Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hungry for Truth

 This Sunday's lesson continues our study of the Prayer of Jesus.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.  John 17:17-19 (NIV)

The Word of Truth restores purity.
Sanctified: Dedicated to God; He unifies us to Himself.  We are set apart to His  service in an evil and chaotic world.
The Word of Truth gives purpose.
Jesus immersed himself in the world, His own creation, so that He could know our grief, our sorrows, our temptations.   Find your purpose?  NO!  Find God's purpose for your life. 
The Word of Truth calls us to action.
It is not enough to talk about God's plan, or pray about His plan.  We must act.  Christ carried out God's plan.  We are to do the same.

KNOW GOD AND MAKE HIM KNOWN.

God's truth does not vary from culture to culture, from age to age.
To know the truth we must be saturated in the Word.
The Bible is one of the channels through which God pours out his grace.

To be saturated in the Word:

1.  Repetition  We internalize the Word.

2  Concentration  Distraction is the order of this day and age.  Discipline ourselves.

3.  Comprehension   Thus we build knowledge of the truth.

4.  Reflection  See things from God's perspective.  Approach the word as a student, not a teacher.

Saturate so that we may bear the Word to the world.

May God's Word make clear to us the places He has called us.

May his Word, Truth, set us apart.  (Sanctify)

The religion God honors is one of action.  

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ring! Ring!

Wife's cell phone rings.  I normally don't answer it, but it was lying right beside me on the end table.

I:  Hello!

(Silence)

I: (louder) Hello!

Moron:  This is not McDonald's, is it?

I:  You got that right.

Moron: You don't have to yell.  You are a (adjectival expletive) (expletive).

I: You are an idiot, ya know that?  A complete idiot.

(End of conversation)

In the day in which I grew up and during most of my adult life when one dialed a wrong number he simply said, Sorry, I got the wrong number.  And the person who was disturbed by a call not intended for him might say, That's all right.

But what a day and age we now occupy.

And people wonder at old coots who express longings for "the good old days."

Friday, March 24, 2017

Q & A


Q:  What is wrong with this picture?  

A:  The sack is empty.  😭            

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Joy!

The Jesus joy is the answer to all your problems.

The joy of Jesus Christ goes deeper than any emotion, any circumstance.

How do I get that type of joy?
     It is found in unlikely places.  Ir is never found in any external thing.
     It is found in places you would never go alone.  It is found in places you would not go at all.

You must be willing to walk in the footsteps of Jesus!

 Joy is found in these unlikely places:
1) Submission; 2) Suffering; 3) Consecration.

1) Joy is found in submission to the Father's will.
     John 15:9-11  Obey "that your joy may be complete.

     Find joy in aligning yourself with the Father's will.  Following Christ may be difficult, but it always results in joy.  Walk willfully in the will of God.

2) Joy is found in suffering.
     John 16:20-22 Pain gives way to joy.   Christ used the illustration of the joy supplanting the pain suffered in childbirthPastor expanded on, emphasized this analogy.
Jesus was "a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief."  Yet he had such joy!
Sow in tears, reap in joy, a joy the world cannot take away.

3) Joy is found in being set apart, consecrated.
    Jesus prayed not that we would be taken from the world, but that the Father would protect us while we are in the world.  Allow Him to set a mark upon you which separates you from the world.  Be set apart to His purpose; we do not belong here.

In his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) Jesus tells us faithful followers will be despised, rejected, abused by the world.  When this happens, He said, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven."

Joy is found in an unwavering relationship with God.

Resolve to carry out the Father's will. 


Notes on sermon by
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Protect Us from the Evil One

Today's scripture: John 17: 9-15.

Preface
     Man has always wrestled with the problem of good and evil.  Here are some theories, or notiions that have been put forward from time to time.

1  We live in a random world; stuff happens.  But there are times when a very active force is at work.

2.  Evil and suffering are all in the mind.  But tell that to someone who is hurting or in pain.

3.  These evils are deserved; punishment for all the wrong things we do.  But bad things happen to good people.

4.   God is not sovereign.  His own creation is out of control.

5.  There are two warring deities, a good one vs. an evil one.  No, there is one God only.

6.  Evil is God's will.  God is love; He is just.  To say that God perpetuates evil is blasphemy.

The message:

1.  Our world does not fully understand the concept of evil, and what makes that dangerous for us is that we have grossly underestimated it.

2.  The problem of evil is real and it is near.  Pain and trouble exist; they are all around us.

3.  John Wesley referred to the devil as the one who reigns in this realm (earth).  The devil is an adversary, on the prowl; he is a pretender, feigning harmlessness. He is a thief, a murderer, and the father of lies.

4.  Jesus knows about the evil in this world.  He prayed about the issue of evil we would face.

5  Jesus prayed for our protection from the evil one.  Jesus is concerned for the safety and well-being of our soul.  He taught his disciples to pray, "deliver us from evil."

6.  Jesus gave us a promise when He said, "I told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world."  (John 16:33)

We are in the world but not overcome by it.
We are to be the Good News to the world.  Must carry the Light into darkness.
Do we carry the Good News? 

The enemy of your soul is out to get you.

Jesus's prayer is not for the world, but for those given to Him by the Father. (v. 9) He prays for our protection from the evil one!

From notes on the message by
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Aging Gracefully

Watching 40-year old sitcoms on Antenna TV.  (Baby, it's cold outside!)

Unique Home Solutions commercial, advertising their roofing system:

"How old will you be in fifty years?"

"A hundred thirty-three!" I shout with glee.  What a pick-me up, what a future!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How on Earth. . .

do the meteorologists on tv manage to turn such a small amount of information into interminable minutes of blather?  Puzzles me.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Jesus Dream

The scripture passage is John 17:1-5, Christ's high priestly, intercessory prayer.

The prayer, just prior to his arrest and crucifixion, is a glimpse into the heart of Jesus.
This is an amazing passage of scripture, a conversation between Christ and His Heavenly Father.

With Christ is this reality:  Jesus can make impossible things possible.

The glory of Christ was revealed through the Cross!
Without the cross we would never be able to see the glory of Christ.  Upon his death on the cross it was observed, "Truly this is the Son of God."  That He was the Messiah of the world was substantiated as he hung upon the cross.

Salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ who found Glory on the Cross.  Through the glory of the Cross He rescued us!  He knows what His glory costs.

The world needs to hear from those who came face-to-face with the Cross yet live in Christ.

Prayer: May God be glorified!  May my life glorify You, Lord.  May I be a disciple who brings honor to your name.

Bring me face-to-face with the reality of my need for the Christ who bore the cross.
How can I practice self-denial and bring You glory?

At no time in your life are you more like Christ than in suffering.  "Take up your cross and follow Me," Jesus said.  Glorify God and lean in to hear Him. 

Eternal life is only found through Jesus Christ who found glory in the Cross.

The Cross is fundamental to our faith.  Without the Cross we do not experience the Grace and Glory of God!

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning
   Personal conviction as I listened to the message this morning:  Taking up the Cross of Christ and following Him does not mean simply to endure suffering.  More, it means I must die to self, even as Christ died upon the cross.  Lord, help me to live in such a way as to bring honor and glory to You.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Covering of new snow this morning.  Forecast: 55o this afternoon.  That should take care of it!


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

It seems to me that when someone who is higher than we in the pecking order slips we demand that he be held to a higher moral standard than we are.  The flaw in this scenario is this: right is  right, wrong is wrong, no matter to whom the standard is applied.

Or, as it has been said,

Beware the pot calling the skillet black.