HOPE – January 29, 2018

The school system in a large city had a program to help children keep up with their school work during stays in the city’s hospitals. One day a teacher who was assigned to the program received a routine call asking her to visit a particular child. She took the child’s name and room number and talked briefly with the child’s regular class teacher. “We’re studying nouns and adverbs in his class now,” the regular teacher said, “and I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.”

The hospital program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon. No one had mentioned to her that the boy had been badly burned and was in great pain. Upset at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.” When she left she felt she hadn’t accomplished much.

But the next day, a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?” The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologize. “No, no,” said the nurse. “You don’t know what I mean. We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, responding to treatment. It’s as though he’s decided to live.”

Two weeks later the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher arrived. Everything changed when he came to a simple realization. He expressed it this way: “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?” Bits & Pieces, July 1991.

“And now, Lord, for what do I wait?  My hope is in You.”   Psalm 139:7

Hard Truths – January 26, 2018

To date, the closing on the sale of our building and the purchase of our new church home has been delayed by over two months.  The challenge is “downstream” of us in this cascade of purchases, but nonetheless we have been affected.  We haven’t yet benefited from the expense relief and, maybe, some of us in the body are getting weary.  Despite any weariness we may be feeling, two things are always true.

  • The church, until Christ returns, is the vehicle for His work. It’s His Body and the fullness thereof (Ephesians 1:22-23) and the pillar and support of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).  Christ is building it and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
  • The local church is made up of His people and His people are responsible for its support.  https://bible.org/article/biblical-principles-concerning-contributions-church

Hard Truth Number One:  We didn’t get the year-end giving bump in 2017 that often helps carry us through January and February.   December’s offerings broke even with December’s expenses.  WOG/BRBC’s cash reserves are running low.  And in the first three weeks of January, total giving is at about half of January’s need.  Some of that ennui (lack of faith?) may be due to the closing/moving delays.  But much of the shortfall is due to two snow/ice events on Sundays in January.  So this is a plea to all of you who call WOG/BRBC your church home: Bring the whole “tithe” (or at least the rest of January’s tithe) into the storehouse this Sunday, January 28.  If you can’t be in attendance, please mail it in (8524 Blue Ridge Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64138).  The church literally can’t pay utilities, or salaries, or our missionaries with money it doesn’t have.*

Hard Truth Number Two:  Regarding the interim budget, the leaders of BRBC/WOG do NOT hate our Missionaries.  We love them and want our church to thrive here in Raytown AND in Brazil, Japan, PNG, et al.  Right now we aren’t thriving, financially or numerically, on either front.  The financial support of our Missionaries is actually much less “tiny” than is represented in the budget on which we are asking you to vote. [For instance, in January, the Missions Committee is going to double the gift from the general fund with money they have in their reserves  – money given in memorial gifts or as OAAT&O** donations.  In a church wherein the leaders were anti-missions, I wonder if that could even happen?] But it’s still not where it was in the church’s heyday.  We need to rebuild our local footprint if we are ever going to be able to expand our global footprint in a sustainable way again.  That’s not siding with local ministry over missions, that’s just facing facts.  We often hear (and I’ve often preached) that local outreach is the responsibility of the individual.  It is, but it’s not limited to individuals.  I envision regular local outreaches done as a ministry of the whole body, wherein we work together, taking advantage of the plethora of gifts, talents and experience in our body, whether it’s administrators who can organize the rest of us into foot soldiers handing out high-quality fliers and door hangers designed by artists and techies, or people with the gifts of mercy and evangelism helping the helpers organize a weekend of blessing for our neighborhood.  I envision us demonstrating tangible love while speaking Truth with Grace.  Beloved, missions isn’t about sending money away AS OPPOSED TO spending it here.  Missions is about spending it to reach our Jerusalem . . . AND the uttermost parts of the earth.   This is not a new concept for us; we have done this in the past.



Pastor Scott

*I’m writing this early in the morning when only insomniacs are up.  The TV is on in the background and as I wrote that last sentence I looked up to see a preacher saying that HOLY GHOST told him that his TV Audience should go get their check books right now – the Holy Ghost tells him that every week.  I don’t make that claim; but I can read a balance sheet and sometimes we all need a reminder that God really has provided all the money the church needs, even if some of it is still in our checkbooks!

**OAAT&O stands for Over and Above Tithes & Offerings

Wise Scruples – January 22, 2018

On Sunday (1/21) we looked at Romans 14.  Paul discusses the highly scrupled as those being “weak in the faith.”  He admonishes them not to judge people whose faith permits them to do, or participate in, things that would violate the weaker brother’s conscience.  Which raises the question of “is it bad to have scruples (personal convictions)?  The obvious answer is, “no but…”

  1. It’s wrong to allow our scruples (or traditions) to rise to the level of a biblical conviction. (Col 2:8)
  2. It’s wrong to pass our scruples on so carelessly that we add them to the requirements for eternal life, “Christian boys don’t stick their tongues out at their sisters.” (Acts 4:12)
  3. It’s wrong to play the scruples game to win favor or exclude people (Gal 2:11-14)
  4. It’s foolish to stay so weak in my faith that I’m hurt by other’s freedom (2 Peter 3:17-18)

Yet, there is certainly a call in scripture to be wise and on Sunday a question was asked about evaluating new things in light of scripture – developing wise scruples in areas the Bible isn’t explicit about.   I like a little aid I call the Corinthians Questions (borrowed from Jerry Bridges who borrowed it from a friend of his).

Question 1) Is it helpful – physically, mentally and emotionally?

“Everything is permissible for me’ – but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12a)

Question 2) Does it bring me under its power – e.g. become a habit or an addiction?

“Everything is permissible for me’ – but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12b)

Question 3) Does it hurt others?

“Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble. (1 Corinthians 8:13)

Question 4) Does it glorify God?

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

These four simple questions, asked honestly, can help us evaluate our position on new trends or opportunities AND ought to be used on occasion to reevaluate scruples that may have formed when we had less spiritual wisdom.

One other note – not all scruples are limits on potentially negative behaviors – it’s also wise to develop some scruples about things like personal devotions or giving.  Neither should be optional for a believer, but how much and how often is a matter of personal conviction!

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

I Hate Playing the “Waiting Game!” 

The “doldrums” are a belt of calms north of the equator between the trade winds in the oceans.  The “doldrums” are also a metaphor for a period of inactivity, stagnation, or waiting….  I wonder if I’m the only one who ever feels like he’s in the doldrums?  Oh, are you waiting for something, too?

Maybe you are waiting for healing.  Maybe you are waiting for resolution.  Maybe you are waiting for something over which you have no power and no control.  It’s frustrating and it can be all consuming.

One of my favorite verses (or moments in Salvation History) is Genesis 8:1 – Then God remembered Noah*, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.  (emphasis mine)

God has used this verse to point out two things to me:

  • The year Noah, his family, and lots of smelly, noisy animals spent floating was the very essence of being in the doldrums. The highlighted phrase makes it clear that God was working elsewhere.  The long wait wasn’t about Noah; the long wait was about the destruction of the earth.  For Noah and the crew it was a time of preservation and protection while the Judge’s gavel was coming down on others.  Maybe God has me in the doldrums NOT to frustrate me, but to protect me while He does business elsewhere.  Or put another way, maybe, whatever I’m going through, is not about me at all!
  • The year Noah and his family were in those doldrums, waiting for God to release and restore them, was not a year without purpose. There were still animals to feed and clean up after, there was still family to love on, there was still opportunity to pray and meditate….  As God has me waiting for the next big thing, He wants me to be faithful in the small things, the everyday things!

Pray for me as I pray for you and let’s all look for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, never missing an opportunity to live out His Great Commandments and His Great Commission!

Pastor Scott

*Moses also used that phrase, “God Remembered,” a number of other times.  For instance, when referring to the opening of Rachel’s womb (Gen 30:22) and to the redemption of Israel out of slavery (Exodus 2:24).

Romans 13 – Q&A Follow-up (January 15, 2018)

Yesterday, after preaching on Romans 13, I started answering questions that were tweeted to the sound booth.  The questions focused primarily on “what ifs” and what submission looked like if we fundamentally disagree with something, especially when our disagreement is Bible-Based.   The challenge in applying Paul’s instruction to a congregation under Nero to our American context, is that submission to our governing authorities includes an admonition by our constitution for the electorate to have political opinions.  How we do that respectfully, is something each one needs to take to God with a clear conscience.   Obviously, if we were ever in a situation where the government asked us to do something in direct violation of God’s word, we have to choose to follow God.  I don’t think I’m permitted to do that subversively, but some are (Exodus 1:17-21).

There were two questions that I never heard and I wanted to use this venue to answer.

Last week you made the point that war isn’t murder because you’re under subjection to govt. Today you made the point that we are not to submit to govt when it contradicts scripture. How do we reconcile this?

Great Question.  Last week I was asked if the prohibition against taking vengeance in Romans 12 (an echo of Jesus’ instruction to turn the other cheek) meant that believers shouldn’t serve in the military or law enforcement.  I rehearsed the two main protestant positions:

  • Jakob Ammann is the name attached to the Pacifist or non-resistance position that says the admonition to never retaliate with violence means a Christian may never serve in the military or law enforcement.
  • Martin Luther is the name attached to the two states view that says, essentially, while the individual is under Christ’s mandate to not retaliate, the state is not. Capital punishment, for instance, is part of the Noahic Covenant and the Police Man’s Sword is affirmed as late as Romans 13.  So this view says a believer working under that state can do what a believer can’t do as an individual.

So yes, in light of that second view, I would say that killing under the terms of engagement is not murder.  The questions this Sunday had to do with things like resisting Hitler’s Government.  I said, that if you believed the government was telling you to commit murder, then you could/should resist – being mindful of the consequence.  The definition of “murder” verses an act of war or justice is pretty codified in the US, but we each stand before God as individually and must have a clean conscience.  The Amish and other pacifist groups consider all killing murder regardless of the state’s involvement.

Second Unanswered Question:

What if there are differences between the various levels of governing authorities? So one layer says you can’t do this but another says you have to or vice versa? Whether government, company, husband, etc.

 This is also a great question.  It’s one Paul is answering, in part, in verse 7, which says:  Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor – so we are to do our duty to each layer.   But you are also asking about layers that conflict.  Typically, it’s a hierarchy issue (if the cop tells you to move your car and the tow truck driver tells you to leave it where it is, obey the cop).  When it’s two agencies making contradictory demands; it’s likely time for lots of letter writing or even arbitration.  Don’t quietly flout one authority while honoring the other.   We need to walk in the light – which means transparency and communication, as much as it depends on you!

Do all things! January 8, 2018

So this morning I was listening to music and getting some honey do’s done when I remembered that I hadn’t had my devotions yet (My glasses had been MIA earlier).

The song that was playing right before I told Alexa to stop the music, was Steve Green singing the Philippians 2:14 song, “Do all things without complaining, do all things without grumbling..”

I sat down, with my glasses and a bright light, and read First Corinthians 10.  Paul’s rehearsal of Israel’s struggles in the wilderness led me to Numbers 16 and the story of Korah’s Rebellion that led God to open the earth and swallow Korah’s whole tribe lock, stock and barrel.Image result for God swallowing Korah

Shortly after reading that epic story I checked Facebook and a pastor friend had posted:

God does not evolve: His Person, Holiness, Word, & Will do not change – He is the Same from Eternity Past to Eternity Future. (Hebrews 13:8)

 You can see where this is going, right?  The God of the OT opened the earth to swallow grumbling complainers.  The God of the New Testament is the same God.  And while He poured the wrath we deserve out on Christ, His opinion about complaining hasn’t changed, because He hasn’t changed!

By His Grace I’m going to ask for His help to stop….   And I’m going to pray for all of us that our words and thoughts would be seasoned by salt not by gripes!  Of course the doorknob of your heart is on the inside, will join me in that prayer?

Pastor Scott

January 3, 2018 – It’s a New Year!

Perhaps you’ve seen the “thing” on social media encouraging us to pick our word for 2018.   I was intrigued and wanted my word to represent my New Year’s resolve to renew my mind constantly so I can live as a sacrifice while serving the body of Christ.  I also wanted my word to reflect our Church’s resolution to honor the Great Commandment to love others as just as Christ loved us (John 13:34-35).  And our resolution to honor the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).


It occurred to me that “love” {Agape} captures those resolutions as well as any word, but “love” doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody.  Trying to get a better bead on my “word” I thought about the opposite of love – you can often better understand something by looking at its opposite; we may not be able to describe humility, for instance, but everyone knows what pride looks like – the opposite of love in the American lexicon is “hate” – but hate is passionate and is a better opposite for romantic love (Eros) or Brotherly love (Philos).  No, the opposite of Agape love, is “selfishness.”


If I am self-focused it’s hard for me to break MY routine, to give of MY time, to step out of MY comfort zone, or share MY stuff.  Selfishness asks not, what’s best for the other guy, but what’s best for me?


Clearly my word needs to be “Selflessness”  – of course a really good Buddhist is selfless so perhaps that’s not even descriptive enough.  I don’t want to just be empty of “self” I want to be full of Christ……  That’s it!


CHRISTFULLNESS is my word for 2018.   I want to be Christful throughout 2018 and beyond!  How about you, my friend?


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)