The Source of this Violence – Jeremiah 7:1-11

My Sunday sermons are not usually motivated by news headlines, but I’m going to make an exception today. Many of you have heard that in Boulder Colorado, last Monday, a man gunned down and killed 10 people. Boulder is about 15 miles, as the crow flies, from the town of Erie, where Molly Kjeldgaard/Pierson lives, and where Shelly Mueller and the boys were visiting just a couple weeks ago. Boulder is about 35 miles from Loveland and about 50 miles from Fort Collins where the Roberts live. Taylor and the Morenos live just a stone’s throw from where that tragic shooting took place. 10 people died – people from 20 years old to 65 – involving just about every age group. One victim was a police officer, someone well-trained to protect himself, and yet he is dead. Anyone – absolutely anyone – could be gunned down by some sin-crazed murderer at any time. “Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” In one of the articles I read about the shooting, Vice President Kamala Harris said, “This is absolutely baffling.” And therein is my theme for this message. This is NOT absolutely baffling. It is to be expected. It has become common place. If we insist on flying flags at half-mast for such shootings, we might as well leave them down permanently. The Boulder shooting took place on Monday, May 22. In the six days before that tragedy, there were 8 other mass shootings in this country. On...

February 2021

Dear Pastor and Brethren: February Freeze We thank the Lord that we are finally thawing out from the February freeze. Such snow and cold weather caused us to have to cancel two Wednesday evening services and a Sunday morning service. Temperatures reached eight degrees below zero at night with about eight inches of snow for some fifteen days in a row. Many water pipes froze and broke but thank the Lord ours did not nor did we have much trouble at our building although a water line did freeze but did not break. We are in the southern plains and just not prepared for that kind of extended cold weather. Low Attendance Attendance to our services also froze in addition to the cancellations. Sis. Roxanne only had one child to teach in Sunday School for the entire month. Our numbers ran as follows, 10, 11, and 9 for the Sunday services during the month. A Special Service! The Lord did bless us with a special service with the Bert Craft family, missionaries to Mexico on Friday evening the 26th. We had sixteen in attendance with some four of those being unregenerate persons. Sis. Heather Craft accompanied the congregation on the piano following my directing of three hymns. The Craft family sang two hymns, one in Spanish and one in English. I sang just before the message, “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy,” by Joseph Hart. Bro. Bert Craft preached on the topic, “Precious, Purchased Possession.” After the service we had a time of fellowship and light refreshments. The lost heard the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and believers...

March 28

When Jan Wouters van Kuijck was in prison, suffering horrible physical persecution and preparing for his execution because of his belief that salvation was a matter of personal faith in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, he was able to write several letters and have them smuggled out and to their intended recipients. One was to his captors in which he said, “I confess one Lord, one faith, one God, one Father of all, who is above all, and in all believers. I believe only what the holy Scriptures say, and not what men say.” He also wrote a letter to his young daughter in which he encouraged her – “Diligently search the holy scriptures, and you will find that we must follow Christ Jesus and obey Him unto the end; and you will also truly find the little flock who follow Christ. And this is the sign: they avoid that which is evil, and delight in doing what is good; they hunger and thirst after righteousness; they are not conformed to the world; they crucify their sinful flesh more and more every day, to die unto sin which wars in their members; they report they do evil to no one; they pray for their enemies; their words are yea that is yea, and nay that is nay; their word is their zeal; they are sorry that they do not constantly live more holily, of which reason they sigh and weep. Let not this however be the only sign by which you may know who follows Christ; they are also these, namely who bear the cross of Christ,...

Faith while in the Lions’ Den – Daniel 6:1-28

Do you ever feel like you’re in a lion’s den? I mean, it’s dark, and you can’t see more than a step ahead, despite your flash light. But you hear the ominous of some kind of creature near you. And then as the beam flits around in front of you, the teeth of various problems flash back at you. Health problems, financial problems, political problems, family problems – sin problems. As a Christian, you know the Lord is with you in that lion’s den, but it’s still really frightening. The problem, although to varying degrees, is the same with all of us. How do we face the problems of life? We are prone to defend or attack in the flesh – maybe yelling at the lions, trying to scare them off, or threatening to use the flash light in our hands like a club. But look at this scripture. Daniel didn’t have a club or stick; he didn’t have bear spray, friends or any other weapons. All he had was the Lord, and his trust was in Him. This chapter gives us the opportunity for a study of faith – in several ways – far more ways than we have time. It involves the faith of three different people or groups. We can see genuine faith, weak faith, false faith and practical faith. And we faith under stress, false faith, borrowed and therefore useless faith, and secular useless faith. Let’s begin at the most unlikely spot – verse 4 – “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none...

The Jew’s Greatest Advantage – Romans 3:1-2

Paul had just lambasted the Jews for their hypocrisy and heresy. He knew, from experience, how they highly esteemed their ancestry, and their rites and ceremonies. But for the most part, when it came to spiritual realities they were empty husks. “Ye CANNOT serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.” And once again God was in the process of consumption. But in the light of that, does it mean that there were no advantages to being a Jew? There were, and have always been, blessings and advantages to being members of God’s chosen nation. And the first of them all was their possession of the oracles of God. Perhaps among the Greeks, the word “oracle” might have had superstitious importance, but as Paul was using the word, it didn’t. The only thing that he was saying was that to Israel was given the revelation of God – the Word of God. And in Paul’s day that made Israel very, very special. But today that significance has dissolved away to a great degree. There is not a person in North America, today, who doesn’t have the opportunity to possess more of the Word of God than the Jews had in Paul’s day. That doesn’t mean that the same privilege is to be found universally around the world, but in the area of revelation there is no advantage...

March 21

On this day in 1791, Elder Nathanael Green passed into the presence of his Saviour. Green had been pastor of the Baptist Church in Charlton, Massachusetts for 28 tumultuous years. The congregation went through periods of depression and blessing, including persecution from the Massachusetts governments and the difficulties of the Revolutionary War. It is said that Pastor Green was an exemplary man, and yet, in 1791, he was arrested, taken to court and imprisoned. This good servant of God was jailed because he objected to the “minister’s rate” taxes and refused to pay them, defying the government. Those monies were used to support the ministers of the Established State church – the Congregational denomination in Massachusetts. Green was in jail for a short time before he was encouraged to pay the tax and the fine and then to take the State to court in an effort to bring this injustice to public attention. (Remember that this was after the war which was fought to provide Americans with liberty and justice.) When his case came before the local court, judgment was against the government, granting the return of his fine and awarding him his costs. But the State appealed to the superior court. Once again the case was won by Elder Green, and the State was required to pay even more fees. As a general principle Christians should not take people to court, but in this case Green was not suing any individual, but defending a Biblical principle against the over-reach of a secular...

The Whole Earth is Full of God’s Glory – Isaiah 6:1-3

I realize that we looked at this scripture just a few weeks ago, but I’d like to consider it again. Actually, according to my records, this is the 5th or 6th time that I’ve used this as my text for a message. It is not only fascinating, but it contains important revelation and instruction. In our last message from Isaiah 6 we looked at the “Language of Heaven.” And if you’ll remember, I didn’t say exactly what it would be – English, Greek, Hebrew or whatever. I concluded by saying that the language of heaven is WORSHIP, because just about every time we hear of any voice in Heaven besides God’s, it is expressing praise and adoration to our Saviour/God. For example there is Revelation 19:1 – “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments… And again they said, Alleluia… And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” And in our scripture for this evening, we hear the voices of Seraphim crying back and forth to each other,...

Ye Cannot Serve the Lord (this way) – Joshua 24:19-21

The other day, one of the members came to me, asking why Joshua said in v.19, “Ye cannot serve the Lord.” I hope that you’ll always feel free to bring me your questions. I promise never to make fun of you – or ridicule you for something I think that you should already know. And I cannot guarantee that I’ll have an answer. I may have to study the question first. And sometimes, even then, I’ll have to admit I don’t have the answer. I hope it doesn’t discourage you to hear that I’m not the fountain of knowledge that you deserve as your pastor. Keep asking your questions, if for no other reason but that it helps ME to grow. Sometimes your queries lead to other queries and even to other subjects and answers. And that is the case with that question from last week. Why did Joshua say, “Ye cannot serve the Lord”? The fact is – Joshua was trying to encourage those people to do just that – to serve the Lord. Was this reverse psychology or some human mental trick? Of course not. Service toward the glory of God was Joshua’s purpose in this chapter. The glory of God was the purpose of his life of sacrifice and leadership. By this time he was nearing the time of his departure, and he wanted those people to keep on keeping on. But when the people said, “We will serve Jehovah” and “God forbid that we should forsake the Lord to serve other Gods,” Joshua replied, “Ye cannot serve the Lord, for he is an holy God;...

March 14

On this day in 1773, Theodore S. Harding was born in Barrington, Nova Scotia. After his father died, he was raised by his godly mother. At the age of thirteen Harding was born a second time, and shortly thereafter he felt the call of God to go into the ministry. His Presbyterian mother however discouraged him, because she had been taught that religious leaders should come only from among the highly educated, and that, as a single mother, she had not been able to give to her son. While Harding was struggling between his mother’s wishes and the call of God, he attended a prayer meeting where the intended preacher didn’t arrive. Young Brother Harding was encouraged to stand and give a devotional. Reluctantly he arose and preached the gospel so fervently that even his mother became convinced of God’s call. In the mean time, the first Baptist church in the Maritime Provinces, located in Horton Township, Nova Scotia, had been started by a man from England, named Nicholas Pierson. Pierson lead the congregation for thirteen years until age forced him to retire. When the pulpit became empty, an invitation was extended to Harding to preach until a new pastor could be found, but Harding had not yet been scripturally baptized. For some time he agonized over the question of baptism and finally traveled to Halifax to be immersed by John Burton, who by that time had become the only Baptist pastor in Nova Scotia. The following week, Harding began preaching to his friends at Horton. On July 31, 1797, Brother T.S. Harding was ordained and became the pastor...

Whatsoever Ye Do – Ephesians 6:1-11

One of our faults and failures as 21st century Christians is our propensity to compartmentalize things. Or as my pastor used to say, our “proclivity” – our “proclivity” to pigeonhole various aspects of our lives. A “proclivity” is a choice to do something regularly; an inclination or predisposition toward something. We have a “proclivity” to put work into one box, our families into another, our religion into a nice fancy box, and perhaps a few sins into another perhaps with a lock on it, while we keep the key in our pockets. For some people, especially those with high stress jobs, compartmentalizing is the only way to cope. The trauma nurse, the homicide detective, the navy seal – these people may have to leave such things in their lockers before putting on their street clothes and going home. But there is a sense in which compartmentalizing is not a Biblical practice – it is not Christian. I am not sure that I will be able to verbalize what’s in my heart right now. Perhaps it’s because I’m not very successful at doing what the I think the Lord is teaching me. But maybe together, and with the Spirit’s help, we can begin at least to see the Christian ideal. Everything we do, think and are, should be enriched and bound together in the realization that we are in God our Saviour. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Before we consider our text in Ephesians, let me throw some scriptures at you and see if they stick. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice evermore. Pray without...