We Are Prepared 

1 Timothy 6:7

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

Famous American inventor and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, is credited with saying, “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” It seems we spend much of our time, effort, and energy, trying to avoid these things, rather than preparing for them. Some of us will exercise regularly, change our diet, and get regular checkups with our family doctor, in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. Others, will avoid any thought whatsoever of death or dying, and live this life as though it will last forever. Some, might have a risk-it-all attitude, where they live life on the edge, while others will attempt to amass as much stuff in this life as possible. Remember the mantra “He who dies with the most toys wins”?While I am not suggesting that eating healthy or enjoying life are bad ideas, I am saying, attempts to avoid or ignore death, are not nearly as important as attempts to prepare for it.

Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Jesus explained the folly of living for this life only. He reminds us that all we have acquired in this life, is subject to theft or decay. Not long ago, a water line under our house sprung a leak and ruined the flooring in our living room. I can remember the excitement on my wife’s face when the floor was first laid. While we knew it would not last forever, neither of us thought it would go so quickly. Life is like that, we live as though things will continue on forever, not because evidence suggests it, but because we do not want to face the reality that we are temporal beings with a shelf life. All of us must take seriously the words of the Apostle, realize the brevity of life, and prepare for eternity.

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

While it is true we can take nothing with us, we certainly can send things on ahead. Jesus maitained, we can store up treasures in heaven. We are all taking a trip one day into the unknown, to a destination where we have never traveled. While we cannot know everything we will face when we arrive, we can prepare in advance for our destination. Step one is to receive Christ; He alone is the way into heaven. Step two, get to know His Word, and live for the things that will outlast this life. The Bible teaches us there are only three things which are eternal: God, His Word, and the souls of men. If we want to live for that which will outlast this life, we must put Jesus first, get to know Him through the pages of our Bible, and seek to impact as many as possible for the kingdom of heaven.

Pastor Jim

Who Cares

Jonah 4:10-11
But the Lord said, ‘You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?'”

Over the past year we have seen summits on global warming, protests against the cruelty to animals, and the unjust treatment of certain groups of individuals. It is clear that people feel justified in demanding the ethical treatment of the planet and its inhabitants. While it is clear that we bear a responsibility before God for the way we treat what He has given us to care for, it is also true, we can become consumed with other things and forget that the most valuable, and often most neglected resource in the world, is the human soul. Jonah wept over the mistreatment of a plant and cared little for the eternal souls of the inhabitants of Nineveh.

We, like Jonah, have been commissioned by God to declare a message of salvation to the world. This message is so powerful it carries the ability to save a person from eternal destruction, while at the same time, transforming their lives. Jonah watched it happen to hundreds of thousands of people in Nineveh. When he shared the gospel, the king, his colleagues, and the inhabitants of the city turned from their evil ways and began to worship YHWH. The Gospel we have been commissioned to share is no less powerful. Paul said it alone has the power to bring salvation and Peter called it the words of eternal life. Along with this powerful message, we have also been given the supply of the Spirit of Christ. When the gospel is declared, the Spirit of God convicts the heart of the hearer of their need for God.

I wonder if we, like Jonah, have become distracted by caring for lesser things, while neglecting the most important thing? Perhaps it is time we spent a little more time caring about the souls of our neighbors, co-workers, and friends than we do about whether TiVo recorded our favorite show or who is the quarterback for our favorite sports team. Jonah’s failure was caring about the wrong things, while neglecting the most important thing.

Pastor Jim


They Could Not Tame Him

Mark 4:36
“When they had left the multitude”

IMG_1417Mark 4 ends with the story of a dangerous journey on which Jesus took His disciples. Knowing all things, He knew they would face a storm on the sea. He knew this storm would be so great that those who had grown up fishing those waters, and experiencing rough conditions, would fear for their very lives. But it is not until we venture into Mark 5, that we understand the reason for the journey was one man. Jesus left the multitudes and took twelve men on a death-defying trip across dangerous waters, in order to reach this one man. Multitudes were flocking to Him, but in the country of the Gadarenes, was a man in need. This becomes even more amazing when we understand who this man was. We read of him,

“. . .who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.” Mark 5:3-4

As sad as that description is, I am struck by the final phrase, “neither could anyone tame him.” Tame him! What a word. It seems so out-of-place to be used of a man. It is a word I reserve for animals; yet, it is so appropriate for this man. His lifestyle, whatever that was, had ruined his life. The world had done all they could do to help, but to no avail. He was now chained in a graveyard, and people simply avoided him. That is, until Jesus, not only went out of His way to rescue this man, but took His disciples on a trip they would never forget, for the purpose of saving this one lost soul.

When the story ends, we find the man in His right mind, sent out to tell His friends what Jesus had done for Him. No doubt, he would explain how Jesus crossed a turbulent sea to save him. Let’s learn the lesson the disciples were meant to learn: Jesus places the highest value on the human soul, even if he is living like a wild animal.

Pastor Jim.


Meant For Good

Genesis 50:20
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

2015/01/img_1378.jpgWe have all faced times in our lives when we have looked up from our circumstances and wondered, “How God could truly love me and let me go through this.” If any man had a right to allow his circumstances to call into question the loving-kindness of God, it was Joseph. I can only imagine the horror he must have experienced when his brothers suddenly turned on him and cast him into a pit. That scene must have played over and over in his mind, perhaps even while he slept. That first bitter act put Joseph’s life on a course that would seem to be leading ever downward, from kidnapped victim, to slave, to convicted rapist; forgotten in a foreign prison cell. Many men, perhaps even most men, would allow these circumstances to harden them as they plotted revenge on those who ruined their life. But Joseph proved himself to be unlike most men when, instead of looking back with vengeful hate, he looked up and saw the hand of God redeeming what had been destroyed. Long before he found himself face to face with his brothers, Joseph had gotten face to face with God, and learned that the hand of God had been guiding his life for a single purpose – the salvation of souls. In what is one of the most beautiful and searching statements in scripture Joseph declares,

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

Instead of allowing bitterness or regret to control our thoughts and action, we should follow the example of Joseph, and realize that the redeeming hand of God has placed us where we are, for the purpose of saving souls. Whether we are in a jail cell or sitting atop a corporate kingdom, it is the hand of God that places us there, with the purpose that we might win others to Christ.

Pastor Jim