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A Vacation from Jesus

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Vacation season is upon us! Soon we will hit the highways, byways, and airways, heading to our far away destinations. With great expectations we’ll travel to our favorite spots for fun, adventure, rest and relaxation. Finally, after a long winter, we can forget about work and life’s dreary obligations for a week or two. In our Americanized state of mind, we have come to believe that we deserve a break from the norm and long to get away from it all. Not only do we take one or two weeks for vacation but must include several weekend getaways as well. It is true that there are time when we need a break. Jesus and his disciples took time to rest from the work of ministry (Mark 6:31) and we too need to take time to relax and refresh ourselves.

Sadly, as many Christians head out to the make memories in distant places, they take a vacation from the Lord as well. Sundays are spent doing vacation stuff instead of meeting with the saints and worshipping our Might God. There is no singing, no praying, no sharing of the scriptures, no remembrance of Christ with the Lord’s Supper. When we do this, we make a conscious and willing decision to neglect corporate worship which is sinful according to Hebrews 10:23-31. Jesus calls us to be His disciples every day (Luke 9:23) which certainly includes Sundays during our vaction.

While online booking our hotels and making reservations, finding a place to worship should be included as part of our vacation planning. The experience of meeting and worshiping with a congregation in other places can be very rewarding. If we return to the same location yearly, we can develop relationships with Christians there and enjoy Christian fellowship while at our favorite vacation spot. Let’s not take a vacation from Jesus!

-Jay Launius 

The Sun and The Son

Sunday, April 14, 2024

I was thinking about all the anticipation surrounding the eclipse. Hundreds of thousands of people made reservations months in advance for places to stay along the best track possible. Leading up to it, everyone was so excited and talking about it. People on social media were letting their friends know where they were watching from. And as the eclipse began to happen, pics started flying over the internet. Central West Texas was packed! 

I wonder how many hours and how many dollars were spent to watch something that happened so quickly? Sadly, thousands and thousands of folks only had brief glimpses through the overcast skies. 

Interestingly, we've known for hundreds of years when this eclipse of the sun would occur. For the last hundred years or so, we knew the precise minutes it would start and end. I think of Genesis 1:14-18, “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.”  


Then I thought of the Son! Unlike the solar eclipse, but just as sure, the Son is coming back in all his radiance. One major difference is we have no idea when that event will occur. But I wonder just how much excitement and anticipation there is about that event? Are we talking about it? Are we planning for it? Are we letting others know there's a great place to be when it happens (in His church), and there's a bad place to be when it happens, (outside His church). When the Son appears EVERYONE will see Him. Everyone will see the true light of the world.  

I Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” -Jim Taylor 

Does Anyone Listen?

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Question: How many people do you think will read this bulletin? If you read this, please let me know so I can get an idea. My guess is significantly less than 30% of the church. Yet, for some reason, we keep writing them. Why? 


I am also lucky enough to manage a group of people at work. And I can’t tell you how often I have had people ask for information I already gave them. There have even been times when people complained in group settings about not having information I had sent to the group in written and verbal form. So why do I keep providing information to the organization?  


The real problem to the questions above is why I have such a misunderstanding of human nature, that I even ask the question. Does anyone listen – generally, no – and that is normal. Study after study has shown that people are bad listeners. As any type of leader, we should expect to have to say something seven times for most, not even all, of the group to hear what we are saying. However, if we don’t say anything, no one in the group will be able to listen. 


The same thing goes for spreading the Gospel. If we don’t say anything, no one will hear it. Jesus was the greatest teacher of all time, yet most people did not believe. And he kept teaching. We also need to just keep teaching, knowing that most will not believe or listen. But some will – and that is why we teach! 

Ways to Give That Aren't About Money

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Pay Attention to Others.  Generosity starts when you pay attention to someone else.  Have a meaningful connection with someone.  Spend 30 minutes with someone who seems lonely.  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3 


Build Bridges.  Be brave and offer a hand of forgiveness and friendship to someone on the other side of an issue you care about.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as Godin Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32 


Share Knowledge and Wisdom.  You possess knowledge and wisdom that others may benefit from.  Sharing it could light up someone’s life.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.  Colossians 3:16a 


Extend Hospitality and Enable Connections.  Host a dinner party and encourage deep conversation.  Enrich your social circle by including people who may not know each other very well.   When you give a dinner or banquet, do not invite your friends, or your brothers, or your relatives, or your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.  For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.  Luke 14:12 - 14 


-Kliff Rodgers

Live Wisely

Sunday, January 14, 2024

King Solomon was given more wisdom than anyone who has ever lived, with the exception of Jesus, yet even with his wealth of knowledge he still lived a life of disobedience in many ways. Because of his disobedience, he was led to do unthinkable things, like worshipping false gods. This alarms me, because I am not as wise as Solomon- not by a long shot. How can I be sure that I don’t fall into the same deplorable acts? Ironically, Solomon can help.  

Ecclesiastes 12:13 says,  

The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. 

This is a very simple command, but the simplicity of a commandment does not mean that the obedience will also be simple. The most important truths of the Bible are easy to understand, but we have been struggling to obey from the very beginning. Wisdom and obedience alike begin with the fear of God. Proverbs 1:7 says, 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;  

A wonderful thing is that when we fear the Lord, and begin to live a life of obedience, our obedience that began in fear becomes an obedience that is born of love and overwhelming gratitude. How does the love and gratitude occur? It begins to develop when, by faith, we obey and observe that God’s ways are truly better than our own and that every teaching is for our greatest good and never for our harm. Having wisdom alone is not enough to live a Godly life, but wisdom combined with obedience produces a harvest of righteousness.         

May God bless us all! 

Mike Pawlik 


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