Saturday, May 24, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Bob Lawrenz

This weekend marks the beginning of summer for many. After our long winter, and wet spring, this weekend is the start of what we have all been waiting for: summer. Warmer weather, lighter weight clothes, sandals, shorts, outdoor sports, picnics, and travel for many. It means our lives change substantially in our daily routine, no longer dictated by cold weather and the heavy clothes we bundle ourselves into.

“Freedom” is a word that automatically comes to mind. Out from under the cruel and harsh conditions of the cold months, everyone is waiting to be out and about.

Monday’s Memorial Day celebration here in the USA is a reminder that our social and political freedoms have come at a great price. Memorialized are those that have fought in wars and battles, too awful to describe for the most part. In the midst of kicking off a season of enjoying our freedoms, we have the grim reminder of its cost: men and women have fought and died for it.

There are plenty of our nation’s residents for whom it’s just another reason to break out the lawn and patio chairs and pop the top of an adult beverage. But the thoughts for the weekend are a bit different for Christians, for we are reminded every time we open our Bibles of the cost of our freedom that was won for us by Jesus Christ.

While they might offer a moment of silence on Monday in respect for those that have given their lives for the nation, we a constantly reminded of our Savior, Jesus, every day because of the freedom from sin won for us by His sacrifice. Not that we are sinless, but because His death expanded our vocabulary. Instead of plunging headlong into temptations, the new word at our disposal is a simple two-letter word: no. Also added to our vocabulary is the phrase, “I’m sorry, forgive me.” Behind these words is an acknowledgment that we can do better, and be better people, to more closely reflect the life of our personal War Hero in the battle for our souls.

Our enemy is Jesus’ enemy. Can you imagine Satan giving his life for anyone? Therefore, even our nation’s history reveals that Jesus is the One to follow.

As Satan roams about seeking whom he may devour, Jesus gave His life for us.  Satan takes. Jesus has given.

“As the Father knoweth me, even so I know the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. …Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself…” –John 10:15,17,18

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz
Here in the month of May, we are familiar with the flowers that the April showers have brought.  The Lilac Festival has been declared a success.  Mother's day was a beautiful day.  Many are looking forward to next weekend with Memorial Day's recognition as the beginning of summertime.  And, with the rains we've had our grass is green, green, green.

But those same rains have had devastating effects throughout the northeast, and in particular, the local of Penn Yan area.  It was just a couple year ago that it was the Owego region.  The human race is resilient, if nothing else.  In the midst of joyful times, tragedies come up.  Life brings trials and blessings at the same time.

I usually am befuddled as to how people go through the tough times without God, and faith in Jesus Christ.  I am also confused about Who gets the praise when times are joyful for those same people.  For myself, I know that God gets the glory in All things.

A former neighbor came to mind this past week, and it occurred to me to pray for her since she lived her life waiting for the other shoe to drop; the next sickness in the family; the next illness she had to endure; the next bad news from the media; the next crisis she had to face.  She was a worrier, and with several children, she had plenty of material to worry about.  But the worry made her miserable.

The scriptures remind us not to worry about things over which we have no control.  If we cannot even add a cubit to our height, why do we think worry will accomplish anything except undermine our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Read the last part again.  Worry can undermine our faith, especially when we are taught to be independent and self-sufficient.  Being aware of something does not call for us to take on an additional burden of worry.

Placing our cares upon Jesus is what is called for.  Through prayer, we can become warriors instead of worriers.  It's only a single letter different, but it makes all the difference in the world.  You see, it ALL belongs to the Lord God anyway.

To place our trust in Christ, and know for certain that He has all under His control is freeing.  It does not mean we can ignore our responsibilities, but it means we are free to live the life He has designed for us.

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."  Proverbs 12:25 RSV

Jesus is that GOOD WORD!

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Happy Mothers’ Day to all of our Moms represented here today. Each of us has memories of growing up, and our parents raising us… they are among the earliest of our memories. But those memories of our mothers stand out boldly just because of the sheer amount of time they spent with us as babies and toddlers.

There is a natural affection between mother and child, and when a woman grows up knowing that love from her own Mom, and then shares it with her children, the cycle is then complete as love is shared from one generation to the next, and the next, and the one after that.

In directing Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, it is clear that motherhood was included in His plan as much as using the earth’s resources and replenishing it and them, and having dominion over every living creature.

God holds mothers and fathers in great regard; they reflect the history of His interaction with His Creation, and it is the central theme of the entire text. The Jews were commanded to pass an oral history of themselves and events down to each generation. One can hardly miss the central theme of “family” in the Bible. We may read of the families of the faithful, or the families of the enemies of God, Christians understand that we have been grafted in to God’s family of His Chosen Ones. Bearing and raising the next generation of all those families is what defines motherhood, and it is God who provides us with the mothers we need.

At a critical point in Israel’s history as a 20th Century nation, former Prime Minister Golda Meir was asked when Peace will come to Israel? Her response was that of the Proverbs 31 woman: “There will be peace in Israel when Palestinian mothers love their children more than they hate the Jews. “

Without trying to politicize Mothers’ Day, her words may still echo today. Mothers, love your children, for peace is apparently rooted in love.

“Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” Isaiah 38:17

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

God is a righteous judge. And, all judgment belongs to God, because all authority is His. During the night of Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane, He was taken to Pilate, and because Jesus was a Galilean, Pilate sent Him to Herod, for Herod ruled over the citizens of the Galilee region (Luke 23:8,9). After berating Jesus, Herod sent our Lord back to Pilate. It was a question of jurisdiction.

We often hear of court cases in which the lawyers argue for a determination about where a crime was committed, and therefore, what County, State, or agency may have jurisdiction to bring charges. This is why extradition proceedings take place, to get the accused person under the proper authority.

But as Jesus stood before Pilate for the second time that night, being silent before His questioners, Pilate finally asks Jesus to say something for Pilate had the power of life and death over Jesus (John 19:10). Jesus’ response was with wisdom and truth: “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.; therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.”

It is all the way back in Genesis 9 where we find that God authorized human governments to establish order and accountability in human society. While He did do that, in no way did God relinquish His own role as judge over all His creation. Proverbs declares to us that it is by God that kings, princes, and judges rule. So it is God who controls who it is that sits in our highest seats in the land (Proverbs 8:15,16).

God gave the Law to Moses, a written word. Kings, Princes, and judges rule by permission from Him, It is God’s Word that authorizes the Law and its judges. It is also God’s Word that became flesh and dwelled among us. It should not therefore surprise us at all when we read this:

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”
- John 5:22 -

The Word came from the Father, through the Son, and then to us; suddenly it makes perfect sense that Jesus said, “…no man comes (approaches) to the Father but by me.” – John 14:6

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