According to my research, Joshua was probably at least 70 years old when he took over leadership of Israel following the death of Moses. He led the people across the Jordan River, and then he led the fight to repossess the Promised Land for God’s people. You’d think that would have been enough. But no, it wasn’t.
In Joshua 13:1, we read these words: “When Joshua was old and well advanced in years, the Lord said to him, ‘You are very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.’ He then goes on to itemize the jobs he has set out for Joshua. There was still work to be done, and there was a faithful servant to do it. What did it matter if he was “very old”?
I “retired” in 2019, and many of my former co-workers are also retiring. However, as I talk to each one, I discover they’re not really retiring, and neither did I. Our ministries just changed locations. God can use the very old, and He can use the very young. My little granddaughter loves to help. She accompanied me to Be Filled of South Topeka last week, and as a new reader, she stopped at one of the doors and said, “I can’t go in there.” “Why?” I asked. “Because the sign says ‘Volunteers Only,’ and I’m not a volunteer.” What are you talking about, child? You work as hard as anybody. You most certainly are a volunteer! One of our regular volunteers at Be Filled has two bad knees, other mobility issues, and depends on others for transportation. But he is there every time the doors are open, and he works like two men. We do need to accommodate him regarding his disabilities, but there is plenty he can do, and he enthusiastically does it.
So the point is, it doesn’t matter what your age is, or your gender, or even, really, your state of health. There is work to be done in the family of God, and there’s something YOU can do! I pray that you will.
In Ephesians 4:17-24 NASB Paul tells us, “So I say this, and affirm in the Lord, that you are to no longer walk just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their minds, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
I recognize that our Lord has brought me a long way from my old self. Not always with my entire surrender to His will, yet a lot of progress has been made over the years. I’m also very grateful that He is not done with me yet. How are you doing?
Shalom, Pastor Bill
We live in an anxious world! Political and moral chaos, tangled race relations, Christianity and family values under attack, family struggles, financial uncertainty and yes even those nagging health concerns. There just seems to be no end to the list.
Perhaps, just maybe, the core of our problems is the list. The list affects both our outlook on life as well as our inner decision making. The list is usually the things we worry about.
As Christ followers, we know we shouldn’t allow worry to consume and dominate us, but we still too often allow it a place at our emotional table. Worry is the attempt to control the unknown. Few mortals, if any have managed to control the yet to happen things of the future. Unfortunately it does not stop us from trying!
You will recall, Jesus said, “Is life more than food and the body more than clothing?”
While most will not stop trying to control the un-controllable, maybe we could begin to put it into perspective. When you find yourself in the jungle of fear, frustration and uncertainty, remind your spirit that this is not who you are or want to be!
Then allow God’s Spirit to come alongside you and carry your burdens for you. Allow Jesus’ Word to make a home in your heart, for it was this very Jesus who said, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my load is light.” Matthew 12:28-30
Adversity visits everyone at some time or another. We don’t like it, but the hard reality is, adversity does not ask or seek permission for a visit.
How we handle adversity and challenges says a lot about what happens after. After things calm down and after things return to some level of normalcy, will it have changed you? If so, is that change something that made you stronger or weaker?
Today, if you are in the midst of adversity or encounter it tomorrow, don’t allow it to define who you are or what your priorities and values are. Adversity can only have a negative effect upon you if it gets into your spirit. So when the cold winds of difficulty blows, protect your spirit.
A wise man once said, “Ships don’t sink because of the water around them, Ships sink because of the water that gets in them.”
This will be my last devotional as I retire on August 28th. I have so enjoyed sharing with you all stories of my life. I have served Wanamaker Woods for 20 years and it is time for me to take a step back and follow God’s leading into something else.
I have sold my house in Silver Lake and purchased a house in Downs, KS that God literally dropped in my lap. I have also purchased, along with my oldest daughter and son-in-law, a hotel in Downs that has two storefronts. So I will be moving my quilting business from my home in Silver Lake to the new storefronts. Little did I know that when I purchased my long arm quilter that God would be sending me to Downs, KS. God has opened mighty doors for us to be able to do this. I know He has a great ministry there for me.
This move is bitter sweet. I am so excited to see what God is going to do but on the other hand I am sad that I will be leaving all of my dear friends at Wanamaker Woods. There will be a reception for me after church on August 28th, so come and give me a hug and say see you soon. (NOT good by!)
For all those quilter in the church, come on up to Downs and spend the day in my quilt shop!
I have so enjoyed my time at Wanamaker Woods and I can’t even to begin to tell you all that I have learned under Pastor Holmes. Thank you Pastor for taking me under your wing after I was ordained and for giving me a great place to serve and learn! A BIG thank you to Joyce Terrill, who taught me how to always be gracious no matter the circumstances and for loving me like a sister. Thank you to all the staff for always being there for me when Arnie was so ill.
Pastor Michael, I am so glad I got to serve with and under your ministry for the past 7 or so years! I truly believe God is going to use you in a mighty big way to grow His church! I’m a little sad that I won’t get to have the front row seat to that any more but you have a great staff and Big God! I know you will find someone that can read Pastor Holmes’ hand writing and sit in my chair!
I encourage all of you here at Wanamaker to support Pastor Michael in all that God is calling him to do! He is one of the most spiritual leaders that I have ever known and I know he doesn’t do anything without the leading of the Holy Spirit! Pray for him daily for he has some mighty big footsteps to follow!
A BIG thank you to all those who have served under my leadership. There are too many to name individually but I love each and every one of you! Continue to do the work that God has called you to do!
Well I will sign off here and say, “See you when I am in town!”
DID YOU FORGET TO ADD YEAST?
Matthew 13:33 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
Bread dough has no power to change itself, no matter how hard it tries it cannot become bread on its own. It requires an external power adding the most important ingredient; yeast, and the kneading to bring the dough to its perfection. Yeast, when added in the bread making process, eats up sugar in flour and produces carbon dioxide that is the reason for rising of bread. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is the yeast and kneading that we require in our life to develop us into the true bread of life; developing us into God’s disciples. Until we allow the Holy Spirit to truly direct and empower our lives, we are helpless to assist in the development of other disciples until we yield control of our life to the Holy Spirit.
Ignace Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) was a prodigy pianist and composer. He took piano lessons from the age of six. He entered the Warsaw Conservatory at the age of twelve and by eighteen, he was appointed as professor. He was a master piano composer and performer, mesmerizing audiences across Europe and America.
As the story goes, the Great Paderewski was preparing to play a concert in a certain city. The stage was set. A beautiful ebony grand piano sat strategically placed on center stage. A mother brought her son to the concert in hopes of renewing his interest in playing the piano. As the audience settled into their seats, the young mother noticed that her son was missing. Then, in horror, she watched her young boy walk onto the stage, climb on the piano seat, and begin playing “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”. The audience gasped as Paderewski appeared. He placed his arms around the child and—to the audience’s surprise—began to play “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” with him. Together, they made a beautiful arrangement of melodies, counter melodies, and harmonies. All the while, the great composer whispered in the boy’s ears, “Don’t quit—you are doing great. Keep going!” That night the small child and the master composer made beautiful music together. When the song was over the audience burst into applause.
Like the young boy in this story, we are powerless to do much without the Holy Spirit’s power. We can do little to develop ourself as a disciple of Christ, let alone invest in people for the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit is the ingredient which causes true growth to happen, giving us new and renewed life in Jesus by the changing of our heart and mind in response to His gospel.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
As the Spirit does the work inside of us, we must be willing to work with him. Philippians 2:12-13 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Do not resist the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life because it exposes the lack of power in your life, or avoid responsibility for change, rather allow the Holy Spirit to change you; adding the spiritual yeast and kneading to develop the Holy power to be a disciple and disciple others into the image of Jesus Christ. Jesus said it this way in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
I pray you allow the Holy Spirit to so permeate your life that you, like the wonderful smell of a freshly baking loaf of bread, are a pleasing aroma to God.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Jerry Schmid
When my oldest son’s children were small, he told me, “The first Bible verse I’m teaching my kids is ‘Children, obey your parents.’”
I teased him a little, saying, “Michael, that’s not the first verse you teach children. The first verse you teach children is ‘God is love.’”
“Nope,” he said. “The first verse I’m teaching them is ‘Children, obey your parents.’ Because if they will obey me, I can teach them anything they need to know. If they don’t obey me, I can’t teach them anything.”
Those children are grown now, and a joy to all who know them. In learning to obey their parents, they learned to obey God as well as their earthly authorities, and have avoided many pitfalls that have befallen their peers.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we, the followers of Christ, could embrace obedience?
The longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, is all about the Word of God – His law, His testimonies, His precepts, His ways, His rules, His commandments, His promises, His statutes. More than that, though, this psalm is about the author’s relationship with God’s Word. Frankly, he loves it! He begins by saying, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!” And in verse 11 we find the familiar, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” And verse 15: “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” Goodness! I would love to quote the whole Psalm. But it IS the longest chapter in the Bible.
I believe those who learn obedience at the feet of the parents are the most fortunate, because that training is transferable to God and His Word. But for those who didn’t learn it as a child, it’s not too late. My advice would be to spend a little time in Psalm 119 and learn to rejoice in obedience to God.
James 3:13-18 or contrasts two types of wisdom, God’s and that of the world. Godly wisdom is innocent, gentle, reasonable, peace-loving, impartial and sincere. It is full of mercy and willing to yield to others. It leads to godliness and peaceful relationships with others. Worldly secular wisdom tends to be self-centered. It exalts one’s self. God’s Word calls such wisdom “earthly, unspiritual, demonic“ (James 3:15b). Without Godly wisdom we cannot have the peace associated with the serenity we are seeking – rather, it could actually lead into a form of useless, toxic rage about that which we desire to change but cannot.
“Courage to change the things we can” results when we have the guidance and empowerment to work in submission to Father GOD’s will and plan. Acceptance of non-Biblical, worldly wisdom may provide courage to change but the changes will be based on worldly, secular values. That type of change may well bring success according to worldly values, but at what cost? Will that type of change brings honor and glory to our LORD GOD Almighty? James says no! “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev. 4:11) “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)
Shalom, Pastor Bill
3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. 6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. 7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. 9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. 10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.
This portion of the sermon on the mount is commonly known as the Beatitudes. In this sermon, Jesus is telling Christians the attitudes we are supposed to develop. If we live according to these things Jesus says we are blessed. But why are we blessed for being poor, mourning, and persecuted? It kind of seems backwards. We are blessed because these situations open us to God’s work in our lives. Whether it’s a situation, perspective, or character. All of these things Jesus is talking about give us the opportunity to grow closer to God. And the blessing that God gives us, overshadows the pain.
Never overlook the power of community. Last week we had something called District Assembly, where a representative from all the Nazarene Churches gather together for discussion and decision making. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with others that we haven’t seen in a while, and build relationships with others dealing with similar struggles and difficulties in their ministries. Gathering together each week for corporate worship can have a similar effect. We build relationships, share struggles, and come closer together and to God through each other.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Can you be a Christian without going to church? Maybe, but you certainly won’t be growing as effectively in your faith trying to go through it alone.
I’ll see you Sunday!
Swimming: A pondering by Holly Woodbridge
In the Nemo movie, Dory, the forgetful fish, has a mantra. " just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."
The waves roll, the tides beckon, but she just keeps swimming.
Ephesians 4:14 says,
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
We live in a tricky, topsy, turvy time, when words are printed, posted, preached as truth.
As we grow up in Christ, we are challenged, urged, to be swimming in the Word, meditating on God's truth so we can recognize what is trustworthy and true, from what just tickles our ears.
I have heard that the people who investigate counterfeit bills, carefully study the real bill continuously, so when a fake comes along they can recognize it. They don't study, the fakes, they study the real deal.
We must do the same. We must study God's Word so when other voices begin to beckon, we remain steadfast.
Remember while you are swimming in God's Word, the Holy Spirit is the life guard before, beside, beneath, within.
We do not make this journey on our own. The One who calls, provides.
So, get swimming in the Word. Now is a great time to start. How about the whole chapter 4 of Ephesians. Or the whole letter to the Ephesians.
Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...
Notes from the Staff @The Woods