Imagine This!

Song of Solomon 2:8-13, James 1:17-27 and Mark 7:1-23.

Your guess is as good as mine at this point as to why the Old Testament reading is this one from Solomon’s Song of Songs! A lot about love but, upon first reading, sure looks like the “romantic love” between a couple!

We will work to bring this together with Jesus’ stern address to the Pharisees about their “traditions of the elders” which tended to emphasize outward observance of cleanliness to the neglect of purity within. And James insists that “true and faultless religion” is that which cares outwardly for “widows and orphans.” And this will all come together on a Holy Communion Sunday! Pray for me as the preacher and for the scripture readers and for the music leaders!

At least as you read these scriptures you will see how interesting and challenging Bible reading can be! Love, cleanliness within, and practical religion are spelled out and show us the way the Beloved One would have us follow.

It’s a lot to take in but people should leave worship encouraged to faithfully “live into” the daily Christian’s walk. And know where we are to ask for forgiveness when we don’t!

Thanks for your prayerful help heading into Sunday morning!

Pastor Barry

Strong Enough To Encourage Others

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

Want to build character and, at the same time, build a better life? Then find thoughtful, honorable, God-fearing people who will offer you a steady stream of encouragement.

Life is a team sport, and all of us need occasional pats on the back from our teammates. As Christians, we are called upon to spread the Good News of Christ, and we are also called to spread a message of encouragement and hope to the world.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul writes, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (4:29 NIV). Paul reminds us that when we choose our words carefully, we can have a powerful impact on those around us.

Whether you realize it or not, many people with whom you come in contact every day are in desperate need of a smile or an encouraging word. The world can be a difficult place, and countless friends and family members may be troubled by the challenges of everyday life. Since we don’t always know who needs our help, the best strategy is to encourage all the people who cross our paths. So today, be a world-class source of encouragement to everyone you meet. Never has the need been greater.

The secret of success is to find a need and fill it, to find a hurt and heal it, to find somebody with a problem and offer to help solve it. – Robert Schuller


Chaplin Rob

Serving Others

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10

Finding a way to help others is an expression of faith. It shows that we believe in the sovereignty of God. We don’t have to wait until the pain in our life is gone, because we know God can use it for good.

Finding a way to help others requires that you ask two questions: “What is God doing?” and “How can I get into the flow of his activ¬ity?” When we ask these questions, ideas will come. And once we begin doing this, the “why is this happening” question, which once seemed so important, becomes irrelevant.

The best answer to why is always what. When we stop asking, “Why has God allowed this?” And begin asking, “What does He want me to do with it?”, we’re ready for God to start His work in us, and that prepares us for service.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. – Galileo Galilei

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. – Charles Dickens


Chaplain Rob

Working On A Building

I Kings 8:22-30, 41-43, Ephesians 6:10-20 and John 6:56-69

It’s always something! Maintenance and upkeep. Whether an apartment, house, or other dwelling, someone’s got to keep it up! Same for the human body. Some kind of “service agreement” comes with it! Medicines, exercise, nutrition, treatment for this and that.

In worship this Sunday we will hear of the Temple a site of worshipping and serving God. Turns out that Temple has two locations! Both a material structure made of stone and wood, while the other is…well….the human body (person).

The scriptures bring heaven and earth together in Jesus, the Church, and YOU as an individual with all your needs for care, maintenance, and expression. You need nourishment? Yes, bread and the Bread of Life. You need protection both physically and spiritually. John and Ephesians speak to these Creator designed needs.

Work is necessary and welcomed on the Temple. And God does the best work upon the crown of Creation the human being. Are we partners by faith in the work God is about doing within us and outwardly toward others? I renew that partnership and work agreement every time I come to worship!

Blessings on your “building” work!

See you Sunday!

Pastor Barry

Unfailing Love

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:21-23

No one is exempt from suffering. The people you think deserve it the least are often the ones faced with it. And you may suffer because those you love make some poor choices. Your wife may leave you, your child may struggle with addiction, or your brother may choose a homosexual lifestyle. Whatever the situation or whenever your heart is breaking, God wants you to give your grief and sorrow to Him. He’s the one who mends broken hearts.

The prophet Jeremiah is a man who watched, as his nation was taken captive, ravished, and almost completely destroyed because of its refusal to surrender to God. It’s no wonder Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. In the book of Lamentations he cried, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord. I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.” (Lamentations 3:18-20)

But look at the Scripture that follows his weepy, whiny, poor-little-ole’ me tirade. It is printed at the top of this page. What a great example for us.

We all get in to feeling sorry for ourselves. But before you stay there, remember your hope: God’s love is unfailing! And it never ends.

Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not. – C.S. Lewis

When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God’s love. – Charles Spurgeon


Chaplain Rob

Studying God’s Word Builds Character

You will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. – 1 Timothy 4:6

God’s promises are found in a book like no other: the Holy Bible. The Bible is a road map for life here on earth and for life eternal. We are called upon to trust its promises, to follow its commandments, and to share its Good News. We are instructed to study the Bible each day and meditate upon its meaning for our lives. Otherwise, we deprive ourselves of an invaluable, character-building gift from the Creator. God’s Holy Word is, indeed, a transforming, life-changing, one-of-a-kind treasure. And, a passing acquaintance with the Good Book is insufficient for those who seek to obey God’s Word and to understand His will.

God has made promises to mankind and to you. God’s promises never fail and they never grow old. You must trust those promises and share them with your family, with your friends, and with the world.

Are you standing on the promises of God? Are you expecting God to do wonderful things, or are you living beneath a cloud of apprehension and doubt? The familiar words of Psalm 118:24 remind us of a profound yet simple truth: “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”(KJV). Do you trust that promise, and do you live accordingly? If so, you are living the passionate life that God intends.

For passionate believers, every day begins and ends with God’s Son and God’s promises. As we face the inevitable challenges of life, we must arm ourselves with the promises of God’s Holy Word. When we do, we can expect the best, not only for the day ahead, but also for all eternity.

Trust God’s Word: Charles Swindoll writes, “There are four words I wish we would never forget, and they are, ‘God keeps his word’.” And remember: When it comes to studying God’s Word, school is always in session.

Reading news without reading the Bible will inevitably lead to an unbalanced life, an anxious spirit, a worried and depressed soul. – Bill Bright

God gives us a compass and a Book of promises and principles’ the Bible, and lets us make our decisions day by day as we sense the leading of His Spirit. This is how we grow. – Warren Wiersbe


Chaplain Rob

Who God Says You Are

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1, esv).

God is very personal. Consider the word formed (v.1)—it’s so intimate. God may have spoken the universe into existence, but He formed you. This is the same word used in Jeremiah 18 to describe God as the potter with His hands on the clay, personally shaping you. He did not just make your life and bring you into existence; He is forming the kind of person you are becoming day by day. God is making you into who He wants you to be.

“God paid your redemption price with His Son’s life so He could have a relationship with you that will last forever.”

When it comes to your identity, the critical issue is not what you think about yourself—because you can’t be trusted! As Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Ultimately, the only thing that matters is what God thinks about you.

Tune in to the biblical message of who God says you are, and allow His thoughts about you to build your identity. You will discover a remarkably different thought pattern developing: I’m not who my parents or my spouse say I am. I’m not who my boss says I am. I’m not what my performance or my appearance says I am. I am who God says I am!

If you let your mind be renewed with His Word, the truth that God formed you will download into your identity and your attitude. This involves accepting truths about God that will affect your understanding of who you are, and it results in an attitude that honors Him. You’ll be surprised by how your actions naturally begin to flow out of who you know you are in Christ.

The fact that God is personal reinforces this awesome identity truth: the Lord has redeemed you and called you His own. He paid your redemption price with His Son’s life so He could have a relationship with you that will last forever.

If you have put your trust in Jesus, God says, “You are mine.” That is who you are. And what God says is the only thing that will ultimately matter. Let this truth shape your identity for His glory today.

Father, You are awesome and I thank You for the awareness that I am being shaped by Your hands today. Sharpen my senses to appreciate the care and workmanship You are lavishing on me. Thank You for paying for my redemption, for knowing and calling my name, and for claiming me as Your own. What delight there is in relishing Your grace! In Jesus’ name, amen.


Chaplain Rob

How To Go Out Or Come In

I Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14, Ephesians 5:15-20 and John 6:51-58

As young and inexperienced as Solomon thought himself to be, he still was wise enough to ask God the right kind of requests! Solomon says he is so “inexperienced” that he hardly knows “how to go out or come in (!)”. But, the son of David is a quick learner it appears!

There is “book learnin” and “learning by doing.” We need both. Methodists have long been known for valuing education and one’s own personal experiences of faith. These, with also “rightly discerning” the Bible while continually looking at faithful tradition, have empowered Methodists to have been faithful witnesses for over 200 years plus!

Thus, the scriptures for Sunday emphasize experience (Solomon), tradition (John and the striking images of Jesus as Bread of Life), and reason (we see the latter applied in all these scriptures).

We will listen in on young Solomon’s “conversation” with God and the experiences of Paul instructing the new Christians at Ephesus. We will hear much that applies to each of us as “learners in the faith” and how we go about “coming and going” in daily experiences in being Christian.

I hope to share a few “experiences” from a most recent road trip Westward which was a faith trip after all given a less than stellar bill of orthopedic health the last few weeks! Again thanks to LeNoir and Chip for filling in the pulpit in my absence. And for the people of Locks and Kedron for being faithful in their own “going out and coming in!”

Pastor Barry

Surrender or Fight

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. – Joshua 24:15a

Saul was the first king of the Israelites. He was a man with great potential for leadership. Unfortunately he failed miserably. He allowed his fearfulness, disobedience, and self-sufficiency to come between him and God’s plan for his life. I think we can all resonate with Saul’s struggles, so why not learn from him.

At the beginning of his career, Saul was a shy and reluctant leader. He was found hiding in the baggage when Samuel called the people together to publicly anoint him as king. Saul’s humble, restrained style worked well in the early days of his rule, but he came to a point that many of us come to: he had to decide to either follow or fight against God’s authority in his life. Unfortunately, Saul made the wrong choice.

During his reign, Saul had great successes when he obeyed God. His greatest failures resulted when he acted on his own. Even his weaknesses, though, could have been used by God if Saul would’ve confessed them and left them in God’s hands.

Just like Saul, you’re faced with the choice of surrendering your life and will to God or continuing to fight God’s plan for your life. Saul was a people-pleaser. He surrendered to outside pressure rather than surrendering to God and it cost him his kingdom. Today, you are faced with the same choice. Will you surrender to God or go your own way? Will you surrender your past, present, or future to God’s care? Will you surrender your relationships, your job, your family, etc to God’s loving hands? Just like Saul, your answer to that question will set the course of your life.

I surrendered unto Him all there was of me; everything! Then for the first time I realized what it meant to have real power. – Kathryn Kuhlman


Chaplin Rob


Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. – Romans 8:17

Both outright or subtly many people who follow Jesus and walk with God think they shouldn’t struggle. We think God will give us lives of ease and comfort once we decide to follow Christ. The idea is: If we’re good Christians, we’ll have it all together. If we have enough faith, our conflicts and problems would resolve them¬selves. When you come to Christ, your problems disappear. In fact, many churches will communicate that very message week in and week out. As a result, those who attend those churches hide their struggles, because they mistakenly equate struggles with a lack of faith.

But the Christian walk wasn’t meant to be a stroll through the park. Following Jesus won’t remove struggles from your life; in fact it often adds to the struggle. Some of the most committed Christians have lived some of the most difficult lives. The Bible goes so far as to tell us to expect trials and difficulties, and to be joyful when we face them. With Christ, you can do that. On your own, you’re destined to fail.

If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and therefore, through trial, be strengthened. – George Mueller

Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever. – Brennan Manning


Chaplain Rob