Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – July 7, 2021

There is a song that I find intriguing. It is called “Slow Fade.” The words go like this:

It’s a slow fade
When you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade
When black and white have turned to gray
And thoughts invade, choices made
A price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

That last line is so powerful! No one wakes up and says…I think I will become a drug addict…I think I will become a bank robber… I think I will start to destroy my marriage today. It was all a “slow fade” down a dark path. Satan loves to use this tactic. He gets into your mind and says…”it’s only a small sin…no one will care…you can stop whenever you want…it won’t lead to other more serious issues”… and the slow fade begins!

Right and wrong…good and bad…things that were seen as black and white…slowly become darker and darker shades of grey!

The story is told of a college campus that was located in a valley between two mountains. The water tower for their college was located up on one of the mountains. One morning while the guys were taking their showers, the water was turned off. They thought that the girls were playing a trick on them, so they quickly got dressed and ran to the girl’s dorm, only to find that the same thing happened to them.

When they realized that it was not a trick, they called the maintenance crew. When a maintenance crew arrived, they were perplexed. They could find no pipes that were burst or valves that were turned off, so they began a tedious job of following the pipe all the way back up the mountain. Piece by piece they took it apart to see if there was any blockage. Finally, they came to the last piece of pipe that went into the water tower. They opened it and found a big bullfrog stuck in the pipe.

They could not understand how a bullfrog could have gotten into the water tower. There was just no way. Then they realize that it hadn’t come in as a big bullfrog but as a tiny tadpole. It had worked its way in and lived off the algae in the water until one day it was swimming too close and it was sucked into the pipe, cutting off the water supply to the whole campus!

When you ignore the sin in your life, even when it’s a small, seemingly insignificant thing…..eventually that sin will grow and become second nature to you…. robbing you of your joy and fellowship with Christ.

James 1:13-15… When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

So…this tadpole story reminds us that we need to resist the “slow fade” of seemingly harmless thoughts, words, and actions! But what can we do about it?

 Let’s exchange the “slow fade” for a “slow growth!”

That happens as you grow closer to the Lord one day at a time…and watch it grow in positive ways.

It starts with a 5-minute daily prayer…and eventually it grows into conversations with the Lord throughout the day!

It starts by reading a chapter in the Bible a week…and it grows into a daily time in God’s Word!

It starts with worshiping once a month…and it grows to weekly worship!

It starts with worshiping online…and it grows to active participation in the mission of the church! Serving, giving, joining a small group!

It starts with a phone call to someone lonely or in need…and it grows to God using you to bring them His Love and Joy!

It starts with looking deep and assessing your temptations …and it grows to you asking God to guide you to healthy choices! And then avoiding places of temptation as well as resisting the temptations that you cannot avoid!

Each of us have our own struggles and weaknesses. God is aware of them, and yet He still loves you. He wants to offer you His forgiveness, Grace, and Mercy.

Psalm 32:5…Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

 Take time today, find a quiet place, all alone and talk to your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Seek His will for your life. Ask Him to help you to grow into the person He made you to be! Be the best “you” you can be, to His glory.

Humor For the day:

On the first Friday of Lent, John (who is a Baptist) was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile all of his Catholic neighbors were eating cold tuna fish for supper. This went on each Friday during Lent.

On the last Friday of Lent the neighborhood men got together and decided that something just HAD to be done about John, he was just tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent and they couldn’t take it anymore. They decided to try and convert him to be Catholic. They went over and talked with him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his neighbors and become a Catholic.

They took him to church and the priest sprinkled some water over him and told him “You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist and now you are a Catholic”. The men of the neighborhood were SO relieved, now their biggest Lent temptation was resolved.

The next year’s Lent rolled around. The first Friday of Lent came and just at supper time when the neighborhood was setting down to their fish dinners came the wafting smell of steak cooking on a grill. The neighborhood men could not believe their noses! What was going on? They called each other up and decided to meet over in John’s yard to see if he had forgotten it was a Friday in Lent.

The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was pouring small droplets over his steak on the grill and saying, “You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish.”

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – June 30, 2021

My wife and I do devotions together most days. I am a great fan of devotions that give God’s Word and then apply it to our daily blessings, as well as our daily struggles. We use 5 different devotional books. When we get to the end of the book, we start over again, re-reading them.We find that they seem fresh and hit us in different ways…because we are in a different place than when we read them the first time. Here is one I wrote a year ago. (You can read lots of them at

The children of a well-to-do family decided to give their father a book containing their family’s history for a birthday present.

 They commissioned a professional biographer to write the book, carefully cautioning him about the family’s “black sheep” – their Uncle George had been executed in the electric chair for murder, and they felt it would be best if the biographer left Uncle George out of the book.

“No need to do that,” said the biographer. “I can report the situation in such a way that there will be no embarrassment to your father or to you. I’ll merely write that Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics ………at an important government institution………. He was attached to his position by the strongest ties………, and his death came as a real shock.”

The Bible teaches us that when you die, there is nothing else you can do to get ready to meet God. It won’t matter what people write about you or say about you to make you look good.…. It’s all about faith in Jesus.

So…In case you don’t know…or haven’t thought about it lately:

  • God hand made you…wanting to spend eternity with you.
  • But there is a problem…you are a sinner! We all are! Romans 3:23…  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
  • And yet, God still loves you! Romans 5:8… But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Our sin separates us from God (not His Love). Romans 6:23… For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • You are saved…and told to share the Gospel with others. 1 Peter 3:15…  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect 
  • Do you believe this? I mean really believe this. The truth is that you were on your way (and deserve) to spend eternity in hell…. but Jesus saved you so that you now will spend eternity in heaven!!!
  • Do you believe that there is a heaven or hell in your future?
  • Now…we hear phrases about heaven and hell in our daily conversations. Things like “these cookies taste heavenly…that guy irritates the hell out me…this campground is heaven on earth…it will be a cold day in hell before I vote for him”
  • Those phrases can make us minimize an important fact.
  • Here is my point… HEAVEN AND HELL ARE REAL…and therefore it follows that real people like you, and I are going there!!! How’s that for a heavy statement!!!

Matthew 25 talks about it (verse 34) …”Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. (verse 41) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (verse 46) “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

  • So why is it so awkward to talk about it to friends and family? Did you know Satan hopes you don’t talk about it?
  • It is said that a long time ago there was a conference in hell, and ol’ Lucifer was plotting and scheming how he might catch the human race and keep them from God and heaven.
  • One fiendish lieutenant came to the master of evil and said, “If you will send me to earth… I will tell the people that there is no heaven to be gained.”
  • Lucifer said to him, “No, no! They’ll never believe it because there is a little bit of heaven in every heart.”
  • Another fiend came forward, darker and fowler than the first, and he said to Lucifer, “If you would send me to earth, I would convince the people that they can sin with immunity. That God would continue to love and forgive. That He would never, ever, ever judge anyone – even if they didn’t repent. I will convince them of that.”
  • The father of darkness said, “No! These humans must not be underestimated. They have a conscience ……and deep within the heart of every human is this sense of righteousness. They know that evil will be punished……. They know that good will triumph over evil.”
  • A third lieutenant, from the very darkest pit, emerged into the shadow of Lucifer and said, “Master, if you would send me, I would tell them this:
  • There is no hurry!…….YOU CAN TELL OTHERS TOMORROW”
  • And Lucifer said, “Yes, go tell them that!”
  • Many people think “let someone else tell them!”. Many people consider themselves too sophisticated to believe in the devil and hell. That’s dangerous because they are real. I doubt that the Hollywood version of a guy in a red suit with horns and a pitchfork is what we will find…but the bible speaks of the devil from Genesis 3 through Revelation!
  • And hell is the end result of not trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior…and living a life that shows that disrespect for His Word. Revelation 21:8… But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars ….(and have not trusted in Jesus’ for forgiveness of these sinful actions)– their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
  • The worst part of hell is eternally separated from God and good.
  • Heaven on the other hand is…Revelation 21:3-4… And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
  • And the best part of this is that it is prepared for and purchased for you…John 3:16…”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
  • This is where other religions differ from Christianity.
  • Hindus believe that they need to reach salvation through their own efforts. (Following 1 of 4 paths…love, work, knowledge, psychology)
  • Muslims need to earn favor with God through laws and works. (5 pillars)
  • Buddhist reach peace through right thinking and living following the 8-fold path to Nirvana.
  • The bible is very clear that salvation is a free gift from God to you through faith…Ephesians 2:8-9… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.
  • So…if we are saved by faith…where does faith come from? Romans 10:17…Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
  • So…stop and think about…who shared Jesus with you? How did they do it? Why did they do it? Who is God wanting you to share Him with?
  • I get a disturbing image in my head from time to time.
  • It can’t happen since there is no sorrow in heaven but…
  • What would it be like to get to heaven…start looking for “old so and so”? You cannot find them, so you ask. You are told “they are not here…no one took the time to tell them about Jesus!”

So…since heaven and hell are real…let’s get real!

  • Who do you know that you are not sure of their relationship with Jesus? Who is God nudging you to reach out to?

Fill in the blanks:

  • Who in your immediate family_________________
  • Who in your extended family__________________
  • Which of your friends________________________
  • Who at work or school________________________
  • Who at businesses you frequent_________________

What is the first step…be ready…Share your Hope…Let the Holy Spirit do the rest!

1 Peter 3:15-17… Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad.

Humor for the day:

Two old guys, Fred and Sam went to the movies.  A few minutes after it started, Fred heard Sam rustling around and he seemed to be searching on the floor under his seat.  “What are you doing?” asked Fred. Sam, a little grumpy by this time, replied “I had a caramel in my mouth, and it dropped out.  I can’t find it.” Fred told him to forget it because it would be too dirty by now.  “But I’ve got to”, said Sam, “my teeth are in it!”

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – June 23, 2021

Have you ever received a LETTER FROM THE TOOTH FAIRY? 

Dear _____________________:

Thank you for leaving one (1) tooth under your pillow last night.

While we make every attempt to leave a monetary reward in the case of children’s lost teeth, we were unable to process your request for the following reason(s) indicated below:

( )   It was not a human tooth

( )   We do not consider pieces of chicken bone amusing

( )   The tooth has previously been redeemed for cash

( )   The tooth did not originally belong to you

( )   The tooth was too fragile to move due to excessive cavities

( )   You were overheard to state that you do not believe in the Tooth Fairy

( )   You were age 18 or older at the time your request was received

( )   We discovered evidence of unsafe tooth extraction as follows:

          ( )   wire

          ( )   pliers

          ( )   gunpowder

          ( )   hammer marks

 Thank you for your request, and we look forward to serving you in the future.


Lt. Flossie Fairy


Tooth Fairy Union #32

I hope you found that amusing and yet I wonder what can we learn from it….and how can we use it to draw closer to the Lord? Many people try to treat God as if He were the tooth fairy. Here are 4 tooth fairy statements…and some biblical thoughts.

  1. The Tooth Fairy saga can help a child find some joy in a painful process of losing a tooth.
  • That is a good reminder to us that life this side of heaven will have good days and not so good days…even painful days! And yet focusing on God’s Love and the blessings He has given you, can change our outlook, and get us through the storm. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18…Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. A Christ-centered outlook will get you through anything that life throws at you.
  • Sometimes (when junk happens) we need to remember that God is in control, and He will use all things to accomplish His plans.1 Peter 4:12-13…Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. God is with you…nothing can separate you from the Love of God in Christ Jesus.
  • A verse that helps me when times are tough is…Romans 5:3-5…Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  As the song says, our Hope is found in nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
  1. Some are overheard saying they don’t believe in the tooth fairy but want the cash under the pillow anyway.
  • There are no shortcuts to God’s forgiveness and eternal life. There is only one way!!! We confess our sins, repent of those sins, and trust that Jesus died for your sins. Romans 10:9…If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
  • If life seems tough, confusing, and you feel lost, try this: Proverbs 3:5-6…Trust in the Lordwith all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
  1. Some try to cheat the system…The tooth has previously been redeemed for cash.
  • You cannot fool the Lord. He can see your heart! 1 John 1:8-9…If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
  • The simple TRUTH is that: Acts 4:12… Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
  1. The person in our fantasy was told that they discovered evidence of an unsafe tooth extraction.
  • On our own we cannot remove our sin. We are stained by our sinful nature. We can try to justify and blame our sins away, but the truth is, it will not accomplish anything! There is nothing you can do, say, or think that will allow you to remove your sin. The good news is that God knows about your weakness, and He has come to the rescue. John 3:16-17…For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
  • I like the way the message translation puts John 3:17…God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

So…The point I want you to see is that life can and will have tough times. Some of those you have caused…some are due to a fallen sinful world that you live in. God is not a tooth fairy…but He is much better in all ways! For one…He is real! God knows what you are going through, He promises to be there with you, and He will bring good out of every situation.

We ask kids if they believe in the tooth fairy…. well, let me ask you a more important question…the most important question… Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If so, Thank Him for His Love, Peace, and Joy.

May you be ROOTED (a little tooth image) and built up in Christ!!

Humor for the day:

A woman and her husband interrupted their vacation to go to the dentist. “I want a tooth pulled, and I don’t want Novocain because I’m in a big hurry,” the woman said. “Just extract the tooth as quickly as possible, and we’ll be on our way.” The dentist was quite impressed. “You’re certainly a courageous woman,” he said. “Which tooth is it?” The woman turned to her husband and said, “Show him your tooth, dear.”

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – June 16, 2021

Many of you know that I do a lot of walking. I start my day out with a rather long (1 hour) prayer walk around the neighborhood. After I thank the Lord and seek His forgiveness, I pray for other people (intercessory prayers). Many of you are included in those prayers. As I walk around my development, I am not on a perfectly flat path. There are slight ups and downs on the pathway, but most are pretty easy to walk. There is one street that is the challenge, it has a steep incline. I struggle going up it and yet I am at ease coming back down it.

So…why am I telling you this? Well, our lives are very much like my walk:

  • Some days, our lives are stable…flat ground….no big challenges!
  • Some days, we are going down hill with the wind at our back, and life is easy!
  • And yet, some days we are going uphill…in a storm…feeling like the weight of the world is on our backs!

Which of these situations best describes how your life’s journey seems to be going these days?

  • If you are on stable ground…thank the Lord…seek His will for you!
  • If you are going down hill and life is a piece of cake…thank the Lord…seek His will…..and then ask, who you can reach out to? Who can you support, encourage, help with felt needs, witness to by words and actions?
  • If you are struggling to make it up the hill that lies ahead…. Thank the Lord, knowing that He is with you on the climb…seek His Peace, Strength, Hope…and then keep your eyes open for those that can be used by the Lord on your behalf. Who or what may be the answer to your prayers?

If you are struggling right now…maybe this illustration can help:

A few years ago, a couple of adventurers tried to become the first to circle the globe in a hot air balloon. They took off from Saint Louis, Missouri, rose to 24,000 feet, and started eastward across the Atlantic Ocean towards Africa. The prevailing winds carried the balloonist on a direct course for Libya, which was a big problem! Libya was ruled by a dictator who hates Americans and doesn’t want American balloons flying over his country. There is a pretty good chance that the balloon would be shot down if it crossed Libyan air space.

This brings up another big problem. Hot air balloons aren’t easy to turn. In fact, they can’t be turned at all. They are at the mercy of the wind!

But they can find different winds. This is done by changing altitude. At a higher or lower altitude, a balloonist can usually find a cross wind blowing in a different direction.

So, the quick-thinking adventurers started letting hot air out of their balloon and dropped 6000′. At that altitude, they found a wind that was blowing South rather than East. Once they were safely to the South of Libya and its missiles, they heated up the balloon, rose almost 10,000 feet, and caught another wind that was blowing eastward toward their destination.

Balloonists are at the mercy of the wind and can go only in the direction that the wind is blowing. Likewise, some people think that they are at the mercy of circumstances. “Stuff happens,” they say, “and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

But there is something you can do. Just as the balloonists can change their altitude, so you can change your attitude. Having an attitude that is founded on the fact that God will never leave you or forsake you!! When you change your attitude, you change your direction. You are no longer at the mercy of circumstances.

Remember what Paul wrote when he was in prison. Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice.”

In case you missed it, there is no asterisk after that verse…we can find THE JOY OF THE LORD on good days and not so good days.

Many of us “older” people like to tell our kids…” you think you have it bad, when I was young we had to walk uphill to school BOTH WAYS!…in 6 feet of snow, with no sidewalks!”

Paul may have felt that way…he was a prisoner to his circumstances.

He was shipwrecked…falsely imprisoned…beaten…stoned…deserted by friends…poor…etc. (read 2 Corinthians 11:24-31)

How did Paul not lose hope and move forward for the Lord?

In his heart, he was free. By changing his attitude, he was able to change the world!

Paul writes in Romans 5:3-4…Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

I love the Message translation of this verse for times that our journey is tough:

“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”

If life feels like you are walking uphill both ways…. turn to the Lord and see what He will accomplish in and through your circumstances.

2 verses of Hope and strength:

Joshua 1:9…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 31:6,8…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Pray to the Lord…Read God’s Word…. worship with your church family, and find your PEACE in the fact that the Lord is with you. Call me if I can help.

Humor for the day:

You know you are having a bad day when:

Your horn sticks on the freeway behind 32 Hell’s Angels.

You call suicide prevention and they put you on hold.

You get to work and find a “60 Minutes” news team waiting in your office.

Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.

Your twin sister forgets your birthday.

Your 4-year-old tells you that it’s almost impossible to flush a grapefruit down the toilet.

It costs more to fill up your car than it did to buy it.

You wake up to the soothing sound of running water…and remember that you just bought a waterbed.

The bird singing outside your window is a vulture.

You call your answering service, and they tell you it’s none of your business.


You compliment the boss’ wife on her unusual perfume and she isn’t wearing any.

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – June 9, 2021

I recently officiated at 2 funerals. If you have been to a funeral, you probably heard Psalm 23. Many find great peace in its words. Unfortunately, I think the 2021 version of this Psalm is how many of us live:

The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.
It maketh me lie down only when exhausted.
It leadteth me to deep depression.
It hounds my soul.
It leadeth me in circles of frenzy for activity’s sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task,
I will never get it all done, for my “ideal” is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand my performance from me,
Beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines.
My in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressure will follow me
All the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.

Well, this almost humorous version of Psalm 23 could be a wakeup call to many of us. The real Psalm 23 says “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”— these words clearly speak of trouble and danger. And yet, some of our danger is based on our poor priorities.

The 2021 version demands that we take a closer look at the things we value in life – to assess if we have the right values and priorities. Or do we take the wonderful blessings that God has given us today – and abuse them through excess.

My challenge for you is to:

Take a few minutes to look at your last month’s bank statement to see where your financial priorities are. Do you thank God for all that you have…do you use His blessings in a way that glorifies Him? Are you a good steward of all of His blessings? (time, talent, treasures, temple)

Take a look at your day planner / calendar to see where your time priorities are.

How many of your 1440 minutes per day are minutes spent with…or serving…your Lord and Savior?

The problem is that we live in a society that views Christianity as a 1 – 1 – 7 lifestyle. Know what that means? 1 hour… on 1 day…per 7-day week.

The reality is that a follower of Jesus needs to live for Him, and in Him, and through Him 24 – 7 – 365. That’s 24 hours…per day…for 7 days a week…for 365 days a year.

That means enjoying the wonderful gifts that God has blessed us with. But it also means examining our lifestyle to see if – our actions, our priorities, our values – are God-pleasing.

God wants more than 1 hour a week – He wants a growing relationship with you – growing through prayer, Bible study, worship, and serving your brothers and sisters.

Are there any areas that you need to work on?

How do we know what would be God-pleasing? Let’s look at Jesus.

In Luke 4 (take time to read vs. 1-13) we see Jesus fasting for 40 days. He was really hungry!!! At that time the devil tempted Jesus, telling Him to turn the stones to bread. Anything wrong with eating bread? Of course not. But Jesus would have compromised His convictions by doing so. It would have been easy for Him to justify fulfilling His hunger.

But His priorities were not physical – they were spiritual. “Man cannot live on bread alone” is the Scripture Jesus quoted.

Then the devil offered all the power and wealth of the world if Jesus would worship him. Jesus didn’t say the power and wealth were wrong—but it would be …….if He worshiped them. We are to worship and serve God alone.

Then the devil challenged Jesus to jump off the temple – “the angels will catch you”. Be irresponsible – God will save you. And Jesus said, “Don’t put the Lord your God to the test.”

So the devil tried to tempt Jesus to compromise His conviction about His spiritual life, about His possessions and activities. But Jesus used God’s Word as his guide and defense.

Our lifestyle choices often challenge us to compromise our convictions. Do you know God’s Word and His will in your life? Possessions are wonderful – until they become our God.

What about your activities? What if you looked at your schedule through God’s eyes? What if Jesus was your shadow for 24 hours? What would you have to change about your lifestyle…your priorities…? your values?

By the way…. How would your level of stress be affected by a closer look at your schedule, priorities, and activities? Did you know that stress and worry break down our bodies? “They are the unseen source of our headaches, backaches, heartaches, and belly aches. They produce everything from constipation to diarrhea, from impatience to impotence. They give us knotted stomachs, sleepless nights, high blood pressure, and low morale. They make our tempers short and our days long. They cause indigestion, irritation, chest pain, and muscle strain.”

If we are honest with ourselves, we will see that most of our stress and worry could be reduced if we axed the excesses in our life. If we slowed down and simplified who we are and what we need to be content. We need to spend time each day with the Lord in prayer and study. Why not let the Peace that is beyond our understanding be our reward as we draw closer to our Lord and Savior?

What is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus? What is your spiritual struggle? What possessions and activities do you value over God?

Maybe this poem (for a worship service) entitled “Father, We’re Gathered” will help:

Father, we’re gathered in this place of grace,
Weary from running in a rat-like race.
Now as we slow down looking up to You,
Grant us the wisdom that your servants knew.
Lord, loose our grip from things that we possess.
Prompt us to pray more, watching TV less.
Challenge our tendencies to always do.
Help us to simply find our worth in You.
Daniel was quick to stand up for Your name
When tempted by self-compromising gain.
Knowing that excess would tax his poor soul,
He stood his ground to walk toward Your goal.
More than survivors confidently find
Freedom from “more” and all the chains that bind.
Help us dear Father to more simply live,
So that we have the means and hearts to give.

Lord Jesus, we live in a world where compromises are inevitable. You gave us this world and all that’s in it, but we recognize that focusing too much on possessions, entertainment, or activity can keep us from thriving spiritually. We don’t want this world or the things that are in this world to be our first love. Speak to each of us…guide us…help us to value You over all that this world offers.

Humor for the day:

I offer my kids $500 for every A on their report card. It sends the message that education is a priority in our household. And it costs me absolutely nothing since my kids aren’t that bright.

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – June 2, 2021

A little boy knelt to say his bedtime prayers. His parents heard him reciting the alphabet in very reverent tones. When asked what he was doing, he replied, “I’m saying my prayers, but I cannot think of the exact words tonight. So, I’m just saying all the letters. God knows what I need, and he’ll put all the words together for me.”

That story brings a smile to my face! It’s true, even though God knows our needs and desires, He still wants to hear from us….and to communicate back to us through our prayer time. I hope that you take the time to pray, and equally important, take time to sit quietly for Him to respond. He may not shout (He usually does that in the storms we face) …but He will whisper in your ear, if you can remove the “noise” that fills your mind. Psalm 46:10…Be still, and know that I am God!

Imagine that I call you on the phone every night right before I go to bed. I talk “at you”, non-stop for 5 minutes, and then hang up. You never get a chance to say a word. That is not a conversation! Is that what your prayer life sounds like?

I hope not….and more importantly that is not what God desires.

Not sure how to pray…try this ACTS of prayer outline:

  • adoration…Tell Him that He is your Lord! (Deuteronomy 6:5…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might)
  • C confession…Tell Him you have messed up and let Him down, seek His forgiveness! (1 John 1:9…If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness)
  • T thanksgiving…Every good gift comes from Him! (Psalm 107:1…Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good)
  • S supplication…ask! Your heavenly Father wants to know what would please you! Ask for the needs of others as well. Matthew 7:7…ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you)
  • Then just sit quietly. Be sure to turn off the tv, the social media…and just listen. He wants to communicate with you on the good days…and the not so good days

So…why does God desire to communicate with you? LOVE! He loves you unconditionally…forever!

This is wedding season…thoughts of LOVE (and a very expensive wedding day!) Sally walks to and from school every day. She loves skipping along the sidewalk, looking at the flowers, and saying “hi” to neighbors and shopkeepers along the way. One morning the sky was cloudy, and rain was forecast for later in the day. But Sally still wanted to walk to school. Her mother allowed her to but told her to take an umbrella, just in case. When school was over, Sally began her walk home. As she skipped along, the wind began to howl, and raindrops started falling from the sky. Sally opened her umbrella and continued on her way. Suddenly a bolt of lightning cut through the sky, followed by a roar of thunder. Sally’s mom quickly jumped into her car and drove the route to Sally’s school. Aside from the physical danger, she was afraid that Sally would be frightened by the noise and flashing light, which was now occurring at regular intervals, several times a minute. Around the corner Sally’s mother saw her little girl walking along with her umbrella. But at each Flash of lightning, Sally would stop, look up at the sky, and smile. Sally’s mother watched this routine repeat itself 3 times. Each lightning Flash caused Sally to stop walking, look up at the sky, and smile. Finally, Sally’s mother called to her, “Sally, what on Earth are you doing?”

Sally answered, “I’m smiling. God keeps taking pictures of me!!!”

It’s been said that if God had a wallet, you can bet your pictures in it. Or it’s hanging on His refrigerator. The next time you are in a storm of life remember that God may just be snapping a few pictures of you. Smile.

And then turn to Him in prayer…right then. Wherever you are, He is just waiting to hear from you. When you reach out to Him in the storm, He will calm the storm, as only He can do!

Luke 8:22-25…  One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So, they got into a boat and set out.  As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement, they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

So…you may not be out on a lake as the clouds appears….but what storms are you facing? (financial, emotional, relational, spiritual) Have you spoken to the Lord about it? Have you listened to His nudge to you in regard to that storm? He may not remove the storm as He did in the above Bible section, but he promises His peace in the storm.

Several years ago, a submarine was being tested and had to remain submerged for many hours. When it returned to the harbor, the captain was asked, “How did the terrible storm last night affect you?” The officer looked at him in surprise and exclaimed, “Storm? We didn’t even know there was one!” The sub had been so far beneath the surface that it had reached the area known to sailors as “the cushion of the sea.” Although the ocean may be whipped into huge waves by high winds, the waters below are never stirred.

This, I believe, is a perfect picture of the peace that comes from Christ. The waves of worry, of fear, of heartbreak, cannot touch those resting in Christ. Sheltered by His grace and encouraged by His Spirit, the believer is given the perfect tranquility that only Christ can provide.

John 16:33… “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

  • Spend time talking with the Lord!
  • Listen for His voice!
  • Find your peace in His promise to Love you even in the storms!

Humor for the day:

Little Johnny’s family is sitting at the dinner table. Lil Johnny’s dad tells him to say the dinner prayer.  Little Johnny says, “Dear God, Thank you for the food we are about to eat, and please, oh please God, send clothes for all those poor ladies on Dad’s computer. Amen!” OUCH

One more:

One Sunday in a Midwest City, a young child was “acting up” during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle. Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, “Pray for me! Pray for me!”

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – May 26, 2021

Welcome back to my weekly devotions. I pray that you have been reading the 40 daily devotions from the Red Letter Challenge. They are well written, focusing on Jesus’ actual words, and they inspire us to put His Words into action. It all begins with spending time BEING with the Lord and His Word…and then GOING out and DOING what it says!

An international gathering of youth met for a full week to discuss how better to promulgate Christ’s message to the world. Those assembled for the conference read many informative essays, heard many fine speakers, watched a few videos, and had ample time to discuss with each other. At the end and probably because of a little frustration with the proceedings a young woman from East Africa arose and said, “In my country when we hear that a pagan village is ready to accept the Gospel, we don’t send books, videos, a Bible or even an evangelist. Rather we send the best Christian family we can find because we have found that the example of a good family speaks louder and more clearly than all the books, speeches, and videos in the world.”

The truly important things in life are generally the intangibles, like the way we present ourselves to others. When we least expect it, we are witnessing. It is in our simple day to day living that we are the strongest advocates for our Lord. These simple intangibles that people notice will open the door for you to speak. You don’t need to be a seminary professor to win people to ChristBe you… and tell your story. That’s what will fulfill the Great Commission.

This last weekend many Christian churches celebrated the Pentecost. The word means 50, in this case 50 days after Easter. It is the day that the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and disciples. It is the beginning of the Christian church (including us Gentiles). Equipping them (and us) to Go out and share the Gospel.

I love the fact that Royal Redeemer confirmed 22 young adults to go out and live and share their faith on the 16th…and then last Sunday we had an outside worship and celebration…bringing all of our worship services together (450 people plus on-line)…one church! We celebrated the fact that 800 of us spent time BEING in God’s Word for the last 40 days…and equipping us to Go and DO what God’s Word challenges us to do.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard an illustration about movies that really got me thinking.

Have you ever gone to a movie…tried to follow along…and then “wham” a surprise ending? We have all said the words “I didn’t see that one coming!!!” Many times, we question “how did that happen” or…”How does that make sense???”

Well, have you ever re-watched that same movie later on? Only this time you are watching that movie with the facts of the surprise ending fixed on your mind. Parts of the movie that did not make sense, now fit into place. Things that seemed unimportant or confusing take on new meaning.

Well…after Jesus died in front of His followers and was buried, it looked like a bad ending to the story of Jesus! But, there was a surprise ending…an ending that no one saw coming…even though it was revealed all along.

Luke 24:44-45… He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

It’s like Jesus wants them to watch the movie over again, but with the knowledge of His (special ending)… His resurrection!

(vs. 46-48) Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  

They (and you!) are called to be witnesses…to tell what you have seen and heard…to proclaim the Truth. Sometimes (for many reasons) witnesses are afraid to come forward and to tell what they have seen. For some reason, it can seem scary telling people about who Jesus is and how He has impacted your life.  God knew that was the case for the disciples as well, so…

(vs. 49) I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

And that is what Pentecost is all about. In this verse Jesus tells them that the Holy Spirit will empower them and give them the words to say! Pentecost is about the Holy Spirit working in and through those present to reveal who Jesus is and to Glorify the Lord! (take time to read the story in Acts 2)

Now you may say… “nice story but what about me?” Well, the same Holy Spirit comes into your life through Word and Sacrament. Through your baptism (if you are not baptized contact me so we can talk about it) as well as every time you read and hear God’s Word (if you need help on what to read, let me know and I will help you)

So…You have the Spirit in you, now what? Should I stand on the street corner and yell…”repent or go to hell!” No, but a great verse to guide you is:

1 Peter 3:15-16… But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

It says to be ready…when the right time and situation arises…to share (using “I” statements) how God’s Love has impacted you. Remember it will be the Holy Spirit’s job to give you the words and to transform the other person. Your job is to be available to be a witness to the TRUTH.

Two persons were talking together before a large church which was being destroyed by fire. The first man spoke in a voice which could be heard above the voice of the firemen: “This is the first time I ever saw you at church.” To this the second responded: “This is the first time I ever saw the church on fire.”

We (you) are called to be “on fire for the Lord!”

If you witnessed an incredible event or a miracle, you would tell everyone you know about it…well, do the same for the miracle of the Gospel in your life.

  • What will you say when the opportunity arises? What is your testimony regarding Jesus Christ? Keep it short, just the facts, no complicated “churchy” words.
  • Who do you know that God may want you to share your story with? Keep your eyes and ears open to know when and where to share your story. Remember it’s your story, let the Holy Spirit work in their hearts.
  • Share your faith through your actions…look for ways to show your faith through your actions…your love and support for those in need. Who can you help?

Humor for the day:
How do we know the Apostles drove a Honda? “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one accord.”

OK….one more….not meant to offend anyone:

A group of Christians are tasked with changing a lightbulb.

The Charismatic changes it easily; his hands are already up.

The Roman Catholic refuses; he prefers candles.

The Pentecostal changes it while his friends pray against the Lord of Darkness.

The Christian Scientist can’t, but he prays for the light to turn back on.

The Calvinist refuses; God has predestined when the light will be on.

The Episcopalian changes the lightbulb while his friends say how much they liked the old one.

The Mormon tries to change it as five wives tell him how to do it right.

The Baptist changes the lightbulb, gets it approved by three committees, and then they all eat some casserole.

The Lutheran refuses: he doesn’t believe in change.

The Unitarian chooses not to make a statement either in favor of, or against, the need for a lightbulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that lightbulbs work for you, you are encouraged to create a poem or modern dance about your personal relationship with the lightbulb, and present it next Sunday when we will explore a number of lightbulb traditions including incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, compact fluorescent, low-pressure sodium, and LED, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

Have a great day!

Pastor Dave

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Join the Red Letter Challenge!

I am glad that you are seeking devotions to connect you to God and His Word. My weekly devotions will resume on May 26th.

I want to encourage all of you to join us for the RED LETTER CHALLENGE. This book has a short devotion each day for 40 days. Together, there will be hundreds of people using these devotions and reading the actual words of Jesus. You can pick up a copy of the book at Royal Redeemer during worship…or in a bin under the Sanctuary entrance portico during the week. We will also be doing a 7-week sermon series based on these devotions. We will do an introductory sermon this Sunday, and then you will begin reading the devotions starting Monday the 12th. Each week we will have a sermon based on the next week’s devotions that you will be reading. You can watch our sermon series based on these devotions at ROYRED.ORG/REDLETTERCHALLENGE/ or join us for worship by registering at ROYRED.ORG/UPCOMINGThere are many people that will be in small group discussions…I hope you have signed up to be in one of them. If you have not signed up but are interested, there are a few openings for a zoom group and one onsite group…contact Kim at [email protected] to sign up.Pastor Dave

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – April 7, 2021

Today is a special day in my life. 48 years ago, I married Sue! We have been blessed with a wonderful (and growing) family…good health and abilities…faith in Jesus. Life is good!

Just over a year ago I started writing daily devotions (Monday thru Friday) …and then they became weekly Wednesday devotions. I hope and pray that they have helped you find Love, Joy, Peace, Hope, and God’s will for your life. You notice that I put LOVE first on that list. GOD IS LOVE!!! And then He tells us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

I looked back at the devotion that I wrote one year ago today. It was pretty good…and the Bible verses are powerful….so here it is:

If I were to ask you to fill in the blanks:

I LOVE __________, ______________, and ___________

What would you say? I may say God, family, church?

The question is important to me today as I think about my wife. I love her! It’s our anniversary today! She has put up with my corny jokes for 48 years now!
I would encourage you to think about how you would fill in the blanks above…and if you put people in those blanks, take time to tell them you love them. If you put God in one of the blanks, take time to tell Him and to thank Him for loving you unconditionally.

In a past devotion, I discussed house (physical dwelling), household (yourself and perhaps those that share that space with you), home (that place where you feel cozy, safe, surrounded by things that are special and meaningful). We can focus on  Joshua (and hopefully you) saying “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” In what way would God have you serve Him in this ever-changing and a bit confusing world? What would He have you do…Who would He want you to reach out to in His Name?

I understand that our homes and households have looked different over the last 12 months. They are now our workplace, school, church, and isolation chamber….and yet they still are expected to be places to serve the Lord. I read once that “a house is not a home without God in it”. We have a plaque in our family room that says, “In Our Home” and then lists 10 verses that God would include in our homes. It is just a wall decoration, but it reminds us of God’s Love, as well as how God would have us act within our homes (and in all our thoughts, words, and actions in life). I thought I would share those verses with you today.

  • Put God First Matthew 6:33… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
  • Always Be Honest Proverbs 12:22… The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
  • Forgive and Forget Micah 7:18… Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
  • Be Kindhearted Ephesians 4:32… Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
  • Keep Your Promises Romans 4:21…  being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised.
  • Work Hard Colossians 3:23… Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
  • Be Thankful 1 Thessalonians 5:18… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
  • Never Give Up Philippians 4:13… I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
  • Comfort One Another 1 Thessalonians 4:18… Therefore encourage one another with these words.
  • But Most of All Love One Another 1 Peter 1:22… Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Now I understand that this is just a man-made plaque…a wall decoration, but it includes God’s Word. I am aware that applying these verses looks different based on your home/household situation. But what areas do you need to work on?

I would suggest that you print out these verses and memorize one per day…assess how you are doing in that area of your life…making any adjustments that need to be made. Thanking God for His faithfulness and blessings.

Lord…may we love you with all our being, may we put you as number one on our list of those we love. Thank you for loving us unconditionally in spite of our sinfulness. Lord, you have plans for each of us, plans that will accomplish your will. Lord bring healing to each of us, our nation, this world. Physical healing from the coronavirus. May we have spiritual healing from our sinful words and actions and our self-centeredness. Lord nudge us to reach out and help others that may be lonely or in need. Please watch over and bless those out working on the front lines. Watch over nurses, doctors, pharmacists, police, firemen, postal workers, truckers, store and restaurant workers, and many more. Amen.

Interesting to me that that original devotion (with a couple of updates) works as well today as it did a year ago…and I assume it will in the years to come. It’s really simple: LOVE GOD…LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR!!!

HUMOR FOR THE DAY: (an oldie but goodie!)

  • A robber breaks into a house while the residents are away one dark night. Eager to see what he can loot, he quickly starts searching through cupboards and dressers, grabbing valuables with a trained eye. Suddenly, he hears a voice come out of nowhere. “Jesus is watching you.”
  • The criminal jumps scared, thinking the residents are back, and freezes. After a few minutes of silence, however, he assumes it was his imagination and goes back to robbing. A couple of minutes pass, before once again, the voice returns. “Jesus is watching you.” Quite confused, the thief searches the house and checks the front door, but nothing pops out as unusual.
  • He finally decides to go to the next room, and finds a parrot, but ignores it. Before he can begin to do anything, someone speaks again, “Jesus is watching you.” The robber realized it was the parrot talking!
  • Going to the parrot, he asks, “Are you the one who’s been talking to me?” The parrot responds, “Yes.” The thief couldn’t believe it.
  • So, he asks another question. “What is your name?” “Ismael.” the parrot replies. The man scoffed. “What type of idiot names a parrot Ismael?” The parrot speaks yet again, “The same type of idiot that names a Rottweiler Jesus.”

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – March 31, 2021

When I read news stories about so many shootings like the one in Colorado last week, it makes me want to sit down and cry. I can envision the Lord shedding many tears as He watches His creation crumble under the weight of sin. I pray daily for many of you and for the situations we face in this sin tainted world…one prayer that is so imperative, is a prayer for the Lord to heal us as a nation (and a world) from hatred, violence, divisiveness, self-centered entitlement, and evil. When I say that prayer, I am reminded that the Lord has the antidote for…and can heal all and any of those sinful characteristics.

Although he never actually said it on the old Dragnet show, we associate Sgt. Joe Friday as saying… “just the facts, ma’am”. Well, my devotion for today is “just the facts”. These facts are the real reason that we have and need Holy Week! Our world is messed up with sin…and our Savior is the antidote!

Hatred…The antidote for hatred is LOVE! The bible says that “God is Love!!!” Unconditional “Agape” love!!! Imagine what this world would be like if we followed God’s plan for us found in Mark 12:30-31…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday. Jesus showed unconditional Love and Humility as He washed the disciple’s feet. On this night before His death (for you and me) he told them: John 13:34-35…“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

So, How about you? Are you combating hatred by reflecting GOD’S LOVE into the world?

VIOLENCE…The antidote for violence is PEACE! Once Adam and Eve brought sin into God’s paradise everything changed! We see that there has been violence as far back as from the time of Cain killing Able. Wars and violence from tribe to tribe, people to people, nation to nation. We wish we could rub a genie in a bottle. If we could I think for our wish we would ask for “world peace!” …. a few months ago on Christmas, we celebrated the fact that God (not a genie) sent His Son to be that PEACE. Isaiah 9:6…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Not only is He PEACE, but He gives us that peace. Galatians 5:22-23a… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Then, after He makes peace for us, He wants to make peace through us! 1 Corinthians 5:18-21…All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. You are an ambassador of peace for the Lord!!!!! Peacemakers! Who do you need to make peace with?

DIVISIVENESS AND DISSENTION…The antidote for divisiveness and dissention is UNITY! God hand made all people…He died for all people…and longs for all to know Him as Lord and Savior…and He wants us all  to “play nice”, to be unified! Psalm 133:1…How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!  As Christians, we need to be unified in our calling to Glorify the Lord…what does that look like?  2 Corinthians 13:11… Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. We need to remember that loving our neighbor as ourselves, includes those who look, speak, think, and act differently that you. Yes, even the ones we don’t particularly like!  Galatians 3:28…There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. What about you? Are you seen as someone who unifies or someone who divides?

SELF-CENTERED ENTITLEMENT…the antidote for self-centeredness and entitlement is LAW and GOSPEL! We see it everywhere; people feel they are entitled to have what they want…do what they want…feel what they want! James 4:1-3…What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You may wonder why I said the antidote is Law and Gospel. Well…What do you deserve? What are you entitled to? The painful truth is that the Law convicts you… you deserve DEATH! Romans 3:23… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God! We sin and what does that entitle us to? Romans 6:23…For the wages of sin is death, OUCH!

But the good news of the GOSPEL tells us…Romans 3:24…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. And again in Romans 6:23b… the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Have you embraced the reality that on your own, you lose? On your own you get what you deserve, what you are entitled to…and it’s not good! But, through faith you get what you don’t deserve…forgiveness and eternal life! Mercy is when we don’t get what we deserve (death and separation from God). Grace is when we get what we don’t deserve. (forgiveness and life)

Evil…The antidote for evil is GOOD! You may have heard it said that “God is Good…all the time! and all the time…God is Good!!!!!” It’s true! Here is a nifty but seldom used verse Nahum 1:7…The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.

Or, how about 1 Chronicles 16:34…Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

or Psalm 145:9…The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

We know that there is a lot of evil in the world. When we say the Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to deliver us from evil. And in Psalm 23 we say Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.

God is the giver of all that is good! The question is…are you an agent of good or evil to those in your circle of influence??

So…Is the world messed up? YES! But God is the antidote to all that ails us!!! But remember to be on your guard until He calls you home.

We all look forward to the day that we will be face to face with the Lord…as we enter God’s Heavenly Kingdom! Words can’t begin to tell the story! Rev. 21:4-5…‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Sounds great! There will be none of the issues we talked about today.  But, in the meantime, there is also beauty all around us. Take time to watch a sunset, listen to a bird sing, marvel at the mystery of birth, pray to a loving God, reach out to a lonely or troubled person. The antidote for all that ails us is Jesus! Remember that God may be using you to be the answer to someone’s prayer!

How and to whom can you be an agent (ambassador) for the Lord?

I invite (and strongly encourage) you to focus on the Law and the Gospel by taking the Holy Week journey with Jesus…by going to to worship online with us. Live stream starts Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at noon (traditional) and 7:00 (contemporary). Easter live stream begins at 8:00 (traditional) and 9:30 (contemporary).


“After a very long and boring sermon, the parishioners filed out of the church saying nothing to the preacher. Towards the end of the line was a thoughtful person who always commented on the sermons. ”Pastor, today your sermon reminded me of the peace and love of God!” The pastor was thrilled. “No-one has ever said anything like that about my preaching before. Tell me why.” “Well – it reminded me of the Peace of God because it passed all understanding…and the Love of God because it endured forever!”