Bless Me, Indeed! December 9, 2023

Twenty three years ago, Dr. Bruce Wilkinson of Walk Through the Bible,* published a little book entitled “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life.“  It became very popular, very fast.  Before too long it was a merchandising franchise and became something of a “good luck charm.”     Over time, the phenomenon crossed the line into something of a prosperity gospel and either fell away, or at least, fell out of our circles.

Recently, I found, not the book, but that passage being referenced in an article about stepping out of our comfort zones. 

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain. ‘ So God granted him what he requested.”

That struck a nerve!  What if you stick “comfort zone” in place of “territory” in Jabez’s prayer.  We all have places we are most comfortable, and people with whom we are most comfortable, but what if “seeking the kingdom” is out there?  

  • “God, help me to love that obnoxious neighbor who needs You.”  
  • “God, help to love that irritating co-worker who needs a shoulder to cry on” 
  •  “Help me to love that fellow congregant who needs a friend!”

“God, please expand my comfort zone!”

And start with me,

Pastor Scott
*Bruce left walk through the Bible shortly after Jabez, and moved to South Africa

Never Enough! 12.02.22

Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:

Not in Unbelief

Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”

Not in Pleasure

Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”

Not in Money

Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”

Not in Position and Fame

Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: “Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”

Not in Military Glory

Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”

Where then is real joy found? — the answer is simple;

in Christ alone.

Yours, Because I’m His,

Pastor Scott

The list above was assembled in 1993 according to a notation

Politics! November 18, 2022

If your listen to the news for too long it’ll make you sad or angry. Sometimes we just need to splash some cold water on our face and take a deep breath! The following is a collection of excerpts from a column Will Rogers wrote starting in 1922 and ending with his death in 1935. I see these a something of a splash of cool water AND a breath of fresh air! Read ’em and smile! There is nothing new under the sun and no matter who is in office; YHWH is on the Throne!

I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.

Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing, nobody listens and then everybody disagrees.

Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don’t hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous.

I really can’t see any advantage of having one of your party in as President. I would rather be able to criticize a man than have to apologize for him.

It’s no disgrace not to be able to run a country nowadays, but it is a disgrace to keep on trying when you know you can’t.

It looks to me like any man that wants to be President in times like these lacks something.

They’ve already started arguing over who will be the speaker at next year’s conventions. What they better worry about is who is going to listen.

There should be a moratorium called on candidates’ speeches. From now on, they are just talking themselves out of votes.

A President-elect’s popularity is the shortest lived of any public man’s. It only lasts till he picks his Cabinet. 

The promising season ends on Election Day. That same night, the alibi season begins and lasts for the next four years.

Our government is the only people that just love to spend money without being compelled to, at all. But the government is the only people that don’t have to worry where it is coming from.

Last year we said: “Things can’t go on like this!” And they didn’t — they got worse.

In Washington, yesterday, everybody I tried to talk to was a Presidential candidate. Both Houses spent all week arguing politics. Did you ever figure it out? They are the only people that are paid to do one job and do every other one there is but that.

Lord, the money we do spend on government, and it’s not a bit better than the government that we got for one-third the money 20 years ago.

This inflation was brought on by the actions of many peoples of the whole world, and its weight will be lifted by the actions of many peoples of the whole world, and not by a Republican or a Democrat.

With old inflation riding the headlines, I have read till I am bleary-eyed. We are living in an age of explanations, but no two things that have been done to us have been explained twice the same way, by even the same man.

When it comes to a showdown, Washington must never forget who rules — the people.

The Best of Will Rogers 1979 by Bryan B. Sterling, Crown Publishing, Inc., NY, NY.

Is God on our side?  Nov 11, 2022

Happy Veteran’s Day – thank you for your service!

Like many of you, I was a little disappointed in the election.   I totally believe that there are good people, and not so good people on both sides of the political divide, but the side I was rooting for didn’t do as well as I had hoped.  That said, I know  that I will share heaven with people who had hoped for another outcome.  The truth is both sides want the “bums*” thrown out and there was probably plenty of disappointment to go around.   What we really want are policies and philosophies that align with our understanding of what’s best.  I, for one,  need to remember that God is the judge, I am not! 

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (Ezek. 18:23)

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”

2 Peter 3:9-10

The truth is, He will crush evil in His time, but the time is now for us to be holy and work for His glory.  When life doesn’t give us what we want, the appropriate question is, “What does God want from me”?

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-13

Just some thoughts from your very human Pastor!


*”Throw the bums out” is a phrase from a political cartoon published in 1994, it captures the general dissatisfaction with politicians experienced by both sides of the political spectrum.

Worthwhile Read – October 20, 2022

Posted by Jolayne Rogers

Be still, be patient, be gentle, be calm…I feel like I should pick one of those as the caption for this picture. All three boys believed me when I told them that if they hold still they won’t get stung, so all three have frequently held bees. As soon as Rhett noticed this little lady buzzing around his hand he froze, and watched it as it explored his palm and fingers, telling me it tickled but that he was okay.

It is still tense, this fascinating encounter with nature. Every time. They have never been stung by an exploratory bee. They have always held still, watched it, talked to it, and waited until it flies away (sometimes helped along by a gentle puff of air from Mommy). But the fact that it COULD sting wars with the fact that it is intriguing to have a wild creature flit and crawl along your hand, so every time the bee flies away there is a sigh of both relief and disappointment.

.I wish I were as calm, and trusting, and patient with the bees that interrupt my everyday life. I wish I took time to be still and seek God, to be patient and not catastrophize, to be calm when figuring out the next step and to be gentle with myself and those around me when things aren’t going as planned. Instead I am more prone to flail around and get stung. 🙃 What could be a blessing in disguise providing a memorable otherworldly encounter turns into pain and swelling and the need for healing due to my panicked over reaction.

May God give me the grace to hold any bees He sends me, until they fly away.

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Jesus Wept – Oct 7, 2022

John 11:35

The last enemy has been striking hard and often.  My friend, and our emeritus elder, Don Crabtree, went home this morning.  Nelson, Sunny, Donna, and Rayma all preceded him very recently.   Praise God it wasn’t war or plague; they all passed peacefully having led full lives….but death still stinks!   I don’t have to remind you of that, but I do want to remind all of us that Jesus hated death so much He suffered a horrible death Himself to end it!  A billion years from now we’ll look back at death as a vague memory – because it will have been abolished!  

So grieve with me – but always with hope; things aren’t right yet…but they will be!

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.  For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,  then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  THE LAST ENEMY THAT WILL BE ABOLISHED IS DEATH.  For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.  When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” 

~1 Corinthians 15:20-28; NASB 1995; (emphasis added)

Pastor Scott

Proving the Truth – September 30, 2022

“Oh, your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks” is a phrase that was running through my head while Jad preached on James 3:13ff.  It’s an axiom or a truism in that it’s self evident – no proof required.  So if we walk, live out our lives, in wisdom (fear of the Lord) we can be assured that it communicates.  It communicates that we are the real thing and that God’s Word has had an impact.  But if we want to see souls saved, we also have to speak.

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” 

Romans 10:14

So, Pastor, you’re saying we have to both walk wisely and speak the words of truth?  

Yes, but not just me; the Holy Spirit wrote it, through Paul, to believers in Colossae!   

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” 

Colossians 4:5-6

Finally, walking in wisdom and speaking the gospel truth, is necessary at home, at church, at work; but if we only walk with, and speak to, those who already know; if we don’t let the salt out of the shaker; if we only water what’s already been planted; we will never get to witness new growth or advance His church in the way that most matters – bringing in those sheaves!   

So let’s get out there and walk God’s walk and talk God’s talk where it’s neither being walked or talked.  Personal invitations to Jesus, and to church for that matter, is the best way to see new fruit!  


Pastor Scott

Knowing vs Knowing – Sep 23, 2022

Forty years ago I wrote a research paper on Plato, the Greek philosopher.  I remember that he lived in Athens and was the student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle.  I remember he wrote “The Cave” and, with a little review, I could list his other works.  I believe there are three primary works that have stood the test of time.  So it’s fair to say I “know” Plato.  Four years before I wrote that college paper I started dating a girl in high school.  Forty-four years later she is still the central (human) player in my life.  So it’s also fair to say that I “know” Kelly.  Readers, you probably recognize that there is a qualitative difference between the way I know Plato and the way I know my wife.  Context, and a little knowledge, is what clued you in.  It would probably be grammatically accurate to say that I know about Plato and I know my wife, but often we only get context, not grammar clues.

Attached is a great article about the Hebrew word for “knowledge” (Da’at).  Turns out that in most cases when speaking of knowledge of God (as in Proverbs 1:7), or knowledge of the Bible (as in Psalm 119 where David uses “keep,” “meditate” and “understand” long before he uses da’at in verse 66), we are instructed to know experientially!   Consider that definition of “knowing” as you contemplate your knowledge of God and His Word.  It’s great that I can recite Genesis 1:1; it’s even better that I talked to my Creator just this morning! 🙂 


Pastor Scott

Cultural Interpretation – September 16, 2022

Had a great text question two weeks ago when I was preaching on the Ant & the Sluggard in Proverbs.  At some point in the message I must have discussed saving for retirement, because the texter wondered if that was just us reading American values back into the biblical text.  The short answer was yes, but from whence were those values formed?  It seems to me that saving in a time of plenty against a time of want isn’t just in Proverbs; it was exemplified by Joseph’s management of the famine in Egypt.  Perhaps as those teachings, of frugality and saving for lean times, passed from the Old Testament practices to the New Testament believers they were incorporated into the culture.  On the one hand it can easily be seen that it’s wise to have something put away for tomorrow.  On the other hand, the Bible is rife with warnings about loving money and trusting in it, about discontentment, and about being uncharitable in the face of another’s need.

How each person balances all those scriptural admonitions is up to them, but I’m also sure it’s heavily influenced by their culture.  When I was in the Canary Islands I witnessed many generational homes.  Each family built on according to their income and ability, while taking care of their parents and children, with the certainty that their kids would do the same.   So the wise thing for them was to invest in the family homestead. In America, as we have moved into the city, it’s considered responsible to save something so as not to be a burden (2 Thess 3:10), but that cultural interpretation doesn’t mean that an American Christian should fail to honor his Father and Mother, nor does it mean that the Islanders should be sluggards.

Never stop learning!  Explore other (traditional) cultural views of Scripture to see how they might add to understanding, but don’t forget that translation and interpretation is the Holy Spirit’s primary function.  Trust Him to handle your understanding as you dig into the whole of Scripture*  and don’t discount our traditional understanding unless there is a clear contextual reason to do so!! 

Remember when the Holy Spirit translated in real time?  

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.  Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”  So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
Acts 2:1-12 NKJV
Thinking about Babies and Bathwater,
Pastor Scott

*Remember context is king!