Saturday, April 26, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As parents train up their children, there comes the time to entrust them with a level of responsibility. It is the measure of the efficacy of our parental training and its effect on our children. Every generation does it for the next one following.

Without this relinquishment of parental control, we might never know what our children have learned, and how well they, in-turn, learn to adapt godly values to new situations they will inevitable encounter.

Today’s reading in Luke exemplifies Jesus’ training of the Apostles, and their taking the Gospel out into nearby towns and villages. They return and report back to Jesus of what they accomplished in their short travels. Jesus’ training of them had gone well. He empowered them, and sent them, and they returned after their first successful missionary journeys, as nearby as they were.

Much later on, in Acts 1:8, Jesus tells them that they will again be empowered to go out and be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. Jesus completed the Apostles’ training in three and one-half years.

Our Psalm today, #81, is a Psalm of judgment. Specific to a Jewish Feast Day, it reminds us of how easily we can be distracted and not do the things God has given us to do, even as we celebrate His feasts! For the Jews, they would not hearken unto the Lord God. Asaph writes this song about God’s promises, and ultimately the rejection of them.

In grace, God let them go their own way, yet He did not forget His chosen people. Though they lost favor with the Lord, they did not lose His love. He taught them, trained them, and sent them out. They came back empty handed, and in worse shape than before, compounding their trials with their own iniquities.

Things have not changed in the 3,000 years since Asaph and David penned the Psalms. It is said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expect somehow a different result from our efforts. History will repeat itself until we learn God’s lessons, take His training to heart, and perform that which we have learned at His feet. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he shall not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6) God treats us as His children, with teaching and training, and with the encouragement to train others. The ball is in our court in this generation. But let’s not forget the most important thing: Empowerment from on High !

It was the Holy Spirit Who preceded Jonah going into that wicked city of Ninevah!

Let’s not forget this part of the lesson! Empowerment already given!

“But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit…He shall teach you all things, and remind you of all that the Lord has spoken.”
~ John 14:26 paraphrased

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Some fifteen years ago, my mother told me a story about my father: Just a few days after he had passed and gone home to the Lord, my mother experienced a vision of my father. It was early in the morning, she told me, and he appeared in the doorway to her bedroom as she was rising to begin her day. He lingered for a moment, and then the vision ceased and he was gone. While I cannot explain it, it did not surprise me either. My mother was a Believer.

Several years before, Doris, the mother of a childhood friend (now grown) told of a similar experience after her husband had passed away. Doris was also a Believer. Both visions were peaceful and calming, and it appeared that the two husbands wanted one final opportunity to check on their wives and be assured of their well-being.

The common thread was love from two long marriages. But the two husbands made their brief appearance, and then were gone in less than a minute, never to return from beyond again. I liken it to the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation, who was invited to “come and see” the things going on in the Earth after he had been called up to heaven in Chapter 4.

As word spread that Jesus had risen from the dead, it should not have surprised anyone either. He had told them He would return after three days. And when He did reveal Himself on the third day to Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, and then the others, it was not just a vision; it was not a short visit either. Jesus appeared many times to the Apostles and Disciples.

The Gospels record that He sat with them and ate meals with them, He walked along beside them and conversed openly with them. Jesus continued to teach them and prepare them for evangelism, taking the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. And these things continued for 40 days, not just a few moments. Paul even records that Jesus had been seen by more than 500 brethren at one time.

If we take the word of two widows, then our Lord Jesus is more than just a man. If their reports are within in the human realm, then Jesus was more than human when He lived among mankind. Jesus remains and will always be more than “just a man.” Jesus retained His Divinity while on the Earth, and now sits at the right hand of the Father. He is the One the Jews are waiting for…

“…The high priest answered and said unto Him, ‘I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou hast said; nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’” - Mt. 26:63,64

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

We learn from John 1:1,2, that “In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” Later in verse 14, we find, “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth.”

From these two simple verses, Christians have understood for centuries that Jesus is the Word of the Lord that was sent to live among us and teach us. No other “Word” has ever been reported to have been made flesh, and in doing so, fulfilled scripture.

The Prophet Isaiah, in 55:11 teaches us something about this Word of God. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth…”

Before I write the whole verse out though, let’s see how it reads with the Word’s name in the appropriate places in the Isaiah verse.

“So shall (Jesus) be that goeth forth (at my command): (He) shall not return unto me void, but (He) shall accomplish that which I please, and (He) shall proper in the thing whereto I sent (Him).”

The implication is clear: the Father sent Jesus to accomplish a work on Earth and to prosper in it. And Jesus was destined to return to the Father, and when He did, He would not return empty. The “work” Jesus was sent to complete is the referred to as the Gospel, the good news, and it continues today. The message of the Gospel is as timeless as God Himself. And following the message of the Gospel, God says we shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace, as recorded in Isaiah’s next verse! Is Isaiah alluding to the Rapture here?

If Christians are looking forward to that day when we will be with Jesus, then that is what Isaiah is talking about. To the Jews, Isaiah writes about going forth from the bondage of Babylon, but to Jesus’ church, Isaiah is writing of coming out from the bondage of sin, and to glory with Him.

This week we look at Jesus’ glorious entry into Jerusalem. A horrendous week lay ahead for Him, but it too ends in His glorious Resurrection!

“…It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”
In Glory! ~ 1 John 3:2 ~

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In the Finger Lakes Wine Country, the grape growers put their trust in the methodology of growing grapes to tap into the nutrients of the soil.  Bountiful crops are the desire of anyone that grows crops.  But this past week's news reminded me that all involved in farming are not doing it because of a love for God, or for His Earth.  They might not even believe in God!

Vintners in the area are now facing a diminished harvest from their vines this year because of the persistent sub-freezing temperatures we experienced during the winter months.  Their pocketbooks may not be as full this year because of freeze damage to their vines.  Consequently, they have appealed to the government to bail them out and offset the damages to their grapes.

Our hearts go out to anyone who relies on the weather for their sustenance and food.  But have not these same vintners found in the past that a low grape yield during harvest means higher prices for their bottled wine products in the market place?  The rarity of a grape inflates the price of its wine.  This is the self-correcting nature of a market fueled by supply and demand.

Maybe I'm being cold here, but it seems to me that little Peter is crying "Wolf" far too early in the growing season.  The Lord is good, above all things.  If the Lord tells the Earth to hold back a little, it must be with good reason.  (I tend to think He wants to reveal His power to all!)

Projecting our worst fears on a situation will always have us crying out in advance.  But if Jesus is in our hearts, then He must also be in our circumstances.  His desire is to be an integral part of our lives, and for us to grow, that means pruning us for more growth and more fruit to come from our lives.

For those in agriculture who depend on the weather for everything, we should pray that they know the Divine One who makes the weather.  Without God's favor, we can do nothing.

"Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail?  Which (God) has reserved against the time of trouble..."
  Job 38:22, 23.

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