Thursday, February 25, 2016

Friends Win

Just finished Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. I found it outstanding. I probably ready this book 30 years ago when I was trying hard to be a salesman. I don't remember the book much. At that time, I was no doubt reading the book for me and trying to Win Friends or Influence People to my benefit. Consequently, I got no real benefit from the book.

Having read it at fifty, after fifteen years in ministry, I find the book to be of immense import. The key point in the book, really, is to simply love other people. Be interested in them. Ask them questions. Think of them more highly than yourself. If you focus on them for their sake, then guess what? They will like you. They will feel empowered. They will return your kindness.

I think the title of the book is unfortunate. It sounds like another gimmicky sales book. But I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Pleased Father

I have talked about the Pleased Father quite a bit through the years. I have come to believe that it is both a central doctrine of the Christian faith and a key principle for raising godly children. As a principle, we should have pleased mothers as well as pleased fathers.

Like the apostle Paul, I rejoice greatly when I find your children walking in truth, when they are doing just what their Heavenly Father commands them. Indeed, I feel as a father to all of you and am pleased to find you walking in the truth of Jesus.

Your failures, shortcomings and sins do not deter me from being pleased, not when you turn from sins and walk in and towards Jesus. Of course, I am displeased to find anyone who turns his back on Jesus. You must turn around. But for those of you in Christ, nothing can separate you from Him. And this pleases the Father for He is pleased to be your Father, just as your own mother and father are pleased to be your parents and are pleased when you turn from foolishness and turn to wisdom and righteousness in Jesus Christ.

We gather before the Father in Jesus Christ. Rest assured, as you are in Christ, the Father is pleased with you as He is pleased with Jesus.

Honor Your Father

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
         The Bible teaches children to honor their parents, both father and mother. For many of you, this is easy. Your parents deserve your honor. Their desire is to train you up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Perhaps for some of you adults, it takes a more conscience effort to honor your parents, maybe even creativity, particularly if they raised your poorly or mistreated you. But it is still your duty to grant honor where honor is due. And a failure to do so requires repentance.

         If your parents are faithful Christians, then you should not only honor them but you should also seek to imitate them as they imitate Christ. Of course, your parents are not perfect. In some ways, they will fall short of Christ. You should not imitate their sins and failures. And, in fact, this is another way to honor them. Learn from their good behavior and learn from their bad behavior. This kind of honor honors the Lord Jesus and brings with it a long and blessed life on the Earth.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Unity in Jesus

Today, we have recounted the last year at Providence. We have gone through good times and hard times and trusted the Lord Jesus in them all. We are growing up into Christ together. This reveals both the unity and diversity of the body of Christ.
         As we grow we become more like-minded, like a husband and wife do after many years together and like a family that grows up together. Very different and very the same. Some have even described our like-mindedness as a negative thing and used the word homogenous to try cast aspersion on our unity.  But sameness and diversity dwell well in the same dwelling.

         Are we homogenous? Well, I hope so, if our homogeneity is to be found in Jesus Christ’s shed blood, the forgiveness of sins and the desire to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Unity in Jesus is God’s gift to us. Far from being ashamed of our unity, we should be grateful for it and hold it dearly as a prized possession.

Health In Jesus

Dear Providence Saints,

I wanted to clarify something I said yesterday. Recall, I said this in our Assurance of Pardon. They were meant to be Words of Assurance but may have been misunderstood. My plan was to 'encourage' you not 'discourage' you. I am sorry I was not more clear. I will explain below.

This is what I said on Sunday.

Words of Assurance

We live in an age that is obsessed with health. Health with all vegetables. Health with all meat. Health with oils. Health with vitamins. Health with exercise. These things are all fine, in and of themselves, but we need to learn to think like Christians, instead.
         The Bible says 1Tim. 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
         Our real health is to be found in Jesus Christ, not counterfeits. He gives health to our mortal bodies and health to our souls. Jesus is health now and health later. Our sickness is sin. Our disease leads to death. But in Jesus Christ we have life and that abundantly.

When I say that our health in is Jesus and that our problem is sin, I do not mean that your particular sins caused your particular ailments. We are fallen human beings and this fall causes both sin and death. Sickness flows from sin and death and leads to sin and death. Particular sins 'can' cause particular ailments. James 5:14-15 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. So when we are sick, we should be quick to confess our sins, particularly things like anger, bitterness, resentment, fear, anxiety. But, in this life, we will not be completely free from these sins. And confessing them will not necessarily fix the problems in our bodies that are broken. Confession and forgiveness will most definitely meet the need of reconciliation with God and man.

But we don't need to fret about these ongoing sins because there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ. This forgiveness gives us peace in the midst of suffering and sickness, physical, mental, emotional. There may be earthly remedies for our various sufferings in this life. Those remedies might include diet, exercise, oils, vitamins, and medicines. As one who embraces God's kindness to us in modern medical and technological advances, I think we should utilize all of the resources as He provides them. Amen and thank you, Lord!

But, we need to hold them loosely. All of the earthly fixes are temporary fixes. We are still going to get sick. We are still going to get old. We are still going to die. Health and wealth waxes and wanes but God's Word to us in Jesus Christ stands forever. To the extent that we have that settled, we have peace with Him. What I am saying is THAT peace is the sort of real health that is paramount. You might still be sick, you might still be suffering and I encourage you to use whatever helps there are available to give you real relief from your bodily suffering. But in Jesus, you are forgiven and you can rest in that peace and it can never be taken from you. For the promises of God in Christ are yea and amen!


Pastor Hurt

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Count it Up!

Some of the kids in church write down some words and keep a tally of how many times the preacher says those words. Here is the tally from one little saint from my sermon last week. Overall, I'd say I am pretty balanced.

my list

God- 28
The Lord- 9
Sins- 8
Clincy- 1
forgivniss- 11
Profit - 1, Prophit-1
Sinner- 11
David- 1
faith- 11
Heven- 9
Jesus- 8
the Holy Gost- 1
Church- 4
Solms- 4
bible- 7
New testment- 4
Old tesment- 11
Pray- 6
Prayer- 4
Sumen- 7
Suvise- 6

Worship is Heaven

The Christian worship service is nothing less than a heavenly feast. When you come to worship, you are coming into heaven. Now, who does not want to go to heaven? Seriously, who in their right mind, would refuse heaven?

         Would you refuse heaven because you had a late night on Saturday? Would you refuse heaven because your child had a sporting event? Would you miss heaven because your family was visiting from out of town? Would you miss heaven for nearly any old excuse? Dear Saints, I am not kidding about this or being glib. I mean it with all my heart. If you do not understand that we are going to heaven together when we gather as God’s people, you really do run the risk of missing heaven altogether. If you cannot see the glory in the gathered people of God, then you are missing the glory of God. It really is that simple. So, come to heaven every week so that you are consistently drawn to God and will spend eternity with Him and His people in Heaven.

Our Sustenance is Jesus

Sustenance is food and drink that keeps you alive. We strive in all sorts of areas and do all sorts of great things in God’s Kingdom but without food and water, in a very short time, we would be worthless. We would lose our energy. We would be wracked with pain. Eventually, we would not be able to do the most basic functions of life. Our system would shut down and finally, we would die.

This bread and wine is our spiritual sustenance. Without it we will lose our strength, wind down and wither away. I am not talking about this little pinch of bread or this thimble full of wine. That won’t get you very far at all. 

Are you in Jesus today? Tomorrow? Next Sunday? Is Jesus in you? Are you filled up with Christ? Is He your sustenance? Is Jesus your food, your bread, your wine? Without Him, no life. In Him, life abundant. This meal invites you to have your fill of Jesus. Eat and drink of Him in faith and this bread and this wine, this Jesus, will sustain and preserve you.

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty and everlasting Father, who alone dwells in unapproachable light, we praise and magnify Your name. We give You thanks for sending Your Son to light the world with His radiance and glory. We thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to dwell with us always, even to the end of the age. Grant that as we eat and drink in faith, we would be filled to overflowing in the love of the Father, the grace of the Son and the joy of the Holy Spirit. Amen.  


O, Lord our God, we have learned the secret of being content in all things, whether in plenty or in want, for You alone are our suffiency. In You we live and move and have our being. We thank You that You provide for us far beyond our needs. We acknowledge that all good things come from Your grace and mercy towards us in Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.