Abiding; Contentedly

March 2, 2018 an answer to a question I had on Sunday 2/25/18 about being content while striving to be better…

Sometimes when I preach I illustrate extremes by moving from one side of the stage to the other.  I often find it easiest to define something, like humility, by contrasting it with its opposite; pride.

So with that in mind, one summer during midweek Bible Study I made a simple PowerPoint graph that looked something like this:


Of course when I realized that being industrious wasn’t really a bad thing, my graph attempt was busted.  God wants us to be both content (Philippians 4:11; Hebrews 13:5-6) and hard working (Proverbs 6:6-8; Philippians 3:12).  Biblically, the contrast is between contentment and worry.

Anxiety (Matt 6:25ff)——————————————————————————Contentment

The opposite of Industriousness is actually Complacency (Proverbs 6:9-11); so in this PowerPoint I put those on the vertical (“y”) axis.  I can’t figure out how to do that on WordPress, but you can doodle it if you’d like.  What I discovered is that there are four quadrants and noticed:

A person can be hard working and anxious – we might call him/her a “Stress Case”

A person can anxious and complacent, we might call him/her a “Hand Wringer”

A person can be content and complacent; the Bible calls him/her a “Sluggard”

The person who finds a way to be both industrious and content is what I call an “Abider”  And only through abiding in Christ can we really do anything that matters while also resting in His everlasting arms!

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NKJV)

Sometimes I carry an illustration to the pulpit and forget to read it :-)

Many of us are familiar with 2 Corinthians 12:9 where Paul records the Lord saying, “My Grace is sufficient for you.”  Have you ever wondered why God used such an underwhelming word? I have wondered, but I think perhaps the British learned it from Him!

A man saved to buy a Rolls Royce. The day came when he went excitedly to the dealership. “What’s the horsepower on this engine?” he asked. The dealer searched the brochures, but couldn’t find the answer, emailed the factory in England with the question. “Adequate” was the immediate reply. The car was powerful enough for whatever mountain the driver might confront, whatever desert had to be crossed, whatever load pulled, whatever storm driven through.                                                                                                                                                   God’s grace is a Rolls Royce.  It is adequate for every situation you will face—then some.  ~Anon

Pastor Scott – February 23, 2018

We need to Stop Wringing our Hands!

February 15, 2018

I rarely comment on specific current events because they are an ever moving target.  But the shooting of 17 students by an expelled 19 year old in Florida has captivated the whole country.  I was especially challenged by a social media post by a ministry friend Kelly and I served with in CO.  It’s nothing we don’t “know,” but I wonder if there is way more we could all do?

9 years ago the shooter was 10 years old. What was happening in his life? Was there a time in his life when an adult could have taken him under their wing, and made a difference? Maybe we need to lay the blame at our own feet as adults who can’t be bothered with the hurting child. The one who is the outsider because he isn’t athletic, or a good student. The one who doesn’t seem good at anything that counts. He isn’t popular with the “in crowd “, or the teacher’s favorite. Every year that passes he becomes more of an outsider, and no one notices or cares. Is he born with a mental illness, or is it caused by a society that worships looks and money? When coming in second means you failed? My heart hurts for those families who are grieving today, but it also hurts for all those children who slip through the cracks.  We can’t make a difference for every child, but we can make a difference for the ones God brings into our lives – or sends us out to find!

“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?”  -Jesus



Waiting on God

G. Campbell Morgan was born exactly 100 years before I was – but he says, in this quotation, exactly what I want to say as we wait for our closing and moving days.  Take heart, the time of being VERY busy will be here before we know it!

Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort.  Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.   G. Campbell Morgan

Seven Angels?!?! – February 6, 2018

On Sunday, February 4th, I mentioned at the beginning of the sermon that there wasn’t going to be time for a Q&A, but that people could still tweet questions and I would answer them here.  Of course that’s not as much but I did get one:

Each letter to the seven churches is addressed to “the angel…” Who is that and what is the significance?

Good question!  The word “angel” means “messenger” in the common tongue of the day.  The NASB translates the Hebrew word Malak as: ambassadors (2), angel (101), angels (9), envoys (1), messenger (24), messengers (76).  The NASB translates the Greek word Aggelos as: angel (86), angel’s (2), angelic (1), angels (80), messenger (4), messengers (3).  Typically, the textual context clues the translators in on whether the messenger is human, but sometimes the context could go both ways.

We know that heavenly Angels were often assigned particular nations.  In Daniel 10, Gabriel is pinned down by the “Prince of Persia” (not a video game, but a very real, very powerful, demon) and is rescued by Michael the Archangel of Israel.  It’s not hard to imagine that post-resurrection angels will be assigned to churches.  After all they longed to look in on our gift of grace (1 Peter 2:12) and overlook our worship (1 Corinthians 11:10).  Added to the fact that heavenly angels play a big role in the entire book of revelation, it’s entirely possible that 7 heavenly angels were assigned to these 7 churches.

On the other hand, church tradition is that they were the seven pastors (or Bishops) to those seven churches.  In that tradition, Timothy, who would have been an old man in 90AD, was the “angel” to the church at Ephesus.  (An intriguing concept)

Both the grammatical and textual context leave it an open question as to whether it was a human or heavenly angel, but the significance in either case is that they were granted authority and responsibility for the church to which they carried their message.   The important question for us is, in what way am I (is our church) similar to each of the seven churches in Revelation 2&3?


Revival – February 2, 2018

Like many of us who have been part of the body of Christ for many decades, I’ve attended a number of camps and rallies that take on issues like abortion, or hunger, and more recently human trafficking.  Those are all awful blights on our nation and by extension on our churches.  It’s the most natural thing in the world for a speaker at such a rally to cite 2 Chronicles 7:14,

“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My          face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their        sin and will heal their land.”

And then proclaim that’s the formula for God to heal America.  As a “Context is King” guy, I can’t make that claim.  It’s fast and it’s easy, but if you read even the surrounding paragraph (attached below) you quickly recognize that God is talking about the Temple and Israel – not any claimant anywhere.  However, even though that text isn’t written to us, it’s certainly written for us.  Let’s look again at those four steps:

  •  Humble Themselves. Could humbling myself before God hurt anything?  Might is lead to better fellowship with Him?  James says so (5:6), in fact in the context of James 5 he’s talking about people who through their attitudes and choices have made themselves out to be enemies with God.  Positionally, I’m at peace with God because of the blood of Christ – but if I’m living in opposition to Him, humbling myself is the first step to restored fellowship.
  • And Pray. Can’t really be in fellowship with someone to whom I don’t speak.  Praying to God, is also a form of humility, because I am acknowledging that I’m in need (Philippians 4:6-7).
  • And Seek My Face. The Book of Hebrews is one long sermon about not drifting away from Christ and His Church.  In Chapter 10 as the author is wrapping up his argument about the sufficiency and superiority of Christ’s sacrifice, he tells us to “draw near with a sincere heart and in full assurance of faith.”  If restored fellowship is what I need, drawing nearer to the one with Whom I want fellowship only makes sense.
  • And Turn from Their Wicked Ways. Another word for restoration of Fellowship is “Repentance.”  In 1 John 1 we are told to confess our sins AND to walk in the light.  Holding on to sin while I’m confessing it, makes as much sense as smuggling a hot fudge sundae to a Weight Watchers meeting.  Beloved, let it go!  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Following the formula in 2 Chronicles 7:14 isn’t a prescription for healing my land, or my church, or even my family.  But it’s the perfect prescription for healing my relationship with my Heavenly Father – and that’s the best promise of all!  Let’s each seek personal revival and then wait to see what God may choose to do in us and through us!  Ephesians 3:20-21

Yours Because I’m His,

Pastor Scott

2 Chronicles 7:12-18 – Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18 then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.’