October 9, 2018

Word of Encouragement

There are so many good things happening at Wesley and we are excited to share the good work of God here.  On November 11 we will have one worship service of celebration at 11:15, sing some patriotic songs and hear testimonies from several folks whose lives are being changed by God.  After church we plan to have a fellowship dinner, a main dish and drinks will be provided and everyone bring something to share: side dishes, salads and especially desserts.  After lunch, pastor Ernie will continue the celebration with a future looking devotion and a presentation of the primary challenges we face moving forward.  Everyone please plan to attend.  Child care will be available.  The Apostle Paul tells the great church at Philippi, “I am confident of this: he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”  The other day I was sitting on the sanctuary and contemplating just how many lives God has touched here at Wesley in the last fifty plus years.  It is a bit humbling to know that now we have been given the baton and it is our turn to run the race.  We have the joy of creating a place where lives can turn to Jesus and find hope and healing.  I am just as confident as Paul that God will finish what he started here at Wesley all those years ago.  Let’s celebrate together!

~Grace & Peace~

October 2, 2018

Word of Encouragement

From the final chapter of Admiral William H. McRaven’s MAKE YOUR BED:  Never, ever quit.
“If you  fill your days with pity, sorrowful for the way you have been treated, bemoaning your lot in life, blaming your circumstances on someone or something else, then life will be long and hard.  If on the other hand, you refuse to give up on your dreams, stand tall and strong against the odds–then life will be what you make of it–and you can make it great.  Never, ever ring the bell!  There is no question life is full of difficult times for all of us.  We all experience our own share of sorrow, loss, sickness.  Only those who walk thru their adversity with heads held high find the green pastures on the other side of the valley.  A while back we shared in the 23rd Psalm together and a memorable lesson was “Just Keep Walking.”  It is God’s honor to lead us to green pastures and still waters.  Sometimes to get there the only way is through the valley of the shadow.  We just never ever stop walking.  Trust in the Lord friends.  Trust in Him.
 
~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie

September 26, 2018

Word of Encouragement

Chapter Nine: Give people hope

When we were studying Philippians together, we talked about how the church started. Paul and Silas in prison singing together became a witness to the community and to the men about the absolute faithfulness of God. It gave everyone hope. In chapter nine of his book MAKE YOUR BED, Admiral Mcraven says, “We will find ourselves neck deep in mud someday. That is the time to sing loudly, to smile broadly, to lift up those around you and give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day.” So well said and excellent spiritual advice for any who feel life is a bit unfair. Just start singing anyway.

~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie

September 18, 2018

Word of Encouragement

Chapter 8
Rise to the occasion. “I could never…” So many times I have heard someone say those words declaring they were not able to accomplish something. I used to get so nervous standing in front of a group to speak it would make me nauseous. How did I overcome the fear? At first I stood behind a written manuscript, then behind a pulpit. Now I have no barriers left. I guess you all know that because you keep moving away from the front row on fear I might call on you. Some even sit all the way in the overflow now not realizing I can still see them. When we are doing something for God instead of for ourselves, he always equips us and gives us the tools and the words that are needed for that moment in time. God does not leave us stranded. Sunday I challenged everyone to tell someone how they might be saved and I could see a few run into the fray while others were more reticent. I think we would all be surprised at the spiritual strength in us if we would just walk a little closer to the edge. Recently a friend showed me a rubber bracelet with the words “Follow Jesus” on them that he uses as a conversation starter. That is intentional and a great idea. Sometimes people just want someone to have a conversation with them about Jesus. If they want to talk about something else, they will let you know pretty quickly. I pray God put you in a place to initiate a conversation with someone about our Lord and Savior. Jesus died for my sins and I choose to follow him to heaven. He knows the way.
~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie

September 13, 2018

Word of Encouragement

Chapter 7 ” Stand up to bullies”
There will always be people who try to use power to get their own way. Christians should learn how to stand up against power brokers. On the playground when we were little, it meant taking the risk of getting whipped, in front of everyone else. As you might have guessed, my personality did not sit well on the same playground with a bully. Especially if the bully was picking on someone else, like my brother. I guess I am still that way. As Christians we have a responsibility to stand up for the less fortunate even if it means standing toe to toe with the bully. There is character in that, even if you get whipped. The option is to just step aside and let the bullies rule the world. As a kid growing up and protecting my brothers, I learned that once you stand up to the bully they will either leave you alone or bring help the next day. You never really whip the bully, not enough to change them. But standing up to it does something for you. It helps you realize you have value. I learned early on there are two things that are powerful to use against bullies: the voice of the people, a lot of people can stand up against strong power forces. And God. Nothing quite like having God on your side.
 
~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie

September 4, 2018

Word of Encouragement

Are we supposed to take a risk? Jesus does. He takes s huge risk on Peter. Every trip to Jerusalem was a bit risky, and the last one cost him his life. Why did he do it? Why would he go to Jerusalem when He knew full well they would kill him. All risks have a cost. If we succeed, there is a benefit, a reward. If we fail, there is a loss. We all do a risk/reward analysis of situations before we act. Driving to work is a risk, but the reward (making money) is greater than the risk. So off to work we go. Playing a game, like football, has inherent risks. Those who play determine the reward is worth it. The first time someone falls in love is a bit risky, but love is strong and always seems to be worth the risk. Unless of course we have felt the pain of betrayal, then we start wondering if it is worth it. Stopping love because it is too risky would take quite a bit of loss. So did Jesus do a risk/reward when He decided to go to Jerusalem? He decided to go and was there crucified. Was that a success or a failure? It seems so crazy to us that the cross was the victory. I often wonder how strong the temptation was not to go. And what exactly was the reward for being killed? In His book, MAKE YOUR BED, McRaven challenges seal recruits to “dare greatly.” Jesus dares to be great and turns the whole understanding on it head. “Any who would dare to be great must become a servant of all.” I hope and pray you dare to be great today.

~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie

August 29, 2018

Word of Encouragement

Chapter 6 Failure can make you stronger

Not everything in life works out exactly the way you have planned. In fact my plans so rarely work just right my kids ask why do you keep making those plans. Honestly, I have become better at making adjustments than at making the original plan, and maybe that is the point. Being able to make adjustments is a misunderstood skill. It has to be learned and can only be learned when plans start falling apart. When I was a youth pastor, I was notorious for changing the rules of a game in midstream. It drove everyone nuts but I wanted them to learn how to adjust. One time we were playing football and the rule change was, “when you score the other team gets the points.” They all just sat down. Very funny. I hope you know that God appreciates people who make adjustments and do not simply give up, sit down. If it is time for you in life to make an adjustment, I pray God lead they way.

August 22, 2018

Word of Encouragement

Chapter five “Life’s not fair. Drive on.” Seal team trainers would randomly pick one recruit out of the bunch and shout, “sugar cookie.” The recruit would have to roll around in the sand and pile sand on his head and in his trousers and run around all day like a “sugar cookie.” This was not a punishment, totally random. And the point? Life is not fair. So what. Get over it. The next day another random recruit became a sugar cookie. The whole point of the training was to drill into the heads of the seals that they cannot be effective in their work if they are always concerned about what is fair and unfair. Get up. Do your job. End of the story. I can think of a few people who would have benefitted greatly from seal training. Myself being one. God does not promise fair. He does though promise presence. And that is enough for me.

~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie

August 15, 2018

Word of Encouragement

Only the size of your heart matters. The next chapter in Make your Bed seems straight out of Samuel, like it is a story about David. Israel cries out for a king to be like other nations and God says no. They continue to cry out and God says fine. He gives them Saul and they are impressed because he is ” a man of standing” and “a head taller than everyone else.” He’s also a lunatic. But the people are duped and he becomes the king and the reign is an abysmal failure. Meanwhile God has a plan B. He has Samuel anoint David who is small in stature and “ruddy.” David also happens to be a man after God’s own heart. Samuel is surprised when God says David is the one. “Are you sure?” God tells him, “man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.” No doubt we have all done this and probably even had it done to us. It is no fun being the last person selected for a team, or not being picked at all. We often regret being overlooked at work, or maybe even at home. All the while, God sees the heart. And the size of the heart does matter. I hope you have a heart for God. It will eventually be recognized and win the day.

August 8, 2018

Word of Encouragement

Chapter two of MAKE YOUR BED

Get a paddle buddy. In training for Navy Seals, men would be put on a team of six to paddle a raft often through the night and deliberately in inclement weather. Over the many weeks of training it was inevitable that someone would get sick. You could not just sit out the exercise, but if you are sick, it is clear to everyone that you cannot pull your weight. When one seal recruit was weak, the rest stood up and became stronger. They pulled him along because they knew that at any time they might need the help. If you have ever paddled a canoe for an entire week, day after day in inclement weather, you know how important it is to have the right paddle buddy. The wrong person doesn’t help. They complain that it is too hard, or that the weather is terrible, or the wind too strong or the waves too high, or even that they wish they would never have come along. The right paddle buddy just gets stronger when you need them. They rest when you work and you rest when they work. Sometimes they are even a stronger paddler than you are. So it is in life, in our family, and in the church. It is important to surround ourselves with the right partners.