaries that you support, and those that serve the Lord in other areas of ministry? Are you sensitive to them, looking for opportunities to meet the physical needs and release the concern for them to provide for their livelihood and families. When a missionary comes through, are you generous in giving to them financially and always looking for a way to make it comfortable during their stay in your church or area? Are you willing to be hospitable and take them in for a night or even a weekend? They have given up a lot materially in order to serve the Lord Jesus Christ on a foreign field. May you not only pray for them, but may you generously give to their physical and financial needs.

Looking for opportunities to give,

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, 6/9/2017

Good Morning, It is Friday Again!

Many months ago I purchased a foot massager. I had to wait for three months before it was shipped to me, but I did not mind. In fact, when they shipped it, it was not green like I had ordered, but it was blue…they had no more green ones. No big deal to me. I had gotten the idea of the food massager from my co-laborer in Christ, Pete Budde. He showed me his set-up for his business as I was preparing to set up my place of writing my book(s). One of the features that was under his desk was this foot massager. He said, “Try it.” So, I stuck my foot in the hole and he turned it on. I about hit the ceiling when the massager went to work. Pete laughed loudly as I reacted to the massager’s work on my foot. In a few seconds I felt the massager dig into the bottom of my foot. It leveled out and continued to give me a wonderful massage. I said to myself, “I need to have this as well.” I went home and I did order and receive it, but it just sat under my desk with a rare use of the massager. But, I began running and adding more and more distance as the weeks passed. Now I was having my devotions downstairs in my new study. I tried the massager one early morning and I was hooked. It has been nearly a daily foot massage…ohhh, so good! It really has been a blessing to me. I believe it is helping my feet to stay healthy for my runs. If not, it is just great to be pampered and enjoy the massage! Thanks, Pete!!!

1 Corinthians 4:10 - 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.

Subject:  A Fool for Christ

When I was a young Christian I went and served as an assistant counselor at a Bible Camp near my hometown. I had volunteered from my new church home in Crystal Falls, Michigan and it was to be a week-long camp with high schoolers. I was really looking forward to this opportunity to serve in this way. Linda and I had served at a youth camp of junior high students in another place in Wisconsin. It was delightful week of learning, fellowship, fun in the sun, and with a number of enjoyable activities. Near the end of the week we had a special late afternoon gathering with a number of games and activities in the chapel. I remember it well. One of the activities was to have a person come to the front of the entire camping teen and counselors to enter a competition of trying to keep up with the leader. The rules were simple and I was the chosen target. I listened to the rules…all I had to do was to do exactly what the leader did with a stick held in two hands about one foot apart with a chair for both of us to sit upon. He began slowly and increased in speed as time went along. I kept pace with him and then he really began to move and I focused to keep up with him. We stood up and down…moved the stick sideways not letting go of it…and the pace continue to speed up. Suddenly we were standing up and sitting down…up and down…up and down…on the last down a large water-soaked sponge was placed quickly on my chair…I came down with great speed and you know the rest of the story. The entire audience broke down with laughter…I was embarrassed, humiliated, instantly angry…I stormed down the aisle and threw my stick into the air (not a good testimony for a Christian)…I became a spectacle before the entire camp. Yes, I was a new believer in Christ. No, I was not at all mature in my faith. I could not laugh at myself yet…but it was a step to laugh at me and be a spectacle for Christ. It was a tough lesson to learn, but an important one for the rest of my life!!! All glory goes to my God!!!

Paul says that he and the other apostles were willing to be fools (extremely unwise) for the sake (benefit) of Jesus Christ. But, the Corinthian believers were wise (understanding with insight) in Christ. Paul was saying this by comparison with the specifics to be focused upon in the next three verses (sorry, I shall address them next Monday through Wednesday).

Paul begins verse nine with “I think (imagine, believe, assume)” we are spectacles and now fools for Christ’s sake. Paul describes the apostles also as being weak and in disrepute (lacking in honor or respect). This was the lowest embarrassment or humiliation for the sake of Christ…being a fool.

Paul continues with “we seem to be weak by not using worldly philosophies and choices of words in our teachings and sermons.” He then speaks about the teachers in Corinth appear to be honored and respected while we are in disrepute (lacking in honor). The proud teachers in the Corinthian Church are receiving all the respect while we are being slandered.

Yes, being a fool for Christ has its place. There have been a good number of times that I have been a fool for Christ. I was glad for the lesson at Bible camp. I have learned to humble myself to be a fool for my Savior. Are you willing to be humiliated for Christ and suffer embarrassment by the mocking of others? Do not be concerned about this life, but be a testimony for Jesus Christ so that you might win one to the Savior!!!

A fool for Christ’s sake,

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.