Sunday, November 30, 2008

"A Christmas Story" Turns 25

There was an article in the news this week that the movie "A Christmas Story" was now 25 years old. Wow, it is hard to believe it has been out that long.

This is one of my favorite movies in the Christmas season. It is just a fun look back on the Christmases on our youth, perhaps not everything in the movie will pertain to you, but it is a fun watch.

I think that from time to time this Christmas season I'm going to blog about some of my favorite Christmas movies. Not in any particular order but as I think about them I mention them here.

For now here is the original trailer for "A Christmas Story". Enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

This was a different Thanksgiving.

On the one hand, we had the joy of welcoming Elijah Bradley Cox into our family as he made his first public appearance. Everyone was so excited to get to see him, his Great Aunts Carol & Jacki were some of the first to hold him with Great Grandma Cox in the wings! It was fun to have Daniel, Maggie and Elijah come to this Thanksgiving day!

On the other hand, it was the first Thanksgiving since my Dad passed away; Thanksgiving and Christmas were some of his favorite holidays. I found that we are very much people of instilled habits as while carving the turkey, which has become my responsibility, I set both wings aside. Now to most people, that little detail would be lost but my Mom caught it. She asked my why I did that and I said I just did it because that what we do every year. That is when she reminded me that the wings were my Dad's favorite part of the turkey and we always set them aside to him to eat in the days after Thanksgiving. Old habits hang on hard.

We had a pretty good group for the dinner and some of the family were able to just stop by for a visit and coffee. My older brother & his wife was not able to be with us this year so I had to eat his part of the best pumpkin pie known to man. Wow, it was great!

Trust all of you had fun & memorable Thanksgivings as well. May we all be people that are thankful every day of our life, recognizing the blessings of God upon our lives. Remember to let the people in your life that you are thankful for know that they are a blessing to you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Introducing Elijah Bradley Cox W/ Mom & Dad

Elijah Bradly Cox was born on November 24, 2008 at 3:50 PM
8 pounds, 3 oz.
20 1/2 inches long

Mother and baby are FINE!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Justification By Faith Alone In Christ Alone

I'm preaching through the Book of Galatians in our Sunday morning services. I think it has been a pretty good series and my church folks seem to be growing through it as well.

Last Sunday, as well as today, I was preaching through chapter 2 and in the midst of Paul's defense of his apostolic authority and his confrontation with Peter and his hypocrisy, Paul gives perhaps the best treatment of the topic of justification that you will ever come across.

We must come to the same starting point by understanding the truth that the heart of man's spiritual dilemma is that he is incapable of overcoming the total sinfulness that separates him from the holy God. How can a guilty and condemned sinner be made righteous and thereby acceptable to God? The provision of justification by faith is God's answer to that dilemma and need.

Here is Galatians 2:15-16 "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified."

The first part of his argument here is that, Paul says that, even we who are Jews by nature ... have believed in Christ Jesus. When Paul talks about the Jews he is saying that they of all people know what it is to live by the system of law. The Jews were the recipients of the Law. Yet even we were saved by believing in Christ Jesus, not by the law. And if we, as Jews, cannot be saved by the law, how can we expect sinners from among the Gentiles to be?” With or without the law, Paul was saying, no person is saved who has not believed in Jesus Christ!

Martin Luther said that if the article of justification by faith is lost, all Christian doctrine is lost. In this passage in chapter 2 Paul introduced this most essential doctrine in the epistle. Paul uses the verb form of justification four times in verses 16-17 and the noun form once in verse 21, where it is rendered "righteousness”.

The basic term was originally used forensically of a judge's declaring an accused person not guilty and right before the law. It was the opposite of being declared guilty and condemned. The truth of the scriptures is clear, if you have accepted God free gift of salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ and NOTHING else you are declared innocent before a holy and righteous God. Romans 8:1 tells us: "There is therefore now
no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Romans 5:1-2 tells us:"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Throughout Scripture justification refers to God's declaring a sinner to be guiltless on the basis of faith in Him. It is the free and gracious act by which God declares a sinner right with Himself-forgiving, pardoning, restoring, and accepting him on the basis of nothing but trust in the Person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Three times in Galatians 2:16 Paul declares that salvation is only through faith in Christ and not by law:

First statement is general: a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus.

Second is personal: even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law.

The third is universal: by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified (Psalm 143:2)

All three affirm the same great reality.

The bottom line is that any and all claims that salvation is through belief in Jesus Christ plus something else are blasphemous, satanic lies. There can be no effective or acceptable human addition to Christ's work. If this could be true, then it means that Jesus life, suffering, death and resurrection were NOT sufficient to satisfy God's holy demands. To add insult to injury, if man has the ability to add to the finished work of Jesus, then both God the Father and Jesus have lied to us. Jesus said on the cross that the work of salvation was finished, then he bowed His head and gave up His spirit and three days later God the Father put His stamp of approval on the finished work of Jesus by raising Him from the dead. Once again let me say any and all claims that salvation is through belief in Jesus Christ plus something else are blasphemous, satanic lies.

This passage is as forceful and undeniable a statement of the doctrine of salvation by faith alone as can be found in Scripture. First Paul establishes it on the basis of his apostolic authority. Second, he establishes it on the basis of his own experience. And third, he establishes it on the basis of God's Word in the Old Testament.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Funny Funny Stuff

Just like you I receive tons of forwarded emails. I have an opinion
on that but not for this post. Anyway, I got this and thought it
was funny so I'm posting it rather than e-mailing this to you!

You can thank me later!

Number One Idiot of 2008

I am a medical student currently doing a rotation in toxicology
at the poison
control center. Today, this woman called in very
upset because she caught her
little daughter eating ants.
I quickly reassured her that the ants are not
harmful and there
would be no need to bring her daughter into the hospital. She

calmed down and at the end of the conversation happened to
mention that she gave
her daughter some ant poison to eat in
order to kill the ants.

I told her that she better bring her daughter in to the emergency
room right

Here's your sign, lady. Wear it with pride.


Number Two Idiot of 2008

Early this year, some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to
steal a life
raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in
getting it out of the plane
and home. Shortly after they took it
for a float on the river, they noticed a
Coast Guard helicopter
coming toward them. It turned out that the chopper was
in on the emergency beacon that activated when the raft was

inflated. They are no longer employed at Boeing.

Here's your sign, guys. Don't get it wet; the paint might run.


Number Three Idiot of 2008

A man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into
the Branch and
wrote this, 'Put all your muny in this bag.' While
standing in line, waiting to
give his note to the teller, he began
to worry that someone had seen him write
the note and might
call the police before he reached the teller's window. So he
the Bank of America and crossed the street to the Wells Fargo
Bank. After
waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to
the Wells Fargo teller. She
read it and, surmising from his spelling
errors that he wasn't the brightest
light in the harbor, told him that
she could not accept his stickup note because
it was written on
a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have
fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to Bank of America.

Looking somewhat defeated, the man said, 'OK' and left. He was
arrested a few
minutes later, as he was waiting in line back at
Bank of America.

Don't bother with this guy's sign. He probably couldn't read it


Number Four Idiot of 2008

A guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and
demanded all of the
cash from the cash drawer. After the
cashier put the cash in a bag, the robber
saw a bottle of
Scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf.
He told
the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but the
cashier refused and said,
'Because I don't believe you are
over 21.' The robber said he was, but the
clerk still refused
to give it to him because she didn't believe him. At this
the robber took his driver's license out of his wallet and gave
it to the

The clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact
over 21 and she put
the Scotch in the bag. The robber then
ran from the store with his loot. The
cashier promptly called the
police and gave the name and address of the robber
that he got
off the license. They arrested the robber two hours later.

This guy definitely needs a sign.


Idiot Number Five of 2008

A pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously
waving revolvers.

The first one shouted, 'Nobody move!' When his partner moved,
the startled first
bandit shot him.

This guy doesn't even deserve a sign


Idiot Number Six of 2008

Arkansas: Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He
decided that he'd
just throw a cinder block through a liquor
store window, grab some booze, and

So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at
the window. The
cinder block bounced back knocking him
unconscious. It seems the liquor store
window was made of
Plexi-Glass. The whole event was caught on videotape.


Idiot Number Seven of 2008

In a semi-rural area of Wisconsin, we recently had a new
neighbor call the local township administrative office to
request the removal of
the Deer Crossing sign on our road.

The reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars out here!
I don't think
this is a good place for them to be crossing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

STAY ALERT! They walk among us... and they REPRODUCE...!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Eats - Corned Beef & Bagels

One of our families favorites anytime of the year but especially in the fall and winter is corned beef on bagels.

A few week ago a friend came to stay for the weekend and pre-ordered corned beef and bagels for supper. Not a problem and for this friend, as my Dad would say, the best is none to good! The short version of the story is that as word leaked out we ended up with 19 people enjoying a feast of corned beef, bagels and two kinds of soup. The following Sunday we had enough left over that we invited a couple from Church over for lunch. Everybody enjoys my corned beef and bagels.

Confession is not my recipe! It's my Mom's and it is GREAT! So at risk of not being invited to is the secret code:

Go to your local grocery and pick up a corned beef brisket, there are two difference cuts, flat cuts and point cuts. I prefer the flat cut. You will also need 1 bottle of pickling spice, minced garlic and two glass baking dishes of different sizes (one should just about fit inside the other), and weights (I'll explain later).

Ok...Here we go:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
2. Place brisket in a glass baking dish (the larger one) with the fat side up
3. Sprinkle the pickling spice all around the brisket but not on top
4. Add the equivalent of 2 to 6 cloves of garlic, if you like garlic...indulge
5. Fill baking dish 3/4 full of water (Do not cover with water!)
6. Cover with foil & place in oven
7. Cook at 250 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours

When done cooking remove from oven and allow to cool a bit and pour off and discard all liquid.

8. Place smaller baking dish on top of cooked brisket and put weights in the clean dish. This is the process of pressing the brisket. I use about 30 pounds of weight
9. Place brisket in to fridge and let it press overnight

Next day remove from fridge and trim off as much fat as possible and slice very very thin across the grain, I use an electric meat slicer.

Now the bagels: buy plain bagels, split and place in an oven to lightly toast.

I use real butter and spread it on the bagel followed by a slice of Kraft processed Swiss cheese (you may use real Swiss but make sure it is very thinly sliced). Add the corned beef and do not be stingy, pile it on!

Add a dill pickle wedge and a steaming bowl of Mom's Clam Chowder and enjoy!

Wow, did I just mention my Mom's Clam Chowder - slip of the lip - maybe another time!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Animusic - Pipe Dreams

I think that this is so cool. That someone actually thought this through is incredible! I hope you enjoy it as well!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Youth Rally At Forest City

Last Saturday we attended an area-wide youth rally at the Church in Forest City and then moved to the YMCA for what we like to call the "Y" rally!

Pat Odle, from Faith Baptist Bible College, was our speaker for the event along with a Bible quiz over John chapters 10 & 11 and walking taco's to eat. And all that before we
even headed out to the "Y"!

After the activities a
t the church all of the teens and sponsors headed off to the "Y".

At the "Y", we had a number of choices for stuff to do: Dodge ball in a racquetball court, Wally ball (volley ball in a racquetball court) , regular volley ball, basketball, swimming, billiards along with snacks and sodas. Here are a few photos:

The bottom line is that everyone had a great time and we're already looking forward to next year!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Through the Bible -An Overview

I've received so much response on the walk through of the Book of Romans, I thought I post another from the series. This is the first in the series, an Introduction:

There is only one Book on earth, only one Book in the history of mankind that can answer those cosmic questions and demonstrate its transcendence over time and space. It has the audacity to hang its credibility and authentic­ity on its record of recording history before it hap­pens. Only one Book holds the key to your eternal destiny: the ultimate love story, written in blood on a wooden cross erected in Judea some two thousand years ago.

I. An Overview of the Bible

To begin our lifelong study adventure, we will need a solid foundation. Actually, our exploration will build on three foundations.

First, although the Bible consists of sixty-six separate books penned by over forty authors over a period of several thousand years, it is an integrated message system. Every passage, every word, every number, and every place name is there for a specific reason. A skillful design pervades the whole.

econd foundation is that this message system is from outside our dimensions of space and time. It is literally of extraterrestrial origin. 2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Third, every word and every phrase of the Bible turns around a central theme. The Old Testament theme is the account of a nation its origin, destiny, ups and downs, and its his­tory yet to unfold, looking to the arrival of their Messiah. The New Testament is the account of a man, the Creator of the universe whose appearance is the central event of all history. His redemptive work changing mankind for all time!

II. Laying the groundwork: an old testament overview

The Old Testament consists of thirty-nine books. The most venerated portion of the Old Testament is the Torah, the five books of Moses known also by the Greek word, Pentateuch.

The Torah consists of five books:

1. Genesis is the book of beginnings—the word itself means “the beginnings.”

2. Exodus follows, and it describes the birth of the nation.

Leviticus details the laws of that nation.

Numbers tracks the wanderings in the wilderness the forty years before the new nation was able to enter the land that God had set aside for them.

Deuteronomy is a review of the laws; it is also the book that Jesus quotes from the most.

The Torah is pivotal to everything we will be dealing with.

The Torah is followed by twelve historical books which are divided by a major event in Israel’s history—the Babylonian captivity. Joshua to 2 Chronicles are pre-exile (or pre-­Babylonian captivity); Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther are post-exile.

6. Joshua succeeded Moses and conquered Canaan.

7. Then came the three hundred years known as the period of the Judges.

8. During this time a fascinating little four-chapter book called Ruth was written. Ruth is one of the most important books in the Old Testament. You will not under­stand the book of Revelation unless you understand the book of Ruth.

After the Judges are the records of the kingdom itself:

9. 1
Samuel - the birth of the kingdom.

10. 2
Samuel the reign of King David.

11. 1 Kings the kingdom divided after David dies, the death of Solomon and the civil war which follows, dividing the kingdom permanently.

2 Kings the history of the divided kingdom.

13. 1
Chronicles the reign of David.

14. 2
Chronicles - the history of the southern kingdom.

The post-exile history books include:

Ezra - the return from the Babylonian captivity.

Nehemiah - the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem.

17. Esther - the escape from extermination under the Persian Empire.

The five books of poetry Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs—are the poetry, hymns, and wisdom of the nation.

Job - "peaking behind the curtain.”

The book of Psalms (which is actually five books) is the hymnbook of the nation, which not only contains beautiful hymns and praise but includes some incredible prophesies.

20. Proverbs contains, but is not limited to, the Wisdom of Solomon.

Ecclesiastes, also written by Solonmon, talks of the vanity of life.

22. Song of Solomon is a book about wedded love and other topics.

Next in line are the five Major Prophets:

Isaiah is the Messianic prophet.

24. Jeremiah deals primarily with the desolation of Jerusalem
25. Lamentations is Jeremiah’s dirge over the loss of Jerusalem. These three books are mostly pre-exile, though Lamentations splits the pre- and the post-exile Major Prophets.
26. Ezekiel is in captivity, but in his book he talks about the rebuilding of the Temple and the restoration of Israel when they return to the land.
27. Daniel’s theme is “the times of the Gentiles.” Daniel is unique in portraying an overview of all Gentile history - from Babylon until the day that God sets up His own kingdom on earth.

The Major Prophets are followed by twelve Minor Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. The last three of the twelve— Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi—prophesied after the return from Babylon.

28. Hosea focuses on the apostasy of the Northern Kingdom.

29. Joel speaks of “the day of the Lord,” a climax which is also in the future.

Amos speaks of the ultimate rule of the dynasty of David on the planet earth.

Obadiah focuses on the destruction of Edom.

Jonah is a warning to Nineveh, capital of the pagan world empire at the time.

Micah is best known for prophesying that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah.

Nahum describes the destruction of Nineveh. Like Jonah, Nahum was sent to Nineveh, but this time they didn’t repent.

Habakkuk contains, among other things, the very interesting phrase “the just shall live by faith,” which becomes the cornerstone of three New Testament epistles.

Zephaniah prophesies many things, one being that when Israel is restored they will again speak Hebrew.

37. Haggai predicts the rebuilding of the Temple.

Zechariah has a number of fascinating prophecies about the Second Coming of Christ.

39. Malachi has a final message to a disobedient people, and he sets the stage for John the Baptist who comes in the spirit and power of Elijah.

That’s the Old Testament. The key idea is of a single, integrated design. You’ll find that the more you know about these books, the more inseparable they are. As you begin to develop respect for the integrity of the whole, you’ll be amazed at how any confusion, the many seeming paradoxes, and quibbles evaporate.

III. Laying the groundwork: a new testament overview

The New Testament consists of twenty-seven books. The first five are historical books - the four Gospels and the book of Acts. Twenty-one interpretive letters called the Epistles are next. The New Testament ends with the climactic book, the book of Revelation. Thirteen epistles were written by the Apostle Paul and eight were written by and to Hebrew Christians.

The four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are parallel yet distinctive.

Matthew presents Jesus Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

2. Mark presents Jesus Christ as the Suffering Servant.

3. Luke presents Jesus Christ as the Son of Man.

4. John presents Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

Each of the four Gospels presents a particular perspective—they overlap in many ways yet they each have distinctive vocabularies, emphases, and genealogical perspectives. Each is very skillfully designed to present a particular aspect.

5. The Book of
Acts describes the formation of the church in the first thirty years.

The Pauline Epistles are interpretive. They explain the relevance of what has gone before - including both the Old and New Testament. Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians are one group; each book was written to churches with the intention that they would be circulated. Paul also wrote four let­ters to pastors called the Pastoral Epistles: 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon.

6. Romans,
called by some the “Gospel According to Paul,” is the definitive statement of Christian doctrine in the New Testament; it is comprehensive, well organized, and one of the most profound books in the New Testament.

7 & 8. 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians are letters Paul wrote to help establish order in the Church.

Galatians was probably the key book in the Reformation, distinguishing between law and grace—it is by grace that we are saved, not by keeping the law.

10. Ephesians could be considered the high ground of the New Testament. It could be called “The Church in the Heavenlies.”

Philippians is “joy through suffering.”

12. Colossians teaches that Christ is pre-eminent above all things.

13. First Thessalonians declares the mystery of what we call the “Rapture.”

14. Second Thessalonians clarifies some confusion about the Rapture. Both letters focus on Second Coming aspects; they are end-times epistles.

First Timothy, Second Timothy, and Titus give pastoral advice.

18. Philemon, though a short letter, is a model of intercession on behalf of a runaway slave. There are many lessons in this one-chapter book.

These are followed by eight Jewish epistles: Hebrews; James; two by Peter; three by John; and one by Jude.

19. Hebrews
amplifies the New Covenant over the Old Covenant.

20. James talks about faith demonstrated.

21. First Peter
talks about the persecuted church.

22. Second Peter talks about the coming apostasy and the end times.

23. First John is the classic epistle on love.

Second John warns about false teachers.

3 John speaks on the preparation of helpers.

26. Jude,
like 2 Peter, discusses the apostasy, except Jude has some Old Testament roots that are fascinating in their own right.

The final book and, in fact, the climactic book of the entire Bible, is the book of Revelation.

27. Revelation is more than just the close of the Bible; it is the consummation of all things. Everything that started in Genesis finds its end in the book of Revelation. It is the only book in the Bible that has the audacity to pronounce a special blessing on the reader. The book’s 404 verses contain over eight hundred allusions from the Old Testament. So if the book seems strange to our understanding, it’s because we haven’t done our homework in the Old Testament.

The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.

God Bless,
Pastor Steve

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Steve's Daddy Day-Care

Following a meeting out of town I arrived home to find out my girls, Lynn and Susan were both not feeling a bit good. Lynn had been to the doctor and found out she has a sinus infection and Susan just has the creeping crud.

I was informed that I was in charge of supper. So begins Steve's Daddy Day-Care and Infirmary.

After a quick run to our local Fareway, I set out to make my girls supper. The cuisine for this evening was chicken pot pie. Now before you jump to the conclusion that I just grabbed some frozen pot pies, I cooked this meal from scratch. For dessert I did cheat a bit and bought pre-made oatmeal raisin cookie dough. Well here is the proof in the pictures:

Good supper with old fashion comfort foods on a cold and wintry night. Hope my girls get to feeling better!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Through The Bible - The Book of Romans

For the past couple of months I have been doing a series of sermons in our Sunday evening services entitled "Through the Bible". We began in Genesis and have worked our way through each book of the bible until tonight we reached the book of Romans.

For the record ... I love the Book of Romans!!!!!

Let me give you the thumbnail version:

Romans 1-3: Paul builds the case that all men are guilty before a Holy God. The pagan man, the moral man as well as the religious man. Romans 3 tells us: Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (vs. 19&20) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (vs. 23)

Romans 4-5: Paul goes back to the OT example of Abraham to drive home the point that salvation was and always will be by grace though faith. Abraham look forward to the promises of God and we look back to the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I love Romans 4:21&22 speaking of Abraham: And being fully convinced that what He (God) had promised He (God) was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” From here Paul speaks of our peace with God because Jesus met the righteous demands of a Holy God and then draws a comparison between the first Adam and the second Adam, Jesus Christ.

Romans 6-8: Paul now builds the case that we, being in Christ, are dead to sin and that sin no longer has any power over us. "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (vs. 11-14) Paul builds on this the fact that in reality as he in living the Christian Life that this is still very hard to perform. In chapter 7 Paul writes: "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (vs. 15,21-24) Paul begins Romans 8 with no condemnation from God and ends it with no separation from God.

Romans 9-11: Here is the history of Israel past, present and future. Paul talks about how God has set Israel aside for a while as He deals with the gentiles in the church age. This time of being "set aside" is just for a time and then God will turn His attention back to His special people.

Romans 12-16: This is the practical section of the Book of Romans, chapter 12 deals with Christian living, chapter 13 deals with our attitude toward government, chapter 14 deal with the weaker brother and getting along with one another. Chapter 15 covers bearing others burdens and glorifying God together, and chapter 16 is very personal as Paul names more folks in this one chapter than he does in any other place in the scriptures.

I love the Book of Romans!!!!

Trust this was a blessing for you!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Changes Now & Changes To Come - Maybe

Have you noticed any changes on the blog?????

I've add a couple of things:

1. Bible Verse for the day in the ESV. This is really nice and I'm liking the ESV as a good word for word translation.

2. A picture viewer in the top right. Here I will post pictures from time to time that I think you will enjoy. Special thank to Lowell Washburn who keeps me supplied with GREAT wildlife photos!

3. I finally got my site meter fixed and now I know that many of you are visiting and not leaving any comments. So I want to encourage you to leave a comment, as it is a great encouragement to continue posting if I know that you are at least enjoying my stuff.

Keep stopping by there are more changes to come, I'm debating posting "Sermon Briefs", brief summaries of my sermons. Well, that is still in the idea stage.


I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Randomness of God

Not too long ago I wrote the following post. I ran across it and thought I'd post it, I trust it will be a blessing for you!

The other day I'm reading in 2 Chronicles 18 where Jehoshaphat was King and made a very unwise alliance with the wicked King Ahab.

Here is the thumbnail story:

Jehoshaphat allies himself to Ahab by marriage and then is enticed to fight with Ahab against Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat knows that they really need to consult the LORD before going to battle, so he asks Ahab if there are any prophets that speak for the LORD.

Ahab rounds up his 400 prophets and to a man they tell them to go to battle because God has given Ramoth Gilead in to their hand. Jehoshaphat then asks a great question: “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?” In other words ... not that I don't believe your 400 prophets, but would there be just one prophet that truly speaks for God?

Ahab says yes but he hates this guy because he never says anything good about him. They call this prophet in and after a while he lays out the truth: “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’” Wow that does not sound very good - - Ahab's response: “Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” What a riot!

Long story longer...Ahab throws the prophet in prison until he returns in victory, the prophet says I'll die there because you are never going to return! During the ensuing war, the Bible says the following: Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” The battle increased that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Syrians until evening; and about the time of sunset he died.

The prophet was correct as usual and Ahab died in the battle.

What I really love in this story is that the prophet said Ahab would die and the Bible says that " a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor." A certain man, a random shot, an arrow that just happened to strike between the joints of armor.

There Is Nothing Random About God!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Random Thoughts

Here are a couple of random thoughts...

>Barack Obama was elected our 44th President. Pray for him, he's going to need all the help he can get with things as they are. Might want to hold on to something it's going to be a bumpy ride!

>November 3rd would have been my Dad's 90th birthday. I miss being able to pick up the phone and give him a call and just chat. What a year this has been thus far!

>Been doing some archery deer hunting. Seen quite a few but none bigger that Logan's! Plenty of time left and the rut is just really getting started and the bucks just get plain stupid.

>Reading a couple of great book right now. Both are by Jerry Bridges, "Trusting God" and "Respectable Sins". The teens and adults in our church are reading the "Trusting God" for our Sunday School this fall and it is incredible, dealing with the sovereignty of God in our lives. I'm reading the Respectable Sin for my self and this book is convicting!!! The premise is that we do a good job of dealing with the "big" sins like abortion & homosexuality, but are we even concerned with or dealing with the more "acceptable" sin like just flat being ungodly, discontent, unthankful, prideful, selfish, angry and the list goes on. This book is not for the faint, because Bridges uses God's Word to do a surgical strike on the heart! Both books are really challenging and I would recommend them!

Read, study and learn. Keep looking up!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve