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707 W. Fargo Ave.
Hanford, CA  93230-6701
Pastor's Update

The Blessings of Hope

One afternoon, a man approached a little league baseball game. He asked a boy in one dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “Eighteen to nothing—we’re behind.” The spectator said, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” replied the boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!” –Robert Morgan

You may chuckle at the boy’s point of view, but the basis of his hope was connected to baseball rules. Both teams always receive a turn at bat. This young ball player expected to catch up to the other team. You may call him innocent and naïve. You may say he will understand the real truth when he has more experience. Then you will conclude that he will know defeat.

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Follow Your Heart?

“Follow Your Heart” is not just a company that produces gourmet dairy alternatives. It is a popular philosophy that floods our society. This cliché is spouted by many psychologists and is found in many soap operas today. This conventional wisdom sounds so hopeful, comforting, and harmless; hence, it must be true. Right? Wrong!

So in a Google Search, I found that Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC and Doctor Christine Meinecke, PhD. have disagreed about the result of “following your heart.” Dr. Martinez has considered it as good advice and should be followed. However, Dr. Meinecke has believed it as poor counsel and should not be adhered to. Now, that is a big contradiction.

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A Child's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep . . .”  Prayer is usually taught early in a child’s life. Children are instructed to thank God for the meal. Later, children are taught to pray for others before going to sleep or at family devotions. However, there is a learning curve. Mistakes are often made giving their parents a teachable moment. Explaining spiritual truths takes repetition, patience, and grace. Below is an illustration of spiritual training for a child.

Frankie had been misbehaving and was sent to his room. After a while he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and then said a prayer. “Fine,” said the pleased mother. “If you ask God to help you not misbehave, He will help you.” “Oh, I didn’t ask Him to help me not misbehave,” said Frankie. “I asked Him to help you put up with me.” (Wayne W. Eisbrenner)

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The Love of God

The Universal Church has written many worshipful hymns over the years. It seems as though everyone has at least one favorite hymn or praise song out of the many thousands produced. We at Grace Bible Church are no exception. We treasure many songs and enjoy singing them in adoration of our LORD.

“The Love of God” is one that is treasured by our congregation. It was composed by Frederick M. Lehman (1868-1953). Mr. Lehman pastored churches in Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, and California during his ministry.

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Bible Memory's Importance

On Sunday December 8th, I woke up at the Kaweah Delta Medical Center on the Cardiac Floor. It had been four days since my surgery. My room was facing the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A winter storm was just breaking up. The sun began to shine through the clouds making a gorgeous scene. This beautiful, snowy view reminded me of our Creator, the LORD GOD. I began to praise the LORD for His omnipotence being displayed out the window.

At that moment, this passage came to mind: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1–2, NKJV) I had memorized these verses in Sunday School as a child. Now, their recall brought me great joy. So, I began to worship the Most High because of these sacred words and the magnificent scene before me. I was filled with awe and adoration in this glorious service. It was short, because the preacher in the room became very tired.

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Our Mission Field Address

I am often reminded that God has placed Grace Bible Church at the corner of Eleventh and Fargo Avenues in Hanford to share the Gospel. This is our base of operation. It is not an accident that our congregation gathers at this point on the map. I submit to you that Our Heavenly Father has called each one of us here to glorify Himself and spread the Good News of Salvation to all who will hear.

Please note that our presence here is not by chance. Many people drive by our intersection every day to go to work, school, shopping, etc. and back home again. Thousands of people in the Central Valley have witnessed our location. God has ordained that a Bible preaching, Gospel sharing, and Christ honoring congregation worships here every Sunday for the last fifty years.

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A Gift for God

We are nearing the end of the Christmas gift giving season. The homemade gift makers, mall shoppers, and internet buyers are busy seeking the perfect present for their friends and loved ones. You have only a few more days left. Have you found the best gifts, or have you left anyone out?

All believers acknowledge that God has given us the greatest gift. It’s Jesus Christ. He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46–47, ESV) “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12, ESV) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV) It is important to remember that all gifts are to be received. In the case of Jesus, we must confess He is our Savior and Lord. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin and gave us eternal life.

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Do Right

I often find myself thinking about the things my father said. One of those sayings that occupies my mind is, “Do right until the stars fall.” Pastor Mert would remember Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. addressing the student body of Bob Jones University. Sometimes Dad would mimic Dr. Bob in the most respectful way as he admonished the students. With a great sweep of His hand Dad would shout, “Do Right!”

Frank and Flora Jean Garlock wrote the following “Do Right” chorus: “Do right till the stars fall; do right till the last call. Do right when there’s no else to stand by you. Do right when you are all alone; do right though it’s never known. Do right since you love right, do right!”

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God's Grace Garden

Dr. Kenneth Gangel once gave an illustration that was first shared by his seminary professor, Dr. Alva J. McClain, explaining the doctrine of election. McClain talked about standing outside a beautiful garden.

As we stand outside the gate surveying the beautiful array of flowers, we ponder what it might cost to spend two or three hours strolling around the gardens and photographing the beautiful scenery. About this point, we look up at the stone archway over the gate and read in large letters, “Whosoever Will May Come.” Surely it cannot be possible. Places like this are always expensive. But there is no ticket booth, no waiting line, no signs offering different rates for children, adults, and seniors. Assuming the sign means what it says, we enter the garden and begin to peruse its botanical treasures. Before we get too far down the pathways, however, we want to see that welcome sign one more time—inviting us without charge to enjoy this magnificent place. But as we turn, we look up at the interior of the wall and see the wording of the sign has changed. Now it reads, “Chosen in Him from the Foundation of the World.”

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A Gentle Spirit

Bonnie and I spent this past week seeing family and friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan Also, I had some board meetings there. This visit was like a stroll down memory lane. My former roommate and I had lunch at Applebee’s. We talked for hours. After the board meetings, Pastor Steve Wong and I spent several hours at Bakers Book House. It was his first visit, however, I have been there many times browsing their book shelves. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and left with a few finds.

During this nostalgic trip, I remembered a specific lesson that John Miles taught. He was the President of Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music when I attended in 1971-77. Mr. Miles taught Freshman Doctrine, Systematic Theology, Practical Theology, and other Bible courses. During the Practical Theology Class, he shared many useful lessons from his extended experience as a pastor in Wayland, Michigan.

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