Monday, November 26, 2012


A man came to visit me one day some months ago.  He shared with me about his past.  He told me that he was a disabled veteran and that he was homeless.  Life’s wanderings had brought him back to his home town.  He wasn’t sure where God was leading him, but expressed to me his desire to head in that direction wherever it might take him.  A believer in Christ, he asked some questions about the beliefs of our church.  He had been disappointed by the shallowness that was his experience in a previous situation.  We engaged in some great conversation about theological matters and personal concerns pertaining to his difficult circumstances.  He promised to visit the church.  He kept his promise and started to attend.  “How would our church respond?” I wondered, though deep down I had little doubt.  Spirit-led people know what to do.

I thought of a previous event in our church’s history that shaped the direction of our church for many years to come.  Years ago, in the early 70s, some teens from the church went out knocking on doors in a local community.  They happened upon a house where, unbeknownst to them, there was a drinking party going on.  The man at the door invited them in, but only to make fun of them in their endeavor.  They spoke of Jesus and invited him to church.  He gave no indication that he would.  They returned to the church and asked for prayer for the man.  Surprisingly, he decided to visit, but his intentions were not good.  He wore the dirtiest and smelliest clothes that he could find.  He drove his pickup truck and brought his dog along, knowing that the dog in the back of his pickup would bark incessantly throughout the service.  His plan was to prove the young people wrong.  They (God) would show no interest in him.  Surely, they would refuse him at the door and send him on his way.  But that’s not what happened.  The people warmly greeted him.  At the end of the service he saw a stern looking older man approaching.  Undoubtedly that man would respond as he had assumed.  But instead he approached and said to our friend, “So glad that you are visiting us today, this is exactly where you need to be!”  You know what happened?  He came back.  What’s even more exciting is that he kept coming.  He heard the gospel.  He was saved.  He started sharing the gospel with others.  His brother was saved.  He prayed for me.  I was saved.  He wanted to be a missionary, but God led him to be a pastor.  He’s served faithfully in ministry ever since.  That man is my uncle Bob and that’s what happened when he visited LCBC.

Our more recent homeless friend was warmly greeted as well.  He was invited over to homes and for meals by various members of our congregation.  Members of the church famiy offered assistance for gasoline and food supplies.  One family invited him along on family outings.  He began to attend various church functions including the men’s Bible study.  He built relationships within the church.  One of the elders reached out to him and offered him a place to stay in his home.  He lived there for several months.  A plan was in place to replace our church sign.  He did most of the carpentry work.  All this time our friend has been looking for work.  Jobs are hard to come by in this area.  He had one for a little while, but medical problems forced him to quit. 

I got an email from our friend today.  He had long been praying about what God would have him to do.  The prospect of a job, in the Lord’s leading, has taken him to the Tacoma area.  He emailed me to thank me (and us) for the ministry of our church.  He was especially thankful for the “men in the Saturday Men’s study.”  He earnestly desires to serve the Lord and is very glad for the spiritual benefit and physical assistance he received from the Lord through the ministry of our church family.

I’m so glad—I praise God—that I can write of such a thing.  What is supposed to happen if a person in need visits a church?  I’d like to think that God’s love would be expressed to them by God’s people.  Sometimes we might doubt whether that can truly happen.  It does happen—praise the Lord—and when it does it reminds us of the greater love from which all true Christian love flows—the love of Christ!

Pastor Jerry


Charles Spurgeon, “To remain divided is sinful! Did not our Lord pray, that they may be one, even as we are one”? (John 17:22). A chorus of ecumenical voices keep harping the unity tune. What they are saying is, “Christians of all doctrinal shades and beliefs must come together in one visible organization, regardless… Unite, unite!” Such teaching is false, reckless and dangerous. Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity. Unity without truth is hazardous. Our Lord’s prayer in John 17 must be read in its full context. Look at verse 17: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in Christ. To teach otherwise is to betray the Gospel."

Friday, November 16, 2012


1 John 1:2, “And we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.”

That a man named Jesus once lived is an undeniable truth. Secular historians spoke of Him. Even the numbering of years on our calendars testifies to the reality of His existence. The question is: “Who was (is) He?” (Cf. 1 John 4:2; Matt. 16:15). A corresponding question is equally important: “Why did He come?”

The Apostle John wrote his first epistle in part to refute some heretical teaching. False teachers were distorting the truth concerning Christ’s person and work. They claimed to have an exclusive understanding of the truth. They believed in Jesus, but denied that He had actually come in the flesh (1 John 2:22, 4:2). They likewise denied the reality of His sufferings. These heresies reflected perversions of the gospel that undermined the spiritual health of the church.

The Apostle John was an eyewitness of Jesus. He saw Him, heard Him, and touched Him (1 John 1:1). What did he see, hear, and feel? John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John saw Jesus. He saw Him as He truly was (and is), the Divine Son of God who came in human flesh (Cf. 1 John 4:2). The Christmas we will soon celebrate is a celebration of these very truths. “Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown when Thou camest to earth for me.”

A common theme runs through both John’s gospel and epistles. That theme is “life.” In seeing, hearing, and touching Jesus, John was a witness to life, specifically “eternal life.” We…”proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:2). Jesus = “eternal life.” Amongst the many definitions provided by Webster’s dictionary for life, you will find this: “spiritual existence transcending physical death.” As a song says, “There is more to this life than living and dying.” This is true. True life is bound up in Jesus--eternal life, meaningful life, abundant life, satisfying life, the life we were created to experience in fellowship with God. John repeatedly testified to this:

• John 1:4, “In Him was life.”
• John 5:26, “He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.”
• John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.” (The terms “life” or “living” are used some 18 times in this chapter).
• John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’”
• John 10:10, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”
• John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
• John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
• John 17:3, “And this eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”
• John 20:30-31, “Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed…but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus Christ is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
• 1 John 5:11-12, “And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”

The Apostle John was an eyewitness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He devoted his life to proclaiming the truth that he himself had witnessed. He willingly suffered persecution to defend and proclaim these truths (Rev. 1:9). He yearned for others to experience the true life that is bound up in Jesus. He testifies to us this day through God’s inspired and inerrant word that eternal life is found in Him. He who died on the cross and rose from the dead is able to impart life to sin-dead souls (Cf. Eph. 2:1). That very same Jesus who called a rotting Lazarus from the grave, is able this very day to revive any man and bring him into an eternal fellowship with the Father and the Son (1 John 1:3). Life is in the Son. Do you have the Son? If so, you have the life—it is yours by His gracious provision! If not, don’t delay in calling on Him. He came that you might have life (John 10:10).

Pastor Jerry

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Heb. 11:16, “But as it is, they desire a better country, a heavenly one.”

2 Peter 3:13, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”

According to a recent news story the White House petition website has been flooded by a series of secession requests from over 20 states.  Thousands of our fellow citizens have expressed a desire for their state to secede from the union.  Frustrated by the direction of things, they see no other alternative.

The longing for a “better place” is a part of our human makeup.  Deep in the recesses of our collective thinking lay “clouded-over” memories of a sinless paradise.  Adam and Eve sinned and that paradise was lost (Gen. 3:1f).

Sin has been our unwelcome guest ever since our forebears made that foolhardy decision to do that which God said no to.  A curse was pronounced and all of history bears testimony to the tragic reality of its fulfillment (Gen. 3:17-19).  There is no place on planet earth that is not infected by sin’s influence.  “The whole creation groans” under the weight of it (Rom. 8:8:22).

Surely there must be some better place, some safer place, some healthy and happy place—“where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.”  Our hearts yearn for such a place.  “We (ourselves) groan,” longing for a better existence devoid of troubles and trials and fears (2 Cor. 5:4).

The travel section of the Sunday paper includes stories about great places to visit.  Advertisements for destinations and resorts and beautiful locations promise happier places devoid of trouble.  Experience reminds us that there is, in fact, no paradise on earth.  We have it in our minds that perhaps we could escape to some deserted and trouble-free island.  But no matter where you go, there you are, and wherever you are, sin goes with you.

As it is with this planet so it is with people.  Though “one man sin entered the world, and death spread through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12).  By God’s influence men and societies have experienced varying degrees of righteousness, but there has never been a man without sin—save One.

Jesus Christ was without sin. Sin had no part in Him.  He was and is perfectly righteous in every respect.  He never thought a sinful thought, never did a sinful deed, and never uttered a sinful word.  He was tempted in all ways as we are yet without sin (Heb. 4:25).  He was a perfect man.  The answer to our longing for a “better place” must start with Him.

The frustrations that we experience in life are all rooted in sin--our sins and the sins of others.  Sin darkens everything on this planet, and man has no solution for it.  Jesus does.  “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).  The sinless one was made to be sin--our sin was imputed to Him on the cross--that we might be saved from sin (2 Cor. 5:21).  He works in the life of those who trust in Him to save them to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25).  He forgives, transforms, and delivers them safely home (2 Tim. 4:18).

A foretaste of a place “where righteousness dwells” is the experience of every Spirit-indwelt believer. In Christ, he possesses perfect “positional” righteousness.  By the Spirit we experience His presence and by His power a transforming work goes on.  No perfection can be obtained--this side of heaven—but the Spirit relentlessly and patiently works towards this end.  Growth in Christ only works to fan the flames of desire for release from that which holds us back (2 Cor. 5:4).  The “desire to depart and be with Christ (which is)…very much better” (Phil. 1:23) is rooted in a desire to be released from sin and transformed “into conformity with the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21).

Heaven is a wonderful place, in part because there will be no sin there.  It is hard for us to imagine such a place--having been bathed in a sin-filled experience from our births.  In many respects the Bible is like a travel brochure.  It reminds us of the short-comings that are a part of our present location (by way of sin), and draws our attention to a place to a place in “which righteousness dwells.”  There is only one who can arrange our travel arrangements (John 14:6).  He not only works to get us there, He Himself is what makes our destination exceedingly attractive.  Righteousness dwells wherever He reigns, wherever the “Sun of Righteousness” shines (Mal. 4:2).

Pastor Jerry

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


2 Peter 2:9, “Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.”

A few weeks ago Hurricane Sandy brought massive destruction to the northeast coast of the United States.  Over 100 people died.  Damage estimates exceed $50 billion dollars (damage plus costs due to lost business).  Its fierce winds led to massive power outages and coastline destruction.  Some incredible stories have come out of the storm.  During the storm, in the middle of the night, over 100 homes in Queens, NY burned to the ground.  Amazingly courageous rescue workers were able to evacuate every single person from those homes.

A much greater storm is brewing.  The storm clouds are on the horizon.  No human power will stand in its way or avoid its destructive path.  Most are living their lives unaware of its approach, making no preparations for its landfall.  It will come “as a thief” and lead to widespread and eternal loss of life.  Peter had much to say regarding this pending “storm” in his second epistle:

  • God has judged sin before and He will do so again (2 Pet. 2:4-9; 3:7).
  • God’s judgment will assuredly come, though there be those who think and behave as if it won’t (2 Pet. 3:3-7).
  •  God is patiently delaying His judgment “not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).
  • But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief (2 Pet. 3:10).
  • The earth and its works will be burned up (2 Pet. 3:10; Cf. 1 John 2:17).
  • We, as believers, are to “fix (our) hope completely on the grace to brought to (us) at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13; Cf. Tit. 2:13; 2 Tim. 4:8; Phil. 3:19-10).
  • The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment (2 Pet. 2:9; the church will be “raptured” into His presence before the tribulation; Cf. 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 4:13-18).
  • We are “looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13).
  •  Eagerly anticipating His return, we are to be people characterized “by holy conduct and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:11).
  • We are to do our part in making the gospel known to others (2 Pet. 3:9; Cf. 2 Tim. 2:1-4).

Our hope (confident expectation) does not ultimately lie in a better world or improved political environment.  God has not promised us such things, but God has promised other things of infinitely greater value.  2 Thess. 1:8-10 summarizes what will be the ultimate destiny of each and every person.  There are only two possibilities:

1.       Those who “do not know God (who have refused to obey the gospel) will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:8-9).
2.       “He will be glorified in His saints (those who have believed) on that day” (2 Thess. 1:10a).  We will marvel (be amazed, filled with wonder, be astonished) at Him (2 Thess. 1:10b).

Most survived Hurricane Sandy, few perished.  In the coming judgment it will be the other way around.  1 John 5:11-12, “And the witness is this, that God has given us, eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  Do you have the Son?  Are you born again?    Make no mistake, a Judgment Day is coming!  Have you trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8-9)?  If so, are you eagerly anticipating and living for Christ’s return (Phil. 3:20)!

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


2 Peter 1:13, “And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder.”

This past Sunday we celebrated Veteran’s Day at church.  We had our Veteran’s from all the branches of the Armed Forces come to the front of the church so we could recognize them.  Recognizing our Veteran’s is important lest we forget their sacrifices made in ensuring our freedom. 

There is One who has intervened in our lives to grant to us an even greater freedom.  Peter wrote to those believers that he might “stir (them) up by way of reminder” (2 Peter 1:13).  What did he want to remind them of?  The work of Christ through which they had received “purification from (their) former sins” (2 Pet. 1:8).  Through Christ’s work on the cross the believer has been saved from sin—it’s penalty, it’s power--and one day--it’s very presence.  His work on the cross, through which we’ve been saved, is the One Thing we dare not forget. 

Peter’s concern was that these believers would be“applying all diligence” (2 Pet. 1:5) to their growth in Christ (2 Pet. 1:5-7).  To do otherwise would render one “blind and short-sighted” (2 Pet. 1:9) to the very purpose for which Christ died.  His work on the cross was to save us from sin in every respect.  This salvation, rooted in His cross work, represents an escape from “the corruption that is in the world by lust” in order that we might “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).

It is good to be reminded of what Christ has done for us!  We need to ongoingly think about it, sing about it, and confidently speak to others about it.  We regularly celebrate communion “in remembrance” of Him for this very purpose.  The Apostle Paul admonished Timothy, recognized this tendency we have to forget: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead” (2 Tim. 2:8). 

Have you forgotten that day when you first trusted in Jesus?  Have you forgotten how the burden of sin’s guilt was lifted from your soul?  Have you forgotten how that Spirit-imparted joy filled your heart?  These things were but “first-fruits” of the work that God began in you.  Peter wanted to “stir them up by way of reminder” of these things.  These matters are of “first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). An elderly John Newton (that ex-slave trader turned pastor; and writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace”) was quoted as saying “my memory is nearly gone, but these two things I remember: that I am a great sinner and Christ is a Great Savior!”  God tie a yellow ribbon as a “forget-me-not” around my heart lest I fail to remember the One Thing I dare not forget! 

Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.

Pastor Jerry

Monday, November 12, 2012


1 Peter 5:7, “He cares for you.”

Life is filled with troubles of various kinds.  Personal sins, past regrets, future fears, and other matters work to steal away our peace and joy.  And sometimes we think—“This is hard, does anybody care?”  It’s good to have someone who cares.  I’m so thankful for a loving wife and family and friends who care about me.  They are a true blessing from God.  But above all else I’m thankful for Jesus.

The fact that He cares for me is an amazing thing in itself.  I am so undeserving.  Yet He “loved Me and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).  He knows all about me—my sin failures, mistakes, inadequacies, immaturity, etc.-- yet He has loved me and loves me still.  His loving concern is beyond measure and my capacity to comprehend (Ephesians 3:19).  He cares.

He knows what I’m going through—He “knows all about my struggles.”  No matter the temptation or trial Jesus is able to sympathize with my weakness.  There is nothing in this life that I will confront that He didn’t triumph over (Hebrews 4:15).  He is intimately aware of the struggles that I am facing.  And able to intervene on my behalf.  He cares. 

Jesus is the best friend any of us will ever have.  He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  He stands by us when no one else can or will (2 Timothy 4:16-17).  He is at work in our lives to complete the work that He started in us (Philippians 1:6).  He can even cause my troubles and trials to work together to accomplish His perfect plan for Me (Romans 8:28).  One day by His power he will transform  the body of my humble state into conformity with the body of His glory (Philippians 3:21).  He cares.

1 Peter 5:7 exhorts us to bring our cares to Him.  What an invitation!  We bring our requests, not to a reluctant and overburdened stranger, but to a loving and powerful friend.  He has proven that He cares inasmuch as He died for you and me.  You’ve got some concerns this very day.  He’s extended an open invitation to you.  “Bring them to Me,” He says, “Let me deal with them.  I care!”

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Nehemiah 8:3, “And all the people were attentive to the book of the law.”
Spiritual apostasy is always preceded and accompanied by a disinterest and disregard for God’s Word.  This is especially evident in the history of OT Israel.  And nowhere is this more graphically demonstrated than in an episode that took place in King Josiah’s reign.  God’s people somehow lost “the law of the Lord given by Moses” (2 Chronicles 34:14).  That law, through which God promised to impart to His people “life and prosperity” (Deuteronomy 30:15), was somehow misplaced.  It sat displaced and neglected in the temple.  No yearning for it was expressed.  No search for it was undertaken.  The spiritual apostasy into idolatry and disobedience was accompanied by a complete disregard for God’s ordinances.  The law remained lost until Hilkiah the High Priest found it.  He had been instructed to go to the house of the Lord, not to look for the law of the Lord, but to gather some money (Cf. 2 Chronicles 34:14-20).  It was then that he found the book.  He gave it to Shaphan.  Shaphan took it to the King.  “Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, ‘Hilkiah the priest gave me a book.’  And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king” (2 Chronicles 34:18).  Josiah “heard the words of the law and…tore his clothes.” He commanded his servants to inquire of the Lord “concerning the words of the book” (2 Chronicles 34:21).  Josiah initiated reforms (2 Chronicles 34:22-33), but they ultimately did not stem the tide of the growing apostasy and eventual judgment of God’s people.
Spiritual revival is always accompanied by a sincere love and devotion to God’s Word (Cf. Psalm 19:7a).  Ezra “was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses” (Ezra 7:6).  He was the author of 1st and 2nd Chronicles and knew all about the troubles that had led to Israel’s expulsion from the land.  He wrote about the evil kings and the idolatry of the people.  He was well versed in both the cause and consequences of Israel’s spiritual apostasy.  “The hand of the Lord…was upon” Ezra (Ezra 7:6).  He “set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).  He organized a return of a remnant to Jerusalem and God brought the people safely through that arduous and dangerous journey (Ezra 8:31).  Temple reconstruction occupied the days of God’s remnant in Jerusalem.  It was not until many years later that Ezra was given the opportunity to widely declare that which he himself had devoted his life to.  But then that day came.  Ezra stood on a platform with six men on either side.  All the “men, women, and those who could understand” (Nehemiah 8:3) were gathered there.  Ezra “read from it (the law)…from early morning (dawn) until midday” (Nehemiah 8:3).  The Levites explained the law to the people, “translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading” (Nehemiah 8:7-8).  Most notable in the account is the response of the people.  They “were attentive to the book of the law” (Nehemiah 8:3).  They wept with conviction when they first understood (Nehemiah 8:9).  They later rejoiced because they had been enabled to understand (Nehemiah 8:12).  Ezra taught the leaders (Nehemiah 8:13).  They responded to the law in obedience (Nehemiah 8:14-18).  They devoted themselves to the daily reading of the Word (Nehemiah 9:3).
These two instances speak to an important spiritual reality.  Neglect of God’s Word contributes to spiritual apostasy; devotion to God’s Word accompanies spiritual revival.  We live in the day, foretold of by the Apostle Paul, when “they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3).  The text refers not to the condition of the unchurched, to whom sound doctrine is wholly irrelevant, but to the professing church.  In its apostasy a component of the professing church will have no appetite for the sound (healthy) teaching of God’s Word.  The day in which we live is a day of growing spiritual apostasy characterized by increasing spiritual immorality despite its religiosity (2 Timothy 3:1-4 and 3:5).  Paul’s admonition to Timothy, in the midst of such an environment was to “to continue in the things which you have learned” (2 Timothy 3:14; i.e. “the sacred writings”, 2 Timothy 3:15).  In other words—pay attention to the book!
The Apostle Peter wrote to believers who were suffering persecution.  His advice to them has great relevance to every NT believer.  The rise of secularism in our society has borne the ugly fruit of new expressions of immorality and its accompanying downward spiral into the abyss of God’s judgment.  The professing church lacks discernment and readily compromises to maintain its supposed “relevance.”  In these dark days Peter’s exhortation bears great importance: “And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your heart” (2 Peter 1:19). 
Pay attention to The Book.  OT Israel didn’t and suffered the consequences.  The returning remnant did and it led to revival.  The professing church of our day isn’t and the consequences are obvious.  You can pay attention to it and as you do it will be to you as a “lamp shining in a dark place” leading you onward in your walk with Christ until the need for a lamp is extinguished in the glorious manifestation of His presence. 
Pay attention to The Book—hear it (Cf. Romans 10:17); read it (Cf. Revelation 1:3); study it (Cf. 2 Timothy 2:15); memorize it (Cf. Psalm 119:11); meditate upon it (Cf. Psalm 1:3); and practice it (Cf. James 1:22).  Let His word richly dwell within you (Cf. Colossians 3:16) that it might do its transforming and equipping work preparing you for His soon return.
Pastor Jerry