SUNDAY
Sunday School
9:30 - 10:15 am

Worship Service
10:30 - 11:45 am

Teens for Christ - at Crist's Home
7:00 pm


Church Address

319 S. 4th

Lincoln, KS 67455

Email: lincolncommunitychurch@gmail.com

Phone: (785)422-6464


Wednsday 
AWANA- at the Christian Community Center
6:30 - 8:00 pm


 

 

Monday
May132019

Extraordinary

Extraordinary

Proverbs 22: 6 ESV

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

"All of it began the first time some of you who know better and are old enough to know better let young people think they had the right to choose the laws they would obey, as long as they were doing it in the name of social protest!" These were the words of Ronald Reagan as he attempted to speak wisdom into the hearts of a people unwilling to accept responsibility. Looking at the text of Proverbs it is easy to see how our country generally and California specifically could find itself in the position we now find ourselves. A generation trained in this manner did not quickly depart from it. That generation has grown older and yet rejected wiser. Maintaining the “right” to pick and choose what laws are to be obeyed and which are to be rejected under the guise of protest.

It is easy to bemoan the “younger generation”, to sit back and look down the proverbial nose at short comings of that generation. To blame teachers and politicians for what is scene. It is much more difficult to recognize our own sin in the events at hand. Sins of omission are more insidious than those of commission. The sin of commission is easy to find, yet the sin of omission is found in its not being present. How often has the church found itself not present? The church is not an entity on a corner with a steeple. It is a group of people gathered together. Those people have the right and privilege to be on boards, to teach in schools, to serve as rec league coaches, to employ youth and train them in the way they should go.

I am however given to hope. As two young men were rightly acclaimed heroes for the sacrifice of their lives in the defense of their classmates. Riley Howell (age 21) and Kendrick Castillo (age 18) both gave their lives in serving their fellow students as armed assailants were rampaging. Let us not be fools and think that heroism is born in a vacuum. These men, for such have earned the title others simply age into, give me hope for the nation. One historical commentator noted we would probably never have another George Washington or Abraham Lincoln simply because extraordinary circumstances required extraordinary men and our nation does not want extraordinary circumstances. Yet we, as a nation, find ourselves in such circumstances and these men should give us hope that God has not left us destitute for young men of extraordinary caliber.

“Extra” ordinary is what is required of us, the elect of God. When we do the simply ordinary things. We are faithful in the reading of God’s word, the prayer for the saints, the gathering together under the preaching of God’s word, drawing together in communion all these little things, these ordinary things, build themselves into “extra” ordinary results. The church in the United States may never see awakening again. I would argue that simply, we don’t have the desire to do all the ordinary things to become extra-ordinary. Then I am given hope. As some I see willing to faithfully allow the means of grace wash over them. Will you allow God to faithfully move you to extraordinary, or will you choose to be the old man yelling at the Kids to get of the grass?

 

Coram Deo

Tuesday
May072019

Dirty Shops

Proverbs 14:4 ESV

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean

                But abundant crops come by the strength of the ox…

 “This is a working shop, if you don’t have time to put it away immediately don’t start the project immediately” this was one of the rules listed on a piece of card board with the initials DFZ . As I looked around the shop it was evident that this rule as well as the other three on the list were not being followed. Like most of the shops, of those not retired, projects, equipment, and supplies were strewn about. This is the shop at the Sangre de Cristo Seminary. I asked the Dr. Andrew Zeller about the sign and my suspicion was confirmed, DFZ stood for Dwight Zeller, his father. “Any time he mentions the condition of my shop, I remind of his…” was the next phrase in our conversation.

All though it is often difficult to find something such scenes are normal across the land, from farm shops to my dad’s backyard shop, all feel about the same, and have similar issues. Only the owner can find anything, but only if his kids haven’t found a way to “help”. Such things are only issues if work is being done. The Proverbs point to the frank reality that if work is to be done, some level of mess is going to happen. Our clean, quiet, and well-organized shops cannot remain so once you actually wish to do the work. Saw dust will be everywhere, oil will get on the floor, parts boxes/bags will be scattered about, this is the nature of work. Much like having your cake and eating it too, you can’t have a clean shop and do work also.

Church is easy and we might even enjoy going for a time, but the mandate of the kingdom will require work. That work will mean it will get messy often and the mess might not get completely cleaned up before another one happens. Yet, if work is to be done, if the kingdom is to grow, if God is to be glorified among us, then messes are going to be needed. Sin will have to be addressed, personal and corporate, relationships will have to be worked on, real effort will be required.

As I look at my shop, I often see more of a sluggard starting projects and then being to lazy to clean up afterwards. So ready to be done that the work of putting tools back where they go takes a back seat to enjoying other things. Yet, in our churches we must recognize that not cleaning up the mess means, past hurts, slights, and sins continue to ruin the ability to do all the work being asked. That when others choose to visit, the hurts and slights are palpable. We can’t be so afraid of making a mess that we don’t start, nor can we be so sluggardly that we choose not to finish the work of putting our shop back in order.

Let us not grow weary in well doing. Let us do the work of the evangelist. It is ours to go and make disciples, and that is a lot of messy work. “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!’” meaning its to dangerous to leave my house and work. Let us not join the sluggard, let God find us faithful with the time we are given.

Coram Deo

Tuesday
Apr302019

Battle Lines

“Life’s a looming battle to be faced and fought.” -George Banks (Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins)

Proverbs 8:2-3 ESV

On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of portals she cries aloud:

Ignorant. That is the best word for where I found myself. Listening to commentators talk of the latest news of the day. The Kansas Supreme Court had ruled that a women’s right to choose was guaranteed by the Kansas constitution. The particular commentator I was listening to made the obvious point that in the mid 1800’s such a constitutional guarantee was not likely intended by the writers. Yet, I was overcome quickly by a stark reality, I had never read the document. Even as I was overwhelmed by the reality of this miscarriage of justice, I went looking for ways to right this wrong. To this was added the further proof of my ignorance. Although I knew that the justices were subject to a vote of retention, unlike the federal Supreme Court, I did not know how or when!

Proverbs is a constant narrative between three beings, Wisdom & Folly, and Wisdom & the sluggard. Wisdom is personified as taking a stand at the places she is needed most; at the heights, at the crossroads and at the gates of a city (the place of judgment and rule for a town). Chapter nine of Proverbs tells of the way of Folly and how she is in the same places trying to seduce men to come to her and follow her way. Our fore fathers, be they federal or state, were aware of this. They knew the woman folly would be walking the halls of power and that the simple would follow her. So, they allowed for multiple avenues of correction. Famously the Federal Government gives three branches, that when working check and balance one another. The state of Kansas has a similar pattern and yet provides that all three are directly responsible to the people.

The more I watch Mary Poppins the more I see the wisdom of Mr. Banks. Even as Walt Disney seeks to change him and remove his masculinity to replace it with childishness, the reality of his statements echo with the haunting words of truth, as flippant answers are sung, into the hearts of a people creating a nation of children unable to face the toil of life. Seeking a “spoon full of sugar” in video games, legalized marijuana, and opioids leaving only the vacuum of lostness. Children and adults need to understand that life is a looming battle. Satan is at the door, stalking his prey, to “steal, kill, and destroy”, Folly does call to those who will listen.

As lines are drawn, trenches dug, and strategies & tactics arranged for the battles that await the church, let us not lie to our children. Those of our children whom God has called out of darkness will not be accepted by this world. If they and we are to live courageously for the Kingdom of God we will not be accepted and revered. Jobs, Careers, and other opportunities will be lost, will we as a church give “a spoon full of sugar” or a gospel message full of joy and lament, mourning with those who mourn, not hiding from the reality that life is hard? How will we fight this battle? Will we use the weapons given to us by our father in heaven, the word of God and prayer, or will we seek compromise and “peace in our time”?

Coram Deo

Wednesday
Apr242019

Why?

Job 2:10 ESV

But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

“No you can’t have a piece of candy.” “Why?” is the almost immediate response. “You need to get you jammies on and go brush your teeth.” “Why?” “Take the trash outside.” “Why?” seems to be the immediate response to every “no” my children hear, and every direction I give. I have noticed that when they receive an affirmative answer, they don’t tend to question my reasoning or intention at that point. When told to go pick a piece of candy, the response is never, “Why?” Nor is the response delayed in anyway, they jump quick and move fast!

Eventually all my children grow into and out of this, but it seems to be a stage that lingers with some more than others. Constantly having my intentions questioned has begun to wear. I don’t give responses every time anymore, sometimes ignoring the question altogether. My frustration is often most acute when I have big plans of blessing. Weather it be a ice cream sandwich in the park, a popsicle on the front porch, a motorcycle ride, or just a meal out, “clean up an put your shoes on”… followed by the ever present question of my motivation and intention simply crawls under my skin.

Unfortunately for me, this is not a question that I can limit to my children. It is the constant petition of those who do not like what God has done. I mention it this way because like my children I do not question God’s motive or intention when he choses to raise my salary, give me good health, or great neighbors, but the moment I lose my job, my health deteriorates, or my neighbors are destitute sinners, I question him. “Why God?” “Why did you make me this way?” “Why must I lose my mental faculties?” “Why did my daughter get cancer?” Then comes the deafening silence. Jumping quickly on this the same assumption my children make is made, there is no good reason.

Why did God make you and all things? What is the chief end of man? Why did God create us? These questions are placed in the beginning of many catechisms. (Catechism for Boys and Girls, Westminster Catechism, New City Catechism) The formulators of these catechisms recognize the necessity of determining the motivation and intention of our lives in understanding both what we should do and how we should act. I propose that the answer to these questions also articulates the answer to all those why question in the previous paragraph. “For his own glory.” “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” “To know him, love him, live with him, and glorify him.”

To say I know how all those things are for his glory would be an overstatement. Yet we must learn the lesson of Job. When faced with the reality of who God is he could only say I was wrong to question. Just as my children must learn, so must I learn to trust. They don’t know why good things are being denied them at any particular moment (Isn’t candy always good?) or why hard things, like cleaning up, are being asked of them when they have been playing so well together. So to, I don’t like it when good things are being denied me and given to others, when hard things are asked of me, even though I have “been good”. Will I trust the Christ who died for me, the God who created me, the Spirit who intercedes for me, or not?

CRUCE, DUM SPIRO, FIDO

Tuesday
Apr162019

Buildings & Churches

Mark 13:2

“And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

I distinctly remember riding down the McDowell Creek Road with Kelly behind me, topping the rise and seeing this beautiful Catholic Church sitting in the middle of the valley. Built of limestone rock it set serenely in the midst of the valley, from a distance the beauty of place and form struck, but when you drew close the truth became evident. It was dilapidated and had been unused for quite some time, the roof was in need of repair, as well as interior renovations. The large Catholic families that had farmed the area simply didn’t need the building anymore.

Emmanuel United Methodist Church was a thriving Christian community. It had three services, all of which were well attended, and I believe total attendance was around six hundred while I was attending. Talk quickly turned to a new building that could better meet the needs of this large congregation. The charismatic Pastor was drawing a crowd. Funds were raised and the church moved to a new facility better equipped. As Pastors go and come, the vitality of the church never reached that fevered pitch again. A different church (assembly of believers) was able to take the old building and continues to use it. Talking with some of my relatives that are still in Abilene, I am struck by how many “regularly visit” the new church in the old building. The theology is different, the ecclesiology is different, all that is the same is the building (maybe even the carpet), yet they go to the old building.

Neither of these buildings match the grandeur and historic place of Notre Dame. Yet, as I listen to multitudes mourn, weep, and pledge millions to rebuild, I am struck with the question why? The Disciples had just come from the temple. They had seen all that Jesus had seen; they had watched him drive out the money changers. Yet, his judgment and prophecy against the temple cut them to the core. Right worship had not occurred and Jeremiah had made it plain in his prophecy against the first temple, God wants right worship more than nice buildings (Jeremiah 7:4). As I look at the images of old churches rotting through out our countryside the same sadness overtakes me. Seeing and remembering what strong faith had once ruled our county. I mourn with the French people, but mostly because they cry for a building and not for the absence of a true church within it. Even as they loved the beauty of their skyline, and of the architecture, they had no use for the Church that built it. Nor do they still. They mourn with tears the loss of a building, a fire claimed it, and do not quake with fear at the knowledge that the eternal soul they bare is bound for a similar fate.

Let us cling to the cross and to church, but never let us cling to and cry for buildings. Cry for the immortal souls that live next to you who will not hear, because we will not speak. Are we broken for our neighbors, or just sad for empty pews?

Coram Deo