The Serving Church
Since 1883...



Lenten/Easter 2019

That Excuse is Not Excused

People bring people to Christ and the church.  That’s a basic Biblical principle that’s essential for a healthy church.  With all major mainline churches declining, let’s go back to the basics.  After [many] years of ministry, I think I’ve heard most of the excuses of why people and churches don’t practice this principle.  People inviting and bringing people to Christ and thechurch     should be an ongoing practice of every member of every church.  Here are some excuses I’ve heard for not inviting - and a rebuttal for each:

  1. “I think that’s the minister’s job. A huge misconception about church is that the minister is hired to do the ministry.  The Bible clearly states that every member of the church is a minister. 


  1. “I don’t think people would be interested in coming.”  It’s not our prerogative to determine whether or not people are going to come.  It’s our responsibility to invite them.  We are not called to be successful – we are called to be faithful!


  1. “Our church is big enough.”  Whenever a church thinks it’s big enough, it departs from Scriptural expectations.  The Great Commission to go and make disciples does not include a membership limit!


  1. “I’m afraid people will be offended.”  Would a person with a fatal illness be offended if you offered them an invitation to see a doctor who could definitely help heal them?  Most people will never be offended by a winsome, sincere, humble invitation.


  1. “I don’t know the person well enough to invite them.”  Sometimes it’s easier to invite people that you don’t know well.  We should be inviting everybody that we do know well– and don’t know well! 


  1. “I’m not sure our people would accept them.”  A church must be open for all people regardless of their education level, or skin color, or financial strength, or dress, or some sin they committed.  If the church starts defining who can and cannot be invited, we cease to be a church and become a social club!


  1. “My religion is private – just between me and God.”   Christian faith is private, but it is also public.  I’m glad that Jesus, the disciples, and the early church didn’t keep their faith private, or else we wouldn’t have a church today.  Private faith is an oxymoron!


  1. “I don’t invite because we have a committee on evangelism at the church.”  That’s a good recipe for decline and ultimate closure.  The entire church is the evangelism committee!


  1.  “When talking with people we get involved in conversations about a lot of interesting things and I forget to do it.”  We don’t forget things that are really important.  If we forget to invite people to Christ and His church, it indicates that our faith and love for people are far down our list of priorities!


  1.    “It     has    never    occurred    to    me    that    this    is    something   I   ought   to   do.”    After   reading   this   article,  this   will   never  again  be a  legitimate  excuse.

                                                                       No excuse – the only day you don’t need to invite people is on a day of the week that doesn't end in Y
By John Ed Mathison


 NOVEMBER 18, 2018



  Old Testament – The Book of 1st Samuel


Hannah the future mother of the yet unborn Samuel was labeled with a Brandthat she wanted to change: Barren- unable to have children.  In this momentin history, to be unable to conceive or give birth was seen as some sort of curse.  Someone in the family, some relative or someone must have done something wrong; sinned; committed some heinous act; caused some harm that caused this inability to have children.


  1. Hannah made a promise to God: If God gave her a son, she would give the

Child back to God to be used as an instrument of God’s choosing.


  1. God often gives more than we ask, expect or can imagine.


  1. God indeed blesses Hannah with a son, she names him Samuel which means: I have asked him of the Lord.


  1. Hannah carries Samuel when he is weaned, to the temple and thePriest Eli.  It will quickly become evident that Samuel is an anointed

and gifted boy, who promises to grow into a great Prophet of God.


  1. Hannah visits Samuel on a regular basis carrying him clothing, an Ephod or robe as he grows. On one such visit Eli blesses Hannah for her gift of  Samuel to God.


  1.                   Hannah and her husband Elkanah will have an addition three sons and two daughters, this from a woman once called barren.                        God will supply!




NOVEMBER 11, 2018
Old Testament-The Book of Ruth Chapters 1-4


The Book of Ruth is a story of redemption, recovery and renewal. If you carry nothing else away from the Story of Ruth, know that the beginning of life or any circumstance, no matter how difficult, does not necessarily foretell the ending or final outcome.


Refugees: we can understand what it means to be an immigrant if we understand this story.  There is a famine in the land.  Something that was

very common in this time period of history. Remember there was no refrigeration and long term storage was not common.  There was no

crop insurance and it was a world that was really every person for themselves.  Sophisticated farming with irrigation, fertilizer, pest control and all the other  real agricultural advances were yet to come. You never knew how long a famine would last.


1. Naomi, her husband Elimelech and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion

       were  Ephrathties from Bethelhem of Judah. They were in the Land

       of Moab when the famine came.

Ruth 1:3-5:   “But Elimelech the husband of Naomi died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without two sons and her husband.


2. Naomi tells the two daughter-in-laws to leave. Ruth refuses and commits to Naomi.

Ruth 1:16b:  “ Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God."


 Ruth was committed to Naomi, and also was impressed by Naomi. They would be both a comfort, counsel and companion to one another. In the end Naomi would nurse the child Obed, born to Ruth and her new husband Boaz.  Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, who is still called the Greatest King of Israel. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is born: “from the root of Jesse, the Lineage of David.” Hang On God is not through with your situation!

         NOVEMBER 4, 2018


Isaiah 25: 6-9                     Revelation 21:1-6a                      Gospel of John 11:32-44


The Scripture readings today all focus on the loss of loved ones that now are

a part of the company of heaven. Each passage at some point mentions

tears or crying, an emotion that often naturally presents itself when a death

happens. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Jesus is the strength

of our lives. The source of all we need. The completion of all that is unfinished. Jesus Christ is still in the miracle working business. Put your trust in God and never be disappointed. God is always available, even right now. We believe as Christians in an afterlife with God. The Saints of God when they depart this mortal life are all with God. This mortality puts on immortality. This corruptible

puts on the incorruptible. Death, where is thy sting?


If you have ever flown on a plane you are listed on something called a

manifest. A manifest is a list of passengers or an invoice for cargo. When

your boarding pass is scanned at check in, you are electronically added to

the manifest.  When you are a believer in God, you are also on a manifest.

That is a manifest that God has prepared, often called The Lambs Book of Life.

Jesus promised that those who believe, would see the Glory of God.

Jesus Christ is the Resurrection, the way and the life. That Power of

Resurrection raised Lazarus from the dead, because Jesus is life. There is

nothing too hard for God. Nothing too far gone. Nothing that God cannot fix, heal, restore or reconcile. God is able. God is more than enough!



         OCTOBER 28, 2018         

          PART 4 OF 4:  OCTOBER 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th


   JOB 42:1-6, 10-17


JOB’S Greatest Lesson: When Job No longer possesses any earthly thing,

   JOB knows that with God he really still has everything.


1. “You see my glory, but you don’t fully know my story.”

JOB gets it DAY ONE, the late Maya Angelou, extraordinary poet,

author and play write says in one of her great quotes:

“When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.”


2.  JOB shows what he is made of in the very first chapter when he has lost

everything. Remember if JOB is the richest man in the EAST, he was

a Billionaire in today’s conversion. JOB 1:21-“ Naked I came from my

my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave,

and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”


3. When you have been through a storm, in the midst of the storm you are not thinking about anything else.


4. Reconciliation means to restore to friendship or harmony. When the storm is over you have to restore, settle, bring back into order that which was lost, it can be even better than what was lost!


5. God makes JOB more than whole. JOB is given twice what he lost, so again  JOB is the richest, greatest person in the EAST. That is the eastern

portion of the known world of that day. God lets JOB live another 140 years. God gives JOB a new family. Most important: it is not what God

did to JOB, it is what God did for JOB. JOB is even better than before!

You  will be too.


                  OCTOBER 21, 2018     
               PART 3 OF 4: OCTOBER 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th




                                      JOB NEVER ASKS GOD WHY?                 



                      “Do you see what I  see, do you hear what I hear.”


1.Health and Wealth: when you acknowledge and understand that Job is the

wealthiest person in the East, you realize that Job was a Billionaire.

     2. It is easier for some persons to accept the fact that Job lost his health, but when confronted with the idea that Job lost that much money in

 today’s equivalency, is difficult to fathom.


3.  There are persons who find it difficult to live without one’s wealth.

People become so oriented to class and ownership that to imagine

losing as much as Job is challenging. (The Rich Young Ruler)



 4. Persons that have lost their jobs through downsizing or even the

relocation of the company are often seen as doing something bad

to deserve such a circumstance and that is not true.


5. God answers Job out of the whirlwind:Job 38:1-7,34-41

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you and you shall

  declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the

   earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determines its

        measurements—surely you know.
God did not NEED to answer Job, rather God explained to Job who God is!

 Like Job we need to learn to accept and contemplate the mystery of God!


OCTOBER 14, 2018    
PART 2 OF 4: OCTOBER 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th





PSALM 22:1- “ My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

and are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress?