Archive for February, 2012

You can’t be “out of sorts” with the people around you and be an effective servant of God.

Pastor Bill

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Finally! Yes, finally things were starting to settle down and the evening was beginning to go a little bit more like I had expected. It had taken close to a half hour to find a ladder laying against an old shop building, drag it through the deep snow to our cabin, and get up on the roof to remove the coffee can that had been placed over the stovepipe. By that time the old wood shell of a cabin had been absolutely saturated with smoke and was just getting to the point where a fellow could go inside and not get all choked up.

I had been able to get a fire started in the old rusty, metal stove once more, and the air in the cabin had finally cleared of most of the smoke. In fact, it was beginning to warm up quite nicely. I opened up the door of the stove once more to see how the fire was doing, tossed another chunk of wood inside, and slammed the door closed. No smoke came into the room that time. None at all! Nice!

I moved over to the bunk I had unrolled my sleeping bag upon, and lay down to relax a bit. I wasn’t quite ready to think about supper for the moment. I was just starting to relax when I heard one of my pals making a comment about giving me a new name. I perked up to listen as one of the guys said, “We could call him Smokey, or maybe Smokin Bill.”

Someone else chimed in with, “No. Let’s call him Coffee Can. That’s it! In fact, we can call him CC, for short.”

That smart remark was followed by howls of laughter and somebody else yelled out, “How about Smoldering Smitty,” someone else offered up. Again there was a roar of laughter.

“No, no, no!” one boy yelled out, “Let’s call him Cry-baby Bill. Did you see the tears rolling down his cheeks when he came out of the smoke in that cabin?”

I quickly spoke up to defend my honor and let them know they could simply call me by my given name, “Bill.” And I let them know that, if they wanted me to keep that fire stoked up and a little bit of warmth in the cabin, they needed to be downright polite to me.

“Okay, okay,” one of the guys said, “you don’t have to get all hot about it. We like the way you build a fire—most fires, anyway.”

There were a few more snickers and the talk changed to other subjects, like what we might be doing tomorrow.

In looking through the Bible you occasionally see people who have been given nicknames. I haven’t seen “Smokin Bill,” or “Smoldering Smitty,” named anywhere, but in Jeremiah 46, the prophet is warning about a coming war and he makes this statement to the people about the soldiers: “When they get home they’ll nickname Pharaoh ‘Big-Talk-Bad-Luck.’”

I think “Big-Talk-Bad-Luck,” says it pretty plain!

And in the New Testament, Jesus is selecting his disciples and we read, “These are the twelve he chose: Simon (whom he named Peter), James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them ‘Sons of Thunder’).”

We are all known in certain ways for a variety of reasons. Most of the time any nickname or title we have is probably not all that important in this life. But last week I held a funeral for a wonderful lady who was a Christian. She had lived as a Christian—a person dedicated to living for Jesus—since she was a young girl. Living life in such a manner gave her the privilege of wearing the name “Christian,” and people did not doubt that with her.

I hope I can always wear that name.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for allowing me the privilege of having the name “Christian,” added to the name my parents gave me. Help me to always carry that name with the sure knowledge that it came with a price. You gave your life for me, so that I could be called a Christian. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill


Scripture quotations from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group," and from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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One of the greatest needs in the church today is for Christians to demonstrate their love for God by verbally expressing it.

Pastor Bill

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God wants the best for you in your life and will not put you down because of your circumstances.

Pastor Bill

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Oh, boy! The smoke was beginning to get a little thicker than I wanted. In fact, there shouldn’t be any smoke coming out of the cracks and seams in the old stove. Why wasn’t the smoke going up the chimney? I could tell by the sound of the pops and cracks slowing down that the smoke was getting so thick inside the stove it was going to be putting the fire out in short order. By now my eyes were running and my lungs were burning. This wasn’t fun!

I began to hear hoops and hollers, along with a good bit of laughter from outside the cabin. I looked through the open doorway just as one of the boys yelled, “Hey, Bill. Come outside and take a look at your stovepipe!”

Oh, sure. Now it was “my” stovepipe. I stumbled through the door, happy to get out of the smoke filled cabin for a moment, and took a delicious breath of the fresh air. Boy, that was nice.

Several of the boys were holding their flashlights up and pointing them up in the air above the roof of the cabin. There was the stovepipe, sticking up out of the deep layer of snow covering the roof, with a very nice coffee can upside down on the pipe, to keep the water and weather out during the long periods of time when the cabin was not in use. Oh, great! No wonder the cabin was getting smoked up inside. And all because of an old rusty coffee can.

In Proverbs 24:27 it says, “Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.”

I realize that is a small portion of scripture that was originally directed toward farmers, but there is some good advice for all of us in those few words. It would have worked better if I had inspected the entire length of that stovepipe, inside and outside the cabin. I would have seen the coffee can before ever lighting a match to the paper. It would have saved me some tears! Planning and preparations are beneficial in many areas of our lives. Sure!

Prayer: Lord, help me to be careful and use proper planning and preparations in those areas of life where I might tend to move quickly ahead with little thought to what I am doing. Give me the wisdom to know when it is time to pause and think about what I am doing; or about to do. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Pastor Bill

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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God is with us in all of our struggles, disappointments, fears and failures. He cares deeply for us. A “bruised reed” he will not break.

Pastor Bill

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It is not our words, but the attitude of our hearts that make us what we are.

Pastor Bill

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