Sunday, October 30, 2005


Oct. 30--Charge Conference 12:30pm
Chili Supper/Samaritan's Purse Shoebox Dropoff and End Dinner

All invited for food fellowship, and fun.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sermon Notes: 10/16/05--Rehab, pt. 3

Sermon notes taken from outlines of the pastor. Acutal sermon available on videotape. ask about in comments section, via email, or contacting the pastor.

Scripture: Romans 10:9-11; 2 Peter 1:10-11

As I am sharing my phsyical torment with you, the idea of physical therapy and rehab, we conclude this week with part three of our rehab series, and the conclusion, I am sure you are all thankful for not having to hear anymore about my knee.

Over the past two weeks, we talked about the process of rehab, how we are all separated from God; kind of how ligaments are separated from bone and produce pain. We need that connection to function at our fullest, and we seek ways to fix the problem. If we don't listen to the right therapist, we do more harm than good. We talked about being receptive to instruction, to guidance...the right kind of gidance, and also we talked about endurance and perseverance. We have to endure the wearing off of the "new car smell" of fresh belief in Christ and new Christianhood and mature as believers forged in the fires of this trialbed we call life.

Now, in our final installment, we are going to talk about two other elements or key parts in our spiritual rehabilitation/reconciliation with God, namely Faith and confession and Dilligence.

The first verse listed above deals with faith and confession. We first have to believe in the process, to trust in our therapist and their knowledge of the situation. I had to develop that trust with Tammy and the gang, and it took some time to do so. I went in wary, unsure of myself and especially unsure of THEM. I had to trust that they knew more than I did about my condition, that their knowledge of technique would be superior to my own. I had to trust that they would not do any harm, or push me farther than I was able to go.

Likewise, we have to have faith and trust in God. We have to trust that He, as our divine therapist, has the right plan and procedures for us. WE have to trust in his ways and in His words. We have to trust in the commandments He gives us. We have to be able to trust when he puts us in new situations. When Tammy and Co. at the therapy center took away my crutches, or introduced a new exercise/torture regimen, I was a little wary at first. However, I looked at my past with them and saw that they had not led me astray yet. Likewise, we have to trust that God will lead us in the right direction, that he will not overburden us. In fact, we have his word in scripture. Just as I have a promise that they will not hurt me, we hve a promise from God that he will not overburden us.

Now, about that confession part. It sometimes must come before the faith. We have to admit that we do not know it all. I had to admit that I didn't have the foggiest clue about treating my leg, and that I was helpless. I could not go anywhere on my own. I could not fix it on my own. I had to admit to Tammy and Co. when my leg was hurting or when I could bear no more exercise. If I didn't, and tried to show off, then I ended up doing more harm than good.

Likewise, we have to admit to God two things. First, we have to admit that we cannot do this alone. WE have to admit we are helpless before evil and before the winds of change. WE have to admit that we have that hole in our hearts, and admit that we serached in the wrong places and need God. Next, we hvae to be willing to confess and admit when we are overburdened, when we need help, when we need to use a crutch or get a hand up so we do not fall. God is not annoyed by this. He encourages it. He wants a close relationship with us. He wants us to be closer than a doctor and patient. He wants us to be closer than friends. He wants to be our ultimate support and motivator, our ultimate comforter. HE wants to be with us. Brokendown, used up, foul, silly, little us. And he was willing to send a piece of Himself, His son, to this world to feel what we feel, so we could know he had the understanding and the experiences we did.

WE have to confess our belief and support of God, but we also have to confess our imperfections and burdens, and we know this can be hard as well. We also have to confess that the good things are not just our own work, but rather that it is God working through us. I tried to do the rehab, but I needed Tammy and Co.'s guidance working through me to get me this far. Likewise, with God.

For more on faith, check out Hebrews Ch11, emphasis for our purposes on vs. 1 and 2.

The next part of our salvation and reconciliation with God is Dilligence. My therapy (read torture) is a complex prgram of stretches and bends and lifts. I have to do it so much time a day, so many times a day. I have to go to therapy three times a week. Do I want to all the time? Heck no. However, I know that in order to get better at standing and moving, I have to go in. I have to brave the twisting of Tammy and Col., I have to barve the bike of death in order to get better.

We have to stick to the program. We have to keep going with what God sets out for us to do. And, mind you, every part is different. God gears what he calls us to do to our strengths and weaknesses. He takes us beyond what we can do or think we can do and does the impossible. Just like great physical therapists like Tammy. A couple of weeks ago I never thought I would be able to do this (rises out of wheelchair and stans up straight, without crutch, and then stands on one leg, the bad leg,for a count of over 20). However, her training me and the dilligence of sticking with it have allowed me to get this far. however, truly, it is all through the grace of God, but let's use it as a metaphor.

With God as our therapist and trainer, we can go beyond our feeble gifts and strenhts and do more, the impossible. Look at Moses. He didn't have the dilligence to take on Pharoah, but God got him to be dilligent. Look at jonah. Same deal. God wants us to stick to it and follow through.

This involves work on our part. I can't just let the therapists do everything, though I am sure sometimes it seems to them as if I am. I have some homework I have to do, exercises to keep the flexibility and mobility of my knee. If I didn't do them, I would not be where I am. Likewise, there are some homework things God wants us to have the dilligence to do, it shows dilligence and perseverance, as outlined in that 2Peter verse.

He wants us to pray, not just to ask for our wants and needs, but to give praise, to share concerns, to give our highs and lows. He desires conversation with our hearts, and also he desires conversations with our minds and thoughts. This requires study and reading of hte Scripture. It can mean going through a devotional. We, listening to the holy spirit, have to find the tools that are out there, provided by God, to help us do our work of sticking with Him and showing Him we are in this for the long haul. And by so doing, we get our faith muscles exercising, and we get our spiritual muscles going, and pretty soon, we are running the race right up there with Paul and Peter and the gang, even up with the likes of Billy Graham.

Now, this does not mean that we will lead tent revivals, though it doesn't mean we won't. We will be lifted up into people healing that disconnect with God, and the ties of study and prayer and dilligence growing stronger, connecting us better with God, like the ligaments I am working on with my knee. This relationship, will never be fully realized until we meet God, but we have to keep exercising it, because by doing so, the path we follow will get easier to handle. There will still be pains and joys, highs and lows, but with oour muscles of faith and perseverance and trust working, we can overcome the worldly things thrown at us. However, to do this, we have to be dilligent. We have to be willing to put the work in. We have to confess we havent done so i the past, and we have to have faith that it will be beneficial to us. Are you ready? Let's become rehab hounds, working out and strengthening those muscles, because by doing so, we set examples for others.

There's a girl at the center who hurt her knee like me. She wasn't exercising it or doing well. Then she saw the chubby old guy working, and I encouraged her. She saw that though it hurt, especially for an old guy, she should be doing it. I told her my own rehab journey. Seeing her make that bike pedal go around was great. Feeling like I helped in a small way to heal her was a blessing. Think how much more so when we are talking about our eternal souls. Let's pray.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sermon Notes: 10/9/05--Rehab pt. 2

Note: Sermon available on Video--ask/email for details

Scripture:Matthew 10:22; James 1:21

So, last week we talked some about my rehab, and our Rehabilitation and reconciliation with God, ie, Salvation. We talked about how our condition is not a separation of ligaments or joints, but rather a separation from God, a hole in our hearts where the connectedness with God should be. We need to realize that we have a problem to realize that we have a problem We need to realize we need to seek the right treatment for it. Today, we are going to talk about two elements in our rehab process, receptivity and endurance.

You know, I didn't know how to fix my knee. However, I was told to go see people who would know how to fix my leg. But, in order for it to be fruitful, I had to be receptive to their advice. I had to listen to their instructions for the care of my knee, as well as the advice for doing exercises. My therapists had to get me to listen to their instructions. I had to force myself to pay attention to details.

Likewise, we must be receptive to the instructions of God, to the advice and the directions He gives us in life. God is out there calling to us. He calls to us with His Word. He calls to us with His servants who reach out to us. He calls to us with His intervention and guidance. He is out there, plainatively calling for us and giving us guidance. We, however, have to train ourselves to listen.

How do we become receptive? We have to quiet ourselves. There is so much noise in our lives. So many people and forces out there pushing and pulling us. People who think they are the experts, that they have the answers. Evil forces out there that deceive us into thinking that they are the right thing for us. You know, I could listen to that voice that says, rehab is too expensive, I can figure it out. And, of course, i would end up with serious problems. Likewise, when we listen to those other little voices other than God, we end up with more emptiness in our hearts. We try the other "medications" like sex, drugs, alcohol, other addictions. All we end up with is further separation. We must be willing to listen to the urging of the Holy Spirit, to God's Word. And this requires us to be quiet in ourselves, to quiet the voices therein and be receptive.

The other thing we need to have in our rehabilitation/reconciliation with God is endurance. Why? Well, sometimes what the therapist says for us to do is not easy. In fact, most of the time it is not easy. Likewise with our reconciliation with God. We are in a race against time and against evil, but it is a marathon, not a sprint. One of the first things the therapist told me was, 'we are going to help get you better, however you have to be willing to work hard and it is not going to be easy.' God is in the same boat. He gives us the prescription, He gives us the direction, but He also tells us it is not going to be easy.

In my physical therapy, it has been very difficult. When I began, the first session, it all seemed easy. This can't be so bad. However, the next session, they decided to up the ante a bit. They really added the torture. I thought that I would not make it. I thought, what happened to that easy time I had last time? Likewise, the same thing can happen to us. When we first come to the Lord, at that altar call, that confession moment, we feel full of the Spirit and the world seems our oyster. Then, that newness is over. We are back in the real world. WE are left with just the exercises God gave us, and they are harder now. Prayer is more difficult when we are down. Reading hte Bible is not as easy as when we are first saved. However, that is when we need to reach down deep and suck it up. WE have to have that spiritual endurance. There will be more times that God will call us to stretch ourselves, whether it be physically, emotionally, or more often than not, spiritually. Through gaining this endurance, we grow.

In my rehab, I have had failures. I have not been able to get that bicycle pedal to go all the way around. I have not been able to do a whole set of some of the exercises. Likewise, in our Christian walk, we will have successes and failures. WE learn from the failures. God sometimes allows setbacks to happen so that we can learn valuable lessons. As long as we are receptive to God, we can turn even failure into success. God will give us the guidance, to help push our endurance.

Each little obstacle can be overcome in time. Recently, I made that darn pedal turn around. REcently, I was able to reach all my set limits on the exercises. I went down to one crutch. We can have success, but we have to have the endurance to get past the obstacles and distractions. I could just as easily not do my exercises at home and veg out. Then my leg would seize up and bammo! back inot being more disable than I am now. It takes endurance, and it takes being receptive to God giving us the warnings. I have to be recptive to my body when it gets tight so I can know to do the rehab. WE have to be receptive to the Holy Spirit urging us on.

If we listen, if we are recptive, and if we are willing to gut it out, with God acting as our coach and our crutch, giving us support, then we can make it to the end. The road is narrow, it is frought with chugholes, but it is straight. And if we are receptive to God, He will not lead us astray. If we allow Him to build our endurance, beyond what we can even think is possible, we will have not only the power through God to overcome our obstacles, but to help our borthers and sisters as well.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

New Districts Drawn UP

As many of you know, the West Ohio Conference has decided to redraw the districts, going from 16 to 8. These lines have now been drawn. The Brown County churches, it seems, have been lumped with all Adams county churches, as well as parts of scioto and other eastern counties in the Conference.

This represents our current needs as a rural district, to keep us connected with other churches with similar needs as we have.

I have some reservations I have expressed. I feel that our future is not to the East, but rather to the West. Our county has grown tremendously in the past 20 years, and if the present is any indication, communities like Mount Orab, Fayetteville, and others will resemble more the communities in Clermont County to the West than the communities of the East. This is not meant to offend these great people in Highland, Adams, Scioto, etc., but rather a simple statement of demographics.

If this is meant to prepare us for our future, I do not see it. I pray I have missed something, but I remain a little disappointed. However, we will do our best within the decisions and trust that God will see us through. Stay tuned for further details....

Sermon Preview: October 9--Rehab, part 2

Texts: Matthew 10:22, James 1:21

We will be discussing some of the conditions of salvation, in other words, what we go through in our rehabbing journey of faith. Today, we will be talking about Endurance and Receptivity.

Note: Convalesence leads to inactivity

Sorry, friends. I suffered a bad knee injury Sept. 18 and have not been able to update. My apologies. Sermon notes are now being updated. They are not as complete as I would like, as since the injury I have not videotaped sermons, so I can only go on my outlines and memory...Sorry!

God bless....

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sermon Notes 10/2/05: Rehabilitation, part 1

(NOTE: this post transcribed from memory and sermon outlines. No videotape available, sorry!)

Text: Hebrews 2:17; Malachi 3:3

Well, I began the process of rehabbing my knee. And, as I went through this "fun and excitement", more like medieval torture, I began to think about our own rehabilitation. You see, much as some people have separations of ligaments and shoulders and the like, we have our own separation. We are separated from God.

One could diagnose that we have a separation of the Spirit from the body, of righteousness and purity from the body. The injury is so serious it will not heal on its own. We have to seek our own form of spiritual rehabilitation. We call this therapy Salvation, or reconciliation.

When we realize the extent of our separation, and feel that hurt of disconnectedness, much as I feel the hurt of whatever is going on in this knee of mine, we realize there is a problem. I needed to see an orthopedic specialist doctor. We need to see a specialist of our own, the only One who can help. We need to come before God and seek after Him, with prayer and supplication.

When you go to rehabilitation, you get a program of exercises to do. Each program is different based on the injury and the severity. Each is tailored to the individual. Likewise, God designs our own program of rehabilitation as well. And, much as the earthly rehab, it is not easy, but it is doable. It takes a bit of faith, among other things we will discuss in due course over the next few weeks.

Rehabilitation, for our earthly vessels, is basically working hard and overcoming doubt, pain, and injury to make ourselves whole again. Reconciliation/rehab/salvation with God is allowing God to work hard with us to overcome our separation and past sin to make us fully whole again. For each of us, the rehab is different, based on an examination of the specifics of our separation, and how we have lived and what we have done. For some, it may mean breaking old habits. For others, it might mean ending relationships. Still, for others, it might mean a totally new existence.

Based on my experience, let me tell you: rehabbing this knee is not easy. And I am sure many of you can tell me: rehabbing our souls is not easy either. It is not a destination, as we can never fully heal until Christ comes again and we are reunited. Just as I know that most likely, I will never be the same with this knee. I can come close, but it will never be like it was. I guess now I know how Ken Griffey Jr. feels after his injuries. Looking back, we see what we were, in our physical selves. With God, we must look forward to what our eternal selves may be.

You know, the process can be deceptive. The first day of rehab, it was easy. They gave me simple exercises and I felt little pain or trepidation. Likewise, when we first answer that altar call or pledge ourselves to God, we are filled with confidence and euphoria, we feel complete. However, let me tell you, that does not last. Much the same way, the next sessions of rehab have not been easy, nor painless. Likewise, soon after our conversion, "reality" comes back. We are no longer isolated with believers, to nourish us. We are no longer isolated from sin and bad habit. We begin to drift. If I drift in my rehab, I am not going to fix my knee. I will be a cripple. If we drift in our reconciliation, we will become spiritually and eternally crippled. But, when things get tough, this is when the Rehab truly begins. When things seem dark, when it begins to hurt, that is when we begin to exercise our faith muscles and build endurance, openness to God's will, and many other attributes of salvation. Just as my strength increases through this torture called rehab, our faith and strength increases with each task God lays before us.

It is not easy. It is not a destination, but a path. It is not flat ground, but it is straight. We must be willing to go through the ups and downs. If we do not, we will never be made fully whole. And we want so bad to be made fully whole. We don't want the crutches of lust or avarice or addiction, because it is not a cure. The only cure is rehab. The only way to get out of it is to go through the rehab, to suck it up and put your best foot forward, not looking at the hurt, but looking at the goal. I want to walk again without a crutch. The rehab exercises I do are not the end, but the path. Likewise, the obstacles and tests we face are not the ends, but the means. I pray we all have the courage to ask God to diagnose and give us paths of rehabilitation, so we can in turn help others to rehab and bring them into the healing process of reconciliation, of rehabilitation of our relationship with God, of salvation.

God bless you all....

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