Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – March 24, 2021

Well, I had my first vaccine 3 weeks ago, and later today I will get my second one. The question on my mind is…How protected am I? Am I now 50% protected? Will I be 95% protected tomorrow, in 2 weeks?

These questions remind me that as I grew up Catholic, I was never sure if I was protected from the consequences of my sin! 100%, 50%? Did I say enough penance? Will I need to go to purgatory? What if I sin and then die before going to a confessional?

Well…..The Good News is that if we proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior…we are saved…. we are 100% protected from the wages (eternal consequences) of our sin VIRUS!

Knowing that changes everything…our hope…our purpose…our morals and values…our priorities…and what we value!

The story is told about an American company that opened a new plant in Central America because the labor was plentiful and inexpensive. Everything went well until the villagers received their first pay check; afterward they did not return to work. Several days later the manager went down to the chief to determine the cause of the problem. The chief responded “Why should we work? Now we have everything we want and need.”

The plant stood idle for two months until someone came up with the brilliant idea of sending a mail-order catalog to every villager. There has never been an employment problem since!

So, what about you? What’s in the “mail-order catalog” (or on-line shopping site) that you think will satisfy you! We are bombarded by tv commercials and pop-up ads telling us that “you deserve to have it your way” To be truly happy you need a new car, better hair and skin, toys for the kids, more insurance, and the list goes on and on.

Now, please do not miss my point. These items are fine to attain, But the question is whether these things can ever satisfy you. The answer to that is “NO.” These things that we spend our time chasing will only lead to newer, fancier, and costlier things to chase after. There are countless verses that tell us that only God can satisfy us.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)…  Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Psalm 107:9 (ESV)…For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Romans 15:13 (NIV)… May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I guess the question is…What am I searching for? What is my purpose? What will bring true happiness? Who am I trying to please? Who or what do I work for?

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman to the fisherman. “You should be working rather than lying on the beach!”

The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled, and replied, “And what will my reward be?”

“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.

The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.

The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat and hire some people to work for you!” he said.

“And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.

The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”

Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”

A lot of people work very hard, trying to gain (or buy) happiness. They work hard to accumulate enough money to buy happiness thru what they can purchase…. but there is a flaw in that approach to life. The businessman in this story totally missed the point on what is important in life!

God’s Word tells us that we should work to bring God glory. Work is actually a way to worship God! Paul tells us in:

Colossians 3:23…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God, not for men”

Whatever you do….at work or play should be done as if you are doing it for (and thru) the Lord!

Colossians 3:17… And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

So…take some time to assess all areas of your life…where do you fall short of glorifying the Lord? Are there areas that He is not glorified…areas where you are not worshiping Him by your words, thoughts, actions, motives?

Have you thought about the 2 verses above that say “whatever you do”? We are all wired, equipped, and placed in different places….but we all have a common way to approach our lives. One that says “whatever” we are doing, we do it for and through the Lord!

Humor for the day: Some not so funny one-liners!

Q: What happens if you eat yeast and shoe polish?    Every morning you’ll rise and shine!

Q: What do you call a boy who finally stood up to the bullies?    An ambulance.

Q: What do you get from a pampered cow?    Spoiled milk.

Q: What do you call an elephant that doesn’t matter?     An irrelephant.

Q: What do you call a fat psychic?     A four chin teller.

Q: How do you make a tissue dance?     Put a little boogie in it!

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – March 17, 2021

Have you ever been driving down the road or sitting at a traffic light and noticed a bumper sticker that really got your attention? Perhaps it was funny…or offensive…or profound. Here are a few you may have seen:

  • Watch out for the idiot behind me!
  • I bet Jesus would have used His turn signal!
  • The closer you get the slower I go!
  • If life gives you lemons, throw them at someone!
  • I express my individuality thru mass-produced bumper stickers!
  • Your kid may be an honor student, but you are still an idiot!
  • Sometimes I wake up grumpy, other times I let him sleep!
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine!
  • Why is abbreviation such a long word?
  • There’s no reason to tailgate when I’m doing 50 in a 35…and those flashing lights on top of your car look ridiculous!

Well…maybe you have seen unusual ones. Some are funny, some informative, some make you mad or embarrassed. The fact is that those stickers are a reflection of the person driving the car:

If it’s funny, we think the person driving the car has a sense of humor.

If it’s mean or vulgar, we may hope we don’t have to talk to that person.

If it’s political, you may like or hate that person driving the car.

Truth is that what’s on the outside of the car is often a reflection on who is inside the car!

Well…what so-called bumper sticker are you wearing? I’m not talking about your car. What do people see when they see you? What message do you send by your words… or actions…or aroma?

Our Words:

Proverbs 11:9 msg…The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction; the common sense of the godly preserves them.

Proverbs 15:1 msg…A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.

Our words can say a lot about what is going on inside us. They reveal who we really are. People can see through our hypocrisy when we proclaim to be Christians but speak like heathens….when we proclaim peace and speak hatred…When we want people to like us, so we speak evil about fellow Christians.

Our Actions:

Ephesians 4:20-24 msg…But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

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.

Let me remind you that people are watching. Your kids/grandkids are watching…your neighbors are watching…your co-workers are watching. They want to see how you put your faith into action. Are you loving and kind? Do you care about others? Are you living a life that glorifies your Lord and Savior?

Our Aroma:

A funny thing happened to me last week. I have been noticing a foul smell when I am driving in my car. At first, I blamed it on the fact that the car windows have been tightly closed in the cold winter months. I then started to think that maybe it was me…that I stink! Well, as the nicer weather came last week, I got the car washed. I was feeling energetic, so I got out of the vacuum. As I poked it under my seat, I pulled out 2 onions. They had been there a while and were bolting fresh growth…and they stunk!

How is your aroma? Now, I’m not talking about if there are onions under your seat…or how well your deodorant is working! But, are there “onions” in your life? Items that seem hidden but impact who you are and how you “smell” to others?

Several years ago, Chicago newspapers carried the story of a busboy in a Chinese restaurant who went to a bank to get change for $500.  The restaurant needed $250 in coins and $250 in one-dollar bills.  The teller grabbed a stack of $100 bills by mistake and gave the young man $250  in coins and $25,000 in bills!

The young man noticed the error immediately, but detecting a windfall, didn’t say anything. He left the bank with the money and hid it at a relative’s home. With some of the money, he went to another bank and got $250 in one-dollar bills. He then returned to the restaurant, thinking he had made a small fortune.

The bank teller, when she discovered her mistake, couldn’t identify the person to whom she had given the $100 bills. But she remembered how he smelled.  She knew from his scent that he worked in a Chinese restaurant. She not only remembered the aroma, but she was able to connect it with the exact restaurant where the busboy worked. With the police, she located the restaurant and identified the busboy. He was promptly fired and the money was recovered. The bank decided not to prosecute since the mistake was theirs, and they wanted to preserve good relations with the restaurant.

What do you smell like? As Christians, we are to carry with us “the aroma of Christ.” There should be something about us that radiates the love of Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:15…For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

Obviously, the word “aroma” here is not to be taken literally. The aroma Paul is talking about is not necessarily detected with the nose. But it is sensed by those who come in contact with us.

Ordinarily, the aroma is a byproduct of activity. When you exercise, you work up a sweat and get body odor. When you eat garlic, you get garlic breath. If you douse yourself with perfume, you smell like the fragrance counter in a department store.

In the same way, when you serve Christ and do it in a spirit of love and humility, you begin to pick up the aroma of Christ.

Stay connected to the Lord daily…and others will “sense” that you are a child of God.

St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; only if necessary, use words.” He was talking about the aroma of Christ. Can people smell you?

So, over the next week, I challenge you to watch yourself to see how you reflect the Lord.

  • Watch what you say! Are your words sweet and uplifting?
  • Watch what you do! Do your actions reflect your Savior?
  • Watch your “aroma”! Do you radiate the Love of Christ!

Humor for the day:

The frugal Lutheran walked into the house panting and almost completely exhausted. “What happened, honey?” inquired his wife.

“It’s a great new idea I have to be a better steward of our resources,” he gasped. “I ran all the way home from the stewardship committee meeting behind the bus and saved $1.50.

“That wasn’t very bright,” replied his flustered wife. “Why didn’t you run behind a taxi and save $10?”

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – March 10, 2021

My wife and I were fortunate enough to get our first Covid vaccine last week. Yahoo!!

At first, I was convinced that I was not going to get the vaccine. I don’t need it! I convinced myself that the whole thing was a farce and even if it’s real, it would not impact me! Then in a conversation with one of my sons, he asked me what “my end game” was going to be. In other words, would I wear a mask, social distance, and isolate myself from society for the rest of my life? A profound question for sure! Would I try to avoid the reality of the danger of Covid? Would I fool myself to think that on my own I could escape its dangers? No! My “end game” was to get the help I needed. I needed and wanted to get the vaccine!

Now…most of you know that it has been hard to get the vaccine. Many frustrating hours searching sites on-line to get an appointment. I was praying one morning for God to help with the worldwide pandemic…the United States pandemic…and for me and Sue to be able to get an appointment. I went in the other room to once again search the internet.. first click and there they were.. 2 appointments! Thank you, Lord!

About now…you are probably wondering why I am telling you all of this….what kind of devotion is this?….how does it apply to our spiritual journeys?

Well…we see many questions and important action steps involved around this pandemic. What’s the truth about it? Am I in danger? What can I do? What is the impact? Who will help me?

Those are all good questions about our Spiritual health as well.

There is (and has been since Adam and Eve) a pandemic called Sin. It is hereditary…We all have it from conception…It has a 100% fatality rate! There is no earthly vaccine for this disease. You can avoid the reality…make excuses…and act like it’s not there, but it’s there.

If you think drivers come up with some unbelievable excuses when they’re trying to talk a cop-out of giving them a ticket, you should see the stories that turn up on insurance companies’ accident forms. Some time ago The Toronto Sun newspaper printed a few samples from actual reports:

  • “A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.”
  • “In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.”
  • “I had been driving my car for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.”
  • “I had been shopping all day for plants and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision. I did not see the other car.”
  • “The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.”
  • (my favorite) “The telephone pole was approaching fast. I was attempting to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end.”
  • “Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.”
  • “The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.”
  • “My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.”
  • “An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle, and vanished.”
  • “The indirect cause of this accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.”

Most of us mess up life and we also have some pretty lame excuses. But the Bible tells us in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from unrighteousness . . . “ That’s an incredible promise.

But it comes with a premise: “If we confess our sins” . . . “Confession comes from a word that means “to call it the same thing.”In other words, when we sin, we don’t need to make excuses, or blame somebody else, or try to wiggle out of it.  We need to say, “God, this was sin.  You call it sin; I call it sin, and that’s all there is to it. Please forgive me.”

We also need to base our lives on the fact that….God’s Word is the truth!

Let’s focus on what is the truth… Lots of opinions on what is true. Many say the truth is relative…whatever you choose as your truth is true for you. Americans don’t seem to agree about anything. Ben Franklin said the only thing for certain is death and taxes…and yet we argue about both of them as well. Just as there are lots of versions about the truth regarding Covid and vaccines….there are many versions about false gods claiming to be the Lord.

Lots of disagreements about sin, forgiveness, eternal life, and about who Jesus is, and is He who He (and His word) says He is? Is He the ultimate TRUTH? Well, Jesus Himself answers that:

John 14:6…Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus (the Truth) will set you free!

John 8:32…And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Well…we are not imprisoned or enslaved…so, Free from what? Sin! Many think they are “pretty good” or “good enough” or “better than so and so”…or that they can determine what’s right and wrong…and of course, they think that sin is what other people do. They don’t think they sin, so they don’t think they need a Savior.

But God’s Word says that we all sin…and even one sin separates us from God.

Romans 3:23…  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

And that includes you! And that is deadly! Romans 6:23-24… For the wages of sin is death, and yet Jesus has the vaccine Romans 6:24…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. And unlike our Covid vaccines, His is 100% effective! He removes death from our sins.

So….as we talked about earlier…another important question is, what is your “end game” for forgiveness and eternal life?

There are only 2 options.

1 John 1:8… If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (bad choice…deadly consequences)

Or 1 john 1:9…If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (the best choice)

One last thought. We got the Pfizer vaccine. We need to go back for a second dose. Maybe more doses as new strains come around.

Jesus already died for all of your sins! Through faith, YOU ARE SAVED! 100% And yet, we sin, and are around sin daily. We need to confess our sins to God and seek His help to repent, avoid, and turn from those sins.

 So what can you do?

  1. Turn to the One who can protect you from the consequences of this deadly sinful nature. Jesus! He is dying to forgive you…He can not stand the thought of eternity without you there with Him.
  2. Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior…the TRUTH!
  3. Confess your sinful condition and seek His healing!
  4. Tell this truth to as many people as you can!

Humor for your day:

A man was pulled over by a police officer… As the officer approached the vehicle he noticed a large number of knives in the back seat. Looking at the driver he asked, “Sir, do you have a good reason for needing all those large knives?” Smiling the driver said, “Why yes, I juggle them.” Realizing the officer was giving him a skeptical look the driver said, “Sir, with your permission I’d be more than glad to give you a demonstration.” Cautiously the officer stepped back and said “Alright, but you’d better be telling the truth.” Shortly the man was on the side of the road tossing the knives high into the air with ease.

Two old men happened to drive by, and both gazed in astonishment. The one looked at the other and said, “Sure glad I gave up drinking, these sobriety tests are getting ridiculous!”

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – March 3, 2021

Well…I had to go to the dentist last week to have a tooth pulled out! (ouch!!!)

Oh sure, I brushed regularly but the cavity still snuck in and infected my tooth. I tried to put up with it, and act like it was no big deal…. for one year! I tried to cover up and hide the pain with Orajel. I later found out that it spread to the next tooth as well. I needed someone (my dentist) who could do what I could not do for myself.

As I ponder the above list, I realize that the same process applies to my sinful nature as well.

I can pray regularly and worship and yet sin will still sneak in and infect me. “Sin is crouching at your door” Romans 3:23… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

I sometimes just put up with sin and act like it’s no big deal. 1 John 1:8…If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
James 1:14-15… 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.

I try to cover up and hide the pain sin causes me and those that I lovePsalm 69:5… You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you.

Sin in one area of my life tends to spread into all of the other areas of my life. Take David for example. First David committed adultery 2 Samuel 11:2-5… One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof, he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”  Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home.  The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

That first sin of adultery leads to the second sin of murder.

Verse 11:14…  In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.  In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

One sin will always impact the other areas of your life.

Back in 1974, Sue and I bought a new Mustang. The dealer filled the tank and off I went. I waited anxiously to get gas so I could figure out my mileage. After a week or so I went to the gas station and said “fill it up”. Remember when they did that? Well, the kid put the hose into the car and went back into the office…while I sat with a pen and paper to do the math. In went 3 gallons, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15!  I grabbed the car’s manual to see how big the tank is! As the pump said 20, 21, 22 gallons. I jumped out of the car to discover that the attendant did not put the hose in correctly, it had fallen out and was pouring gas into the parking lot.

That story reminds me of the fact that…unchecked sin will spill over into every area of your life.

I need someone who can take care of my sin because I can not get rid of it on my own.Ephesians 2:8-9… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Alligators in Your Pond

Several years ago, newspapers carried a story about an elderly lady who lived in the Big Cypress Swamp in South Florida. Her home was an old shack located by a small pond. Every day the lady went out to the pond to draw water. In the pond lived an alligator. Despite the danger, the lady allowed this alligator to live in the pond for years. It seemed tame. She didn’t bother the gator and the gator didn’t bother her. However, one day while she was drawing water from the pond, the gator swam under the water and then plunged up, grabbing the old woman’s hand with his mighty jaws. She tried pulling her hand out of his mouth, but the gator ripped it off. Bleeding profusely, the terrified and stunned old woman crawled back to her shack and called for help. Paramedics finally arrived and she received medical attention. The next day, the park ranger found the alligator in the pond and killed it. When they cut the alligator open, they found the old woman’s hand. The park ranger told reporters, “Alligators are most dangerous when they lose their fear of humans. By allowing an alligator to remain in your pond, you unknowingly give it the courage to attack.” The lady still lives in the swamp. But there are no longer any alligators in her pond. She got rid of them.

Scripture clearly teaches us that the wages of sin is death. Yet too many times, we think we can keep sin in our lives and not suffer the consequences. Eventually, it will take a bite out of us (like an alligator)…or fill our lives with painful problems.(like a cavity.)

Hebrews 12 warns us to get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. If we don’t, it will handicap us and do damage to the cause of Christ.

Hebrews 12:1-3… Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

So, now what? Well, ask yourself, What are the alligators that I allow to live in my pond? Ask God to help you identify them? Ask God to help you avoid and resist the temptation to allow those alligators to be in your life. Visit with God regularly for a check-up. Trust that he can (and has) taken care of the sin in your life!

Humor for the day:

1)    A little boy was taken to the dentist. It was discovered that he had a cavity that would have to be filled. “Now, young man,” asked the dentist, “what kind of filling would you like for that tooth?” “Chocolate, please,” replied the youngster.

2)    Patient: How much will it cost me to have this tooth pulled out? Dentist: $500! Patient: $500 for just a few minutes of work? That’s hardly cheap. Dentist: No worries, I’ll pull it out slowly if you prefer.

3)    Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused to have an anesthetic injection when he was going for a filling? Apparently, he wanted to “transcend dental medication.” (hint: transcendental meditation)

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – February 24, 2021

To me, one of the most interesting (and applicable) stories in the bible is found in Luke 5:4-5

“When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets’”. Luke 5:4-5 

Can you imagine being Simon (Peter) that day? Just finished an all-nighter and had nothing to show for it! And this guy, Jesus, is going to tell me…a professional fisherman…how to fish! What would you have done…what would you have said? Would you have said something like…”We are tired and dirty, we will come back later”…or maybe “Let me think about it and get back to you tomorrow”…or maybe “That’s silly, it’s a waste of time.” But not Peter!

Notice Peter’s reaction. He didn’t argue with Jesus. What did Peter do? He must have thought it was a strange request, but we read that he said: But because you say so, I will let down the nets (Luke 5:5). And we see that God blessed his faithfulness. Isn’t that just like Jesus! Luke 5:6-7… When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

Have you ever been in a position like Peter? God whispered in your ear that He wants you to do something. Do you question Him? Do you ignore Him? Do you rationalize why you know better? Or do you say (like Peter)…because you say so, I will_____________ . And then do you keep your eyes open to see what God is up to?

Ephesians 3:20-21 (msg)…God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Do you believe that? Or is your fallback response to say, “who me?” “Let someone else do it.” There was once a college student who was struggling in many areas of his life. He spent a great deal of time feeling angry and frustrated. When he could stand it no longer, he went to the dim and seldom-used chapel on campus. He paced up-and-down the aisles, slapping the back of the empty pews. He yelled, he cried, and he raged at God. “God you created the world…what could you possibly have been thinking? Look at the problems people face. Look at the pain, suffering, and hunger. Look at the neglect, the waste, and the abuse. Everywhere I look, I see messed up people, hurting people, lonely people.” The young man ranted and raved on and on. Finally, exhausted, he sat in the front pew and looked helplessly at the cross. Its tarnished surface reflected the dusty sunlight filtering in through the stained-glass windows. “It’s all such a mess! This world you created is nothing but a terrible mess! Why even I could make the world a better place than this!” And then the young man heard a voice in the silence of that dusty chapel that made his eyes open wide and his jaw drop…..

“And that’s exactly what I want you to do!” 

It’s easy to identify problems…and to think “why doesn’t God do something” And yet, that’s why God put you here…at this exact time and exact place. He has gifted you to make a difference in the world…and to share the Gospel through words and actions. To be the answer to someone else’s prayers.

Galatians 6:2…Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

He has a plan custom made for you to accomplish His will…to be the answer to someone’s prayers. Jeremiah 29:11…  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What is God wanting you to do to make this world a better place?…How and to who, is He calling you to share the Love of Jesus with? Will you respond…is your heart saying to the Lord “because you say so, I will.” The question is whether you are a thermometer or a thermostat?

A thermometer merely tells what the temperature is. The thermometer changes with its environment…and registers and tells others what is going on in that area. The young man in my story was a thermometer…He stated the conditions but did nothing to change them.

A thermostat on the other hand changes the temperature. It reads the current conditions and changes them to where they should be. That was God’s response to the young man…to make the world a better place…more Christ-like.

You will live your life as either a thermometer or a thermostat. You are either influencing others …or you are being influenced by them.

Jesus is calling you to be a thermostat. Well, I doubt that they had thermostats in Jesus’ time….but he did tell us to be agents of change. Matthew 5:13-16… “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Where and to who is God calling you to be an agent of change? What are you doing about it? It may be a phone call to someone isolated and alone. It may be to give an anonymous gift to someone you know is hurting financially. It may be a listening ear to someone making a life-changing decision. It may be sending a card to someone who is sick or facing surgery. It may be a kind word to a clerk or server. It may be an act of kindness to a neighbor who works on the front lines. What is God asking you to do? Is your response… because you say so, I will!

Humor for your day:

It’s like a man who had spent a fruitless day fishing. In desperation, he picked out three fat fish at the local market. “Before you wrap them,” he said to the clerk, “toss them to me, one by one. That way I’ll be able to tell my wife I caught them and I’ll be speaking the truth!”

Ok….one more!!!

Fishermen must be all alike. Someone has said that the only thing that casts doubt on the miracles of Jesus is that they were all witnessed by fishermen!

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – February 17, 2021

It’s common and easy to have low self-esteem. People around you are eager to put you (and everyone else) down and to find their faults. When we listen to criticism from others, it paralyzes us from moving forward, from even trying to accomplish things. It can give you a defeated attitude. Having low self-esteem can also lead you to think that God can never use you for His purposes.

And yet God hand made you….to be who you are…His masterpiece! Psalm 139:13-14…For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. And remember that God doesn’t make junk!!!

That being said, God saw that you (and all of us) sin. That sin disappoints God and separates us from a Holy God. But not from His Love for you. You are worth so much that He sent His Son Jesus to restore your relationship. You are that precious to God!

When you look in the mirror…you are seeing God’s handiwork. And if that’s not good enough after He made you, He then He purchased you back after you were lost to sin. Romans 3:23-24…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Maybe this story will help:

Little Johnny had spent hours building a small sailboat, crafting it down to the finest detail. He carried his new boat to the edge of the river and then carefully placed it in the water. How smoothly the boat sailed! Little Johnny sat in the warm sunshine, admiring the little boat that he had built. Suddenly a strong current caught the boat and moved it far from his reach downstream.

Little Johnny ran along the riverbank as fast as he could. But his little boat soon slipped out of sight. All afternoon he searched for the boat. Finally, when it was too dark to look any longer, little Johnny sadly went home. He knew he loved that little boat that he built. But what he didn’t know was that downstream a man found his boat and took it to the town where he sold it to a shopkeeper.

A few days later, on his way home from school, little Johnny spotted a boat just like his in the store window. When he got closer, he could see — sure enough — it was his! Little Johnny hurried to the store manager: “Sir, that’s my boat in your window! I made it!” “Sorry, son, but someone else brought it in. If you want it, you’ll have to buy it.”

Little Johnny ran home and counted all his money and had exactly enough! When he reached the store, he rushed to the counter. “Here’s the money for my boat.” As he left the store, little Johnny hugged his boat and said, “Now you’re twice mine. First, I made you and now I bought you back again.”

You are twice God’s. First, He hand-made you…Then through Jesus death in your place, He bought you again. He not only died for you…to restore your relationship with Him, but he also has big plans for you. Jeremiah 29:11… For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Does that surprise you? You may let low self-esteem cause you to start to list excuses why you are not good enough or qualified to do God’s ministry.

Well, that’s what some familiar people thought:

  • Abraham was old.
  • Moses stuttered.
  • Jacob was insecure.
  • Leah was unattractive.
  • Joseph was abused.
  • Gideon was poor.
  • David had an affair and all kinds of family problems.
  • Elijah was suicidal.
  • Jeremiah was depressed.
  • Jonah was reluctant.
  • Naomi was a widow.
  • John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least.
  • Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered.
  • Martha worried a lot.
  • The Samaritan Woman had several failed marriages.
  • Zacchaeus was unpopular.
  • Thomas had doubts.
  • Paul had poor health.

And yet all of them had a piece in the story of God’s creation and redemption!!!!

So, how about you…Do any of those sound-like excuses that you have thought about yourself?

There is an old story that never loses its powerful message:

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference for that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had said and done. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved. 

Sometimes we get discouraged because we cannot solve all of the world’s problems. We feel inadequate to help people, to share Jesus with them, and to do everything that God wants us to. But the truth is that you can do something and let God do the rest. You cannot win the whole world for Christ, but you can share the love of Jesus with someone. God will take what you do, bless it, multiply it…just like He did with the boy with his lunch by the sea of Galilee. Take time to read Matthew 14:13-21 to see how God can do miracles out of a small boy who offered to help. So now what? Well God has placed you to be where you are and to be who you are. He has equipped you with your specific gifts, abilities, relationships, situations…to do 2 things:

To be prepared to share Jesus with others thru your words.

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,

And to serve Jesus as you serve others in His Name.

1 Peter 4:10… Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

  • Pray to the Lord for direction….offer yourself without excuses to be used by Him. . You do your part, and He will do His!
  • What unique relationships and situations can you use to share Jesus?
  • Who do you know that does not have a relationship with Jesus? How can you share your spiritual story with them?
  • Who do you know that needs your help…or needs a friendly phone call…or encouraging card?
  • Worship with us today on Ash Wednesday

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – February 10, 2021

Have you ever been in total darkness? Maybe the power went out while you were in the basement or lost in the woods at night. It can be scary! Reminds me of the creation account. Genesis 1:1-2…In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. The message translation says…Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness.

Of course, our all-knowing and all-loving God fixed the problem…verse 3…And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. When I was still doing full time ministry, I started my day at church about 6:30am. I would head to the sanctuary to pray (for many of you). The sun was not up yet, and it was really dark in there. I would leave the lights off so I would not be distracted. I would walk down the middle aisle…being careful not to bump my shins or fall, as I made my way toward the front of the church.

Two key takeaways would fill my mind as I spent time talking with my Lord and Savior. One image was that the perpetual candle (a candle that stays lit in the front of the sanctuary) reminded me that God is always with me, even in the darkest of situations. No matter how dark it would get, the light still shines. John 1:5…The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The second image that I would get is the scary reality that the longer I would stay in the dark, the more accustomed I would become to it. My eyes would adjust to the darkness. I did not feel afraid and could maneuver around. I became comfortable in the darkness.

Well…this devotion is not about buying light bulbs and paying your electric bill. So (watt) what is the point of it? The Bible uses the contrast between light and dark…good and bad…God and evil. In heaven there will be no darkness. We associate darkness with evil activity.

A young soldier and his commanding officer got on a train together. The only available seats were across from an attractive young lady who was traveling with her grandmother. As the four engaged in conversation, the soldier and the young lady kept eyeing one another. There was an obvious mutual attraction. Suddenly the train went into a tunnel sending the train car into darkness. Immediately two sounds were heard: The smack of a kiss, followed by the whack of a slap across someone’s face. The grandmother thought I can’t believe he kissed my granddaughter, but I’m glad she gave him the slap he deserved. The commanding officer thought I don’t blame the boy for kissing the girl but it’s a shame that she missed him and hit me instead. The young girl thought I’m glad he kissed me, but I wish my grandmother hadn’t slapped him for doing it. As the train broke into sunlight the soldier couldn’t help but smile. He had managed to kiss the pretty girl, and slap his commanding officer, and get away with both.

Hard to get away with anything in the light, that’s why so many people love the darkness.

John 3:19…This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

It’s the same with the darkness of sin, the longer we hang around it the more normal it seems. We get used to it…comfortable with it. Are there areas of your life that you are “hiding in darkness.?” The secret sins, areas of your life that have become “normal” to and accepted. The good news is that God is light! 1 John 1:5…This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Identify the areas of your life that you feel comfortable in the darkness of sin. Or maybe your life seems dark these days due to the situations you are facing. The darkness of loneliness caused by the Covid-19 world you live in. Maybe the darkness of a failing relationship…the darkness of a hidden (or maybe not so hidden) addiction that makes your life unmanageable…maybe the darkness of health issues…maybe the darkness of unbelief in a loving God.

If that’s the case…ask the Lord to reveal His light. I want to focus some more on how my eyes adjusted the longer I stayed in the dark. Have you been in the darkness of the evil one so long that it does not seem so dark anymore? Are there areas of your life that you are in a “slow fade.” A little darkness seemed ok and then gradually you feel at home in it.

Maybe it was a glass of wine once in a while, then every night, then a shot of whiskey to take the edge off, now it’s many shots throughout the day. Maybe a little flirting has grown to fantasizing…and maybe lead you further down the spiral. Maybe it was a peek at pornography…and little by little it consumes your time and mind. Ask God to guide you back to the Light of His ways. If you are justifying why your actions are “not that bad”…or “everyone does it”…or “I can quit this at any time” then take time to read the things God wants you to focus on. Philippians 4:8…Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Maybe you are saying that this devotion does not really apply to you…that you identify the darkness around you and seek the Light of Christ in all areas of your life. Great!!!! Now what?

Matthew 5:16… In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

You may say…I’m not a pastor…not trained…not capable. God can’t use me! Think again! One of the best illustrations for our calling as children of the Light…children of God is:

Alexander Papaderos, a doctor of philosophy, worked for many years trying to bring peace between the bitterly divided countries of Europe after WWII. His motivation for doing so stems from his childhood and a very odd event which took place. “When I was a small child,” he said, “during the war we were poor and lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place…. I kept one, the largest piece…. By scratching it on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine – in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find. I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became [mature], I grew to understand that this was a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of light. The light [or truth] is there, and it will shine in many dark places only if I reflect it.”

He concluded: “I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have, I can reflect light into the dark places of the world…and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise.”

God shines His light on you…so that…you will reflect His light to others!

Action steps:

  • If you have not seen Pastor Zahrte’s sermon last weekend about how to share the Good News…go to and watch it.
  • What situations of your life seem a little dark these days? Ask God to fill you with His Light, Love, Joy, and Peace!
  • What areas are you “hiding in the darkness of sin” …Seek God’s Light and freedom found in His Word? Let Him bring you into His Light!
  • Who do you know that God is nudging you to shine His light into?

Humor for your day:

A couple were working together in a factory when the lights went out. When the lights came on again the young lady said, “Frank, you shouldn’t have done that.” “Shouldn’t have done what?” “You shouldn’t have kissed me when the lights went out.” “I didn’t kiss you when the lights went out.” He looked around belligerently at the people filing out. “But I’d like to catch the fellow who did. I’d teach him.” “Oh, Frank, you couldn’t teach him anything!”

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – February 3, 2021

You may have heard the verse found in John 8:36…“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” So what is it all about?

Legend has it that the great Houdini, a master magician, and a great locksmith, once bragged that there wasn’t a jail cell in the world that he couldn’t escape from, provided he could go into the cell dressed in his street clothes and work in complete privacy. A small town in England had built a new jail that they believed to be escape-proof, so they invited Houdini to come and try to break out. Houdini accepted the challenge. They put him in the cell and closed the door. He was left alone. Houdini took off his belt and took from it a tough, flexible steel rod. Then he went to work on the lock. He worked longer than it had ever taken him before, and he still couldn’t get the lock open! As time passed, he was becoming exhausted. He was stumped! Finally, after two solid hours of work, Houdini collapsed from exhaustion. He fell against the door to the cell, and when he did, the door swung open! It had been unlocked all the time!

You probably chuckled at the ending of that story, but I would contend there is a valuable lesson to be found there.

We are all held captive to our sinful nature. Try as we may, by our own power, we can not escape. The good news is that Jesus already opened the door to forgiveness and eternal life through His death in your place.

Maybe you feel like you are “locked up”…and on your own…try as you might, you can not free yourself.
Maybe it’s:

  • The bondage of an addiction to drugs, pornography, eating disorder, shopping, or many other things that have control over you.
  • Overwhelmed by an unreasonable schedule.
  • Trapped by poor choices relationally.
  • Isolated and alone…compounded by the Covid world we live in.
  • Financially trapped and getting deeper into debt.
  • Maybe you feel like a loser and you have made a mess of every area of your life…and your friends hold you prisoner to a low self-esteem?
  • Do you sometimes feel like Charlie Brown? Poor Charlie Brown can’t do anything right. Lucy doesn’t help. On one occasion she puts her hands on her hips and says, “You, Charlie Brown, are a foul ball in the line drive of life! You’re the shadow of your own goal posts! You are a miscue! You are three putts on the eighteenth green! You are a seven-ten split in the tenth frame; a love set! You have dropped a rod and a reel in the lake of life! You are a missed free throw, a shanked nine iron and a called third strike! Do you understand? Have I made myself clear?”

We are all prisoners of bad choices, weaknesses, faults…and most of us have “friends” eager to dismiss their own and point ours out (like Lucy). Truth is that this is not the garden of Eden…nor is it heaven! We live in a sin-stained world….trying to break free from those things that seem to hold us as prisoners can be exhausting.

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.”

We cannot overcome sin in our life…and it’s collateral damage by our own efforts. There will be trouble, but did you catch the end of that verse? But take heart! I have overcome the world.” When we admit that we are helpless, cry out to the Lord, and turn to God, He will set us free!!!

John 8:34, 36… Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin….So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Like Houdini, you may be fighting and struggling to be free from the collateral damage of a sinful world…, when all of the while Jesus has set you free…. when you lean on the door (Jesus), you will find the freedom you desire. I love Galatians 5:1… It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. The Message translation puts it this way… Christ has set us free to live a free life. So, take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. So…ask the Lord to free you from whatever has imprisoned you. When you confess your sins, He is faithful…He will forgive you…release you! Set you free! Then ask Him to give you His peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 (msg)… Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. So…now that you know the secret to being freed, released, made whole…now what?

George Sweeting, in his book “The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing,” tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1968, Currier’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died.

Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.

Sweeting concluded that story by asking, “Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message, the most important in your life, and year after year, the urgent message was never delivered?”

God’s Word is that letter to you…you are free!

And then, we who have heard the good news and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to proclaim it to others still enslaved by sin.

Are we (you) doing all we (you) can to make sure that people get the message? Who can you share the Love of God with?

This week:

  • Take time to ask God to free you from the wages of your sins. Ask Him to free you from that which has imprisoned you. Read God’s Word to get your marching orders.
  • Take time to see who you can share the freedom that the Lord offers to them, and then reach out to them with the power of God’s Word.

Humor for the day… A man went fishing one day. He looked over the side of his boat and saw a snake with a frog in its mouth. Feeling sorry for the frog, he reached down, gently took the frog from the snake, and set the frog free. But then he felt sorry for the snake. He looked around the boat, but he had no food. All he had was a bottle of bourbon. So he opened the bottle and gave the snake a few shots. The snake went off happy, the frog was happy, and the man was happy to have performed such good deeds. He thought everything was great until about ten minutes passed and he heard something knock against the side of the boat. With stunned disbelief, the fisherman looked down and saw the snake was back with two frogs!

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – January 27, 2021

If I were to ask you what your prize possession was, what would you say? Perhaps a picture of your family, an award or trophy, your car, home, a coin collection, a corner office with a window? It’s an interesting question. And all of those items I listed are fine to have. And yet, I wonder if any of you said that your prize possession was your faith in Jesus as my Savior, forgiveness, or eternal life.

This devotion is not intended to discourage you from finding pleasure in the things that you have, relationships you cherish, the things that you have accomplished using the gifts and abilities that God has given you. What I am saying is, that we need to focus on the giver of these good gifts. To never find our identity in the things we have. In other words, to “worship” the gift, possession, or accomplishment….more that the giver of the gifts.

Romans 1:25…They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. The message translation says…And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!

 Henri Nouwen retells a tale from ancient India:

Four royal brothers decided each to master a special ability. Time went by, and the brothers met to reveal what they had learned.

“I have mastered a science,” said the first, “by which I can take but a bone of some creature and create the flesh that goes with it.”

“I,” said the second, “know how to grow that creature’s skin and hair if there is flesh on its bones.”

The third said, “I am able to create its limbs if I have flesh, the skin, and the hair.”

“And I,” concluded the fourth, “know how to give life to that creature if its form is complete.”

Thereupon the brothers went into the jungle to find a bone so they could demonstrate their specialties. As fate would have it, the bone they found was a lion’s. One added flesh to the bone, the second grew hide and hair, the third completed it with matching limbs, and the fourth gave the lion life. Shaking its mane, the ferocious beast arose and jumped on his creators. He killed them all and vanished contentedly into the jungle.

We too have the capacity to create and value what can devour us. Goals and dreams can consume us. Possessions and property can own our hearts and destroy us…unless we first seek God’s kingdom and righteousness and allow Him to breathe into what we make of life.

Matthew 6:33…But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

When you focus on your relationship with the Lord….He will provide you with things, so that you can enjoy them, without worshiping them.

James 1:17…Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

I love the C.S.Lewis quote that I saw online the other day…“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

So how do we find joy in the “stuff” we have and the “things” we accomplish…. while worshiping God, and not letting them become “idols?” You may be offended at me and say…I have no idols!

You may say “I have never fallen on my face and worshiped a carved idol” like the Babylonians did in Isaiah 46:6… Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it.…You may say “I never worshiped a false god like Allah or Buddha.” Great! But what occupies your time, talent, treasures the most. What would your day planner and check book say you value the most?

We are always giving our hearts to something. If we are not giving our heart to God, then we are giving it to something that God created! These things can claim the place in our hearts that only God should have.

Do you thank the Lord for all you have been blessed with? Do you use these blessings as tools to glorify the Lord?

The danger is that anything that takes your focus off of the Lord can become an idol. Whatever takes top priority with your time, talent, treasures are in fact what you worship.

Jesus puts it very clear…what should be your priority? Matthew 22:37-39…Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

I think that God blesses us with people, places, things that bring a smile to our faces….so that we can use them in a way that glorifies God who is the giver of those gifts. Howard Hendricks writes, “My wife Jeanne and I once dined with a rich man from a blue blood Boston family, and I asked him, ‘How in the world did you grow up in the midst of such wealth and not be consumed by materialism?’ “His answer: ‘My parents taught us that everything in our home was either an idol or a tool’.

So how do you view your possessions and accomplishments? I encourage you to take some time and:

  • Thank the Lord for all of your physical, emotional, relational, and material blessings.
  • Go back to my opening question. Ask yourself if whatever your answer was…is an idol or a tool to glorify God?
  • Ask God how you can accomplish much for the Lord…How can you use your blessings to be a blessing to others? How can you be used as a tool to share Christ with others, to serve those in need, to encourage and lift up those that are down?

Humor for the day…A teacher asked her students what religious objects they had in their homes. One boy answered, “We have a picture of a woman with a halo holding a baby and every day my mother kneels in front of it.”

The next little boy said, “We have a brass statue of a man seated with crossed legs and a Chinese face, and every day my parents burn an incense stick before it.”

Then a third boy piped up, “In the bathroom we have a little platform with numbers on it. Every day my mother stands on it first thing in the morning and screams, “OH MY GOD!!!”

Devotions by Pastor Dave Timm: Wednesday – January 20, 2021

Over the years I have told many stories/illustrations to help people focus on God, His Word, their life as children of God. This story is one of my favorite stories (from Jim Rice) to tell. (Try to imagine me telling this story while making sound effects!)

A man injured on the job filed an insurance claim. The insurance company requested more information, so the man wrote the insurance company the following letter of explanation:

Dear Sirs:

I am writing in response to your request concerning clarification of the information I supplied in block #11 on the insurance form, which asked for the cause of the injury. I answered, “Trying to do the job alone.” I trust that the following explanation will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the date of the injury, I was working alone, laying brick around the top of a three-story building. When I finished the job, I had about five hundred pounds of brick left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to put them into a barrel and lower them by a pulley that was fastened to the top of the building.

I secured the end of the rope at ground level, went back up to the top of the building, loaded the bricks into the barrel, and pushed it over the side. I then went back down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it securely to insure the slow descent of the barrel. As you will note in block #6 of the insurance form, I weigh 145 pounds. At the shock of being jerked off the ground so swiftly by the five hundred pounds of bricks in the barrel, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope.

Between the second and third floors, I met the barrel. This accounts for the bruises and lacerations on my upper body. Fortunately, I retained enough presence of mind to maintain my tight hold on the rope and proceeded rapidly up the side of the building, not stopping until my right hand was jammed in the pulley. This accounts for my broken thumb (see block #4). Despite the pain, I continued to hold tightly to the rope. Unfortunately, at approximately the same time, the barrel hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed about fifty pounds. I again refer you to block #6, where my weight is listed. I began a rapid descent.

In the vicinity of the second floor, I met the barrel coming up. This explains the injury to my legs and lower body. Slowed only slightly, I continued my descent, landing on the pile of bricks. Fortunately, my back was only sprained. I am sorry to report, however, that at this point I again lost my presence of mind—and let go of the rope.

I trust that this answers your concern. Please note that I am finished trying to do the job alone.

God never intended for you to live your Christian life/ministry alone! Hopefully, you know that you are a sinner…and that sin separates you from a Holy God (not His Love for you). On your own, you can not fix the problem…but the good news (the Gospel) is that you don’t have to fix the problem…. Jesus did on the cross…for you!!!!! You are saved! and yet: Living a Christian life can be tough. It may seem that your Christian walk is as if you are “trying to do it alone” …especially when it seems that you are at odds with what the world, news, and media tell you about God, His Word, morals, values, etc. God knew that right from creation…even in the Garden of Eden (paradise), God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone!

Genesis 2:18…. The LordGod said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

The Christian life is not easy to live “on your own.” You need people who stand beside you to support you, encourage you, and help you to succeed. That’s why God created the church. There are no Lone Rangers in the family of God. You never have to “do the ministry” alone! We really do need each other. We are a community, a family of faith…and when we all work together, we can accomplish great things for Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:27… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

I encourage you to take the time to read 1 Corinthians 12. It reminds us that God has placed people with different gifts and abilities together to be His church. Read it and ask yourself, what is my role within the church? How can I help accomplish God’s plan for my congregation…for the larger church…for those who are outside of the church…my community…my daily circle of influence? Our current sermon series is called “Be The Church…It’s Not a Place, It’s Who We Are!” The tag line for this series reminds us that 2 billion people are Christians…they go to a church somewhere around the world. But isn’t church more than a building that we go to…or watch online services at? God’s Word says that church is “a way to be.” We “go” to church…but are called to “be” the church! By being part of Christ’s church on earth, we grow in our personal walk with the Lord…and are then empowered to love and serve others in the name of the Lord.

I encourage you to go to to watch last week’s sermon…and then to watch each of the next 4 weeks’ sermons.

I know that I have shared this section with you in other devotions…but it is what “being the church” looks like…. Acts 2:42-47…They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

As “the church” they did not have to “do it alone!” …even during persecution.

That same verse in the Message translation puts it this way:

That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers. Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.

They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

So…what is the point of this devotion?

That God’s church is not the building, it’s the people who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior! It’s wherever the Gospel is preached, and the sacraments are administered according to the Gospel. The local congregations are where people gather around the means of grace. We extend God’s church by telling others about Jesus, through service, prayer, and financial support….and His kingdom grows.

We participate in the church to be fed spiritually, to support and encourage others, to be equipped to go outside the walls of the building to lead others to the quality-of-life Jesus offers.

Support and be active in your local congregation (church)….and then go out and “be the church’ wherever God sends you…24/7!

A bit of humor for your day:

Timmy didn’t want to put his money in the offering plate Sunday morning, so his mother decided to use some hurried creative reasoning with him. “You don’t want that money, honey,” she whispered in his ear. “Quick! Drop it in” the plate. It’s tainted!” Horrified, the little boy obeyed. After a few seconds, he whispered, “But, mommy, why was the money tainted? Was it dirty? “Oh, no dear,” she replied. “It’s not really dirty….It’s tainted… ‘taint yours, and it ‘taint mine,” she replied. “It’s God’s.”