October 20

October 20- October 26
 
Scripture Passage:  “I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious also are your thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them.”   Psalms 139:14-17
 
Dear Friends,
 
     There are many people that I come in contact with that question the value and importance of their lives.  They are self- depreciating with low self- esteem and an overwhelming sense of unworthiness.  They live in a constant state of depression fueled by feelings of inferiority.  The question is: “Who told you that you were not worth anything?”  “Who told you that you should never have been born?”  Was it a parent, sibling, or teacher?  Was it a bully on the playground or a spoiled diva who thinks more of themselves than they ought to?  The only one who has the right to make that call is your creator and He would never say such a thing.  He made you in His image and created you with a purpose in mind.  You are not like everyone else because God made you unique and beautiful in your own right.  Our value and worth come from God and it is time we stopped listening to the lies of the devil and started listening to the praise of our creator.  You are somebody because God does not make junk.
 


Pastor’s Desk October 14th

Scripture Passage:  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Having had a whirlwind of activity the past few weeks, it is good to be sitting at my desk catching up on unfinished task and looking forward to new adventures. The princess is married, her mother got her trip to the beach, and I got some much needed rest.  It seems that Patty and I live in a constant state of activity and the church migrates from one big event to the other.  As I look at my week’s calendar I realize I have something every night this week including a wedding on Saturday. I do not intentionally plan things this way it just seems to happen on a consistent basis.  We have our associational meeting next week and Judgment Day Drama the following week for three nights.  It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity that we miss the main focus – lifting up Jesus.  If we fail to do that, all that we have accomplished only amounts to busy work and a lot of noise.  If we lift Jesus up in all we do, then men, women, boys and girls, are drawn to the saving grace of Christ and the church grows in numbers and strength.  The church vision statement is simple.  We lift up Jesus that sinners might be saved and saints might be made disciples.
 


Pastor’s Desk September 30th

Scripture Passage:  “The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”  Psalms 18:46
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Every day that I live produces new opportunities and challenges.  Some are filled with mundane task that are part of everyday life and ministry, while others are exhilarating and filled with emotional highs and lows.  Some days I feel up to the task.  Other days take a concerted effort to put one foot in front of the other.  There are days that my study time is like mining gems in a tropical setting.  The thoughts and nuggets of truth just keep coming to the surface.  Yesterday was like dredging a dry river bed.  I sifted through a ton of Scripture (it was all good) but I could only find minute traces of the treasure I was looking for.  This morning I went back to examine what I found yesterday and discovered it was part of the “mother lode.”  Let us put this gem under the microscope and see what we have.
 


Pastor’s Desk September 23rd

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,
 
    “When children are small they step on your toes, when they grow up they step on your heart.”  The last of the Carr children is getting married and leaving home.  Patty and I will experience what we have not known for thirty five years – being alone. Some people call it the empty nest syndrome while others call it freedom.  We just call it the next phase in our lives and to tell the truth we are looking forward to it.
 
    Emily was eight years old when we came to Fairview.  She had just been saved a couple of months before in VBS at Shepard’s Chapel. Emily has always loved music and adventure so a new church was right up her alley.  She has never been shy nor met a stranger so it took no time at all for her to adjust.  Emily’s new friends ranged in age from two to one hundred.  She always had someplace to go, someone to take her out to eat, and everyone bought her presents.  It is a wonder she is not more spoiled than she it.
 
    When Emily was very young she would go to music rehearsals with her sister Beth.  Beth is eleven years older than Emily.  She would sit behind the director during the rehearsal of “Into the Woods,” and correct the actors and musicians when they missed their part.  Mr. Nelson laughed and said he did not need an assistant when he had Emily.  By the time of the performance Emily had memorized the lines and songs of the entire production.
 
    Patrick is eight years older than Emily.  Patrick played ball with her and rode her on his golf cart.  He was her protector and later chauffeur.  When we had to be out of town, he was her babysitter.   Once he and Mandi married, Emily would rather spend the night with them than to stay with one of her friends.  There has always been a special bond between the two of them and now music is the common denominator that keeps their relationship strong.
 
    Enter stage left – Brandon Zortman.  Brandon and Emily met each other in their youth group at church.  Emily secretly had a crush on him during high school.  After high school they went out a couple of times, but decided to concentrate on college instead of dating.  He was at Bryon College and Emily was at Carson Newman.  Fast forward three and one half years.  Brandon made an appointment to see me at my office.  He came in and closed the door behind him.  He sat down and politely asked permission to date my daughter.  The rest is history and as of October 6
th the future also.
 
    My young daughter has grown up into a beautiful woman.  She is talented, an excellent teacher, and a fiercely independent woman.  She and Z love the Lord and desire to serve Him faithfully.  What more can a daddy ask for?  God bless Z and Emily and their life together.
 
In Christ,
 
Pastor Johnny


Pastor’s Desk September 16th

Scripture Passage: “Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you.”  Exodus 20:12
 
Dear Friends,
 
     I have been blessed with wonderful parents.  I never understood all the sacrifices they made for my siblings and me until I married and had children of my own.  They were good providers and protectors and raised us in an environment of responsibility and respect.  Love of God and family was the foundation upon which everything else was laid.  Looking back I realize how tough it must have been to raise three children in tough economic times and social unrest.  We never knew anything was going on because our home was a place of peace and security.  Momma and Daddy loved each other and us so it made for a wonderful environment to grow up in.
 


Pastor’s Desk September 9th

Scripture Passage:  “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  Acts 2:44-47
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Most people would agree that we know how “to do” church.  We have multi-million dollar facilities, padded pews and chairs, and high quality lighting and sound equipment.  We have curriculum’s and teaching material that have been professionally prepared and even DVD’s to go along with them.  Our buildings are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer.  Our grounds and facilities are beautiful and aesthetically appealing.  We have budgets and bushes, toilets and showers.  We have kitchens to cook in and gymnasiums to play in.  We have choirs and praise teams, music and musicians and even well- ordered services with beginning and ending times. Everything is designed with comfort and convenience in mind.  The early church had none of these and they saw five thousand people come to faith in Christ at one service.
 


Pastor’s Desk September 2nd

Scripture Passage: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”   Psalms 37:4
 
Dear Friends,
 
     What do you delight in?  I mean what brings you immeasurable joy?  What puts a smile on your face and song in your heart?  What is the one thing that becomes the topic of your conversation without any prodding or prompting?  That is what you delight in.
 


Pastor’s Desk August 26th

Scripture Passage:  “And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him.”  I Kings 12:12    “Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people.”  I Kings 12:15a
 
Dear Friends,
 
     This week’s Sunday School lesson was a reminder from God to seek for and listen to wise counsel.  The first part of the lesson taught about the foolishness of Solomon who was said to be the smartest man to ever live. He started out well, but after having made many treaty’s with other countries by marrying foreign wives, he began to lose his sincere dedication to the Lord.  At their bidding, he began to build places of worship for his wives to worship their gods.  After a while he began to also worship their gods in addition to the worship of Jehovah God.  His separation and compromise began to deteriorate his loyal devotion to the One True God.  God sent correction to Solomon but promised not to remove the kingdom from him while he was yet alive.  It would be under the rule of his son that the kingdom would become divided and only one of the ten tribes of Israel would remain loyal to David’s dynasty.  It is a sobering reminder that it does not matter how well you start out, but how well you finish that determines the legacy you will be remembered for.
 


Pastor’s Desk August 19th

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
 


Pastor’s Desk August 12th

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