All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We do a lot of Bible study at church and in our homes, but for what purpose? Contrary to all the jokes, there will be no quiz at the pearly gates: your name is either in the book of life or not! Certainly Scripture can bring us comfort and hope, but it is meant to do much more than that. We study the Bible because God has good things for us to do in this life that we cannot do without His transforming and equipping: teaching us what is truly valuable, rebuking our sinfulness, correcting our self-centered ways of thinking, and training us in righteousness, so that what we do can be seen to be done through Him. God breathed His Spirit into Scripture for this very purpose: so that we can know and participate in His grand and glorious mission of saving the world.
“Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word, by which we are equipped to do Your work. Enable us to humbly accept its teaching, rebuke, correction, and training, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
BEST (OR WORST) CHURCH COFFEE SHOP NAMES
As church coffee shops increase, so do place names playing on Christian and Biblical terms
to push caffeinated beverages. Here are 15 of the best—or worst, depending on your opinion of puns!
Tongues of Fire
Brew unto Others
My Cup Overfloweth
Jesus Loves You a Latte
Pressed but Not Crushed
Shadrach, Meshach, and A-Bean-To-Go
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Roast
The LORD equip and energize you this week!
"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14)
We’re still in the darkest days of the year, when many of us get up in the dark and get home in the dark. It’s a great time to remember all of the imagery in Scripture comparing our Savior and His salvation with light illuminating darkness. Not only does light guide us, keep us safe, and cheer our spirits, it allows us to clean what would otherwise be unseen and to value what would otherwise be worthless. Some day we will live with God in eternity, where we will walk by the light of the glory of God and there will be no night. Until then, we live as children of the light, guided by the Light of the World, always seeking to overcome the darkness and reveal God’s glory
“Heavenly Father, thank You for enlightening our hearts with Your Spirit. Enable us to see through the darkness of this world and reflect the brilliance of Christ, our Light and Salvation, that other may be brought into the light, in Jesus, amen.
A few days into the new year, a woman found her husband in their bathroom.
He was sucking in his stomach as he weighed himself on the bathroom scale.
The woman thought, “He thinks he will weigh less by sucking in his stomach.''
So, she rather sarcastically said to her husband, ''That's not going to help.''
Her husband said, ''Sure it will. It's the only way I can see the numbers.''
Voicemail message: "I’m not available right now, but thanks for calling.
I am making some changes in my life as we begin the new year.
Please leave a message and your number after the beep.
If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes."
The LORD guide you in the changes and challenges of this new year!
"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.” (Luke 12:49-52)
Among the most popular Christmas wishes and card slogans is “Peace on Earth; Good Will to All!” It’s come to be gender-neutral and a vague enough nativity reference that it seems unlikely to offend anyone because, really, who wouldn’t wish for peace on earth? Well, it seems Jesus, for one. A better translation of the angel’s pronouncement would be “peace on earth to all who have God’s good will.” The kind of peace the angels refer to is not a lack of conflict in the world, but an inner confidence in the hearts of those who trust God, regardless of how conflicted the world is. This confidence comes from faith that God will redeem His people and remake the world as promised through the Savior, Jesus.
In contrast to the world around us, the historic church doesn’t spend the days leading up to Christmas getting nostalgic for idyllic years past, dreaming happy dreams of future material pleasures, or wishing wistfully that people could just get along. Instead, we observe Advent—a penitential season remembering the reason Jesus came in the first place: our race has a long history of idolatry which material comforts will only feed, and the conflicts in our world confirm our need for new life through Jesus’ death, resurrection, and return. Jesus looked forward to kindling the judgment of the world because it will be the beginning of the only real, permanent peace possible and the ultimate unification of our human family.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to undergo a baptism of fire so that we can experience the peace of Your friendship. Kindle our hearts with the inner peace that comes through confidence in You, and enable us to live thoughtful and hopeful lives that shine with true hope, in Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.”
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)
Should Jesus’ followers care what anybody else thinks of how they live their lives? Absolutely! The type of work many of us do with our hands has changed drastically since Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, but the extent to which our lives demonstrate what we really believe has remained the same. When our ambition is selfish (personal profit, pleasure, popularity, power, or playing games, for example) we reveal the true object of our worship to be ourselves, and we misrepresent the cause of Christ. When our ambition is selfless, we reveal the true nature of Christ, who did not come to serve Himself, but to serve us, so that we can live with Him in peace and joy that extend into eternity.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for Your selfless sacrifice that we might be saved. Increase our faith through Your Spirit, that we live in ways that win the respect of outsiders and reveal Your selfless love, in Jesus, amen.”
An investment banker from New York was at the pier of a coastal Mexican village.
A small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside were several large tunas.
The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.
Asked how long it took to catch them, the fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”
The American then asked, “Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?”
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.
The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
The fisherman said, "I sleep late and play with my children.
In the afternoon I take siesta with my beautiful wife, Maria.
Each evening we stroll into the village where I sip wine
and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life."
The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you.
You should spend more time fishing and with the profits, buy a bigger boat.
With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats.
In a few years you would have a fleet of fishing boats with many employees.
Instead of selling to a middleman you could sell directly to the processor.
Then you open your own cannery to control product, processing and distribution.
At that point you would need to leave this village and move to Mexico City.
From there you’d open offices in LA and NYC to run your expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But how long will this all take?"
To which the American replied, "15-20 years."
The fisherman asked, "But what then?"
The American laughed, and said, “That's the best part.”
"When the time is right you announce an IPO and sell your company stock.
You would become very rich and retire with millions of dollars."
The Mexican asked, "Millions of dollars! What would I do with all that money?"
The American said, "Well, you could retire and move to a small coastal fishing village.
You could sleep late, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, and each evening
you could stroll to the village to sip wine and play guitar with your amigos!"
The LORD bless you with wisdom to live in peace and quiet this week!
Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-22)
If you want to know what a disciple of Jesus is, some commentators have noted, you don’t have to look any farther than Jesus’ calling of His first four disciples in Matthew’s Gospel. Disciples are those who believe in Jesus enough to listen for His voice and respond when He says, “Follow me.” As such, they belong to an elite group of individuals who are becoming more like Jesus, as He promised when He said, “and I will make you.” Ultimately, disciples are those who grow to join Jesus in His mission, recruiting and building other disciples as “fishers of men.”
“Almighty God, thank You for calling us to know You, grow like You, and go with You into the world as Your disciples. Give us wisdom and courage to be Your means of discipling others, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
The rain was pouring down.
Standing alongside a large puddle outside the pub was a bewhiskered old man.
He was drenched, holding a long stick with a piece of string dangling into the water.
A curious passer-by stopped and asked, "What are you doing?”
"Fishing" replied the old man, as he shrugged his shoulders and coughed.
Feeling sorry for the old man, the gentleman offered,
"Come in out of the rain and have a drink with me."
In the warmth of the pub they sipped their whiskies and swapped stories.
Finally, the gent finally got around to the elephant in the puddle, so to speak.
He asked, "So how many have you caught today?"
"You're the eighth," responded the old man.
The LORD give you both compassion and discernment this week!
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:1-5)
Benjamin Franklin, whose wisdom and humor helped shape our nation, once wrote, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.” No doubt Franklin would be astounded by the amount of such foolishness in our current political discourse, even among our leaders! Yet Christians are called to do better—much better. We are called to be obedient subjects who attack no one, but instead are peaceable, considerate, and humble—because in His kindness Christ humbled Himself and rescued us from foolishness that would otherwise damn us. When we engage in the pleasure of passing along smug, self-satisfied slanders and fallacious political attacks, we bring shame to the name of Christ and risk forgetting that we were saved only by the mercy of God, when we deserved only condemnation. As Franklin also wrote, we must “elevate, not desecrate.”
“Heavenly Father, thank you for the freedoms we enjoy in our country! Guide us by Your Spirit, so that we use our freedoms to elevate, not desecrate, the grace You have given us, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
A Jewish Rabbi and a Catholic Priest met at a 4th of July picnic.
Old friends, they began their usual teasing banter.
'This baked ham is really delicious,' the priest told the rabbi.
'You really ought to try it. I know it's against your religion, but still:
I can't understand why such a wonderful food should be forbidden.
You don't know what you're missing. You haven't lived until you've tried it.
Tell me, Rabbi, when are you going to break down and try it?'
The rabbi looked at the priest with a big grin, and said, 'At your wedding.'
The LORD guide your tongue to only tasteful comments this coming week!
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 5:8-11)
What an incredible statement Peter makes: God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him! Every day we are bombarded with messages intended to convince us that to live a good life we need whatever is being sold. Yet what God considers good is infinitely better than what we consider good. His Word tells us that meaningful and abundant life does not come from belongings or creature comforts, but from belonging to Him and sharing His comfort with the world! In Christ we have been saved and set apart to make known God’s loving nature; so, meaningful life comes from taking on His character and making Him known!
“Heavenly Father, save us from deceptive and distracting fantasy worlds; give us discernment to understand the value of Your salvation and the power of sharing your love with others, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
WHILE ON VACATION…
Three contractors were visiting a tourist attraction on the same day.
One was from New York, another from Texas, and the third from Florida.
At the front desk, a manager asked them what they did for a living.
When they all replied that they were contractors, he said, “Really?”
We need a fence redone. Why don't you guys take a look and give me bids?"
So they all went to check the broken section of fence.
First to step up was the Florida contractor.
He took out his tape measure and pencil, did some measuring and said,
"Well, the job will run $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 for me."
Next was the Texas contractor. He also took out his tape measure and pencil.
After some quick figuring he said, "Looks like I can do this job for $700:
$300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me."
Without so much as moving, the New York contractor said, "$2,700."
The manager, incredulous, looked at him and said, "You didn't even measure it!”
“How did you come up with such a high figure?"
"Easy," he said, "$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you and we hire the guy from Texas."
The Lord guide you into goodness this week!
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
It’s not enough to be loving. Nor is it enough to be smart! Jesus’ followers are called to be both, abounding in love yet discerning of the truth, so that we can rightly represent the God who truly loves us. The coincidence of April Fool’s Day and Easter this year serves to remind us how easy it can be to be deceived by the material of the world and miss out on the majestic revelation of salvation through Jesus’ resurrection. In Christ we are able to have confidence even when we are confused, forgiveness even when we fail, love for others even when our hearts seem overwhelmed, and discernment even when we are surrounded by deceit.
Heavenly Father, give us both love and insight, so that we can produce the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to Your glory and praise. Amen!
APRIL FOOLS PRANKS 2018: THE DISAPPOINTING TRUTH
(Excerpted from the website of The Washington Post)
Roku hasn’t introduced socks that work as a remote control.
eHarmony, the online dating site, isn’t getting into dog matching.
Amazon Publishing isn’t delivering actual authors to people’s houses.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is not now also a veterinarian’s office.
Petco isn’t launching a salon that will make you over to look more like your pet.
The U.S. Army isn’t going to start delivering 3D-printed pizzas to soldiers by drone.
Planet Fitness doesn’t have a new line of treadmills covered in grass and snow.
A Kraken hasn’t been spotted on the Thames river in London.
Brussel sprout truffles are not coming to your local grocer.
Nor are grapes covered in chocolate egg wrappers.
Bottled chickpea “pasta water” is fake.
Charmin didn’t launch a coffee line.
Stonewall Kitchen isn’t selling used jams.
Walt Disney World isn’t selling kale churros.
Burger King isn’t launching a chocolate Whopper.
Smithfield hasn’t launched bacon-flavored breakfast cereal.
Ikea isn’t coming out with a combination dog collar-selfie stick.
There is no phone app that will teach you how to speak whale.
You can’t buy a nitrous oxide speed booster for your printer.
Amazon’s next headquarters is not going to be on Mars.
Tongue-printing isn’t the new fingerprinting.
The Lion King isn’t coming to Antarctica.
Tech21 isn’t making a chocolate phone case.
Redbox isn’t launching walk-up movie theater booths.
Chuck E. Cheese’s animatronics aren’t going on a farewell tour.
Head and Shoulders isn’t launching a body wash called “Knees and Toes.”
There’s no feature that lets you listen to American accents dubbed over British TV shows.
Sprint isn’t launching a “magic” soccer ball that also improves your cell signal.
Lego isn’t going to sell a vacuum that sorts bricks by color and shape.
GlassesUSA isn’t selling eco-friendly glasses that can grow moss.
CarGurus won’t let you shop for a car by engine sound.
“Bunny-foraged herbs” are not for sale at Freshdirect.
No watch dealer is selling a $50,000 sun-dial watch.
Virgin Voyages isn’t launching underwater WiFi.
Wayfair isn’t launching scent-enabled wallpaper.
Toddlers, dogs and unborn babies aren’t the new most-influential consumer group.
Logitech is not launching “BS Detection” software to detect meaningless business jargon.
You can’t hire twin bodybuilders through Zappos to wear and “resize” your clothes by stretching them.
Cup of Noodles and Zenni Optical aren’t collaborating on glasses that don’t steam up when you eat hot soup.
Lexus and 23andme aren’t partnering to match you to a car using your genes.
The Energizer Bunny is not the new creative director of “Peeps.”
And no, VHS isn’t making a comeback.
The Lord give you love and discernment, in Jesus!
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:19-25)
We look forward to the resurrection—not just the coming celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, but our own resurrection, guaranteed because of Jesus. Until then, we still struggle with our own sin and the pain of living in a sinful world. We still suffer as a result of disease, disaster, deception, demons, and death. Yet we live with hope, looking forward to Christ’s return and the completion of our salvation: new bodies, a new heaven and earth, and a new relationship with God and with each other, free of sin, selfishness, suffering, and the sting of death. Christ is risen—as we shall be!
“Heavenly Father, thank You for the coming celebration of our reconciliation and resurrection, made possible because of Your love poured out through Jesus. Empower us with hope to share with all whom we meet this week, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
A man was known by friends to be particularly terse and to the point.
He was not unfriendly, but certainly never wasted words.
One day, a new saleswoman selling cosmetics knocked on his door.
When she asked to see his wife, the man told her that she wasn't home.
"Well," the woman said, "could I please wait for her?"
The man silently led her to the living room and went back to work outside.
For an hour the woman busied herself, but finally she could wait no longer.
She found the man in his shop back behind the house.
She asked, "May I know where your wife is?"
"She went to the cemetery," he replied.
"And when is she coming home?"
"I don't know," he said. "She's been there eleven years now."
The Lord bless your celebration and anticipation of the resurrection, in Jesus!
"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope." (Isaiah 42:1-4)
How appropriate that St. Patrick’s Day occurs during the season of Lent, when we remember that Jesus came as a gentle servant to win us back through his own sacrifice. Though kidnapped as a teen from his home in England and enslaved in Ireland, when Patrick escaped he harbored no hatred of the Irish but answered God’s call to return to Ireland as a missionary. He was successful in converting many of the Irish to Christianity, not simply because he understood the language and culture, but because he imitated the persevering and sacrificial love of Jesus. Thus, Patrick became part of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s great prediction regarding Christ: “In His law the islands will put their hope.”
“Heavenly Father, thank You for those who responded to the grace given them in Jesus by showing that grace and love to us. Empower us to be as bright a reflection of Your love, that we might bring a new generation into Your kingdom, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
THE PLUCK OF THE IRISH…
A London lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by an Irish cop.
He thinks that he is smarter than the cop because he is a lawyer from LONDON.
He is also certain that he has a better education then any Irish cop.
He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the cop's expense.
Irish cop says, "License and registration, please."
London Lawyer says, "What for?"
Irish cop says, "Ye didn’t come to a complete stop at the stop sign."
London Lawyer says, "I slowed down, and no one was coming."
Irish cop says, "Ye still didn’t come to a complete stop. License and registration, please."
London Lawyer says, "What's the difference?"
Irish cop says, "The difference is, ye have come to a complete stop, that's the law.
License and registration, please!"
London Lawyer says, "If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop,
I'll give you my license and registration and you give me the ticket.
If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket."
Irish cop says, "Sounds fair. Exit your vehicle, sir."
The London Lawyer exits his vehicle.
The Irish cop takes out his baton and starts beating the lawyer!
He then says, "Do ye want me to stop or just slow down?"
The Lord give you wisdom this week!
As Pastor at Pilgrim, Kirk is fueled by a passion for God's Word and a lot of good coffee.