Just a little more! – August 23, 2019

Avarice

This past Sunday (8/18) I started a verse-by-verse exposition of Colossians 3; I almost made it through verse 5.  Verse 5 contains one of two “sin lists” in Colossians 3 — lists of sins that were nailed to the cross as part of our old lives, sins that still creep up because we walk in this world and still inhabit bodies of flesh. The first list (the one in v. 5) is almost entirely about sensuality outside of marriage, except for the final word – GREED/COVETOUSNESS.  I sort of overlooked this in my concern for the effect immorality is having on our youth and families via our culture. Greed (avarice) is also a killer, and I wanted to take a minute here to remind us that it, too, needs to be “put off!”

Let’s look first at the etymology.  The word translated greed, or covetousness, here is used almost exclusively by Paul.  The word is pleonxia  – pleon (more) and echo (have).  In the earliest uses (Herodotus), pleonxia denotes immoral lust for power.  Plato uses it in the sense of surpassing someone in ambition, power, and possession.  In the ancient writers pleonxia was always viewed negatively as all-consuming avarice for power, wealth, and conquest.

Paul used it similarly.  He saw it as defrauding (1 Thess 4:6) and dividing (1 Cor 5:11) brothers.   The insatiability of greed leads to a willingness to cheat and to ultimately sever the bond with the Creator, making an idol of what I’m seeking.  “Thou shalt not covet” was the tenth commandment, but in many ways it summed up several others. Said “positively,” one could say, “Thou shalt be content!” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

There is one more word I want to consider before I close.  It’s another of Paul’s and is only used once; in 1 Timothy 6:10.  In Greek it’s a single compound word, philargyria; in English it literally translates “love of money.”  Paul lifts a piece of a more ancient proverb when in his letter to Timothy he says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  We all know people who have spent their whole lives chasing the next $ and have only ashes in their mouths to show for it. Brothers and sisters, why do we think it will be different for us?  Seek first His kingdom; His glory; He’ll take care of the rest.  It isn’t possible to love both God and money!  (And those are not my words!)

Pastor Scott

Where are my eyes?  –  August 16, 2019

This life we live has a lot to offer – it also has its share of disappointments!  In fact, if you look for them, you can find depressing signs all over the place!  (Just this morning I helped with a family who is facing the depressing fact that aging is inevitable and unavoidable; that we all have to say “uncle” someday); believe me when I say we aren’t all ready!

So how, you may ask, do some roll with disappointments while others allow disappointments to rock their worlds?   I believe it has a lot to do with where we’ve set our “affection” or our “hope.”  God often brings to mind a little exchange I’ve heard about the first American Missionary:

When Adoniram Judson was lying in a jail in Burma with thirty-two pounds of chains on his ankles which were tied to a bamboo pole, another prisoner asked, “Dr. Judson, what about the prospect of the conversion of the heathen?”

Judson replied, “The prospects are just as bright as the promises of God.”

It REALLY isn’t about our circumstances; it really is about walking by Faith more than by sight!  Something to think about as we send our kids back to school or a parents back to work…

Pastor Scott

Who can stop this madness? Dads! – August 9, 2019

playing catchLast week America experienced two mass shootings on the same day!  Lots of folks were advocating for various causes, almost before the dust settled.  One “cause” that almost goes unnoticed is that of “fatherlessness.” A VERY high percentage of these mass murderers were raised in homes with no fathers.  A little internet search tells me that kids raised with no fathers are also twice as likely to drop out of school, four times as likely to continue the pattern of out-of-wedlock parenting, poverty, etc.  Yes, many, through grit, determination and (of course) Jesus grow up and do fine, but the “odds” are very much stacked against them. My concern is for something I call “virtual fatherlessness” and I think it exists, even in great churches today.  This clipping from a bulletin insert the same year I first became a father, illustrates it well:  

A young man was to be sentenced to the penitentiary. The judge had known him from childhood, for he was well acquainted with his father–a famous legal scholar and the author of an exhaustive study entitled, “The Law of Trusts.” “Do you remember your father?” asked the magistrate. “I remember him well, your honor,” came the reply. Then trying to probe the offender’s conscience, the judge said, “As you are about to be sentenced and as you think of your wonderful dad, what do you remember most clearly about him?” There was a pause. Then the judge received an answer he had not expected. “I remember when I went to him for advice. He looked up at me from the book he was writing and said, ‘Run along, boy; I’m busy!’ When I went to him for companionship, he turned me away, saying “Run along, son; this book must be finished!’ Your honor, you remember him as a great lawyer. I remember him as a lost friend.” The magistrate muttered to himself, “Alas! Finished the book, but lost the boy!”

Homemade, February, 1989.

You can’t take one dime with you to heaven, but you can take your kids!

Because of Grace,

Pastor Scott

THE LOVE OF GOD – August 2, 2019

A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.” As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.

Source Unknown.

Pastor Scott  (P.S. – I owe someone an “Ask the Pastor Blog;” if it’s a you and you remember your question – please email me!  I’ve been wracking my brain all day.)