Sunday, October 15, 2017

Serve

Truncated sermon notes

"Fear the Lord and serve Him."  --Deuteronomy 10:20

Mythunderstandings about serving.

     1. To serve means to volunteer.  Not so.
     2. To serve is a type of physical labor.  Never too old nor incapacitated to serve.  Prayer, e.g.
     3. To serve means short-term mission trips.  Often the "missionary" is served more than others.
     4. To serve means random acts of kindness. Even non-Christians practice this.  Everyone should be kind.

These are all things we can do to make us feel better about ourselves.  True service implies self-denial.

Service is a two-sided coin.  It is a passion for God and true compassion for others.

Are you worshiping God with your best or with your least?  See. Genesis 3: Abel and Cain.

 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  --Romans 12:1

Ask yourself
     1.  What am I willing to sacrifice in order to serve God better?
     2.  What consumes my passions and energy?
     3.  How would I describe my offering of worship?
     4.  Do I work hard to serve my own agenda or the needs of others?
     5.  Am I serving God by offering my best?

Pastor spoke of the Last Supper, of Jesus service by washing the feet of the disciples and many other pertinent things.  The best laugh was evoked by the question, "Would you make a reservation for 26 so that your entire party can sit on one side of the table?"

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning


Friday, September 22, 2017

Believe It

Add to the stupid criminals list:

Yesterday, fifteen-year old girl a couple counties over made a meeting arrangement to sell marijuana.  Customers, two young men, stole her drugs and absconded with same.

She called the police on them.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Comfortably Well-to-do

It'd take a mere six- or seven hundred people kicking in a hundred nine bucks apiece to ensure my financial peace.  But do go ahead and enroll in the FPU classes-- Ol' Dave needs the money.
Related image

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Why old people

waste food.

Grocery shopping.

Milk, 1/2 gallon = $2.39

Milk,    1 gallon = $!.99

You can't make this stuff up. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Not Easy At All

Bob (attempting to write a paragraph): What's the word for people you don't know?  It won't come to me.

Mrs. W:  Strangers?

Bob:  That's it!  That'll work  (continues writing)


Increasingly the story of my life.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Too Easy

HRC's new book What Happened? was recently released.  In two words

She lost.

Just saved you eighteen bucks.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ain't it Funny?


Related image


While we were eating lunch a few moments ago, Narvel Felts came on the background music singing, "Ain't it funny how time slips away?"

I listened for awhile, turned to Mrs. W and said, "Looking back at age 83, it ain't so darn funny.  Where did it go?"

The tear still dampens the side of my nose.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Church is Jesus' Hot Mamma

Snippet from Johnnie Blair's message, Sunday morning.

https://www.facebook.com/trinityweschurch/videos/1633612520004257/

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Barney Miller

Wojciehowicz reads description of the missing horse:  Brown eyes, brown hair, about six foot three, weighs 1200 pounds.

(Twinkle in his eye)   How about we don't tell them its a horse, Barn?

Barney: We better tell them; they might find someone.

Oh, man.  I loved that show.  Always cracks me up.


(Catch it Sunday nites on antenna tv.)

 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Forward Thinking


Philippians 3:12 - 4:1.  Paul continues his admonition to the church at Philippi.

Religious practices will not save.  Only through faith are we saved.

God changes lives.
Christ offers transforming power to develop the image of God within you.

Don't look back.
Remember Lot's wife. (Luke 17:32)

 Image result for lot's wife don't look back

God delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
Yet they moaned, Let us return to Egypt.
 They were in bondage to their bondage.

PRESS ON TO THE THINGS BEFORE YOU.
DON'T LOOK BACK.

The Prize:  Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Seek His face; become what He wants you to be. 

Leave the things of the world behind and run to Me. --Jesus

Our citizenship is in Heaven.
Don't forget who you are in Christ Jesus.
Don't forget whose you are.

DON'T SETTLE FOR LESS WHEN GOD IS OFFERING HIS BEST!

Pastor's declaration over us:
You will stop listening to the voices of the world.
You will listen to the Voice of the One that matters,
The One who needs you; 
He who gave Himself for you.

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Flesh or Faith

Continuing our reading in the letter of Paul to the Philippian Church, 3:1-11

Old Testament righteousness is based on the individual's ability to keep the Law.

Heard of "The Ten Commandments"?  The first four keep the people in right standing with God; the next six are directed to keeping one in right standing with people.  But the religious leaders expanded on the commandments, building rule upon rule that had to be followed in order not to break the commandments.  This ultimately resulted in 613 commandments.  Who can live without breaking one or some of those?  Paul, apparently, for he tells us that "all these he kept from his youth up."  His point?  He was more religious than all who might read this.

Jesus boiled the entire law down to two commandments, namely, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul; and Love your neighbor as yourself.

No matter how good one is at keeping rules it does not make him holy.

Confidence in the flesh will always be one of man's greatest temptations.

Pastor asserted that he was more religious than most of us.  He illustrated this by his testimony to his upbringing, the thousands of hours he had spent in church as a child, even the fact that as a home-schooled lad his primary textbook was the Bible.  But ultimately

Religion is empty calories that will leave you empty.

Confidence in the flesh will always end in condemnation
But
Faith in Christ will always result in GRACE.

Pastor continued, "I know Christ is enough!"

God is interested in the HEART, not in our ability to keep a set of rules.

RELIGION VS. FAITH

Religion is about the Law,
Faith is about the Heart.

Religion fosters Fear
Faith fosters HOPE.
Perfect Love casts out all fear.
Religion builds barriers
Faith breaks down Walls.

Religion eats away at community
Faith edifies the Body!

Religion creates legalistic lists
Faith brings about true righteousness!

Religion always leaves you empty
Faith will make you FULL!

Faith in Jesus Christ is all that is required.

He is risen from the dead
who died to bring you life!

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning  


 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Chicken House

Suppose the rooster spends his days and half his nights plucking the feathers from his hens, pecking them mercilessly whilst he ignores the fox that came in through the knothole in the wall.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cause and Effect


A 19-year-old was killed after police say he was shot in the head during a party Sunday morning.

Happened in a nearby cityA true tragedy when a young person loses his life at the hands of another  young person.  I would never make light of this horrendous event.

However, whoever wrote the above banner needs to be called out.  Does it suggest that had the police not said he was shot in the head he would not have been killed?  Or what?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Are you a GOOD friend?

The scripture lesson is from Philippians 2:19-30 in which Paul, adjuring the Church to "be like Christ" is commending Timothy and Epaphroditus to them.

"Until your heart breaks for people you will never know what it means to love them."

     "If you ever feel alone it is your own fault."

We must become people people.
 "People are always looking for messes.  God is looking for people."
--Dallas Willard

People must be our highest priority.  We need characteristics like Timothy and Epaphroditus who were
1.  Christlike.
2.  Team players
3.  Genuinely concerned for others
4.  Loyal to others
5.  Acting out of compassion. (As opposed to the natural impulse to criticism and judgment.

What if you lived out this model?
Are you a GOOD friend?
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

At the Fair


 
Many potential comments come to mind.  I'll leave it to you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

We Are in This Together

The lesson is a continuation of the letter of Paul to the Philippians.

When you are down, turn your thoughts to what you can do for others.

In your suffering Christ is with you.

The Church must expect cultural and social push back.  What is much more harmful to the Church is dissension from within.

In the fog of war there are many casualties caused by friendly fire.

The Church does more damage to itself than it receives from external forces.
 We are sometimes so busy messing with each other that we lose sight of what God is trying to do.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit; One God, gave His Church a seat at the table and invited us into Oneness with Him.  [See Acts chapter two.]

The Church was born to reflect the same unity that is in God.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself--  before you wreck all of us.
Tenderness and compassion before
meanness and a critical spirit.

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Thing or a Spoof?

Just saw a commercial.  For just two payments of $19.95 + SH get your Trumpy Bear now!

That is a joke, right?  I mean, That is a joke!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Day Disco Died

July 12, 1979:  The day disco died.  I decline to rewrite a tale that has already been well told.  Check it out if you ever cared about disco.

 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/disco-is-dealt-death-blow-by-fans-of-the-chicago-white-sox


Sunday, July 9, 2017

To Live is Christ

 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  --Philippians 1:21

Most people find this offensive, for to them, "To live is me, and to die is loss."

Death is not gain for to live is me.  Therefore, Paul's statement is offensive, makes no sense.

David Brooks in his book, The Road to Character, speaks of Adam 1, the man characterized by what he calls "resume virtues."  We focus mostly on these virtues, building the characteristics that would be noted on a resume, achievements, accomplishments, temporal goals, etc.

Brooks then turns to Adam 2, the man characterized by "eulogy virtues."  These would be the things we would want to be remembered by, our character, our caring, the qualities that made us worthy of remembering.

Paul spent his entire life writing his own eulogy.  He was not worried about advancing his resume, but rather about advancing the cause of Christ.

We must get to this point:  Think not what people want you to be, but what God wants you to be.

Many of us are characterized by pride and stubbornness:  What makes me feel good even at the expense of anyone else.

Pride and stubbornness must be replaced by humility and submission.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

One who is humble must be aware of his own weaknesses and of his own strengths.
Usually a self-aware person is humble.

The truly humble person is sure of who God wants him to be.

To be where God wants you to be you must be submissive, fully submitted to God's will.

What is God's will for you?  That you strive to bring about his Kingdom.

The cause of Christ is the only cause that counts.

All that Paul had was given to God.  "I will live for Christ; I will die for Christ."
Your career is not your purpose.
Christ and Christ alone is your purpose.
To live is Christ.  To be a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, is Christ.

All are called to bringing about the Kingdom of God.
What is your job?  How does Christ want to use that in the advancement of His kingdom?

You choose a career.  Your calling is a vocation.  One who is called will do it for free for a lifetime if necessary.

You are never able to be sure what to live for until you are sure of what is worth dying for.
Be Thou My Vision 
 Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Friday, July 7, 2017

Day-O

Daughter called and asked me to take her to Indy for a dental appointment.  "We'll need to leave by six in the morning."

"There is no six in the morning," I quipped.  But of course I took her.  Verified my statement, too.  I got up and got ready, drove up in front of her door at 5:59 a.m.

There is a six in the evening, and a six at night, but no six in the morning. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Local Paper Tops . . .

The front page headline:


The continuation:
 




Headline writers, take note.  Top these, if you can.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Er a er er

Ordered the broiled chicken.  Stringy bird must have died in a cock-fight.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

ComMENd Yourselves


The scripture lesson is 2 Corinthians 6:1-13. an exhortation of Paul to the church at Corinth.
A Fathers' Day celebration of true masculinity, not the masculinity perpetuated by modern culture, the sexual, domineering, he-man caricature of manhood portrayed in the media.

Commend ourselves to others.  Commend: sit together, stand  near, introduce.  "This guy is worthy."

Grace is the foundation for true masculinity. to be commendable before others.  You may be the only Bible an observer reads.

Grace is God's influence over you to become a true man.
1.  Grace allows us humility and power.
    Even in trying to be the best man one can be, grace gives one humility that others may not stumble.

And grace gives not only humility but power-- the power of godly influence.

How are you influencing others around you? 

2.  True masculinity is both tough and soft: not either/or but both/and.
True masculinity overcomes, it is bold in Christ, tough.  But it is also kind and caring, soft in sincere love.

3.  True masculinity is consistent no matter the circumstances.
Whether the wind is in the sails or buffets against us, masculinity is consistent.

4,  True masculinity is affectionate.
As verse 11 indicates, it is to speak with an "open heart" as to ones children.
To commend oneself, be affectionate.  As God loves us, we are to love others.

Call to discipleship:  Men, can you commend yourselves?

Do I live a life that is commendable?
 
Pastor Chris Ellis
Sunday morning

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

And where do we eat on Saturday?

"Okay, what if the Cathy family became Adventists?

 Sure, they'd be open Sundays, but they'd have to change the name to Veg-fil-A."
--Church Curmudgeon

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Super Powers

On the other hand, some of us are not still young, Marcus. In point of fact, we despair of ever achieving super power status. It is sufficient to be able to rise, shower and dress; to then place one foot in front of the other, to find the coffee pot and a mug. Fly? I think not. In the dreams and fantasies of our youth, we moved the earth, we conquered worlds. We are fortunate indeed to have lived a life in which we did not provide serious impediment to the progress of society. "Lead, follow, or get out of the way". Some of us exercised sufficient "powers" to stay out of the way.

We, too, merit recognition.

Cartoon: Foxtrot by Bill Amend

[Thanks to STSTT, 2010.]

Sunday, May 14, 2017

#Adulting --4

Still in II Peter 1:6
     ". . . giving all diligence, add to your faith goodness; and to goodness knowledge; And to knowledge self-control; and to self-control perseverance. . ."

"Adulting is sorta like doing what you have to do when you don't feel like it."  --JB











   feelings






"x" the point at which faith crashes into the descent
of the emotional high.



faith

Pastor drew a graph in which "feelings" are represented by a descending line while the growth of faith is indicated by the line along the bottom of the chart.  (His artwork much better than mine.)

The "x" represents the point at which a decision must be made:  Do I give up or go on?
Many settle; inadvertantly give up; the heart grows cold.

But
Something else is possible.  This is where perseverance starts, faith grows.  Bad things in our lives still happen but we continue to grow in faith and over time faith is off the chart!

God works in you.
Through perseverance our zeal and passion begin to ride on faith instead of riding on our feelings.

The ultimate gift we find in the midst of our faith:

 JOY!
In time your faith will be off the chart!

The joy of the Lord is your strength.
Our relationship with Christ is not based on everything going right, but on faith.   

Purpose to go on.

God's got this.  So you got this.

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning 

                                                                          

Friday, May 12, 2017

I Had a Thought Five Seconds Ago

Teflon brain.  A million thoughts slide across my cerebral cortex; virtually nothing sticks.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wherefore Art Thou, Ducky?

Bam!   Herk comes storming through his back door.  I can hear him growling before he reaches the edge of my yard.

"That woman!  My rubber duckies were not on the rim of the tub this morning.  I looked in the cabinets and drawers.  Nope.

"At breakfast I said, 'Tildy, do you know where my rubber duckies are?'

"'Yes,' she said.  'It is so silly for a grown man to keep rubber ducks in his tub.  I gave them to the neighbor kids.'

"Can you believe it?"  Herk fumed.  "I know it is silly to keep rubber duckies in my tub.  That's the point!"







Sunday, May 7, 2017

#Adulting --3

Still in II Peter, chapter 1.
     ". . . giving all diligence, add to your faith goodness; and to goodness knowledge;
 And to knowledge self-control. . ."

 Further, we read from Romans 7:15-24  Paul's plaint, "Oh, wretched man that I am. . ."

When life gets out of control we sometimes find ourselves inwardly out of control.
     Substances, activities, attitudes we hang onto, not because we want to but because we can't help it.

These may be areas out of control in your life, but
     You can participate in the divine nature of Jesus Christ.  He will conform you to control when you submit to His will!

"Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more."   (Romans 5:20)

We must give God control; ask the Holy Spirit to give us a better sense of self-control.
We must place ourselves in God's hands.

We will have power over our flesh only if
we submit to the power of the Holy Spirit.

We have self-control when the Holy Spirit lives within!

1  Acknowledge that there are things over which you do not have control.
2. There are things over which you have lost control
3. Ask God for forgiveness.  Ask God for freedom.
4. Allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. 

Live like you got it!







Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Sunday, April 30, 2017

#Adulting --2

Still in II Peter, chapter 1.  Verse 5:  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

Information is not the same as knowledge.

Experience is not the same as knowledge.

Take information and experience and marry them to find knowledge.
Where information meets experience is where we find Jesus Christ.
 Commit to be more like Jesus.  Grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Take responsibility for growing in the Word.

God invites us to the table.  Some are declining the invitation.

  Commit to learning about Jesus.  Study the Scriptures daily, asking yourself

1.  What does it say?
2.  Why does it matter?
3.  How should I live differently today because of what I just read? 

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morniing 

 https://hurstrobert.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/x-jesus-invites-everyone-to-the-table.jpg
 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Withdrawal

Antsy.  Man, I miss watching that giraffe pace around and around her cage.  ^_^

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Meme Clarification

This meme is going around.  Isn't it the sweetest thing?

 "As your mother I promise that I will always be in one of three places.

"In front of you to cheer you on, behind you to have your back, or next to you so you are not walking alone," she said. 
 End meme

As your dad, I'd like to clarify my position.  "I will always be in one of three places. 

"In front of you to pull your chain, behind you to kick your butt, or next to you to keep track of where you are."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#Adulting --1

Adulting:  Growing up is scary.  Growing up is important.

     Hebrews 5:12 We need to give up existing on milk alone but get into the strong meat (of the Word).  Growth in age gives wisdom and discernment.

It is important to take seriously the call of God to grow up in faith.
If you are the same person you were a year ago, there is no growth.

We are designed such that in our relationship with Jesus Christ we begin to look like him, to act like him.

Peter says we need to add to our faith.  We must be able to step into the role Christ intends for us.

              The scripture lesson is I Peter 1:3-11

We are to add to our faith goodness.   Purpose in your heart  to be like Jesus.  Take on the nature and characteristics of goodness.

When the Holy Spirit imparts a Jesus spirit within you you begin to act naturally like Jesus.

Be so in tune with the divine nature within that you act naturally as Christ would act.

We no longer have to be intentional in our acts-- they come naturally.

We pick up the characteristics of those we hang out with.

Do you really want to be like Jesus?  
Are you willing to do what it takes?  Then,
    1.  commit to grow.   (pray)
    2. open your heart.   (pray)
    3. surrender to Christ's will.  (submit)  

The closing song:  "I Surrender All"

(Editor's note:  It is encouraging to hear the Lordship of Jesus Christ and submission to His will taught freely and forcefully from the pulpit.) 
Notes on message by
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

And the Lord said

Dear Lord, please take away this knee pain so I can get these chores done.  I've asked repeatedly for healing, but that seems not to be your will.  So relief, at least.  Please!

"I've sent you seven unsolicited calls from knee-brace vendors this week alone and you keep hanging up on them.  Oh, and five Facebook cures."

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Good News and Good News

BAD NEWS:  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:23).

General:  All have sinned.
Categories, sinners
     1.  Criminal:  overt lawbreaker.   Must get honest. 
     2.  Pharisee:  Thinks he's above sin; self-righteous.  Must get humble.
     3.  Hypocrite: Fake; inside a wreck. Doesn't want anyone to see, not real with people. Must get real.
 GOOD NEWS:  "God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were yet still sinners, Christ died for us."  (Romans 5:8)

BAD NEWS:  "For the wages of sin is death."  (Romans 6:23a)
     Relationships are destroyed; we earn what we deserve.

GOOD NEWS:  "The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 6:23b)
     Get honest, get humble, get real.

GOOD NEWS AND MORE GOOD NEWS:

"If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with you mouth that you profess your faith and are save.  Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord is saved." (Romans 10:9-10, 13)

The enemy trains us to buy into only the bad news.

Jesus rose from the dead, defeated death.  "lt is the day that He called the death out of me." (JB)
Grace goes so much farther than my sin.

Grace goes farther, deeper, wider than anything in your life.

 Pastor Johnnie Blair 
(and the Apostle Paul)
Resurrection Sunday morning
 
 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Scrabble

Celebrating National Scrabble Day!


But then, we play quite often.  As it happened, this was a very difficult and low-scoring example of our efforts.  But always challenging, always fun.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

About Heaven

Concluding his prayer, John 17:24, Jeaus prays, " “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world."

This expresses the heart of Jesus' desire.  He really, really, really, really, really, wants you to make it!

Heaven transcends our wildest dreams and imaginings.  What do we know about Heaven?

We know Jesus is there!  Heaven is not about the real estate, but the relationship.
Love is a constant reality.  The Father loved Jesus before the creation of the world.  His love is constant.  Constant kindness, unending, uninterrupted.

Hope is no longer needed.  Hope helps us cope now.  Hope is a dream not yet a reality, but then when the reality appears hope is unnecessary.
Glory is on full display.  We see a glimpse of glory through the cross and the resurrection, but then there will be no darkness.  Why?  Because Jesus is there! 
Believers are there! John 3:16 "Whosoever believes. . . "  John 17:24 "Those you have given me to be with me and to see my glory. . . "

There will be those in Heaven whom we did not expect to see there.
But-- There will be those we expected there who will be in hell and that is terrifying!  

His presence in you in your life right now is a deposit of being with Him in Heaven.  The love of God is a constant in your life.  Let the glory of God be revealed in your life.

Ask Him to lead and guide.  Seek gain for God's kingdom, not for yourself.

His love never sways.  This Palm Sunday think of Christ entering Jerusalem.  He came into the city bearing the hope that could save them all.

His constant love is ready to supply an eternal hope for everyone.

HE PUT HIMSELF UPON THE CROSS THAT HIS GLORY MIGHT SHINE THROUGH US.

IN HEAVEN ALL WE HOPED FOR WILL BE IN OUR GRASP.  HOPE REALIZED BECAUSE JESUS IS THERE.

INSTEAD OF TRYING TO HAVE ALL THE RIGHT ANSWERS, GET THE ONE ANSWER RIGHT.

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Thursday, April 6, 2017

See You in the Funny Pages

I read a select though small catalog of comic strips in the daily paper.  I learned this from my father way back in the '40s when he told me, "The only things you can believe in the newspaper are the funnies."

Sadly, things have not improved in that regard.  I still rely on the comics.  A recent example in Scott Adams' "Dilbert."

Asok:  I can't tell  if you are wise or lazy.

Wally:  I know.  It took me years to find that sweet spot.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

That They May Be One

or, How to get along and keep the main thing the main thing.
 
Continuing with the prayer of Jesus, John 17:20-23 in which the Lord presents His petition to the Father for unity of believers with one another, with Himself, and with the Father
  • Christian unity is based on our shared life in Jesus Christ.
  • Christian unity is based on our shared life through faith in Christ through the apostolic witness to Him.
  • Christian unity is important because it is a major factor in our witness to the world.
  • Christian unity is expressed by believers' common love and common mission.
 With 40,000 denominations and innumerable non- and inter- denominational bodies it is critical that Christians act in unity to promote the gospel message.
  • God did not get a prize when he took me.  He didn't get one when he took you, either.
We must pray for one another and pray, as Jesus did, for the bond of unity in Christ.

We must not compromise the essential elements of the gospel.  They are belief in
  • the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
  •  the total divinity and the total humanity of Jesus Christ
  • the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus
  • the Second Coming of Christ
  • salvation only by God's grace through faith.
These define the Christian, his membership in the body of Christ.  We should act in unity with all who believe and teach these principles.  Other differences are unimportant.

Man has done his best to thwart Christ's prayer.  The Christian must pray as He did, follow in his footsteps.
  • We should be praying for unity in the Body of Christ.
  • Pray for individuals and organizations who are stepping out and doing what God commanded in terms of unity without compromising essential biblical truth.
  •  Pray for other believers in your world who are living for Christ in their world. 
  • Finally, ask God to use you as a vessel in your local church, in your family, and in your world to be a person who builds unity rather than dissension.  
We tend to be blind, and to be blind to our blindness.

Think others have quills? You have quills, too.
Guest speaker Rob Cochrane
Sunday morning

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Small engines and Big governments

If it is running a little rough, dismantle it.  If you can't put it back together, oh, well, it wasn't running right anyway.

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.

Monday, February 27, 2017

News. Really?

Monday night,  news reader presents the "most talked about story" of the day.  Turns out to be a non-story, something  about a "mistake" at  the Oscars presentation the previous evening.  "Someone will  have to be held  accountable. . ." 

The considered "opinion" of the news  agency seems  to be  that  the Academy is likely to sever  its relationship with Pricewaterhouse.  Well, of course.  There's accountability for you, is it not?

I propose a different take on the whole thing.  It was Hollywood, right?  The whole thing was a carefully orchestrated and well-acted farce designed to extend unwarranted attention of the country to the tedious annual self-congratulatory mess.

ho-hum

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Vision

 Today's lesson is taken from the Sermon on the Mount, the greatest sermon ever preached, as spoken by Jesus Himself.  Text reading Matthew 5:13-16.

Pastor spoke  about the phenomenon of "mission drift" in the church which he said occurs when the focus becomes the self rather than Jesus.  

Jesus said "You are salt. . ."  This addresses the practicality of  being  a believer in Jesus.
A believer is down-to-earth, useful, approachable.  Are you the type people want to be around because you make things better?  Are you good for others?

Jesus said, "You are light. . ." This asserts that we have the answer: hope for the world even if  the world does not realize it needs the light.  Good people who do not know Jesus have a problem.  It is not enough to be a good person.  One must come to know Christ.

Our actions  must bring honor and glory to God.

Five things we at Trinity believe.

     1.  We  believe Trinity is here for people who are not here yet.   We must operate like we believe this.
     2.  We believe we  exist to see people begin and grow in their relationship with Jesus.  
     3.  We believe we are a place where broken people belong,  a place where broken people find belonging and healing.
     4.  We believe people will choose to follow Christ if they see and experience authentic Christian living.  The world is hungry to see what is real.  If they see authentic Christians they will want to know what Jesus has for them.
     5.  We believe that we are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus such that we bridge the gap between the world and God.

INVEST IN PEOPLE'S LIVES!

 If you have no friends outside the church, go find some.
Do your neighbors know you love them?
There are  approximately 10,000 unchurched people in the county.

Invite someone!

Connecting people with Jesus only works if each individual participates.

The people we are called to connect with Jesus are those around us.

Will they be able to see our transformed lives?  Give God the glory.

 Ask yourself, How can  I be a practical evangelist in everyday life?

Pastor Johnnie Blair
 Sunday morning


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Robocall # *&^%

Phone:  Get the phone! (I see it is a 210 area code.)

I:  Hello!

Perky Female Voice:  This is your last and final notice. . .  (Last and final.  Wow!  That sounds like Armageddon.)

I:  Good!  I am glad you won't be calling anymore.  (But the robot voice goes on and I hang up.)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Celebrate!

Today is Birthington's washday.  Mine, too.  Wednesday is Washington's Birthday.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Have any Giants?

The scripture lesson is from I Samuel 17 which relates the encounter of the Isrealites with the Philistines in which David ultimately dispatches the Giant, Goliath.

No matter what giants you have in your life,  no matter what sins encumber you, try this formula for overcoming them.

1To become a giant killer I must identify the character defining moments in my life.
      When the desires of the heart come to the fore, we must always pick a side.

2.  Learn to see what God sees.
     Sin is  too big for you to handle is a lie of the enemy.  Whatever you face, it is nothing to what God can do.  Nothing can defeat you so long as you see what God sees.  Call sin what it is.

3.  Believe in my heart that God is able to deliver me.
     Begin to change, with God's help, and build on successes.  David killed both the lion and the bear before he slew Goliath.  Rather than to be seized by fear, believe that God is able.

                   God will make a way!

4.  Give God the credit and the glory for every victory.
      David placed Goliath's sword in the tabernacle, gives glory to God rather than to himself.  In chapter 21 we see the priest returning the sword to David.

What the devil wanted to use to destroy you will  one day be turned on him.

The Holy Spirit aligns my thinking with His so that I may see what God sees.
I am a child of the Living God.
This giant shall have no power over me.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper. --Isaiah 54:17 (Read the entire verse.)

 The ultimate goal is not just to kill giants but you will, over time, become a Person after God's own heart!  Then there is nothing that can defeat you.
  Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sinema?

Just heard on the news about a new phenomenon: Netflix cheating.

Run!  The relationship was doomed before it started.

What is the matter with people?  Don't answer that.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Anger

The scripture lesson is 2 Samuel 11, which is the same passage that has been used throughout this series on the deadly sins.

Anger is an emotional response to something that causes emotional hurt or pain.

Anger is not necessarily a sin.  It may stimulate a desire to see justice done; a desire to right a wrong.
But,
Anger has a dangerous side, a sinful side.

Anger is called one of the seven deadly sins for a reason.  It is the one that is called forth to defend us when we are called out for one of the other deadly sins.  
When one is called out for a wrong behavior, anger comes to his rescue.

Most terrifying: anger may wear different faces such as rage or violence.

**Anger covers up for something that is going wrong within.**

Anger very rarely admits to wrong-doing.  When we are called out we are guilty, offended, and insulted.

In anger we will push away that which we should cherish most.  It is the denial of a truth at the expense of another person's pain.

Passive aggression is not less deadly than open hostility, and sometimes it is more damaging.

Anger never affects only the target, but others as well.

Some symptoms of sinful anger:  sarcasm, foul language, the silent treatment, course  joking. 

Anger is a control issue.  We want to be in control.  Anger reflects a need  for control.  Sequentially it is followed by a desire for vengeance.

      [Pastor related that anger in his own household is characterized as "intense moments of fellowship."]

In surrender to God we find release from anger.

Give up your anger and in return find forgiveness and peace.

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Bullies: Envy and Greed

A bully becomes an internal voice.  "Do I measure up?"

Our desires are bullies within.

Envy and Greed are bullies.
     Envy: the feeling of discontentment aroused by desire for others possessions or situations.
     Greed: the desire to acquire or possess more than one needs.  (See James 4)

We try to accumulate possessions, power, authority.  When we compare our situation with others the bullies within tell us we are not quite good enough.

Instead of rejoicing with others, we wish we were in their position.

In First Samuel 18 we see envy bullying Saul.  He begins to keep a close eye on David.  He is envious of the praise and adulation David receives; Saul is greedy of the throne.  He is so driven by envy and greed that he determines to kill David.  Envy and greed ultimately destroyed Saul.

David, too, was bullied by envy and greed.  (Refer back to Second Samuel 11 and last week's message.)
     --Sin will always take you farther than you want to go.
     --Sin will always cost you more than you want to pay.
     --Sin will stay longer than you ever planned.

OUT OF THE WAY OF DUTY; IN THE WAY OF TEMPTATION.

The problem with envy and greed is that  one will never have enough.

Symptoms of the discontent of envy and greed.
     1.  Consistent restlessness.  Underestimating the self, overestimating others.
     2,  Materialism.  Want more  of  the best.  Oh, the joy when others covet what you have!
     3,  Accumulation of debt.  Results in pain and humiliation.
Many are beaten down by these three symptoms

Make a commitment to keep these three things in mind.  Write them down if need be.
     1.  I am who I am.  It is not about possessions, but about character of heart.  Stop playing the comparison game.
     2.  I have what I  have. Be content in whatsoever state you are in.  (Philippians 4)  To want  more of what others  have is to assume God made  a mistake.
     3.  Lord, help me to give back all that I have been given.  The consequence of envy and greed  is to lose everything; the cure is to give it away.  Watch the blessings  of God flow over your life beyond measure!
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sexual Sin

As was last week's sermon, today's message is based on II Samuel chapter 11.
Looking at the scripture and reviewing David's lust and sexual sin we note these cracks in the man's character.
1.  Becoming desensitized  II Samuel 5:13 we note David is building his harem.
2,  Carelessness Sometimes we see inadvertently, but taking a second look is  careless.
3.  Obsession David allowed his assessment to become an obsession, which resulted in
4.  Ungodly actions 

Practical application
     1.  Do not  trust yourself.  David fell,  anyone can fall.  David is a warning.
     2.  Build hedges around your marriage, or around your purity if you are single.
          Accountability partners are hedges against sinful behaviors.
     3.  Force yourself to consider the consequences of sin.  Consequences do not go away with repentance.  The rest of the book of II Samuel is riddled with the consequences of David's sin.
Read Psalm 51 which is David's plea for restoration.

Weeds grow where the grass is thin or nonexistent. 

When one is out of the way of duty, he is in the way of temptation.

Take the energy of lust and put it toward your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Rob Cochrane, guest speaker
Sunday morning

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Football? If You Say So.

A testimony to how bad all  the other  teams  in the NFL must be.  How did  it happen  that both  the NFC and  the AFC championship games were so lopsided?  If those were the four best  teams. . .

I don't  care  if the  final  score is 3-0 or 49-48,  it  is  supposed  to  be  interesting, riveting, a chance right  to  the end  that  either  team may be  the victor.

What a total waste  of my time last Sunday. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Over-indulgence

Scripture lesson 2 Samuel 11:1.  King David stays in Jerusalem while the troops go to  battle.

David  looked  on Bathsheba and self-indulgence led  to over-indulgence and  to  adultery and  murder.

David had a life-long woman  problem  and a  lack  of  restraint.  He embraced it.

Over-indulgence is more than a physical thing, it is a spiritual flaw.
It is idolatry in  which one turns to self-gratification instead of God.

Self-indulgence looks like a lot  of different things: lust, gluttony, greed.

After self-indulgence defeat hangs like  a heavy weight around the neck.

We believe we will find happiness in indulgence, but
Happiness comes  not from earthly pleasure but  from God.

Self-control is freedom; gluttony is bondage.
Self-control comes  from God.  It  creates a space in which we  enjoy the presence of God.

There is no excess with Jesus.   One cannot have too much of God.

*Give thanks.
*Memorize scripture.
*Stay active; not just physically, which is good, but spiritually.  Pray and  read your Bible.

What is consuming me?  Is it God? 
  

Pastor Joe  Deckard
Sunday morning

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Game of the Day

Today's game seems to be guessing  and  lining up who will attend  the  inauguration and  who won't.

Let the record show that I shall not be  in  attendance.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Sin of Pride


The Scripture: James 4:1-10  (NIV)

Submit Yourselves to God

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”[c]
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Most sin begins with pride.
  • Obvious pride
  • Subtle pride
  • Deadly pride, which includes pretense to humility.  
 Low self-esteem is just pride inverted: One sets the standard so high he cannot achieve it.

In II Samuel 12 we see Nathan calling David out for his sin.  "You are the man."  David was so prideful he did not recognize his own sin.  Deadly pride.

Pride makes everyone sick except the one who has it.

Have a pride problem?
1.  Give God his throne back.  (Daniel 19:23)
2.  Crucify the carnal nature.   Cannot do this on your own: let the Holy Spirit into your life.

Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus Christ.

Brief notes on the sermon of 
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning