I wish I was young enough to get this tattooed on my arm

 

Here's a sermon question.
Great question from the sermon this weekend at Ada Bible Church.



This is the second time it's happened to me after hearing a sermon at church--Ada Bible Church.  It would be too easy to nod my head in assent at what Pastor Jeff Manion taught, talk about it with my wife on the way home and then get involved during the week in projects around home.  My heart is saying "don't forget this" and "work to make this part of my life."

 

The sermon was part seven of a series from Colossians with the title "The New You."  Part of me says I'm way too old for a new me.  Then I feel my chest on the left side and find that my heart is still beating.  Nope, I'm not done yet.  I'm still alive.  Jesus says there can still be a new me in the spiritual sense.

The teaching was based on Colossians 3:12-14 and it involves the way that Christians interact with each other and with non-Christians.  Others have irritated and frustrated me and I know I've been the same way towards them.  How do you escape that?  I've tried on my own and the results have been less than mixed.

According to the text for the sermon, I am to adopt in my heart compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience in my interactions with others.  Doing this requires power from the Holy Spirit.  

But, I need a constant reminder.  That's where the tattoo comes in.  If I was in my twenties, I'd consider having these five attributes put on my arm, so I could always see them.  Then when I'm in the restaurant with my wife and the waitress is really show, I'd be able to quickly look on my arm.

There was one other sermon where I felt the same tattoo urge.  It was from the first few verses of Ephesians about our identity in Christ.  The pastor reduced it to a few words, Remember Who You Are.  I am an adopted son of God.  My identity doesn't come from the one who threw me off the train, but the one who picked me up.

I look forward to this week.

 

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Should a pastor be happy that you and your wife sat on the couch for half a hour talking about their sermon?

Our church--Ada Bible Church--lives streams its services.  So my wife and I decided to attend church virtually tonight and then go in person tomorrow on Sunday.  I used my iPhone to play the service on our television where we saw and participated in the whole service, including a sermon by Pastor Aaron Buer.

He taught on Psalm 34, a reaction by David being chased by King Saul and how David deal with the intensity of the stress from that and how it applies to us.

 

Pastor Aaron Buer
Pastor Aaron Buer of Ada Bible Church

King Saul was jealous of David and wanted to see him dead.  David was being chased and he had to hide.  His life hung on his ability to say one step ahead of Saul.  The young shepherd and future king had a target on his back.  So how did he react?  And how does it apply to our lives?

The sermon centered around answering that question and the challenge of dealing with the unfairness of life.

He pointed to verse 4 where David said:

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;

he delivered me from all my fears.

Then he covered two other points in the Psalm about how we take "shelter" in the Lord and how we pursue peace and don't speak or do evil.

My notes have holes which I will fill in tomorrow.

But I asked my wife about how well the message provided and explained tools from that passage.  Did it cross the boundary from being a bromide and cliche to a real life tool that you can pick up and use?

This is not a criticism of the message or the pastor, but an anecdote about how two people listened and tried to personalize what was taught.

 

My sermon notes.
These are notes from today's sermon as I took them in my Bible.

 

 


Franklin Graham comes short of filling his dad's--Billy Graham--very big shoes

I grew up watching Billy Graham.  When I was a kid and one of his Crusades came on in the evening everything would stop.  My mom and I would both watch it.

He had her respect and he had mine along with most of the world and its leaders.

What about his son Franklin Graham who has apparently said that Donald Trump is a better choice than Mrs. Clinton?  Hmm . . .

He needs to get away and take sometime alone with God and reexamine his think.

Any reaction?

 


The Issue: Does grace give us a license to rewrite what God wants us to do and not do?

 

Ada Bible Church Pastor Aaron Buer teaches about the Bible's book of Jude.
Pastor Aaron Buer of Ada Bible Church closes two-part series on the Bible's book of Jude

 

 We talked about this weekend's teaching at Ada Bible Church while eating supper last night at a Subway near Ada and then talked about it this morning after eating breakfast.  

My wife and I have been talking about the teaching from the Bible's book of Jude in the New Testament.  It's just one chapter and barely over twenty verses.  We've been talking about the "so-what" of the sermon.  Why is it important to us living in the heart of contemporary United States and at this stage of our lives?

Jude was writing about people in the early church who believed in Jesus as their savior and then took that as a license to sin, the things that God says we should not do.  The logic is that "hey, I'm already forgiven.  Why not?"  Any of that sound familiar?  Personally, it does to me.  Have I used that as an excuse to sin?  Have I been affected by other believers who use that as an excuse to turn away from God's will?  Yes, I have.

I want to retain what I learn in church.  I want to keep what I've learned the past two weekends from Jude.  I've learned that I can't just go listen to the teaching, take a few notes, walk out and expect to gain much.  I need to run it through my brain and my heart more than once.  

I hope to pass on this challenge to my kids and grandkids about processing sermons and making them a part of their lives.  This is a start, maybe a re-start.

 

These are the verses from Jude that Aaron Buer taught from.
These are the verses from Jude in this weekend's sermon at Ada Bible Church.

 

 

 

Andy Ferris leads worship at Ada Bible Church.
Worship last night at Ada Bible Church pointed to Jesus as the one true thing.

 

 


The source of our problems in the United States is the devil, according to old newscaster Paul Harvey in 1965

If you're an older baby-boomer, more than likely you remember Paul Harvey who brought the news on radio everyday.  Growing up in Bay City, I grew up listening to his reporting.  As the years passed, he added his observations.

Check this newscast from 1965 where he talks about if he was the devil and how that would affect the choices he would make for turning this country upside down.

What about it? Is the problem the politicians or is it the devil?  How do you deal with getting rid of the devil?  That's not a mystery, is it?


I will be thinking of my grade school principal this morning when I'm singing Christmas Carols in church

 

My grade school principal.
He was my grade school principal for two years.

 

 My mom said that when I was little that I loved to sing, especially in church.  I don't remember that.

I do remember being in seventh grade at Immanuel School in Bay City, Michigan and being called before the class to sing by myself to try out for a school choir.  My teacher was Principal Victor A. Drogemueller who led the choir and who played the organ at the church.  

He had great musical gifts and I didn't have any other than knowing how to turn on a radio and a 45 rpm record player.  And, at home, I occasionally saw Perry Como on tv at my aunt and uncle's house.  However, I was intimidated by people who could sing and play instruments.

When my name was called in class, I froze big time.  With all the bluntness of a drill sergeant, he demanded that I continue and I botched it big time.  He frowned and shook his head is disdain.  I've never liked singing since then.

At church today, I know they will be singing some Christmas Carols.  Can I do it?  If I do, it will be in honor of "Vic" as a few people would refer to him.  


A Fort Apache Playset, Mt. Olive Lutheran School in Bay City, a Christmas program in 1954 and John 3:16

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It was a Christmas program at a small Wisconsin Synod Church on the westside of Bay City, Michigan and I had one verse to say.  My mother helped me learn John 3:16.  I shared it that night in the dimly lit Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and never forgot it.  I was eight years old and that verse has been firmly in my memory ever since.

As I get a whole lot older and I wake in the middle of the night, the verse comes to my mind.  I've taken it apart in my head hundreds of time.  I think about each word and what it means.  

I mention this because we are in the Christmas season and there's so little mention of Jesus.  Fewer and fewer people know or seem interested in Jesus and why he came to earth.  As our culture struggles and as the world vibrates with conflict and dissension, Jesus seems to have disappeared.  

He's still there.  I see that in John 3:16.  That Christmas program was probably one of the most important nights of my life.

And when my mother and I got home, I found a Fort Apache Playset under the Christmas tree.  It was all set up.  I loved it.  But, I never figured out how or who set it up.  My mom never told me.  Maybe, it was our dog Chummy.

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I really need to take time to absorb what I learned this weekend at Ada Bible Church

I  have to regularly take time to absorb the reality of what Pastor Jeff Manion of Ada Bible Church is talking about in this clip from last weekend's sermon where he recounts the story of Zacchaeus from the Bible.  I've heard the story many, many times and I've seen in my mind a short guy who claimed a tree to see Jesus walking through his town.  

This story, he said, is an important reminder that Jesus sees each one of us, knows each one of us and wants each one of us.  All we have to do is say he can have us.

This is pure gold as a reminder of a truth that's far too easy to gloss over and put to the side.  I've done it.  With God's help and with YouTube, I'll have this video reminder.

 

 


How would I react if I saw Jesus enjoying a cup of coffee with my errant dad at our local Biggby's?

Sermon about discipleship.
Our pastor--Jeff Manion of Ada Bible Church--raised some serious questions in his sermon yesterday about what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus versus a student.

If you don't believe in Jesus, then you might want to skip reading this.  All my life I've heard about the disciples of Jesus and about how their lives were dramatically turned upside down by answering the call to become like him.  

Then during the past two plus months, we've had sermons on what it looks like in everyday 2015 life to be a disciple of Jesus.  I'm still processing what was said and trying to match that up with what needs to be changed in my everyday life.

The last sermon is the series was yesterday and I was causing along with the content until Pastor Jeff Manion posed the scenario where I would meet Jesus at a local coffee shop.  He further framed the story with the proposition that while you're entering the coffeeshop, you see Jesus sitting down at the table with somebody who had deeply wounded you.  And before you went to his table, you saw them laughing and enjoying each other's company.

Our pastor then took the story from Luke 5:30 where Jesus had just invited Matthew, the tax collector, to be his disciple who then threw a party with the local scumbag political set.  The Pharisees criticized Jesus for feating with such people.  Jesus responded about how it was the sick who needed a doctor and not the healthy.

Then my thoughts went back to me seeing Jesus in the coffeeshop yucking it up with the person who's number one on my "Do Not Like" list.

How do I feel about that?  I'm still processing it.  I know he's gives me the power and I just have to grab it.  

I will be noodling this around during the week.  Can anybody identify with this?


I remember my first visit to Paris ten years ago.

 

Posing by the Arc de Triomphe.
Paris is one of the most dynamic and historic cities that I've ever visited.


We were only in Paris overnight, but I remember being impressed by a unique sense of world history.  I was part of a mission team that was flying home from Mali in West Africa where we had been working on a school construction project.

 

I saw enough to know that I'd like to spend more time there to see the places where some of the key events in world history took place.  Our taste for the city was whetted by touring the Lourve and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

That's why I was transfixed to watching the news reports of the tragic events in the city.  It was a frontal attack by terrorists on one of the main stages for the world.  It was hard to concentrate and it was a reminder of what happened in this country on 9-11.

My heart goes out to the people of Paris and to the people of the world as we transition to a new dynamic for settling conflicts.


Have you ever live-tweeted a sermon at your church?

I wonder how many people live-tweet a sermon on any given weekend.  I did it yesterday as Aaron Buer, pastor of senior high students, gave an outstanding teaching on "kindness."  

Our church--Ada Bible Church, a couple of miles east of Grand Rapids, is going through the fruits of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5.  These are character traits given to believers and developed by the Holy Spirit.  

On the screens in the auditorium where announcements are given before the service, there was the invitation to join the conversation about the sermon using the hashtag #superpowers.  So, I did.  Here's the results.  It's my first effort, but I think I got the main ideas.

It was a great sermon, by the way.

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#2

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We couldn't resist going back to church--Ada Bible Church--this morning

Ada Bible Church worship leader Andy Ferris introduces new song this morning.
Andy Ferris leads the worship part of the service at our church this morning.

Right now, we have the Ada Bible Church worship service in our living room through  its live streamed service.  We went to the service last night and we were excited about having the service in our living room this morning.

The sermon will about to begin.  It's start of a new series--Movement.  Text for today's teaching is Acts 11: 19-21.  I need to hear it one more time.  


The "Giving Tables" were up last night at Ada Bible Church

When we walked into church--Ada Bible Church--we were greeted by "Giving Tables" where we show our support for people and groups in need of support.  Last night, it was a crisis pregnancy center and church members scheduled to go on mission trips.

The tables are filled with stickers listing items to be purchased.  These range from disposable diapers to strollers.  

Individuals then purchase them, attach the sticker and then bring them back to church the next Sunday.  

Sign for the "Giving Tables" at Ada Bible Church in west Michigan.
The tables seem to go up every few months.

 

Stickers from the "Giving Tables" at Ada Bible Church.
This is a sampling of the stickers with items to be purchased.

 


Watch this short film clip from Ada Bible Church sermon about five of the last days of Jesus

 

Jeff mansion teaching about Jesus.
This is a screen grab of Ada's Facebook page.

 It's lunch time and I'm taking a few minutes to meditate and center my heart on what Jesus did and experienced as he entered Jerusalem to be crucified.  This clip of the sermon is on the Ada Bible Church Facebook page.  I've heard many of these stories before many times, but I've become numbed out to them.  I pray that God will open my heart and let me soak all this in, so I can get to know him better.

Link to today's Ada Bible Church Beyond The Weekend devotion based on the sermon.


How far can I move the needle in my relationship with Jesus during Lent this year?

 I invite you to watch the sermon which is about 15 minutes into this video.

 

For much of my life, I went to Lenten services on Wednesday nights which were usually preceded by a church supper.  Then we'd go to the service which was very liturgical and which centered on some aspect of Jesus' final week before the crucifixion and resurrection.

Most sermons I heard about this important time in history and in everybody's spiritual life were delivered in a seminary style using big theological word.  For me, they didn't seem to dig deep into my heart that was formed in a place called Banks in Bay City, Michigan.  

Right now, we are attending Ada (Michigan) Bible Church where Pastor Jeff Manion has a strong Gospel orientation, but has the teaching ability to make the Bible more understandable and relevant.

Yesterday, he started a sermon series on the Five Days of Jesus as he approaches Jerusalem, gets there and then deals with the brutality of his crucifixion.

My prayer is to make space for the Holy Spirit to pound this deep in my heart and to encourage others to take the same journey with me.


Check out the cops in Lowell, Michigan where super-wife and I are looking at houses

 My wife and I were just in this town--Lowell, Michigan--yesterday for lunch at to continue our quest to find a house near our church in Ada.  

We have reached the point in our life where the nest has been empty for awhile and while having four bedrooms for the two of us can be fun, we really don't need the space.  Lowell seems like a really nice small town and it's within 15 minutes.

The cops in this video seem to have a real attitude and it's incredibly positive.  Do their actions here reflect their everyday demeanor or is this an exception?

 


This weekend: Spending time with Samuel of the Bible and virtual playtime with my grandson

When was the last time you read about Samuel, the prophet and judge in the Bible?  Last night at church we finished a six week series of sermons about this person who was instrumental in the history of Israel.

What has surprised me is how relevant Samuel's life is to life today.  It has prompted me to work on recalibrating and refocusing my spiritual life to make "faithfulness" to God my goal.  It has a high falutin sound, but, in actuality, the book of Samuel shows that it touches everything.   With God's help, I'm trying to retool.  Here's the last part of the series presented last night at Ada Bible Church by Pastor Jeff Manion.

Super-grandma and I had a virtual playtime tonight with our four-month old grandson who lives with my son and his wife in St. Louis.  We had fun as we talked with him and he talked to us.  We saw their dog give him a big smooch and look at us with a laser focus.  

Apple's FaceTime is worth it's weight in gold for long distance grandparents.  We love it.  For our two other grandchildren who live overseas, we have similar visits.

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When we visited with our son and wife and grandson tonight, we used FaceTime.

Too bad going to church on Sunday doesn't resemble going into an Apple store on its Grand Opening

Tonight before my head gets settled into my pillow, my wife will ask me what was the best part of my day.  Today, I'd have to answer that it was going to the Grand Opening of an Apple Store in our town.

I got to thinking about how the two experiences compare.  Going into the Apple Store there were 20-30 employees hollering and cheering for customers as they walked into the store.  They looked you in the eyes as you passed through their gauntlet and they smiled big to welcome you.

It was a nonstop welcome experience as we walked through the store.  Now what about church.

What if people in church had a welcoming line like the one in the Apple Store?  What if they really made you feel welcomed?  Would that make a difference?  Check this video I made as we crossed the threshhold of the store.

 


My notes from last night's sermon at Ada Bible Church on 1 Corinthians 8

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Pastor Jeff Manion delivering his sermon on 1 Corinthians 8.

I know that I need to get God's Word deeper in my heart to make it part of me and my daily life.  And I need the Holy Spirit's help with that.  Sermons play a role in that.  That's why my wife and I went through the sermon text at lunch yesterday and drafted a list of questions that might be covered.

Then we carefully took notes when we heard it.  We looked for principles based on the text and for application to our everyday life.  Did I find it relevant?  Yes.  I felt more convicted than I would like to admit.

It was from 1 Corinthians 8.  This is one of the chapters where the Apostle Paul addresses the controversy about eating meat offered to idols.  At first, it was hard to see the application for today.  But looking at it as an example of how to settle conflicts, it made sense.  

Here's the text and here's a link to the live stream of the service and here's my notes:

#2 Normal Like Me Notes from Ada Bible Church

  1.  Intro was a question about what kind of grills people in the service grilled on, charcoal, propane or a pile of wood.
  2. In the Corinthian church, the question of what grilled stuff you can eat was about to tear the church apart.
  3. He gave short profile of the city of Corinth.  There were all kinds of gods who had their own temples.  Animals would be sacrificed.  Priests would sell the excess meat.
  4. Sounds like the priests had their own meat shops where they sold the excess.
  5. The challenge:  Should Christ believers eat meat offered to false gods?
  6. (At this point, the question is what does this have to do with me?  Is this food story?  Something else?)
  7. The church in that city turned to the Apostle Paul to resolve that question.
  8. APPLICATION:  In this story, Paul gives important lesson about handling conflict.
  9. In conflicts, Jeff said, the operative question is what’s helpful.
  10. THE CORINTHIAN QUESTION:  4 So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God.
  11. An idol is nothing
  12. THOSE WHO SAID DON’T EAT:  7 However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated.
  13. Because idols are nothing, Christian’s have the freedom to eat the meat.
  14. However, some people have hyper-sensitive consciences; we need to be careful about how we use our rights to eat the meat.  9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.
  15. I need to be careful that I don’t derail the faith of others by what I do.
  16. Those who eat the meat offered to idols have the knowledge that it’s okay to do, but they should use love with those who don’t feel that freedom.
  17. Paul’s thought:  What helps somebody spiritually is more important than what he eats.
  18. APPLICATION:  WHAT’S HELPFUL?
  19. Example:  Two siblings fighting over a dresser left by a parent with each claiming that their mother promised it to them.  What to do?  
  20. Fights over dresser type arguments can linger for years, decades.
  21. Question should not be whose right, but what is helpful?
  22. He pointed to Ephesians 4:29: 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
  23. He gave another example about a big argument between his grandparents who argued over a roll of nickels left in their Nevada hotel room.  The money was to be used in the hotel casino.
  24. His grandma wanted nothing to do with money that had been given by the casino to be used for gambling.  His grandfather vehemently disagreed.
  25. What would have been the right thing to do?