Don’t “Weary Out” – May 26, 2023

One of the character qualities of a mature believer, listed in the epistles, is that of “endurance” (“patience” in KJV*).  We are told in Romans 5, and in James 1, that this particular character quality is brought about by suffering, a.k.a. “trials and temptations.”  “Endurance” is a translation of a compound Greek word hypo meaning “under” and meno meaning “to stand”, so it literally means to stand up under the circumstances, under the hardships, under the pressure, and even to stand up when you’ve been knocked down….

The story is told that Andrew Jackson’s boyhood friends just couldn’t understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of other men who had greater talent but who never succeeded. One of Jackson’s friends said, “Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now.” Another friend responded, “How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say three times and out?” “Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat — he would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner.” Picking up on that idea, someone has said, “The thing that counts is not how many times you are ‘throwed,’ but whether you are willing to stay ‘throwed’.” We may face setbacks, but we must take courage and go forward in faith. Then, through the Holy Spirit’s power we can be the eventual victor over sin and the world. The battle is the Lord’s, so there is no excuse for us to stay “throwed”! 

There is a saying among soldiers and tough guys, “You can rest when you’re dead!”  We have a better one, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.”  So as long as I have breath in my earthly lungs, there is no need to “stay throwed!” Amen?

Yours, for His Church,

Pastor Scott

*As the Bible was continuously translated into English it was English that changed over time..     

Makrothumia {Long burn} – “Long-Suffering” in KJV is “Patience” in NASB

Hypomeno {To Stand Under} – “Patience” in KJV  is “Endurance” in NASB

Satanic Influence in 2023 – May 21, 2023

The textline has been fairly  quiet in recent months, but I did get an interesting email question this week: “Do you think plurality of demons, as portrayed in Matthew 8, is what is influencing the transgender movement?”

If you’re asking about the plural pronouns, I suppose only God knows (Psalm 44:21).  But in the bigger picture, yes!  All rebellion against God’s plan is ultimately wrought by Satan.  Satan first suggested to Eve that there was a better option than obedience and that’s still what is being proffered; alteration of God’s plan.  The 27th verse of our Bible (along with every cell in our body) indicates that we were each created male or female.  You may be a man who likes to sew; it may mean you are destined to be able to help your daughters with their wedding dresses. but it doesn’t make you a woman!  You may be a woman with a great arm; you may be destined to help your sons learn how to pitch, but it  doesn’t make you a man!  There is a huge spectrum of abilities within each assignment; but the assignment is ordained by God and is cell deep.  So yes, seeking to escape it is rebellion, which God calls “witchcraft” in 1 Samuel 15. Close enough to be demonic for me!

Speaking of demonic influence check out this news story, Jackie Hill Perry is one of the Conference Speakers streamed in for conferences here for our ladies.:    

I don’t know anything about Beyonce, per se, but I think this may apply to a lot of what passes for entertainment today!

Live in the light brothers and sisters!

Pastor Scott

The Diamond Merchant”  – May 5, 2020

A rich Dutch merchant was seeking to buy a diamond of a certain kind to add to his collection. A famous dealer in New York found such a stone and called him to come and see.

The merchant flew immediately to New York, where the seller had assigned his best diamond expert to close the transaction. After hearing the assistant describe in perfect technical detail the diamond’s worth and beauty, the Dutchman decided not to buy it. Before he left, however, the owner of the store stepped forward and asked, “Do you mind if I show you that stone once more?” The customer agreed.

The storeowner didn’t repeat one thing that the salesman had said. He simply took the stone in his hand, stared at it, and described the beauty of the stone in a way that revealed why this stone stood out from all the others he had seen in his life. The customer bought it immediately.

Tucking his new purchase into his breast pocket, the customer commented to the owner, “Sir, I wonder why you were able to sell me this stone when your salesman could not?”

The owner replied, “That salesman is the best in the business. He knows more about diamonds than anyone, including myself, and I pay him a large salary for his knowledge and expertise. But I would gladly pay him twice as much if I could put into him something I have which he lacks. You see, he knows diamonds, but I love them.”

👉 When it comes to sharing Christ with others, the issue is not how much we know about Jesus, but how much we love Him. God is not interested in how much we know but in how much we love. When we truly love Jesus, we love others as well, and that is how the good news of the Gospel is spread

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

~1 John 4:7-12 (first found “The Diamond Merchant” in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks, p. 1986) 


Pastor Scott 

Joshua 23:11

Apostasy – April 28, 2023

On Sunday after the sermon on John 13, which if you remember dealt both with the example and command to love sacrificially and the dialog with Peter about forgiveness, I received a text question that I did not see until after the benediction.  Here’s the question:

“If someone denounces their faith, are they still a child of God and going to heaven?”

That’s a great and hard question.  If you’ve lived in and around church circles long enough, you likely know somebody who has not only walked away but has slammed the door.  Had I thought about it, I could have proactively addressed this issue within John 13.  Two betrayals are prophesied by Jesus, Peter’s and Judas’.  There was certainly a difference in the amount of material harm done, but the truth is found in Christ’s statement in 13:10-11.   Peter was already clean (“justified” in Pauline parlance), Judas was not.  In 2023 Peter is in paradise, Judas is awaiting judgment.

So, here’s the rub.  I can say absolutely, unequivocally and with zero hesitation that when a person puts his or her faith in Jesus he or she is justified, freely, forever.  He/she is sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption, etc..  Those two things alone can’t be undone by an act of our will.  The Father, the owner of all that is, declares us righteous and then sends the Holy Spirit to reside in us as a guarantee of our future redemption.  If someone is saved, they are always saved, that is the clear teaching of Scripture.

What I can’t say is who has believed.  Only Jesus knew that Judas was a false brother.  I don’t believe I’m currently in fellowship with any false believers but sometimes they show themselves; and sometimes real believers mess up like Peter did and knew it right away or like Hymenaeus and Alexander did whom Paul turned over to Satan so they could learn not to blaspheme (1 Timothy 1:20).

Personally, having experienced the grace of God I can no more imagine denouncing Him than I can imagine cutting off my right arm.  I can’t even comprehend how often one would have to quench the Holy Spirit to get to the place of denial.  So I know this is an extremely gut wrenching question.  People often ask what I believe about “so and so” who is making a mockery of God.  What I feel is that they were likely never saved. What I know is that Hymenaeus and Alexander are going to be in heaven and what I hope is that said person will fall in faith and love with Jesus and walk in the newness of life! 

We see through the glass dimly.  People can fool us.  But God can’t be fooled. He knows the heart of every man.  Keep praying for the wanderers and keep our eyes on the cross.

Pastor Scott

God’s Call – April 21, 2023

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. ~Colossians 3:1-4 (emphasis added)

I think Paul meant for that to be more than just a “saying!”

I love this little story – hope you do too!   – Pastor Scott

Having lived in South America as missionaries, my family and I realized that moving to another jungle location meant a lot of work.  We knew the discomforts of such things as snakes and bugs.

One morning, a few days after beginning to clean our temporary home, the family and I were taking a short break.  While we were drinking tea, a large black beetle suddenly flew through the room with a loud buzzing noise.  As it darted between us, my wife let out a startled scream.

Astonished more by her scream than the beetle, my youngest daughter cried out, “For heaven’s sake, Mom!”

My wife resolutely replied, “That’s the only reason I’m here.”

Daily Bread  ~May 1996

Illustration – April 14, 2023

On Resurrection Sunday (AKA Easter) we celebrated communion and I read an illustration. During our Fellowship Time after the service I promised someone I’d post it, I sure hope he or she reads my blog 🙂


Pastor Scott


My friend Dr. Roy Gustafson has the finest illustration of justification I have ever heard. It seems that there was a man in England who put his Rolls-Royce on a boat and went across to the continent to go on a holiday. While he was driving around Europe, something happened to the motor of his car. He cabled the Rolls-Royce people back in England and asked, “I’m having trouble with my car; what do you suggest I do?” Well, the Rolls-Royce people flew a mechanic over! The mechanic repaired the car and flew back to England and left the man to continue his holiday. As you can imagine, the fellow was wondering, “How much is this going to cost me?” So when he got back to England, he wrote the people a letter and asked how much he owed them. He received a letter from the office that read: “Dear Sir: There is no record anywhere in our files that anything ever went wrong with a Rolls-Royce.” That is justification.

Did Christ finish His work? How dangerous it is to join anything of our own to the righteousness of Christ, in pursuit of justification before God! Jesus Christ will never endure this; it reflects upon His work dishonorably. He will be all, or none, in our justification. If He has finished the work, what need is there of our additions? And if not, to what purpose are they? Can we finish that which Christ Himself could not complete? Did He finish the work, and will He ever divide the glory and praise of it with us? No, no; Christ is no half-Savior. It is a hard thing to bring proud hearts to rest upon Christ for righteousness. God humbles the proud by calling sinners wholly from their own righteousness to Christ for their justification.

John Flavel

Good Friday 2023

The Comic Strip ran nationwide in newspapers (went viral) on Good Friday in 1958. Many of you have seen it before; but I think it’s worth reposting here. (Sunday is coming; hope to see you at Word of Grace – 9:30am)

It’s a Focus Issue – March 31, 2023

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall.  In this picture it looks smaller than the person because the person was a LOT closer to the photographer than the tower was.

I suspect that when my problems feel too big it’s because I’ve allowed them to get closer to me, in my mind’s eye, than God is!

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”?  But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

James 4:4-10 Emphasis Added

Be Edified,

Pastor Scott

Shining Light – 03.24.23

Ephesians 5:11 tells us to not participate in deeds of darkness but to instead expose them. Awana has been doing Children’s ministry for 70 years. I thought this was important enough that I should pass it on to parents and grandparents. Not for us to worry, but for us to pray and to be aware!

Pastor Scott

Dear Matt, Katie and family,

There’s a weighty topic that was once on the margins of society and is now front and center, and it’s this: the transgender revolution. There was a time when children were more removed from the “issues of the day,” but that day is not today. As a matter of fact, children are now very much at the center of these cultural formation issues. As you know, Awana is all about the Bible. We like to say Awana is centered on the Gospel, rooted in the Scriptures and will never move even one inch off of the Bible. So as I write about this timely topic, I write with faithful, biblical conviction that’s rooted in the truth, grace and compassion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Why would Awana speak about such a sensitive topic? In the most simplistic response to this question, here’s why: The transgender revolution is a lie, and children are caught in the crosshairs of this aggressive lie.As you and I know, Genesis 1:27 says, So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. These words were also reiterated by Jesus when in Matthew 19:4 He said, … Have you not read that He Who created them from the beginning made them male and female?”There’s a famous quote that says, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” As Christ followers, it’s our job to speak and live the truth, even when that truth may be difficult or come with social consequences. Jesus himself said in Matthew 18:6, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” 

So, why speak about this issue? If we the truth-bearers of the Gospel say nothing, then we let the secular culture control the narrative, and that narrative is a lie. And this lie, unlike others, is resulting in the mutilation of the human body. It’s a big lie with significant, long-term consequences. Our only biblical option is to follow Christ in faithful obedience and to speak and live the truth in clarity and humility.

Our children need the truth. They need reality. And the Gospel is what’s real.

I received my first phone call asking for help on this topic from an Awana ministry director in 2017. Since that time, we’ve received an increased number of phone calls and emails from churches across the U.S. asking how to navigate this complex issue. Our response as Christians to this issue cannot be to stick our heads in the sand. We must shepherd and equip with biblical truth, grace and compassion. To respond to this growing need for help, the Awana team has created three practical resources for church leaders, parents and volunteers. If you are interested in getting equipped, consider doing the following:Read this Article. A good first step for anyone who wants to protect and prepare children to thrive in their faith in our cultural moment is to read this article, which specifically gives practical perspective and advice to children’s ministry leaders and Awana leaders/volunteers.Watch this Teaching Video. If you have a group of key leaders, volunteers or parents, this is a MUST-WATCH for your team! It’s a beautiful, three-part, documentary-style teaching video from theologian, historian and expert on this topic Dr. Carl Trueman. In this video he walks us through not only “How did we get here?” but also “What can I do about this?” as a parent or church leader.Download the Gender Identity Parent Guide. This is a clarifying, biblical and practical resource for parents. In today’s world, this sort of resource is essential! Please encourage all of the parents in your ministry to download this resource for biblical wisdom in a rapidly changing world. When Jesus was pressed on marriage and divorce by the religious leaders (Matthew 19), He didn’t become more permissive; He actually became more conservative. He gave the religious leaders two options: marriage or celibacy. At the same time, when Jesus confronted the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery, He was also filled with great grace and compassion. 

As Jesus Christ disciples and advocates in a broken world, we don’t waiver from biblical faithfulness when it comes to human sexuality. We align with Scripture and the Christian sexual ethic of the past 2,000 years. We also walk alongside broken people with the grace and compassion of our great shepherd, Jesus Christ, as we point them to love and live like Him.

I pray you find these resources helpful as you reach and disciple children and youth. If you do, consider joining us either online or in person this fall for the Child Discipleship Forum; you’ll find resources like these and so much more to help you disciple today’s children with resilient faith.Forming a Resilient Generation,

Matt Markins  
Awana President and CEO 

P.S. If you are considering attending the Child Discipleship Forum Sept. 21-22 in Nashville or online, register by March 31 to save up to $150. Register now!
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