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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

People of the Cross 2/25/15

Good Morning,

I had the privilege yesterday morning of representing the Lord,  you and the HEAL Board (Help End Abuse for Life, the Nest Domestic Violence Shelter, of which I am a part) in Santa Fe.  I had received a call about a month ago from the Speaker of the House’s office asking me if I would be able to open a session of the House of Representatives with prayer.  So yesterday morning I was able to do that.  I did not use that time as an opportunity to preach a sermon or delineate all of the things that I think they are doing wrong, I used that opportunity to pray for God’s blessing on them and on our Governor and to pray that God would help them to use their time and authority to be good stewards of the trust that the people of NM have given to them.  My goal, more than anything, was to represent Christ.  I was honored and privileged to be able to represent you and to represent the men and women of HEAL and the women and children whose lives we have the opportunity to touch through the Nest.

I believe that our first responsibility is to represent Christ.  There is nothing in life, in the world, nothing at all that is as important as that is.

We have five weeks until Passover, five Sundays before we will celebrate Resurrection Day.  I had been praying, seeking out what I needed to be studying and preparing to preach during this time and on or about Monday February 16 I got my answer.  I received a link to an article that I read entitled, The Wake-up Call That is ISIS:  Who in the Church is Answering?

Most if not all of you are aware that on Sunday February 15th there were 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were beheaded by ISIS.  ISIS said that they were “chopping off the heads of those who have been carrying around the cross illusion in their heads.”  ISIS said that they were going to behead these men because they are “people of the cross.”

We are to represent Christ.  To represent Christ we must be people of the cross.  For those of us who are reading this, I doubt there are any of us who have ever been in danger of anything at all more than perhaps a rude word or glance or perhaps being called a few choice words or maybe chewed out for expressing a word about Christ and our beliefs, or maybe, just maybe there are one or two of us who have either been threatened with the loss of our job or perhaps even have lost a job.  But not one of us has ever been threatened with death or dismemberment because of our faith in Christ, or because we are “people of the cross.”  I pray that we never do, but I believe this term, “people of the cross” bears much more looking into.

And so, for the next five Sundays leading up to Passover and Resurrection Day, I will be preaching on the subject “We are People of the Cross.”  We will begin with 1 John 4 and I want to encourage you to read it before Sunday.  I especially want to challenge you to seek God through prayer and study of His Word and find out just what the “people of the cross” should be like as we move through the Lenten Season and move toward the celebration of Passover and Resurrection.

I love you

Rick

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday February 25 – NO ACTIVITIES HERE AT ANGUS CHURCH TONIGHT!

Friday & Saturday February 27-28 – Feed My Starving Children will have their third Mobile Pack here in Lincoln County.  It will take place at Mt. Annies in Ruidoso.  Last year in the two Mobile Pack’s here in the county, we packed and sent out over 200,000 meals!  We hope you will be a part of this next Mobile Pack.  You can go online today and sign up for a 2 hour shift for either Friday night February 27 or Saturday February 28 at the following website:  www.fmsc.org/mobilepack/events Then go down to New Mexico and click on the link to Ruidoso, Coyote Howling February 27-28, 2015.

Saturday February 27 – The family of Eldon McNutt are joining together to celebrate Eldon’s 80th birthday!  There will be a celebration here at the church from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  They are asking that no presents be given but just to come and share in the celebration!

Sunday March 8 – We will have ONE COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE on this date.  This is Daylight Savings Time weekend and on Saturday March 7 you will be moving your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed.  We will have our combined worship service at 10:30 a.m. in the gym and immediately following the service our teens will be providing a wonderful lunch that we will encourage everyone to stay and be part of.

Wednesday March 11 – We will have a membership class for anyone interested in knowing more about Angus Church.  There’ll be more information to come but put this on your calendar, watch and listen for the info and maybe even plan on joining with us!



I’m Listening 2/18/15

Good Morning,

1 Samuel 3 is a very interesting, intriguing, awesome, frightening, wonderful, terrible chapter of the Bible.  It begins with these words:  “. . . in those days the word of the LORD was rare;”  “Those days” were the days when the men who were supposed to be the priests of Israel, to be the men who stood between the people and God, were doing whatever they wanted to do, completely disregarding God and His direction for them and for their duties.  Their father Eli was the priest and the Bible says of him, “For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them.”  It was in the middle of this story that 1 Samuel chapter 3 is found.

Samuel is a young boy whose mother has given him over to Eli to be reared as a priest before God.  And it is while all of this is happening, at a time when “the word of the LORD was rare;” that God speaks.  And He spoke to the boy Samuel with a word of judgment for Eli and his house.

What I want to focus on is the boy Samuel’s response to God.  Three times God spoke to the boy Samuel, but he didn’t know it was God; he thought it was Eli the priest.  The third time it happened Eli told Samuel “Go and lie down, and if he calls you say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening’” (3:9).  The next time God did speak that is exactly what Samuel did and God had a message for Eli and his sons and for the nation.  God spoke to Samuel many times over his life and used him in an incredible way.

I am using the Devotional Book My Utmost For His Highest written by Oswald Chambers for my devotions this year.  I have used it several times in the past and I love coming back to it because there are some powerful things that Chambers says; things that challenge me and push me to grow closer to God.  Last Friday, February 13th, was one of those days when what Chambers wrote spoke directly to me.  I knew after reading it that I wanted to use it in my Wednesday email to you today.  Then yesterday this was made all the more evident to me.  I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that God doesn’t waste a thing.  Let me share last Friday’s devotion with you.

Just because I have listened carefully and intently to one thing from God does not mean that I will listen to everything He says. I show God my lack of love and respect for Him by the insensitivity of my heart and mind toward what He says. If I love my friend, I will instinctively understand what he wants. And Jesus said, “You are My friends…” (John 15:14). Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord’s this week? If I had realized that it was a command of Jesus, I would not have deliberately disobeyed it. But most of us show incredible disrespect to God because we don’t even hear Him. He might as well never have spoken to us.

The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me (see John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. God may say whatever He wants, but I just don’t hear Him. The attitude of a child of God should always be, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times. At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things— things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God. Have you heard God’s voice today?

Chambers’ words at the beginning of the second paragraph grabbed me and would NOT let go and today they are even more poignant to me:  “The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God . . .”  Then just a couple of lines later he writes, “What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things.  It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life.  I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions.”  And then a little later, “At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things—things I think I must do.”

I ALWAYS want to hear God – but I confess that there are times when I get busy, sometimes with good things, that, like Chambers’ writes, “I am not devoted in the right areas of my life.”  And when he says, “At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things—things which I think I must do” it convicts me more.  If we’re honest, I think everyone of us would say the same thing.  Sometimes we get so busy doing God’s work or any other thing, and we think we’re doing what would please and honor God because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or “this is our tradition” or “this is how God spoke to me before” or “this is what we should do” or a thousand other reasons.  It isn’t that they are bad or even wrong, but maybe God wants to do something in a new way.

So, I need to listen every single day!  Look at what God told Isaiah:  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

I always want to hear God – I need to always listen and not take for granted that I know what He is going to say.  Sometimes, He is “doing a new thing.”

“Speak LORD, for your servant is listening!”  That is what I want to do; I want us to do; I intend to do.  Join me!

Rick

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday February 18 – Tonight we will be having our regular Wednesday activities.  ALL of our regular Wednesday activities will take place beginning with dinner at 5:00.  We hope to see you here!  For those who join us at 6:00 in the Sanctuary we’re not only going to look at the next miracle in John’s gospel account, but we’re going to be reminded that today is Ash Wednesday!

Friday & Saturday February 27-28 – Feed My Starving Children will have their third Mobile Pack here in Lincoln County.  It will take place at Mt. Annies in Ruidoso.  Last year in the two Mobile Pack’s here in the county, we packed and sent out over 200,000 meals!  We hope you will be a part of this next Mobile Pack.  You can go online today and sign up for a 2 hour shift for either Friday night February 27 or Saturday February 28 at the following website:  www.fmsc.org/mobilepack/events Then go down to New Mexico and click on the link to Ruidoso, Coyote Howling February 27-28, 2015.

Saturday February 27 – The family of Eldon McNutt are joining together to celebrate Eldon’s 80th birthday!  There will be a celebration here at the church from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  They are asking that no presents be given but just to come and share in the celebration!

Wednesday March 11 – We will have a membership class for anyone interested in knowing more about Angus Church.  There’ll be more information to come but put this on your calendar, watch and listen for the info and maybe even plan on joining with us!



His Blessings 2/11/15

Good Morning,

Thanks for putting up with my “grandfatherness;”  the pictures and the posts.  We had a great week with Ashley, our daughter-in-law and with the two boys.  They are back home in Elkhorn WI now, back with dad and that is where they should be.  As nice as it is and was to have them with us, they are a family and they need to be with each other.  Just like you, we love our family and we are so blessed by God.

Blessings are the subject of this Wednesday morning email today.  I have been struck lately by the incredible promise that we find in a book in the Old Testament that is typically NOT used to express blessing.  But let me begin by sharing with you some introductory remarks taken from the Life Application Study Bible on that book, the book of Lamentations.

“TEARS are defined simply as ‘drops of salty fluid flowing from the eyes.’  They can be caused by irritation or laughter but are usually associated with weeping, sorrow, and grief.  When we cry, friends wonder what’s wrong and try to console us.  Babies cry for food; children cry at the loss of a pet; adults cry when confronted with trauma and death.

“Jeremiah’s grief ran deep.  He is remembered as the ‘weeping prophet,’ and his tears flowed from a broken heart.  As God’s spokesman, he knew what lay ahead for Judah, his country, and for Jerusalem, the capital and ‘the city of God.’  God’s judgment would fall and destruction would come.  So Jeremiah wept.  His tears were not self-centered, mourning over personal suffering or loss.  He wept because the people had rejected their God—the God who had made them, loved them, and sought repeatedly to bless them.  Jeremiah’s heart was broken because he knew that the selfishness and sinfulness of the people would bring them much suffering and an extended exile.  Jeremiah’s tears were tears of empathy and sympathy.  His heart was broken with those things that break God’s heart.”

Now again, these two paragraphs come out of an introduction to the book of Lamentations.  A lamentation, or lamenting, by definition, is expressing grief, “moaning” and “wailing.”  So, by definition and by a reading of this book in the Old Testament you will find a lot of grief expressed, as the author above stated, because the people repeatedly turned their back on God.

But as I told you at the beginning, this email today is about blessing, so you may be wondering what in the world I’m doing talking about the book of Lamentations?  Well, I’m glad you asked!

In chapter 3, after expressing his grief with terms like “He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. . . .  He has walled me in so I cannot escape . . . he shuts out my prayer , , , He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver . . . He has broken my teeth with gravel . . . So I say, ‘My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD” (3:4-18).  After all of this, listen to what Jeremiah wrote:

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:21-23).

If we aren’t careful we focus in on the things that are wrong in our lives.  There are health issues, financial issues, family issues, hurts, concerns and grief that sometimes is overwhelming.  Most certainly that is what Jeremiah faced.  But he wasn’t about to let those issues cloud his focus from who God IS – please read that again – who God IS!

Israel was facing the consequences of horrible choices and they were paying the price for them, but that wasn’t the last word.

You may be facing the consequences of choices; you may be facing the consequences of the fact that we live in a fallen world.  The things that you are going through may be a direct result of things that you have done, choices you have made or actions that you have taken.  On the other hand, you may be simply facing the fact that you are human and we live in a world that is dying, in bodies that are dying, and in a world where satan is described as the “prince and power of the air.”

BUT THAT DOESN’T CHANGE THE FACT OF WHO GOD IS!

God WILL HAVE the last word.  And for the child of God that word is hope.  “Because of the LORD’s great love we are NOT consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Child of God, you are NOT consumed; God will have the last word.  He is in control regardless of what the circumstances look like.  We have hope and we are blessed.

I love you!

Rick

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES

Today, Wednesday February 11 – Tonight we will be having our regular Wednesday activities.  ALL of our regular Wednesday activities will take place beginning with dinner at 5:00.  We hope to see you here!

Thursday February 12  – Funeral services for Barrett Watkins will be held here at the church at 2:00 p.m.  If you are helping with the meal please have your food items here no later than 10:00 a.m. and if you would like to come and visit with the family the meal will be served at noon.

Friday & Saturday February 27-28 – Feed My Starving Children will have their third Mobile Pack here in Lincoln County.  It will take place at Mt. Annies in Ruidoso.  Last year in the two Mobile Pack’s here in the county, we packed and sent out over 200,000 meals!  We hope you will be a part of this next Mobile Pack.  You can go online today and sign up for a 2 hour shift for either Friday night February 27 or Saturday February 28 at the following website:  www.fmsc.org/mobilepack/events Then go down to New Mexico and click on the link to Ruidoso, Coyote Howling February 27-28, 2015.