Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 138

amosThe Lord’s timing is most definitely not our timing. The Lord’s promises come to pass most often by increments, not all of a sudden. David discovered this as he walked from the moment of his boyhood anointing to be king through 15 years of battle with Saul. Even after Saul’s death the promise of kingship over Israel was not a done deal as II Samuel 2 and 3 tell us.

Here is what I see in today’s chapters:

II Samuel chapter 2 sermon topics/titles

1.  Taking the Next Step: II Sam. 2: 1-3

2.  Never Be Discouraged By Echoes of the Past: II Sam. 2:4-11

3.  the Consequences of Refusing To Follow the Lord’s Anointed: II Sam. 2:30,31

II Samuel chapter 3 sermon topics/ titles:

1. The Reasons For Ishbosheth’s Slow Fade: II Sam. 3: 1-9

2. The Pride Of Abner: II Sam. 3: 4-30

3. God Removes the Kingmaker and Makes a King! II Sam. 3:30-37


Have you ever received on of God’s promises in increments like David did?

What do you see in II Samuel chapter 2 and 3?


Where’s the Light?

Isaiah wrote “The people walking in darkness will see a great light.” Isaiah 9:2

There’s been a lot of darkness in the last week. I suppose it’s only natural that there should be a lot of dialogue about the solution to that darkness. In the days ahead I suspect we will hear more debate about what should be done. The thing is debate is not necessary. The church has the answer to the world’s problem with darkness. The answer is light. The light is Jesus.

The light is not gun control.

The light is not mental health reform.

The light is not our government.

The light is Jesus. He alone can be our anchor in the dark and stormy seas.


Let’s Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, we are in desperate need of the light of the world! Yet all the world around us is groping for other answers. Lord draw the hearts of men and women to your light. Remove the scales of worldliness from their eyes so that they may see you are the only answer. PLease Lord have mercy and send revival upon the nations one more time! In Jesus name A-men.

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 130

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Dark Forest by JE Lillie

Dark Forest by JE Lillie

The weather here in New England has been dancing somewhere between the frigid midnight peck of an angry wife and the sloppy wet smooch of a long-lost love. So last Thursday when my bones started aching as though I’d been wracked I thought it just the ol’ lumbago set off by the lousy undulating dampness. On Sunday as I was standing to sing the worship service I felt that familiar tickle at the back of my throat. On Monday at the Sectional Pastor’s Christmas party I had a tight cough which I kept mostly under control. But Tuesday night the cough began to call the shots and my bones made me feel like I was Wolverine in the presence of Magneto (comic book reference couldn’t resist). Wednesday and today I have spent mostly in bed, too tired to do much but walk the little white dogs.

Sickness and sin…I suppose they mimic each other in nature because they started in the same place…at the same time. Sickness likes to creep up on us, catch us unawares. It incubates in the cells of our bodies waiting for the opportune time, then springs and knocks us down for the count. To an untrained eye it seems “all of a sudden”. To the medical professional, though, sickness is a process that is understood to start  before it can be seen by the naked eye ( of course the more virulent the illness the quicker the physical manifestation). It’s like that with sin. It lurks at the doorways of our hearts waiting, seeking a foothold. Once it finds the entry point it springs. The fall looks instant,quick, painful but as the song writer says really…”It’s a slow fade.”

We learn about the rise and fall of Israel’s first king, Saul, in a few chapters. It takes perhaps an hour or so to read. His meteoric rise and his cataclysmic fall seem to happen almost all at once; But we have to put the pauses…the sabbaths…the breathing spaces in between the verses and chapters. Saul didn’t crash and burn the day after his coronation. It was a slow fade. So it is with us if we are not mindful of our daily walk.

Here is what I see in today’s chapters:

I Samuel chapter 17 sermon topics/titles:

1. The Enemy’s Hero: I Samuel 17:1-11

2. The 40 Day Challenge: I Samuel 17:1-16

3. What To Do With Rejection: I Samuel 17:22-37

I Samuel chapter 18 sermon topics/titles:

1. Kept By An Earthly King: I Samuel 18:1-5

2. The Enemy’s Fear Turns To The Anointed’s Blessing: I Samuel 18:6-30

3. Dodging Spears, Staying Loyal: I Samuel 18:6-30

Now tell me what you see! 🙂

Waste Your Life

Our youth pastor Brad Hackett preached a continuation of Pastor Risto’s message from last week. God has been making us ready for His kingdom building work in these last days. I am believing God for a great revival before His return. Are you? What do you think that revival will look like?

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 21

“But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” Jude 1:17-19

Many years ago my grandmother was very upset with the pastor of her Baptist church. The contention in her soul had gotten to the place where she was ready to flee her house of worship and begin attending another. That was when my great-grandmother Bern got involved in the situation.

Bernice Lillie was an outspoken woman for her day. No one to be trifled with by my grandmother’s accounts. While I never met her I can imagine her manner as she sat my grandmother down and gave her philosophy of church attendance.

“Thelma, you never leave a church because of a disagreement with a pastor. Pastor’s come and go but the church is a family. We stay together.”

Sage advice. While I do believe that there are points of doctrine which might cause us to leave a church (such as a new pastor coming into a church and preaching Jesus is not God for instance) , my years of pastoring have left me wondering at  parishioners who pigeon from one steeple to another because they feel the preacher is too long-winded or they don’t like the taste of the communion bread.

Our world is short on people who know how to get along. So the church should be a place where we learn to practice  mending relationships not breaking them up. I know God moves people sometimes but leaving a church should be a call of God not a fight with a deacon.

I know this is an argument with lots of nuance so tell me what you think.

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 116

With so many new readers I thought an explanation of the chapter charts might be necessary. Chapter charting is a devotional exercise that is part meditation/ part brainstorming. Every week I take four chapters of Scripture (we are charting the entire Bible in consecutive order).

1.I read the chapters.

2.I note what comes to mind as I read and jot down three of my “first thoughts”about the chapter in bullet or title form. For instance, last week as I read Judges Chapter 10:11  (God’s response to the Israeli pleas for mercy) I began to hear the song “I Will Survive” playing in my head. So I came up with the sermon title “When God Sings Like Gloria Gaynor”.

The point of the exercise is not to come up with incredible sermons. It is sort of like a word association game. You read the Bible and write the first thing that comes to mind. All kinds of interesting questions come from those “first thoughts”. The chapter charts have sparked many prayer conversations between me and the Heavenly Father. Come on play the game and see what happens!

Here’s What I see in today’s chapters:

Judges chapter 14 sermon topics/titles:

1.  God uses every opportunity: Judges 14: 1-4

2. Breaking the Vow: Judges 14:1-20

3. Giving In To Outward Pressure: Judges 14: 15-20

Judges chapter 15 sermon topics/titles:

1. A Man Scorned: Judges 15:1-5

2. The Recylcing of Revenge: Judges 15:1-12

3. Whiny Rambo: Judges 15:13-20

Now tell me what you see! 🙂

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 8

“So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus  first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.” Jude 1:5 NLT

Jude warned the Christians of his day that they had to contend for the faith because evil men had secretly slipped into their congregations. Jude wasn’t the only biblical writer to warn the fledgling church. For instance these words of Paul the apostle were recorded by the writer Luke.

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Acts 20:29-31 

The biblical warning is as relevant to us today as it was to the first century Christians.  Now, Jude helps us to identify the “secret slipper-inners” by using three examples, the first of which is found in our Scripture for today, Jude 1:5.

As an aside I think it interesting the NLT asserts that it was Jesus who rescued the nation of Israel out of Egypt. You will notice that the other translations say it was “The Lord”. The actual word used in the work  is “kyrios”-

he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

a) the possessor and disposer of a thing

1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master

2) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor

b) is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master

c) this title is given to: God, the Messiah BLB Lexicon

Just thought it worth mentioning… now let’s move on!

Jude references the fact that though all the Israelites were liberated out of Egypt they were later kept from the promised land by unbelief…lack of faith (or faithfulness more on that in Jude Pt. 9). The “secret-slipper-inners” are first of all men (or women) who operate from the principle of sight rather than from the principle of faith. In short they are “believers” who have never believed the Word of God!

We used to sing a song “If Jesus said it I believe it it’s His word He cannot lie. If its written in the Bible I’ll believe it till I die. Though the mountains be removed and be cast into the sea if Jesus said it I believe it and that’s good enough for me.”

While I was singing this in youth group years ago another group of “church men” were dissecting the Bible trying to decide if Jesus actually said anything that was recorded in the Gospels and if Isaiah and Daniel were actually prophecies or just rabbinical forgeries.

You will first of all know a “slipper-inner” by their refusal to believe the Bible as fact.

More on faithfulness in Pt. 9

Heaven Pt. 72

“So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, ‘Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.’ For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy upon it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.” I Sam 5:11,12 NIV

As this part of the story goes the Philistines had captured God’s Ark of the Covenant in a battle with  the Hebrew people. God had determined that because of Israel’s sin His Ark would no longer dwell among them. But the Philistines gave Him even less reverence than the children of Abraham; So city by city God humbled the Philistine people with a plague until at last the Ark arrived at the city of Ekron as I Samuel 5:12 says:

“God’s hand was very heavy upon it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.”

 God is going to be glorified by humans either with  shouts of triumph or cries terror. We do not determine whether or not our lives will bring Him glory only how! With Christ’s death and resurrection all mankind is given a choice to face or escape the wrath of God. We can either accept Jesus’ death as payment for our sins or continue in disbelief and face the penalty ourselves. This is the reason Christians proclaim Christ to every nation, so that every man and woman will know they have a choice!

What have you done with your choice?

Get Up and Glow Pt. 8

   We have been talking about getting up and moving on in our lives in the midst of trials. In the last post we spoke about how getting up is possible because of the power of the Holy Spirit in us. But there is a second reason getting up is possible…

Getting up is possible because we have the promises of the Bible to guide us!

“Russell Kelso Carter (1849-1928) was a star athlete of a military academy and an excellent student academically, who went on to be a successful teacher and coach. He then spent several years as an ordained Methodist minister, after which he went to medical school. He spent the last of his professional years as a doctor of medicine. Carter was also a musician and songwriter. …

Although Carter was a professed Christian most of his life, it wasn’t until a crisis with his natural heart that he began to understand the reality and power of Bible promises. At age 30, his health was in critical condition and the physicians could do no more for him. Carter turned to God for help and healing.

He knelt and made a promise that healing or no, his life was finally and forever, fully consecrated to the service of the Lord. It was from that moment that the written Word of God became alive to Carter. He began to stand upon the promises of healing, determining to believe no matter what his physical condition, no matter how he felt. Over the course of the next several months his strength returned, and his heart was completely healed! Carter lived another healthy 49 years.

The hymn Carter had written several years before his healing miracle became more than words and music to him. Standing on the Promises became an integral part of his life.

Standing On the Promises

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.”  (the Story Behind the Song  by Connie Ruth Christiansen)

All the promises of the Bible are yours if you will only get up and line yourself up with them.

What Bible promise are you standing on right now?