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!
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Do you know the definition of faith? I talk a lot about faith, but many people may not know what faith is. Hebrews 11:1-2 says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” In other words, it is an inner confidence that what you are hoping will happen will happen. If you can see it or figure it out, it takes no faith, because faith is being certain of what we do not see.
I don’t have a clue how many computers work, but I have faith that when I click on the mouse, it will open up the document I need. The same is true when I flip on a light switch or the ignition on my car. I don’t know how it all works, I just know it does and I have confidence the lights will go on or my car will run.
We will never figure out all the ways God works for us. We will never comprehend the love that made him willing to send his Son to die for us. But in order to have a relationship with Him, we must trust Him. “His ways are not our way. His ways are past finding out” (Romans 11:33).
All of us will decide during our lifetime either to accept God’s leadership over our lives or to reject Him. Either way, it takes faith. You either have faith in God, or faith in you yourself. I choose to trust God. He has a track record of coming though for people who trust Him. Put your hope in the Lord. I am confident you won’t be disappointed!
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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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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!
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I can't wait to have some homegrown tomatoes! There's nothing like a tomato that’s vine-ripened! Compared to the store-bought ones available to us in the winter, it's like comparing a Harley Davidson motorcycle to a three-wheeled bicycle. Why is there such a difference in the taste and texture? I have been told that it's in the length of time the tomato is on the vine. Store-bought tomatoes that come from who-knows-where have to be picked while they are still green. They haven't had the benefit of the extra days of receiving nutrients that give flavor and juiciness.
The Bible tells us in John 15 that if we expect to achieve our potential, we have to "abide in the vine." Jesus said he is the vine. To "abide in the vine" simply means to hang out with Jesus! If we detach ourselves from Him and His leadership, we cut ourselves from the life-giving power he wants us to receive. We need the nutrients of God's love and wisdom in order to know the best course for our lives.
The fullness of life we experience is proportional to the amount of time we spend hanging out with Jesus. It is God's plan for us to be connected with Him everyday, all-day. Not just at church or at home. Stay attached to the life-giving power of God through Jesus Christ. Otherwise, you’ll be as bland as a store-bought tomato in January. May the Lord be with you today!
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.