Saturday, December 28, 2013


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz
If we were to listen to an old Andy Williams Christmas Album, we would learn that the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years is the happiest and most wonderful season of all. As we approach New Year’s Day this week, we surely know that this joyous season is winding down to a close. 

This of course, is a worldy view based upon commerce, sales, gift-giving, kindness, love, and compassion. It is also one of the most emotional times of the year. Folks get melancholy about years past and forget that fresh, joyous memories can be made every day. One does not need a holiday of any designation to be generous, and look for special moments to share with others. 

Since we are more than certain that Jesus wasn’t born precisely on December 25th, perhaps this is the real message of the holidays: we can be loving and generous 24/7/365 days each year. It is a choice to live that way; it’s a choice to make any moment special.   

As New Year’s Resolutions are being formulated this week, this is one resolution that exemplifies our faith and puts it into action. Good works follow after faith. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News that Jesus encouraged us to spread to the four corners of the earth. And if you think about it, Paul’s Epistles are the practical application of Jesus’ Good News. Paul writes about his experiences in making every day count for Jesus. And within Paul’s words, we hear of successes, and days that were less so. Planting seeds is not an exact science. Some seeds will be carted away by scavengers, others will fall on rocky terrain, but some will fall on good soil, ready to sprout with new life. Many of Paul’s statements in the Epistles might give us the understanding that one seed fallen in good soil is worth all the fruitless results of the rest. “…I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” Philippians 1:18(b)

Paul found his joy in the sharing of the Gospel, not in the success of his ministry. Paul knew well that it wasn’t him that brought growth. His mission and calling was as ours: spread the Gospel. These are truly special moments: Obedience to Jesus, and joy in the possibilities!

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;
but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.” – 1 Cor. 1:18

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The celebrations around us reveal that the anniversary of Jesus’ Birth is this week. From the lighting of Christmas Trees in Town Squares in recent weeks, to Christmas parties with friends and extended family, the signs are all around us. Here in the USA, the Thanksgiving Holiday itself is a sign of the time, announcing that Christmas is near. And the closer we get to December 25th, the more intense our schedules get with more and more demands on our time. 

And as our holiday schedules fill up, it’s exactly as a woman that travails with her birth pangs. They get closer and closer, and more and more intense until finally full labor ensues and a child is born. 

As we celebrate the glorious birth of our Savior and King, there were signs all around: in the heavens; in historical record; even in the word of knowledge given to an old man in the temple named Simeon. Though his name does not appear until the New Testament, he was truly an Old Testament Saint who was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 2:25-35). As Simeon spent time in the Temple, the Holy Spirit was with him, and he recognized the Baby in Mary’s arms immediately! Lifting Him up Simeon said, “…mine eyes have seen Thy salvation…” 

It makes me wonder if other spirit-filled Old Testament Saints were also waiting and looking with anticipation for the promised Messiah. I wonder too if Simeon had shared with others about the wonderful promise given to him by God? If Simeon was getting on in years, would they not all be looking with excited anticipation? 

Just as God did with a young Virgin named Mary, He revealed something to another otherwise unremarkable and insignificant person. Though easily overlooked by family and neighbors, God has made known His mighty works through the least of mankind, and Simeon and Mary’s names are memorialized for all generations in God’s Word. Take heart, gentle Believer! There is no one so insignificant that God will not reveal to them His plans and His schedule for salvation! Be listening for Him; be filled with the Holy Spirit; Jesus is coming again! 

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? The merchants say that time is running short, and you don’t want to be embarrassed on Christmas morning. And the advertising media is even worse, clamoring for more and more purchases, all with easy credit terms, of course. I cannot even count how many catalogs have come in the mail in recent weeks, many companies sending them multiple times each week.

Jesus gave us the best gift ever, and it wasn’t on Christmas, but on the cross. During all the holiday gaity, it’s easy to lose sight of that. God gave us His “self” in the form of His only begotten Son, that we might have eternal life (John 3:16). Our gifts to each other pale in comparison, for they are all temporal.

Thirty-three years transpired between Jesus birth and His death. Thirty-three years of giving daily and learning obedience to the Father. “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” –Heb. 5:8

Besides the enduring of pain, another translation of the word “suffering,” is to put up with, or simply, to endure. You might recall Jesus saying to the Disciples, “How long must I suffer you? This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Jesus’ words confirm His frustration, and His upset was not without cause, but as always, He again taught them anew the basics of miraculously expelling demons.
As the Psalm for today says in verses 18 and 19, He received gifts for men, and that He loads us with benefits daily. I pray that we all realize that Jesus’ gifts to us come daily, and there are many each day. While mankind looks for creature comforts and convenience items for gift giving, Jesus gives us the gifts we need to live, and to help us in ministering the Good News to others.

The Father gave us the Son. The Son gave us Himself, leaving the Holy Spirit with us. The Spirit teaches us all things, and reminds us of the teachings of The Word. God has given Himself fully to us; to benefit us daily in multiple ways.

“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”– Matthew 10:8

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