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Pastor's Update

The Biblical Worker

“God rewards diligent workers,” my father said while teaching my brother and I to work hard. However, there are many fathers who give the opposite advice, “Don’t work any harder than is necessary.”

For example, a management consultant made the following observation: “Be the first in the office every morning, be the last to leave every night, never take a day off, slave through the lunch hour, and the inevitable day will come when the boss will summon you to his office and say, ‘I’ve been watching your work very carefully. Just what are you up to anyhow?” (Michael Hodgin) The management consultant in this story sounds a lot like my father. However, the boss has the typical attitude found everywhere in the workplace.



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Day Dreaming in Church?

Michael Hodgen tells the following story: “just before his sermon, a pastor commented to one of the church deacons that he had been so tired during the preparation of his sermon he had fallen asleep while preparing it. The deacon thought for a moment and suggested, ‘I guess that’s not a very good sign for this morning, is it?’” That relates to another of Hodgen’s statements, “the easiest way to stay awake during a sermon is to deliver it.”

There are a lot of jokes about long winded pastors and people sleeping in church. It is easy to be distracted while listening to a biblical sermon. In reality, it takes a lot of practice and diligence to be attentive to a good expository sermon. We must use certain listening techniques.



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Your Speech Filter

There was an ordinance in Grand Rapids, Michigan that prohibited a person from willfully annoying someone else. It was removed by the City Attorney because the terms were vague and unenforceable. (Jim Wilson & Jim Sandell, 300 Illustrations for Preachers) My imagination caused me to chuckle while trying to figure out what caused the ordinance to be written in the first place. It is very possible to annoy or irritate others through our actions or words.

Those who tend to dominate a conversation by talking only of themselves or their family members can cause such annoyance. Instead of taking turns in the conversation by actively listening to the other person, the speaker appears to love to hear their own voice. It is bothersome when a person is only interested in themselves and not others.



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Sawing Sawdust

Have you heard Dale Carnegie’s quote that sounds a little like Humpty Dumpty? “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men can’t put the past together again. So let’s remember: Don’t try to saw sawdust.”

Like Humpty Dumpty, past events in our lives cannot be reconstructed. However, we often dwell in the past longing for “the good old days.” Our memories have blocked out all the bad parts of a glorified experience but have exaggerated the enjoyable elements.



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Halt! Mass Murderer!

Mass murder is always horrific and terrible to contemplate. The senseless loss of life is impossible to understand. These recent shootings have left me numb and in a state of mourning. I am not wearing sackcloth and ashes, but my heart is filled with sorrow.

What followed this week was confusing. Reporters, politicians, and government officials engaged in debate and finger pointing. These mass murders became a political football to be booted around by both sides. However, no solutions were found by their rhetoric. It has left our hearts sad and unresolved.



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Honor Bound

Michael Hodgin tells the following story, “Tom was a member of the Stewardship Board of our church. He had gone into the alcove which holds the organ pipes to check on the humidifier. While he was there, hidden from the sanctuary behind the screen which covers the pipes, some of the younger children came bursting into the sanctuary. As they ran down the aisle, Tom shouted out, “Stop running!” There was a moment of stunned silence, and then came the query, “Who’s there?” Tom couldn’t resist. “God,” he replied. “Don’t run in my house.” The children walked out of the sanctuary and at least one of them, now an adult, still remembers that lesson about the need for reverence for God’s sanctuary.”

Unlike this man, our society seems to have lost honor, respect, and reverence for God. This lapse can be traced to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve disobeyed God (Genesis 3). They rebelled and dishonored the Divine Creator. Most humans follow their example. So, we should not be surprised to hear that policemen, teachers, and others in authority are being disrespected. This lack of consideration results from rebelling against God and His Word.



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Who Is in Charge?

I remember a boy being told to clean his room. He and his younger brother were to stay there until the task was completed. Their mother was very tired of their messy room. Finally, they decided to “obey”, after a half hour of playing and make more of a mess. So, the bed was partly made, a few things put away, and the rest was stuffed under the bed. Then, he informed her that the job was done.

I am sure you have a similar story in your past. The rest of the story: they were told to try again after seeing their feeble attempt. If not done properly, the consequences would be administered by their father. Grudgingly, these two boys did clean their room with a lot of moaning. (His response did not glorify God.)



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Where Have All The Manners Gone?

The above question sounds like “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” by Peter Seeger. You might have heard Peter, Paul, and Mary or the Kingston Trio sing it.

So, are you bothered by the apparent lack of manners in our society? It seems that the “Me First!” attitude has taken over. Rudeness and selfishness are popular responses to any situation. Being impolite or discourteous is praised by many. Here are some common examples of this audacity.



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Your Flight's Cancelled!

Bonnie and I started our journey to the Convention on a Wednesday morning. The flight to LAX went as scheduled. We arrived and ordered food at a taco truck in the airport. Then—

WHAT? My flight has been cancelled? REALLY? You mean it’s been delayed. “No sir, your flight to Dallas has been cancelled. In fact, the next two flights have been cancelled, too.” The agent gave us this news calmly. We had to run to the American Airlines Customer Service counter to be rerouted.



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The Ability to Change

Our worship committee has noticed that most of our Praise Songs are found in Grace Community Church’s Hymns of Grace Book. So, we have consolidated our worship books. This has worked well for us up to June 9th. Cheri had made the appropriate changes to the lyrics, so we were singing the same words.

Everything was going smoothly until we sang “God of Grace” two Sundays ago. Then, confusion hit us. The song leader and pianist were together singing and playing the same notes. However, the congregation was singing the old melody. God was glorified by the results, but it did not sound very good. We finished the song despite being out of sync with our leaders.



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