Sunday, August 31, 2014


by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

    Today’s Psalm 101 is yet another song of praise in this grouping of Psalms, but with a poignant difference. Though Psalm 101’s authorship is not listed, Dr. Henry Halley (Halley’s Bible Handbook) believes it is a Psalm of David, as he takes the throne of Israel. If that is the case, then the Psalm quite literally lays out some lofty goals for David’s administration over Israel.

    One might liken these to campaign promises of our government’s leaders. It isn’t long after reciting the Oath of Office that a “State Of The Union” address comes up and the President must explain away the reasons why he has been unable to fulfill the promises he made on the Campaign Trail.

    Taking over powerful government positions usually means that the newly elected politicians were clueless beforehand concerning the intricacies of the job they worked so hard to attain. The harsh reality is that everyone wants a piece of you, and many favors received during a campaign are now due for repayment.

    We are all aware that politics can be a dirty game, and whether it is our current state, or David’s newly installed government, Solomon reminds us that “There is nothing new under the sun.”      

    So, whether we are the man-on-the-street, or the politicos, we plod onward with new determination to do better. For the Christian, that means to live more Godly; to be more Christ-like; to live lives that are set apart for God. Here are those lofty goals again, but each time that we set them, we gain a little more knowledge of the pitfalls, and our live resemble Christ Jesus’ life just a little more closely.

    “Blessed be the name of the Lord!” can be sung more strongly and with greater confidence in His life-changing power. Never give up that hope. Never give up on these lofty goals. Never give up on Jesus!  

    And remember that the Devil is nothing more than a political “muckraker,” Jesus our Advocate has already experienced Satan’s worst, yet He lives. And because He lives, we shall live also!

- Hebrews 4:13 -

“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014


by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

    It is easy to identify the pattern of trouble and despair being changed to joyful anticipation and trust in David’s Psalms. Our “present” circumstances can be daunting, and some may even fear for their lives, as David did so often.

    But to quiet our minds and look to the Lord God is an indication of a changing heart. Looking to God and waiting for His perfect will is often the only thing left for us to do. Alcoholics Anonymous adopted “The Serenity Prayer” and uses it regularly in their meetings.

    Written by Reinhold Niebahr (1892-1971) as a prayer to God, Niebahr is credited with the prayer in 1937, but he himself did not publish it until 1951.
A.A. adopted the following portion  of the prayer: 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.”

    After 1951, Niebuhr’s full prayer came to light and we find it to be unwaveringly a Christian Prayer, and not just a few words to be recited at a 12-Step Meeting:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next.    Amen.

    The bold words are my own emphasis. But as you read through the Serenity Prayer, you will identify the fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22,23 : Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.

    The underlying message of the Serenity Prayer then is the encouragement for each to be Spirit-Filled, with the anticipation of Eternal Life with Christ! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The reading for today in Romans 1 establishes a truth (doctrine) for mankind to believe that God is who He says He is. There are dozens of other doctrines that God teaches us in His Word, but for Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 1, verses 18-21 are like Genesis chapter one.

Ancient Roman farmers were pantheistic, believing that gods and spirits inhabited everything in nature (much like the Baha’i Faith today). The practice of their faith was both private and public. “Lar Familiaris” was a guardian spirit/god that watched over individual families. Every family had a Lar Familiaris. For them, their Pantheism was central to daily life.

Later on, the Etruscans and Greeks influenced Roman religious culture as Rome became an Empire. Pantheism evolved into the worship of three major gods: Jupiter (Zeus), Juno (Hera), and Minerva (Athena).

Roman worship was done privately, and publicly. Public worship took place at a temple that became known as the “Capitoline Triad.” Already, within the dominant Triad belief system existing in Rome, Paul found a basis of common ground that he could build upon to explain the One True God as a Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit made up one single God, in three persons.

But Roman had many other, lesser gods too. And it doesn’t take much of a stretch to understand that Lar Familiaris might have been the basis for the Roman Church’s Guardian Angels, for Guardian Angels have endured through Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity.

As Paul had done with the Athenians, he found common ground upon which he could build a true and enduring faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. With Paul’s teachings, the Romans found themselves without an excuse for not believing in God and Jesus Christ.

Today, evangelists face the same thing: unbelieving people who hear the truth, and now have no excuse to not believe. Once their eyes have been opened by the Holy Spirit, a decision must be made. The only question is whether it will be the right decision.

“Harden not your heart, as in the day of provocation…” Psalm 95:8 

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