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