Insights: Thanksgiving Proclamation: Abraham Lincoln

Thanksgiving is still a celebrated holiday in America and the closest to giving thanks to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. While the world refuses to give thanks (Rom.1:21), we fall on our knees in humble gratitude for the blessings of liberty to worship the Lord and draw people into His blessed presence.  Many of our former presidents and politicians spoke of their faith in our Sovereign and knew that He alone was responsible for our freedom and blessings.  Continue reading


Insights: Should you celebrate Halloween as a Christian?

Should you celebrate Halloween as a Christian? I have taken almost every position on what to do with Halloween.  I respect good brothers and sisters who want nothing to do with the day.  I have taught the position of Halloween as initiated by the evil spirits and Celtic traditions.  Continue reading

Life Insights: Memorial Day

The General Order below by General John Logan was given on May 5, 1868 following the Civil War that divided the Union of American States. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Healing had begun and Memorial Day was a day to reunite all American people. New York was the first state to recognize the holiday in 1873.  It was moved to the last Monday in May by Congress in 1971 to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays. 

The day will be commemorated by parades, speeches, fragrant flowers of memories and prayer for those who have given their lives in the service of this great nation and the cause of freedom.

General Order
No. 11

Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic
Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foe? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and found mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude,–the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.

By command of:



May we never forget!

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Many people celebrate Lent today.  My church is not liturgical, so we do not celebrate an “Ash Wednesday Service.”  We also do not follow the traditional practices of Lent.  However, the intended meaning is significant. What is Ash Wednesday and Lent?

            Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, which is 40 days prior to the celebration of Resurrection Sunday (the Sundays are not included in the count).  It is a time when people are reminded of penitence and repentance in consideration of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.  It is a time of moderation and spiritual discipline.

It was our sins that caused God the Father to put the humanity of God the Son on the cross to pay for the penalty of our sins (Is. 53:10).  The Father’s righteousness was satisfied so the offer of salvation is made for all (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Tim. 2:3-6). Yet, a person who understands the holiness of God and the action of God’s love will spend time in reflection of that greatest of acts and gifts to man.  This is traditionally celebrated beginning on Ash Wednesday and continues through Resurrection Sunday.

            The use of ashes is a reminder of penance. Individuals receive the sign of the cross placed on their foreheads as a sign of mourning, repentance and human mortality.  For some traditions, those who are between 18 and 59 years-old will fast.  Fasting is done to focus more attention on prayer and God’s goodness. There is no Scriptural mandate for the use of ashes. There are, however, several passages that address the use of ashes by individuals, including 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; 42:3-6; Daniel 9:3 and Matthew 11:21.  Ashes have also been used as a symbol of cleansing in Numbers 19:9, 17; Hebrews 9:13.

            The Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or the custom of Lent, so in the interpretation of Romans 14, it is neither mandated nor prohibited.  Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert prior to His temptations by Satan.  Ash Wednesday marks the date set aside by some to commemorate that account of prayer and fasting.

            Ash Wednesday and Lent are really about self-denial.  Self-denial is a spiritual discipline, often also labeled frugality.  Self-denial is a biblical concept as Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23) With that in mind, how can we practice self-denial?

·         Deny self the pleasure of eating out for a period of time.  Use the money saved to give to God’s ministry.

·         Deny self the pleasure of criticizing or avoiding another person.  Use the opportunity to restore the relationship.

·         Deny self the act of judging another and trying to remove their splinter.  Instead remove your own plank and build God’s kingdom together.

·         Deny self the grudge or bitterness against another.  Use the opportunity to forgive and serve the person.

·         Deny self the pleasure of some personal time and use the time to visit someone who is lonely.

·         Deny self the enjoyment of extra hours of Bible study to go and help a new believer understand what you already know.

·         Deny self the comfort of personal space and go to visit someone who is not able to join others in worship.

·         Deny self the freedom of rest and go help a young mom who is worn out from caring for her precious children, so she can have some rest.

·         Deny self the liberty to your personal time or hobbies and go help one who is burdened with life.

Ash Wednesday and Lent are great reminders of the greatest act in history.  Just like many will celebrate the coming of the birth of Jesus in the Advent Season, so many will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus in the Lent Season.  Whether you celebrate Ash Wednesday and Lent or not is not my issue.  Self-denial is a biblical practice and it will be evidence that you are truly one of Jesus’ disciples.

The Light at Christmas

This is a recent article included for the December, 2012, Grace and Truth Newsletter.  We broke from expositional teaching to celebrate the advent season as many churches do.  Each Sunday, a message was given according to each candle: God’s Hope; God’s Love; God’s Joy; and God’s Peace.  This introduced our congregation to that series.

The Light at Christmas

            As a boy, I remember the Christmas season as having the longest nights and the shortest days outside.  But I also remember Christmas had the brightest lights from all the lights on the house and in the house.  The darker the night, the brighter one light would shine.  I remember going to church and singing “Silent Night” with our candles lit and thinking of how bright the church became even though the lights were off.  It warmed our lives and set the mood to receive Jesus as the Light of the World.

            This year we are going to celebrate Christmas season using the Advent candles.   Each of the candles give a symbolic meaning in the Advent, or arrival (or appearance), of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There are usually five candles.  Three candles are purple, one pink and one white.  What do they signify?

            The first candle is purple and is the Prophecy Candle or Candle of Hope.  The prophets made it clear that Messiah was coming and He was Israel’s hope.  We have hope because Jesus Christ arrives and penetrates the darkness. 

            The second candle is purple and is the Bethlehem Candle or Candle of Love.  Born in the city of Bethlehem is the greatest bundle of love God has ever given.  Jesus Christ, the seed of David, was God’s greatest expression of love to satisfy His own righteous character, so that we  might have the opportunity for eternal life.

            The third candle is often pink as the Shepherd Candle or Candle of Joy.  When the angels appeared to the shepherds they rushed to find the Babe and spread the good news of great joy.

            The fourth candle is purple and is the Angel Candle or Candle of Peace.  As the angels praised God before the shepherds they said, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!  Man could not create peace with God by anything he could become or do.  He could only accept what God had done for him.  Do you have peace with God?

            The fifth candle is white and is the Christ Candle.  The white reminds us that Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God sent to remove the penalty for our sins.  We will light this candle on Christmas Eve as the children and youth have a special presentation and drama to welcome in Christmas.

            What does the darkness mean or do to you?  What does the light of a candle mean to you?  Do you know the Light of the World, the Lord Jesus Christ? 

This Christmas season we celebrate the Lord Jesus in His arrival into the world of darkness, so that we might have Light within ourselves, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Seek the Lord Jesus and the Light of life will become real to you.  Trust in Jesus Christ and the Light will become part of your life.  Join us during this Advent Season as we celebrate the Light of the World!




Memorial Day Service: May 28, 2012

Yesterday Grandma and Grandpa took granddaughter Sarah to a Memorial Day Service at the Raymond Road Middle School.  Appropriately, it was in the Ranger Auditorium (my thought considered the US Army Rangers). The sixty member Indianapolis Municipal Band played beautiful patriotic and spiritual numbers for 30 minutes before the service.  We were in the gymnasium, so while it wasn’t air conditioned, it was out of the sun and a stirring remembrance of those who gave their lives for our freedom.  It was a little scary for granddaughter Sarah, because the Timpani drummer was  enthusiastic and she had not been very used to a live instrumental band.  Sarah found great comfort being together with family.

There were probably 250 people there from every age group, but mostly older vets and their families.  It was very moving to think of the young men and women who died that will never enjoy being old men and women.  They gave up their lives, so that we could grow old and see the freedom the Lord provided.
A special recognition was made for Staff Sergeant Wayne Bucy who earned the Bronze Star for actions during World War II.  He had never received his medal, so 68 years late, our nation recognized his heroic actions in the European Theater.

As much as our nation is slipping from the Truth of God’s Word, she is still the most blessed of any nation on earth.  May we never take our freedom for granted and pursue the holiness of God, lest God remove that freedom we enjoy!

Celebration of Spring

Thanks for your participation on Sunday at Pastor Dick’s Celebration of 43 years of ministry.  I know he and Pat were greatly affected by it and it’s seldom we get this kind of opportunity to honor a shepherd and his wife toward the end of their official ministry.
Pastor Gary will lead the next two services for which I’m very grateful as I work with the Website team and the Elders and Deacons on their responsibility profiles.  These will help us tighten up what we do as leadership.  Thanks for your prayers for the leadership team.
This year for Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday we’re going to look at “Divine Eyesight.”  They will be services and messages related to how we can and should look at people like Jesus does.  In between those services, we’re going to have a Good Friday service.  It will be a service of reflection, singing, communion and a devotional message from Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane.  The service will be Good Friday, April 6, at 7pm.
It’s truly amazing the warmth that God has brought to our area.  Our crocus flowers have burst in brilliant colors and our daffodils are dazzling in their magnificent yellow!  I’m not sure what it means for the rest of summer, but I do know for sure Who is in control of summer!  May He be praised!