July 2019

As we embark upon another Fourth of July holiday where we commemorate America’s freedom, I begin by quoting an unknown Jewish philosopher, who…once spoke of two types of freedom….a freedom “from” and a freedom “for” and yet most Americans hold the negative perspective of a freedom “from” something or someone but if one is free from “everything” it will cut them off from any “responsibility” where such a liberty not only may lead to a license to live as one pleases but also can open the tragic door to “ indifference” yet by and large cannot be “sustained”, because we do not live in a vacuum!

Yet there is a clear cut “parallel” when it comes to things “spiritual” for the Christian liberty spoken of in Romans chapter fourteen does not give the born again child of God the freedom to abandon his/her challenge to live a life worthy of the gospel and pleasing to the Lord but rather gives one the freedom and empowerment through the Holy Spirit
to do that which is right.

Praying for your “independence” in the truest sense of the word!
Pastor Mike

June 2019

A Word About Conflict!

While I’d like to report that all is always kosher in Denmark and Cresco too, I have to admit that such is not the case because “conflict” often is inevitable! So what I’ve learned to become is a sort of mediator which isn’t really what I signed up for when I was ordained as a minister of the gospel a little over 40 years ago, but be that as it may I’ve fortunately gained several layers of skin that have served me full well; sometimes it ain’t easy!

But when I stop to consider what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for all of mankind when He was unjustifiably crucified for the sins of the world it causes me to pause and reflect upon not only His unconditional love and grace,nbut a specific promise of hope He offered in the 16th chapter of the Gospel of John “Therefore you may now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you”! John 16:22
Amen and Amen

Praying that you’ll not lose heart in the midst of conflict!
Pastor Mike

(See also) II Corinthians 4:8-10; 16-18
Ministry Reports

May 2019

“A Word About Unity!”
While the thought of unity is a wonderful concept, reality tells us something different in things practical. Why even within a marriage that is supposed to be the epitome of “oneness” conflicts arise since Christian or otherwise whenever you put two sinners together the potential to manifest 2 stubborn opinions is always there because of built in, systematic predispositions that if not quelled can lead to a whole lot of messy stuff if you catch my drift. And what about church settings where everything is supposed to be peachy cream all the time? Yet the question is often asked “Why can’t we all just get alone?”

Well I’d like to suggest that there are times when we as Christians need to learn the divine art of compromise when you and I become willing to eat a little proverbial crow through the realization that it is completely irrelevant to determine who’s right or wrong unless of course it’s a matter of fundamental non-negotiable doctrine, but yet there ‘are’ some scriptural areas where either the Bible is silent concerning or “unclear” with which such matters there is room for intelligent debate and disagreement plus cordial and respectful grace.

And I close my thoughts with some examples from Scripture where I believe it’s entirely possible to be “unified” in function and purpose yet not always “uniform” in thought and practice. For example were you aware that even Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark didn’t always see eye to eye where a sharp contention arose (See Acts 15:36-39). But interestingly that “division” resulted in a “multiplication” of souls, in spite of their disagreement and separation. Please also consider Paul’s challenge in Romans 12:18 “If it be possible, as much as it lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” which tells me that I am responsible for me and ‘not’…the other guy! Of course Ephesians 4:3 would provide an added springboard for that truth where the believer in Christ is admonished to “Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace” which implies that “unity” already exists…but that some “maintenance” is required to continue its flow. And thus while we may not always have philosophical uniformity we are challenged to strive for Christian unity!

Amen and Amen
Pastor Mike

April 2019

A Word about Sorting Stuff Out!”
At the risk of coming off as some sort of hoarder I wish to send out a disclaimer regarding my habit of holding on to “stuff”, for lack of a better term. For you see as the popular quote goes “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure”. Well self admittedly it has become painfully obvious that a lot of my stuff is technically ‘junk’ and so with the threat of an earth moving vehicle set to demolish the premises of the Chapel “parsonage”/“mission house”/or “office” in the not too distant future I’ve been challenged to clean up my proverbial act…or else. Now that may seem like a simple task but for me it’s torture, knowing that all the while I’m sorting, saving, giving away, and trashing I’m also saying goodbye to some really good friends whose smiles I’ve become accustomed to greeting. Therefore I would ask for your prayer for this difficult task which “can” draw a spiritual application from the 12th chapternof Hebrews where we’re admonished to “…lay aside every weight and sin that so easily besets us and run with endurancenthe race that is set before us fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” v. 1b – 2b

Praying for each of us to fix our eyes on Jesus who is even now seated at the Father’s right hand!
Pastor Mike

March 2019

God’s Control

 

While finding myself a bit frustrated with the weather recently I came to the vivid realization that I’m not in control, which is most definitely…a good thing! For you see as Daniel 2:21 reminds us “It is He who changes the times and the seasons…” and ‘not’ climate change because of global warming.

 

And it is also arrogant of us to think that in some way we are in charge for according to Acts 1:7 “It is not for us to know the times and seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority”. Therefore I don’t know about you but I’ve decided to let God be God and control the weather like it or not!

 

Here are some additional references to consider as they relate to God’s control! Psalm 31:15; 139:16; Proverbs 16:9,33; 19:21;20:24; Jeremiah 10:23; Lamentations 3:37; Amos 3:6; James 4:13-15.

 

Praying for you to fully realize who is in control!

Pastor Mike

February 2019

About Taking Heed of the Warnings!”

As I’m currently enjoying the warmth of our comfortable home while penning this article today I couldn’t help but ponder the vivid contrast of what was taking place “outside”. For if you were to do so, as I peeked through my window, you most likely would have been fooled as to what kind of day it was. I mean the sun was shining brightly, the sky that God had designed was a beautiful pastel blue, “but” just suppose you took the time to consult a thermometer and in spite of the fact that it read 22° below zero, you mustered up the courage to take a trek outside, which by the way our dog refused to do, you would have soon realized who the smart one was in your family…the reason being…she heeded the warnings! And if there’s a spiritual parallel to be drawn from this example, it’s this…to quote the noted theologian Forrest Gump: Stupid is! Stupid does!

 

Well I’d like to suggest that often many of us as Christians don’t avail ourselves to plain old common sense which isn’t always “common” plus Scripture gives us countlesswarnings” just like the Weather Channel where dangerous conditions lie ahead, but far too often folks don’t “take heed”. Here are several to consider! Proverbs 5:1,2; 21-23; Matt. 16:61; Romans 12:1,2,11; Eph. 4:25-32; Phil. 2:1-5; II Tim. 2:22,23; Titus 2:11,12; James 3:1-5; 4:7,8.

 

May each of us take heed!

Pastor Mike

January 2019

“The New Season to be…!”

As sort of a spin off from a familiar phrase found in the traditional yuletide favorite ‘Deck the Halls’ I’ve chosen “Tis the season to be jolly” so as to draw a spiritual parallel to; the way in which I believe God would desire the believer in Christ to conduct themselves before the watching world, not only for the new year, but throughout our lives as well. Now while one certainly won’t be able to discover the specific word “jolly” in the writings of Scripture yet the manifestation of “jolliness” ought to be found in one’s life! From Daniel Webster’s New World Dictionary one learns that the concept of being jolly implies “a consistently merry and joyful spirit” which I’d like to suggest comes not only from an attitude of one’s “mind” but from one’s walk with God! (See Philippians 4:8,9 and Galatians 5:22,23) both of which reveal that such a manifestation of joy…cannot be mustered up through the power of the flesh ‘but’ by the Spirit of God when one is led/controlled by the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit which has come to reside in the life of the believer in Christ upon conversion (Ephesians 1:13,14).
And while the manifestation of “joy” is not an absolute guarantee…it is though made accessible to the believer in Christ as a fruit/byproduct of being “filled with the spirit” along with “love, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, against such there is no law”. Thus if you wish for a New Year’s Resolution I’d suggest the above!
Wishing you and yours a Happy and Jolly New Year!
Pastor Mike

December 2018

“Returning Home”

While vacationing in a warmer climate recently, granted it “was” an enjoyable experience, although I do have to agree
with the old saying that there really is “no place like home” where after sleeping in 6 different beds and a sore back to prove it,
I must admit that nothing beats the bed you’re accustomed to which leads me to draw a parallel to things spiritual
where in our Lord’s teachings in the fifteenth chapter of John He states that “apart from Him we can do nothing” John 15:5b.
Therefore the admonition to “abide” i.e. be at home with Him is crucial for a peaceful, trusting, maturing relationship to exist.
In fact v. 11 goes on to say how the things that John wrote concerning the vine and the branches would ultimately develop into
a pleasurable fullness of joy!
Now as far as coming home gain, the reason it was so welcoming is because of its “familiarity” where things were shared
in common without the uncomfortableness often associated with “reconnecting”…and I’d like to suggest that this is precisely
what God has in mind for us…“I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in him,
that same bringing forth fruit…” John 15:5a.
Wishing you a very Merry and fruitful Christmas!
Pastor Mike

November 2018

“A Word About Thanksgiving and Vacations”

While recently contemplating…“vacation” I came to the vivid realization that for my wife and I it will be a much appreciated
time of refreshment. For if one stops to consider the various seasons of life, a time of reflection concerning what’s transpired
as well as what’s ahead is a welcomed opportunity for spiritual growth. And although Philippians 3:13 would remind us
to “forget about those things…and press on”…one can ‘still’ benefit from a retrospective look at the proverbial
“water under the bridge” where some tweaking may be in order so as to not “continue” to do the same thing
over and over again and expect a different result which someone insightfully once suggested is the definition of “insanity”.
Therefore it is Colleen and my desire to receive a “fresh perspective” concerning the ministry that God has called us to
while on our vacation, in spite of the stress related to traffic and unknown surroundings because as Corrie Ten Boom
would remind us; “It is always safe to trust an unknown future with a known God.” “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust;
Let me never be put to confusion” (Psalm 71:1) “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD,
And to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High” (Psalm 92:1)
Pastor Mike

October 2018

“A Word from Pastor Mike about “The Avenue of Prayer””

I suppose you’d have to be an ostrich to not have heard about all the drama surrounding the potential confirmation
of a new Supreme Court Justice. Well I don’t know about you but I found myself weeping on more than one occasion
for reasons I can’t even figure out, but irregardless the scenario reminds me of the Lord Jesus Christ who “wept”
on at least one occasion but I have a hunch that His tender, compassionate, “sorrowing” for people, who’d lost their way
occurred more often than one would think.

Consider His view of “the City of Peace” in Matthew 23:37-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem the one who kills the prophets…
…How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing”.
Are there parallels to the good ol U.S.A.? I believe so, (yet)… we still have the wonderful avenue of prayer!
See I Timothy 2:1-8; James 5:13-18