Saturday, October 29, 2011


This post was written by a guest writer.  I am very glad to share his insight and hope it is meaningful for you.

"Trust" is a small five letter word that is easy to spell, easy to say, but a challenge to live.  In worship this past weekend we learned about trust (or the lack of it) in the Parable of the Tenants from Matthew 21.   If the tenants would have understood the depth of the landlord's love, they would have never attempted a hostile take-over of his winery.  This principle is repeated throughout God's Word - the principle of trusting our Owner's love in spite of our desire to control what He owns.

Had Adam and Eve trusted what God said about eating the forbidden fruit, they would have never succumbed to Satan's influence (Genesis 3).  Had Cain understood that God loved him just as He loved Abel, perhaps the first murder would have come by the hand of another (Genesis 4).  Had Jacob trusted what God said about "the older serving the younger," he wouldn't have resorted to deceiving his father to gain his promised birthright (Genesis 18).  Had the unmerciful servant described in the parable of Matthew 18 really trusted the King's word of forgiveness, he would have gladly forgiven his fellow servant.

All of these lessons lead us more brilliantly to the cross of Christ.  Trust culminates there.  Paul says it best in his letter to the Philippians.  "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ."  As you walk in this trust throughout this week, be confident that the one you are leaning on loves you beyond measure (just like the owner of the vineyard).  In this, find strength to resist the temptation to follow after the world and find the motivation to live as one who trusts in the word of the Lord.

What does living as one who trusts look like?  It looks like Adam and Eve enjoying creation within God-given boundaries.  It looks like Cain rejoicing with Abel and God being pleased.  It looks like Jacob waiting patiently for God's plan to unfold.  It looks like a grateful servant extending forgiveness to a fellow servant.  It looks like <<insert your name>> putting trust in God by <<insert your trust challenge>>.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Monte

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Small offerings are important

The following is from a book of devotions written many years ago by Pastor Theophil H. Twente titled "Chores of Life".  This poem stresses the importance of remembering that we can do small daily chores to the glory of God.  Often these little things are far more significant than the large ones we hope to accomplish.

Lord of Pots and Pans

Lord of the pots and tipkins,  Since I've no time to be
A saint by doing lovely things,  And vigiling with thee,
By watching in the twilight dawn,  And storming heaven's gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals,  And washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha's hands,  I have a Mary mind;
And when I black the boots and shoes,  Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth,  Each time I scrub the floor;
Accept this meditation, Lord, I haven't time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with thy love,  And warm it with thy peace,
Forgive me all my grumbling, Lord,  Make all my grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,  In room or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do --- I do it unto thee.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Putting Jesus First

What does it look like to put Jesus first?

Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment."  Matthew 22:37-38.  To many people this means that you go to worship service at least once a week; make prayer, including table prayer, a major part of your life; and help at church in whatever capacity you can.

All of this is correct, but I would like to present an additional requirement.  Jesus also said, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is.' because the kingdom of God is within you."  Think about that.  Jesus lives in you, in me, in neighbors, co-workers, people on the streets, people all over the world.  When you cut someone off in traffic, let a door swing in someone's face, turn your back and ignore someone when they need help, or withhold a kind word that could give someone a lift, who is the recipient of your actions?  According to Jesus, you are doing all of this to Jesus, not just the person you see.

I would like to suggest that we all need to pay more attention to the way we treat each other.  In God's eyes everyone is equal.  The CEO of a major company is equal to the man losing his home to foreclosure; the man driving a 75 thousand dollar car is equal to the man forced to use public transportation because he cannot afford to buy a car; and the young man graduating from college with honors is equal to the old man who can no longer recognize his family due to Alzheimer's.  A smile, a thank-you, a helping hand are all given first to Jesus and then to the person that you see.  To put Jesus first requires worship, prayer, and helping at church, but also putting the needs of others before your own needs; definitely not an easy accomplishment.

Remember Jesus words in Matthew 25:40, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Who'll take the son?

I do not know who wrote this short story, but I wonder if we, in an attempt to acquire what we consider important, don't forget Jesus, who gives us everything.

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art.  They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael.  They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war.  He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier.  The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door.  A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.  He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life.  He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly.  He often talked about you, and your love for art."  The young man held out his package, "I know this isn't much.  I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."

The father opened the package.  It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man.  He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting.  The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears.  He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.  "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me.  It's a gift."

The father hung the portrait over his mantle.  Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later.  There was to be a great auction of his paintings.  Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.  On the platform sat the painting of the son.  The auctioneer pounded his gavel.  "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son.  Who will bid for this picture?"  There was silence.  Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings.  Skip this one."  But the auctioneer persisted.  "Will someone bid for this painting?  Who will start the bidding?  $100, $200?"

Another voice shouted angrily, "We didn't come to see this painting.  We came to see the Van Gogh's, the Rembrandt's.  Get on with the the real bids!"  But the auctioneer continued.  "The son!  Who'll take the son?"  finally, a voice came from the very back of the room.  It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son.  "I'll give $10 for the painting."  Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

"We have $10, who will bid $20?"  The crowd was becoming angry and shouted, "Give it to him for $10; let's see the masters!"  The auctioneer pounded the gavel, "Going once, twice, sold for $10!"  Then the auctioneer laid his gavel down and announced the auction was over.

"What about the paintings?" the crowd asked.  "I am sorry.  When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will.  I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time.  Only the painting of the son would be auctioned.  Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.  The man who took the son gets everything!"