Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bless Me Lord

The scripture lesson is I Chronicles 4:9-10, the account of Jabez and his prayer.

Four elements of Jabez's prayer

    1.  Bless me, bless me.
    2.  Enlarge my territory.
    3.  Let Your hand be with me.
    4.  Keep me from evil.

"Attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed...unless God steps in."
  --Bruce Wilkinson

Or, as Keith Drury said, "Set Big Hairy Audacious Goals."

The most damaging evil is not what happens to me, but what comes from within.

Help me think the best first and the worst last. 

Don't wallow in the grime of self-doubt.

Evil seems to dwell in the shadow of self.


For 2018, trust in prayer and the promises of God.

 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
 Jeremiah 29:11-13

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Saturday, December 30, 2017

What? Me worry?

Some things I simply am not supposed to know.

Proof:  A thought flashes, unbidden of course, across my mind and I think, "That  would be interesting; I'd like to know more about that."

Open a browser page, place cursor in the search bar, all of which takes seven seconds, and I cannot remember what I was going to search.

I sit, frustrated, and try to reconstruct the notion that inspired the desire for search.  Cannot.  Recall. One. Thing.

QED: I am not supposed to know.

This happens often.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Enquiring minds want to know

Am I the only person who is bothered by this?

It is wintertime, three days before Christmas, in point of fact.  The lady newsreaders are all attired in sleeveless frocks suitable perhaps for say, August.  Yet there they are in sleeveless attire.

This phenomenon is more or less universal, at least it is not confined to this channel; they are all doing it.  The men, hot as it may be in the studio, are in full suits, three-piece with tie so we cannot simply conclude that the ladies are choosing comfort over appropriate style.

Further, I think, we may conclude that none of the attire, either for the men or for the women is an individual choice.  I think management dictates the choices, or at least the styles if not the individual outfits.  Bad choices, too.

Am I way off base here?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Again, you can't make this stuff up

Little old woman (83) and little old man (80) dawdling along in their little old van
failed to signal a turn at the stop and caught the eye of alert 'Braska cop.

The officer's partner, drug sniffing dog, alerted on the car, miasma, a fog
the aroma of marijuana so strong that Ma and Pa were in cuffs ere long.

Presents, they said for the kids in the east but they'll be detained at the very least
through Christmas.  Have a merry one, you old poops.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Getting Old is Not for Sissies

"You old guys have it made," remarked Herkimer.

"Pray tell," said I.

"Well, that Medicare thing.  You guys get all that free health care and I am paying like nearly four hundred bucks a month for my coverage."

"Right, Herk.  But listen while I tell you how it really works.  My "free" Medicare insurance costs me $134 a month.  Then I buy a supplemental policy to take up the slack, what Medicare does not pay.  That is another $300 a month.  And when I have an "issue" whoever runs my health insurance program decides what they will cover and what they won't.  None of this even considers the seventy bucks a month I pay for prescription drug coverage-- and that only covers a portion of the costs."

"You're kidding!"

"And not only that, but my wife pays all of the above for her health care coverage.  Now get this.  I am not complaining, we are blessed to have the coverage and the ability to pay for it.  But I just wish people would get off this "free" stuff that I am supposedly getting."

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Joy to the Sadness

Bible lesson: Luke 1:39-56

Chronically unhappy people believe life is hard, people can't be trusted, there is always something wrong.  They wallow in despair, worry, engage in gossip.  They are cranky all the time.

Joy is a foundational part of the Christian life.

Gospel:  Good news:  Joy of Jesus!

The Christian's work includes the fulfillment of Joy in our lives.

When the Holy Spirit is conceived within us we will gain the witness of His Joy!

When we are filled with His joy we want to share it.

What is this joy?   An attitude, an inner disposition.  Psalm 45:17 says we are anointed with the "oil of joy."  We are loved, chosen, favored of God.

Am I displaying a demeanor of joy?

Sunday morning message by
Pastor Johnnie Blair  

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!

"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)