Tuesday, November 07, 2006

November 5, 2006--That Missing Something....

Note: Post taken from sermon given on date listed above. Post taken from loose outline notes of the pastor. Actual delivered sermon may have varied....No video available, sorry....

Text: 1 John 2:15-17; Romans 12:2; Psalm 63:1

Most of us find it very difficult to want "Heaven" at all--except in so far as Heaven means meeting again oujr friends who have died. One rason for this difficulty is that we have not beeen trained: our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for heaven is present in us, we do not recognize it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearsts, would know that they do want, and wanat acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, and we try them. These things, however, never keep their promise. When we fall in love, go on vacation, get a new job, etc. we feel fulfilled but quickly there is something we notice. Something missing. The longings we get are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning can really satisfy. There is something we grasped at, that just fades away in the reality of living in a place, sticking to that job, living with that person. The wife mayh be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery in the vacation may have been cool, and the job may be a good one, but something has evaded us. Now there are two wrong ways of dealing with this fact, and one right one.

1. The Fool's Way--This person puts the blame on the things themselves. he goes on all his life thinking that if only he would have tried another woman, or went for a more expensive vacation, or whatever, then, this time, this time, he would really catch the mysterious something we are all after. This person is susceptible to drug abuse, getting that next fix, or other addictions. If only they do this more, or try this, then they will find happiness. This leads down the path to damnation, to bad habits, even with the best of intentions.

2. The Way of the Disillusioned or Sensible Person--He soon decides that the whole thing was moonshine. "fo course," they say, "one feels like that when one's young. But by the time you get to my age you've geven up chasing the rainbow's end." And so he settles down and learns not to expect too much, and represses the part of himself which used, as eh would say, to cry for the moon.....Wow, this is the old fuddyduddy....Now don't go pointing to me yet.....I just look like that, I don't feel like that at all times inside.....heh....

3. The Christian Way, the Right Way----The Christian way says, "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel desire, there is such a thing as fulfilling that. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, then the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures can satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hadn, never to despise, or be unthankful for, thse earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are onlya kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find tilla fter death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main objective of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.

October 29, 2006--Brother John Ditterline

The chairman of the board of trustees, and retired pastor John Ditterline, Jr., delivered the message today, October 29th, 2006. There were about 25 or so at the service, according to reports to the reporter. Way to go! Mr. D always gives a great message, drawing from his experiences as a Marine in WWII on Saipan, Iwo Jima, and the Pacific; as a teacher, a small businessman, and a pastor.

October 22, 2006--God Wants You to Be a Saint

Note: Post taken from sermon given on date listed. Taken from loose outline notes of the Pastor....Actual delivered sermon may have varied. No video available....sorry

Text: Matthew 5:48; James 1:3-4; 2 Corinthians 6:16

We never wanted and never asked to be made into the sort of creatures God wants us to be. We rather want something in between, to just be nice folks, but not to be saints. But the wquestion is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us. He is hte inventor, we are only the machine. He is hte painter, we are onlyh the picture. How should we know what He means us to be like? We may be content to remain what we call "ordinary folks": but He is determined to carry out a quite different plan. To shrink back from that plan is not humility: it is laziness and cowardice. To submit to it is not conceit or madness; IT IS OBEDIENCE.

There is another way of putting this into perspective. On one hand, we must never imagine that our own efforts can be relied on to carry us even through the next twenty four hours as "decent people". If He does not support us, not one of us is safe from some gross sin. On the hotehr hand, no possible degree of hiliness or heroism which has ever been recorded of the greatest saints is beyond what He is determined to produce in every one of us in the end. The job will not be completed in htis life: He means to get us as far as possible before death, however.

That is why we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time. When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well, he often feels that is would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When troubles come along, like sickness, money trouble, loss--he/she is disappointed. These things, he/she feels, might have been necessary to rouse him or her and make him repent in his bad days; but why now, when they are a Christian? Well, here is the answer. Because God is forcing him/her on, and up to a higher level: putting him into situations where they will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he/she has ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary; but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous things He means to make of us....

Think of it this way....Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in, buys the house and means to rebuild that house. At frist, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that thsoe jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but HE IS BUILDING A PALACE!!! He intends to come and live in it Himself!!!!!

October 15, 2006--Liking and Loving

Note: Sermon given on Date Listed...Taken from loose outline notes of pastor, actual live sermon may have varied. No video available....

Text: John 15:12; John 13:35; Matthew 25:40

The way to be loving or charitable is not to sit trying to manufacture affection. Some people are just cold by their temperment. I happen to be one who is sometimes in this category. I am a shy guy, and sometimes am very reserved and quiet at first. However, the fact that we might be more reserved, it does not excuse us from learning charity or love.

The rule is simple: don't waste time thinking bothering whether you "love" your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If yo uinjure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.

There is, however, one exception. If you do someone a good deed, not to please God and obey the law of love, but rather to show what a forgiving person you are, or worse yet, to put him in your debt; then you are not pleasing to God. If you then sit down and wait for this person's gratitude, you will probably be disappointed. ( People are not fools, they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less.

Consequently, though Christian charity sounds a very cold thing to people whose heads are full of sentimentality, adn though it is quite distinct from affection, yet it leads to affections. The difference between a Christian and a worldy man is not that the worldy man has only affections or "liking" and the Christian has only "charity." The worldy man treats certian people kindly because he "likes" them. The Christian, trying to treat everyone kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on--including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning....

Some writers use the word charity to describe not only Christian love between human beings, but also God's love for man and man's love for God. About the second of these two, people are often worried. They are told they ought to love God. They cannot find any such feelings in themselves. What are they to do? The answer is the same as before. Act as if you did. Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, "If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?" When you have found the answer, go and do it.

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