Monday, August 20, 2007

Random Update

Here goes a random update of life and church...

We had a great day at church yesterday. I think we had a total of four people make professions of faith in either the morning or evening worship services. We again started the service with baptism, something we have done nearly every single Sunday of 2007.

This morning began the first morning of revival prayer, and we had a number of people praying during the 6:30 to 7:30 hour.

I'm taken my wife out on a date tonight. A big thanks to the Salyers for babysitting my kids.

Not much more to say; I will write again soon.

Pastor Noel Dear

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Woe is me...

Do you ever have any of those 'woe is me' days? You know what I mean: Days when it seems like everything is too hard, nothing works out like it should, too many things to do and too little time to do them.

Do you ever have any of those days when you feel like it would be much easier to stop serving the Lord, stop fighting the battles, stop giving a rip, and just coast?

Do you ever have any of those days when it is much, much easier to gripe and complain than it is to be thankful and joyful?

If so, you may not want to read what I read in my devotion time this morning...

Hebrews 11:24-26 NIV By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

Stuck right in the middle of all of those 'by faith' verses in Hebrews 11 is this dart of conviction for all of us who have occasional 'woe is me' attitudes. I wonder if Moses ever thought about going back to the palace. I wonder if he considered walking like an Egyptian for a while. What would have been so wrong with that? Nothing, aside from the fact that God had called him to something different. Nothing, except that God had called him to something better. Maybe it was harder, sure, but it was God's plan and God's choice. And it was going to turn out to be a blessing for Moses if he had enough faith not to quit half way through.

O.K. Lord, I won't quit, I won't stop pushing forward. But you don't understand how hard it is sometimes...

Then I got to the bottom of the page in my Bible...

Hebrews 12:4 NIV In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Which put into perspective the two verses that preceded it...

Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Wow! Maybe I should just keep my petty gripes and complaints to myself.

Now, as I step off my soap box...

We've had a pretty good week around here. Sunday was a very good day. We've had many comments on what we talked about in the message time on Sunday morning. I'll have more to say about how you can get plugged in this Sunday. (By this time next week, Pastor Shawn should have the sermon audio's up-to-date on the web page.)

At my house, we're back in the swing of school. As some of you may know, we homeschool, and so everyone has their role in this endeavor. My main role is Math teacher for Hannah. Last night after dinner we learned why square roots are called square roots. Hannah has such a heart for learning, she makes it fun to teach her. This morning at breakfast, we talked about why it is important to read your Bible every day. This homeschooling thing is one of the smartest decisions our family has ever made.

Today is a day of studying. I've got about an hour of paperwork/phone calls/emails to do, then nothing but studying. I enjoy these days.

Tomorrow, the Salyer Connect Group is coming over to my house to watch a movie in the back yard. Somehow I've got to figure out how to put a screen on my hill, secure a projector so a kid doesn't destroy it, and get sound. (I've considered just turning on the closed captioning and not worrying with an amplifier and speakers.) Where's Jeff Brooks when you need him?

Pastor Noel Dear

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Has That Always Been There?

Do you ever read a passage of Scripture in your daily devotion times and think, "Has that always been there?" Perhaps it is a sign of early senility or maybe it is a case of seeing what you need to see when you need to see it, but it happens to me repeatedly. I try to read through the New Testament fairly often and I use a plan to keep track of it and make sure I don't leave anything out or skip anything before I begin again, but still, every few days I run across something I don't remember reading before. It happened today...

I was reading in Hebrews. In chapter six I came to the familiar first few verses about the once for all sacrifice of Christ, then I came to verses seven and eight...

Hebrews 6:7-8 NIV Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

Has that always been there?

I am the land that drinks in the rain. The rain is the Word of God that I read, and hear, and study. The question is what kind of 'crop' is resulting from all of that rain on the land. Where I live, my front yard is 80% grass, but my back yard is 80% weeds. When the rain comes, in the front yard it yields grass, in the back yard, the same rain yields weeds.

These verses got me thinking about the 'output' and the 'yield' of my life. There is certainly no defiency in the rain. (God waters my life regularly with His perfect word.) But I wonder if my life is producing more savory herbs and fruit (I just looked it up, that is what the word for 'crops' in this verse means) or more thorns and thistles.

These verses go on to say God will bless the life of those who produce the good crop. I want to my life to fall into that category! I think it is time to make a list of what is coming out of my life, positive and negative. How and I influencing others? Is the fruit of my life and ministry sweet, life changing, and God honoring? Or is it thorny and thistley (I know it's not a word)?

This just might turn into a Sunday evening sermon.

Well, what else is going on in the world?

George and Stephanie Lambert (some friends of mine that many of you have been praying for) won the court battle to take permanent custody of some children that were growing up in a very bad situation. As it turned out, they didn't even have to go before the judge. The biological family gave in to their wishes and signed over custody just hours before the court hearing.

I'm finishing up Freedomnomics by John R. Lott. It is a great book. If you read Freakonomics last year when it was so popular, then you need to read Freedomnomics. Freakonomics attacked many of the things we as Christians hold dear and it made a pretty bold argument for more abortions AND it made it seem like there was indisputable proof that abortion was a good thing for America. Well the falacies are uncovered in Freedomnomics. It is very enlightening. The part I'm reading now talks about how women sufferage changed the moral fabric and the political landscape of our country. I'm all for women voting, but this is scary!

These books aren't Christian books, they are half social commentary and half history (and half math), but they speak to many contemporary issues. If you are interested in reading them, start with Freakonomics, but make yourself a commitment that if you read the 'Freak' book that you will definately read the 'Freedom' book. If you don't, then you will just be disillusioned.

Donna and I just celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary. We spent a couple days in Cleveland, just knocking around. If I weren't a preacher I would tell you she and I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while we were there. Some of it was interesting; much of it was boring. I didn't know who most of the people were. They had on display the costumes that these old 'rock stars' would wear in their concerts. Many of them looked like some of my little girl's dress up clothes... lacy... frilly... wierd. I saw the old albums and concert posters for the Platters. My dad played the saxophone with them for some of their studio recordings years ago. That was neat to see. I mean, it would have been neat to see if I weren't I preacher and I would have gone there.

Well, that should be enough blogging for August. :)


After three days of searching the river, no body was found :)