Showing items filed under “Pastor Ralph”
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"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” - Luke 19:10 (ESV)

It was one of the most amazing scenes I had ever witnessed up to that point in my life.

One of my friends from church had asked me to spend the night at their farm. Being a city boy, I was continuously amazed and mentally stimulated as I learned about and experienced the day to day life of my good friend living on a farm. The chores were...well...different...feeding cattle was amazing, I mean, I knew what it was to feed my half and half mix of Chihuahua and Fox Terrier dog every day, Teddy, but to feed what seemed like hundreds of huge cattle was fascinating.

The whole week end was full of one new and exciting lesson after another. But when lunch time rolled around I was taken to the barn and asked to pick out dinner for the night. That’s right...dinner...and I was looking a group of chickens and they didn’t look anything like Kentucky Fried Chicken...anyway, we made our choice and then it happened...kind of suddenly and without explanation. Jon’s mom took the chicken to a tree stump...she had a little axe in her hand...and without hesitation she quickly and efficiently separated the head from the rest of the chicken. I was shocked and then amazed...and yes, I will admit it, a little scared, maybe a lot scared...because she let go of the chicken and it started running around the yard, without its head. He didn’t run too long or too far really, but run he did. They thought it was all so funny...because I started running too... away from the chicken, even though my head was still attached...proved by the sound barrier breaking screams coming out of my mouth. AMAZING...didn’t see that one coming!

After the entire family clan, who had ventured out for the event without my having noticed, finished their hooting and hollering, and it subsided from seeing my immediate and expected reaction...real funny, I thought. Then they explained that the chicken was dead...everything was okay...he wasn’t going to hurt me...he was dead and he just didn’t know it yet. You know, since that day I’ve learned that if you chop the head off a chicken they can run around for a few seconds because of a neural network in the spinal cord that is pre-programmed to direct the muscles in frequently used movement patterns such as running. The chickens are already dead...they just don’t know it.

That can happen in the life...and death...of a church. Here you have a church in the beginning of its life, started by a group of outward looking outward...meaning, they have the desire to fulfill the Great Commission and seek and save the lost...they have the heart and passion of the Lord for lost people and they are driven to grow and mature and fellowship and become complete in Christ that they might let Christ live through them and when He does that He is always seeking and saving the lost...and boy a church like that, well, is it alive...the people are looking outward...trying to reach as many people as they can with the gospel and then bring them into the fellowship of the church. The Great Commission is emphasized and the church has the heart and passion of the Lord to seek and to save the lost.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" - Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

Then, that local church begins to get a little larger and if they are not careful the church begins to look inward, mostly...and all they really care about when you get down to it, is... themselves...what they are learning...what they are receiving in fellowship...what their buildings and transportation and ministries can do for them and over a period of time the church begins to slide down the slippery slope of death. It becomes a “Me” church because it’s about what’s in it for me and my family. The goal revealed in the Great Commission, and the heart of sacrifice, to seek and save the lost which was demonstrated by Christ on the Cross, become distant, unimportant thoughts and are largely ignored. And that kind of church will eventually die. America’s landscape is becoming littered with empty buildings that use to house the church of the Living God.

After all... the buildings and the teaching and the preaching and the people are gathered together for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission and reaching out to those who have never heard of Christ or trusted Him as their Savior...and then bring them into the family of God where they grow spiritually, to maturity in Christ so that Christ will live through them and get and save the lost.

Unfortunately, in fact, there are many churches that are “dead” and they don’t even know it yet...they’ll be able to run around for a while...they’re used to being engaged in frequent movement patterns and rituals...just like the chicken...but they are on their way out because they turned inward.

Yes, according to Smokey the Bear, it’s true; you can help prevent forest fires, by not lighting a match and throwing it down in the forest. But more importantly, you can help prevent the death of a church...for people are the are the church... and by asking yourself if you are doing everything the Lord wants you to do to reach out with the good news of Jesus Christ you can help prevent our death.

Some churches are dead and they don’t even know it. Pray it never happens here.

... they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also"-  Acts 17:6 (ESV)

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with
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Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Ephesians 6:5-8 (ESV)


...were kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, with arms locked together, as the color guard presented the flag of the United States of America, center court, before one of the first, if not the first, exhibition basketball game played last year by the University of Arkansas girls’ basketball team versus Oral Roberts University.

It made me sick...I had driven with my wife, Sherri, all the way from Wentzville, roughly six hours, spent hard earned money for gas, food and tickets, to watch and cheer for the girls basketball team of my beloved Razorbacks, because during the season the games just are not possible for me to attend; they usually play on Wednesdays or Sundays.  And it had been something we had enjoyed doing with our family when the kids were all at home.  The tickets were less expensive and out of our five children we did have four girls.

It made my stomach turn and I turned to Sherri and said, “Let’s go...I’m not staying to cheer for someone who has disrespected the flag...Sherri was right on the same page, and we left our seats, center court, probably twenty rows up, and left the arena and headed out.

I know that not everything in our country is perfect; that we have many obstacles to address and overcome, but I have always had a place in my heart for our country, where any person who works hard, and has perseverance and passion can reach the dreams they have for their life.  We have seen many evidences of that occurring in our nation, we have had people of different backgrounds and experiences achieve their goals, whether it be the White House, the entertainment world, the sports world, the business world, the list could go on and on.  It has been demonstrated that the principles which are represented by the flag have indeed made it possible for many from humble beginnings to work hard and achieve their dreams. And at the same time to change the wrongs committed within our society whenever we have strayed from the ideals and principles set forth in the Scripture regarding our behavior and our attitudes.

While there are many who must work harder and have more drive than others to reach their goals, it can be done...we have seen it.  In what other part of the world can so many people play a sport and make millions of dollars which they are free to spend as they please, for the betterment of society or on themselves?  As a person who worked several jobs while attending Bible college, I can relate to hard work and difficult circumstances.  But I’ve been fortunate enough and free enough to follow the leading of the Lord in my life because I have been blessed enough to live in the United States of America.

I believe we should strive for the principles that are represented by the flag of the United States of America, “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  And I am grateful to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

For I realize that many who have gone before me have given their lives that I might have the freedom and blessings I enjoy.  Yes, that includes the freedom to protest.  Some people who live in our country do not hold the same view that I have regarding our nation.  They are able to voice protest, and should, when they believe that something is wrong, but even that protest must be done in an appropriate manner.

For while it is true that we have freedom of speech in our nation...we do not have freedom of speech everywhere...there are some places where it’s just not appropriate to speak freely.

For me...disrespecting the flag...anytime, anywhere, by protest, whether intended or not appropriate. Others may feel differently...they may do so.  Many stayed at the Razorback basketball game and watched the contest...we did not...we wrote to the University and shared our thoughts...and before long there were no “kneeling” players from the University basketball teams on the basketball courts.  They chose other ways to voice their protest and to do something tangible that would result in change that they believed was necessary.  I say, good job!  Change the world and make it a better live in a country... where you can do that...and thank you for not disrespecting the flag of the very nation that protects and encourages you to live in freedom and pursue making those changes.

What is happening in the NFL is a work place issue...not a freedom of speech issue.  All across this nation employers may restrict what an employee says...whether it be ESPN, who recently suspended one of their employees for asking their followers on twitter to boycott the advertisers of the Dallas Cowboys because the owner said if any of his players knelt during the national anthem they would not play... or if it is your workplace...where some things are appropriate to say...while others or not.

I can’t really imagine any owner of a Burger King allowing his employee, when I come in for a give me a ten minute protest of how terrible it is to work at Burger King before I get my burger. As a consumer I wouldn’t return...I’d go to some other burger joint.  I can’t imagine you could keep your’s just not appropriate... but protesting on your own time...having the freedom to say whatever you want in an appropriate manner...that works...though if your boss hears may have to pay the consequences.

I left the Razorback game...I went to watch some basketball...many are leaving the has fallen from the most popular sport in America to below the NBA.  The employees of the NFL, the players...they do play for an employer... the owners...they are undermining the profitability of their own business...and I would imagine it’s only a matter of time where the employers and the league will institute a rule that will forbid a player to kneel during the national anthem and disrespect the flag which represents our country...because it’s hurting their “bottom line.”  I could be wrong...but if they continue on as they are...they will continue to lose revenue.

If you are a Christian on an NFL football team...and your owner says it’s Okay for you to may protest...but you will have to recognize that many will protest your protest and not buy tickets or merchandise or watch your product...there are many other activities to involve oneself in these day.  Myself, I will not watch a game where the flag and our nation are will actually be a good time for me to grab a “nap”.

If you are a Christian on an NFL football team and your employer passes a rule that says you may not kneel, you must submit to their authority “as to the Lord.”  You “obey” unless it violates your conscience or a biblical being asked to do something criminal, immoral, idolatrous, or blasphemous. Then you must find another job and another employer.  But while employed by them you must not rebel...but obey. The word for “obey” in Ephesians 6:5 means to do it even when you don’t feel like indicates uninterrupted obedience.

I will continue to work on making our nation better, by sharing Christ with people, so that He may bring us together. He is our only hope, and only He can change the way we act and the way we live.  I will continue to seek to correct those things in our nation that are the most effective and appropriate manner.  I will recognize that our nation has many “issues” that need to be addressed.

 I will love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ first, understanding that it is possible that there would come a time where I must choose Him over the nation.   But right now, just as I love my family, although not everything is what I would like it to be, I will respect our flag and our nation and thank God for the blessings I have received for being able to live here and raise my family, and I will continue to respect the underlying principles that our nation was founded upon and honor the men and women who have given their lives to provide the freedoms I enjoy.

I will stand when the national anthem is played; I will place my hand over my heart, and if things happen as usual, I will shed a tear when I think of all those that have given their lives, for all of us.  May God Bless America.

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with 1 Comments

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