March 5, 2018, 12:00 AM

How far is Wherever?

It is one of the most important days of their lives as Mark and Linda stand before their family and friends exchanging marriage vows. Each person is asked to repeat the following phraseology.

"Mark, will you have Linda to be your wife, to live together in holy marriage?

Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health,

and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?"

Mark responds with: I will.

In turn Linda is asked to repeat the same works directed at Mark. At the completion of the ceremony Mark and Linda are introduced as husband and wife, and the minister quotes the following verse from Mark 10:9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."


Fast forward five years the scene has changed and instead of standing in front of a minister, Mark and Linda now stand in front of a judge seeking divorce. The judge queries the couple about the commitment they made for better for worst, till death do us part which was meant to be forever. Their response is “things change.”


In this week’s sermon we have the account of a man who wants to follow Jesus. The account in Luke 9:57-62 goes like this:

57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

In the first illustration which is all too familiar these days, forever (till death do us part) is only temporary, and in the second account from Luke 9:57-62 wherever has conditions.


Here are two questions to reflect on this week and I will address these in my sermon this Sunday:

  1. Are you still faithful in your relationship with God, or have things changed?

The passion we feel when we first come to Christ can eventually be eroded by the cares of this world, just as the passion in a marriage can grow cold unless a conscience effort is made to maintain that relationship. How long is forever for you"?

  1. The second question is “How Far is Wherever” for you. God’s love and forgiveness is unconditional once we come to faith in Jesus Christ, God’s call to obedience is also unconditional. Are you following God unconditionally, or are there areas in your life that you refuse to surrender to God’s control?


In this season of Lent which is a time of preparing our hearts for Resurrection Sunday, we would do well to examine our relationship with our Savior and ask ourselves if forever is temporary and wherever is conditional.

God’s promises and calling upon our lives is unconditional. In Malachi 3:6 it says: “For I am the Lord, I do not change”.


Have we kept our promises and commitments?


March 2, 2018, 3:09 PM

Another Shooting and Gun Control

Friday March 2nd and there has been yet another shooting at a school. This time it’s Central Michigan University, this comes on the heels of the mass murder of seventeen individuals at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It seems this is a reoccurring event almost weekly now. In the midst of these tragedies many are locked in a heated debate about added regulations for guns, or in some cases the total ban on guns. Tempers are hot, and people are frustrated that our politicians can’t seem to agree on what to do. So, in the mist of this debate let me add my thoughts.


   First let me say that I’m not advocating for or against gun control, what I’m saying that that gun control is the low hanging fruit and misses the real root cause of the problem. A gun is simply a device, a mechanism if you will, the gun in and of its self is neither good or bad it is only an inanimate device. Guns cannot kill anyone unless some individual decides to pick it up, point it at someone else and pull the trigger. Guns have been a part of the American culture since our inception as a nation. When I was in high school we would often bring our guns to school to show our friends, or to hunt after school, but the thought of using it to kill our classmates never crossed our minds. Additionally, murders were a rare thing when I was young. If we had one or two murders a year within a hundred-mile radius then it was a bad year. Today murder is weekly occurrence, sometimes a daily occurrence.


My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones to gun violence, and just let me say that these events are tragedies on all levels. However, I must ask the question what has changed from the days when I was in high school and murder was rare, and mass murders non-existent to today.


What has Changed?


Guns have always been available and as I said previously we would often bring them to school with us. So, I would say guns are not the root cause of the violence we are seeing, they are simply a tool in the hands of a person who has decided to murder. I believe that root cause is a change in society that has cheapened life, and the attitude that disagreements can be settled by taking another person’s life. I think several factors have played into this societal change.


First, the removal of God from our schools and public discourse. I grew up in a time when reading a verse of scripture and a prayer over the school intercom was the norm. Even if you weren’t a Christian, everyone had an understanding of biblical principles on life, value of life, fairness and morals. Not so today, today kids are taught a secular humanist belief that there aren’t absolutes, therefore we shouldn’t be surprised when choices are made that harm others. After all, if there aren’t any standards to judge by, then who’s to say that anything is wrong. Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death”. I think we are seeing that.


Second, the legalization of abortion in 1973 and the subsequent killing of 40-50 million unborn babies also contributes to the cheapening of life. Scripture in Psalm 139:13-16; 22:9-10; 100:3; Job 31:15; Isaiah 44:2, 49:5 and Jer. 1:4-5 all talk about being known by God prior to birth. By viewing unborn babies as only a fetus that can be terminated on demand we have undermined sanctity of life.


Thirdly, the plaque of fatherlessness in our homes has sown seeds that we are just now beginning to reap. A recent article by Mark Meckler at[1] highlights that 26 of the last 27 mass shootings were committed by men (boys) raised in a fatherless home.


According to[2] fatherless homes account for:


Suicide: 63% percent of youth suicides

Runaways: 90% percent of all homeless and runaway youths

Behavioral Disorders: 85% percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders

High School Dropouts: 71% percent of all high school dropouts

Juvenile Detention Rates: 70% percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions

Substance Abuse: 75% percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers

Aggression: 75% percent of rapists motivated by displaced anger


Rejecting Gods plan for children to be raised by a father and mother in a monogamous marriage for life, leads to broken homes and broken children.


Married men and fathers must realize and embrace the truth that God has invested in them a special responsibility for the spiritual leadership that they should develop in relation both to their wives and children. Ephesians 5:25-6:4, Colossians 3:18-21. A father’s first responsibility is to acquaint his children with Scripture. The means and methods that fathers may use to teach God's truth will vary. As the father is faithful in role modeling, what children learn about God will put them in good standing throughout their earthly lives, no matter what they do or where they go.




Politicians can only treat the symptoms by further regulating guns is analogous to giving an aspirin to someone having a stroke. Guns are not killing people, people are killing people. The real solution is beyond the politicians’ grasp, but it is the church’s responsibility. Changing society and calling people back into relationship with Jesus Christ is our purpose and mission, to which I would say the church in America has failed. Jesus Christ is the only hope for stopping the killing, drugs and broken homes in America, and the church has been given the task of delivering that message.

So church are you tired of the killing yet?




March 1, 2018, 12:00 AM

Whose Cross are you Carrying?


We become children of God by trusting Christ and confessing Him to be the Son of God.

(1 John 4:1-3) “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” (NKJV)

Jesus died for us on the cross and rose again (Rom. 10:9–10).

“9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (NKJV)

We become disciples of Jesus Christ by surrendering our all to Him, taking up our cross, and following Him. If we live for ourselves, we lose our lives and He is ashamed of us; but if we live for Christ, we save our lives and glorify Him (John 12:23–28).

The question that I’ll explore in this coming week’s sermon is what cross you are carrying, a cross of your own design or the one that Christ carried.

  1. The cross is a place of surrender, Jesus Christ willingly surrendered His will in order to fulfill the will of the Father.
  2. The cross was a place of death, the place where Jesus Christ died carrying my sin and yours.

Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (NKJV)

The phrase “deny himself” indicates that, like Jesus, we must seek God’s will and submit our will to his. By denying oneself, taking up our cross and following Jesus, we acknowledge that we are submitting to Jesus’ authority.

Reflect on this: Is the cross that you are carrying a cross that required you to die to self and the life you live now is in Christ, or is it a cross of your own fashioning that may me uncomfortable but never required you to die to self and sin?

Discipleship saves us from the tragedy of a wasted life. Yes, there is suffering in taking up a cross to follow Jesus; but that suffering always leads to glory.