Rappin’ With Rick

Snow, Safety, and Sanforization

I certainly didn’t expect 12 inches of snow on Saturday when last week I encouraged you to make the decision to come to church every Sunday, and not just decide on Sunday mornings whether to come or not. Obviously there are times when prudence calls for a decision not to come on a Sunday. I certainly wouldn’t want you to throw caution to the wind and put yourself or your family in danger by coming to church if the weather is such that you wouldn’t go to work if it were a Monday. There is a time to just stay home, and thank God for a safe place to be.

And let me assure you that if the parking lot hadn’t been cleared, and we thought it wasn’t safe for you to come, we would have added the name of our church to the list of cancellations, and I would have found someone who knows how to post it on Facebook.

As it was, however, I was certainly delighted by the 78 hearty souls who ventured out last Sunday. And in spite of the fact that I forgot prayer time, left many scratching their heads and sent Jeni to the internet in the middle of my sermon searching for the meaning of “sanforized”,and we got the wrong words on the wall for the second verse of the communion hymn, we had a great time in worship on a snowy Sunday morning. And Dixie actually thought my “You can be circumcised, baptized, and sanforized, and still not get into heaven” comment was funny.

Attendance on Sunday night was also less than usual, but it may not have been entirely the snow’s fault. I announced on Sunday morning that we would be looking at an article from Touchstone on how to talk with your kids about the birds and bees in my adult class. Obviously those without kids or grandkids had a good reason to stay home on a cold Sunday night. If you do have them, however, and weren’t here, I’ve got copies of the article in my office.

As you know, I often find good articles inTouchstone, and I’ve included another one I found while on the elliptical at FitClub last week inside. Be sure to check out the observation that was included in the Quodlibet (Whatever) department.

God Bless, Rick

When do you decide?

It’s 6:45, and the alarm just went off… for the second time. Do I get up, or not? I really don’t want to, but I get up anyway.

I make my way to the coffee pot, after a detour in the bathroom. The coffee’s ready, because I programed it to start last night. I go out for the paper, and sit down to read.

I don’t have time to read it all, because I ignored the first alarm. If I’m going to work, I better get ready. I decide I ought to go, so I head for the shower. Somebody else has to get the kids up.

They don’t want to get up either. They had a busy weekend, and got to bed late last night. Yeh, it’s a school day, but they need their sleep.

Oh well, I guess they should go. And the bus will be here in fifteen minutes. Brush your teeth, pull on some clothes, eat a Pop Tart, and out the door you go.

What’s wrong with the above pictures? I imagine everything sounds pretty normal for a Monday morning, except for the “If I’m going to work”, the “I decide I ought to go”, and the “ I guess they should go”, parts.

Truth be told, the decision to go to work and to school was made a long time ago. We really don’t have a choice to make when the alarm goes off…the second time. We have to get up. And the kids have to catch the bus, or we’ll be late for work.

Now it’s a Sunday, and the routine is similar, except for some of the details. And the fact that I really am going to decide whether to go or not. After all, I don’t have to go to church. Or do I?

Tina and I were talking last week about church attendance, and she mentioned that shortly before she and Mark were married he told her, “We’re not to be like those who decide on Sunday whether to go to church or not. We’re deciding now to go to church on Sundays.” Perhaps he had read in Hebrews 10:25 that we’re not to forsake our assembling together, as is the habit of some.

So what’s your habit on Sunday morning? When do you decide to assemble together with your church family? Do you wait for the alarm, or have you already decided?

God Bless, RickE

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s time for New Year’s resolutions, and I want to give you a little push to make some you may have already thought about.

The first one is to read the Bible through in 2019. Many have already committed to doing so, and the last remaining Daily Message was quickly snatched up Sunday. If you didn’t get one, you can get an e-version from Amazon, or just start reading Genesis. If reading is hard for you, Jeff has it on CDs, so you can just listen. There was still one on the table as of last Sunday.

The second is to start coming to Wednesday Night Bible Study. We have finished II Thessalonians, and will be beginning the book of James on January 9th at 6:30. We keep adding tables to the ping pong table, so there is always room for more.

The third is to at least attempt to memorize one brief passage of Scripture a week. We’ve done it before through The Hidden Word cards we created years ago, and it’s time to do it again. Every Sunday morning we’ll look at a key passage that carries the theme of a book of the Bible, and cards will be made available for you to take home as aids in memorizing the passage. A brief phrase from each will even be highlighted for those who find memorization difficult, and for children.

The final one is that you begin coming to the adult study on Sunday nights at 6:30. As you are no doubt aware, we began a study of Love Thy Body in September. We have finished the first three chapters that laid the philosophical foundation for the study, and explored in detail how a secular worldview has opened the door to abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. We will now be looking at how that same worldview has distorted sex.

Last Sunday morning we learned from Romans that God has given over the ungodly and unrighteous to impurity, perversion and depravity. Our Sunday night study will explore how the dishonoring of bodies that Paul spoke of has led to the hookup culture, the acceptance of homosexuality, and the gender confusion we find in the world today.

I don’t have to tell you how important it is that we study the Bible, hide it in our heart, and explore together how to best apply it to the challenges we face. Just let me encourage you to do it.

God Bless, Rick

The Glory of the Unborn

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Obviously we beheld Christ’s glory in His miracles, at the transfiguration, and in the resurrection. But His glory was seen long before that.

While carrying the divinely conceived Son of God, Mary went to visit Elizabeth, who was also carrying a miraculously conceived son. When Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby leaped in her womb for joy, and she rejoiced because the mother of her Lord had come to visit her.

Do note that Elizabeth’s Lord was still in Mary’s womb at that time, and the unborn child who would become John the Baptist had sensed the glory of the unborn Messiah.

At His birth, angels declared to the shepherds that a Savior had been born to them, and that they would find the baby wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger. The heavenly hosts then proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest!”

King Herod was afraid the child born in Bethlehem was a threat to his power and glory, and the magi bowed before Him and worshiped.

The glory of Christ was observed while in the womb, as a newborn, and as a child under the age of two. But from what we have been learning on Sunday nights, it’s probably a good thing that Christ wasn’t born today.

In the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, Justice Harry Blackmun stated unequivocally that the unborn baby is not a person. “The word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.” He went on to state that if the fetus were recognized as a person, then abortion would necessarily be illegal.

A co-discoverer of the DNA double helix advocated waiting three days after a baby is born before deciding whether it should be allowed to live, and the other declared that “No newborn infant should be declared human until it has passed certain tests regarding its genetic endowment and if it fails these tests, it forfeits the right to life.” And Peter Singer, Bioethics Professor at Princeton, says even “a three-year old is a gray case.”

If Jesus came to earth today, He could be a candidate for abortion, or for what is called by some, “after-birth abortion.” Of course, that is only true if science is ignored, and a secular worldview is embraced.

As Nancy Pearcy notes, “With every advance of science, it becomes more evident that to be pro-life is to be on the side of science and reason. Scientists recently discovered that when a sperm meets an egg, an explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception. Scientists have even captured these astonishing fireworks on film. ‘To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking,’ researchers said. Human life literally begins in a bright flash of light.”

Even though a sperm didn’t meet an egg in Mary’s womb, the glory of Christ was no doubt breathtaking the moment the holy conception took place.

God Bless, Rick

Sleep Squadron

He called to let me know his fourteen year old sparrow hawk had died.

I had met Gary, or as I fondly referred to him, “Little Gary”, over thirty years ago at a falconry exhibition. He apparently had some developmental limitations, but he was fascinated by the hawks. When he asked if he could go hunting with me, I said yes.

Gary joined me in the field many times, and we became friends. I learned that he was employed through Sparc, and had a gift for fixing mechanical and electronic devices. He worked on the church’s VHSs several times, and started coming to church.

Before long he was bringing a friend along on our hunting adventures, and to church. Grant had been severely beaten by his father as a child, and was handicapped because of it. Eventually I had the pleasure of baptizing both Gary and Grant into Christ.

Gary became an usher at CCC, and the official filter changer. He would let me know when the furnace filters needed to be changed, and would spend the better part of a day changing them for me.

His interest in falconry kept building, and he began asking if I would sponsor him as an apprentice falconer. I was afraid he couldn’t handle a Redtail, but said he might be able to fly a Kestrel, if he could pass the federal test and state inspection. After several attempts he passed the exam, and was authorized to catch a Kestrel. When he called, he told me Jack, his last bird, had died in perfect feather at fourteen.

I hadn’t seen Gary for a long time. He stopped coming to church regularly because worship made him very emotional, and he was uncomfortable crying in church. Then he fell asleep one Sunday, and started snoring loudly. He was so embarrassed that he said he could never return.

I assured him it was no big deal. That I had told others I’d rather have them fall asleep in church than stay in bed at home, and that before I started standing behind the pulpit I had often fallen asleep sitting in a pew. I even told him about Eutychus falling asleep, and falling out of the window while the Apostle Paul was preaching. It didn’t matter. He said he could never return.

Falling asleep can be problematic, and even embarrassing. I know. In fact, I’m going for a second sleep study tonight to see if I need to join the squadron who wear flight masks during the night.

God Bless, Rick