June 11, 2024


As we come near the end of our learning about how Jesus identifies, it is important for us to make sure we get the main thing right. We are to become like Jesus. I have been referring to Philippians 2 each week now for several weeks and thought I would share the text this week in full.

“Jesus, being in very nature God,
Did not count equality with God something to be grasped,
But made himself empty.
Taking the very nature of a servant,
Being made in human likeness,
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled himself
And became obedient to death—
Even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place
And gave Him the name that is above every name,
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
In heaven and on earth and under the earth,
And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
To the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:6-11

The cross is both humility and obedience. Sorrow leads believers to both humility and obedience. When we find obedience in sorrow, we take our place with Jesus and will too be exalted.

~ Grace and Peace ~

June 8, 2024


We have learned such a valuable spiritual lesson these last few weeks based on Revelation 5. When we expect to see a Lion take the scrolls of justice, we turn and see the Lamb of God “looking as if it had been slain” reach up and take the scrolls instead. And it is the Lamb who pronounces judgment against the nations and people who would not humble themselves and become obedient and submit to the cross. This represents the end of something. At the incarnation, Almighty God empties himself of His power and becomes a servant to humanity, becoming obedient unto the death of a cross. He does this out of love, his love has a softer voice, a call unto humility and relationship that creates a sense of awe and respect and honor, not fear and judgment.

When the Lamb takes the scroll of justice, it ends the time of authority and reengages the realm of the Almighty power of God. Those who did not listen to the voice of love have convicted themselves and are subject now to the power of God. There is no more room to wiggle. Mercy ends. That realm is finished. It would behoove us to listen to the voice of God while he calls us into relationship.

Sunday, we asked how we can know we are listening. Is there a way to know we are being rebellious? The short answer we learned is, yes, there is a way to know. We know we are in rebellion by our secrets. I am pretty good at understanding an audience and it seems to me nearly all of us got that statement. We understand there are no secrets with God. Then I revealed to us all what to do with our secrets. I openly confessed what God and I have been working on for ten years. I like being right. The problem with being right and knowing you are right is it is arrogant. It breaks relationship. It makes others feel cast aside. And here is the kicker, especially if you are right.

Now we move into the deeper truth of the Lamb taking the scrolls of justice…this week I share how I came to grow out of this. Here is a short teaser: “sorrow is fertile ground for humility.”

~ Grace and Peace ~
Pastor Ernie

May 29, 2024


What is the difference between what I want and what I need? God makes a promise to provide for me everything I need but not everything I want. I have a tendency to want things that make me comfortable, secure, happy. God does not promise those things. I would think maybe I need food, water, shelter. Yet those are only things I need for this life, again, not what was promised. What, then, do I need?

God makes it clear He is more interested in my spiritual growth than my physical well-being. Its not that he does not care about my health, He does and so should I. He cares more about my soul. I like to eat donuts, but they are really not good for my body if I eat them every day. It would benefit my body to eat more greens. Everyone knows that by now. Yet we are the most obese society in all of history. I can only conclude we are ignoring what we know to be true and putting more emphasis on what we want than on what we need. Cancer is not the number one cause of death in America. It is diabetes
from unhealthy eating habits, myself included.  We all know this yet Dunkin Donuts always has a line.

\If this is true of our bodies, what are we doing to our souls? It is no wonder we are morally and spiritually vacant as a society. So my word of encouragement for the day: “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12. How is your soul working out? Just a word of encouragement. Get at it.

Grace and Peace ~
Pastor Ernie

May 1, 2024

Word of Encouragement

Word of Encouragement

Sunday, we had the privilege of hearing from John the Baptist. I love this guy. He comes out of the woods all homeless looking and acting crazy, wild hair and wild ideas. He declares Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” And he introduces to any who will listen that Jesus is the Messiah. The reference is to the Passover Lamb in Exodus. God instructs his chosen people to put the blood of the sacrificial lamb over the doorpost of their homes so that the angel of death might pass over their home.

In the same way, it is by the blood of Jesus that death loses its grip over believers. Death has no power over us because we have certainty of eternity. I love that God sends someone like John to announce this. A man with no education, does not even have a home, eats locusts off the tree branch is chosen by God to prepare the way for the savior of the world. The educated have trouble with him. People in positions of power and authority have trouble with him. I do wonder if he had gone to Seminary if people in these positions would have listened. I think they would have pretended to listen, not much more.

We all need to be careful of the things that get in the way of hearing the truth from God. Sometimes it might be our intellect, others our emotions. Most of the time it is some tradition or something we are protecting that really does not need protecting.
I hope and pray you all have a great week.
I love being your pastor,

March 13, 2024



We are learning in church how Jesus self-identifies so that we can have a clear picture of what we are to become. We were made in the image of God and the writer to the Hebrews calls Jesus “the exact image of God.” That should be our target, to look like Jesus and reflect the glory of the image into which we were created. To those who confess they are sinners in need of help, like the woman at the well, Jesus introduces himself as her Messiah and she immediately rejoices. To the Pharisees and Sadducees, who believe they fulfill the law and live without sin, he introduces himself as almighty God and challenges their self-view and their view of him.

Then he begins talking about why he came, his mission. He is the “bread of Life,” the “light of the world.” Jesus is the one who provides our soul with the only thing that can actually satisfy us. He offers us comfort and direction as a light in the darkness. Only he can show our soul how to get home. One of the great challenges for us as Christians is to reflect that truth to those who struggle to understand or listen. Oftentimes, our response to Jesus saying He is the bread of life is to feed the homeless and offer them bread. While that is something we do, it is not THE thing we do. We offer true bread, a relationship with Jesus. We do not simply turn on a light switch in a dark room; we bring the light. We are the torch bearers. We need to bring Jesus into the room.

We need to be available to those we meet to have a conversation, a real conversation about Jesus. Sunday, I challenged us to remember our own children and grandchildren who just will not listen about Jesus. Every person we meet is someone’s child and we may be the only Jesus they ever see. Seize the moment.

~ Grace & Peace ~
Pastor Ernie

December 28, 2023

Note from Pastor Ernie

Hello Wesley,
Happy New Year everyone,
We often begin the New Year with hope and aspiration toward a fresh start for something. Gyms are filled, salads at Publix are scarce, and Dunkin Donuts has absolutely no donuts! Because they are cutting back. This might be a great time to make a commitment to a steady reading of God’s word. We live in a society that increasingly believes that truth is what they decide for themselves. Fewer and fewer people believe God establishes what is absolute truth. Christians believe God sets the standard and we should trust in Him. We need to be diligent in learning from His words and much of what we believe is true
comes from the teaching of Jesus and Paul.

I have a few things to offer that I have been working on these last few years:

  1. Listen to the Bible when you are driving. I use the Bible app on my phone and was able to listen through the entire Bible three times in 2022. Set a goal to listen through one time.
  2. We are recreating the 27/90 series from several years ago. If you have completed this before, commit with someone to do it together. If you have not done the series, we read through the entire New Testament in 90 days. All of the teaching is recorded so you can actually go at your own pace. There is a short devotional learning for each day and two more thorough teachings each week. We begin January 9. Set a goal to complete the series this year.
  3. Take notes!!!! Writing something down increases the chances of it doing you some good
    tenfold. Get yourself a gift for the New Year, a notebook for spiritual lessons and key verses.
    Keep it at your bedside table, bring it to church, set it on your desk at work.
  4. We are planning three series this year in church:
    A. Lessons from the Garden part two. These are lessons Jesus teaches using illustrations
    from nature.
    B. Messianic Prophecies fulfilled. These are Old Testament prophesies Jesus fulfills
    C. People Jesus changed: Gospel characters whose lives were changed be meeting Jesus.
  5. One of the disciplines I will be introducing this year will be witnessing to our faith. Begin to
    think through how Jesus has changed your life. Take a few notes.

    I am looking forward to an exciting year in ministry with you. We press on toward the goal. Our mission is to make disciples who live and love like Jesus.

I love being your pastor,

December 14, 2023

Word of Encouragement

Word of Encouragement

Hello Wesley Family,
As I look into the future through a dark glass, I see only blurred images of what might be. Melville called this “glimpses of a mortally intolerable truth.” I see dimly things that that I hope to see more clearly soon. Perhaps Wesley may feel a little of this right now. Without a firm foundation, these blurry thoughts can create anxiety. None of us really knows what tomorrow holds.

So here is what I am doing and perhaps it will help you.
I “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12 I have absolute certainty that Jesus has a hold on me and it is that certainty that will bring clarity into the tomorrow He alone can see and a day He holds firmly for me, and for you. Paul continues, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” Phil. 3:13 I have chosen to believe, “to press on” as Paul says. Wesley too will press on. We will each new day continue to take hold of the future we do not yet see clearly. We press on firmly believing God alone holds our tomorrow. For me, pressing on takes the form of getting out of bed each day. I make my bed every morning so that I know I accomplished something early. I stay in my devotions, pray for my family and friends, learn from the word, take a walk, meet a
few people and offer encouragement and hope, piddle in the yard, spend time with my family, prepare a word for my church family. None of that has really changed.

I encourage you: PRESS ON.

I love being your pastor,

November 1, 2023

Note from Pastor Ernie

Hello Wesley,
I have had several ask about the allegory of the forest. Here it is.
I went to John Chestnut Park before sunrise on Tuesday and parked where I knew there was an open field. I could hear the sound of the antlers of two buck raking one another, each trying to proclaim dominance. When the sun came up, I saw there were actually six deer in the field. The two buck, two does and two fawns who had just lost their spots. The buck fought fiercely and I could hear them snorting at one another. Each was certain he had the dominant claim to the territory and the harem. One of the does ran over to the buck, almost as if to intervene, and the two buck instantly stopped fighting and together ran her off. The fawns were off playing and accidently got too close to the fighting buck. Again, the buck stopped fighting and together ran off the children as if to say this is grown up
stuff we are doing here.

I began my walk and noticed a cardinal on a palm branch, all alone and simply waiting for the next seed to drop, confident in the coming provision. A little further along there were three does, not a care in the world, grazing near one of the pavilions, everyone getting along splendidly.

The allegory mirrors society, people in power, politics, the church, and even my drive into church down I-4 every day. We cannot seem to overcome our innate need for domination, at least some cannot. The church should not see itself from a position of power. We are called to be with the persecuted, even more, we are called to be the persecuted. As often as I try to intervene, I just get run off. So be it. I will be OK even if I walk alone.

I love being your pastor,

April 30, 2023


This week I am preparing a lesson on the Apostle John. I have always been struck by how completely different his remembering is from Matthew and the others. John’s gospel is almost completely new from Matthew, Mark and Luke. It’s not that their theology is any different, but their perspective is. Mark just rushes from one event to another. “and then…’ is repeated many, many times. Matthew is written for Jewish people and so is filled with Old Testament illustrations and quotes. Luke has a
Gentile audience and has stories and events specific to Gentiles, The good Samaritan, the lost son, healing stories, the Centurion. John seems like he read these other accounts and simply kept remembering something they forgot.

I have begun wondering just how different we can be from one another and still be citizens of the same kingdom. John seems more interested in the relationships Jesus had with people and so his recollection of an event goes into way more detail and even has some emotional context. He really does see things from a different perspective.

When we realize how important those different perspectives are to God, it allows us clarity to love people who see things differently from us.

 My children are very different. Their perspectives on things rarely match. Yet they are both believers and part of my family.  Oddly, I never once considered one of them as outside the family, even though I may have disagreed with their perspective. Perhaps we can learn something from this rag tag group of disciples who rarely all saw things the same way,

~ Grace and Peace ~
Pastor Ernie

April 5, 2023


I do not sit still very well, never have.  My mom tells me I used to eat meals walking around the table.  I still eat most meals that way.  As I sit with Brenda, I get antsy.  Ezekiel noticed and pulled me aside.  I told him I need something to do.  He said, “you are doing something.”  “How about you just sit here and relax?”

I am unsure I know how to do that so I could use some prayers. 

The Psalmist speaks to me today, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.  I begin now disciplining myself to rejoice in being still.  This is a new world for me and requires great trust.  All these years I always just ran to the next thing I needed to do.  Now being still is all there is.  Here is what I have learned so far, in just a few days.

1.        Brenda wants me to be still.  That alone is reason enough to learn how to do it.

2.       TV, as ludicrous as I see it, can be part of being still.

3.       I can be still in shifts now.  Maybe in a while I will last a little longer.

4.       The most important part of being still is trust.  The deeper I trust in God, the more valuable is my being still.  Trust leads to a deeper relationship. Stillness with God keeps the light on.  In years past whenever I tried to be still with God, we got into an argument.  Trust has replaced arguing.  I am learning my place at the table.  Perhaps as we share communion this week and light candles on Friday, we can begin by simply being still, trusting.

~Grace and Peace ~
Pastor Ernie