Contributed on Mar 15, 2003
God gave the 10 commandments as a covenant gift to his people and he wants them written on our hearts.
In 1955, The Fraternal Order of Eagles placed monuments of the Ten Commandments in public parks, at schools, and in front of municipal buildings around the country as gifts to honor individuals and special events. The first one was donated in Milwaukee, Wis., in a public event involving the ...read more
Contributed on Mar 18, 2003
Throughout the priesthood of Aaron we learn about obedience to a holy God.
Holy Fire – Unholy Fire The tragic house fire that took the lives of three children caught the attention of many people, not only in our community, but also in places far away. My wife received a phone call from Alaska from someone wanting to help; the man said it was on national news there. He ...read more
Contributed on Mar 25, 2003
The remedy for rebellion against God is found in the one who was lifted up on the cross.
Remedy for Rebellion In the 70s, when I was studying for my Ph.D at the University of Iowa, one of the books I studied was titled Why Men Rebel (Princeton 1970). In it the author, Ted Robert Gurr, tries to explain why riots, rebellions, and civil wars occur. He cites statistics of nations ...read more
Contributed on Jun 5, 2003
Describes how Mark serves as a source of understanding and pattern for following Jesus
Last fall, we began our journey through the Bible. We started in Genesis with the creation and we traced the formation of God’s people beginning with the call of Abraham and Sarah. God gave his promise of blessing to them. Later, we heard the story of Joseph. If you know the story, ...read more
Contributed on Jun 10, 2003
Jesus teaches the disciples that the Gospel is for everyone.
Last Sunday as we shuffled Mark and Barnabas, Peter, Paul & Mary around on this stage, we learned that the book of Mark is not only an account of Jesus’ life and activity, but it is also a blueprint for the church to follow, a model for carrying out the work of the church. In Mark, you will ...read more
Contributed on Jun 24, 2003
Jesus continues to work at opening the eyes of our hearts so that we follow him on the road of obedience.
This is our third look at the book of Mark. Let’s keep in mind that Jesus is on the road to Jerusalem. We don’t have time to examine this idea in detail, but just as we talked about 6 boat rides two weeks ago, in this section you can find 6 references to Jesus on the way or on the road. (8:27, ...read more
Contributed on Jun 29, 2003
The Gospel of Mark show us that Jesus goes ahead of us in our missionary task.
Last week, I discovered that the roof fan in our attic had burned out. That meant only one thing. Someone was going to have to go up on the roof and replace it, and I knew it wouldn’t be my wife. So I went to the store and bought the fan, and began planning which tools I would use. For ...read more
Contributed on Aug 25, 2003
Urge students to do their best in the new school year
(Back to school Sunday) Last week I talked with a high school student in our neighborhood. I knew he liked to play football, so I asked him if he was going to play this fall. “No,” he said. “My grades aren’t good enough.” “But they could be, couldn’t they?” I asked. He ...read more
Contributed on Jan 29, 2004
Zaccheus’ attitude toward money completely changed when Jesus found him up a tree.
The owner of a fitness center was offering $1,000 to anyone who was stronger than he was. He would squeeze a lemon dry, and then hand the lemon to anyone who wished to challenge him. Anyone who could squeeze just one more drop out would win the money. Many strong people tried, but ...read more
Contributed on Feb 5, 2004
Disregarding God’s moral and ethical principles as David did can have disastrous consequences.
I recently saw a photo of three expensive cars encased in ice in the garage of a million-dollar house when the pipes froze while the owner was away. One of the rules for living in a cold climate is to take special precautions so your water pipes don’t freeze. Disregarding that rule can exact a ...read more
Contributed on Mar 1, 2004
God desires that we depend on Him rather than on our own skills and strength.
Sue and I had a relaxing time at the Pastor/Spouse Retreat last week. We heard an excellent speaker, experienced fine fellowship, and ate good food. In a get-acquainted exercise we were asked to answer the question, “What is one thing about you that your congregation back home doesn’t know about ...read more
Contributed on Mar 29, 2004
Because Christ has died and we have died with him, sin no longer has the power to do us in. But, if we open the door, sin can still hurt us.
During this period of time leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, we are focusing on the book of Romans. Romans is the longest, the deepest, the most penetrating explanation of what the death and resurrection of Jesus means for God’s people. So, it is fitting that we take a ...read more
Contributed on Apr 5, 2004
God works out his purposes in a world beset with sin.
Last Sunday, after church, the kids mime ministry team left immediately to give a presentation at Future Church of Tomorrow on 12th Street. As we left, the adults counted all the noses to make sure we had everybody and we formed a caravan of vehicles so we could get there without getting ...read more
Contributed on Apr 19, 2004
Romans 10 emphasizes the importance of sharing the message of hope with others
A tanner, interested in beginning a new business in a busy part of town, set up a little booth for a few days to give it a try. Using some poles he made a frame with a roof and arranged his wares inside. As a final act of decoration, he drilled a hole in one of the poles and stuck the end of a ...read more
Contributed on May 4, 2004
To understand the significance of THEREFORE in Romans 12:1, we need to connect the dots between belief and behavior.
During the past several weeks, God has impressed upon me the wonder and the joy of Christian community. Lots of good things have been happening in the life of this congregation. I know I can’t put it all together in one complete picture, but I’d like to just remind us that God is doing a ...read more
Contributed on May 10, 2004
God expects his people to welcome both the weak in faith and the strong.
One of my fond childhood experiences is that of watching my mother work in the kitchen preparing to bake cookies, cakes, or cinnamon rolls. With her apron on she would take the ingredients and mix them, sometimes with my help, and then put them into a pan or on a cookie sheet and put them into ...read more
Contributed on Jul 20, 2004
In the Bible, God seems to allow confusion about who he is to last only so long. Eventually, the issue has to be settled.
INTRO Today is the 4th of July. When I was teaching at Bluffton College, I sometimes gave a test to my students to see how well they were listening. Here are some of the questions: 1. Does England have a 4th of July? 2. How many of each animal did Moses take into the ark? 3. How many ...read more
Contributed on Aug 2, 2004
Ahab’s provides an example that greed can lead to mistreatment of others and disregard for God’s laws
One evening last week while our grandchildren were with us, Sue told our 4-year-old granddaughter to go upstairs and tell me that dinner was ready. Her 8-year-old brother overheard the conversation and ran up the stairs ahead of her to tell me. The 4-year-old, still half-way up the stairs, let out ...read more
Contributed on Aug 3, 2004
In spite of human failure, God keeps his promise alive through children, spiritual mentors and diligent workers.
Some of you are old enough to remember Jimmy and Tammy Faye Bakker and their popular PTL Club television program. Lots of Christians supported their program and many purchased life-time partnerships to fund the construction of "Heritage USA", an inspirational theme park in South Carolina. In ...read more
Contributed on Sep 13, 2004
God wants to give us a makeover with a pierced tongue, a tongue that God has changed so that it conforms to his pattern of beauty and purpose.
Some of you probably grew up with beef tongue as a part of your menu. My mother sometimes served it boiled or stewed and sometimes pickled. I read about a certain master who ordered his servant to buy the best food he could get to provide for a meal for the entertainment of his friends. The ...read more
Contributed on Sep 16, 2004
God offers us a makeover that gives us a hunched back, bowed in humble submission to him and in service to others.
One church in Cincinnati that I know of regularly sends out teams to engage in servant evangelism. Sometimes they hand out bottles of water to passersby or wash car windows in parking lots or rake lawns in the neighborhood, all of it for free. From this project and the book about it came the term ...read more
Contributed on Feb 28, 2005
Inner transformation results in outward changes.
The other day a man told me what it is like to change from life as a long-time drug user to one who is drug free. It is not just a matter of quitting the drugs, but of replacing old friends with new ones, old activities with new ones, and old thought patterns with new ones. He said that people who ...read more
Contributed on Jun 30, 2005
Hulda’s message as a prophet had an impact because she knew the word of God and had a concern for God’s people
This is our third and final message from II Chronicles. The writer chronicles the successes and failures of the kings of Judah as this little nation careens toward moral and spiritual failure and eventual extinction when Jerusalem falls and the Jews are carried off into exile. The list ...read more
Contributed on Aug 3, 2005
God is Lord of creation, Lord of our lives, and the Lord, King of glory.
These several Sundays, we are preaching from the Psalms. If you are acquainted with the Psalms you appreciate some of the tantalizing word pictures included there: • God’s commands are sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb (19) • The river of God is full of water ( 65) • Under ...read more
Contributed on Aug 22, 2005
Psalm 55 can serve as a prayer when you experience reversals in life
When the bottom falls out Psalm 55 I read of a brick layer who ended up in the hospital with extensive injuries because of a work-related accident. His insurance company wanted information about his injuries, so he attached the following explanation: In your letter, you asked for ...read more
Contributed on Oct 1, 2005
God empowers us to live ethical, holy, upright lives in a corrupt world
Making every effort toward godliness II Peter 1 Soon after Sue and I arrived here 20 years ago, we began to print a simple church directory each year, mostly so that we all had a way to connect with each other. Soon long-time members began to say they were having trouble putting names with ...read more
Contributed on Oct 5, 2005
God has called us to right living in a world that has a lot wrong with it
Last Wednesday evening, a student from ONU joined our group to do an assignment he had for a class. He was supposed to visit a church and then write a report. He found our church through our website and called us to be sure we were meeting. I’d love to read his report. Every day I’m ...read more
Contributed on Oct 10, 2005
The Bible commands us to feed the hungry and look out for the poor.
Reaching out to the Poor Proverbs 14:31 Two events in recent months have turned the attention of our nation to the issue of poverty. One was the conference of the Group of 8 nations in July, where world leaders decided to cancel the debts of the 38 poorest nations of the world to help ...read more
Contributed on Nov 9, 2005
Vision is a God thing. It has to do with finding out what God is up to in our world and then joining Him in doing it.
This is our 4th and final message from Proverbs. Behind each of the sayings in this book is a vision of a community committed to living God’s way. This ideal community contradicts the foolish, immoral tendencies of the world, encouraging us to live productively and harmoniously to carry out the ...read more
Contributed on Nov 22, 2005
God may not be asking you to change your occupation, but he wants to be sure you understand your vocation.
Last Wednesday a man in his late 30s called to talk about changing his career. He is a devout Christian, strongly committed to his family, and very active in his church. A couple of years ago he spoke with his pastor about it, but he didn’t feel the urgency then that he feels now. He is ...read more