I am not a plumber—and that’s okay! Every time I try to fix a plumbing leak, I make it worse! Plumbing is not my thing. There are some things I do quite well, but other things I just don’t have what it takes. So when my faucet is leaking, I call someone who really knows how to fix it. The Bible tells us that all of us have unique gifts and abilities that benefit those around us. None of us can be an expert at everything. Even if we could, when would we have the time to do everything?
There is always going to be a task that we are best off to leave to someone else. On the other hand, each of us has a skill or talent that others need as well. Every person is needed and valuable in God’s economy. The Bible refers to us as a body, with each of us being a different part of the body. The arm, for example, is not the entire body, but the body is not complete without it. “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts, and though all its parts are many, they form one body.” This description, from I Corinthians 12:14, helps us grasp the value of each human being.
We all have a purpose. Just as the body can do more when each part is healthy and being cared for, so each of us can function at our best individually only when those around us are healthy and being looked after. When we help a person in need, we really are helping ourselves, because we are all part of the same body. Take care of yourself today. Someone is depending on what you have to offer, especially if you’re a plumber!
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Have you ever been up all night, like on Christmas Eve or just before your kid’s birthday, trying to put together a new toy or game that seemed it should be simple, but turned into a nightmare? Those three words on the outside of the box: “some assembly required”—they don’t seem hard. But what the box fails to mention is the fact you needed an engineering degree to read the instructions! That is, if you actually tried to read the instructions!
Some things can’t be enjoyed until the assembly process is complete. Part A needs to be connected to Part B before Part C can be attached, etc. When everything has been assembled correctly you finally have something that will work and bring joy to your life.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:25 that some assembly is required in our lives as well. It says, “Don’t give up the habit of assembling yourselves together like some people have done.” Each one of us is a part of a total unit. No one functions completely alone. We were made to work together. One of the ways we can find where we fit in is at a local place of worship. Friendships are fostered, helpful projects can be completed, and questions get answered when we join together with other folks at church.
Find a place where you can get together this weekend to worship, because “some assembly is required”.
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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.
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“You’ve been adopted!” Every orphan wants to hear those three words. Families that have opened their hearts and homes to a child know what it’s like to go through the agonizing waiting and hoping period while the legal process is completed to officially recognize a child as their own son or daughter. The child has a new name, a new home, and a new heritage. He or she becomes entitled to all the benefits of this new family: the food, the shelter, the clothing, and most of all, the love of a father and mother. For whatever reason, the birth parents were not able or willing to give the child the care it deserved and needed. The adoptive parents assumed all of those responsibilities.
What if the child refused the adoption? What if they chose to continue to live as orphans, or remain in a neglected home, even though the adoption had all been arranged and paid for? That wouldn’t seem probable, much less very wise.
The Bible says that God’s gift to us is his offer to adopt us into his family. It says that Jesus Christ paid for the adoption with his own death on the cross. Whoever trusts in him has the right to become one of God’s children. This offer is to everyone, everywhere. Many people, however, reject God’s gift. They choose to try to make it on their own. That’s sad, because they cannot enjoy all the benefits that come with the adoption.
Only by accepting God’s offer can we hope to live forever in his kingdom. Only by trusting Christ can we have access to the help and power and advice of the Heavenly Father. Will you take God up on his offer? You can be a child of the King! Your Heavenly Father is waiting to hear from you!
“When I was a kid, I used to walk five miles to school in chest-high snow, up-hill…both ways!” We’ve all heard the accounts of “when I was a kid”. You’ve probably used them yourself; I know I have. If you’re like me, your family had certain expectations for each person in the family. Every child, for example, had chores. In my family, my little sister would set the table, I would clear off the table after dinner, and my older brother would dry the dishes as Mom washed them. I always encouraged my brother to finish up the uneaten potatoes or vegetables, because I hated finding Tupperware bowls to fit leftovers into. The point is everyone was expected to do his or her share of the work to make life better for all of us.
You know, the family of God isn’t any different. Your church is like a family. The Bible says that we grow and become strong as we build one another up in love and as each part does its work. You wouldn’t expect to get all the benefits of living at home without doing some of the work. The church family is the same way!
This weekend, go tell your pastor you want to know what your chores are! After you’ve revived him, tell him you aren’t kidding! There’s no telling what God will accomplish when each member is doing his and her part. Be a participator, not a spectator in your church family. Everyone will win that way.
A team of firefighters returned to a station house to find it was on fire! According to press reports, Firefighters in a Dallas, Texas suburb left some potatoes cooking on the stove when they responded to a fire in the city. The overcooked potatoes started a fire in the kitchen area of the station house. Firefighters from other stations had to be called in to assist in putting the fire out. Officials tried to put a positive spin on the event by reminding the public to not leave food cooking on the stove before stepping out.
The report reminded me of how easy it is for us to be busy putting out other peoples’ fires that we neglect the ones at home. Careers and commitments can become the primary focus of one’s life. Assuming everything is taking care of itself at home, we respond to every need outside of it.
It’s a danger nearly everyone must guard against. Those that successfully balance their time and attention between family and career reap the rewards of being able to share their success with the ones they love. After all, what good is it if the whole world thinks you are indispensable, but your family barely knows you?
People of faith are called to serve one another, but the circle of service begins with those closest and dearest to us. Like those firefighters in Dallas, we must remember the first fire that needs our attention is the one at home.
Halt! Who goes there? You may never have been ordered to stop and be recognized, but it’s possible you have at some time not been yourself. Someone might say, “That’s not like you.” We may behave or talk in ways that are inconsistent with our real, ordinary self. We become Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired and begin acting out of character. That’s when you hear someone say something on the lines, “Halt! Who goes there?”
Those can be uncertain or even dangerous times. We could say or do something we will be sorry for later. That’s why it’s a good idea to recognize these times and do what the acronym spells—HALT! Stop and realize you are not yourself. Are you Hungry? Get some food. Are you Angry? Get some space. Are you Lonely? Find a friend to be with and to talk to. Are you Tired? Get some rest.
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). God’s plan for us is to be nourished daily by food and by His Word. He gives us positive ways to channel our anger. Through His Spirit in us, he gives us the patience and self-control we need. He never leaves us, so we are never truly alone. Beyond that, we are part of a network of friends—brothers and sisters in Christ—with whom we can meet with on a regular basis. And He has even commanded us to take a day of rest every week, for our benefit! Even Jesus got away to rest when he was exhausted.
Next time someone says, “You don’t seem yourself,” HALT! Find out what is influencing your character, and get what is necessary physically and/or spiritually. You will find yourself being recognized once again as the wonderful person God intended you to be.
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.