growing in every season

January 14, 2020

Back in the 1960’s there was a song performed by a group known as the Byrds.  The name of that song was, Turn, Turn, Turn.  The words of that song are from Ecclesiastes 3.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

We are all familiar with the seasons of our planet.  There is spring, summer, winter and fall.  In spring we see new growth.  The leaves on the trees begin to show.  Flower bulbs begin to peek through the ground.  It is a season of growth.

Then we flow into our wonderful summer.  Summer is a time of growth also.  The flowers begin to bloom.  Our vegetable gardens begin to produce the tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, etc.

Then comes the fall.  This is the time of transition.  The leaves on the trees produce their beautiful colors. However pretty, it is the signal of death for those leaves and they begin to fall.  Flowers begin to fade, and our vegetable gardens cease to produce their fruits.  

Then comes what most people do not like. It is the season of winter.  The leaves and flowers are gone.  The days seem dark and dreary.  It seems like a season of death and inactivity.

Believe it or not fall and winter are still seasons of growth.  It is in the fall when most plants produce their seeds for reproduction.  My zinnias and my marigolds are covered with what looks like dead blooms.  They are actually seed- heads.  Those seeds will drop to the ground during the cold winter days and be next year’s flowers.  Those seeds provide food for hungry winter birds.

My flowering trees, though void of leaves or flowers, are covered with dried fruits and berries.  I see many birds eating the shriveled up crabapples or berries.

And yes, winter is even a time of growth.  Though not visible to the human eye, there is growth taking place below the ground.  The tree and shrub roots continue to spread out absorbing the soils nutrients for the new growth in the spring.

We can also relate these seasons in nature to our lives.  We love when things are fresh, new and exciting.  It is easy to see our growth when all things are new.  

Summer in our lives seems like the best time.  We see our growth.  We are producing fruit in our lives.  Though things in our lives are not always new and exciting as spring, the summer times in our lives are when things seem established, predictable and routine.

Then here comes the fall season in our lives. The season of change or transition.  Things that seemed to be routine and predictable are starting to become mundane and old.  This is the season when we feel like we are not producing what we want to see in our lives.  God seems to be shaking things up.

Like in nature, this is not the time to stop and die, it is the time to produce seeds for the next burst of growth in our lives.  This is the time to sow like never before.  Sow your time, talents and tithes.  It is also a time to look for opportunities to help someone else grow.  Sow your time, talent and tithes into your church.  

When the winter seasons come in our lives, things seem dead and dry.  This is not the time to withdraw but go forward.  Start to build a stronger foundation in your life.  Continue to pray; dig deep into the Word of God; be faithful going to church to hear the Word of God which will cause growth for your faith.  

It is during, what seems like a dry and stagnant season, your spirit man grows by hearing of the Word of God.  You may not see growth, but you are growing below the surface; below what your natural senses can see or feel.

Winter seasons are also often times of challenge, test and trial.  But that is all they are: times of challenges, test and trial.  James 1:2 tells us to count these times with all joy.  Why? Because they are producing what is necessary for great growth:  patience.

Just always remember, seasons come and go.  Seasons change.  Recognize that there will be seasons in all our lives and in every season there will be growth.

- Pastor Jim

got faith?

january 22, 2020

In Mark 4:35-41 there is a great story about the disciples being in a terrible storm in their boat.  It states in vs. 37 that the waves were so fierce that their boat began to fill with water.  While this was going on Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat.

Vs. 38 says that the terrified disciples woke Jesus up and said, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”.

The Message Bible interpretation says, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”

Jesus then arose and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, “Peace be still.  And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”

Jesus then said to His disciples, “Why are you so fearful?  How is it that you have no faith?”

Some may interpret this as Jesus saying that the disciples did not have enough faith in their power to rebuke the storm. However, I see it as them having no faith in what Jesus said.

In Mark 4:35 “And the same day, when the even was come, Jesus said unto them, let us pass over unto the other side.”

The Lord, the Son of God, said: “Let us pass over unto the other side.”  Jesus essentially said, “We are going to the other side.”

In so many places of the Bible, Jesus said to believe in His word.

Did the disciples lack faith because they did not have faith in their power to rebuke the storm?  They did not have faith in what Jesus told them.  We are going over to the other side.

How could Jesus remain asleep in the storm? Jesus said that He did nothing except what the Father told Him to do.  So the Father told Jesus go to the other side and Jesus believed that what the Father said would be accomplished no matter what the devil did to try to stop Him.

Look what the Father was sending Jesus to do on the other side.  In Mark 5 Jesus cast the devils out of the madman of Gadera.  That man, freed from the demonic possession, wanted to follow Jesus but look what Jesus told him to do.

Mark 5:19 “…Go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord has done for you and have compassion on them.”

The whole region was evangelized by this man who was delivered by Jesus.  Imagine if Jesus did not believe what the Father said and turned back out of fear due to the storm.  Jesus had the faith to believe what the Father said despite everything the devil threw at Him.

The faith God wants to see in all of us, is the faith to believe what the Word of God says.  

Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto  I sent it.”

Do you believe what God says in His word about you and your situation despite the challenges, tests and trials?

Do you believe in the promises and blessings that God says are yours in the Word of God?

When you are in the storms of life, Jesus is with you.  Will you have faith in what God has said in His Word or will Jesus say to you, “why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

In other words, why are you afraid; don’t you believe in what the Word of God says?

Christians drown in the storms of life because they either don’t know what God says in His Word or they just don’t believe in what God says.

In the storm, speak boldly and confidently, “I believe what the Word of God says.”  Then declare that promise and you will get to the other side where there is great peace and calm. 

- Pastor Jim

getting the word in

February 4, 2020

We have of often heard the term, “Get the word out”, when we want something to be made known to as many people as possible.

We have read in the Word of God that mankind has the responsibility to get the Gospel out to as many people as possible during our lifetimes.  This responsibility can not be carried out by angels, but only by the believer.

We need to remember what Paul said in Romans 3:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation…”

When we share what God has done in our lives; when we share the fact that the Son of God went to the cross bearing the punishment for our sin and do it in love, we can leave that person knowing that the seed of the Word of God planted in them will either flourish or dry up and die based upon their decision.  The responsibility of whether they receive that truth is not ours.

That is getting the word out.  But what is even as important or maybe even more important is the fact that we need to get the Word in.  Everywhere throughout the Word of God we read the necessity of getting the Word of God in us.

The psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:11, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” I believe that speaks of memorizing the Word of God.

Joshua was commanded by God to meditate on the Word day and night.  I believe that was necessary for the Word of God to get down into his heart so Joshua would come to know the faithfulness of God and so Joshua would have success in what he was about to face.

Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God for our lives. The truth in God’s word is different from what the world considers truth.

John 15:7 tells us that if the words of Jesus (the Gospel) abide in us we can ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us.  That is because what we will ask for will be according to the Word of God.

How do we get the Word of God in us?  The same way we get the necessary nutrients in us: we need to eat the proper foods.

We put the Word of God in us by reading the Word of God and listening to the Word of God on a consistent basis.  It is a principle that what you see or listen to on a consistent basis you will eventually believe as truth and become a part of your thinking process.  

You can’t get the right word out if you don’t put the right word in.  

Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”

To what are you consistently listening and to what are you consistently seeing, will be what will be consistently coming out of your mouth.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Truth in, truth out.

Get the right word in and then you will get that right word out!

- Pastor Jim

you are valuable to god

February 12, 2020

One of the greatest needs in any human is the need to be validated.  To be validated in this sense, means having value and having a reason for your existence.  Down deep inside we all ask the question, why am I here?  Does anyone care?  

There are so many mental and physical issues that stem from someone not feeling needed, wanted or having any value.

The Word of God is filled with words such as encourage, exhort, comfort and bear each other’s burdens.  We are told to have compassion, pity and to assist others in need.

One of the greatest messages in the Gospel is that Jesus came to die for you.  He paid the price for your sins from the day you were born to the day you die.  He was the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8)

What does that mean?  Before you were even created, God sent Jesus to die for you.  If God is truly omniscient, knowing all things from the beginning of creation to the end, He knew for whom He was sending Jesus to die.

You were valuable enough for God to send His son to die for you!

You were also so valuable to God that you were first created by the thought of God.  

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…”

Even though this scripture was referring specifically to Jeremiah it tells us that God created us even before we were conceived.  Your creation began as a thought of God.  He planned your creation and your life.  You are so valuable to God that He thought that you would be valuable enough to be part of His overall plan.

You are so valuable to God that Jesus tells us in John 16:7 that it was necessary for Him to leave this earth so He could send us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who would guide us and possess us with His power and comfort.

You are so valuable to God that Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that He came that we might have an abundant life here on this earth.

You are so valuable to God that God gave us some great things as mentioned in II Peter 1:3-4 “According as His divine power HATH given to unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that HATH called us to glory and virtue.  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Notice the word, hath, which means He has already given us these things while we are on this earth.  You are valuable to God!

If you ever have a day where you feel lonely and wonder if you have any value to anyone, remember all you have just read and repeat this wonderful truth: I AM VALUABLE TO GOD.

- Pastor Jim