The severity of Jesus’ temptation by Satan was magnified by the fact that He was alone. For forty days Jesus lived in the wilderness without food or water or human contact. It was in the context of isolation that Satan approached Jesus and sought to lure Him away from His God-given purpose. Even though cut off from all human contact, Jesus successfully resisted the repeated temptations of Satan.
You are not Jesus. You require Christian community in order to refute the lies of Satan and resist his pull toward compromise. The local church is central in God’s plan for our Spiritual survival and growth. It is in the local church that we are mentored and held accountable. Every Christian who becomes isolated from the local church becomes vulnerable to Satan’s destructive actions. Peter compares Satan to a prowling, roaring lion. Lions hunt and kill animals that have separated from the herd.
Every Christian needs to surround himself or herself with other believers who will share life with them and help them stay on track in their walk with Jesus. We offer these opportunities as a church in LifeGroups and D-Groups. Our intent is not to overload you with something else to do. Our intent is to provide opportunities for relationships to form and deepen over time. This safeguards us from the evil one. We tend to make far less foolish choices and take far less foolish actions when we are consistently involved in Christian community.
Jesus often spent time alone with His Heavenly Father. We should do the same. Jesus also spent a lot of time with a small group of men where He was able to encourage and be encouraged. I am sure that He did the bulk of the encouraging. However, even Jesus asked His D-Group in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Could you not watch and pray with me for an hour?” Jesus benefitted from close relationships. So do we.
When you participate in a LifeGroup or a D-Group, you are not just adding numbers to the weekly count. You are protecting your heart, your marriage, and your future. Satan plays for keeps, and we should do the same. Be intentional. Don’t allow yourself to remain alone while you are living for Jesus. Isolation opens the door for Satan to pounce and devour.
I love you, Earl
This Sundays Sermon “Standing Before God’s Throne” Jude 24-25
LifeGroup Attendance on December 1 – 593
Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Slider Sandwich and Broccoli Soup
Thursday, December 12 – 55 & Up Trip to see the Christmas Lights in Yukon
Wednesday, December 18 – Movie Night “THE STAR” 6:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary (NO WEDNESDAY MEAL OR CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES THAT EVENING)
Before I sat down she informed me that she had gotten rid of
“the birds.” She was pleased, and I was interested to hear how she had
accomplished the feat. After her husband died, she had faced many issues as she
adjusted to life without him. One issue she had not anticipated was the arrival
of hundreds of grackles in the trees surrounding her home.
She had considered having her son, who is an avid hunter, come over and hone his marksmanship with a pellet gun. She thought better of doing so. Neighbors may have not appreciated the shots fired. She tried fake snakes and owls. She researched on the internet and ordered items she eventually returned. Nothing worked. The birds spent every evening in her trees, serenading her well into the night. They were “driving her crazy.”
“Apparently they don’t like classical Christian music,” she quipped.
I settled into my designated seat and smiled. This was going to be good. She is not only a good story teller but an extremely funny person. She misses her husband but still enjoys life. She had purchased a couple of CDs of classical Christian music and given them to a friend whom she thought would enjoy them. Her investment was only 50 cents at the Etc. Shop. As it turned out, the music was not appealing to her friend. She gave the CDs back.
“I agreed. It wasn’t very good. Just two guys banging on pianos.”
I laughed out loud. Few people in their 80’s have a problem expressing how they really feel. I love it! She went on to explain how she played the CDs on her front porch at full volume several evenings in a row. The birds stopped by, but they did not stay. Eventually, they quit stopping by. Now they were someone else’s problem. She had resisted the urge to mount a speaker in the back of a truck and drive around the neighborhood in order to harass all the grackles out of her side of town.
The next time you are frustrated with the world’s solutions that do not work, praise the Lord for His goodness. As you praise the Lord in the midst of your problems, He will show up to comfort your soul and fight your battles. You don’t have to yell His praise, but you do need to declare it.
Psalm 103, Earl
This Sundays Sermon “Standing Against the Devil” Ephesians 6:10-20
LifeGroup Attendance on November 24 – 633
The Church Office and Family Life Center will be closed for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 27~~Thursday, November 28~~Friday, November 29
Next Wednesdays Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Meatball Sub Sandwich
This Sunday, November 24, we will be voting on the candidate the Worship Pastor Search Committee has recommended to us as a church. After months of seeking God’s will, they are recommending Brennan King to serve in this role. I completely support and greatly rejoice in their recommendation. Brennan currently does a great job as our Interim Worship Pastor. He continues to impress me with his heart, his skill set, and his work ethic.
Brennan has a heart for Jesus. Brennan has a heart for worshipping Jesus. Brennan has a heart for people. Brennan has a heart for leading people in worship. He remains so easy to get along with because he does not make things about himself. He counts his blessings and celebrates all that God has given Him and done for him. Brennan has a great heart.
Brennan has a wide-ranging skill
set. When it comes to music, he can play multiple instruments. His voice is of
superior quality. He coordinates the band and hears things as they are and
moves them toward where they need to be. He plans and rehearses and leads with
expertise. Brennan was mentored for years by two great worship leaders – Kristy
Talley and John Hogan. What he has learned from them now flows through him.
When it comes to creativity and the use of video, Brennan continues to amaze me. He comes up with ideas to enhance worship and strengthen the church. The ideas require more effort from him, yet he keeps coming up with them. He initiated and shot and edited all the videos designed to introduce the staff to the church. He shot and edited video from the Crowder Lake Baptism. He knows what he is doing when it comes to video and technology.
Brennan has a great work ethic.
There is a good chance he developed it on the farm where he was raised. He
offers to help in multiplied ways, even though he is currently only part time.
He tried to help Nancy and me trim bushes one day. He has the ability to see
what needs to be done and the willingness to help get it done. Brennan works
There will be a meeting and greeting time for Brennan and his family on November 23 in the South Commons from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feel free to ask any questions you may have and offer as much encouragement as possible. I look forward to continuing to serve with Brennan King.
How blessed we are! Earl
This Sundays Sermon “Standing in the Gospel” I Corinthians 15:1-11
LifeGroup Attendance on November 17 – 702
Membership Matters Class – this Sunday, November 24 at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor
Churchwide Thanksgiving Meal – this Sunday, November 24 at 5:00 p.m. in FLC
The Church Office and Family Life Center will be closed for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 27 – Friday, November 29 Happy Thanksgiving
Periodically I am reminded of my age. Friends ask me when I
am going to retire. Youth refer to me as “sir.” Discounts abound at various
establishments. Before I left for Falls Creek this year, Nancy asked me to not run
the 5K. She didn’t want me hurting myself. The last thing my mother said to me
on the Sunday before I left for camp was, “Remember how old you are.” Believe
me, I do. Every time I look in the mirror I am reminded of my age. Still, this
is a great stage in life, and I am glad I get to participate.
One afternoon, the first man I
visited was nearing 102 years of age. He was watching Casa Blanca on his
television. He told me that he had been there on Christmas Eve of 1942. He
reminisced about World War II by telling personal stories about General Patton
(they called him B & G), friends lost, and POW’s saved. Still, he smiled
and thanked me for stopping by. He was obviously happy to be participating in
My next stop was a wonderful lady who is 94 years old. We had a great conversation about the good ole’ days that included milking cows, gathering eggs, and visiting with neighbors. She obviously missed life as it had been. She also talked about the Thunder basketball team and the health of her friends and the benefits of walking every day. She was glad to be participating in life even though she no longer lived on a farm.
The next friend I visited had been struggling physically. Family had pitched in to help him negotiate day by day. He is the lone survivor of eight siblings. He pointed out pictures on the shelves. I mentioned some kerosene lanterns he has accumulated. His 95 years have not deleted his passion to live. He and his daughter rehearsed recent domino games. He was glad to be participating in life.
My final stop of the day was a lady who was only in her 80’s. She gifted me with a jar of jelly before we sat down and visited about the faithfulness of God through the years. On my way out, she handed me a book she thought Nancy would enjoy. As I backed out of the driveway, my heart rejoiced as I anticipated growing older. I, too, can continue to celebrate each new day the Lord provides.
Glad to be participating, Earl
This Sundays Sermon “Stand Together: I Need You, You Need Me” Galatians 5:26 – 6:5
LifeGroup Attendance on November 10 – 665
Vote on the 2020 Budget – this Sunday, November 17 at 9:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.
Surviving the Holidays (GriefShare) – this Sunday, November 17 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
The falling temperatures have perked the interest of my two Brittany bird dogs. Their energy levels have increased dramatically as they run around the yard with renewed enthusiasm. They sense that hunting season is just around the corner because of the cooler temperatures. Most mornings they wait at the back gate and watch to see if I will exit the garage in my blaze orange vest, carrying a shotgun. They take turns passionately requesting their release from the confinement of the back yard in order to freely accomplish all God created them to do.
Their zeal makes me smile. Who wants to own a dog that would rather eat a biscuit than hunt a bird? Who wants to drag dogs from the back yard and force them into the dog box? It thrills me that Freckles and Duke are motivated by “want to” rather than “have to.” Every master should be so fortunate as I am. All I have to do is drop the tailgate, and they are ready to go.
We should be just as excited about serving the Lord as we anticipate His return. We should zealously voice our praise to Him when we come together as a church and while we function throughout the week. Just the thought of Christ’s return, and the enjoyment of heaven, should keep us fired up. We won’t be in this fallen world forever. We will be released from the confines of this sinful place and rejoice forever in the presence of God where there is no more sin, no more pain, no more death, and no more tears.
We should also delight to serve the Lord Jesus by fulfilling our specific responsibilities in His Kingdom for His glory. As we make disciples, we have jobs to do that should give us more joy than Freckles and Duke locating a large covey of quail. There is something extremely satisfying about fulfilling our God-given purpose. We will never be happier in this world than when we are abiding in Christ and obeying His will for our lives. This is true through every season of the year and every season of life.
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
After Daddy died, Momma remained for over a year in their
home, located two miles west and four miles south of Hobart. Due to challenges
associated with living by herself in the country, she made the wise choice to
move into Hobart. At the same time, my sister Sandra and her husband Billy,
moved into the house Momma vacated on the home place.
Momma immediately transformed her yard in town to a thing of beauty. Flowers were planted and landscaping was done with the help of my sister Sheri and her husband Keith. They are seasoned professionals. Landscaping is their livelihood in Manhattan, Kansas. What took place in town paled to what took place in the country. Every female in my immediate family has a green thumb. None are greener than Sandra’s.
Within a few years Sandra had lush grass growing where the gravel drive once circled the house. She built flower beds and landscaped around the barn. Every year she added more to the spectacular display of color and life. Most of the things she planted came back bigger and better every year. Many people travel out to her home just to look at her flower gardens.
One of the few things left from the days when I lived there is a crepe myrtle Momma planted. I remember when it grew behind the porch swing when I was a boy. Momma had planted it early on after they moved into the house. At the time, she did not even know what a crepe myrtle was. Through the years that crepe myrtle went through a lot. One home renovation tore out the entire porch on the north side of the house, including the crepe myrtle. It grew back.
Several times Momma changed her landscape plans for the north side of the house. The changes necessitated eliminating the crepe myrtle. Attempts with chain saws and shovels and axes all proved to be in vain. The crepe myrtle kept coming back stronger than ever. Sandra opted to include it rather than fight it. It remains to this day, probably older than I am.
How did it survive through everything that happened? The same way you will survive and keep coming back stronger than ever. The crepe myrtle developed an extensive root system. If you do the same by abiding in Christ, you will remain strong and productive. Courage and strength for living flow from our walk with Jesus.
Colossians 2:6-7, Earl
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ENDS this Sunday, November 3 Remember to turn your clocks back one hour on Saturday evening
This Sundays Sermon “Standing in the Fire” Daniel 3:16-30
LifeGroup Attendance on October 27 – 706
GriefShare – Sunday, November 3 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Hamburger Stew
They are the last in a long line of hunting dogs owned by two men who made a priority of hunting quail when the season was open. Today the dogs reside in a couple of runs in the shaded back yard of one of the hunters. I introduced myself to the dogs recently when I stopped by to visit their master.
Belle is fourteen. Gray hair obviously resides around her muzzle and near her eyes. The small female pointer no longer has distinct black and white coloring. The lines have literally grayed. She licks my hand enthusiastically when I call her name. Sadie, in the run next to Belle, is eleven. Her large frame is covered almost entirely in white, which camouflages the creeping up of time. She acknowledges my presence but seems disinterested in getting to know me better. She is a typical pointer.
In a pen across the way, three quail reside with some chickens and a few pigeons. Two roosters and one hen stand still on top of an elevated brace. Nancy and I hear the roosters many mornings during the spring. Nancy whistles back until we walk out of earshot. I wonder if their calls excite Belle and Sadie. I wonder if they remember days gone by when they roamed from plum thicket to creek bottom in search of quail. I wonder if they reminisce through the chain link fence. I wonder if they can imagine the sound of a shotgun and the smell of gunpowder. If they are anything like their owners, they smile within when the memories surface.
That was then and this is now. They may never hunt again. However, thanks to a very good master, they have everything they need in order to enjoy every day. Their water remains fresh and their food remains plentiful. They have clean pens and waterproof houses. Life has changed, but, thanks to a very good master, they still enjoy every day.
There comes a time in life when all of us can no longer do what we used to do. We spend more time sharing memories than making them. The older some people get, the better they were. Life changes; yet, thanks to our faithful, wonderful, heavenly Father, it remains a life of blessing. He continues to provide all that we need because He loves us so.
His love endures forever, Earl
LifeGroup Attendance on October 20 – 565
Membership Matters Class – Sunday, October 27 at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor
GriefShare – Sunday, October 27 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
FALL CARNIVAL – Sunday, October 27 in the FLC from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Chicken Fried Steak