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Archive for April, 2012

The church is always to be on the offensive for God.

Pastor Bill

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If the church realizes that its task is outreach, not only will the desire of God be fulfilled but an excitement and fervor will invade and permeate the church!

Pastor Bill

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I stumbled onto some notes I had scribbled out several years ago and one of them was only a single sentence in length, but it reminded me of a night many years ago. Yes…..

I was on patrol on the graveyard shift and had been assigned to what we referred to as “the Orchards.” It was a large section of the city that was mainly residential and spread out over a very large area. The night had slowed down and there was very little activity taking place. As I remember it was between 2 – 3 a.m. The police radio had been silent for some time when it suddenly crackled to life. I heard one of the younger officers, who was patrolling across town from where I was working, call the dispatcher and excitedly report he had a burglary in progress at a small tavern, which he named. He had discovered the front door of the building broken open and had just seen a man inside duck out of sight into a back room. Before the officer had even completed his call I was turning my patrol car around and pressing on the accelerator to head his direction. I heard our sergeant call and say he was on the way and would be there in a couple of minutes. We were the only three patrol cars on duty on this particular night, though the sergeant did have a brand new officer riding with him.

As I sped through the residential area towards one of the main streets that would take me to the part of town where all this was taking place, the sergeant called me on the radio to make sure I was responding. I responded with my location and told him I was on the way. It was going to take all four of us who were on duty to secure this building while someone went inside after the burglar, or burglars.

My adrenalin was starting to pump as I heard the sergeant call dispatch stating he was on the scene. It was still going to be several minutes before I could arrive. I had been too far away. Say, this night wasn’t turning out to be as quiet as it seemed!

In the space of a split second our lives can change dramatically. Even with the best of plans we might have made, things happen that are completely unexpected and for which we are often unprepared. Several places in the Bible you can read about plans. In the Old Testament book of Proverbs we find these few but compelling words: “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”

Those are words to think about and mull over in our minds.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the reminder that even the best of my plans may not work out. Help me to never be ashamed to seek advice and counsel from godly people. I want my plans to be approved by you, so please give me the guidance and direction I need. I do want to see your purposes prevail. 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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There is a danger in becoming too focused on the church itself, forgetting that it is the instrument to be used by and for God.

Pastor Bill

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I had been sitting in my patrol car for 15-20 minutes when I decided it was time to begin moving around again. I pulled out onto the edge of the street and paused, noting there was no traffic visible up the hill to my left, even though this was one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city during the day. I looked to my right, down the hill, and saw a set of headlights coming towards me with an amber light flashing on the roof of the vehicle. I watched as it approached and quickly realized it was the city’s paint crew. There were three fellows on this home-built contraption; the driver, a fellow who operated the paint controls and a third person who dropped orange cones down every so often so people would realize there was fresh paint on the pavement. During the quiet hours of the summer nights they would be out and about painting the yellow and white lines on the many miles of streets that crisscrossed the city.

The driver and one of the fellows on the back waved at me as they passed. They weren’t painting this particular street, and were apparently headed to another area of the city to paint. I watched them for a few minutes until they turned at an intersection and went out of sight.

I pulled out on the street, going the opposite direction the paint crew had been traveling, and drove into another part of my patrol area for a while. It was probably a half hour later that I came back through the same area where I had seen the paint crew, but this time I was traveling in the same direction they had been going. Suddenly, something caught my eye. It was a thin trail of paint going up the middle of the lane I was traveling in. Oh, boy. Those guys must have had a valve part way opened and didn’t realize it. I followed the trail of white paint up the hill until it turned onto a side street, just as I had observed earlier when I had first seen them. But then something interesting happened. As I followed the trail down the side street the paint quit going in a straight line and it went back and forth into both lanes of traffic. As it came to an intersection it went around in a complete circle. The further I followed the thin, but very visible line of paint, the more obvious it became that the operator of the vehicle had apparently decided to have some fun and he was driving all over the place. In other words, this crew was obviously out for a “joy ride” and had no idea they were leaving a visible trail behind them. Oh, boy! Someone was going to be in hot water over this!

In the New Testament book of Ephesians, we find this piece of instruction: “Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness………It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. …….So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!” (Ephesians 5:11-16, The Message)

By the way, the paint crew did get in a little bit of “hot water” over their shenanigans that summer night.

Prayer: Lord, help me to always remember that darkness is really no “cover” for actions I might take. Even if no human being sees me; you do. Help me always to live life the way that you desire. Keep me on the straight and narrow. 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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Jesus never formed a single church while on earth. He didn’t die to form a saintly group of people. He died to save sinners!

Pastor Bill

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The Christian always has an advocate in the Heavenly Father, and when he or she stumbles, they can go to the Father and ask forgiveness, which God will grant.

Pastor Bill

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It was a warm, early summer night, probably around 3 a.m. I was working the graveyard shift on our local police department, and was on what we called “routine patrol.” In other words, I was simply driving about my assigned area of the city, keeping my eyes open for anything that might be amiss or out of the ordinary. The activity that had accompanied the early part of my shift had slowed and now the city had become quiet, with most of its residents sleeping. It was kind of nice, actually.

I drove slowly along one of the streets in a business area of the city and then pulled into a parking lot at a restaurant that was closed for the night. I parked facing the street, shut off my car, and just watched and listened. Through the open window of my door I heard the sound of a train switching railroad cars in the rail yard on the east end of town. I could hear the occasional sound of large trucks as their drivers guided them along the main streets of town. I watched as one of the city street sweepers went past, its driver probably enjoying the lack of traffic to block his path at this time of the night. Somewhere off in the distance I could hear the noise of a garbage truck no doubt emptying dumpsters from the back of businesses in the downtown area.

It seemed to become very still for just a moment and then I heard a dog bark in a residential area nearby. A split second later, another dog barked in reply. Sound seems to carry a long distance during a night such as this.

I continued to sit, listen and watch; enjoying the pleasant night with its sounds. I thought about my family and some of the things we were dealing with now. I thought about our church and the manner in which the Lord was working in so many lives. Yes, I was enjoying the night. Psalm 17:3 seems appropriate for such a night: “You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say.”

I can’t comprehend what may have been taking place in the writer’s life for him to use the words he did, but I believe he must have appreciated the relative quiet of the night and the opportunity to talk with the Lord at that hour of the day. The next time you are awake in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, why not take time to speak with your Heavenly Father. Tell him your inmost thoughts and concerns. He will hear you and he is ready to listen! You will find such time good for your soul!

Prayer: Thank you for the quiet of the night hours when we find we can often have an uninterrupted conversation with you. Thank you that we don’t have to wait for you to finish visiting with someone else. You are always ready and waiting to listen to us, and to speak to us. 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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Every day of our lives is important in the eyes of God.

Pastor Bill

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I dropped my eight quarters into the slot in the washing machine and watched the water begin to flow into it. I added an extra-large measure of laundry detergent and within minutes my single load of everything from white t-shirts, colorful wash-and-wear shirts, and filthy stinking blue jeans were coming face to face with hot water and soap. I glanced around and realized there were no chairs to sit in. apparently this was a “standup” Laundromat.

I moved over towards a bulletin board that was attached to one wall and began looking at the various items tacked onto it. There were some business cards people from the “outside” had placed there, obviously while on a short visit to the island, a news item about some government meeting taking place locally, and a list of the hours for the tiny one-room library that was located down at the water’s edge a short distance away. Then I noticed a sheet of paper that had the emergency phone number for the local volunteer fire department at the top. It was only a 4-digit number, apparently all that was needed to dial if you were reporting a fire. Below the phone number was a list of the names of everyone who was apparently a member of the volunteer fire department. There were just twelve names. Just twelve people for this volunteer fire department!

What really grabbed my attention was the fact that only first names were listed for the fire department volunteers. And once more I was reminded of that book, “If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name.”

Hmm. A first-name only fire department. In Psalm 147:4-5, we find words that remind us of a God more powerful than we could ever imagine”: “He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!”

I’m guessing God could relate to this first-name only fire department. If the Lord knows each star by name, He knows you! But He not only knows you—He cares about you. You really do matter to God! You can count on it!

Prayer: Thank you again, Lord, that you are a Heavenly Father who knows us intimately. You know us by name. And you have told us that you will never leave us nor forsake us. You really do care about us. You know the struggles and discouragements we may be dealing with and you give us the strength to make it through. 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."

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