Tag Archives: Steam Valley Bible Church

WARNING! Frost or hurricane!

Sunday morning, as I was checking our weather, I noticed the little red warning triangle. Strange? What could be coming our way? I had seen the sign while checking the weather at Myrtle Beach, obviously listing warnings about hurricane Matthew. But I live in Pennsylvania? Our warning was for a frost tomorrow morning, cautioning gardeners that tender plants may need some attention or they will die.

It seemed odd to me that a category 4 hurricane received the same symbol as a frost warning, and that thought, coupled with the morning’s reading from Oswald Chambers, triggered this post:

We preach to men as if they were conscious of being dying sinners, but they are not. They are having a good time, and all our talk about the need to be born again is from a domain they know nothing about; because some men try to drown unhappiness in worldly pleasures it does not follow all are like that. There is nothing attractive about the Gospel to the natural man; the only man who finds the Gospel attractive is the man who is convicted of sin.

Apart from a knowledge of Jesus Christ, and apart from being crumpled up by conviction of sin, men have a disposition which keeps them perfectly happy and peaceful. Conviction of sin is produced by the incoming of the Holy Spirit because conscience is promptly made to look at God’s demands. (YouVersion)

Sunday morning, I will be substitute taught the Teen Sunday School class, and we looked at our church’s doctrinal statement.  Now doesn’t that sound exciting!! It is! Look at what it says about salvation:

We believe that owing to this universal depravity and death in sin, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless born again (John 3:5-7) and that no degree of reformation, however great; no attainment in morality, however high, no culture, however attractive; no humanitarian and philanthropic schemes and societies, however useful, no baptism or other ordinances, however administered, can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven; (Gal. 5:1-5; Phil. 3:4-9) but a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5-7) through the Word, (James 1:18; I Peter 1:23) is absolutely essential to salvation and only those thus saved are children of God.(SVBC)

I admit that it’s not easy reading, but look at what it says:

Salvation is by grace alone:

  • No degree of reformation, however great;
  • no attainment in morality, however high,
  • no culture, however attractive;
  • no humanitarian and philanthropic schemes and societies, however useful,
  • no baptism or other ordinances, however administered,

can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven.

WARNING: Heaven cannot be earned. To put it simply, praising God cannot save your soul; giving an offering of finances or service cannot save your soul; a church cannot save your soul; successful business adventures in the name of Jesus Christ cannot save your soul; graduating from a Bible college cannot save your soul; being a pastor, missionary, deacon, Sunday school teacher, soul-winner cannot save your soul; tagging along with others that are saved cannot save your soul.

The same warning goes out to every human being, no matter how sinful or superior, rich or ragged, kind or caustic.  All need to trust Jesus, and Him alone!

Have you forsaken your sin and good deeds to trust Jesus for salvation?

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12,13

Ask not what your church can do for you … OR … Lessons from the Church Refrigerator

I first encountered a church refrigerator while teaching Kindergarten with a wonderful group of people known as Emmanuel  Baptist Church of West Shore.  I remember one of the teachers getting frustrated about all the “stuff” which was left in the fridge.

Churches are communal property; therefore, rights and responsibilities are sometimes nebulous.  For example, who does throw out the leftovers from a fellowship?  Who does throw out old paint cans, or straighten up the craft closet, or discard old Sunday school material?  Whose job is it?

I love the folks at Steam Valley Bible Church!  They are awesome!  When we first came here, the very first Sunday that we candidated, they asked me to play the piano: a very nice Baldwin Studio piano.  However, as an organist, my ear went to the instrument across the room.  It sounded like an Allen organ!  And it was. Later, when we were given a tour of the buildings, I noticed a beautiful Yamaha Professional piano (Studio is slightly smaller than the Professional).  Why was this piano downstairs and the Baldwin upstairs? After some time and some questioning, we discovered that the upstairs piano was given in memory of someone, but the sweet woman, who was mainly responsible for its purchase, was fine with the idea of switching the pianos. Now, we’ve been in the pastorate long enough to know that such a move, in some church, would cause hard feelings and probably a church split!

So, what’s my point?  The next time you are on your church property, look around, especially if you attend a smaller church which does not have a host of paid employees.  How is the landscaping?  Are there any flowers?  Are there weeds?  Is there any mulch?  What about the signboard?  Has it been changed recently?  Does anything need a fresh coat of paint?  New windows? New chairs? New bulletin boards? Who does cut the grass or rake the leaves or clean out the gutters?  And what is your part in making a good show of presenting your representation of God’s house in your community?

John F. Kennedy coined the phrase: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country! (Wow! Could we retread that one today!) But let’s apply it to church: Ask not what a church can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your church!

Many hands make the load light. That’s one of my favorite sayings.

Our church ladies just enjoyed a wonderful retreat.  It was such a success because of all the help. One lady VOLUNTEERED to head up the food.  Another lady VOLUNTEERED to do a devotion on prayer and then gather the materials to make a 3×5 prayer notebook.  Someone offered pedicures, and another brought chocolate and molds so we could make candy for our loved ones since it took place on Valentine’s Day weekend.  There are so many jobs that could be done “in the name of Jesus.”  How do we show that we love Jesus?  So often, folks say, “Well, I put God first in my life, but that doesn’t mean that church has to come first.” There may be some truth in that statement; however, my question is this:

How do you show God that He is first in your life?

Does working at His house show that you love Him?  Does coming to His house show that you love Him?

Just some food for thought! 🙂 Take a look around, and take the plunge. If you don’t know what needs to be done, as the pastor! Just don’t give him a heart attack!  🙂

Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Haggai 1:4,5

What Will Make the Difference?

ID-10068917Yesterday, we had a baby dedication at church for three new babies.  It’s always a beautiful service, full of meaning and commitment for the parents as well as the church family.

Today, we read in the news about a family of four in our dear state of Pennsylvania who were murdered: the daughter shot her mother, the son-in-law shot the brother, and the father shot the daughter and son-in-law.  So, all that remains is the father.  How could relationships go so wrong that something like this would happen?  In one moment, a man is watching TV with his wife and son; the next minute, an estranged daughter and her husband come to the door – and life is over for all but a father!

Two different scenarios, separated only by a few hours and one hundred miles, but oh how different the outcome!  Three sets of parents pledged the following:

1. In presenting your child(ren) for dedication to the Lord, do you confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Saviour?

2. In presenting your child(ren) for dedication do you acknowledge your duty to bring up this child in the fear and admonition of the Lord?

3. Will you present your child(ren) to the Lord by being faithful in personal and family devotions, the regularly and specially scheduled meetings of the church (in particular Sunday School) so that he/she will be exposed to the word of God that it might pierce his/her heart?

4. Will you dedicate yourselves with great concern to the presentation of the Gospel that your child(ren) may be wooed by the Holy Spirit at some point in his/her life to confess his/her sin and place his/her faith in Jesus Christ as his/her own personal Saviour?

5. Will you willingly and unreservedly give your child(ren) to the Lord should He call this child into full time Christian service?

6. Will you willingly and unreservedly give your child(ren) to the Lord should He call this child away from you to some foreign land for His service?

7. Will you willingly and unreservedly give your child(ren) back to the Lord should He call this child back to Himself in death as a child, teen, or young adult?

Will these seven commitments insure these parents that they will never have a child put a gun to their head? ONLY IF THEY PRACTICE THEM!  It’s easy to answer ‘yes’ to a list of questions; it’s another thing to put them into practice.  If there is one “most frustrating” aspect of the ministry, it is this: people want the results of God-loving, obedient, serving children, but they will not make the commitment necessary to accomplish the goal.

Why do I not lose weight – Because I do not make the necessary commitment to accomplish the goal.  For example, if I would count the calories and keep to the exercise program I WOULD lose weight.  How do I know?  Because I’ve done it before!

At times, we deceive ourselves in spiritual matters, convincing ourselves that they are different from physical matters.  How do we get God-loving, obedient, serving children – by leading them in our example.  “Just say yes!”  When God calls, just say yes, whatever the task, no matter how great or small.  It works!

My husband and I were thanking and praising God this morning for His hedge about our family.  There are times when I feel guilty for the blessing He has poured upon me; but may I say that GOD’S WORD WORKS!  The following is two quotes from a dear friend’s book, (Song for all Seasons – Wilma Sullivan pgs.37,39):

I’ve learned to say a little phrase that has helped me to turn over the control of things in my life to the Lord. It’s simply “It’s okay!”  “It’s okay, Lord, that that person doesn’t respond the way I want.”  “It’s okay, Lord, if I can’t buy that thing I think I need.”  “It’s okay, Lord that my plans for today must be cancelled.”  “It’s okay, Lord, whatever that group thinks of me.”  “It’s okay, Lord, that I can’t control these circumstances in my life.”  “You, Lord, are in control of all these things.  May Your will be done.” When I consciously and willingly respond in such a way, I deny my “self,” giving over my rights to God’s control.

 

God’s Holy Spirit does live in us, and by His power – not ours – we can habitually put to death the promptings of the flesh.  Our flesh cannot control our thoughts and actions unless we give in to it.  We must make the choice.  By letting Christ reign in our hearts, we can then claim the power of God to tell our old flesh to “drop dear” when it tempts us to sin. We can rest assured that, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:9a)

Take the time to be holy – you will never regret it.  In fact, you will rejoice with your Savior and your children and children’s children throughout all eternity; and what’s seventy-odd years compared to that?!