Staff Devotions

 

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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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
 
 
 
 
 
 


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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