CHRISTIAN CALLER

February  2021     A WORD from OUR PASTOR

             A funny thing happen to me on the way to answering the call!  No seriously!  Nancy and I were at my in-laws house for a visit recently.  My phone rang and I stepped out the back door of their house and into the backyard to take the call and talk privately, and that is when it happened… a bird flying by overhead decided to do his business right on my head, down my face, splattering my glasses and onto my new pullover I had just gotten for Christmas. You talk about disgusting! And the worst part was I was in a somewhat lengthy and important conversation on the phone that I couldn’t just hang up on it. I had to stand there in all my messy predicament for a bit before I could go inside and get cleaned up.  And when I did go inside to get said “de-birded” so to speak, Nancy and her mom were sitting just in the door ready to crow about my misfortune, and immediately I got, “What happened to you?” thrown at me. I had to tell the whole sordid bird-tale to those two. I was a mess and I was disgusted! Yuk! Right?

            And you are probably thinking, “Why are you telling us this terrible bird-droppings story?” “Is this even appropriate for a church newsletter?” “Shouldn’t what you write in a church publication be a little cleaner… less messy?” “Come on! Really! A bird messed on your head!”  Yeah! Really!  “And oh boy, how is he going to glean some lesson for us, some spiritual truth and a newsletter article out of this disgusting thing that dropped out of the sky onto his head?”  Well, I thought about that after I got past the “Why did this happen to me?” “Well, if this isn’t just par for the course and a perfect fitting end to 2020!” and “Wow! Really!”  Perhaps the lesson is as simple as, don’t talk on your phone in the backyard, or maybe it’s be aware of your surroundings, or be careful what’s flying just over your head, or be careful whose tree you’re standing under, or maybe even you’re spending too much time on the phone. Any of those might work for worthy sage advice in this situation. But what came to my mind were Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45 where he says “it rains on the just and the unjust.”  Although in this case I didn’t know which I was… the just or the unjust. I was just pretty sure I didn’t like “bird-droppings” raining down on my head, and I’m pretty sure Jesus was talking about “rain” and not “raining bird stuff.” But then again, why not me!  The full verse of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45 says, “That you may be sons (and daughters) of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and send rain on the just and the unjust.” Now, that’s the full quote!  There really is some truth and some rich lessons for us in this… even in my “bird-dropping” experience.   It just seems that most us feel like we have had “a lot” coming down on our heads lately, and it’s messy, and a lot of it is disgusting to us, and we wonder why we are being made to go through all this, bemoaning our lot, when will this be over, I want to get in out of this and get cleaned up (Oh no, that was just me!). We look around us and we think, “I don’t deserve this!” “They (someone other than me) deserves this!” “Those in the world deserve this!” The lost deserve this! The crooked politicians deserve this! The corrupt, mean, abusers, rioters, protestors, agitators… they deserve this.  The news media deserve this!  Those who don’t fear God and profane His name, they deserve this! And sometimes we even have the mind-set that says “I hope they get what they deserve!” God forbid!

            You and I didn’t get what we deserve did we? So Jesus says, “That you may be sons (and daughters) of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and send rain on the just and the unjust.” You get what He’s saying to us? Right? A little bird reminder may fall on all of us, regardless of our estate. Those who are His… who belong to Him should show the same grace and mercy and impartial love and care that God has shown to us. The blessing of the sun each day or the raining down on our head of even bird stuff are given us without respect to our merit or deserving. An old Jewish rabbinic saying tells of the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea. The story goes, when the Egyptians were destroyed the angels began to rejoice; but God lifted up His hand and said, “The work of My hands are sunk in the sea and you would sing?”  Perhaps our own “bird-dropping” experiences are reminders from heaven in one way or another, that we often celebrate or feel vindicated in some way when “bird-mess” falls on the heads of others especially our enemies, or those we don’t like, but we feel somehow slighted when it falls on us. Maybe we need to be extending the same grace we have been shown to those around us and stop dropping stuff on their heads that we wouldn’t want dropped on ours.  Simple enough! Okay! I got it God! Thanks!  And maybe, just maybe, we as believers should be willing to take a few bird droppings so that those who don’t know Him yet don’t have too, and might come to Him in the fullness of His Son that rains down too!  God bless you! I sure feel blessed!  And, by the way, watch whose tree you’re standing under!

I love you, Bro. Buddy

 

YOUTH NEWS – Re-Mind+

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith”?” – Galatians 3: 1-5 ESV.

Have you noticed how divided the people seem today? Have you noticed the calls for unity people who have most taken advantage of the division? I have, and I would be failing the God who put me here if I didn’t at least mention the fact that the only true unity and harmony that can be found in this day and age can come from Him. And God’s people should be the example of peace, and harmony here on earth. I also believe when we are correctly focused on the grace and love of our savior; and not the disheartening troubles of this fallen world we have proven to be the one haven of unity, and decency in the world. However, many times in our history, the people of God have gotten their focus off of the truth found in Christ and on our own agendas. This has historically caused massive confusion, heresy, and has led many followers of Jesus astray. The believers in the region of Galatia were having this very problem. You see the churches in this region during this time had a substantial majority of believers in Jesus that were of Jewish origin. This was not uncommon in the early church after all, this is the world Christ himself came from. But you see here in Galatia some of the Jewish converts believed that those who were not Jewish and believe in Jesus needed to adhere to Old Testament Jewish Law in addition to believe in Jesus. Now even just reading that last sentence if you know the gospel then you see the problem here, right? It is only through Christ’s sacrifice alone and belief in Him as the risen Son of God does one come to faith, not by upholding a law that He has already fulfilled. Which is what the apostle Paul is stating here in his letter to the churches in Galatia.

But why was this an issue? This is clearly an incorrect doctrine according to teaching of Jesus and His disciple. So why did “judaizers” exist? Well, I can imagine it’s because that’s what they thought unity was, the people who are not like them becoming like them so they could be unified. The ones who look different, was raised different, had different values, they needed to conform to be a part of this movement. You see I don’t believe the struggles of today are much different. Attempting to make God into our image, instead of the other way around has been the issue plaguing humanity for a very long time. Maybe the way to unity doesn’t come from desiring others to look like us, but Jesus: and maybe it doesn’t come through conformity but rather through sacrifice. That is what Paul is drawing their attention to, Christ’s sacrifice and their mutual understanding of what He gave His life for. Therefore, it is my understanding as Christ followers that we are to continue to sacrifice for the sake of others having unity with Jesus.

Tough Questions to Reflect Upon

What ways do I try to make God into my image, instead me imaging God?

What sacrifices should I make in my life for the sake of Christ?         Trey Johnson

 

MUSIC NOTES

2021 is chugging right along. I can’t believe how quickly Easter is approaching. And speaking of Easter… yes, we have already begun rehearsals for the Easter musical “Is He Worthy?”  We would love for you to come join us – Wednesday nights at 7:30. See you there!!                            In His Name,   Nancy

 

CHILDREN’S CORNER

Our Children’s Ministry Team is excited to report about our amazing children’s programs.  AWANA’s is growing!!!  We have 20 children enrolled + 9 leaders.  We average 12 to 15 children each Wednesday night.  Our Sunday School is thriving!!!  We have the BEST preschool and school age teachers!!!  Remember to keep everyone in your prayers!

                                              Children’s Ministry Team