Thursday, March 27, 2014

THREE VIEWS OF GOD - Bulletin 03-23-14


I was pretty ornery growing up.  My report cards, during my first grade through third grade years. nearly always included the word “mischievous” at the bottom of each card – next to “student’s attitude.”   I remember my mom explaining what that word meant the first time I saw it… “ill-behaved, impish, ornery.”

Out of my twelve brothers and sisters, there is no question that I received the most spankings, although I don’t remember any past the seventh grade.  By then, I guess, I was beginning to see the light or more pointedly, feel the burn!

My initial view of God originated, I believe, out of my own orneriness and need for constant correction.   No surprise that during my first thirteen years of life I developed a view of God as a disciplinarian; a view affirmed by scriptures depicting God’s punishment of the disobedient.  Through it all, I owe much to Dad for saving me from a life of crime, or at least from a life of professional orneryism!  

My next view of God developed in my teen years as I traded my disciplinarian God for a God who loved sports, good grades and moral choices.  He was good and I was trying to be good.  I remember thinking – God and I made a pretty good team.  Hmmm. 

My third view of God was birthed as I became a father.  It was during my early years of parenting that Patti and I and kids moved back to work alongside Dad and Mom in a children’s home.  Through Dad and Mom I saw a God of strength, grace, mercy, and sacrifice, along with a great compassion for the hurting and abhorrence for evil.  

As you can see, my views of God have definitely transformed over the years and continue to do so.  I am so grateful for Dad and Mom being light and salt to me!  Their Jesus lifestyle and loving perseverance, laid the foundation for my ongoing pursuit of the wonder of God’s true being and character.  

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!  Mr. Steve          

CHOOSE COURAGE! - Bulletin 03-16-23

CHOICE:  Where would we be without it?  Perhaps in a garden somewhere near the Persian Gulf?!

It is a fact that choice remains one of the greatest consequential gifts ever given to mankind.  We make thousands of choices daily, among which include reading the rest of this article! 

Proverbs 22:1 “If you must choose, take a good name rather than great riches; for to be held in loving esteem is better than silver and gold.”  Proverbs 22:6 “Teach a child to choose the right path, and when he is older he will remain upon it.”

CHOICE:  A good name, a right path or … a life of bitter fruit and suffering of terrors for NOT choosing the Lord (wisdom)!

Proverbs 1:29-31 "For you closed your eyes to the facts and did not choose to reverence and trust the Lord, and you turned your back on me, spurning my advice.  That is why you must eat the bitter fruit of having your own way and experience the full terrors of the pathway you have chosen." 

CHOICE:  What decisions have you made lately that will have lasting effects on your future?  Believe it or not, COURAGE IS A CHOICE!  After listening to Moses and God and God’s people, Joshua chose to be strong and courageous!  Because of that choice, Joshua later made the following choice: 

Joshua 24:15 “And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Thanks for choosing to read this article!  Now, go and CHOOSE COURAGE! God is good!  Mr. Steve 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A TRIBUTE TO MARRIAGE - Bulletin 03-09-14

“Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...” 
(Movie: The Princess Bride)  
Since Patti and I are in Kansas leading a marriage retreat, and since our Bible reading this past week included Moses reviewing the marriage covenant, the following research is presented for your consideration:
  • Married people have a healthier lifestyle.  People who are married tend to avoid more harmful behaviors than do single, divorced, or widowed persons.
  • Married people live longer.  Married people live several years longer than do single, divorced, or widowed persons.
  • Married people have more satisfying sexual relationships than single or cohabiting individuals. 
  • Married people are happier.  Married couples are happier than single men and women and report far less depression and anxiety than single, divorced, or widowed individuals. 
  • Married people have more wealth and economic assets.  Because married couples can pool their economic resources, they tend to be wealthier.  
  • Children generally do better in a two-parent home.  Children from two-parent homes tend to be more emotionally healthy and achieve better academically than children from divorced homes....and less likely to have an unwed pregnancy.    
  • Society benefits when children are raised within a family.  Communities with more married-parent families have lower rates of substance abuse and crime among their young people.  (David H. Olson, et al, Find Your Relationship Strengths:  The Couple Checkup)     
Timothy Keller in his book, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, defines marriage as, “A lifelong, monog-amous relationship between a man and a woman… to reflect (God’s) saving love for us in Christ, to refine our character, to create stable human community for the birth and nurture of children, and to accomplish all this by bringing the complementary sexes into an enduring whole-life union.”  Let’s hear it for the difficult… the refining… yet wondrously rewarding mystery…“Mawage!” God is good!  Mr. Steve