Friday, December 25, 2009



A tree was cut down

A feeding trough shorn

The carpenter not-knowing

For what it was borne

The long promised Savior

Did come on that day

He was laid in that manger

His blanket the hay

Wonder and mystery

God was made man

A moment in history

Where Christmas began

A tree was cut down

A cross of wood shorn

The carpenter now-knowing

For whom it was borne

The long promised Savior

The once cradled One thrown

Onto a cross, hung there

For our sins to atone

Wonder and mystery

That God was made man

A moment in history

Where Christmas began

Trees bloom and wane

Carpenters too

But the Christ child reigns

Forever, its true

A cradle and a cross

A manger and a tomb

A pure lamb's life lost

For me and for you.

Pastor Jerry


I thought I'd pass on the "Director's Dialogue" from NICE Executive Director, Earl Brubaker...

"On Monday Shirley and I were privileged to attend a memorial service for Anthony Vietti, one of three climbers recently lost on Mt Hood, and the son of NICE missionaries Jon and LaDonna Vietti. Jon stood before hundreds of people and spoke about his son’s death. I admired his composure, appreciated his reflections.

Jon told us he had spent a good deal of time pondering a news reporters question about how the families of the 2 climbers whose bodies have not been recovered could find closure. He then recalled that two days before receiving the call that Anthony was missing, he had led a men’s Bible study that included these verses.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

John 11:25-26

Jon commented that, since a believer who dies will live and one who lives and believes will never die, putting this death behind us and getting on with life is not an appropriate response. In Christ, this is not the end from which we begin anew, it is but another page in God’s great plan -- another page for the Vietti family, certainly, and a glorious page for Anthony. It would be totally inappropriate, Jon went on to say, to look for closure at

the end of one chapter of a book. Closure comes at the end of the book. The book ends when we see the plan of God as it reflects His great glory. Anthony’s death, painful as it is, is the end of a chapter, not the end of the book.

At the memorial service, person after person spoke about Anthony’s life and his impact upon the people around him. People of all ages agreed that Anthony loved God, loved life, and loved people. He was preparing for service as a medical missionary when the page of his life turned and God called him home long before we thought the time was right. We do not know what the next page contains for the family who mourn Anthony’s unexpected death while rejoicing in his unexcelled joy in the presence of Christ whom he loved and served. We do know and trust the One who writes the book and turns the pages.

As I listened, I thought how the birth of the Christ child was a page in the book of God’s plan of redemption. As those pages turned they led to the cross and Jesus’ cry of agony in separation from the Father. That agony is followed by the glory of the resurrection. The page turns and in the next chapter we enter the church age. We watch the pages turn with eager anticipation of the return of Christ.

The final pages of 2009 include our annual celebration of the birth of Jesus. We wonder what, whether joy or sorrow, triumph or tragedy, will be on the pages of 2010. We only know that God writes those pages according to His plan and for His great, eternal glory -- and in that we rest as we anticipate the pages of a new chapter."

Earl Brubaker

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I came across this quote by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in my reading today. It was from a speech he gave over 30 years ago at Harvard:

"This tilt of freedom toward evil has come about gradually, but it evidently stems from a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which man--the master of the world--does not bear any evil within himself, and all the defects of life are caused by misguided social systems, which must therefore be corrected."

How prescient of him! Is this not the thinking of our day?...Misguided social systems must be transformed that the defects of society can be corrected. All this based on the false assumption that man is basically good, and that the source of wrong-doing comes from external forces working against him--the government, the schools, our parents--whomever else we can "throw under the bus" in an ongoing effort to blame others for our ills.

The Christian worldview has it right. Man is not basically good--we are born sinners. Rom. 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?"

The Apostle Paul spoke of the nature of these last days. 2 Timothy 3:1-5, "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power."

Its as if Paul gleaned his description from our daily news! We did not become this way because of an oppressive or misguided government, and no amount of social engineering will undo the chaos that has ushered forth from sin-filled hearts. Matthew 15:19, "For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slander."

What is needful is not a better or transformed government, what is needful is transformed hearts. 1 Timothy 1:15, "CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS." He came to die for their sins so that they could be saved through faith in Him. Acts 16:31, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved."

He saves to the uttermost. The salvation which He alone can provide brings not just forgiveness, but heart transformation. He brings change. Sinful and destructive passions are replaced with loving attitudes and actions. God's love is shed abroad in the hearts of those who believe (Romans 5:5). Believers thus become channels of blessing through which God's love is directed towards others.

The government has no capacity to transform lost sinners. All it can do is manipulate and control. It has no power to save. No power to impart love or foster love. It is but a "minister of God," (Romans 13:4), which exists under His authority (Romans 13:1), for the punishment of evil doers (Romans 13:4). We overestimate the importance and role of government to our own peril.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn had it right. There is such a thing as sin and evil. Our social systems are neither the cause or the cure. The cause is sin. The cure is Jesus. Everything else is but political hot air--perhaps that's the real cause of global warming!

Pastor Jerry

Friday, December 11, 2009


Chaplain Ben Benthien is a long time friend of Lewis and Clark Bible Church. He serves as a chaplain with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chaplaincy. You no doubt heard of the recent tragic shooting of four police officers in Lakewood, WA. He was privileged to serve at the Memorial that sprang up in front of the coffee shop following the shooting. He wrote about it in his recent Christmas letter...


"I watched as hundreds of people have come to pay their respect.
I watched as what was a small Memorial on Monday evening
grew quite large in the next few days.
I watched as tears flowed.
I watched as they brought flowers, candles, crosses,
American flags, stuffed animals, a fully decorated Christmas tree,
posters, notes, and many other items.
I watched as a two or three year old boy took a dozen roses
one by one out of his mother's hand
and gently laid them on the Memorial.
I watched as families came and parents tried to explain
to their children what had happened there.
I watched as the officers standing watch over the site
were given hugs and food items.
I watched as a young lady kneeled with her hands folded and prayed.
I watched as one of the family members came to the site with many friends.
They cried and prayed together.
I watched as love flowed."

Praise God for men and women who put themselves in harm's way to serve others both here at home and abroad. Praise God that He is watching over us and that "though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet." Praise God for those whom the God of All Comfort uses to extend comfort and hope to others.

Pastor Jerry

Monday, November 30, 2009


I just started reading "If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil" by Randy Alcorn. I had to chuckle at this humorous story...

"Some worldviews, including Christian Science, argue that suffering doesn't exist. The irrationality of this worldview is illustrated by a boy who visits his family's Christian Science practitioner to ask him to pray for his very sick father. The practitioner replies, "Son, your father only thinks he's sick. Tell him to have faith and believe he's not sick, but well."

The boy did so. The practitioner sees him the next day and asks, "How's your father?"

The boy answers, "Now he thinks he's dead."

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Months ago the church received a letter from a man in prison. We had no idea who the fellow was, or anything about him, but that he was looking for help and direction. He had dug our address out of the yellow pages. I passed the letter on to one of our deacons and asked if he might be willing to write back to the fellow. Since that time he has been faithfully corresponding with the inmate, offering friendship and Biblical counsel. On one occasion he and I visited the fellow at the prison camp where he was then staying. There have been some challenges along the way. But our deacon has been much used by God in encouraging this man in his relationship with the Lord Jesus. I have read all of the letters and I myself have been blessed to see his growth in Christ. It was the inmate's birthday on November 25th. I was touched by what he wrote, and it should be an encouragement to us all, in how we can be used by God to encourage and disciple others in Christ. This is what he said at the close of his letter...

"I'll be 48 tomorrow and I want you (all) to know how much it means to me knowing that besides God...there are others who care about that date in history too. Maybe that's why the Bible and the yellow pages are so often found in such close proximity."

Praise the Lord!

Pastor Jerry

Friday, November 20, 2009


Do you ministers, who have been a long time in one place, ever say to yourselves, "We shall run dry for subjects by-and-by"? If you preach Christ, you will never run short. If you have preached ten thousand sermons about Christ, you have not yet left the shore; you are not out in the deep sea yet. Dive, my brother! With splendour of thought, plunge into this great mystery of free grace and dying love; and when you have dived the farthest, you will perceive that you are as far off the bottom as when you first touched the surface. It is an endless theme; it is unspeakable!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Christmastime is oftentimes referred to as “the season of giving,” which is altogether appropriate inasmuch as it celebrates the greatest gift ever given. The birth of Jesus Christ, who “came into the world to save sinners,” is a gift unrivaled in its glorious benefits. As we reflect on the birth, life and death of our Savior, it becomes readily apparent that He was an expert on giving. His entire life was characterized by selfless sacrifice. He gave and He gave and when there was nothing else to give—He gave His own life. No one has ever given so much and to those who deserve it so little. 2 Cor. 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” “We are so blessed by the gifts of His hands”--Christmas celebrates all of this.

The expert on giving once said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” These words of our Lord Jesus are recorded for us in the Book of Acts (Acts 20:35). Paul exhorted the elders in Ephesus to adopt the same self-sacrificing manner of life that was evident in Jesus and exemplified in Paul. Christmastime reminds us that it is indeed more blessed to give than to receive. It is more blessed--the act of giving brings great joy to our hearts. Jesus’ words correct a spiritual misunderstanding we are all born with regarding the nature of life. The Devil espouses taking, the world tells us that we need, the flesh cries out “give me, give me!” We are prone in our lusts to want, thinking that is what life is all about (Eph. 2:3). We mistakenly believe that we can find satisfaction and happiness in taking and receiving--but Jesus has revealed to us a better way.

It is more blessed to give than to receive! What a contrary way of life! Since it is more blessed to give, then Jesus is the most blessed of all. His manner of life sets the standard; indeed God’s purpose is to make a giver out of you. It is the nature of the flesh to take; it is the nature of Christlike love to give. 1 John 3:16, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” The opportunities to give abound--an encouraging word; forgiveness extended; a financial gift given; a prayer offered, a physical need met; a spiritual gift exercised, the gospel message shared--the list goes on and on. To give in meeting such needs is “more blessed!” It pleases God, bestows joy to the giver, and stores up “the treasure of a good foundation for the future” (1 Tim. 6:19).

In a world full of takers, givers stand out. When we give by God’s grace--and unto God’s glory-- Christ’s greater gift is magnified. For every gift given flows from the cross itself--through which hearts are enlarged, minds are renewed, and channels of blessing are etched through hearts of stone. I’m no expert on giving, but Jesus is. He is able to take selfish takers and transform them into selfless givers. His capacity to give is replicated in those who are careful to walk near to Him. His joy is imparted to us in giving, that we might find joy in that which pleases Him most. The season of giving never stops for the believer in Christ inasmuch as there is always more to learn from Him. Let us then endeavor to learn that we may be more blessed! Heavenly Father, help us to learn how to give, as Christ gave. Your capacity to give is beyond our capacity to comprehend. The selfless gift of the Savior not only saves us but instructs us. Help us to walk in His footsteps that we might be joyful of heart and useful in your service. Amen.

Pastor Jerry

Friday, October 30, 2009



  1. Read Hebrews 11:24-26. How does the study of the example of Moses relate to our pursuit of holiness (p.1)? Why is his example especially relevant to our present situation (p. 1)?
  2. What three things did Moses give up for the sake of his soul (p.2-3)?
  3. What did Moses give up as far as rank and greatness is concerned (p.2)?
  4. What pleasures did Moses refuse (p. 2-3; cf. 1 John 2:16)? People say, "Whatever makes you happy" and "If it feels good, do it," how was Mose’s example contrary to the way that we are naturally prone to live our lives?
  5. What was the measure of wealth that Moses refused (p.3)? How deeply rooted is the pursuit of riches in our day? What should our response be (Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:8-10)?
  6. What three things did Moses choose for the sake of his soul (p.4-6)?
  7. What did Moses choose with regards to:1) enduring suffering and affliction (v.25; p.4), being identified with the people of God (v.25; p.4-5); and bearing reproach (v.26; p.5-6)? To what extent are we as believers in Christ compelled to make similar choices (Cf. Heb. 10:32-34; 2 Tim. 1:8; Phil. 1:29; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:12-14)?
  8. What was the reason for Moses’ suprising decisions (Heb. 11:24-26)? What things did he believe regarding God’s character and promises (p.6)?
  9. How was faith like a telescope and interpreter to Moses (p.7)? What did faith teach Moses regarding rank, wealth, and worldly pleasures (p.7)? What did faith teach Moses regarding suffering, identification with God’s people, and bearing the reproach of Christ (p.7)?
  10. The author asked "Is there any cross in your Christianity." John Bunyan wrote, "the bitter must go before the sweet." What did they mean? How do these matters apply to us (Cf. Heb. 12:1-4)?
  11. Why is faith the only virtue that will enable a person to make such decisions (Cf. Phil. 1:21; 4:13; 2 Pet. 1:1)? How is our faith strengthened (Rom. 1:12; 10:17; Heb. Chapter 11; 12:1-4)?
  12. How is the absence of true faith related to one’s actions (p.11)? How does the possession of great faith lead to great results (p.12)?

Thursday, October 29, 2009


In preparing for this Sunday's sermon I happened upon the account of the writing of the hymn "Jesus Loves Me." Jesus Loves Me is, of course, one of the most endearing Christian hymns ever written. It is oftentimes the first Christian song taught by missionaries to new converts in foreign lands. It has been used by God, no doubt, to bring comfort and hope to millions of souls.

It was written by Anna B. Warner. Anna and Susan Warner were highly educated Christian young women who lived along the Hudson River in the time preceding the Civil War. Their mother died when they were children. Their father, a wealthy and influential New York lawyer, died not long after losing everything but his home in an economic depression. They were left to themselves with a need to find income to provide for their needs, which they did by writing books.

They lived near the US Military Academy and ministered to young cadets who would soon be headed off to war. In fact, Anna's body is buried on the grounds of the US Military Academy, having been honored for her faithful spiritual support of the Army cadets.

The text of the hymn "Jesus Loves Me" was a part of a fictional book she wrote entitled, "Say and Seal." In the book a young and dying child, Johnny Fax, is comforted by a Mr. Linden. Johnny looks to Mr. Linden for comfort and hope, and Mr. Linden responds by gently patting Johnny and reciting the words of the poem:

Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak bu He is strong.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! Loves me still,
Though I'm very weak and ill
From His shining throne on high
Comes to watch me where I lie.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Then His little child He'll take
Up to heaven for His dear sake.

The chorus was added and the music was written by William B. Bradbury some time later. The hymn speaks to the most basic, yet important, of Christian truths--the love of Jesus revealed in His death upon the cross. Isn't it amazing how God brought this hymn to us?

Pastor Jerry

Thursday, October 22, 2009


As a country, America has been unrivaled in its greatness.

  • Established by God fearing men with a constitution written to form "a more perfect union."
  • Founded in the shed blood of men who valiantly defended their right to govern themselves according to the dictates of their consciences.
  • Populated by men and women and families who sacrificed much to enjoy the harvest of blessings this great land affords.
  • Through our colorful history great wars have been fought to better define the principles on which this country was founded. Other wars have been fought to set captives free. The soil of foreign countries are stained with the blood of American heroes who sacrificed their lives to rescue others from tyranny and oppression.
  • America has led the world in expedition and invention, enterprise and prosperity, education and science, medical science and health care. We have been the envy of the world. Sadly, America’s influence for good in the world is on the decline.

We are privileged to be citizens of this great country, but even when America was at its best, it was never the best country. It is good to be a citizen of America, but infinitely better to be a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). The author Hebrews wrote of men and women who desired a "better country, that is a heavenly one" (Hebrews 11:16). These men and women of faith walked by faith in God. They saw themselves as "strangers and exiles on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13). They lived their lives according to the dictates of God’s Word. They believed in God with a confident faith that stood firm on His promises. They fixed their hopes entirely on God’s reward and were not deterred by evil men or worldly temptations. They were willing to suffer persecution and even death in the pursuit of that "better country" (Hebrews 11:32-40).

As it is our country is burdened by great conflicts and unprecedented challenges. We are fighting wars with no end in sight. We have amassed an irreconcilable national debt. Corruption, terrorist threats, and health care debates burden our country. Our treasured freedoms are under attack. Any "right-thinking" American citizen should be concerned about where things are headed. But we citizens of heaven need to "fix our hope" on something better (1 Peter 1:13). Even when America was at its best, the "better country" to which we, as believers, are destined was infinitely better--it is infinitely better now. It has a perfect and loving ruler, the Lord Jesus Christ, "Righteous and true are (His) ways" (Revelation 15:3). America’s greatness will wane, this "better country" is "eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1). In heaven we will experience the glory of His presence, the absence of sin, and the absence of sin’s curse--"there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain" (Revelation 21:4).

All this begs the question--"Where does your hope lie?" "But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them" (Hebrews 11:16). A country and a city prepared by God Himself--now that’s a desirable place! That’s why we, as citizens of heaven, "eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself" (Philippians 3:20-21).

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Bob and Diane West have now posted, "A Warrior Called Home," on their website. Follow this link to read this surprising and encouraging story:

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I came across these sermon notes as I was cleaning up my study. They are the notes for the sermon that I preached on the morning of the big storm. This message brought the house down, as the storm began in earnest during the morning service. I thought I'd post it on my blog--seeing as it is kind of historical...


The 15 year old teenager headed off to church, as he normally did on Sunday mornings. But there was a blizzard that day and the heavy snow kept him from going to his usual place of worship. Instead he found himself in a Primitive Methodist Church.

As a young man, from a long lineage of Pastors, he knew all about Christianity, but he didn’t know Christ. Later he would write of those days, "It was my sad lot to feel the greatness of my sin without a discovery of the greatness of God’s mercy."

The Primitive Methodist Church almost didn’t open that morning, but the caretaker, thinking that a few people might show up, opened the doors and lit the stove. By 11:00 some 12-15 people had come inside, but not the Pastor. He had apparently been unable to get there because of the snow.

Finally one of the laymen of the congregation reluctantly took the pulpit. As he looked down, he could see the small congregation, hundreds of empty seats, and the young 15 year old boy seated under the gallery. The text for his sermon was "Look unto me, and be ye saved" (Isa. 45:22), and after about ten minutes of repeating himself, the man was about to step down from the pulpit. But before he did, he addressed the teenager. "Young man," he said, "you look very miserable, and you will always be miserable if you don’t obey my text. But if you do obey now, this moment, you will be saved." He paused again, then shouted at the young man with more animation, "Young man, look to Jesus! Look! Look! Look!"

The substitute preacher and his boring sermon was what the Holy Spirit used to bring Charles Spurgeon to Christ. Later Spurgeon wrote of that experience, "There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness was rolled away." God used an ordinary man to proclaim His extraordinary message. Charles Spurgeon was saved, he went on to be arguably the most successful Pastor the church has ever seen. His preaching was used by God to bring thousands upon thousands to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Some of the believers in Corinth were enamored with gifted speakers and clever systems of human wisdom. They elevated speakers and depreciated the gospel message. And the Apostle Paul was responding to their error.

We live in a day when people are prone to the same error, but the opportunities to be deceived by charismatic speakers are even more pervasive. The biggest church in America is a church that preaches a false gospel that avoids the cross. Major movements in evangelicalism focus not on Christ and what he has done but human engineered mechanisms that are designed to produce results no matter what. It has gotten so bad in the modern church--I saw a video of a church that puts on a show every week to get people in the door. The two examples that I saw were incredible. In the one case they had set up a motocross jump track on the stage. Two motorcycle riders simultaneously rode their bikes up the ramps over the head of the Pastor in opposite directions. The entire display was done as an illustration, according to the Pastor, to display the power of the Gospel.

To be sure the modern church has lost its way when it comes to such displays. They are contrary to God’s design. God doesn’t need our help when it comes to saving souls. He has designed the process to work in a particular way--ordinary men preaching an extraordinary message regarding an extraordinary Savior!


A. We are prone to elevate men
1. The church in Corinth had a problem. There were divisions in the church (1:10). These divisions were caused in part by some in the church who were aligning themselves with one particular leader vs. another. Another complicating factor was the tendancy of some in the church to be enamored with charismatic leaders and clever philosophical arguments. Paul was confronting this issue.
2. We are prone to elevate men and look to them rather than to Christ. A good example of what I’m talking about is seen in the book of Acts (Acts 14:8:15). The Apostle Paul healed a man who had been lame from birth. When the multitudes saw what Paul had done they called Paul and Barnabas gods and then brought oxen and garlands wanting to make sacrifices to them. Paul, in response, tore his robes and cried out, "Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God." "WE ARE MEN OF THE SAME NATURE AS YOU."

B. Paul was an ordinary man
1. We tend to put even the Apostles on a higher plane.
2. To be sure they are the "foundation" of God’s holy temple--the church. We look at the example of the Apostle Paul--what a great man of God he was. No one since has been used by God for the salvation of so many souls. He is the churches greatest missionary. No one has more books in the Bible attributed to them than Paul. Christ Himself revealed to Paul the tremendous theology that we read of in the book of Romans and his other books. He had an experience in which he was caught up into the third heaven and "heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak" (2 Cor. 12:4).
3. And yet the Apostle Paul clearly understood his position before God. He was an ordinary man who was saved by the grace of God, called by the grace of God, sustained by the grace of God, and made faithful in ministry by the grace of God. He conducted himself and his ministry with genuine and complete humility. He called himself "the least of the Apostles" (1 Cor. 15:9) and the "foremost of sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15). He made it clear that all that he did was by the grace of God. "By the grace of God I am what I am" he said (1 Cor. 15:10).

C. His preaching was not characterized by great speaking ability or any degree of human ingenuity
1. 1 Cor. 2:1, "And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come in superiority of speech or of wisdom." Those espousing human wisdom came that way, Paul did not. The Corinthians were saying of Paul, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and his speech contemptible" (1 Cor. 10:10). A false teacher may have a great degree of charisma and ability to entertain an audience, but that doesn’t attract a crowd, but that doesn’t legitimize his message. I once had a Pastor who had a stuttering problem. The founder of a nationwide evangelism training program has a speech impediment, but that doesn’t prevent him from proclaiming the message of the gospel, in fact in his impediment the Gospel message is all the more powerful.
2. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a brilliant theologian whose sermons had an overwhelming impact on those who heard him. One in particular, his famous "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," moved hundreds to repentance and salvation. That single message helped to spark the revival known as "The Great Awakening" (1734-1744). From a human standpoint, it seems incredible that such far-reaching results could come from one message. Edwards did not have a commanding voice or impressive pulpit manner. He used very few gestures, and he read from a manuscript. Yet God's Spirit moved upon his hearers with conviction and power. Few know the spiritual preparation involved in that sermon. John Chapman gives us the story: "For 3 days Edwards had not eaten a mouthful of food; for 3 nights he had not closed his eyes in sleep. Over and over again he was heard to pray, "O Lord, give me New England! Give me New England!' When he arose from his knees and made his way into the pulpit that Sunday, he looked as if he had been gazing straight into the face of God. Even before he began to speak, tremendous conviction fell upon his audience."
3. The Apostle Paul was much different in his preaching in another respect. The false teachers spoke with a great degree of self-assurance. The Apostle Paul said, "I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling" (1 Cor. 2:3). What a startling verse when you consider who the Apostle Paul was. Why was he like that? Because he knew his limitations. He was an ordinary man called upon to preach an extraordinary message. He knew that that he himself could do nothing apart from the grace of God. He saw himself simply as a vessel through which God could make known His extraordinary message. 2 Cor. 4:7, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of he power may be of God and not from ourselves."
4. Charles Spurgeon once remarked: "My deacons know well enough how, when I first preached in Exeter Hall, there was scarcely ever an occasion, in which they left me alone for ten minutes before the service, but they would find me in a most fearful state of sickness, produced by that tremendous thought of my solemn responsibility."


A. Nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified
1. It was said that in Corinth there was a philosopher on every street corner. And they competed with each other for an audience. The successful ones used their superior speech and philosophical arguments to gain a hearing.
2. False teachers likewise were proclaiming a different Christ and a different gospel by a different spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4).
3. Likewise we live in a time when a myriad of different philosophies and ideas compete for your attention. Some who espouse their philosophies do so with great charisma. Some use very clever arguments. And even in the church, we are given in our day, to countless man-centered approaches to salvation and the essentials of the Christian life.
4. How did the Apostle Paul respond to all of that? Notice what he said, "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). The Apostle Paul did not attempt to compete with the false teachers or dispensers of humanisitic philosophy, he simply proclaimed the message that God gave to him to proclaim.

B. An extraordinary person
1. Paul’s message was all about Christ and it was only about Christ. He did not preach anything that did not have Christ at the center of it.
2. Consider Christ:
He is the creator of all things--"All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:3).
He is "the Word" that became flesh--"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14).
He is the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
He is the one who was crucified, who died, and who rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-3).
He is the one who ascended to the right hand of the Father.
He is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22).
He is the one who is coming again and to whom every knee shall bow of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth (Phil. 2:10).
He is the one who alone who has the authority to save. I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Indeed salvation is by Christ, through Christ, and for Christ.
3. Dr. Russell Conwell, the Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia and founder of Temple University was renowed for the Christlikeness of his character and breadth of his phlanthropies. Inscribed upon the back of his pulpit were these words, "We would see Jesus." They were put there by his request. It was his desire to present Christ to his congregation.
4. A. W. Tozer, "I have suffered through many a dull and tedious sermon, but no sermon is poor or long when the preacher is showing me the beauty of Jesus."

C. An extraordinary work
1. We have already spoken of the extrorindary work that Christ has done. And how the message of the gospel is the preeminent message that God has given to the church to proclaim. It is the glorious gospel and the power of God unto salvation to all who believe.
2. David Brainerd’s ministry was characterized by the simple message of the gospel. He said, "I never got away from Jesus and Him crucified in my preaching. I found that once these people were gripped by the great evangelical meaning of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, I did not have to give them instructions about changing their behavior.
3. Vincent Ferrier, an eloquent preacher of the 15th century was called to preach before a high dignitary of state. He took care to prepare his sermon according to the rules of oratory, but it was a notable failure. Next day he preached in his usual style, without pretentiousness, and electrified his hearers. The dignitary, who had heard him on both occasions, asked him how he could account for so great a difference in his sermons. He answered, "Yesterday Vincent Ferrier preached; today Jesus Christ."

1. Why has God designed it this way--that He uses ordinary men to proclaim this extraordinary message?
2. Two reasons:
a. 2 Corinthians 4:7, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves." According to God’s design when ordinary men are used by Him to proclaim this extraordinary message that results in the salvation of souls, all of the honor and glory goes to God. The entire process is by God’s grace and is attributed to Him.
b. 1 Corinthians 2:5, "That your faith should not rest on this wisdom of men, but on the power of God." If your faith is in anything else besides Christ and His saving work on the cross, it is in the wrong thing. If it is dependent upon the eloquence of a gifted speaker--that is the wrong thing. It it is captivated by a entertaining and enlivened music ministry--that is the wrong thing. If it is on a particular Pastor or youth leader--that is the wrong thing. If it is built upon a activity oriented youth ministry--that is the wrong thing. That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for Pastors, youth leaders, music, and activities--but all of these things are merely tools--and if they become the focus, and a person’s faith rests upon them, what happens when they cease to exist? What happens when the Pastor leaves, or the music stops, or the activities cease?
3. I conclude with an illustration that Charles Spurgeon used in the introduction to his book, "All of Grace." A certain man placed a fountain by the wayside, and he hung up a cup near to it by a little chain. He was told some time after that a great art-critic had found much fault with its design. "But," said he, "do many thirsty persons drink at it?" Then they told him that thousands of poor people, men, women, and children, slaked their thirst at this fountain; and he smiled and said, that he was little troubled by the critic’s observation, only he hoped that on some sultry summer’s day the critic himself might fill the cup, and be refreshed, and praise the name of the Lord. Here is my fountain, and here is my cup; find fault if you please; but do drink of the water of life. I only care for this. I had rather bless the soul of the poorest, crossing-sweeper, or rag-gatherer, than please a prince of the blood, and fail to convert him to God."


Charles Bridges, from "The Christian Ministry: With an Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency":

"In the hidden book of Scripture, and no where else, are opened the secrets of the more sacred wisdom. Whatever is not drawn from them--whatever is not built upon them--whatever does not most exactly accord with them--however it may recommend itself by the appearance of the most sublime wisdom, or rest upon ancient tradition, consent of learned men, or the weight of plausible argument--it is vain, futile, and, in short, a very lie."

Friday, October 9, 2009


This letter from the Puritan Minister, John Newton (1725-1807), was recently published in the Berean Call...

Dear friend,

Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, than it would be to paint the cabin—while the ship is sinking! Or to decorate the parlor—while the house is on fire!

When our Lord Jesus was upon earth, He refused to get involved in disputes or politics, "Friend, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?" Luke 12:14. "My kingdom is not of this world! If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight!" John 18:36. God's children belong to a kingdom which is not of this world; they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and a part of their Scriptural character is, that they are the "quiet in the land." Psalm 35:19.

Satan has many contrivances to amuse people, and to divert their thoughts from their real danger!

My dear sir, my prayer to God for you is—that He may induce you to employ the talents He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil; and to engage those who love and fear Him, (instead of wasting time in political speculations, for which very few of them are competent,) to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that God's wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged! This, I think, is true patriotism—the best way in which people in private life may serve their country.

I consider the ungodly as saws and hammers in the hand of the Lord. So far as they are His instruments, they will succeed—but not an inch further! Their wrath shall praise Him, and be subservient to His designs!

If our lot is so cast that we can exercise our ministry free from stripes, fines, imprisonments, and death—it is more than the gospel has promised to us! If Christians were quiet when under the cruel governments of Nero and other wicked persecutors, when they were hunted down like wild beasts—then we ought to be not only quiet but very thankful now! It was then accounted an honor to suffer for Christ and the 'offence of the cross'!

Those are to be greatly pitied, who boast of their 'liberty'—and yet they do not consider that they are in the most deplorable bondage as the slaves of sin and Satan, under the curse of God's law and His eternal wrath! Oh! for a voice to reach their hearts, that they may know their true and dreadful state—and seek deliverance from their horrific thraldom! May you and I labor to direct them to the one thing, which is absolutely needful, and abundantly sufficient.

If I had the wisdom or influence to soothe the angry passions of mankind—I would gladly employ them! But I am a stranger and a pilgrim here in this world. My charter, my rights and my treasures, are all in heaven—and there my heart ought to be. In a very short time, I may be removed (and perhaps suddenly) into the unseen and eternal world—where all that now causes so much bustle upon earth—will be of no more importance to me—than the events which took place among the antediluvians!

In the hour, when death shall open the door into eternity—many things which now assume an 'air of importance', will be found as light and unsubstantial as a child's dream!

How crucial then, is it for me—to be found watching, with my lamp burning, diligently engaged in my proper calling! For the Lord has not called me to set governments right—but to preach the gospel, to proclaim the glory of His name, and to endeavor to win souls! "Let the dead bury their own dead—but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God!" Luke 9:60. Happy is that servant, whom his Master finds so doing, when He returns!

As you have forced me to respond—both duty and love have obliged me to be faithful and free in giving you my thoughts.

I recommend you to the care and blessing of the great Shepherd and Savior; and remain for His sake, your affectionate friend and brother,

John Newton


These are my sermon notes from last Sunday's sermon...


A. What is God able to do in you?
B. The life of the Apostle Paul is a marvelous testimony to the transforming power of the grace of God. I remember when I was first saved. And I was reading my Bible relentlessly. And I came to the account of the salvation of Saul in Acts chapter nine. It was an amazing thing to me! And as I read I was encouraged to know that God could save a Christian killer like Saul. But then consider what God was able to do in the life of Paul. He not only saved him, he transformed him. He made him to be the greatest missionary that the church has ever known. He imparted to him great spiritual wisdom. He made him to be like Christ. He used him to reach thousands of lost souls. His writings, inspired by God Himself, are still be used to reach lost sinners today.
C. What is God able to do in your life? We have been studying in this second great prayer of the Apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians. And we have noted that at the heart of this prayer is God’s desire that we be made to be like Christ in all respects. That He might dwell in our hearts by faith, that we might fully comprehend and realize His love, that we might be filled up to all the fulness of Christ. It is a grand prayer indeed, and it is a reflection of the heart of God in His design for us in our Christian lives.
D. Lest we think that the Apostle Paul is too far reaching in his prayer, Paul reminds us of the nature and character of the God to whom he prays. He is the omnipotent, glorious, eternal God of the heavens. Who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. And He will be glorified in His church and in His Son as He accomplishes His transforming work in our lives. His measureless power will lead to His endless praise.
E. Hudson Taylor, "How often do we attempt work for God to the limit of our incompetency rather than to the limit of God’s omnipotency."


A. God’s measureless power

1. "Now to Him who is able to do" Able=dunameno=normally translated "power"=speaks to the power and ability of God to accomplish whatever it is that He endeavors to do. God is able to do because God is omnipotent, He has all power. He is able to do anything that is within His nature and will to do.
2. God’s power is measureless. But Paul the Apostle has attempted, in this epistle, to use three different yardsticks to give to us an indication of how great God’s power is.
a. Remember Paul’s prayer in Ephesians chapter one. His prayer was that our eyes would be opened to the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. And then he put a yardstick up against that great power so that we might have an indication of just how great a power it is. And the yardstick that is given to us is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The power and ability of God is so great that it was able to vanquish our greatest foe, death itself, and raise Jesus Christ from the dead. That same power is made evident in the life of the believer, as we, who were dead in our trespasses and sins, have been made alive together with Christ and raised up with Him in the heavenly places. Believer--the resurrection power of Christ is at work in you now, giving life to your mortal body, transforming you into His image, prparing you for heaven.
b. And then we look to Paul’s second prayer in Ephesians chapter three. His prayer is that we would be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. And then we are told that this power is according to the riches of His glory. And so we have a second yardstick by which we might measure the ability and power of God. It is according to the riches of His glory. What is His glory? It is said to be the culmination of His attributies. He is a glorious God. He is transcendent in His glory. It is beyond us. And it transcends our understanding. But we see the effects of His glory. His creation reveals His glory to us. In the words of Jeremiah 32:17, "Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee." God was able to make the heavens and the earth, He is able to give life to our sin-dead souls, He is able to conform us to the image of His Son, He is able to make us ready for Heaven. He is able because He is the sovereign and omnipotent God of the universe. Nothing is too difficult for Him. R. A. Torrey once said, "The whole secret of why D. L. Moody was such a mightily used man you will find in Psalm 62:11, "God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God." I am glad that it does. I am glad that power did not belong to D. L. Moody; I am glad that it did not belong to Charles Finney; I am glad that it did not belong to Martin Luther; I am glad that it did not belong to any other Christian man whom God has greatly used in this world’s history. Power belongs to God. If D. L. Moody had any power, and he had great power, he got if from God."
c. The third yardstick that is given to us by which we can attempt to measure the power and ability of God is given to us in verse 20. He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. Here it is measured against our prayers and our imagination. And what we are told is that His power far transcends them both. Let us consider this for a moment because it is an important point. We offer up certain prayers to God. And many times are prayers are not as they should be. We are told in Romans 8:26 that we don’t know how to pray as we should, "but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." And sometimes we ask amiss. But even when we do ask according to God’s will, our prayers are never in keeping with measureless ability of God’s ability to answer them.

We are too many times like the disciples in the boat, and the seas around them were raging, and they were fearful, but they had no reason to fear because the creator of the winds and the waves was in the boat with them. And as soon as they asked, he didn’t just save them from the seas, He calmed the seas. God is able to do beyond what you ask for Him to do in your Christian life. The Apostle Paul is a perfect example of this. Who would have ever imagined at the time of his conversion that he would become the greatest missionary the church has ever known. And yet God brought it to pass. And ever saved sinner is a testimony to the measureless power of God.
His ability not only transcends what we can ask, but it also transcends what we can think. We cannot imagine what God is able to do in our lives. The prodigal son had taken his inheritance and squandered his estate with loose living (Luke 15:13). He was destitute to the extent that he longed even to eat with the pigs (Luke (15:16). He came to his senses and decided to return to his father, thinking that perhaps his father might be willing to make him as one of his hired men (Luke 15:19). But instead the father welcomed him back, embraced him, put a robe on him, and a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet, he killed the fatted calf, and arranged a huge feast in celebration of his son’s return. The prodigal son had a thought of what his father might do, but what the father did was exceeding abundantly beyond what he thought.

1 Corinthians 2:9, "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." You have a thought about what heaven is going to be like, is will be far greater. God is able to do in your life beyond what you could ever imagine. Think back to when you were first saved. Remember the sorrow and the guilt and the hopelessness that you felt. Look where God has brought you, and that just a taste of all that God has prepared for you.

So, if we were to find the loftiest prayer ever uttered by man. The greatest prayer of faith that could be found in the history of godly men. A prayer that expressed the highest of spiritual aspirations. That stretched to the heights of heaven itself the faith that uttered it. Were we to find such a prayer, God’s power and God’s ability to work would far exceed what was requested in that prayer. And were we to find and discover the loftiest thought that has been thought. The greatest spiritual aspiration that has ever been thought in the hearts of men. God’s power and ability to work would far exceed what was considered in that thought.

B. Is at work within us
1. This power is not just a force that is out there having no relevance to us. It is a power that works within us. Philippians 2:13, "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."
2. It is tied in with God’s ultimate goal for us. We have seen in this prayer that God’s goal is to transform us into the image of His Son. God’s ability to work in us is tied in to His purpose in our lives. In other words, the thought here is not that I would ask or think that God will give to me a million dollars, and instead God is going to give me a billion dollars. It is not about our whims--not about our selfish requests and vain imaginations. The prayers and thoughts have to do with God’s saving purpose in our lives. We have an idea of what salvation is all about, God is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond that.
3. He is able to:

  • Romans 14:4, "The Lord is able to make (us) stand."
    Philippians 3:21, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself."
  • 2 Timothy 1:12, "I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day."
  • Hebrews 2:18, "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted."
  • Hebrews 7:25, "Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him."

It has been said, that He will only do for us, what we allow Him to do in us. So the great need that we have is for faith. We need to trust God and His Word and determine to rely not upon ourselves, but on Him. We need to realize all that He has done for us already. What has been outlined for us in this epistle. He has chosen us, He has redeemed us, He has sealed us by the Spirit. We were dead in our trespasses and sin, He made us alive together with Christ. We were without God and without hope in the world. He made us to be fellow citizens, fellow members of His household, and fellow living stones in His temple. He has indwelt us. He is helping us to realize the full measure of His love. He is filling us up to all the fulness of God. So what is needful is for us, not to look to ourselves and our inability, but to look to God and His ability, to save us, to change us, to prepare us for heaven.

5. We should also note that it is the characteristic of the last days that men will have a form of godliness, but deny His power. (2 Timothy 3:5). The modern church is characterized by religious exercise, but lacking in faith and empowerment by God. We need to be different in this respect. God has not called us to be religious people, we are called to be His children. Living in a vital life-transforming union with Him. Nothing short of this is acceptable to God, and neither shall it be acceptable to us.
6. William Carey, "Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God."

A. God will be glorified
1. John Stott, "The power comes from Him; the glory must go to Him."
2. To attribute glory to God is not to add anything to Him, for He is already perfect, it is to acknowledge Him as He is. To glorify God is to readily acknowledge His divine worth.
3. This section of the letter to the Ephesians began with this theme and it concludes with this theme. Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." And as we come to the end of the doctrinal portion of the book, it is concluded with the same theme. We should realize this about doctrine--the goal of our study of the Word of God is the glory of God. Indeed, the goal of life is the glory of God. Your life might not have started that way. Maybe you were ignorant of God’s glory, you did not honor Him as God or give thanks. Make sure it ends that way. You were created by God for this purpose, that you may glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Indeed, all of creation is moving in that very direction.
4. Though this world seems to lack direction, there is a direction and purpose to it. God has a purpose in it. In the end we shall all give glory to God. This is emphatically presented to us in the book of Revelation. The God who is able to save, will receive endless praise. Revelation 4:8-5:14.

B. In the church and in Christ Jesus
1. God will be glorified in the church. He has saved us "to the praise of His glory." Remember the threefold repetition in Ephesians 1:6, 12, and 14. And again in Ephesians 2:10 we saw that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works," that God might be glorified in them. God has carried out His saving purposes in us, "In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10)."
The church exists to bring glory to God, and to the extent that the church pursues this preeminent goal God will bless her efforts. If we fail to maintain this as our goal, if we minister for other motives, we should not expect God’s assistance. And we should not this as well. God will be glorified in the church. The world thinks little about the church. She is scoffed at and ignored. Many Christians think little of the church today, and many forsake it for other pursuits. But God thinks much of His church. It is the object of His love and devotion. And we need to respect it as the God-ordained and beloved institution that it is.
2. God will be glorified in His Son. Our Lord Jesus prayed this way in John 17:4-5, "I glorified Thee on earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, glorify Thou me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." God the Father is glorified in God the Son and especially in His saving work on the cross. A day is coming when every knee shoud bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Thank God that many of you have already confessed Him to be your Savior and Lord. Don’t wait until it is to late to do so voluntarily. The day is coming when there will be many who will be forced to confess this truth, but apart from His salvation. Now is the time, today is the day to acknowledge Him to be your Savior and Lord.

C. Throughout eternity.
1. Paul concludes his great doctrinal treatise with this preeminent conclusion. To Him be the all generations forever and ever. Amen. This matter transcends all generations and all time. The glory of God is the chief purpose of this universe. No person is exempted. Every one of us, every generation of man, every nationality, every tribe, every tongue exists for this supreme purpose: to glorify the creator. And that has been the purpose of God’s creation from history past and will be the purpose of His creation forever and ever. "To Him who sits on the Throne, and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever (Revelation 5:13)."
Like a mighty river flowing towards the sea, so is the history of man flowing relentlessly towards this final destiny. When we, as believers in Christ, arrive in heaven, the eternal praise and worship of God will be all that will remain. There will be no room for selfish endeavor or pride, there will be no tears, there will be no illnesses, no death. There will be no room for petty problems and concerns. No room for disagreements. No room for temper tantrums. No room for grumbling against God. There will be room only for fellowship with our creator and the praise and worship of Him. As we live our lives here on earth, we need to be preparing ourselves for such a place. We need to live our lives now to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." As we prepare ourselves for heaven, our goal here on earth should be to bring glory to God. We are going to be a part of a great heavenly choir that will sing the praises of Him. Now we are in choir practice. The lives that we live, the things that we say, the things that we do, are to be to this end. And God is able to make it so in our lives.

What is God able to do in you? Exceeding abundantly beyond what you ask or think! When you apply yourself to His will--to love Him, to serve Him, to grow in Him--you can be confident that God will work in a powerful way to assist you in those efforts.
And as He works to save us and to change us, He is glorified because the power comes from Him. It is all by His grace.

Pastor Jerry


I posted this back in January, but in view of recent events in the news, I felt compelled to include it in our monthly church newletter and repost it on my blog.

We are prone to worship men. We set before us some athlete, politician, or religious leader and suppose him to be something special. We pledge our allegiance to him or her and suppose that he or she has the power to do great things. It is true that there have been great men and women through the ages. There have been individuals who have stood out above the crowd of humanity for some particular reason. Their intellect, their skills, their inventions, or good deeds have garnered humanity’s admiration. That’s not a bad thing. But when that admiration turns to worship, that’s an entirely different matter.

In the book of Acts we have two accounts of men who were worshipped, both cases are instructive. The first involved King Herod. According to Acts 12:21-22, "He put on his royal apparel, took his seat at the rostrum and began delivering an address" to the people. Apparently his dress and his speech greatly impressed the crowd, for they cried out, "The voice of a god and not a man!" (Acts 12:22). The end result in that case was pretty gruesome. "Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and HE WAS EATEN BY WORMS AND DIED" (Acts 12:23).

The second account involved Paul and Barnabas. Paul healed a man who had been "lame from his mother’s womb" (Acts 14:8). When the multitudes saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying..."the gods have become like men and have come down to us" (Acts 14:11). "And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds" (Acts 14:13)." The response of Barnabas and Paul could not have been stronger. "But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out in the crowd, crying out and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? WE ARE ALSO MEN OF THE SAME NATURE AS YOU" (Acts 14:15).

No matter how great the man, the truth is he is of the same nature as every other man. We are all sinners by birth. No matter how great our intellect, charisma, or deeds--we are all sinners by nature and practice. None of us is deserving of worship. History has proven that it is never a good thing when men worship a man. We should never set any man on a pedestal. We are commanded to respect men--civil and religious leaders and even each other (1 Peter 2:17), but we are never commanded to worship them, indeed we are commanded not to worship anybody or anything except God Himself (Exod. 20:4-5).

THERE IS BUT ONE DESERVING OF WORSHIP--Jesus Christ. Though we "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23), "he knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21)." Though we are prone to selfishness and pride, he lived a humble and selfless life, putting the needs of others first. He consistently and relentlessly gave of Himself for the betterment of those around Him. The extent of His love was proven in His willingness to die for our sins (1 John 3:16). God raised Him from the dead and He has been exalted "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come" (Eph. 1:21). There will come a day when "every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10-11).Respect our leaders and express thanks to those who do good, by all means. Worship them, never. There is but one who is worthy of our worship--Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Jerry

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Ephesians 3:20-21, "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

This great text is the text for this Sunday's morning service. What is God able to do in you? More than you think. Certainly the Apostle Paul's experience speaks to the truth of this passage. That God could transform "a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor" (1 Tim. 1:13) and make him into that great theologian and missionary--that was, by God's ability, exceeding abundantly beyond what anyone would have asked or thought.

I love the story of the prodigal son. He had taken his share of his inheritance and "squandered his estate on loose living" (Luke 15:13). He was destitute to the extent that he was "longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating" (Luke 15:16). But he came to his senses and returned to his father, thinking that perhaps his father would make him as one of his hired men (Luke 15:19). But his father did more than that. When he returned he "embraced him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20). He put his best robe on him and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. He killed the fattened calf and arranged for a feast to celebrate his son's return (Luke 15:23-25). Certainly this was all exceeding abundantly beyond all that he thought!

What about you? You've trusted in Christ. God has begun a good work in you. What does He have planned for you? What is God able to do in your life? God's plans for us are exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. Say a prayer. Think a thought. God's plans for you are greater. "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

How is all of this possible? Because HE IS ABLE. God is glorified in the transformation of His children. It is a work that God alone can do. It happens by His grace and is to the praise of the glory of His grace. So Paul declared, inspired as he was, "to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Eph. 3:21)."

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


J. C. Ryle

  1. Read 2 Tim. 4:6-8. In what three ways did the Apostle Paul look as he expressed his assurance in God? What attitude characterized each of these three (p.1-2)?
  2. Where does assurance of salvation come from (p.2)?
  3. What do the Scriptures teach with regards to a man’s ability to have assurance with regards to his salvation (p.3; Job 19:25-26; Psa. 23:4; Isa. 26:3, 32:17; Rom. 8:38-39; 2 Cor. 5:1; 2 Cor. 5:6; 2 Tim. 1:12; Col. 2:2; Heb. 10:22, 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:10; 1 John 3:14, 5:13, 5:19)?
  4. For what reasons do people argue against the doctrine of the assurance of the believer (p.3)?
  5. What was the basis for the Apostle Paul’s assurance (p.5; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 7:24; Eph. 3:8; John 10:28; Heb. 6:19)?
  6. Is it possible for a person to be saved and to still lack assurance (p.5-6)?
  7. What analogy does the author use to distinguish between saving faith and assurance (p.6)?
  8. What scriptural examples does the author use to distinguish between saving faith and assurance (p.7; Mark 5:25 vs. Acts 7:56; Luke 23:42 vs. Job 19:25 & 13:15; Mark 14:30 vs. Acts 4:11; Mark 9:24 vs. Rom. 8:33-34; Acts 9:11 vs. 2 Tim. 1:12 & 4:8)?
  9. Why is assurance of salvation to be much desired? Four reasons (p.7-10).
  10. How does assurance afford comfort and peace to us (p.8-9)? In what respects (Hab. 3:17-18; Heb. 13:8; 2 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 1:23)?
  11. How does assurance work to make a believer active in service (p.9-10)? How analogy does the author use to illustrate this truth (p.9-10)? What does he mean by the statement "undivided attention will always attain the greatest success"?
  12. How does assurance work to make a believer a "decided" believer (p.10-11)?
  13. How does assurance work to increase a believer’s holiness (p.11; 1 John 3:3)?
  14. Why do so many believers lack assurance? Three reasons (p.12-13)?
  15. What counsel does the author give to those who lack assurance because they have never trusted in Christ for salvation (p.14-15)? What counsel does the author give to believers who lack assurance (p.15-16)?

Pastor Jerry


Here is a link to the chapter in J.C. Ryle's book on Holiness we are currently studying in Men's Bible Study:

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Sept. 8, 2009

I had some mail to get into the mailbox this morning, but I didn't notice the substitute mail lady until she drove past the mailbox. I jumped into the truck to chase her down and caught up to her down the road. I handed my mail to her and she smiled and said she'd take care of it. As I was walking a way she hollered out, "The church looks great!" I thanked her for her comments and explained to her how God had so blessed us by His provision of a newly remodeled Sanctuary as a result of the storm repairs.

I thought about what she said on the way back to the church. "The church looks great!" Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for her praise for our building, but how we should yearn for those same words to be applied to "the church." We all remember the little finger game: "Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and see all the people." The church is the people, and God's purpose is not so much about physical buildings, but living temples. How we should yearn for God to say and for people to say "the church looks great!" in reference to us.

God's purpose is for the church to look great: to be "holy and blameless before Him" (Eph. 1:4); to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29); to be presented "complete in Him" (Col. 1:29). The church looking great is central to God's eternal purpose to display the surpassing riches of His grace and His manifold wisdom through the church "in the ages to come" "to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places" (Eph. 2:7 and 3:10).

The church looks great to the extent that it looks like Christ. When it is adorned with His virtues--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control; filled with His sacrificial love (1 John 3:16); and empowered by His grace (2 Cor. 4:7-10). The church looks great when it looks like Christ!

The church can look great only as the Spirit of God applies the Word of God to the hearts of its members. The Spirit of God is the ultimate beautician. He alone can bring beauty from ashes as He patiently works within us to do that which "is exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:19-21). The Word of God is central to His work.

"The church looks great!" Is that what people say when they look at me, at you? It will never be--in the highest sense--if it is only us they see. But when they see Jesus in us--now that is something beautiful! When His abiding presence is clearly evident in our attitudes, actions, and words--then the church truly looks great!

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I wrote this some years ago, before I had a blog. I just came across it again so I thought I'd post it. It is a modern parable on sailing in the wrong direction...

Imagine that you are the captain of a ship named "Self." You are headed towards a far off place where you’ve heard that there are great riches to be had and pleasures to enjoy. Little do you know that none of what you have heard is true. The reality is that all who reach that land are kept alive forever, but only to suffer infinite loss and unbearable pain.

The creed on board your ship is "If it feels good do it," and "The way seems right to me." Your ship is not much to look at, but you don’t realize it. All the other vessels look the same and they are all headed in the same direction. The fact is that your ship is falling apart. The decks are rotting, the sails are torn, the hull is slowly failing. Despite all this, everytime you make a port call you can’t resist buying all sorts of things whether or not they have any apparent usefulness or long term benefit. Boxes labeled--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life--crowd the cargo holds and fill the deck. So much cargo has been brought on board that the ship is in danger of sinking. A large wave will no doubt overwhelm your vessel and bring the entire voyage to a bitter end. You know this and are aware that other ships have suffered that very fate, but you sail on. "My ship might not be much," you say, "but at least I am the captain of my own vessel, and when I get to my destination I will have riches and enjoy pleasures forevermore."

One day a ship approaches from the other direction. The first thing you notice about this ship is that it is headed the wrong way. This is the first time you’ve ever seen a ship headed in that direction. You faintly remember hearing tales about a land called "Eternal glory," far off in that direction, but you’ve always doubted its existence and besides that, you’ve heard that that route is filled with many dangers. Everyone you know is headed in the same direction you are.

But you also notice something different about the Captain and His ship. Although His ship is not as large or as stately as some of the others, it has a strange attractiveness to it. It appears to be quite seaworthy and isn’t overloaded with excess cargo. In fact you notice that the ship is immacuately clean. What is more is that you sense that there is a calmness and a joy on board that vessel. It sails through the water with ease and is not disturbed by bad weather or storms. You discover that the Man on board knows more about ships and seas than any other captain that you have ever known. You have a sense that He somehow created them all. If fact the Captain has a knowledge of you that somehow plumbs the very depths of your soul. You find yourself strangely attracted to Him--there is a sense in which you cannot bear the thought of being apart from Him--but still another part of you wants to hide from Him and cries out, "Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!"

Suddenly the Captain of the other vessel cries to you, "You’re headed in the wrong direction and your ship is about to sink, allow Me to come on board. I’ll turn your ship around, clean things up, and fix up your ship for smoothing sailing." Deep down inside you know that it is true--your ship is sinking! A part of you wants to welcome Him on board, but a thousand thoughts run through your mind:

You wonder why no one else is going that way.
You fear what the other captains will think if you suddenly head off in the wrong direction.
You ask, "Who is He to insult my ship?"
You can’t imagine getting rid of your cargo.
And you can’t imagine giving up control of your ship.

All sorts of fears enter into your mind as you consider the cost of letting this Captain on board. You understand that if you do, He will no doubt save you from sinking, but on the other hand you know that His presence will change everything on board your ship. You have to decide--are you going to reject Him or will you receive Him? Your eternal destiny hangs in the balance.

You decide to let Him on board. You find Him to be the very best of Captains. He provides for all of your needs. He is the best friend that you could ever imagine having. And you are secure realizing that He knows where He is going! Now, what about those other ships?

Pastor Jerry

Sunday, August 23, 2009


This year's LCBC campout has been a real blessing so far. Praise the Lord! It has been great to have a bigger turnout of folks. Per the norm we have enjoyed playing some volleyball together and the children have enjoyed the boats and swimming in the lake. But beyond that--there have been so many opportunities for folks to encourage one another in the Lord Jesus. Conversations have gravitated to the wonderful truths about our Savior. We enjoyed having Chuck and Patty lead the singing on Friday night. We were blessed by Andrew's devotion last night focusing on the true nature of Christian love as it is revealed to us in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. The campers today will be blessed, I'm sure, by Pastor Jeff's message. Praise the Lord for church family. In today's world such an environment is hard to find and harder still to preserve. Praise the Lord for His grace whereby we can collectively share in the blessings of our shared identity in Christ!

Pastor Jerry

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Quote from R. J. McGhee (a preacher in Ireland in the 1850s) regarding the unsearchable riches of Christ:

"The unsearchable riches of Christ: what are they? Go to a man in an arid desert, lying on the ground gasping with thirst, at the gate of death, beneath a burning sun; take to him gold and jewels; offer them to him; promise him a kingdom; and what do you bestow on him? There is that for which, if he had it, he would barter all. A cup of water--one cup from the stream--for this he pants; this would be wealth and kingdom for him.

Go again to another in the jaws of famine, dying from hunger; pour out silver and gold, the wealth of a world, at his feet; and what do you confer upon him? He would give a world, or a thousand worlds, for a single morsel of bread.

Again, take a man gasping on the field of battle, mortally wounded, writhing in agony; offer him riches, offer him a crown; will he thank you? No. If you could heal his wounds, if you could raise him up from the cold bed of death, if you could restore him to the life and health he enjoyed an hour before; that would be wealth and riches for the dying man.

Take a poor criminal, led out to execution; offer him all that earth could give; what could he do with it? What is the earth to him? But offer the man a pardon; gain for him a reprieve; there is a world, and more than a world for him.

Well then, if you knew your own actual state, you would see that your spiritual condition before God is just as hopeless, just as miserable, just as desperate, as the temporal condition of any one of those sufferers I have described; you are spiritually the poor wretch in the burning desert without a drop of water to cool your tongue for eternity. You are worse than a poor creature who is famishing with hunger--worse, far worse than him writhing in agony on the field of battle--worse than the criminal about to be led to execution; these, however agonizing their state, are merely suffering for time; considered in reference to man’s mere animal existence, their pangs soon must terminate; but the misery in which your immortal soul is sunk, unless you are delivered, must endure for eternity.

Now Christ is Living Water to the soul that is dying of thirst (John 4:10). Christ is the Bread of Life to the sinner, perishing for hunger (John 6:32-35). Christ is the Great Physician who can heal the dying man (Mark 2:10-11). Christ is the King that extends His pardon to the criminal led forth to execution (Luke 23:43)."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Sermon Outline from Sunday's sermon...


  1. Precious (1 Peter 1:19).
  2. Perfect (1 Peter 1:19).
  3. Prophesied (Gen. 3:15, 3:21, 4:4; Lev. 1:5; Isa. 53:10).
  4. Prescribed (Heb. 9:27; John 6:53-54).
  5. Purchasing (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:9).
  6. Pardoning (Eph. 1:7).
  7. Propitiating (Rom. 3:23).
  8. Peacemaking (Eph. 2:13; Col. 1:20).
  9. Purifying (Heb. 9:14; 13:11-12).
  10. Perfecting (Heb. 10:14).
  11. Powerful (1 Cor. 6:11).
  12. Praiseworthy (Rev. 5:9).
"E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die;
And shall be till I die;
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die."

Pastor Jerry

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Do you remember the song, "How can you mend a broken heart?" The song asks a good question, but doesn't give an answer. I presided over a Memorial service yesterday--for a 30 year old man who took his own life. There were some broken hearts in the congregation. The young man’s grandfather was in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery when the family got the news of the death. The doctors had used their training and skills to mend his "broken" heart, but that’s not the kind of broken heart the Bee Gees sung about. That kind of broken heart is much harder to mend.

The question is not so much HOW can you mend a broken heart, but rather WHO can mend a broken heart. There is only one who is qualified to do that--our Lord Jesus Christ. He came for that very purpose. All "broken-heartedness" is the result of sin. It can be traced back to the sin of Adam and Eve. And wrong sinful choices in our lives, and the lives of others, leads to much "broken-heartedness." The Lord Jesus was sent from heaven to heal broken hearts. He experienced a broken heart himself. He "who knew no sin" was made "to be sin" on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). And He cried out from the cross, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46).

But He rose victorious over sin and death. He grants eternal life to those who place their trust in Him. They experience His forgiveness and are made to be new creatures in Christ. His indwelling presence brings peace, and joy, and hope to their hearts. And He begins His heart mending process. Its a life long work. Sin is forgiven, freedom from sin progresses, until one day, in His presence--sin is no more. Praise God that there is someone to whom we can go who understands all that we go through, and has answers for the trials and sorrows that we face.

Hebrews 4:15-16, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need."

Pastor Jerry

Friday, July 24, 2009


July 24, 2009

In 1958, when Harriet began playing the piano for Lewis & Clark Bible Church, Eisenhower was president, gas cost 30 cents a gallon, and the US launched its first satellite into space. Since those days many things have changed, but for fifty years at LCBC one thing remained the same--Harriet Pollard played the piano. when the old seed barn was torn down, and a new building took its place, Harriet played on. When pastors came and went, Harriet played on. When her dear friend and accompaniest on the organ, Helen Leigh, preceded her in death, Harriet played on. Even when severe arthritis made it difficult for her to get to the piano, let alone play, Harriet played on. I'm 53 years old, and Harriet was playing the piano for LCBC for most of the years of my life.

Lest we underestimate the significance of this, consider: "How rare is it for a person to serve in one particular manner in one place for that long?" I have no doubt that there were, in her life, many occasions when it would have been easier for her to quit. No doubt there were difficult relationships and musical disagreements and such. She once remarked to me, as she was struggling to get up the front steps, how she used to laugh at the old ladies who struggled to climb the steps into the church. Her health problems near the end of her life would have been reason enough to step down.

Her dedication to playing the piano was a reflection of her life. She faced many challenges in her life. She lived through the great Astoria fire, the great depression, and many wars. She faced many personal challenges as well. But she persevered by God's grace and kept that encouraging smile on her face through it all.

She loved music. God had given her a gift, and she loved to serve God with her gift. She was a good steward of that which God gave to her. 1 Cor. 4:2 says, "In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy." She was trustworthy, and served the Lord in countless ways in our church. She meant a lot to us. Her encouraging presence is interwoven through the history of LCBC. We were all better off in Christ because of knowing her. She will be sorely missed. But we rejoice that she is now with the Lord Jesus Christ and we look forward to the day when we will be reunited with her in heaven (1 Thess. 4:17)!

Pastor Jerry

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Harriet was the treasurer when I came to the church about 19 years ago. She had been doing the job for some time. She had been at the church through many a Pastor, and she had kept the books through some pretty difficult times. When I came the church was pretty small. The budget was small also. Our first month's budget was about $600.00. Out of that amount we had to pay for all the utilities and then pay the Pastor's salary. Obviously, there was not enough. I worked for a time to make ends meet. Harriet and I would get together at least once a month to figure out how we could take care of the bills. I looked forward to our visits. She would share stories about the past. I had many a visit with Harriet in those days. She was always an encouragement to me.

Pastor Jerry

Saturday, July 18, 2009


As a tribute to Harriet Pollard I intend to post on my blog some memories of Harriet over the next few days. She was an exceptional woman, and she was a blessing to so many of us. I wrote this post last year as we were preparing for LCBC's 50th anniversary. I called Harriet and talked to her about the circumstances by which our church was ultimately founded on this site. Harriet and Helen were both a part of that process...

"It was 50 years or so ago. Harriet Pollard remembers because her son who is now 52, was only about 2 when it happened. Harriet and Helen Seppa Leigh (now in heaven with Jesus) were on a walk. As they passed by the seed barn Helen said, "Can't you just see this as a church?" They went inside and looked around. Helen remarked, "The pulpit would go over here." And so the seed of a thought of a building for the newly formed church was planted.It was just an ordinary seed barn used to store the grass seed that was harvested from the nearby fields. It was dirty and unfinished. It hardly looked like a church! But Helen saw past the externals to what could be and what it would be. How often do we pass by what is "ordinary" without thinking about what could be or what should be? Ordinary lost people are much like seed barns. Dirty, unfinished, not much to look at. Paul said to a group of believers--"Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 6:11).It is a good thing that God has looked upon us as Helen looked upon that old seed barn. He looked past what we were to what we could be and what we would be in Christ. He chose us, predestined us, adopted us, redeemed us, forgave us, enlightened us, enriched us, and sealed us--all that we might be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:1-14)."He took us as we were--dirty and ordinary in sin, and is now transforming us into a holy temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:21). Thank God for His ability by His grace to transform ordinary lost sinners into saints and true worshippers!

I talked to John Pollard yesterday. He remembers the time after the church moved into the old seed barn. He was only about 5 or so, but every week Harriet would take the boys to church to clean up. They would clean the floors in preparation for the Sunday services. One can only imagine how needful that would have been! It was a duty that Harriet took on with the same faithful determination that was evident in all of the facets of her life.

Pastor Jerry

Friday, July 17, 2009


HOLINESS by J. C. Ryle

1. Read 1 Peter 3:18. What is the main thought of the verse? What are we being commanded to do?
2. Why is the question, "Do we grow?" of special importance in the present day?
3. To what is the author not referring to when he speaks of "growth in grace" (p.2; Col. 2:10)? To what is he referring?
4. Read the following verses: 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Thess. 4:10; Col. 1:10; 2 Cor. 10:15; 1 Thess. 3:12; Eph. 4:15; Phil. 1:9; 1 Thess. 4:1; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18. What do these verses have to say about the need for us to grow (p.2)?
5. What are five spiritual benefits of growth in grace (p. 3-4)?
6. What are the marks by which we can ascertain whether we are growing in grace or not (p.4-5)? What are some of the challenges associated with evaluating our own spiritual growth (Jer. 17:9; 2 Cor. 12:10; Heb. 4:12)?
7. How are we to resolve the tension between the truths that: 1) spiritual growth is by God’s grace, and 2) we are repeatedly commanded to apply ourselves to spiritual growth (p.6)?
8. What are the means of spiritual growth (p.6-8)?
9. What is included in the "private means of grace?" Why are these "private means" of utmost priority with regards to spiritual growth (p.6)?
10. What must we be careful to remember with regards to the use of the "public means of grace" (p.7)?
11. Why is watchfulness in the little matters of everyday life important (p.7)?
12. What caution must we observe about the company we keep and the friendships we form (p.7)?
13. How important is having a regular and habitual communion with the Lord Jesus (p.7-8)?
14. What advice does the author give to those who don’t apply themselves to the matter of spiritual growth (p.8)? To those who have reached a standstill in their spiritual growth (p.9)? To those who are growing but who are not aware of it (p.9-10)?

"Holiness" by J.C. Ryle: Chapter Six

Here's a link to the latest chapter for our Men's Bible study.

Pastor Jerry

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Today, July 16th, our beloved sister in Christ, Harriet Pollard, has left behind her earthly tent (2 Cor. 5:1), and has departed to be with the Lord ("which is very much better"--Phil. 1:23). Her encouraging presence has been a blessing to us all! Her example of faithful service through good times and bad is interwoven through the history of our church. She was here from the beginning of LCBC. I personally have been blessed by her in countless ways. We will miss her much.

I want to express my appreciation to all who have prayed for her, visited her, and comforted her through her final days. Your demonstration of Christlike love was precious to her and testified to the source from which it has come--our Lord Jesus Himself.

Her son, David, was at her side when she passed away early this morning. Pray for him, and his brothers and family, for Betty, and for all of us as we are saddened by her passing.

But we are abundantly thankful that she is now in a place of no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, or pain (Rev. 21:4). Indeed in the presence of our Lord she is now experiencing "all that God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9). We will miss her, but eagerly anticipate the day when we "shall be caught up together" with her "in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (2 Thess. 4:17).

Pastor Jerry

Friday, July 10, 2009


This video shares some startling statistics regarding the growth of the Islamic population in Europe, Canada, and the US.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Fortune, fun, and fame--Michael Jackson seemingly had it all.

In the last 25 years, it is estimated that he made more than $700 million. His spending topped his income, by 1998 he was earning $11 million a year, but spending $31 million.

He had his own theme park, his 2500 acre Neverland ranch had a zoo, an amusement park, a movie theatre, and a minature train system. It cost him $5 million a year to staff and maintain.

He had fame. Boy did he have fame! The legendary "King of Pop" sold incredible numbers of recordings and videos. His 3 hour memorial service had just over 31.1 million viewers. Only Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana had more.

He seemingly had it all, but did he really? It is readily apparent that he was not a very happy man. The circumstances leading up to his death suggest a life filled with both disappointment and regret. In Michael Jackson's case the American Dream morphed into an American Nightmare.

Apparently the "King of Pop" discovered the same thing that another "King" learned centuries ago. King Solomon also experienced fortune, fun and fame. His own testimony was, "And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure..." (Eccl. 2:10). The wealthy King Solomon had incredible wealth, experienced varied and pleasurable pursuits, and had worldwide fame--but in those things he was not fulfilled. His testimony? "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity." (Eccl. 1:2). His conclusion? Life has no meaning apart from faith in God (Eccl. 12:13).

God has not designed us to be happy and fulfilled in life apart from relationship with Him (Eccl. 3:11). St. Augustine put it this way: "Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee." Fortune, fun, and fame amount to nothing more than "broken cisterns which can hold no water" (Jer. 2:13). God offers instead, in Himself, the "fountain of living waters."

What does Michael's experience teach us? You can have all of the wealth and fame in the world, but if you don't have a relationship with God you don't have a thing. Jesus came that we, through faith in Him, "might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10). True contentment in Christ is possible regardless of one's circumstances (Phil. 4:12-13). How pertinent are Paul's instructions to Timothy: "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed" (1 Tim. 6:17-19). Life indeed is something far better than mere fortune, fun, and fame.

Pastor Jerry

Monday, July 6, 2009


Harriet Pollard is 93 years old today. We were able to visit with her for a few minutes today. Jason Jones had taken some video of some folks from church who expressed their birthday greetings to her. She was delighted to see the videos. We also delivered some birthday cards that had been signed from members of the congregation. Soon after we arrived, her sons stopped by to visit. They've been spending much time with Harriet.

Harriet is a remarkable woman. She lived through the depression and a couple of World Wars. She remembers the great Astoria fire. Before her medical problems prevented her from attending, she faithfully attended LCBC and played the piano for fifty years. She played when her hands were so arthritic that it was difficult to play. But she didn't want to stop playing, she enjoyed it too much.

I remember back to when I first came to the church. There were few folks in attendance. And times had been pretty tough for the church. Harriet herself had seen a lot of Pastors come and go. She told me once that she had had a dream that the church was full of people and they were all smiling. I remember how we used to meet regularly--she was the treasurer--so that we could figure out how we could pay the bills with the limited funds the church had at the time.

She told me once that when she was a little girl she used to laugh to herself at the old women who struggled to make it up the steps to church. But then the same thing happened to her--but she wasn't angry about it, she thought it was funny.

She has suffered through many trials and troubles, having once nearly lost her life to medical problems--but she has never complained. She is a woman of tremendous character. Thank God for Harriet Pollard. We, her friends, have been blessed by her example of faithfulness in service to the Lord. Happy Birthday Harriet!

Pastor Jerry