Why I Love My Church

There are literally millions of people in the world who can genuinely say, “I Love My Church!”  These people have experienced the blessing of a church family that loves God, exalts Jesus Christ, and shows love and forgiveness to one another.  It is this kind of a church family that people come to know the Lord as their personal Savior and they begin to develop a spiritual walk with God.  The results are amazing:  peace in their life and joy in their hearts.   Unfortunately, there are too many who have had negative experiences at church – sometimes it is their fault, but all too many times it is the fault of another.   One Sunday morning, a mother went in to wake her son and tell him it was time to get ready for church, to which he replied, “I’m not going.”  “Why not?” she asked. “I’ll give you two good reasons,” he said.  “First of all, they don’t like me, and secondly, I don’t like them.”  His mother replied, “I’ll give YOU two good reasons why YOU SHOULD go to church. First of all, you’re 59 years old, and secondly, you’re the pastor!”  That is a sad situation when the pastor is not thrilled about attending his own church.  My experience has just been the opposite.  After pastoring the same church for 29 years, I am thrilled to say, “I Still Love my Church!”  I agree with the many in our church who have shared their reasons with me about Valley Forge Baptist – The Caring Church!

The have said to me…

I Love My Church Because…

God is at Work Here!

We are a Family!

I Learn How to Grow Closer to God! Jesus Christ is Exalted!

We Feed the Hungry and Give them the Gospel!    

I Love the Music!    

The People!  

Do you have a church you can call “Home”?  If not, come experience what some of your neighbors have experienced at the corner of Black Rock Road and Rt. 113 –  People who love God and others.  If the greatest desire of the human heart is to love and be loved, then you will only find that desire met in a church where Jesus Christ is worshipped!

Thanks-Living

Most of us had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  We can all be grateful to God for His many blessings.

My wife had an interesting Bible class this week with the 11th-12th graders in our academy.  Jodie asked the girls to write down all the things they are thankful for  – in five minutes.  Her girls wrote as fast as they could.  They took a few moments to share two of the items from their list.  Jodie commented positively to the many things that they shared.  Then she asked them if they had written any hardships or trials on their list.  No one had written anything negative down.  No trials were a part of their “thanksgiving list.”  (Well, one students said that she did put her brother down – though she dearly loves him, he can sometimes quality as a trial).

Jodie then asked her class to turn the paper over and write down any trial or hardship they are currently going through.  After a few moments they had many things written down.  She then asked them, “Now look at your list.  Can you thank God for the things on this list?”  The class was very quiet.  She said, “This is what separates us from the rest of the world.  When we are thankful for our trials the world will see that we are different – that we have something different.  That difference is Christ!”

Philippians 2:15, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

What would you write down if you were asked to list what you are thankful for?  What would be on your “Thanks-Living List”?  Would any of your trials be on your list?

As we turn our focus from Thanksgiving to Christmas may our gratitude only grow as we remember that God gave His Son to die for us and take our hell to give us heaven!

God is Good – All the Time

Sometimes I feel like I have to pinch myself because of the blessings of God.  As a teenager I committed to memory James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights….”  This verse is a continual reminder to me that everything good I have ever experienced is because of God.  Whether God gives blessings or trials, He makes no mistakes.  He is Good – All the Time!

The summer is almost over and many have been saved.  When we are faithful sharing the Gospel, personally and also through various ministries, that is success.  Sometimes we are plowing, other times we are planting, and sometimes we are watering.  Of course, it is most joyful to reap.  But each step – plowing, planting, watering, and reaping is a necessary step in reaching others for Christ.  It is with great joy and glory to God we thank Him for reaching folks this summer through the ministry of Valley Forge Baptist….

44 children and 2 adults saved at VBS

14 saved during street evangelism in Phoenixville (in August)

10 saved the last week of VFBT Day Camp

Several saved through visitation, basketball outreach, and New Life Teen Center

Dare I say more about the other blessings of God – teen mission trips, an unusually large gift to the Building Fund, great reports from our missionaries, souls saved, baptisms, and the church growing.

To top it all off, I began a low dose of medication for my inflamed lung condition and within days my coughing ceased.  After 6 ½ months of a chronic cough, God healed it with this medication very quickly.  All to the glory of God!  For those who knew of this physical trial and prayed for me, I thank you.  And I thank God for His healing!!!

If you missed it, enjoy this brief anniversary video as we celebrate the goodness of God upon our church family.  This week take a moment to reflect how good God has been to you.  Thank Him and praise Him for who He is and for what He is doing in your life.

Examine Yourself – 2 Cor. 13:5

After 5 months of a chronic cough, I am finally having some relief and hopefully on a road to recovery.  On my second good day the dr. called to let me know that the lungs looked good from the CT scan, but the lymph nodes in my chest were enlarged.  He ordered more testing to find out how many were enlarged.  They could be benign or it could be an indication of something more serious.

As I thought on these things, and quickly researched it, I was not surprised to know that cancer can cause the lymph nodes in the chest to be enlarged.  I took a short walk outside to pray and the Lord brought to my mind this song…

When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.

I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in His hand

More testing – more examinations!  The doctor cannot give a good diagnosis without more examinations.  Just as he ordered more testing, I thought this is a good time for me to follow Paul’s admonition to us all to “examine ourselves.”  How is my walk with God?  How is my relationship with Jodie? My children? My church staff?  My church family?  My mind also quickly raced to all of the family events that I would miss if I were to have a terminal illness.  James wrote, “For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”  Every day is a gift and God does not “owe us” one more day!

Given enough time, we will all die and none of us know the day.  Whether I have impending bad news or not, each day is a gift from God and should be lived to its fullest for Jesus Christ and others.  I am asking God to purify my heart from sin, love Him more, impact my family, church family, and community in a greater way for Jesus Christ.  We all live on borrowed time.  Now is the time to give our best in serving our Savior.

While visiting my parents in Virginia, 20 years ago this summer I received another call from a doctor who said, “I don’t like to give this news over the phone, but your wife has cancer.  You need to come home right away.”  16 months later that cancer took her life.  God has been good to me these last 20 years.  He has been good to me my whole life.  He has been with me through every trial.  He has brought good out of every trial.  He has never failed me.  I, unfortunately, have often become so busy in the work and have not taken enough time to tell Him how grateful I am for every blessing, every gift, and every joy I have ever received.  I recognize that every good and every perfect gift is from above – from my Heavenly Father.

Waiting is simply another way God teaches us to trust Him.  I am choosing to wait patiently with a heart of trust that:  God makes no mistakes!  He loves me with a perfect love!  And He has all the power to fulfill His perfect plan.  This is what He promised.  This is what He gives us!

This is what I know about God…

No Mistakes!

Perfect Love!

All Power!

That is all we need from God!!!!

Rebooting Life

How many times have you had to reboot your computer because it was running slow or it froze up?  We have all had this “semi-painful” experience of having to turn off our computer and turn it back on.  Thankfully, most of the time our computer once again runs smoothly.  God allows events in our lives to remind us to reboot, that is, re-focus on the real priorities of life – God, family, church family, and the unsaved.

TC Stallings (co-star of “Courageous”) shared his testimony last month at a men’s breakfast to kickoff our book study, “The Resolution for Men.”  During the question and answer time he was asked the question, “What motivated you to turn to the Lord and serve Him the way you do?”  He quickly responded with a one word answer – “Death.”  Good answer!  You will become motivated to love and live for God when you realize that you will one day die and stand before God to give an account of your entire life to Him.  We will give an account to the God who made us and created us.

It is not a comfortable or enjoyable thought to think about our death.  I think that is one reason why we tend to block out those thoughts and fill our minds with other things.  But then we get that ache or pain.  Maybe the doctor orders a routine medical test or a “not so routine” test because of something “suspicious.”  He says something like this – “I don’t think it is anything, but I just want to rule out something more serious.”  You think, “More serious?  More serious?  What could be more serious?  A disease?  Cancer?  A heart blockage?”  Our mind begins to race to the “what if it is a more serious” scenario.  More serious could mean a change of lifestyle, leaving work, or even death.  Now we come back to TC’s motivation – a 33 year old healthy Christian young man with a loving wife and two small children just beginning his acting career following a successful football career.  Why would this young man be motivated by death?  Because not only will he see God, but he desires to please God.

I began to ask myself the question, “If the Dr. gave me the grave news, ‘You only have X amount of months to live’ what would I do differently today.”  Thankfully, I was at peace with exactly with what I was already doing – but I certainly would add to my day a little more patience, kindness, holiness, and love to God and others.  Do you need to reboot your life today?