Pastor's Blog

One of the myths of our culture is that control of ourselves and others is what gives us freedom.  If we are in control, then obviously we can make decisions, and that leaves us free.  But that is a myth.  The paradox is that as we give up control to God, we actually live in a deeper freedom.  The freedom of God may call us to turn all of our most precious definitions of faithfulness on their heads.  It may be that the most difficult call for us to respond to is not a call that demands of us great sacrifices but a call that offers to us great gifts.  — Judith E. Smith

Great gifts often come with great responsibilities.

Just take a moment to dwell upon the gift of salvation.  Our God is under no obligation to offer this hope – and yet we seek to control every aspect of it in all its possible forms.  From the giving of it, all the way to how this incomparable prize will play itself out in our daily lives.  The shame of it is that we actually feel no shame.

We quote verses that speak of freedom and then unhesitatingly apply our personal definitions to the very word!  Control is the issue, whether hidden or exposed.  It was the issue in the garden – and it’s our issue today!

God, may I be free to lose control!

– Dale


“There is a necessary change in each breakthrough into further spiritual growth, a necessary change of heart that will lead to a new conversion of ones attitudes and behaviors.  There must be a letting go of something in our lives in order to make room for the “laying hold” of a new and higher consciousness of the presence and claims of God.”   — Norman Shawchuck

In Christ we become . . . and in this creative process we continue to become more.  As each vestige of the old person falls away there is reborn within us that “something new” that can only be brought about through Divinity!

God’s presence within cannot not be contained by the old – it is always new, always fresh, always leading us deeper . . . always creating!  The new creature – as a new creation – knows no bounds!

– Dale


“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  2. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  3. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  4. Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  5. I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  6. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  7. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  8. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.”  John 15:1-8 ESV

The kingdom of God is a violent realm, requiring as Michael Card writes, “a Violent Grace.”  For Jesus, this reality was stark!  Its cost . . . severe!

Much to our enemies delight, we as disciples, seldom frame our faith in this light – nor characterize our state of being, in these terms.  However, Jesus’ figurative language in John 15 begs to differ.

• If we are disciples, then we are His!

• If His, then we are to bear fruit.

• If for some reason we do not perform this natural act . . . we are removed.

To prove we belong, says Jesus, then we must perform.  Why?  Because with His Spirit dwelling within us, we can do nothing less.  Those who prove otherwise, that they are not of the vine, are tossed as refuse into the fire!

Dainty as we have become, this is unsettling, unnerving, causing most of mankind to search for alternatives.  But for those who know, they understand that the Kingdom – from the Garden forward – is a violent place!

– Dale


Our identity as God’s beloved children embraces both who we are and who we are becoming. 

We are infinitely loved!

We are, with all our vastly varied gifts, being renewed in the divine image, and we bear this image back into the world.  We each do this in our own way – a thousand different ways, indeed a million ways and infinitely more.

Our core identity comes with particular gifts.  Unique gifts and graces are an expression of God’s personal love for us, a confirmation of our
belovedness.  No two of us act, think, or serve alike.  And God’s love sets each one of us wholly free, free to be ourselves and free to be for others the image of the loving God.
— “The Way of Discernment”

I have personally observed and experienced in the past week, church families whose love and compassion seemed to be without limit!

To them, I would like to say thank you for allowing God’s love to flow freely and abundantly without hesitation!

God bless you!

– Dale


“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!  Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in His ways!”  Psalm  119:1-3 (ESV)

Simply put this person does not exist.  Not in the sense that the Psalmist describes.  There is no one who is completely blameless.  Nor could any person at any time . . . keep all of our Lord’s testimonies – it simply wouldn’t be possible.  Where, in this sin-filled, self-absorbed, world could there exist the person who, “does no wrong, but always walks in His ways?”

There is no such person – save our Savior!

This is why when we meet those who strive with all their energy, who struggle to the point of exhaustion, who even strain beyond human reason, to live in this vein . . . they strike us as odd.  I have met a few of these oddballs, only a few.  Whose walk is marked with humility, whose life is laced with love, and who possess a quiet strength beyond themselves.

Perfect?  No!  But close.

These, near-walkers, these who carry with them Christ’s aroma, they all seem to hold something in common?  They love to lean.  They find their joy in leaning in, and leaning on.  Consistently straining to listen, to hear God’s voice – through prayer, through His word.  Always listening.  Then having received, these modern-day cross-bearers, simply do.  Leaning upon that divine command to be like Christ.

Perfect?  No!  But close.

May we strive, today . . . this very day . . . for this type of near perfection!

– Dale

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>







Sunday Morning Bible Study

at 9:30 a.m. We offer classes for all ages.  There is something for everyone!


Sunday Morning Worship

10:45 a.m.

All are welcome!



Adult Wednesday

Bible Study

6:00-7:00 p.m.

Come join us Wednesday evenings as we open the Word of God and discover the treasure inside.   We will worship, pray and study from 6:00-7:00 p.m. each Wednesday in the Comite cafeteria.  Bring a friend!   (There are youth and children’s activities also.)


Search Bible Gateway

Enter the Bible passage, keyword, or topic you want to find.


October 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat