A Good Return by Larry Refsland
We all want to receive a good return on our time, our money and our ideas. I’ve observed people as they scan the financial section of the newspaper. Their reaction gives away whether their stock went up or down in value. Homeowners open their property tax statements with anticipation and fear. They hope the value of their home has appreciated yet still want the taxes to go down!
The Bible records a story that Jesus told about a wealthy man that left some money in the hands of his servants. They were to manage his assets while away on a trip. One of the servants made investments and was able to give a 100% return on his master’s money. Another one achieved a 50% return by putting his master’s money to work. A third servant, however, hid his master’s money and simply returned it to his master upon his arrival. A 0% return!
Granted, he didn’t lose any of his master’s money (unless you factor in inflation), but the fact is he didn’t even try to get a return. The application, of course, is that our master, the Lord Jesus, has given each of us a gift, a talent, or an ability that he intends for us to invest and achieve a return for him.
How are you doing with what he has entrusted to you? Each day is an opportunity to make your life count for the kingdom of God. He deserves a good return on his investment in you!
Seeking a Virtual Church? Join us on Sundays at 2 pm CST
When Work Isn't Work by Larry Refsland
How come I feel so exhausted after a weekend of “relaxation”? Maybe it’s because of all the work that goes into relaxing. See if this sounds familiar to you: Before you can go to the “relaxation” spot, you have to go shopping for supplies; the vehicle has to be gassed up and loaded with all sorts of things to help you relax: lawnmower, shovels, rakes, wheelbarrow, etc. Then you have to hook up the boat and load up all the fishing gear. You can either run down to the sporting goods shop to get bait or spend part of your time relaxing by digging for worms.
Once you get to the lake, (a relaxing 1-2 hour drive) everything has to be unloaded. The boat has to be launched. You probably need to start a campfire and prepare some food. If you can get the lawn mowed and a few projects completed in time, you just might get to actually do a little fishing! Before long, you’ll be loading it all back up again for the drive home where everything will still need to be unloaded. Sure, it’s a lot of effort, but it doesn’t really seem like work. Maybe it’s because all of this effort is our own choice.
Some people believe it’s a lot of work to serve God. Those are the people who serve only from a sense of obligation or perhaps a feeling of guilt. Others find joy in serving God. Those are the people who simply have made a choice to put God first in their lives. Switching from a chore to a choice makes all the difference in whether the effort seems like work or pleasure. When you serve God with a willing heart you will find the rest that God promises.
Seeking a church? Join us virtually. (Service starts at 3:00 pm CST)
Are You Making Positive Ripples? By Larry Refsland
Can you throw a stone into a lake without making some ripples? Skipping stones seems to continue to be a favorite summer pastime. It’s cheap and takes little skill. Did you ever notice how it’s impossible to skip a stone without creating some ripples? The ripples are the side effect of the rock hitting the surface. The ripples are not the exact location of the impact, but the result of the impact on the surrounding area.
Our lives have similar ripple effects. Everything we do, good or bad, has an impact on the people around us. Everyday we are making ripples. Our children, our spouse, our co-workers are all affected by our actions. These ripples can be negative. For example: a job supervisor yells at one of the employees who in turn goes home in a bad mood and takes it out on his wife, who then is short with the children who go out and kick the dog which chases the cat and… you get the idea.
Think how that scenario could be so different if the initial impact were positive: the job supervisor praises the employee who goes home and greets his wife with a big kiss, who decides to make the kids a favorite treat who share it with the neighborhood children; the dog and cat, well they lick up the scraps, and everyone is happy!
Go out and make some ripples today! See how far a positive action actually goes in your sphere of influence.
Seeking a church? Join us virtually. (Service starts at 3:00 pm CST)
God Chose You by Larry Refsland
When kids decide to play ball, the first thing they have to do is choose sides. For many kids, this is one of life’s most dreaded moments. No one wants to be picked last, as kind of a leftover that neither team wants but one is going to get stuck with by default. Everyone wants to be chosen. Everyone wants to be noticed and accepted. We all want to make a contribution, not a liability.
The Bible assures us that we have been chosen by God to be on his team. It says, “We have not chosen Him, but He chose us and appointed us to bear fruit—fruit that will last.” God doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t pick us based on how good we are, but on how good he is! In fact, the more a person thinks he has to offer God; the less God can use that person. He likes to pick the smallest, the weakest person through whom he can do something great. He knows that kind of person will not rely on his own strength, but will depend totally on God to accomplish what he is called upon to do.
God chose Gideon to lead the Israelites to victory, even though Gideon was from the smallest tribe, the least significant family in the tribe, and he was the least in his family. God chose David, a little shepherd boy, to defeat Goliath, a strong and experienced warrior. So it is no surprise that God would choose you and me to follow Him and serve Him. There is no limit to what God can do through a man, woman or child who is on God’s team. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Why not make that your battle cry as you face the day? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”
Have an awesome day!
Seeking a Virtual Church? Join us on Sundays at 3 pm CST
How to Get to Heaven by Larry Refsland
"Don’t leave home without it!” I’m not talking about your American Express card; I’m talking about your map! If you’re going on a trip to a place you’ve never gone before, it’s a good idea to bring along a map. Or you’ll be stopping every so often to ask directions, and you know how embarrassing that can be!
Speaking of asking for directions, do you know how to get to Heaven from your town? I’m serious! Some people think the road to heaven is found by doing good deeds. Others would say you take the highway of “trusting your church” to get you there. But, according to the Bible, there is only one road to heaven and that is the person of Jesus Christ. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is death.” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). The Bible makes clear the point that the way to Heaven is by accepting the free gift of God’s grace by faith. In Romans 10:9 it says if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
In order to say truthfully that Jesus is Lord, you must turn over to Him your life and ask him to lead you the rest of your life. He will lead you to Heaven. You’ll never make it there on your own ability or merit. You must become a follower of Jesus Christ. So go ahead, get out your roadmap to eternity, the Bible, and check the directions. You can get on the right road today by asking him to lead you. Have a safe and joyful journey.
Seeking a church? Join us virtually on Sundays at 3:00 pm
I’ve lived in the Twin Cities are for about fourteen years, but even so, I’ve always had a hard time finding my way out of downtown and back onto highway 35W or 94 which led out of the city. For me, Minneapolis is an easy town to drive into, but a hard one to drive out of. The signs are clearly marked on the interstate on how to get downtown, but you’ve got to look carefully and quickly to see a sign pointing to the way out!
It’s the same with some of the choices we are offered in life. For example, it’s pretty easy to get into trouble, but it’s another story altogether trying to get out of trouble. All the signs to a wrong decision look inviting. Sometimes it’s a friend that’s showing the way—other times it’s the promise of a feeling you really want to experience, just once. Whatever the temptation, the decision to yield to those signs can leave you stranded in a neighborhood you never wanted to be in.
Fortunately, there is a way out. It’s called, the “Narrow Road”. Jesus describes it in Matthew 7:13-14 like this: “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that lead to life and only a few find it.” Jesus later explained that he was describing himself as that “Narrow Road”. He is the road to true freedom. He is the road to life. He is not just a guide to the road—he’s the road itself! Stay on that road, and you’ll never have to worry about how to get out of the wrong neighborhood.
Tune Up Your Life!
Our hope is that you will find encouragement from the brief but thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) musings of Pastor Larry.
Take East of Backus on Hwy 87 to Cass County 49. Take 49 to Shortcut Rd and then left on 8th St NE to church.
You can also type in 812 8th St NE in Pine River, MN into your GPS, but if your GPS steers you differently, we recommend following the directions above.
Join Us Every Sunday
Interactive Bible Course – 2:00 pm
Fellowship and the Good News – 3:00 pm
For immediate requests, please contact Pastor Larry or Patti Refsland at 218-348-2202.