Downsville Cob

Welcome to the Downsville Church of the Brethren BLOG site. The church is located in Downsville, MD. We are a conservative Christian community lifting up the Name of Jesus daily.

Location: Downsville, Maryland, United States

I am the Pastor of the Downsville Church of the Brethren. This BLOG was set up to allow for interchanges of views, questions, ideas or suggestions concerning the Evangelical Church. While I am a Pastor in the Church of the Brethren all faiths are welcome to join the discussions.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The AIG Blowup

This past week I have heard (as I am certain many of you have) all sorts of elected officials ranting and raving about the bonus packages to be handed out to AIG employees. When I first heard the news I have to say that my reaction was one of disbelief followed by some outrage.

What stopped my outrage were quotes I heard from people threatening those who were to get the bonus payments. One man wanted the AIG employee and all of his/her family strangled with piano wire. Another simply wanted them all executed in the parking lot of AIG.

WWJD? The Bible calls for us to have compassion on those who are hurting and in need. Does this include someone getting a huge bonus for attempting to "defuse the bomb that they created"? No, they don't deserve compassion for that reason but for the fact that the reaction to this news is so out of character for our society. We are seeing the loss of Christ's message to the world these days because of economic concerns.

So many people, even those who attend church regularly, have no faith in the power of the Trinity. The threat to our way of life - to our homes - our cars - our plans - is overshadowing our relationship with the Savior. For those who have no relationship with the Savior now is the time for them to hear and accept it. For those who have one but are not acting like it now is the time to return to the WORD to seek comfort and guidance.

It is going to get worse. When I was growing up I didn't even know that a trillion was a number. Now we hear it so often it means nothing. We can no more understand a trillion dollars than we can fully comprehend what Heaven is really going to look like. But we cannot lose sight of our Heavenly rewards while fearing the loss of our earthly rewards.

It is going to get worse. The term being mentioned often by economists is hyperinflation. The price of nearly everything we need or want is going to skyrocket because of the path our leadership has chosen. The AIG debacle will be small potatoes in the coming year unless we find a way to inject the love of Jesus back into our economy. God understands a trillion. He knows that many pebbles personally. He knows that many hairs on the heads of His followers.

Jesus would not threaten the AIG employees. He would remind us to pray for this situation. The world has become reactive. Jesus was and always will be proactive. The world is mad because someone is getting something for doing the wrong thing. Jesus wants to call those who are angry to remind them that there is a retirement plan that requires no monetary input. Jesus wants to call those who are angry to turn all that over to Him and to point their lives toward eternity instead of wallowing in the short term of this world.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus calls us to let all those who are angry know that they can, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.". We need to get the word about the WORD out into the world so that they can let go of the anger and trust in God, like it says on our coins.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Without One Plea

As we begin Lent a familiar tune has been stuck in my head - Just As I Am. We need to be focusing on the fact that the LORD accepts us as is. He doesn’t expect us to beg for mercy. He accepts us “without one plea”. He paid the price in His own blood for all of our shortcomings. You know that. You have heard that all your life but have you ever put yourself in His place?

Think back to social situations in which you felt completely out of place. Some years ago we took the girls on vacation and stayed in a Bed & Breakfast in Louisiana. One of the claims for this place was that breakfast was served by candlelight using fine china. All the recipes were supposed to have come from an 1815 cookbook. The setting was beautiful and the food was wonderful. Interestingly, though, the only memory my daughters have of the experience is one of being afraid they would break a dish. They felt like they didn’t belong there.

We have all had similar experiences. The feeling that everyone is looking at you because you don’t belong here is almost overwhelming. You do not feel welcome Just As I Am. Yet, there is one place where we don’t really belong but we are welcome. There is one place where we have not earned the right to stand and be welcomed. There is one place we can never be good enough, nor smart enough, nor brave enough, nor rich or poor enough. We can’t dress well enough or talk well enough to deserve His Love. Christ accepts us in spite of what we are. He will welcome us into His Kingdom and introduce us as “heirs and co-heirs” for all to hear. No one will look down on us on that day.

What we need to focus on during Lent is the acceptance of me and you Just As I Am and quit worrying about breaking the china. It’s unbreakably held together by His Love for me and for you!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bending An Ear

Psalm 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.


On a crowded playground with dozens of children running and screaming a mother can pick out the sound of her child calling her name. When “MOM” is called only one mother will respond. That is true because the mother is tuned to the very frequency, the very tone, the very accent of her child and is able to hear it over all the other noises.

When I was a young boy my father would call us home with a loud whistle he had some how developed in his childhood. It could be heard all over the neighborhood and meant "come home now!".

This discernment of one voice over many is based upon our familiarity with each other. We hear a sound or a voice we recognize and it cuts through all the other noises around us.

In the examples I just mentioned one was a parent calling a child and one was a child calling a parent. Both are extremely important to our ability to communicate in times of trouble.

Jesus expresses this when describing Himself as our Shepherd.

John 10:1-10 [1] "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. [2] The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. [3] The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

When we are in trouble we need someone to call who will listen and respond:

[7] In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.

When we are children on a playground and get hurt we don’t think to call 911. We call the one who has taken care of us all our lives.

When we parents can’t find our children we call out to them directly. We don’t call 911 to report them missing. We go out looking for them.

Jesus tells us of a shepherd who leaves 99 sheep behind while he goes to rescue the one lost sheep. As he searches the sheep will hear the familiar voice and respond - leading the shepherd to the rescue.

LUKE 15:3-7

3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

God knows your voice. He can pick it out of the background noise and He responds. We are His which is why He will answer "in the day of my trouble". When He answers we must respond to the voice of God. It is a conversation and each of us is called to listen. Without listening there can be no resolution.

Have you called on the Lord in times of trouble? Most of us have. We find ourselves overwhelmed and call on the only friend we know who cannot fail.

Have you called on the Lord in times of plenty? Do you remember to thank Him just like you remembered to call out to Him for help? There is only one voice we need to know for eternal salvation. You recognize your child's voice and the Heavenly Father recognizes His children's voice.

Recognize the Shepherd's voice and follow only it.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Jesus Never Wished You Good Luck

Matthew 21:21-22
[21] Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. [22] If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

For a number of years my Mother-In-Law lived with us. She grew up during the Great Depression and she learned quite a few superstitions. You know some of the more common ones, of course:

Break a mirror – 7 years bad luck
Black cat walks across your path – bad luck
Walk under a ladder – bad luck
Rabbits foot for good luck
Spill salt – toss it over your left shoulder or you will have bad luck

She had a few I had never been told – one of which has stuck with the rest of her family – NEVER PUT SHOES ON A TABLE – once again, it’s bad luck.

I used to ask my Mother-In-Law to show these rules to me in the scripture but she never did.

You get the picture. Luck seems to play a large roll in the lives of many people. When you start a new job or even a trip people wish you “Good Luck” as if this will ward off any problems.

If we look back upon any serious stretches of bad luck we feel we have had, it is usually caused by some failure other than the black cat or the ladder. Quite often it isn’t bad luck - it’s our failure to prepare properly or the failure of something over which we have no control.

As Christians we do not live on luck. You can't touch luck because it really doesn't exist. If you could touch it you could control it - you could use it to your advantage. If you could use it you would never have bad luck. We live by faith.

Hebrews 11:1-3 [1] Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. [2] This is what the ancients were commended for. [3] By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

We can, however, use our faith – we cannot use our luck. We have all heard the phrase, “If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all.” No one has ever mentioned bad faith in this way. If luck can't be used how can faith be used?

Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Matthew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

This is how we use our faith. This is putting our faith into action.

2 Cor 5:7-10 [7] We live by faith, not by sight. [8] We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. [9] So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. [10] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Luck will have no part in what the Savior says when we appear before Him. Our faith and our belief in His life and resurrection will.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


On occasion the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language updates the words included in it’s various editions. Recently the Student edition added such words (?) as MP3 player. In order to make room in the edition certain words – deemed no longer relevant to the Student population – must be removed. This year the editors chose to remove words with a faith based implication. The most remarkable deletion was the word “SIN”.

Having been a student at the college level I can tell you that sin is definitely a relevant word. I doubt that there is a student using this dictionary who needs to look up MP3 player to know what one is. I know that there is not a student using this dictionary who is sin free. Yet, the word itself is now deemed either irrelevant or politically incorrect – thus it’s removal.

Just because the world doesn’t like the concept of sin doesn’t mean it no longer exists. If that were the case I would make a pitch to have words like debt and pain removed from the dictionary.

You don’t need to know what sin is to know you have sinned. You don’t need to know whether it is a noun or an adjective to know you have sinned. You don’t need to know how to pronounce sin in order to know that you have sinned. Sin doesn't have to be in the dictionary in order to exist.

What we need to know is what to do about the sins we have committed. We need to know that one who lived long ago paid the price for the very sins we are committing. We need to know that one who lived long ago loved us before we were born and wants to welcome us into a close, personal relationship. We need to know Jesus.

We need to know that He washed away our sins and all we have to do to take advantage of His Grace is to go to Him in prayer and confess our shortcomings and simply ask to be forgiven.

Share your personal relationship with the Savior with someone today. Make an opportunity in the grocery line, in a restaurant, to a neighbor etc. Show the sunshine of your soul to someone living in darkness.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Holiday(s) Season

We are about to enter the Holiday(s) Season. It occurs to me that we might just have our holidays backward. The one true HolyDay comes after we say Thanks. This is like saying thanks before we eat instead of being thankful that we have already eaten.

The problem with the order of our holidays is that for most people they aren’t really linked. When we say grace before the Thanksgiving meal (you know, the prayer that makes all your non-churched relatives squirm) it is immediately followed by the meal. There is a true progression here leading from saying thanks to being thankful.

Isn’t this the way we should view Thanksgiving? Shouldn’t we start the season and grow in thankfulness as the day we celebrate our Savior’s birth draws closer. Thanksgiving isn’t a day that the LORD set aside. It is really a man-made, government sponsored holiday. That doesn’t mean we can’t take it and use it to the glory of God’s Son.

On Thanksgiving Day add the birth of the Savior to your list of things for which you are thankful. When the family goes around the table asking each member to tell something for which they are thankful skip the mundane (gas prices have dropped, the election is over, etc.) and go straight for the one real reason for each of us to give Thanks. “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son…”

Each day during the Advent season remember to thank God for the one present we can never deserve.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Godly Makeover

2 Corinthians 3:18 - And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

There are a number of television shows that use the makeover as their premise. These programs promise a total transformation of your life though a new hair cut, make up or clothes. Stories continue to be told of how many of the recipients of these makeovers found their lives were not transformed because there was no inner change to support the outer ones.

Many think that losing weight will bring them happiness. You can substitute any word(s) you want for "losing weight" and you still have the same problem - the old you has not been transformed.

There is one transformation TV show that does offer something more - Extreme Home Makeover. In order to be transformed in the Lord we must first die to our sinful life here on earth - we must be "born again" (John 3:3). The houses that we see early in every episode are just like we are - rotten on the inside but still standing. These houses must "die" to their old selves and be "born again".

The new homes are beautiful and spacious. The owners return from their weeklong vacation to a whole new beginning. That's where the show leaves us. What we don't get to see, though, is that the new house is subject to the same degradation from the environment that took the old house. It will require a commitment by the owners to keep the house in this shape.

We find the same thing when we come up out of baptism. We are new babes in Christ with a desire to live our lives completely different from what we had done before coming to Christ. Yet, like the house, we are still subject to the same temptations that degraded our spiritual life. We need to make a commitment to keep our house in Christian shape "[13] For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14.

Our makeover is internal. We may not look any better to the outside world but we are beautiful to the Creator of the Universe. Just as we make some effort every day to look our best out in the world we need to remember to take some effort every day to look our best spiritually. Remind yourself every day that your old life and your old self have died. The front end loaders have come in and ripped it apart. The dump trucks have hauled all the decay, all the cracks, all the leaks, all the spots where the cold gets in away. These things are not needed in the new life we live.

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.