Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dressing for the 21st Century

It is our routine to take brunch after church on Sunday.

Sitting in the restaurant awaiting the order I commented to the Missus that I can cut the younger set some slack, they don't know any better, but what is it with old guys sitting at table with hats on?  (There were three in our section.)

To this day I remove my hat when I enter a building.  (Exception: a shopping mall or a box store.)  The idea of eating with the hat on boggles the mind.  (Okay, we have a couple guys wear their hats in church-- maybe they have some sort of religious conviction, I don't know.)

Anyway, as we were leaving after the repast, I stopped by a table where were seated three couples of whom I am acquainted with four of the people.  Passed a couple of pleasantries, turned to leave, when the old guy I did not know said to me, "You've a bit of nerve, wearing a tie in public."

Do you believe this?  I didn't, either, for a moment  A glance around the room told me that indeed mine was the only tie in sight.  Recovering, I said, "I'm an old guy; I can get away with it."

(And flashing back to the morning worship service, I believe I was the only guy with a tie in church, too.  Am I out of line here?  Or just out of step? )

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Peace to the Chaos


Scripture lesson: Luke 2:8-20

Mankind fell by disobedience in the Garden of Eden.  Fellowship with God was broken.

To effect reconciliation requires that one of the parties to the broken relationship must take the first step.  Man could not, was incapable of taking that step. 

God took the first step.  He initiated a plan for reconciliation.

1.  Christ is the giver and provider of peace, the only One who can bring peace so that we are made children of God.
     Through Christ alone there is a peace which is not merely absence of chaos, but peace amidst the chaos.

2,  Our role is to be vessels through which peace is transmitted to the world, even as Mary was the vessel through which Jesus came into the world, bringing peace.
     Peace fell on the chaos through the obedience of Mary to the Heavenly Father.
     Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers.  (Matthew 5:9)

Are we known more for our hatred than for who we love?

His invitation to peace is offered to anyone.
 Some serious questions to ask yourself.
1. Is there distance between you and your Heavenly Father?

2.  Is there someone you feel bitterness or anger toward?

3.  Is there a relationship that needs mending?

4.  Is there a people group against whom you hold judgment?

5.  Is it possible that you have withheld peace for someone?

Offering peace to the world: How well are we doing?

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning
 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hope for the Hopeless


Scripture readings: Luke 1:57-80, 3:1-20

Advent causes us to

1.  step back and remember
     a) the person of Jesus Christ;
     b) the people who surrounded Jesus, the culture that all had a part in the story;
     c) the place: the manger, the scene, the birth in complete humility;
(The Sunday School teacher asked why Jesus was born in a stable, such lowly circumstances.  Little Girl replied, "God did not want his son to be spoiled.")

2,  examine the present time in light of what we know about those times-- religious and political conflict, division, turmoil, traditions falling apart; hopelessness amid which John was born

John glared into the face of hopelessness, the culture, bringing a message of a New Day, (Chapter 3), a message of hope, a different message even than the religious of the day preached.

It is the same message we need today--
something that stands in major contrast
to what we are hearing. 
  
3.  calls us to look ahead; must not get hung up in tradition, losing sight of the message for now and the future.


We stand on the cusp of something great
  that is about to happen.

Jesus is coming soon!

It is a different message.  It actually brings hope.  Our time needs Jesus Christ, but it needs the message of John.  It is just as relevant today as it was in John's day.

John walked into the room and flipped on the light!
Hope!

 
"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." --Joel 2:32a  Hallelujah!

The message of hope to all who are in Christ Jesus, the message of hope to the world. There is a great day coming!

Produce fruit in keeping with your repentance.  (John 3)

"YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD."  --Jesus Christ

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Not Making This Up

Read a published article which contained this sentence:
They were ahead of the curb. . . 

Visualize that, if you will.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

First Things First

The final message in the series "Enough" is based on words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter six.  Jesus here begins with a discussion of worship, the elements of which are giving to the needy, prayer, and fasting.  In verses nineteen to twenty-one we read
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  (NIV)
Pursuit of earthly treasures sets up idols in our hearts and lives.
We will never find fulfillment in treasures of this world.

Materialism is backed by misconceptions:
     1.  Having more things will make me happy.
     2.  Having more things will make life easier.
     3.  Having more things will make me more secure.
               Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Materialism is the desire to gain what I do not need at the cost of what I do not have.

v. 25: Do not worry.
     40% of what we worry about never happens; 30% is about the past and cannot be changed; 10% is about health about which worry only exacerbates our problems.
Worry is useless, unhealthy for your soul.
Worry is a symptom of lack of faith.
Worry is what happens when you think you know best.
Worry is characteristic of one who does not know God.

WE ARE GOD'S CHILDREN.  He is a good Father; He knows what we need before we ask!  God is our provider.
vv.  34,35:  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

WITH CHRIST THERE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH.
Philippians 4:19:   And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
 Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning
 

SEC, pffft

Class, Julie Peoples.  But then  no doubt she was just the messenger.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Generous Life

The scripture lesson is from chapter six of Paul's first letter to Timothy.

Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

We allow money to corrupt our minds by stealing our peace.

Generosity is not just giving paper but it is giving of yourself in whatever situation a need exists. 
Pastor Amanda Blair
Sunday morning

Saturday, November 18, 2017

For What It's Worth

Old math teachers never die, they just cease to be a factor.

And they have bigger problems than that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Happiness is a kicked football


Image result for charlie brown football
"Happiness isn't funny."  --Charles Schulz, when asked why he did not let Charlie Brown kick the football.  "It would make us happy, but happiness isn't funny."

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Dealing with Debt

or, Clean-up on Aisle Five

American families are over their heads in debt.  For example, even those with the lowest net worth (zero or negative) have an average of $10,000 indebtedness.

When will we have enough?

We go into debt, perhaps, to get the kids the "things we never had as a child."  Perhaps debt is the result of impulse buying, or believing that our "wants" are "needs."
Later, the only thing we have to show for it is a stack of bills.

*Debt is not a sin.
*Debt is not a salvation issue.
*God's Word is relevant and practical to our lives.

Whether debt is for a good reason or for a bad decision, the weight of it is the same.

 *Debt enslaves us.  The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.  --Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)

*Debt must be repaid.  Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you. --Proverbs 22:26,27

*Debt costs more than you borrow.    For who, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Luke 14:28

*Debt assumes upon a future.    Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  --James 4:14

 Debt is an easy path to a harder tomorrow.  --Ron Blue

Now we turn to the scripture, II Kings 4:1-7 in which the recently widowed woman is facing the payment of her late husbands debt and has not wherewithal to pay it.  She cries out to Elisha and he responds with two questions.
1.  How can I help?   This is the miracle question.
2.  What do you have?  Check your inventory.

Jesus wants to work at the heart level.
Perhaps it is the case that debt is not the basic problem.
Maybe it is a result of lack of contentment. The need is a sense of gratitude, gratefulness and thanksgiving for what one has.
Maybe the issue is pride.  The need is humility.  It is not necessary to appear have more than the neighbor.
Perhaps the issue is  lack of freedom.  The need is breaking the bondage of a vice or addiction.

Debt may just be a symptom of a problem of the heart.
  
Once the woman in the story took a step of faith, God began to deal with the problem.  And so it will be for us.
1.  Take inventory.
2.  Set a budget.

Tell your money where to go instead of allowing money to speak for you.

GOD WANTS TO TAKE YOUR PRACTICAL EFFORT AND DO SOMETHING AMAZING WITH IT.

WORK HARD.  God designed us to enjoy work.
If you want God to bless you, get off your backside and do something.

WHEN GOD IS OUR ALL WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE ENOUGH! 

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Life of Stewardship

 The scripture lesson is Matthew 25:14-30 in which Jesus relates the parable of the rich man entrusting his goods to his servants while he was away.  The amount of wealth entrusted to each is not the point, but rather the manner in which the servants cared for the wealth.

The American dream at its inception implied that each individual might have the opportunity to make something of himself.  It has morphed into the dream of acquisition and consumption of more and more goods.

When will we have enough?
     --When we begin to choose a different kind of dream.--

How will we deal with the resources Christ has entrusted us with?
---Five principles which must drive us.--

1.  I may hold it for awhile, but God owns it all.
     --Breaks the chains of selfishness.  We are not entitled:  it is all God's who has decided to bless us with it for awhile.

2.  My faithfulness cannot be dictated by the amount I have.
     --Must practice faithfulness in the "little"  which will be amplified in the "much."

3.  If I fear losing it all, eventually I will.

4.  True blessing is not when I have something, but when I give something.
     --God blesses us that we might bless others.

5.  For me to have enough, Christ must be my All.
     --Note that the happiness of the servants (v. 23) is not in the things with which they are entrusted, but in sharing the happiness of the Master!

Happiness is not based on what we possess.

It is good to have money and the things money can buy--
But check yourself:  make sure you have not lost the things money cannot buy.

Again:  To have enough, Christ must be my All!
 
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Thursday, November 2, 2017

True Love

Mrs. W:  Who put the "True  Love" frame around our picture?"

I:  I did.

She:  That's sweet.  We do put up with each other."

I:  Is that your definition of true love-- putting up with each other?

She:  Mmm. Yes.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Steadiness in the Storm

I waited patiently for the Lord;
and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay,
and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God:
many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:1-3

1.  He leaned in to help me.
2.  He established my steps.
3.  God wants to take your burdens and give you a reason.

God will take your burdens for prayers and give you praises for what he has done.

In Matthew 14 we read the account of the disciples in a boat in the storm, Jesus walking toward them on the water.  Peter at first in trust walks toward Jesus, looks down, in fear begins to sink.

If in the storm you are afraid it is because you are looking at the wrong thing.
(Fear always tries to overthrow faith.)

Take courage; do not be afraid.  Any storm or battle in your life is under His feet.  He is walking with you.  He is in the storm with you!  Do not believe the lies of the enemy who says you are alone.

Do the next right thing in this moment.

God will always show up on time.  Maybe not your time, but the right time.

  
Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. --Psalm 17:5  David trusted God.  You trust Him, too.  Cede control to Christ.  Trust Him.
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Footnote: Saturday evening the Missus and I went to a high school performance of "Getting Away With Murder" in which our grandson, Alex, played the role of Dr. Bering.  The crux of the matter, or so it seemed to me, was that the doctor had assembled a bunch of patients for group therapy, the seven patients representing each of the seven deadly sins.  The doctor proposed via notes they found (he was already dead) that he had identified the eighth deadly sin, even greater and more powerful than the combine of the other seven.  We extrapolate that he himself represents this eighth sin, for it is 

Control: the sin of playing God.

How, if at all, does this mesh with the Sunday morning sermon?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Are You All In?

The critical question closing the "All In" sermon series;

Are you all in for Jesus?

Deuteronomy 6:5-7
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

Jesus demands an "all in"commitment.

If your loyalty is divided you will have a problem in your Christian life. 

You are called to let your life be totally His.
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Bob Warr's takeaway:  If you are halfway in you are all the way out.


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.  😭