Tuesday, June 24, 2014

“CATCH DAD” - Bulletin 06-15-14


Over the years I’ve read many books and articles on marriage and parenting, listened to a number of tapes and have attended an abundance of workshops concerning family.  (I’m a slow learner.) The following are a few excerpts worthy of your consideration:

ON RULES – “If you’re not going to make them do what you tell them, don’t tell them to do it.” 

ON PARENTING – “Love them; Listen to them; Lead them; Limit them; and Let them go!”  (The 5 “L’s” of Rearing Children by Kirk Talley)  

ON EXAMPLE – “CATCH DAD” by Herbert Parker
To get his goodnight kiss he stood
Beside my chair one night
And raised an eager face to me
A face with love alight.
And as I gathered in my arms
The son God gave to me
I thanked the lad for being good
And hoped he'd always be.
His little arms crept 'round my neck
And then I heard him say
Four simple words I can't forget-
Four words that made me pray.
They turned a mirror on my soul
On secrets no one knew
They startled me, I hear them yet
He said, "I'll be like you."      
Blessings on Father’s Day, 2014. 

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


“BLESSED ASSURANCE” - Bulletin 06-08-14


Our Bible reading this past week in 1 Kings has been filled with unrest, conflict, and division; anything but blessed assurance.  After reading last Monday’s assignment, my mind went back to the following true story:

The hospital room was small for two patients but a curtain was drawn down the middle of the room to offer some sense of privacy.  I had been called to the bedside of one of God’s saints, a four-score and more sister-in-Christ, who was getting ready to meet her Maker face to face.  We talked; I read a Scripture of comfort and sang a song.

Then she said the words many before her have said to me in similar situations.  Words of doubt: “I hope I make it to heaven.”  I felt led as I opened my pocket N.T. and read to her 

1 John 5:12-13.  
“He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

As I held her hand, I told my dear sister-in-Christ that 1 John was a little book filled with blessed assurance!  Salvation is in Jesus; her life was in Him not in her performance.  She had confessed her faith decades ago and had been immersed into Christ.  She had lived a life of faith and the Apostle John wanted her to know that even now – she had eternal life!  She smiled and said “Thank you.”    
I told her I loved her and prayed with her again before she quietly dozed off.  Hours later she passed.  As our church family sang the song, “Blessed Assurance” at her funeral, I couldn’t help but remember our last conversation.

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!  O what a foretaste of glory divine!  Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.  This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long; this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”

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


A Time for Everything - Bulletin 06-01-14

   A Time for Everything

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.”  Ecc 3:1-4
TODAY IS A TIME TO DANCE!  A TIME TO CELEBRATE!!  There are not many church families who can celebrate a couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.... BUT TODAY WE CAN!!!  Sometime this afternoon, between the hours of 2- 4, go by and congratulate Richard and Margaret Burgess at the Pine Island Care Center for being married 7 decades.  Amazing!!!
In a day and age where marriage is discounted, disregarded, destained, and disrupted...Richard & Margaret shine forth like a lighthouse on a rocky shore.  Commitment...Commitment... and more Commitment; that’s what it takes (and more) to be married a lifetime.  I am so proud of this couple and their family!
Solomon stated in Ecclesiastes chapter three that “There is an appointed time for everything.”  However, Solomon, himself couldn’t hold a candle to the Burgess success in the marriage relationship category!  Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and I’m sure, multiple failed relationships. 
“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.”   1 Kings 11:4 
Richard and Margaret Burgess have not only been married 70 years but have remained faithful to the God who created them!  


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

RICKY - Bulletin 05-25-14

     When I was in grades one, two and three – he was one of my best friends.  We sat in the classroom, played baseball and swam in the pond together.  I moved at the beginning of my fourth grade year and didn’t see Ricky until college, nine years later.  Being reunited was such a blessing!

     During the end of our first semester, as college freshmen, Ricky talked to me about his leaving school and joining the armed forces.  He did and was killed in action the next year.

     Vietnam was an ugly war, but then again, all wars are ugly.  Wars maim, kill, destroy people’s lives, take loved ones away, and leave devastating memories that for many survivors result in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).   

     I miss Ricky; I’ve gone to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall twice to find his name.  There’s always been a crowd of people around –  rubbing a loved one’s name on a piece of paper, leaving flowers, taking pictures, crying…

     Our congregation has several who have defended our country and the freedoms of other nations.  I have utmost respect for our servicemen and women.  Whatever one thinks about war, one thing I do know – freedom is expensive. Ask Jesus.

   “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13 

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

I Marvel At the Wisdom of My God! - Bulletin 05-18-14

   I Marvel At the Wisdom of My God!
Reading through the wisdom passages, in the book of Proverbs this week, has brought back a flood of memories. When I was in the 5th grade I remember walking home from school and encountering a funeral procession of cars passing between me and my house.  Unusual for the occasion, the mourners in the vehicles seemed overly-occupied with what was going on in our front yard.  When the road was clear and I crossed the street, I quickly discovered their distraction.  

Sitting on the grass, clad only in a diaper, was my two year-old brother, Stewart, straddling a large, silver wash pan full of water.  He was working with all his might to keep all of our three baby goslings (Biblically named: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) under water at the same time.  The harder he pushed two goslings under, one would pop up, and then the next one, etc.  

Remembering our goslings “popping up” to the water’s surface jogged my memory of the following children’s song:                                   
I Marvel at the Wisdom of my God!

“O they crucified the Father's only Son. When they laid Him in the tomb they thought they'd won. But just like the little lilies, He pushed up the heavy sod. I marvel at the wisdom of my God!
                                                                        Chorus: I marvel at the wisdom of my God. I marvel at the wisdom of my God. When I see the little lilies pushing up the heavy sod, I marvel at the wisdom of my God.”

The Psalmist prophesied almost 1000 years before Christ’s death, burial and resurrection that God would not allow His Holy One to remain in the grave and undergo decay (Psalm 16:10)!  No matter how hard death’s hand worked at pushing and trying to keep our Jesus down – UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE!  

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

MAMA - Bulletin 05-11-14

“Save me, because I serve you just as my mother did.”  Psalm 86:16 
As David shared about his mother’s faith, so shall I.  Mama Sikes has always been there for me!   She's still my biggest fan - telling me I can do anything.  She's my heroine of faith and prayer warrior.  She taught me to pray to God for the littlest of things, like missing socks.  "Stephen, God wants to hear from you about everything" she’d encourage.  
She taught me how to read and mark my Bible, memorize Scripture, develop a lesson, live a life.  She was my Dad's secretary at the Children's Home, barber for 65 boys, chorus director – plus, the mother of 13 kids! 
This Friday my mother turns 4 score and six (86 years).  Six years ago this week, I wrote down 80 reasons why I love Mom! Among the top of the list: when I think of someone being Jesus in my life - she's my first thought; she’s extremely positive, yet, always un-afraid to confront me in love when needed; she's the one person I want praying for my marriage, my family, my future because she believes God answers prayer and is GOOD ALL THE TIME!
Mom was faithfully married to Dad, who passed last October, for over 65 years.  Yet, she was not a Christian when they married.  Dad is the one who led Mom to our LORD!  Thanks, Dad.  
I’ll brag anytime on the blessing and difference Mom has been in my life, but especially today!  Thank you, God, for molding Mama Sikes into your likeness.  You are good! Mr. Steve 

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