Staff Devotions

 

August 18b

August 18 – August 24
 
Scripture Passage:  And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.”  Isaiah 30:21
 

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August 18

August 18 – August 24
 
Scripture Passage:  “The entrance of thy words gives light; it gives understanding unto the simple.”  Psalms 119:130
 
Dear Friends,
 
    Thank you so much church family for providing Patty and I time to get away and enjoy some time of much needed rest.  Let me rephrase that. When you go on vacation with Patty you do not rest very much.  Her philosophy is we have places to go and things to see.  She believes in getting the “most bang for the buck.”  (I will say she let me sleep as late as I wanted to each morning.)  This is the first time we have gone on vacation totally by ourselves.  It was kind of nice.  She planned for us to see a couple of Major League baseball games, one in Pittsburg and one in Philadelphia.  I enjoyed them immensely and beamed with pride having my beautiful wife sitting beside me in the stadium.  I know those people thought, “Why is that pretty young girl with that old man?”  My answer is: “Life is not always fair, but it pays to live right.”  We stayed in two of the most beautiful campgrounds we have ever been in.  Keystone State Park in Derry, PA. and Spring Gulch in New Holland, PA.  Both were wooded and shady and a very comfortable place to stay.  We went to Hershey Park on Monday and enjoyed some rides and wonderful chocolate.  On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to tour the New Holland Hay Equipment Plant.  They were building round hay balers that day and we saw the process from beginning to end.  I thoroughly enjoyed it because stuff like that interests me.  Patty and I drove around for two days and enjoyed watching the Amish work and the beautiful scenery and immaculate farms.  Over the course of the week we ate atGood and Plenty, Bird in Hand Smorgasbord, and Shady Maple Restaurant.   It is worth the trip just to eat at those places.  On Thursday we antiqued in the morning and went to the Sight and Sound Theatre   in the afternoon to see the drama “Jesus.”  It was one of the most moving productions I have ever experienced.  On Friday, we drove through Gettysburg on the way home. Patty and I enjoyed the trip, made new friends, and developed lasting memories.
     I have been in Lancaster twice before where I have toured Amish homes and farms.  I have observed the way they farm and the simple “ole timey” equipment they use.  I have watched them work and play and waited to pass their buggies on the state roads as they traveled from place to place.  The all wear the same type of clothes and the same colors so no one can be more prominent than others.  They all walk or ride buggies and scooters so they have no car insurance or gasoline bills.  Their homes have no electricity, televisions or telephones so the cost of modern technology is almost non-existent.  Whereas most Mennonites have church buildings the Amish meet in homes, so there are no buildings to keep up or salaries to pay.  The Amish and Mennonites both hold to a strict interpretation of Scripture and believe it to be the inspired word of God.  The hold each other accountable and practice church discipline.  The Amish do not believe in Nursing Homes or government handouts and most never draw Social Security because they take care of themselves.  As people get older they just build another room on the house and the family unit remains intact.  The single most impressive observance is that I have never encountered an Amish or Mennonite individual who was not happy.  The simple life may be difficult, but apparently having to work together and the lack of worldly desires is a recipe for peace and contentment.
     I do not desire to be an Amish.  I like modern conveniences and modern equipment, but I do desire and long for a more simple lifestyle where it is okay to stop and smell the roses.  I think we have a lot we can learn from them.  Their adherence to Scripture and a desire to live separated, godly lives is a characteristic that should exemplify us all as well.  I pray that today you will slow down and enjoy the day God has given you.  Take time to invest in your family and make time to do something together.  When all is said and done all we get to take to Heaven with us is our faith, family, and friends.  Be sure to lay these treasures up in Heaven.
 
In Christ..
Pastor Johnny
 
 
 
 
 
 


Pastor’s Desk August 5th

Scripture Passage:  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28
 
Dear Friends,
 
     I have dealt with some situations in the last six months that have caused me to question the accuracy of this passage of Scripture.  We all know it by heart and believe it most of the time, but overwhelming sadness and sorrow leave us questioning “Where is the good?”  When friends or family turn against us and we seek to understand why, there is often no logical explanation.  A heart that is going through a valley is like a harp hanging in top of a willow tree.  There is just no song to be sung.  During these times I begin to look for nuggets of encouragement to get me through the darkness till I can feel the Son shine again.  Here is one of those nuggets.
 
    One Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to lead in the opening prayer.  The deacon stood up, bowed his head and said, “Lord I hate buttermilk.”
 
    The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going. The deacon continued, “Lord, I hate lard.”  Now the pastor was totally perplexed.  The deacon continued, “Lord I ain’t too crazy about plain flour.  But after you mix’ em all together and bake’ em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits.”
 
    “Lord help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what you are doing, that we need to wait and see what you are making. After you get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits. Amen.”  
 
 
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny


Pastor’s Desk July 29th

Scripture Passage:  “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”   I Peter 5:10
 
Dear Friends,
 
     I hate mistakes.  I like things done right and the right way.  I have a low tolerance for stupidity.  My motto is, “No excuses.”  I want my work to be exemplary and anything my name is associated with to be top notch.  I want to be perfect in my profession and spotless in my calling.  I have one major problem.
 

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Pastor’s Desk July22nd

Scripture Passage:  “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”  II Timothy 4:7
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Midway through a basketball and football game the teams go to the locker room for halftime.  During this time they review the first half of the game.  They question, “What went right and what went wrong and how can we make adjustments to be able to finish the game strong?”  Sometimes the coach chews you out and sometimes he encourages and brags about how well you did.  Before you leave the locker room they remind you that “It’s not over till it’s over.”  Forget the first half and prepare to play the second.  If you do not work hard and play hard you can lose in the second half what you accomplished in the first.  Keep going until you hear the final buzzer.  From my perspective it does not matter how well you start the game but how well you finish that really matters.

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Pastor’s Desk July 15th

Scripture Passage:  “Go to now, you that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow.”   James 4:13-14a
 

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Pastor’s Desk July 8th

Scripture Passage:  And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spoke unto David saying, “Except you take away the blind and the lame, you shall not come in here,” thinking, David cannot come in here.  II Samuel 5:6
 
Dear Friends,
 
     In all the world, no city is held in such high reverence as the city of Jerusalem.  It is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.  Scholars believe this site to be the same as Salem in the time of Abraham.  The high priest Melchizedek received offerings from Abraham after his victory over the kings.  Genesis 14:18-20   Hebrews 7:1-2    The city of Jerusalem is mentioned directly in the Bible for the first time during the struggle of Joshua and the Israelites to take the land of Canaan.   Joshua 10: 1-4    They could not completely conquer the city and the remaining inhabitants were Jebusites, so the city was called Jebus.  Judges 19:10-11
 

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Pastor’s Desk July 1st

Scripture Passage:  And the chief captain answered, “With a great sum obtained I this freedom.”  And Paul said, “But I was born free.”  Acts 22:28
 
Dear Friends,
 
     This year marks the 234th anniversary of the signing of our Declaration of Independence from the British government.  We often forget that the signers of the Declaration were issuing their own death warrants.  Debates had taken place across the thirteen colonies where heated discussion had often turned into confrontation.  There were those who wished to remain loyal to the crown.  They had business investments and family ties that linked them to the crown and British Parliament.  We were, in fact, colonies of the British government.  The cost of the French and Indian War fought on the North American continent had brought financial hardship on all British subjects and parliament was looking for ways to raise funds to offset its cost.  People in England did not feel it was right for them to bear the cost alone.  The Americans felt that each tax placed upon them to raise these funds was unfair and that they were not properly represented by having duly elected representatives speaking for them in parliament.  The battle of words and rebellion continued for over ten years until our forefathers came together and asked Thomas Jefferson to draft an official declaration of independence. The signing of that document brought about the declaration of war and the American Revolution began.
 

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Pastor’s Desk June 24th

Scripture Passage:  “And he said unto them, Come you yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”  Mark 6:31
 
Dear Friends,
 
     The vacation season has begun.  The busy months of June and July usually mark the time families set aside to take trips and visit family.  Many businesses shut down over the Fourth of July weekend making it a convenient time for families to get away.  Others have to schedule a year in advance to be able to have people cover their shifts while they are gone.  Some have the luxury of being able to travel any time they please because of retirement and minimal responsibilities.  One thing I am convinced of – people have a lot more money than they did years ago, so the economy must be doing pretty good.
 

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Pastor’s Desk June 17th

Scripture Passage:  “And you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  Ephesians 6:4
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Happy Father’s Day to all my male friends who belong to the elite club of fatherhood.  I often say anyone can father a child, but it takes a special man to be a daddy.  I look back on the years when my children were small and think about the worries and responsibilities I had as a young man.  I thought when they grew up and could do things on their own, my worries would be over.  I have found that not to be true.  My worries have increased even if my responsibilities have declined. All my children are on their own and doing quite well, but they are always on their daddy’s mind and in his prayers.
 

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