Archive for November, 2019

Israel- The Day Before


We are ready!

Tonight, we will call all the kids and will speak with most of the grandkids too.

And we are ready to head out tomorrow AM for Israel.

We leave Columbus, OH, head to O’Hare in Chicago, to Istanbul, Turkey, and then to Tel Aviv, Israel.

We hope to blog daily about this trip … and to share a few pictures. I will post the blog on my personal site and on the OCF site for those who are interested.

If you know us and you know people who know us, pass this link along to them so that they too, can know what’s going on and so they can pray for us too.

Tuesday is a day of travel, so you probably won’t see too much from us then though.

Keep the entire trip and team of 31 in prayers.

Pastor Jim & Cheri

Fight the Good Fight

In the book of 1 Timothy, accolades come to young Timothy through a title such as “man of God” and through strong command to “Fight the good fight of the faith.” These words could also be pointed to many who are in leadership today.

Many of the truths that are directed to Timothy are also true to all of us. We, the church, are the frontline of defense against the false gospel as promoted by the world.

And yes, it is a strenuous task BUT, as usual, the Holy Spirit equips us to be more than enough.

In Paul’s use of the term, “man of God”, for Timothy and other church leaders, he was drawing two lines. One, he was showing that the body of Christ was set apart from the world as having a special task—as a protector of the truth of the Gospel. And second, he was defining a mark between the man of God and the man of the world—the false teacher.

And Paul was letting us know that we are all to “fight – and keep fighting — the good fight of the faith and daily keeping the good testimony.”

The importance of our role was well portrayed as Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (NIV).

Timothy was in an all-out battle to protect the truth of the Gospel.

You see, there were then – as there are now — individuals who believed they had some kind of inside scoop going on with God. We, as theologians, call such writings or sayings of theirs, gnostic gospels – simply meaning that they professed to possess a “secret knowledge” (or so THEY thought.)

And yes, fiction writers such as Dan Brown (in his book, The DaVinci Code) DID get that part correct; the early versions of the orthodox (or “right teaching) church excised, did away with – even burned or buried — these many false books as false teachings. The early church was continuing Paul’s charge to Timothy and to others to preserve and protect the pure Gospel; it was NOT a movement to hide secrets from the average church person; it was a directive to protect the Word of God from false teachings.

My friend, very little has changed today; we are still defending against false teachers, erroneous teachings, dilutions of the Gospel, cults, and intentional slanders. To protect ourselves and to be good guardians and stewards of the church, we must be faithful students of the Word of God and we must produce strong and correct doctrine.

The story goes that the command came, “On your mark, get set,” and then, the pistol cracked and the race was on. A fine athlete sprang to the lead, and when the race was over, he had broken the state record for the one-mile. Only a few other runners even finished the race. Many dropped out when they saw they could not win.

As the field crew was bringing out the hurdles for the next race, one of the judges yelled, “Get those hurdles out of the way. This race is not over. Look!” And around the turn came a runner, panting, and staggering. The crowd stood in silent disbelief as he made his way over the last hundred yards, and literally, fell across the finish line, grinding his face into the cinder track.

One of the judges ran to the boy, turned him over on his back, took his handkerchief, and wiped the blood from his face. “Son, why didn’t you drop out? What are you doing in the mile race anyway?”

Between gasps, the boy explained that his school had a good miler who had gotten sick just the day before. The coach had promised to have a man in every event, and so he had asked the boy to run the mile.

“Well son, why didn’t you just drop out when you saw that you had lost?”

The boy answered, “Judge, the school didn’t send me here to quit. They didn’t send me here to win. They only sent me here to run this mile — and I ran it!”

We are sent here by Jesus to run the race, to fight the fight, AND to win. So, let us run with endurance.

John Wesley once said: “Give me a hundred men who love nothing but God and hate nothing but sin, and I will shake the whole world for Christ.”

It doesn’t take many… but it does take someone who decides to be faithful.

In December 1944, the German army launched an unexpected attack. In what was to become known as the Battle of the Bulge, the Nazis drove deep behind Allied lines. Writing in WWII about the reaction of the American troops to this attack, James Jones said,

No one of these little road junction stands could have had a profound effect on the German drive. But hundreds of them, impromptu little battles at nameless bridges and unknown crossroads, had an effect of slowing enormously the German impetus … These little die-hard ‘one man stands,’ alone in the snow and fog without communications, would prove enormously effective out of all proportion to their size.

Faithfulness, playing your “little part” in the greater scheme of things, makes all the difference.

To you, the church, I thank you for your faithfulness.

Faithfulness to volunteer

Faithfulness to give

Faithfulness in your presence on Sunday services as well as other services.

Faithfulness to use your gifts and talents.

Thank you for your faithfulness – for it is in your faithfulness – combined with His faithfulness– that we are successful as a church

Your faithfulness – and His – those make all the difference.

This is God’s way of protecting the truth and spreading it around the world.

We, His church, are stewards of the doctrines of the faith and God expects us to be — and equips us to be — faithful in sharing His Good News.

And now, Paul brings his first letter to Timothy to an end. Throughout the book, he has sought to thoroughly encourage the young pastor Timothy. He has reminded him of his calling. He has reminded Timothy of his qualifications and equipping. He has charged him— in military terms – to be a guardian of the Good News. He has charged him to stand against false teachers by teaching and preaching pure and true doctrine. And in doing all these things, he has precisely reminded Timothy of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In fact, his apparently intended closing words in 1 Timothy 6 14b-16 (NIV) were

…until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time– God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

And now, let us practice the things Paul has given Timothy – and us – to do. Be faithful.


On another note.

Our daughter and son-in-law just got back in from Paris, France. They had such a wonderful time there. And among the gifts they brought back for their children, they had a red beret for our granddaughter, Abigail. She adores it. She had to don a matching red dress (from last Christmas) so that she would look Parisian. She is beautiful – and she had to share her picture with everyone. I love it. But then again, I love it that my children are travelers – even world travelers.  I am glad we have instilled such behavior in our children – Get out. Explore the world. Witness God’s creation. And be an influence for Jesus wherever your foot, or your hand, or your voice, or your words may land.

Let’s go exploring.