Archive for March, 2015

“I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability” 2 Corinthians 8:3 (HCSB)

Some time ago I read that in America 40% of all food ends up being wasted, and that is not counting all the food we eat but really shouldn’t.

We are finding ourselves in the midst of a water crisis, our community could run out of water within a couple of months, so the watchword is, “Don’t waste the water!”

We started consolidating our trips to town when gasoline went above $4.00 a gallon. We couldn’t afford to just waste gas.

I don’t want to go on and on about waste, although I could add wasted time, wasted opportunities, and wasting our abilities.

Paul thought the Macedonian believers were too poor to take part in the hunger relief project he was promoting. Obviously they didn’t think so, which is why he wrote to the Corinthian believers what you read at the top of this pastor’s note. The poor Macedonians implored, pleaded, begged (what irony) to let them participate, and then they stretched themselves “beyond their ability.” The Corinthians were the opposite, they had plenty of ability, but somehow they had to be motivated to not waste their ability and resources.

You can’t waste what you don’t have, but each one of us has time, opportunities, resources, and abilities. All four of them are God-given, what we do with them says a lot about us, our priorities, our hearts. In Matthew 25 Jesus speaks about the judgment of God and in doing so tells what is known as the parable of the talents (talents were large sums of money). In the parable a wealthy master divides talents in unequal proportions to three of his servants, the criteria being “to each according to his ability.” After the talents are distributed the master leaves for a time, when he returns he expects each person to give an account. The first two doubled what had been entrusted to them; the third didn’t do anything with his. All three had time, opportunity, resources, and ability. The questions is whether or not we are using all four in way that pleases God, that advances his interests? Do we have the heart and vision to see how our resources and abilities can make a difference? Do we jump to it, or do we have to be prodded, or do we set aside any notion of accountability before God?

We can get it right, we just can’t be wasters. The ultimate approval of how we went about life, what we did with our time, opportunities, resources, and abilities, will be when God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23).

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans


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Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25 (ESV)

Most likely you have never done this, adding to somebody’s anxiety, weighing their heart down. You know, someone is telling you about an impending operation they will have to undergo and you tell them how your aunt Maggie had the same operation and had nothing but complications. In fact she nearly died twice, was in excruciating pain for weeks, and never really has been the same since. Yep, and your brother went to that same hospital for a simple procedure but got one of those hospital infections and he ended up in ICU for two weeks. He isn’t quite the same either. And of course there is your neighbor who was allergic to the anesthesia; you don’t even want to know how that one turned out.

We are all capable of good words, words that sooth, calm down, are right for the moment, are helpful to the hearer. We are capable of speaking words of love, of encouragement, of wisdom, of meaningful truth, of proper perspective. We are capable of speaking words that do some, maybe even do tremendously much good. No, our capability of speaking good words is not the trouble, it’s that we also know how to speak words that cause anxiety, words that stoke worries, words that inflame, that contribute to something, just not good.

According to James words can be like matches, “(The tongue like) a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire” James 3:5 (NLT). You yell, “Bat!” in a congregation of mosquitoes, “Shark!” on a crowded beach, “High Jack! On an airplane, “Gun control!” at an NRA convention, and watch what will happen to anxiety levels. It might be wise to consider how dry the ground is, how much tinder is in someone’s heart and mind before saying a word.

Words can also be like ice cold glasses of water on a scorching day, they can help someone with their heavy load, they can lift someone’s spirit, they can calm someone’s soul. Who around you needs a good word today? Who needs a word that will lift something off, that will make glad? Will you be the one to deliver it, to speak it? (And for goodness sake leave those matches alone).

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans




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Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” Numbers 21:4-5 (NASB)

The new car smell was long gone and there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the car, it was in good shape, dependable, and most importantly – it was paid for. But he couldn’t count those blessings, all he could see was the miles on the odometer, the stains on the seats, the few scratches here and there, and all that it was missing compared to a new car. So finally he even convinced his wife with all his car negativity, surely a new car would bring relief and happiness. In fact it brought more stress, the payments and increased costs stretched the budget to the “constant worry” level. It didn’t take long for the negativity to return.

“What were you thinking? Why did I ever go along with that? I loved the old car!” the wife accused.

“Oh now it’s all my fault! I seem to remember you signing the papers too!” he snarled back, before storming out.

The liberation of the ancient Israelites had slowed to an agonizing taxing crawl. They found themselves on another detour, this time a long march around the kingdom of Edom, which wouldn’t allow them to use the Kings Highway. It didn’t take long for their inclination towards pessimism to resurface. In their grumbling against and accusation of God and Moses they did what negative, complaining pessimist do – twist the facts.

The facts were they had not died, they had not starved, nor had they run out of water. There was fresh food every morning and God had just supplied enough water from a rock for every person and all of their livestock. The truth was that they were on this detour because of their own dumb and faithless choices. They already would have been where God wanted them to be if they had trusted God more than their fears, if they had surrendered to God instead of their constant negativity, foolishness, and sinful ways.

Lying to themselves was not enough. The clincher was their utter ungratefulness, “We loathe, despise, detest this miserable food.” What should have been a daily source of thanksgiving and praise was turned into a spoiled complaint and self-indictment. There was nothing wrong with the food, nor with God and Moses, their faithfulness, their goodness, and their patience was impeccable.

Too many stall out with God, in following Jesus Christ. Not because there is anything wrong with God and Christ or because preachers are telling lies and mislead, but because somewhere along the journey of spiritual liberation in Christ there is a failure of faith followed by a twisting of the facts expressed in negativity and thanklessness. The Christian life, a life with God, is not just a quick moment of faith resulting in liberation from sin; it is also a lifelong devotion to faith on the journey. “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. ‘For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.’ But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved” Hebrews 10:35-39 (NLT). This is what the generation Moses led out of Egypt never learned. May you and I learn and be different.

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans





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