Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 31, 2012

"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ," II Peter 1:1a

What Peter describes as his role, a “slave” of Jesus Christ, is also your role and it is my role. But just exactly does that mean?
It means to surrender to Him! Offer yourself with all your hopes and ambitions.
Billy Graham tells the story about a little child who was playing with a very valuable vase. He put his hand into it and could not withdraw it. His father too, tried his best to get it out, to no avail. They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, “Now my son, make one more try. Open your hand and hold your fingers out straight as you see me doing, and then pull.” To their astonishment the little fellow said, “O no, dad, I couldn’t put my fingers out like that because if I did I would drop my dime.”
 It means to serve Him! Offer to do His will.
When Joseph Ton was a pastor in Romania he was arrested by the secret police for publishing a sermon calling for the churches to refuse to submit to the Communist government’s demand for control over their ministries. When an official told him he must renounce his sermon, he replied, "No, sir! I won’t do that!"

The official, surprised that anyone would respond so forcefully to the secret police, said, "Aren’t you aware that I can use force against you?"

"Sir, let me explain that to you," Ton said. "You see, your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying. . . . You know that my sermons are spread all over the country on tapes. When you kill me, I only sprinkle them with my blood. They will speak 10 times louder after that, because everybody will say, ’That preacher meant it because he sealed it with his blood.’ So go on, sir, kill me. When you kill me, I win the supreme victory." The secret police released him, knowing his martyrdom would be far more of a problem than his sermon
It means to satisfy Him. Obey Him in love.
I recently did a wedding. During the wedding rehearsal, the groom pulled me aside and made me an offer.

He said "Look, I’ll give you $100 if you’ll change the wedding vows. When you get to me and the part where I’m to promise to ’love, honor and obey,’ I would appreciate it if you’d just leave that part out." He gave me a $100 bill and walked away.

The day of the wedding the bride and groom were in front of me and we were to that part of the ceremony where the vows are exchanged. When it came time for the groom’s vows, I looked at the young man and said "Will you promise to bow down before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?"

The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, "Yes." Then He leaned in and asked “what happened I thought we had a deal."

So I gave him his 100 dollars back and told him that she had made a better offer.

Are you choosing to be obedient to God or are you looking  for a better deal?
HERE’S A BETTER DEAL:  Give Yourself To God As A Slave And He Makes You A Son!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 30, 2012

"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ" II Peter 1:1

Not only does Peter identify himself as a "servant of Jesus Christ" - which IS significant - but notice that he signs in using two names, "Simon Peter".
In the Jewish culture names were significant. Unlike today when children are often named after a sports celebrity or entertainment star, in those days the name was given according to some prominent characteristic of the child.
You may remember that when he dropped his nets and left his boats to begin following Jesus he was known by the name "Simon". The name "Simon" means "shifting sand". If you know very much about Peter you will understand why that name was appropriate.
When he identifies himself by his given name he is acknowledging the way he was when he began to follow Jesus. He was weak and inconsistent in his new found faith. One moment he would get it right and the next moment he would be fall flat on his face.
Maybe you can relate to that. I sure can!
But Simon received a name change. Here is how it happened:
But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." Matthew 16:15-18
When Peter began to understand Who Jesus really was, it began a dramatic change in his life and Jesus recognizing that change marked it in a pretty big way - He changed Simon's name to "Peter". "Peter" means "rock". So you could say, his name changed from "Sandy" to "Rocky". As you recall that a name reflects the character or nature of a person you see what a significant change that was!
Let me mention a couple of significant insights about Jesus in this story. First, Jesus sees your potential long before you do! Peter was far from being a rock when Jesus changed his name to "Rock". Second, Jesus patiently empowers you until you become the "rock" He knows you can be! Jesus believed in Peter when Peter doubted himself. Even when Peter betrayed Jesus, Jesus never doubted Peter. And sure enough, Peter become not only a rock but he became a foundation upon which the Church was built! Once he got his eye on the prize, everything changed!
It may seem like a small or even insignificant that the Great Apostle opens his second letter with the
moniker "Simon Peter". But since the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit, EVERYHING is significant and the significance of using both names was to glorify God by recognizing His transfomational power!
Like Peter, you may be a believer in transition. You may be changing from shifting sand to a rock. I want to encourage you to keep your eye on the prize. I want to remind you that God believes in your potential even more than you do and He promised you an new name:
"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.  The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches."  Revelation 3:11-13
Hang tough, Rocky! Keep your eye on the Prize!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 29, 2012

"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ......" II Peter 1: 1a

If you were to begin listing the names of the great godly men of the Bible, Peter would be somewhere on that list. He one was of the first to drop his nets and follow Jesus as a disciple and became one of the "inner circle" with James and John. Along with those two, Peter got to be on the Mount of Transfiguration to experience that amazing event!
He was the one who God used to launch the Church on the Day of Pentecost. After he preached his simple sermon in the power of the Holy Spirit 3,000 were saved and added to the Church.
Peter became an important leader in the early Church, helping it to be established on a solid foundation.
There were several ways Peter could have introduced himself in this letter, but he chose to refer to himself as a "servant"of Jesus Christ.
The word for "servant" is the same word used for "slave". But while the word is the same the idea is significantly different.
A slave was bought against his will by his master and became the property of that master. That master had the power of life or death over his slave. Slaves were often worked hard and poorly treated. A slave had no rights. Being a slave brought shame upon a person.
Unlike a slave, Peter was not a servant against his will. He surrendered to His Lord, giving up his rights and his ambitions to humbly do whatever his Lord desired. Peter did not do this with shame but great joy! He served because he loved it! He served because he loved others! But mostly He served because He loved God! That is what you do for Someone Whom you love! You serve!
So, here is a great man of God who had walked along side the Master and was transformed, just as Christ had promised, from a fisherman to a fisher of men. And how does he identify himself?
"Peter, a servant of Christ."
How do you identify yourself?
Who do you love?
Who are you serving?

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 28, 2012

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
Barbara and I just returned from watching the Dinesh D'souza movie "2016, Obama's America". If it is at a theater near you I recommend you see it.
One of the things that resonated with me is D'souza's idea why some America's dislike their country. He mentions that rather than measure America against other nations less free and less prosperous, they choose to measure America against her highest ideals. When you measure social evils such as slavery or racism against our ideals of freedom and equality then America "falls short of the glory" of Her Founders.
In reflecting on that thought, I could see how it has resulted in a degree of guilt and self-loathing that seems to haunt many on the liberal side of the political spectrum. And when you think that many of them have discounted the existence of God, how do they deal with the guilt from a nation that has fallen short of its ideals? When you fall short of your own high ideals, where do you go to get forgiveness?
Do you lower the ideals? Some have.
Do you work hard to give extra rights and advantages to the vicitims of injustice? Some do.
Do you make laws and enact policies to level the playing field and make life fair? Some do.
D'souza identifies this guilt and self-loathing as one of the factors contributing to an environment where a relatively unknown and inexperienced Senator from Illinois could get elected to the Presidency of the United States.
Contrast that to Paul's counsel to the Roman Christians. His worldview, the Christian worldview, believes God is the Creator, the Law-giver and the Judge of the universe. His standard and ideal is holiness. Since every one of us are sinners by nature, everyone of us have fallen short of that high ideal. But that is where the big advantage comes for Christians! Since God set the standards He can also provide forgiveness for those who have fallen short of the standard. That forgiveness was provided by the death of Christ on the Cross!
You don't have to labor under the frustration of reaching impossible standards nor do you have to live under the self-loathing that results from guilt. Another verse from Romans says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 6:23.
You can love a perfect God, you can love a less than perfect you, and you can love a not so perfect America!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 27, 2012

"Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob." Psalm 24:3-6

Holiness begins when we become new creations! It is good to acknowledge God as Creator but it is not enough. You must become a new creation through personal faith in Jesus Christ! That involves having a changed heart and a transformed mind. God recreates you from the inside out. Once you wrap your head around His wonder you must wrap your heart around His will. Holiness is when His will becomes your will.
II Corinthians 5:17 – "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! "
Paul talks about that in these Scriptures:

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” I Thessalonians 4:1-8

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” I Thessalonians 5:23-24

The Psalmist expresses holiness in this way:

“clean hands” – Forgiveness from sins through trusting the provision of Christ on the cross.

“pure heart” – Cleansing of the sinful nature through the blood of Christ.

“no idols” – Your will fully surrendered to God as the first love of your life.

“loves truth” – Obedient to God's will as expressed in His Word.

“seeks God” – Hungry for relationship with God and eager to serve Him.

Only holy people get to know a Holy God. To be holy means being wrapped up in God. Wrap your mind around His wonder and wrap your heart around His will.

What are you wrapped up in?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 26, 2012

"The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.  Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul." Psalm 103:19-22 
You can have all of God's benefits - FOREVER - because God's assets of mercy, love and grace are UNLIMITED!
David states that premise and then supports it with proof!
So, what is God's preferred and desired response from His people?
THE PRAISE, Vv. 19-22 – “Praise God that all His benefits are guaranteed”!

A little boy came to the Washington Monument and noticed a guard standing by it. The little boy looked up at the guard and said, "I want to buy it." The guard stooped down: "How much do you have?" The boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter. The guard said, "That's not enough." The boy replied, "I thought you would say that." So he pulled out nine cents more. The guard looked down at the boy: "You need to understand three things. First, thirty-four cents is not enough. In fact, $34 million is not enough to buy the Washington Monument. Second, the Washington Monument is not for sale. And third, if you are an American citizen, the Washington Monument already belongs to you."

We need to understand three things about God’s mercy. First, we cannot earn it. Second, it is not for sale. And third, if we are in Christ, we already have it.

So, how do you respond to such great compassion and mercy?

REPENT – Vv. 11, 13, 17 – “FEAR HIM”

Are there unconfessed sins in your life that keep you from praising?

RECEIVE – Vv. 18, 19

Like the Washington Monument – ALL GOD’S BENEFITS ARE YOURS!

REJOICE – Vv. 20 – 22

Christian writer and commentator Warren Wiersbe, tells about a town where a horse bolted and ran away with a wagon carrying a little boy. Seeing the child in danger, a young man risked his life to catch the horse and stop the wagon. The child who was saved grew up to become a lawless man, and one day he stood before a judge to be sentenced for a serious crime. The prisoner recognized the judge as the man who, years before had saved his life; so he pled for mercy on the basis of that experience. But the words from the bench silenced his plea: "Young man, then I was your savior; today I am your judge, and I must sentence you to be hanged." One day Jesus Christ will say to rebellious sinners, "During that long day of grace, I was the Savior, and I would have forgiven you. But today I am your Judge."

If you are enjoying His benefits and are fully aware of His mercy, why would you not be rejoicing?

You can rejoice in His mercy now – As Your Savior     


You can receive His justice later – As Your Judge

August 25, 2012

"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,  5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;  10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children 18 with those who keep his covenant  and remember to obey his precepts. 19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding,  who obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul."  Psalm 103:6-22 

Any company that offers financial services or insurance benefits is required to prove that is has sufficient assets to cover the benefit claims for its clients.

In the first five verses of Psalm 103, the Psalmist lauds the benefits of those who love God and admonishes us to remember those benefits and praise Him. I the remainder of this Psalm he gives proof that God's assets are more than sufficient to deliver His benefits!
THE PROOF, VV. 8-16 – “God’s response to us is one of mercy…..”
     First: “compassionate, or tender” - The word is related to the Hebrew for womb, thus relating God’s kindness to a maternal care. Whereas grace and mercy are the common terms we use to describe what God does, this term gives us a glimpse into his heart for us.
What flows out from compassion is then grace. This term speaks of a favor or kindness that is unmerited. Rather than mechanical, cold terms to describe our Lord, the words depict God’s pleasure and favor falling over us. These words are at the heart of God’s forgiveness.
I read a story of a wealthy Englishman who was satisfied with only the best. So, naturally, he drove a Rolls-Royce. It was his pride and joy, but one day after years of perfect service, he hit a pothole and his rear axle broke. The car was towed to the dealership and soon repaired, but without a bill. Although his warranty had run out, there was no charge. The car was fixed perfectly, all for free. The owner called the company and inquired about the repair. The reply was, "We have absolutely no record of your Rolls-Royce axle ever breaking. There can be no charge." The dealer’s commitment to excellence would not permit a flaw to be made known. Therefore, they repaired the damage immediately and without if nothing had ever gone wrong.
     Second – “gracious” -  Grace is not deserved; it comes without charge to the one who  receives it, but it is very costly to the one who gives.
     Third – “he is patient, slow to anger” - Often in Hebrew terms are visual and pictorial. God's patience, "slow to anger" is literally: "long of nostrils", because anger is expressed in flaring the nostrils, or snorting. So here, God is long in the nostril; they do not flair quickly.
     Fourth – “he is committed to love” – We might use the word “DEVOTED”.-  Hebrew word, "hesed" refers to a kindness to which one is obligated on the basis of a relationship. There is love between me and my wife out of our marriage, and between me and my children, because they are my kids. My love does not make my kids my children; rather, my love comes because they are my children.
V. 9 – “forgiving” - How different God is from us. As long as your memory functions, you no doubt can recall many hurtful things said and done to you. If we forgive, we certainly struggle with bitterness later.
From Joni Eareckson-Tada: ‘Why do we feel so bad about our past sins? Because we confuse sin with its impression. Got a notebook nearby? Let me show you how it can be so. Write the word ‘sin’ on the top page. Press hard. Now tear of that sheet of paper, crumple it up and throw it across the room. That’s how God forgets your sin. Now take up your pencil and rub it across the new page at an angle, back and forth over the same location where you wrote. And guess what. The ghost of the word ‘sin’ appears. That’s what our flawed memories do. We go back over the deep impression left by transgressions in our life and we feel just as guilty. It’s as if the sin never left. But be encouraged, the impression of sin is not the same thing as sin…will you continue to work over forgiven sin as with a pencil? Or will you let the Holy Spirit work His lovingkindness?’
God is not the accuser; he doesn’t "endlessly nag or scold us". God doesn’t hold grudges, allowing resentment to boil over in bitterness.
V. 10 - is a great definition of mercy: "God doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve."
If grace is giving us good gifts we don’t deserve, then mercy is not treating the way we deserve because of the bad things we’ve done. So grace is giving us good gifts, and mercy is withholding judgment.
Christ’s death on the cross is the reason the Father is affectionate toward us. God does not sacrifice justice to show mercy; he does not deny his law to be gracious. But as Christ has died for your sins, you are free from the guilt and shame of that sin. Forgiveness is secured.
The degree of his mercy is great due to the great degree to which he went to secure us for himself. His forgiveness is great because his love is great, a love that gave his only Son. These should not be abstract concepts. They are clearly marked by a bloodstained cross.
The dimensions in these verses cover every facet: the height of his love, the breadth of his forgiveness and the depth of his compassion.
 V. 11 – HIGH – If you launched in spaceship how far up would  you go before running out of space.
V. 12 – LONG – “east from west” - Does God forgive and forget?
“Remove” = Not that God overlooks your sins or ignores them. He dealt decisively with them when He sent His Son to the cross.
Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. She acted as if she had never heard of the incident. "Don't you remember it?" her friend asked. "No," Miss Barton replied. "I distinctly remember forgetting it."
V. 13 – DEPTH  - “fatherly compassion” -  When it comes to our own sin, we are indeed our own worst enemy. We beat ourselves to death with how we have failed God, how we have failed ourselves, and how we fail everybody else. But God’s compassion is like that of a father, who knows us better than we know ourselves.
Many years ago, a father and his daughter were walking through the grass on the Canadian prairie. In the distance, they saw a prairie fire, and they realized that it would soon engulf them. The father knew there was only one way of escape: They would quickly begin a fire right where they were and burn a large patch of grass. When the huge fire drew near, they then would stand on the section that had already burned. When the flames did approach them, the girl was terrified but her father assured her, "The flames can't get to us. We are standing where the fire has already been." (Erwin Lutzer, Failure, The Back Door to Success)
If you are in Christ, blood has already been spilt and sin has already been atoned for where you stand.

V. 15-16 – Longer than your life and your children and your grandchildren………
V. 17 – Everlasting to everlasting!

As you praise God for His many benefits, also praise Him for His limitless assets!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 24, 2012

"The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;  for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul." Psalm 103:6-22
When you are looking for benefits such as life insurance and health insurance you want a solid company that has the financial assets to deliver what has been promised. That is why you wouldn't want to go with Rodney from Rio Linda.
In short, the benefits a company offers are only as good as the assets that back them.
The Psalmist says in Psalm 103:1-5 that we should praise the Lord because of His benefits. Last week we learned that His benefits are forgiveness, redemption and provision, among others. He offers good benefits and He has the assets to deliver on them!
One of the main assets that God offers is mercy! The Psalmist declares the mercy of God and then supports his claim with with a classic example from the Old Testament.
But verse 7 is the first glimmer of hope in the passage, giving us the answer as to how the Lord works righteousness and justice for the oppressed: "God made his ways known to Moses." That is fine, but if that is more law, we are all done for. Then in the next verse we see where this is leading us.
After the Israelites left Egypt, having survived the plagues, they walked through the Red Sea, and came to Mount Sinai where God gave Moses the Decalogue. In Exodus 32, while Moses was still on the mountain, the people rebelled, crafting a golden calf and bowing down to worship it. As Moses came down the mountain with the two stone tablets in hand, he saw their debauchery and shattered the tablets. The covenant appeared to be destroyed. God’s favor was gone. But in the ensuing chapters of Exodus it is clear that God’s mercy is not so easily broken. New tablets are chiseled out of rock and in Exodus 34, God descends to Moses in a cloud and speaks.
“5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

David, in explaining the tremendous benefits we have belonging to God, points our attention to these events, thus giving us perspective on what God’s mercy looks like. How does God handle rebellion? How can we know his forgiveness? God's forgiveness does not remove the law. God forgives and gives them the Law once again. Grace does not ignore justice; rather grace alters the place where justice will be met. That place was the Cross of Calvary!
You know you can depend on the generous benefits of God because His assets are as great as those benefits!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 23, 2012

"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name." Psalm 103:1

I don't often take personal privileges on this blog, but today is a very special day for me so I have to take time to praise the Lord.

Forty years ago today I moved into the huge parsonage next to the tiny church on Pleasant Street in Princeton, IL. I officially assumed the great privilege of becoming Pastor at Princeton Wesleyan Church.
Fresh out of Indiana Wesleyan University and all of 22 years-old I was very excited and a little scared. Looking back on it from where I sit now, I should have been A LOT scared! I am forever indebted to those patient people at PWC who put up with immaturity and crude sermons from a kid who was in over his head .
Youthful energy and idealism goes a long way toward compensating for knowledge and experience, especially when God graciously blesses the efforts! Over the next 10 years I grew significantly and the church grew significantly we were all amazed at the goodness of God!
When I think of what God did through a punk kid with a big dream and a good heart I cry, "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name."
In June, I was honored by The Wesleyan Church for my 40 years of service to that great Denomination. And in July, I was honored by the Shenandoah District of The Wesleyan Church for 40 years of service. Both were humbling, gratifying and quite sobering! It is hard to believe that it has been forty years since that August day in a beautiful little town in Northern Illinois! Most days I don't even feel 40 years old!
However, the greatest honor has been serving an amazing God by serving some incredible people in seven different churches in two states and two outstanding Districts! I have had the joy of serving with several of the most effective pastors in our Denomination!
And now, after all these years I find myself with the unbelievable privilege of leading a dynamic church in a significant city with unlimited potential! I have never been happier with the group of people I presently serve! I am a blessed man! My heart says, "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name!"

It has been such a great joy to be used in leading people to Christ, to baptize them, marry them, watch them grow in love and maturity, and to help them find the thrill of serving in ministry themselves!

"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name!"

I can't wait for the next 40 years!