Find Us

We are located at:

7578 Concord Rd. Patriot, Indiana 47038

Sunday School.                                                                                               9 am

Service.                                                                                                               10 am on Sundays.

31 Replies to “Find Us”

  1. PRAISING AND REJOICING< We can spread the GOOD NEWS about GOD and about Concord Community Church through the air waves now. THANKS PASTOR AND OUR WEB TECH for this beautiful site.
    GOD BLESS YOU BOTH Amen

    1. Hey Bonnie!

      Welcome to the site. Thank you for loving the church so much and being such a good friend to Jerry! We’ll see you in the Fall! Hope you are around.

      1. Hello Bill Belew<

        BLESSINGS for posting Pastor Steve's sermons .
        Is it possible to make a tab at the top for SERMONS???

        PLUS, under EVENTS, will you please post the times and dates
        in November 2020 for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes?

        NATIONAL COLLECTION WEEK
        November 16 – 23, 2020
        FOR OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
        SHOEBOXES DROP-OFF
        at Concord Community Church

        November 16 9-11 am
        November 17 1-3 pm
        November 18 5-8 pm
        November 19 9-11 am
        November 20 9-11 am
        November 21 8-10:30 & 11-Noon
        November 22 Noon – 3 pm
        November 23 8-10 am

        Praying in Jesus' name that this note finds you and your family cozy at home and healthy< Amen HALLELU-YAH
        Bonnie Schreiner

  2. I am trying to find a contact number for your church.I am wanting to have my wedding there in February 2020..thanks Kirstin works

  3. Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020

    Greetings from Concord Community Church and from Pastor Steve Ward. May you be experiencing God’s peace and joy in these troubling and troubled times.

    Our Scripture passage for this morning is from the 19th chapter of the book of Luke. I hope you can find a quiet time and a quiet place to sit and pray and to meditate on His Word.

    Suggestion: (1) Notice the response of the crowds to the coming of Jesus into Jerusalem. (2) Notice the response of the Pharisee, who objected to the praises and acclamations of the crowds. (3) Notice the response of Jesus to the Pharisee, that nature, itself, would do the praising if the crowds were quieted.

    Luke 19:28-40

    Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
    28 After Jesus had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As He approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, He sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.
    32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as He had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
    34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
    35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.
    36 As He went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
    37 When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
    38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
    “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
    39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!”
    40 “I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.

    Today, April 5, 2020, is Palm Sunday, a day of celebration and proclamation.
    It seems that, to Jesus, it must have been the most conflicted day possible. Even though He was now being proclaimed king, He also knew that this “triumphant” ride into Jerusalem was going to culminate in the crucifixion. And only then, after the cruelty and agony of the crucifixion, would there come the victory of the resurrection.

    So, we celebrate the Kingship and Lordship of Jesus; the crowds and disciples were proclaiming Him King and Messiah; the Pharisees were objecting, but even all of nature was prepped and ready to join in to praise Him and to declare Him King..

    Today, if you look around you, you will see many of the beautiful signs of spring: Magnolia trees and other trees blossoming, and flowers springing up and blooming everywhere. It is, indeed, an irony that the streets, made beautiful and cheerful by the colors of Spring-time blooming, are nearly empty because of the lurking danger and ugliness of the COVID-19 virus, which threatens to destroy anyone it can.

    A similar irony can be seen in the scene of the “Triumphal Entry.” The beauty of the loving heart of Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb, is all the more striking when seen against the emptiness and ugliness of the human hearts which could praise Him one day, and then call for His crucifixion a few days later.

    As Christians, we are called to be the beauty in the midst of the ugliness and the emptiness of selfishness, wickedness, and sin all around us. IT IS A DISEASE! And it threatens to destroy every one of us it can. There is only one cure, and it was procured by Jesus when He detoured from the promise of an immediate, earthly kingdom, to the agony of the cross, so that each one of us would have the chance to share in His eternal Kingdom in Heaven. Think about it: It’s even more crucial than a cure for the COVID-19 virus!

    Let us BE the beauty of Jesus. We are bearers of the cure! As the song says, “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”

    15 “So then, my brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the teachings that have been passed on to us. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

  4. Greetings from Concord Community Church. This text or e-mail is coming to you because of your relationship – one way or another – with Concord Community Church.
    On Sunday, March 29th, we are not able to meet as a congregation, but I would like to encourage you to find a quiet place to sit down and read and to pray and to meditate on the Scripture passage.

    Our Scripture for the morning is Ephesians 1:1-23. As you read, please notice 7 words and 2 concepts.

    7 Words: (in order as they appear)
    1) predestined 2) redemption 3) forgiveness 4) trusted
    5) believed 6) sealed 7) faith

    2 Concepts/thoughts/ideas
    Look for all the blessings we have in Christ
    Notice Paul’s prayer –lots there
    Ephesians 1 New King James Version (NKJV)
    Greeting

    1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

    To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

    2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Redemption in Christ

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

    7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory /// 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[d] is the [e] guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

    Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

    15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

    Words to notice:

    predestined (v. 5,11)—we are wanted – before the foundation of the world
    redemption (v. 7,)—— we are bought back, after having been lost to God.
    forgiveness (v.7)——- “according to the riches of His grace”
    trusted (v.12, 13)—— an important part of believing
    believed (v. 13)——– a heart belief which includes trust.
    sealed (by the Holy Spirit)—We are sealed and secured and marked as His own.
    faith (v. 15)—-again, part of believing and trusting.

    Concepts:

    Try to find all the blessings in the passage. Keep counting – even on the 2nd and 3rd reading.
    Notice Paul’s prayer (v. 16-23). A prayer for each of us, too, and a prayer we can pray for one another – a prayer that may sound a bit familiar (see Paul’s prayer in chapter 3:14-19 at end of this message)

    In your prayer time, this morning, let’s pray for one another – we could pray both prayers – from this chapter and also the prayer we’ve been praying from chapter 3.

    Pray for our church and for churches everywhere.

    Pray for the COVID-19 crisis, our nation, our leaders, leaders of world nations.

    Pray for my brother, Chris, my nephew, Stephen, and for Tristan, Deanna/Jame’s son.

    All working in hospitals with COVID-19 patients.

    Please add you own prayers, joys, and requests.

    If it’s possible for you to stop and read and pray at 10:00 AM, it would be great for as many of us to pray together at that time. Many blessings to each one. Love from Sharon and myself. (We plan to be sitting by the river to pray and read, etc.)

    PRAYER from Ephesians 3:14-21 NKJ

    (14) “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    (15) from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

    (16) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

    (17) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

    (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–

    (19) to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    (20) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

    (21) to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen”

    4

  5. Good Friday Thoughts and Worship

    Greetings from Concord Community Church and Pastor Steve Ward. Friday, April 10, 2020

    Today is Good Friday, and, as Christians, it is a day that we observe; we even call it good because, as a result of the death of Jesus, by crucifixion, we have Salvation through Christ by our faith in Him and in His finished work on the cross.

    Sometimes we even say we “celebrate” the day, and, again, the end result of what Jesus did for us is absolutely celebrational and even sensational.

    But it’s also rather hard to celebrate the events of the day because it was a dark day, a sad day, a day of despair, of weeping and bewilderment.  It was a day when sin seemed to have won.  It was a day when evil men with evil intentions seemed to have triumphed.

    It is a hard day, in many ways, for Christians to observe and to commemorate.  It’s hard enough to think through the indignities, the humiliations, the injustices, the impunity that Jesus endured – all with His own voluntary consent!  What kind of determined self-squelching of His own power and attributes must have overcome the human part of Jesus – the part that hurt, was insulted, that was revolted, and reviled against, that was beaten and whipped to an unrecognizable form.  All those atrocities are hard enough to consider and to try to imagine, but is it not harder, still, to realize, that they – the atrocities –  one by one, one after another, and each one heaped on each other, were also caused by me and by you.  We are and were the reason He was there.  We are and were the reason He chose not to retaliate, to exert the power at His disposal and at His finger tips.  Every whip lashed against His back,, every thorn jammed upon His head, every blow from every soldier – every long second of agony was suffered expressly for you and for me.  Let’s go through this day with reverence and awe, and let’s allow ourselves to be overwhelmed be His great love for us.  As the song says,

    “How can it be . . . . that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
    Amazing love, how can it be, that Thou, my God shouldst die for Me?”  

    REMEMBER…
    “It’s Friday; Sunday’s a’ comin’.”

  6. “Social Distancing” Sermon for April 19, 2020:

    Greetings from Concord Community Church and from Pastor Steve Ward. It’s been just a week since we celebrated Easter, and that same time span – a week – is represented in our Scripture passage, this morning, which begins on the very first Resurrection Sunday, (Easter) and takes us through the next Sunday. Again, I encourage you to find a quiet time and place to read and reflect, pray and worship – perhaps at 10:00 AM, so we could “be together.”

    John 20:19, 20; 24-31
    19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

    Seeing and Believing

    24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

    So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

    26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

    28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

    29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    That You May Believe

    30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

    Many people have believed, and many people have doubted. In our present age, it seems to be more fashionable to doubt than to believe. In an effort to support their doubt, for example, many ideas and theories have been advanced, suggesting that Jesus didn’t really die, that He went into a “swoon” or a coma and later revived. Maybe someone else was crucified, instead. So many Thoughts! So much rationalizing! So much doubting!

    Jesus did rise from the dead and appear to His disciples, (“The Twelve” – minus Judas and minus Thomas), to the women who went to anoint and prepare His body, and to many others.

    In dealing with this assertion, we have the same hurdle to overcome that the people, then, had to overcome: How is this possible? How can I believe this?

    In looking back to that time, we also have a tendency to see those events through the dim and somewhat blurred filters of time and distance. Since those happenings were long ago and in a rather far-away place, we often think of them in a remote way, almost as “less than real,” because we don’t have to confront them, very often, “head-on,” or “up close and personal.”

    The first women to come to the tomb had been up close when Jesus died. They had been there through every agonizing detail of His terrible death; They had endured it with Him. They had seen every gut-wrenching moment as they watched in horror and near disbelief at the cruelty and brutality of the event.

    Then, they had had the Sabbath to quietly mourn, and now they had to face reality again. The one reality that was thrust upon them, try as they might to ignore, forget, and deny it, was that, with their own eyes, they had seen Him die. With their own eyes they had seen Him stabbed in the side “just to make sure,” and, with their own eyes, they had seen His limp, life-less body removed – no doubt, in a cold and callous way, from the cross. They had had the presence of mind to observe where the body was taken, and now they were coming to prepare His body for a proper interment. They knew He was dead.

    Thomas, also, knew Jesus was dead.

    In our Scripture, from the Gospel of John, we have the account of Jesus appearing to the Disciples, not including Thomas. Thomas is told of the appearance of Jesus – and, by implication, His resurrection – and he insists that he will not believe until he sees Jesus with his own eyes and touches Him with his own hands. Although there is an obvious amount of doubt in Thomas’s mind, I wonder, also, if there is a good bit of wonder, even as one of us might have if something wonderful had happened, and we declare, “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!” — as in “I can’t believe I won the contest! I won’t really believe it until the prize money is in my hands!” Thomas says, basically, “I won’t believe it until I see Him with my own eyes and touch Him with my own hands.”

    Thus, besides expressing his doubt and his wonder, Thomas was also making another, not-so-obvious statement. It is as though he was also saying, “I know He died! How can I believe He’s alive? For us, a somewhat hidden and ignored truth in the story of “doubting Thomas” is that Thomas was thoroughly convinced that Jesus had died! Thomas could not have doubted the resurrection without being convinced of His death!

    Please notice one more thing about this episode. There is no other recorded purpose for Jesus appearing to His disciples on this occasion than to present Himself to Thomas as the risen Lord. Jesus made this one appearance to all of the disciples, specifically, it seems, for Thomas. Jesus accommodated Thomas’s doubts. Jesus responded directly, personally, and especially to Thomas.

    You are just as special. You and I are just as precious to Jesus as Thomas was, and Jesus is just as interested in accommodating and reassuring you and me in our doubts as He was in the doubts that Thomas had. He even talked about you and me when He spoke to Thomas. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    At another time there was a man who brought His son to Jesus to be healed. When Jesus told the man that all things are possible to them who believe, the man responded, “Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) I do believe that this is a very proper and appropriate prayer for us to pray, also. Recognizing our failing and inadequate faith – our incomplete beliefs – our doubts – we can confidently approach our compassionate, caring Savior and pray, “Lord I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.”

    “Casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7)

  7. Sunday, April 19, 2020

    Dear Concord friends and family<
    Sunday BLESSINGS from Bill & Bonnie!!! May you feel God’s EVERLASTING ARMS holding you and bringing you PEACE, PROTECTION, and PROVISION. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
    We are sharing this prayer(below) that you may use it today or tomorrow morning. In our bulletin for church, Steve always reminds us to pray at 6:30 pm, knowing that the rest of Concord are praying with you, too. TO GOD BE THE GLORY <

    April 19, 2020
    (GOD’S MINUTE: A Book of 365 Daily Prayers
    Sixty Seconds Long for Home Worship
    Copyright 1931)

    “Let the people praise Thee, O God;
    let all the people praise Thee.
    Then shall the earth yield her increase;
    and God, even our own God, shall bless us.
    God shall bless us;
    and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him–”
    Psalm 67:5-7

    OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, we thank Thee for this day and all its opportunities. Help us to show our gratitude by the use we make of it. May Jesus Christ so dwell in our hearts that we shall be kept from sin. Wilt Thou rule and bless our home this day. We pray Thy blessing on friends and neighbors. May we so live before them that we may honor Thy Name. Bless, we pray, the poor and sick and suffering. May their need be to us a call to service.

    We pray for Thy blessing on our church. May we strive to win men to Jesus Christ. We pray for town and state and country, that righteousness may prevail. We pray that the Gospel message may speedily go into all the world; that wars may cease; that sin and greed may no longer rule. To this end may we give as Thou hast blessed us. May the peace of God dwell in our hearts this day.

    We ask it all in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Amen.

  8. Sunday, April 26, 2020
    Greetings from Pastor Steve Ward and from Concord Community Church. This is our third Sunday of not being together in our church building. I find myself singing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.
    Our hearts in Christian love,
    The fellowship of kindred minds
    Is like to that above.”
    Sharon and I miss being together with our church family on Sundays. In the meantime, I encourage you to find a quiet time and a quiet place to worship, hopefully at 10:00 AM, for togetherness sake.

    Our Scripture lesson, today, is a bit long, but it’s also one of my favorites. It’s the story of the two followers of Jesus who were travelling to the little village of Emmaus, not too far from Jerusalem.

    As you read, try to imagine the action as though it were happening before you. As you will see, Jesus joins the two travelers, but they don’t recognize Him. He asks about their conversation and comments about the sadness in it. What was in Jesus’s thoughts and mind? Did He feel an empathetic but compassionate hurt in His heart for the frustrations and disappointments of the two travelers? Did He also feel a hurt in His own heart for their failure to understand and to believe what He had been telling them and “the Twelve?” Did Jesus have, maybe, even a little bit of fun in His incognito “adventure,” as He gave these disciples a lesson – a complete course, actually, — in Bible Prophecy? Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there when Jesus broke the bread, at the table, and then disappeared . . .

    Imagine yourself in the shoes of these two travelers/disciples as they were somehow suddenly – and perhaps mysteriously – joined by this stranger, who, in the first place doesn’t seem to be aware of what has happened in Jerusalem in the past few days, and, in the second place, slowly unfolds to them – to their somewhat non-understanding ears – that He knows more about the events and the subject than they could possibly ever know.

    Try, too, to imagine the moment He breaks the bread and they recognize Him – the heart race of that moment, the following moment of utter confusion and astonishment at His disappearance, and the moment or moments when it all came crashing down on them – the glorious, exultant “ahah moment” – when it all came together and they realized what had just happened and who had been with them. “He’s alive!” “He was here! He was right here!” “It was Jesus!” What kind of rush and tumult was it when they realized that they just had to return to Jerusalem, immediately, to tell the others? Don’t you just know that they “jabbered” all the way back? Don’t you just know that they almost couldn’t contain themselves? Do you think they had ever made a faster trip to Jerusalem?

    The Road to Emmaus – Luke 24:13-35
    13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.

    17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”

    18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

    19 And He said to them, “What things?”

    So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

    25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

    The Disciples’ Eyes Opened
    28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.

    30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.

    32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.”

    Because of this passage of Scripture, I have a notebook, and, as I read the Bible, I’ve been trying to compile all the Biblical prophesies that tell about the coming of the Messiah. What an astounding thing it would have been to have walked beside Jesus and to have heard Him expound on all of the prophesies about Himself.

    We need to understand that writer after writer and book after book give us precise, accurate predictions about the coming Messiah and that every one of those prophesies has or will come true. In this story Jesus confirmed those prophesies and brought them to the remembrance of these two men.

    Jesus showed Himself to these two men as evidence of His resurrection;; Many of His appearances were not only proofs of His resurrection, but also personal expressions of compassion for individuals. Jesus showed Himself to Peter, alone; He showed Himself to His brother James, alone; He showed Himself to the eleven once without Thomas and then again especially for Thomas’s sake.; His appearance to Mary, outside the tomb, was purely compassionate, and loving, and intended for her, personally.

    He wants to be personal with you and me, also. His love isn’t just an all-encompassing love for all man-kind; it’s a personal love for each one of us. He loves you, personally. He loves me, personally. He wants to be your Savior, personally. Won’t you open up your heart and let Him come in?

  9. Greetings from Pastor Steve Ward and Concord Community Church. It has been a good while since we have been able to meet together and to see each other face to face, and we all miss it. Let’s pray for wisdom and discernment in deciding when to start meeting, again. For this morning, I hope you will find a quiet time and a quiet place to read, to pray, and to worship.

    Today’s Scripture Reading is about another post-resurrection appearance of Jesus as He shows Himself to a group of disciples, again. This time it happens after the disciples have gone fishing for the night and are coming home empty-handed.

    John 21:1-13; 24,25- New King James Version

    Breakfast by the Sea
    21:1 “After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

    They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”

    They answered Him, “No.”

    6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

    7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”

    11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

    24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

    25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

    There is so much going on in this Scripture passage that it would require much more time than we have to cover it all. In fact, that’s the point of our thoughts, this morning: John, the writer, was overwhelmed by all the things he was remembering about the life of Jesus, and, in this passage, He is trying to convey to the reader the eventfulness of that morning – Jesus by the seashore, their failure to recognize Him, the question about catching any fish and the instructions to cast the net out on the other side of the boat where they caught more than a net-full, their sudden realization that this stranger on the shore was none other than the resurrected Jesus, working over a fire, fixing breakfast – of fish and bread ! . . . John was eager to relate to his readers as many of the things he could remember about Jesus and His life and His resurrection.

    In verse 24, he testifies to his own participation as an eyewitness, as the writer, and as a faithful, true, and reliable observer and recorder of facts: “This is the disciple . . . his testimony is true.” As if to say, “I’m the one who saw it, and, I’m telling you, it’s true!”

    Then, in verse 25, he expresses the seeming impossibility of his task – the insurmountable mountain of evidence that could have been written to document the life and, especially, the resurrection of Jesus By the time John wrote down the “Gospel of John” he had been preaching and spreading the gospel for some 40 years, and now, in this written account, he wants to emphasize that there is so much evidence, so many facts, so many stories and proofs, that, try as he might, it would seem to be impossible to set them all down.

    There was another time when John alludes to “many other” things which could have written to further document the truth of the resurrection:

    John 20:30

    30 “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

    It’s not just a made-up story; It’s not just someone’s imagined account of something someone heard from someone who heard it from someone else. It’s not just something “I think . . .” is true. The fact is, that we can hold in our hands an accurate copy of an actual eye-witness account – someone who saw Jesus in the flesh, eating breakfast, even – saw with his own eyes – and had much more to tell.

    Ours is only to believe it. It really is a sure thing.

    WCB
    8:42 AM (58 minutes ago)

  10. Happy Easter from Concord Community Church and from Pastor Steve Ward.  May God richly bless you as you celebrate the wonder of Easter and the glory of the resurrection of Jesus.  I hope you will find a quiet place to read and to worship with your household.  If possible, stop and pray and join in spirit at 10:00 AM, so, as much as possible, we can worship together.

    Luke 24:1-12(New King James Version)
    He Is Risen
    1. Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”
    8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
      

    What is your favorite part about the Easter Story?  Is it John and Peter running to the tomb to see for themselves that Jesus was not there?  Is it the women finding the stone rolled away and seeing the angel and hearing “Fear not. for I know you seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said; come, see the place where the Lord lay?”  Is it the tender moment when Mary, thinking she is talking to the gardener, trying to figure where Jesus’ body was, heard the voice of Jesus behind her: “Mary?” Perhaps you like the story of two followers of Jesus, on their way to Emmaus who were joined by Jesus, Himself. Or, perhaps you like the story of Jesus suddenly appearing to the disciples while they were together in a secretive location behind closed doors. Perhaps it’s when Jesus appears to Thomas, who says, in response, “My Lord and my God.”

    And did you notice that every one of those incidents is about people? They were people who saw and were astonished.  They became people who had seen and heard and then told the world. There were many, and the groundswell of their testimony challenged the world and changed it.  They told their story everywhere.  They couldn’t be stopped. They couldn’t be quieted.  They certainly couldn’t “unsee” the incredible sight of a “dead,” crucified man actually standing in front of them, speaking to them, every bit alive and real.  And they never stopped telling their story.

    They were the changed ones. They were the eye-witnesses.

    At one point, 500 people – together –  saw the risen Lord –  at the same time, in the same place!  It wasn’t just a few who saw Jesus after He died, was buried and returned from the dead.  Paul tells of the hundreds, and he gave us names, and those names were known to Paul’s listeners and his readers.  His facts could have been challenged if they were refutable, but they weren’t.

    It is difficult to find a better authenticated fact of history than the “in the flesh” resurrection of Jesus.  How many eye-witnesses were there?  How many do you need? 

    Every one of the 11 remaining apostles was changed.(Judas had hanged himself.)  Every one of them  suffered a martyr’s death –  some of them violently.  Still, not one of them recanted.  Not one of them said, “We made it all up. It’s fake news.”  Not one. 

    They had not become “the 12” because they were bold, outspoken leaders of their time. Instead, they were tentative, doubting, questioning, hesitant, even unlearned men.  Yet, their time with Jesus, and their witnessing of Jesus being alive, risen, and returned from the dead, changed them, emboldened them, converted them.  Along with other eye-witnesses, they became crusaders. They became men with a purpose.  They became evangelists and teachers, and, by the grace of God, they became miracle-workers and healers and prophets . . .  and they spent their lives and they laid down their lives for a message they knew to be real and true and vital to everyone who would hear and believe, because the message carried with it the potential for eternal life because of this Jesus/Savior,/Messiah who had brought it to them, taught it to them, and died for it and for them and for us.

    Today we celebrate that story.  It was life and death to them.

    What does it mean to you? . . . 

    Allow the Resurrection to change your life.  Allow the Resurrection to change your future.  Allow it to change your day.  Allow it to change you thinking, you intentions, your outlook.

    Remember: “If any man be in Christ, He is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

  11. May 10, 2020

    Greetings from Concord Community Church and from Pastor Steve Ward. May you be experiencing God’s peace and joy in these troubling and troubled times.

    Our Scripture passage for this morning is from the 1st  chapter of the book of I Samuel.  I hope you can find a quiet time and a quiet place to sit and pray and to meditate on His Word.

    We will be meeting as a congregation this Sunday, the 10th of May for the first time since before Palm Sunday.  Join us if you’re comfortable doing so.

    In this passage we see the distress and anguish of Hannah, a Godly woman who was the wife of a faithful & devout Israelite.  Look for the source and cause of her difficulty and for her solution.   

    I Samuel 1:1-28
    1 Now there was a certain man . . , and his name was Elkanah . . . an Ephraimite. 2 And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.  . . . 6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.
    Hannah’s Vow
    8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
    9 So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”
    12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!”
    15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”
    17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”
    18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
    Samuel Is Born and Dedicated
    19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. . . . 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” . . . . 24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there.

    Notice:
    1. Hannah Suffered anguish, pain, and persecution –  not alone, Hannah personifies the pain and disappointment of countless women who hurt in not having children. Like Hannah, & through no fault of their own, but through circumstances or accident or health issues, many women are deprived of the opportunity to be a mother.  Like Hannah, no woman need feel abandoned or devalued in not giving birth.  Like Hannah, all of us need to recognize that our refuge is in the Lord.

    2. Hannah took her Problem to God.  She didn’t look for other solutions as her first. Resort. God was her first resort.

    3. Hannah Prayed – fervently.  She poured out her distress with earnestness of heart.  ( James 5:16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”)  In her prayer Hannah made a promise; It wasn’t a casual, off-hand, “by the way” kind of promise.  Here was Hannah, praying for the desire of her heart, the relief of her anguish and her persecution, her longing and hope – her first child, her symbol of motherhood, in those days, a tribute to her worth – to herself, and, especially, to her husband, and, with all of that riding on God’s answer to her prayer, she promised that if God would give her a child, she would give that child back to God! 

    Could you do that?  Could I do that?  Can I pray for my heart’s desire and, in the same breath, can I promise to give back to God whatever it is I am requesting?  There’s one way.  I can promise to return such a gift from God if I know God wants me to have it.  . . . and I can return that gift to God if I am praying for God’s will in my life and if God’s granting my request will bring honor and glory to Him.

    What kind of realignment of my life does that require?  How much do I have to shift my priorities?  Do I have to put my wishes on a shelf? How about what I want?           Is that anywhere near the right question?

    How about what God wants?  It’s when my wants align with the wants of God that my life finds it’s most complete fulfillment.  You don’t believe me?  Try it.  Ask Hannah.

    4. Hannah kept her promise to God.  Her child, Samuel, was taken to the temple, where he served for the rest of his life and became one of the most respected, memorable and important judges of the Old Testament.

    5. Hannah Rejoiced and Gave God the Credit
                rejoicing, thanking, praising, worshiping

    Isn’t this the perfect day to see to it that what I want and what God wants are the same thing?  Isn’t this the perfect day to see to it that my priorities are lining up with God’s priorities?

    After all, it’s the only right way.  Let’s make God’s way your way and my way..

  12. M
    Greetings from Pastor Steve Ward and Concord Community Church.  It has been a good while since we have been able to meet together and to see each other face to face, and we all miss it.  Let’s pray for wisdom and discernment in deciding when to start meeting, again.  For this morning, I hope you will find a quiet time and a quiet place to read, to pray, and to worship.

    Today’s Scripture Reading is about another post-resurrection appearance of Jesus as He shows Himself to a group of disciples, again.  This time it happens after the disciples have gone fishing for the night and are coming home empty-handed.

    John 21:1-13; 24,25- New King James Version
    Breakfast by the Sea
    21:1 “After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
    They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
    They answered Him, “No.”
    6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
    7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”
    11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that  it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.
    24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
    25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

    There is so much going on in this Scripture passage that it would require much more time than we have to cover it all.  In fact, that’s the point of our thoughts, this morning:  John, the writer, was overwhelmed by all the things he was remembering about the life of Jesus, and, in this passage, He is trying to convey to the reader the eventfulness of that morning – Jesus by the seashore, their failure to recognize Him, the question about catching any fish and the instructions to cast the net out on the other side of the boat where they caught more than a net-full, their  sudden realization that this stranger on the shore was none other than the resurrected Jesus, working over a fire, fixing breakfast – of fish and bread ! . . . John was eager to relate to his readers as many of the things he could remember about Jesus and His life and His resurrection.

    In verse 24, he testifies to his own participation as an eyewitness, as the writer, and as a faithful, true, and reliable observer and recorder of facts:  “This is the disciple . . . his testimony is true.”  As if to say, “I’m the one who saw it, and, I’m telling you, it’s true!”

    Then, in verse 25, he expresses the seeming impossibility of his task – the insurmountable mountain of evidence that could have been written to document the life and, especially, the resurrection of Jesus  By the time John wrote down the “Gospel of John” he  had been preaching and spreading the gospel for some 40 years, and now, in this written account, he wants to emphasize that there is so much evidence, so many facts, so many stories and proofs, that, try as he might, it would seem to be impossible to set them all down.

    There was another time when John alludes to “many other” things which could have written to further document the truth of the resurrection:

    John 20:30
    30 “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
    It’s not just a made-up story; It’s not just someone’s imagined account of something someone heard from someone who heard it from someone else.  It’s not just something “I think . . .” is true.  The fact is, that we can hold in our hands an accurate copy of an actual eye-witness account – someone who saw Jesus in the flesh, eating breakfast, even – saw with his own eyes –  and had much more to tell.

    Ours is only to believe it.  It really is a sure thing.

  13. May 17, 2020
    Greetings from Concord Community Church, Patriot, Indiana, and from Pastor Steve Ward. Our congregation is meeting, today, at 10.00 AM. If you can’t be with us, you can still worship with us by finding a quiet time and place and joining us in the Scripture and these thoughts.
    You’ll be asked, later, to take note of those sections in italics and those without italics.

    Ephesians 4:1-4;22-32; 5:15-21 (New Living Translation)
    4:1-4 1. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

    4:22-32 22. throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

    25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

    28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

    30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, ] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

    31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

    5:15-21 15, So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    Eph. 6:1-4 1. Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”]

    4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

    Did you see this? There was a sign out in front of a bookstore: Our “Post Apocalyptic” section has been moved to our “Current Events” section.

    As I was going to Dr. Frede’s office for a routine test, I saw a man there with whom I had often exchanged greetings, and I said, “I’ll be glad when they get this stuff straightened out.” – pointing at face masks and referring to the virus.

    Then one of us said, “We ought not to have to live this way.” and the response was, “That’s for sure.”

    Upon reflection, it occurred to me that much of the way we live is not the way we ought to live.

    Of course, in the midst of this current health situation, we “kinda hafta” live the way we are living: face masks, “don’t get too close,” hands away from face, wash your hands often and thoroughly, etc., but in our private, “stay-at-home-lives,” and for the rest of our lives, we have many more choices about how to live, and we don’t always make the best ones.

    Our Scripture, this morning, is taken from several different sections from the book of Ephesians. Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul to the church in the city of Ephesus. This church had a large Gentile population, being in modern-day Turkey, and being largely Gentile was a big thing. Paul devotes much of his letter to addressing the fact that, in Christ, Jew and Gentile have been united in one body – the church, the body of Christ.

    He also addresses behavior – the way we live – what we do and say, and, doing so, his words are also very pointed and appropriate for our own lives and for the way we live.

    Please look back at the Scripture, which, like much of Scripture, begs to be read at least twice, anyway. I would ask you to notice the parts in italics, and those sections not in italics. The sections in italics are general instructions, but they are principles – over-riding concepts or precepts; The sections not in italics are specifics: “Don’t do this; do that; stop doing this,” etc. The specifics – not in italics – are not exclusive; they don’t include everything you should do and shouldn’t do. They include a lot of important things and can serve as a guide for the kind of things to do and not to do. We will concentrate on the principles – in italics – understanding that the rest of the text – not in italics – helps to fill out our understanding.

    The first principle is found in chapter 4, verse 1: “Lead a life worthy of your calling,” and, by the way, “you have been called by God.” Is there any need for any further instruction? There shouldn’t be a need for saying anything more. If you read the rest of the passage, you will find ways to lead a life worthy of our calling. By the way, again, how often are we humble and gentle and patient, fore-bearing, united, and peaceable? – “Just sayin’.”

    The next principle is found in chapter 4:22-24. Put off the “old nature” – the sinful one – and “put on the new nature” –the righteous and holy one. Mission accomplished? ‘Nough said? Once again, this ought to be all we need to hear.

    The third principle: “Do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live.” After all, He identifies you as His own. You’re “wearing His jersey.” You’re not just on His team; you’re part of the family. He’s actually looking forward to being proud of you. There would have never been a more devastating thing for my Father to have said than, “I’m ashamed of you.”
    I don’t think I could have taken it. Are we just as anxious for God to be pleased with us?

    Fourth principle: “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (5:15-21) Read everything that goes with that, and don’t forget to be “making music to the Lord in your hearts.” Also, don’t forget that super hard one: “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Do that, and you will solve the vast majority of your relationship problems.

    The Fifth principle: “Children, obey you parents in the Lord,” and parents, bring your children up “with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” This is the biggest lesson society needs to be learning from the coronavirus and “stay-at home” orders: Discipline and instruction. It’s an old, old, formula, often discarded by “modern” educational theories. By the way, (again) discipline and instruction are still incomplete; By themselves, they are not enough. They are right only when the discipline and the instruction comes from the Lord.

    In Summary:
    1. Lead a life worthy of your calling.
    2. Throw off the old sinful nature; put one the new (holy, righteous) nature.
    3. Do not bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit by the way you live.
    4. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
    5. Children, obey your parents. Parents, use Godly discipline and instruction.

    Do any one of the first four, and it will likely turn your life around. Do the last one: Children, it’ll change your life forever; Parents, it could change your children’s lives forever.

  14. Sunday, May 24, 2020
    Blessed Is the Nation Whose God Is the Lord

    Greetings from Concord Community Church, and from Pastor Steve Ward. We are located half-way between Patriot, Indiana, and Florence, Indiana – “the Little White Church down the lane.” We have been back together, now, as a congregation, for several weeks. Please feel free to join us at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings. Social distancing is in effect and graciously observed. Face masks are welcomed and encouraged. A spirit of prayer, worship, and praise is sought and desired.

    Psalm 33:8-22

    8 “Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
    9 For He spoke, and it was done;
    He commanded, and it stood fast.

    10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
    11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    The plans of His heart to all generations.

    12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

    16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
    A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
    17 A horse is a
    vain hope for safety;
    Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

    18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
    On those who hope in His mercy,
    19 To deliver their soul from death,
    And to keep them alive in famine.

    20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
    He is our help and our shield.
    21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
    Because we have trusted in His holy name.
    22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
    Just as we hope in You.”

    Now that warm weather has begun in earnest, you might appreciate this story: A little church was preparing for summer and anticipated hot weather, so they purchased several air-conditioners. However, the air-conditioners were stolen. The pastor posted this notice on the sign in front of the church: To the thief who stole our air-conditioning units: Keep one; It’s going to be hot where you’re going!

    Now, to the Scripture for the day: “Blessed Is the Nation Whose God Is the Lord.” When this phrase was first written, and when this Psalm was first penned, the author was talking about the nation of Israel, and there weren’t that many nations in that same category – nations who claimed that God was their Lord. In fact, Israel was the only nation who claimed God – Jehovah – as their God. The writer wasn’t just making a general statement that “Whenever a nation has God – Jehovah – as Lord, they will be blessed.” He was specifically saying, and rejoicing in the fact that Jehovah-God was the God of Israel, and that they were blessed in being in that position.

    When our country was first established, it could have been said, quite accurately, that God – Jehovah was our Lord. Not that there weren’t those who didn’t follow Him, but our country was established on Godly and righteous principles, and we, as a nation, recognized God as creator, Lord, Savior, and sustainer.

    However, if a person were to come to this country today, without any prior knowledge of its background or history, he might go a long time before he ever even suspected that God was involved in the country, at all.

    You know, as I do, that if a newcomer were to read a newspaper, today, he or she would find little mention of the idea that God is the Lord, here. If that same person were to turn on the radio or TV, would he or she find anyone, anywhere in this entire country who would try to say that God is the Lord of this land?

    Still, it’s quite undeniable that God has blessed America. He has protected her and shielded her and even defended her. Even now, in the midst of anti-God, anti-Christianity, and anti-religious sentiment across the country, God still seems to have a restraining hand on the evil forces that would fight against Him.

    How long will that last? How long will it be before God’s patience runs out?

    Do you remember, in the Old Testament, when Abraham prayed to God for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and he asked if God would spare the cities if there could be found fifty individuals who followed God? Then he actually bargained with God until God agreed to spare the city if 10 such people could be found.

    Even 10 individuals could not be found, and the cities were destroyed.

    Is there a limit for America? Is there a minimum number of faithful followers whose presence might turn away God’s wrath? Is that number dwindling? Are the percentages slipping away?

    Yes, God’s mercy is great; His patience is longsuffering. His forgiveness is unending. Yet, even His chosen people, Israel, pushed Him too far, and they were punished by being over-run and conquered!

    Today and tomorrow, as we remember our fallen soldiers and departed loved ones, let’s remember and give thanks, especially, for those who served God and country! Let’s maintain an extra honor for those whose allegiance was to both the country they loved and to the God they loved, and let’s be among those faithful Americans for whom God is our Lord!

  15. Sermon May 31, 2020

    Greater Is He That Is in Me

    Greetings from Concord Community Church and from Pastor Steve Ward. If you can join us at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings, we would love to have you. We are located half-way between Patriot, Indiana, and Florence, Indiana – “the Little White Church down the lane.” Social distancing is in effect and graciously observed. Face masks are welcomed and encouraged. We seek a spirit of prayer, worship, praise, and devotion.

    Our Scripture Reading, today, is in two parts. The first part, in Galations 5, is about the fruit of the Spirit – the kind of things that should be in our lives because God – in the person of the Holy Spirit – is in our lives.

    The second Scripture, the rather famous “love chapter,” or I Corinthians 13, speaks about the importance of love in our lives. Although the two passages are quite different, both in purpose and in content, look for similarities in the two.

    Scripture Reading: Galatians 5:22,23; I Corinthians 13:1-13 (NKJV)
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

    I Corinthians 13:1-13 The Greatest Gift
    13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

    4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

    11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

    13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

    The similarities in these two portions of Scripture are, at first glance, rather “hit and miss.” There is certainly not a lined-up, paralleled list of characteristics which can be readily matched and seen to be direct links, .but there is a definite – though subtle – over-lap and similarity between the two lists which begins to appear and to even show itself as one reads and re-reads the two passages.

    There are some obvious match-ups: “Love suffers long and is kind = “the fruit of the Spirit is . . . longsuffering, kindness . . . or “love does not envy, love does not parade itself, does not behave
    rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil” all fit together with “the fruit of the Spirit is . . . goodness.” So does “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.”

    “Love bears all things” – longsuffering;
    “Love believes all things” – faithfulness.
    “Love endures all things” – faithfulness. And longsuffering
    “Love never fails” – longsuffering, faithfulness, self-control.

    There is another list to which I Corinthians 13 also alludes, but we’re not always so eager to see this connection. Remember, I Corinthians 13 follows immediately after this sentence by Paul, the apostle: “And yet, I show you a more excellent way.” A more excellent way than what? In chapter 12, Paul has been talking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and he has been showing the need for unity in the church, the body of Christ – all within the context of such a wide diversity of gifts which God gives us.

    He mentions, in verses 8-10, “the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy,discerning of Spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc.

    Then, in v. 28 – 31, he gives quite a long list of the gifts of the Spirit, and he concludes with these words, verse 31, “But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” Thus, it is obvious, in chapter 13, that he is referring to gifts of the Holy Spirit as he says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, . . . 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains . . . all these gifts – any one of these gifts – minus love, is useless, meaningless, totally ineffective, and of zeroe value – null and void.

    So, perhaps the sum of it all is that we have the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, and the ultimate gift from God, — I’m referring to love – and they are all potentially a part of each one of our lives. Thus, we should be full of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, and those should be all operating in the midst of God’s separate gifts to each one of us — the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy,discerning of Spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc., — the Spiritual gifts – none of which is the least bit worthwhile without love as the over-riding factor., but all of which, combined in our lives in God’s divine proportionment, combines into a powerful, dynamic, unimaginable force.

    It’s no wonder Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you, . . . .”

    Are you willing to pray that the fruit of the Spirit would come alive in your life and that His love would so envelope your every word, thought, motive, action, attitude, and response, that nothing is done without it?

    Be sure of this: the true fruit of the Spirit and the true gifts of the Spirit are initiated, empowered and perpetuated by love. – and every one of them is useless without it.

  16. Scripture and Thoughts, June 7, 2020
    All Your Anxiety

    Greetings from Concord Community Church at 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana. We’re actually half-way between Patriot, Indiana, and Florence, Indiana. Our Morning Worship Service is at 10:00 AM. We encourage social distancing and face masks. Our aim is to worship God respectfully, to give Him the praise and honor due to His name, and to fellowship together as Christians who love our God and Savior!

    Our Scripture, this morning, is from a great number of sources. I trust that you will find a common theme and that that theme will help us direct our thoughts.

    II Timothy 1:7 “After all, the spirit given to us by God isn’t a fearful spirit; it’s a spirit of power, love and prudence.”
    Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
    Proverbs 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
    Psalm 56:3,4 “But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in You. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting Him, what can mere man do to me?”
    Psalm 34:4 “For I cried to him and he answered me! He freed me from all my fears.”
    Psalm 55:22 “Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them. He will not permit the godly to slip or fall.”
    Romans 8:28 “We know, in fact, that God works all things together for good to those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose”
    Philippians 4:19 “What’s more, my God will meet all your needs, too, out of His store of glorious riches in King Jesus.”
    1 Peter 5:7 “Throw all your care upon Him, because he cares about you.”
    Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand/”
    Deuteronomy 31 “Be strong! Be courageous! Do not be afraid of them! For the Lord your God will be with you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.”
    John 14:27 “ ‘I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my own peace. I don’t give gifts in the way the world does. Don’t let your hearts be troubled; don’t be fearful.”
    Matthew 6:34 “ ‘So don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow can worry about itself. One day’s trouble at a time is quite enough.’ ”
    Romans 5:13 “I pray that God, the source of hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

    Have you ever wondered why so many Bible verses deal with burdens, anxiety, worry, and lack of peace?

    On one hand, of course, it’s because God is the perfect solution to our anxieties, our worries, burdens, and lack of peace. On the other hand, it’s also because we humans seem to be the perfect anxiety machines. We’re the best worriers on the planet; We’re expert and well-practiced burden-carriers.

    When I began thinking about a topic for this morning’s thoughts and sermon, I was quite intent about the subject of commitment – our need to commit our lives to God and to dedicate ourselves to His work. However, it seemed that every time I started jotting down notes and choosing songs about commitment, those thoughts and those song titles kept getting re-directed toward the subjects of anxiety, worry, burdens, and lack of contentment or peace.

    That’s when I realized that there’s a vital and very important connection between the subject of commitment and the subjects of worry, anxiety, burdens, and contentment/peace. The connection is that if we want God to undertake in our feelings of anxiety and worries, etc., then we have to trust Him enough that we are willing to turn our lives over to Him. – and that’s called commitment!

    Do we really expect God to give us peace if we don’t accept His care and protection? Do we really expect God to take our burdens when we keep on insisting that we can solve them, ourselves?

    How do we expect God to follow through on this promise:

    Fear thou not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee. I will help thee. I will uphold thee with my right hand.

    How does it work for Him to tell us to “be not dismayed, for I am thy God,” if we refuse to let Him be our God? How can He really be our God – and our ruler – if we’ve already elected ourselves to that position? Are we insisting on being our own ruler? Are we the only ones we allow to be in charge of our lives?

    Listen to the words of this song:

    “Is there a heart bowed down by sorrow? Is there a life bowed down by care? Come to the cross, each burden bearing. All your anxiety – leave it there.”

    So, what do we do? Do we bring our burdens to the cross and then keep on walking – with our burdens still on our shoulder?

    All your anxiety, all your care,
    Bring to the mercy seat, leave it there,
    Never a burden He cannot bear,
    Never a friend like Jesus!

    But there’s one burden that Jesus cannot bear. He can’t bear the burden that you refuse to give up. How can He solve your problem if you insist on trying to solve it yourself? I will admit that Jesus can overcome even our stubborn will. He can put you in such a situation that you just have to give up, but, for the most part, He won’t. He would much rather that we would surrender our trials and troubles to Him to take care of, but, too often, we don’t – and/or we won’t.

    Too often, we want to get rid of our worries and anxieties, but we only want God to do the work of carrying our burdens away. Then we want to go on with our lives as though nothing happened. We think our part should be ultra easy, and, in a way, it is – let God take over, but, at the same time, it’s extra hard: We have to release our burdens to God! We have to let go. We have to trust God, yes, but that means trusting God with our lives – not just with our worries and troubles, but with the whole of our lives!

    That’s why there’s such a connection between anxieties and commitment. We can’t really get rid of our anxieties without committing our lives to God.

    “No other friend so swift to help you,
    No other friend so quick to hear,
    No other place to leave your burden,
    No other one to hear your prayer.

    Refrain:
    “All your anxiety, all your care,
    Bring to the mercy seat, leave it there,
    Never a burden He cannot bear,
    Never a friend like Jesus!”

  17. Sermon June 14, 2020

    Greetings from Concord Community Church and Pastor Steve Ward at 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana. We’re actually half-way between Patriot, Indiana, and Florence, Indiana. Our Morning Worship Service is at 10:00 AM. We encourage social distancing and face masks. Please come and worship God together with us and share in fellowship as Christians who love our God and Savior!

    Scripture: Deut. 20:1-4; II Sam. 5:22-25; II Kings 6:14-17
    “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. 2 So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. 3 And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; 4 for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’ ”

    II Sam. 5:22-25 22 “Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. 24 And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” 25 And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.”

    II Kings 6:14-17
    14 “Therefore he (the king of Syria) sent horses and chariots and a great army there, (where Elisha was) and they came by night and surrounded the city. 15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’

    16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

    These three very different stories are all focused on one thing: The almighty power of God to deliver His children.

    In the Book of Deuteronomy, we find Moses addressing the children of Israel as they are about to cross over the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land. Moses’ great sadness is that He will not be going with them. Thus, the entire book of Deuteronomy consists of three long, impassioned sermons from Moses to prepare the people to go on without him. He has seen them when they did follow God and when they did exhibit their faith in Him. He has also seen them falter and fail. He has even seen them refuse to trust God and rebel. Forty years prior to this time, they had decided that the land God promised them would be too difficult for them to conquer.

    Thus, the key phrase from this passage of Scripture is when Moses says, “ ‘. . . for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’ ”

    The application for us is just as simple: God goes with us. He’s not just a companion and not merely a comforter. God goes with us to fight against our enemies! He is there for us; He “has our back.” Moses wants to emphasize that God is there to fight for them. God is just as powerful in our time as He was when He led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promised land.

    What is God’s purpose in your life? What does He want for you? Rember, He wants the best for you. Be assured that it is God who is the power to accomplish what He wills for you.

    The next story is about King David, who was being attacked by the Philistines. When David asked God if he should confront them in battle, God told him to circle around behind them, and wait for the sound of a marching army in the tops of the mulberry trees! How amazing would that be? This would be the signal that God would be going before them to strike the enemy. God often surprises us by the way He fights for us; Have you heard God in the mulberry trees, lately? With God, the unexpected – even the impossible – can easily be the norm. Remember: “God works in mysterious ways.” Be sure that He will go before you!

    Lastly, we have the story of Elisha, who is being sought by the entire Syrian army, which had come, initially, to fight the Israeli army. Syria had been frustrated, however, because the king of Israel always seemed to know the Syrian moves ahead of time. Fed up with being out-maneuvered, and suspecting a spy, the king called his officers together to try to find who the traitor might be. Instead, he was told that it was Elisha, the prophet, who was informing the Israelites of the Syrian plans and movements.

    Think, now, of the irony of the next move: The Syrian king decides to capture Elisha! He decides to catch the prophet who has already been one step ahead of him every time he tries to make a move!

    He finds out where the prophet lives, and then he puts his plan – such as it is – in motion.

    That’s where our Scripture text begins. Elisha’s servant wakes up in the morning and sees the city surrounded by an army and horses and chariots. Not realizing God’s power of protection, (does that sound like us?), the servant comes to Elisha in a panic. “What shall we do? What shall we do?” (Does that sound like us, too?)

    Don’t you wonder if Elisha might have had a little smile on his face? The first part of his answer was simple: “Don’t worry,” he said, in effect, “Those who are with us are more than those who are against us.”

    Still, the servant was looking at the entire army of the Syrian forces, and that was no small matter!

    Would Elisha’s answer have been enough to calm the fears of the servant? Would it have been enough for us, if we looked out the window one morning and saw that troops and vehicles and war machines were out there waiting for us to show ourselves?

    Elisha went one step further in order to quell the servant’s fears: He asked God to open the eyes of the servant so that he could really see what was out there. He wanted his servant to see the protective forces of the armies of the hosts of Heaven! When he looked again, he saw, all over the country-side, the vast array of the “horses and chariots of fire” which God had sent for their protection! Can you imagine? God allowed this man to merely look and to see God’s power and protection all around him!

    Do we need to have our eyes opened to see God’s mighty army of protection all around us?

    The story, by the way, does not end there. Remember the plan of the Syrian king to capture Elisha? How successful do you think that “mighty” king was in his plot to frustrate the protection of God?

    The “rest of the story” is that Elisha simply asked God to strike the king and his army with blindness! Then Elisha went to the blind king and offered to take him to “the man you seek.” (Remember, the king was out to capture Elisha for upsetting his plans to fight the King of Israel.) Elisha led the unwitting Syrian king right to the court of the king of Israel! There, of course, he could have expected, at least, to have been taken prisoner, if not something far worse.

    Instead, Elisha told the king of Israel to give the captive king and his army a grand feast and to send them on their way home. Hopefully, by now, he should have learned enough about the power and protection of the God of Israel to give Him due Honor and respect.

    It makes a person wonder what God might have to do in order for us to really believe in and trust the power and protection of God. How slow are we in recognizing God’s power at work in our lives at any time?

    Let’s remember these three truths:

    1. From the lips of Moses: 4 “for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’ ”

    2. From the story of David, listening for the sound of an army marching among the tops of the mulberry trees: “the Lord will go out before you” Let’s listen for His army.

    3. Elisha’s prayer for his servant: “open his eyes that he may see.” (“Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” )

    May we, too, be aware of the mighty power of God, His wish and will to take care of us, and our need, continually, to have our eyes opened to see and recognize His protection, power, and care.

  18. Rules of a Godly Life

    Scripture and Thoughts, June 21, 2020 – Fathers Day

    Greetings from Concord Community Church at 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana. We’re actually half-way between Patriot, Indiana, and Florence, Indiana. Our Morning Worship Service is at 10:00 AM. Please come and join us.

    Scripture
    Proverbs 23:22-25 (NKJV)
    22 Listen to your father who begot you,
    And do not despise your mother when she is old.

    23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it,

    24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
    And he who begets a wise child will delight in him.
    25 Let your father and your mother be glad,
    And let her who bore you rejoice.

    Psalms 103:13 (NLT)

    13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

    Psalms 68:4, 5 (NLT)
    4 Sing praises to God and to his name!
    Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.[a]
    His name is the Lord—
    rejoice in his presence!

    5 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
    this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

    Ephesians 6:4
    4 Fathers,[a]

    do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

    Rules of a Godly Life
    Part III: WORKS

    9. Do not think that it will suffice to only serve God yourself, and not see to it that all in your care do likewise. The duty of every father lies not alone in personal service to God, but also in influencing his family and servants to do likewise. God has commanded, “And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou risest up.” Deut. 6:6,7. So did Joshua, the God-fearing hero, informing the people of Israel that whether or not they served the Lord, he and his house would do so. Josh. 24:15. A father is as accountable for the welfare of those in his house as a government for her charge or a pastor for his flock. He must therefore be deeply concerned that his entire household truly worship and serve God, . . .

    17. Preside over those in your charge with kindness and meekness . . . God requires meekness and humility of those in authority as well as justice. Therefore govern . . . with love and mercy, . . .

    18. Finally, be friendly to all and a burden to no one. Live holy before God; before yourself, moderately; before your neighbors, honestly. Let your life be modest and reserved, your manner courteous, your admonitions friendly, your forgiveness willing, your promises true, your speech wise, and share gladly the bounties you receive.

    Have you heard this story?

    There was a very rich man who was also very wise – so wise that people came from miles around just to hear him expound on matters of all kinds – from philosophy to plants, from poetry to the wisdom of the ages.

    However, this very wise man had a very foolish son, and, even though the wise man had many things to say about fools and the shame of giving foolish sons authority or positions of power, the wise man allowed his foolish son to become king, in his place, when the wise man died.

    When the foolish son did become king, his very first decision was a foolish one. He even went against the advice of his father’s trusted counselors, for he told the people that he was going to increase their tax burden beyond the heavy requirements that his father had imposed.

    As a result, the majority of his kingdom – more than 90% – rebelled and split away and set up an opposing, rival nation right next door to his. They would oppose him and become a thorn in his flesh – and his nation – for years to come.

    This unfortunate father, the wisest and the richest man in all the world, left, as a legacy, an undisciplined, disrespectful, ungodly son who caused the division of the nation as well as their departure from even the pretension of godly ways, and this apostasy lasted at least 20 years and two kingdoms before a God-fearing king was again placed on the throne.

    You probably recognize this “foolish” father as none other than King Solomon, otherwise known as the wisest man who ever lived, who was very unwise in at least three ways: the women he married (emphasizing the plural), the ungodly choices he made because of them, and the son whose discipline and training he neglected. Yes, it was his son who foolishly caused the division and split of the kingdom which God had established, nourished, empowered, and made great through King Saul, David, and Solomon, and it was Solomon, that wise, wise, revered, and rich, rich, rich king who neglected his duty as a father and reared – may I say it? – a spoiled “brat” for a son.

    What good did it do for Solomon to be so wise if he was going to end his life in such a foolish way? But that’s just what he did.

    What good did it do for Solomon to be so rich if those riches were to be squandered and soon lost to the King (Pharoah) of Egypt when he invaded The tiny (Southern) Kingdom of Judah?

    Each of us, as fathers, has the opportunity to be wiser than Solomon in the raising of our children. “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Spoken, by the way, by King Solomon.

    Will you be a wise father? Will you be a Godly Father? Will it be your aim to live a Godly life before your children and your household and to provide the instruction and discipline required to raise Godly children? These are our challenges. This should be our goal.

  19. Scripture and Thoughts, June 28, 2020

    Greetings from Concord Community Church at 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana.
    We’re actually half-way between Patriot, Indiana, and Florence, Indiana.
    Our Morning Worship Service is at 10:00 AM. Please come and join us.

    Sripture Reading:
    Col. 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

    Hebrews 12:1,2 1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Hebrews 12:2 NKJV – – Bible Gateway

    Concord Community Church – Who Are We?

    We are the “Little White Church Down the Lane”
    in the middle of a cornfield between Florence and Patriot, Indiana.
    We are a small, independent, community church with a proud history
    of sharing and proclaiming the Gospel. We are, and intend to be

    Our church invitation is
    “Come share God’s Love with us.”

    We are, and intend to be, a church of prayer

    We believe in the authority of the Scriptures. – We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
    We believe in Jesus Christ and His redeeming work on the cross. Jesus is His name; it means “Saviour.” “Christ” Means the Messiah ,– meaning the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament – the coming king, Savior, and Redeemer.
    We believe in the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

    Some of the basic fundamentals of the faith are:
    the virgin birth,
    the inspiration of the Bible, the Trinity, the power and indwelling
    presence of the Holy Spirit, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus,
    the Christ, the Son of God, We believe in His sure and coming return, and
    we believe all true Believers will spend eternity with Him.

    The following is something that is not set down anywhere, but I
    believe it is true. It should be true for each one of us as well as for all
    of us, together:

    We believe, and we seek to practice, that the love of Christ
    must be at the center of the life of every Christian,
    the center of the life and work of the church,
    and that it must motivate our every
    thought, word, and action.

    The following comes from our by-laws and our statement of faith. It is referred to as our church covenant:

    Our church covanent challenges us to
    -Walk together in Christian love.
    -Strive for the advancement of this church
    in knowledge, holiness, and comfort.
    -Promote its prosperity and spirituality
    -Sustain its worship, ordinances, and doctrines.
    -Contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry,
    the expenses of the church, the relief of the the poor and the
    spread of the gospel to and through all nations.
    -Maintain family and personal devotions
    -Religiously educate our children.
    -Seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances.
    -Walk humbly in the world.
    Be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements,
    and exemplary in our deportment.
    Avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger.
    Be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our God and Savior. ****
    Watch over one another in brotherly love,
    Remember each other in prayer. ****
    Aid each other in sickness and distress.
    Cultivate Christian Character in feeling and courtesy in speech.
    Be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, being ever-mindful
    of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
    (If you are on the way to the altar and discover?realize there is a problem between you and a fellow Chriatian, leave you gift of sacrifice, aand go mend the rift with your fellow-Christian!)
    Who are you, today? Where are you, today? Do those words of our church covenant suggest any changes or adjustments you may need to make in your life?

    What are your good qualities and assets?
    What are your bad – not-so-good- qualities and assets?

    Between today and tomorrow, what do you want/need to change?
    Can you make a start?

    Bonus Question: What would your wife or husband want you to change?
    Can you make a start?

    Second Bonus Question:
    What would God want you to change?
    Can you make a start?

    Why don’t you set a time – perhaps this afternoon – when you can contemplate these questions – especially the three:

    1. What do you want/need to change in your life?
    2. What would your wife or husband want you to change?
    3. What would God want you to change?

    However, before you ask God what He wants you to change, would you please do something else? Would you just pretend you’re a child coming home from a very
    disappointing and hurtful day at school, and all you want to do is crawl up onto your Mommy’s lap or your Daddy’s lap and sob and cry and hang onto Mommy or Daddy? You just want to hold on.
    –only, you are not a child. And, instead of Mommy or Daddy, it’s Jesus; it’s God.

    You need a lap. You need more than a hug. You need to cling! You need to hold on to God and let Him protect you from the fears of the “Monsters in the Night.” You need His soothing voice to calm your hurts and disappointments from “those meanies” who have been tormenting you. You need to cling and to “cast all your cares upon Him” (“for He careth for you.”) You need Him to tell you it’s OK that you failed or messed up. That’s part of what He meant when He said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He means, in part, “Unburden yourself.”

    Cling to Him; hold on to Him. Let Him be the One who comforts you. Let Him be the one who protects you. Sit there with Him “On His lap,” so to speak. Wrap you arms around Him and cling.
    There’s no time limit, here.
    He is your Savior and Lord, right? You belong to Him. You truly believe He died on the cross to take away you sins, right? You do accept Him as your Savior, right? You’re His child, right? (If not, now’s the time.)
    So . . . ask Him. (What does He want you to change?)

  20. Scripture Reading and Thoughts for July 5, 2020
    Freedom: Are We Losing It?
    Greetings, and welcome from Pastor Steve Ward and Concord Community Church at 7578 Concord Road, half-way between Florence, Indiana, and Patriot, Indiana. We are now meeting for “in-person” church, practicing social-distancing and encouraging face masks. Please join us for our Sunday Morning Worship Service at 10:00 AM.

    Scripture Reading: Psalms 108:1-6, 12, 13
    O God, my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
    2 Awake, lute and harp!
    I will awaken the dawn.
    3 I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples,
    And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
    4 For Your mercy is great above the heavens,
    And Your truth reaches to the clouds.

    5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
    And Your glory above all the earth;
    6 That Your beloved may be delivered,
    Save with Your right hand, and hear me.
    12 Give us help from trouble,
    For the help of man is useless.
    13 Through God we will do valiantly,
    For it is He who shall tread down our enemies.

    In 2001, on September 11, now known simply as 9-11, a group of terrorists commandeered 4 airplanes, with the intent of crashing them into the twin towers of New York City, the Pentagon, and, apparently, another location in Washington, D.C., possibly the White House. The two airplanes designated by the terrorists to destroy the twin towers were successful, as was the plan to fly an airplane into the pentagon, The fourth plane, now known as flight 93, had been headed toward Washington, D. C. when passengers on board thwarted the plans of the hijackers.

    Part of the results of that day, in reference to changes in the everyday lives of Americans, has been a greatly increased scrutiny for passengers and flights, increasingly stringent enforcement of security at all points of entry into the country, new travel restrictions, (for example, the need for a passport to travel to and from Canada), new Drivers License requirements, greatly increased security at government buildings, and greatly increased observation and even investigation into our daily lives by government agencies, such as NSA.

    Our privacy has been invaded; our access to travel has been limited; our feelings of safety and protection have greatly changed. What other changes are we seeing?

    After all, we are Americans, citizens of the United States of America – the land of the free!

    But are our freedoms still intact? Is our land truly free?

    Beyond the need for heightened security, are our other hard-won freedoms still ours? For example, is our Freedom of speech still intact in this country, or are there some things you don’t dare say without fear of being arrested or even jailed?

    Do we still have freedom of religion, or are we in danger of being controlled by government officials and agencies who have insisted that if a minister’s comments stray too far from certain definitions of religious subjects and come too close to similar definitions of “political” subjects, then that church could easily lose their tax-free status? Is that freedom of religion or is that intimidation? Wasn’t there even talk of having “monitors” or observers who would tell the government if a pastor crossed the line or became too political? Does that sound like America? Or does it sound more like a country like communist China?

    Does the same attempt to limit and regulate religious conversations also infringe upon the freedom of speech? Does freedom of speech really exist if you are only free to speak about certain subjects or about certain people?

    Our freedoms are under attack. Our rights are becoming abridged and diminished.
    Our privacy is invaded because of the needs for national security, yes, but even more so because of the greed and self-enrichment “needs” of large corporations – and small – who pay social media companies and on-line “spying” specialists to keep them informed of our every personal preference and curiosity and on-line search until the mere mention – on-line – of a brand or a model will bring to your phone, tablet or computer a deluge of ads and “stories” and “infomercials.”

    Very recently, a married couple, apparently fearing for their lives when a small, angry group of people broke down their gates and illegally entered their property, yelling and cursing, and shouting threats, retrieved their privately-owned, legally licensed firearms for protection, and found themselves condemned by the media and arrested by the police, all, apparently, because the invading, angry mob was of a different race.

    Do we still have the freedoms and constitutionally granted rights we once thought we had?

    It would be hard to argue that our constitutionally granted freedoms and rights are not under attack.

    However, I want to tell you about freedoms and rights and privileges that you may have never known you had.

    We, as Christians, have freedoms and privileges which are not guaranteed by the constitution of the United States of America. We have freedoms and rights which are not available from any government or territory or system of laws, anywhere.

    Has it occurred to you that, as a Christian, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, you have more Freedoms than any other American or group of Americans or citizens of any other country in the world?

    For one thing, we are FREE from the penalty of sin. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) Romans 3:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

    “If the Son, therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free, indeed.” (John 8:36)

    Without the salvation provided by Jesus Christ on the cross, the Bible describes mankind as being bound by sin. He/she is unable to break free from it. We are naturally inclined toward sin. By ourselves, we cannot be rid of it. The cross, however, where Jesus died and gave His life for the forgiveness of our sins, has set us free. We have been redeemed and made free from the penalty of sin.

    What are some of the other rights and privileges we have as followers of Christ? One of the great benefits we have is expressed by the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans, chapter 8, verses 38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Call it a right; call it a privilege; but call it a fact. We are inseparable from God and His Love. We are citizens of Heaven! Now what do you think of your rights and privileges and freedoms? We are offered Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Meekness, Faith.

    They are called the fruit of the Spirit, and they are part of our inheritance, our rights, and our privileges.

    You are, after all, a child of the King. What other rights and privileges do we need?

  21. In Your Own House 7/12/2020

    Greetings and welcome from Concord Community Church and from Pastor Steve Ward. Our church motto is, “Come and celebrate God’s love with us.” We meet for worship service at 10:00 AM each Sunday morning at 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana. We’re actually located half-way between Florence, Indiana, and Patriot, Indiana. Please come and join us. We do social distancing, and face masks are encouraged and welcome.

    Our Scripture passage, this morning, is from the 8th chapter of Romans, verses 1, 5, and 6.

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

    5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

    Let me tell you a story.

    A man named Robert Freeman was in bed in his house, and he heard a noise, downstairs. Quietly tip-toeing down the steps, Robert proceeded to investigate. When he reached the first level of his house, he heard sounds coming from his study. As he quietly made his way in that direction, it sounded like someone rustling through his papers and desk drawers.

    Robert came to the door of his study and found a gentleman who was, indeed, going through his desk drawers and papers in an almost desperate manner. He thought he heard the intruder mutter, “Now, where did I put that check book?”

    Throwing caution aside, Robert stepped fully into the room and addressed the stranger: “Who are you, and what do you think you’re doing?”

    “I’m looking for the check book. You’ve gone and misplaced it, again, and I can’t find it, anywhere. Where is it?”

    “The check book is mine,” Robert retorted. “Why would I want you to have it?”

    “I thought I’d just grab the check book and run down to the corner and buy us a nice bottle of whiskey.”

    “Buy us a bottle of whiskey? I don’t drink! I ditched that stuff years ago, when I got married.”

    “Well, you shouldn’t have! Look at you! You’re all uptight and proper – and stuffy – and no fun, at all! You gotta loosen up, man!

    “How about you give me a few dollars cash, and I’ll go get us a bottle of fun!”

    Robert had had just about enough, and he wanted to get back to bed and assure his wife – assure his wife? – that wouldn’t be likely! A stranger in your house is looking for your check book so he can buy some whiskey to drink together! That would certainly assure her, now, wouldn’t it? And he didn’t need the temptation.

    “Aha!” exclaimed the stranger. “Here’s a twenty! You forgot about that, didn’t you? Hold on, right there. I’ll be right back.”

    With that, he flew out the door.

    Robert was relieved, of course, and he was willing to fore-go the $20.00 just to be rid of the man. He hadn’t seemed harmful – almost nice, even, but it was nice that he was gone.

    “I’m going to the kitchen for a drink of water.”

    That’s where he was when the man returned – with the whiskey – and it was tempting – and maybe he had been a little uptight, lately – and probably, he reasoned, his wife wouldn’t find out – and maybe she wouldn’t even mind.

    The man’s name was Bob. Funny. Robert meets Bob. Bob buys them both a drink – with Robert’s money – and they talk and drink all night, as though they were old acquaintances.

    Before daylight, Robert wanders off to bed and tries to “assure” his wife, who wonders how he’ll ever get to work in that condition. Bob has gone to sleep on the sofa. He’ll stay for breakfast.

    In the months that follow, Bob and Robert become buddies – sometimes drinkin’ buddies, which doesn’t please Robert’s wife the least bit – but Robert is convinced he is having a lot more fun, even though his boss doesn’t seem too pleased with his new personality. His jokes are a little shadier and his conversation a bit more coarse.

    Eventually, Robert gets home later and later from work; he and his wife argue more, and his former friends worry about him, but Bob is always there, and Robert is quite sure he’s having more fun than he used to.

    Have you ever had a friend like that? Perhaps we all have one. Perhaps we all have one right in our own “house.” Sometimes he/she has the same name as we do such as Robert and Bob. Sometimes the friend is actually more of an enemy than a friend.

    In our story, the friend, Bob, has come to live in Robert’s house. Do you realize that we all have our own resident worst enemy who tries to influence us in wrong directions? Our resident enemy is simply called “the sin nature,” or the “old nature,” and it’s a part of us. It will always try to influence us in the wrong direction, and if we listen to it, it will lead us astray.

    As Christians, however, we also have a new nature. The Apostle, Paul, tells us, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.” We have the opportunity to follow the new nature which we have in Christ. We don’t have to listen to the old nature that hangs around within us.

    The enemy’s in our own house. So is the solution.

  22. Scripture and Thoughts                                                     7-19-2020
    Greetings from Concord Community Church at 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana. 
    We’re actually half-way between Patriot, Indiana, and Florence, Indiana. 
    Our Morning Worship Service is at 10:00 AM.  Please come and join us.

    Scripture Reading:  :
     Romans 8:1,5,6 KJV
    “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”  5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
    Colossians 2:7 NLT
    “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
    I Peter 2:1-3 NLT
    “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.  Like newborn babes, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

    Little Johnny was at home with his mother when a mean man came and began yelling at her.  Johnny was afraid.  First he hid behind his mother, but, as the man became meaner and meaner, Little Johnny ran to his room and hid in the closet.  He could tell the man was hurting Mommy, and he was very afraid.

    He didn’t see the mean man, again, until he was 8 years old.  He was afraid, again, but he was brave enough to yell at the man and to tell him to “leave Mommy alone!”  The mean man even took a swing at Little Johnny, but not before Johnny managed to call 911 and ask for the police.  Johnny got hurt, and his Mommy was hit and hurt, again, but Johnny was determined to defend his Mother, and he felt good that he had stood up to the mean man and had tried to keep his Mother safe.

    The mean man didn’t come back, again, until Johnny was 18, and Johnny was ready for him. Still, the mean man was big, and strong, and used to fighting, and, although Johnny protected his Mother, he still ended up hurt, battered, and bruised,
    but he also knew that he was now able and prepared to defend her and himself. Johnny was growing up in a mean, hateful world, and he was learning to find his way, in it.  In his life he encountered many who would hurt and steal and bully their way around people and groups, whether that took place on the streets or in supposedly civil settings.  

    You and I, too, are called upon to stand up and be heard in a mean, hateful world.  They even hate and attack Christianity.  We are called to be defenders.  Sometimes the enemy is a “meany,” whose intent is to push their way around.  Sometimes it’s a hateful person — one who hates Christianity and all that it stands for.  Sometimes it’s the seemingly nice person who attacks your beliefs and principles while pretending to be interested but is only interested in discrediting you and your beliefs.

    Sometimes, when we’re new to Christianity, the attacks can be scary, as they were to Johnny.  Johnny could have gotten hurt.   We may also be afraid.  There are many ways we may be afraid.  We could lose face; We could lose credibility; We could lose our standing with our friends.  It may be that in the very near future our fears may include the fear of losing our status on the job, our hope for a promotion or advancement, or our job, itself.

    We may hide in a closet, at first.  We may be quite afraid.
    However, as we grow, and as our faith becomes more and more dear to us, we may well become emboldened, and we may realize that what we have to defend is much more valuable than what we have to fear.  We may realize that what we have to protect is much more important than what we have to lose.

    When we become mature, we may come to realize that the One who died for us is the one worth fighting for and even dying for.

    How dear is He to you, and how dear is he to me?  Am I learning how precious He is?  Have I begun to learn how precious I am to Him?

    Remember that in our spiritual walk with God, knowing Him, believing and trusting in Him – even for a long time – doesn’t necessarily mean that we have grown.  It doesn’t mean that we are mature.

    Growing up is not automatic.  Becoming mature takes more than time.

    Have you attended a class reunion, lately?  Maybe 20 years or thirty or . . . .?(more!) years have passed since your graduation from high school, and you have a reunion.  Have you noticed that, in your high school class there are still those people who haven’t “grown up?”  Many of our high school friends – even from long ago —  haven’t really changed their behavior since Junior High School.

    It’s the same way with being a Christian.  Some of us never grow up!  Most importantly, many of us are still afraid of standing up for what we believe!  We are afraid of being hurt.  We are afraid of being different than our friends.   We are still worried about how we will look, how people will think about us.  We are, too often, still so locked in to ourselves and our own self-importance, that we’d rather go hide than take a stand for Jesus.  We don’t want to get hurt. 

    Little Johnny was afraid for himself, at first.  The mean man made him worry that he might get badly hurt.

    As he grew up, he also developed a deep concern for his mother, because, now, she was very important to him.  He loved her, and she was very precious to Him.

    Is Jesus precious enough to you to make you willing to stand up for Him?  Do you love Him intensely?  Is He someone you would want to defend?
    Have you grown in your walk with God?  Have you become stronger in your faith and in your determination to stand up for Him?
    Are you willing to stand up to the enemy and to stand up for God and your faith in Him?

    Let’s be praying for our own growth as well as for our courage.  Let’s be growing up in our walk with Him. 

    You need to be reading His Word.  “Desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby.”  1 Peter 2:2
    You need to be talking with Him.  “Pray without ceasing”  1 Thessalonians 5:16
    You need to be learning who He is and how much He loves you.
    “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God,” Ephesians 3:16-19

  23. Scripture Reading and Thoughts                                              August 2, 2020

    Greetings and welcome from Concord Community Church, 7578 Concord Road.  Our Sunday morning services are at 10:00 AM  Please join us.

    This morning, we will not have a sermon,  Instead, we will sing, read, and meditate on a particular subject, and the readings, the songs, and the meditations are all in the Sunday morning bulletin for this week.  Therefore, we are sending you a copy of our bulletin for this morning.  Obviously, read the Scriptures and the meditation.  Also, the Hymns are a vital part of the thoughts for the morning.  If you can sing them through.

    Concord Community Church           
          August 2, 2020
       Rev. Stephen G. Ward, Pastor

    Prelude: Hymn #713, “Seek Ye First,” Hymn #224, “We Have Come into His House,” #22, “Praise the Name of Jesus”
     
    Contemplation & Reflection
    “Beloved, let us love: love is of God;
    In God alone love has its true abode.
    Beloved, let us love: for those who love,
    They only are his children from above.
    Beloved, let us love; for love is rest,
    And those who do not love cannot be blessed.
    Beloved, let us love: for love is light,
    And those who do not love still live in night,
    Beloved, let us love: for only thus
    Shall we see God, the Lord, who first loved us.”

    Hymn #606, “O Love, That Will Not Let Me Go”
    Opening Prayer and Morning Announcements.

     Scripture Reading and Prayer
     I Corinthians 13:1-7
    Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body [a]to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
    4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, [c]thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    Hymn #648, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

    Meditate: “ Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37, 38; KJV) 

    I John 4:7-12
    7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
    12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 
    (I John 3:1) “ Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
    (I John 3:16) “16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
    (I John 3:23) “ And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave  us commandment.”
    (I John 4:20) “ If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, [d]how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
    (I John 5:2)  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 
     
    Closing Song: #404, “Faith of Our Fathers” v. 3

    *****************************************************
       
    For further contemplation and for growth:

    Colossians 2:7
    “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (NLT)

    I Peter 2:1-3
    Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.  Like newborn babes, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (NLT)

  24. Scripture and Thoughts                                                          August 9, 2020
    Christian Growth/Spiritual Growth

    Greetings from Concord Community Church and from Pastor Steve Ward.  Concord Community Church is located at 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana.  We’re actually located half-way between Patriot, Indiana, and Florence, Indiana.  Our Sunday Morning service is at 10:00 AM.  Please join us.

    Our Scripture reading, this morning, is actually quite long, but very important.  Notice that some verses are printed in regular print, while others are in italics.  For the most part, the italisized sections are those referring to specific behaviors and patterns of living, while the sections in regular print are about the principles and over-all ideals of the Christian life and growth.

    Ephesians 4:1- 32  “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
     11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
    14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

         . . . .  17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
    20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
     
    .  . . 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

           . . .29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

     32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

    I used to think of Christian growth – Spiritual growth –  as the process by which Christians are “church-i-fied.”  You learn all the stories in the Bible; you learn all about the Bible; you learn the basics, at least, of Biblical Doctrine, and, you learn how to pray with all the “thys and thous and thines, etc., that are found in the King James Bible. I thought that that was a pretty good start towards Christian growth/ spiritual growth.  There are all kinds of thoughts about and many different aspects of Spiritual growth.  Many churches teach Biblical Doctrine in extensive detail, which can be very good, but I’ve also seen many of those churches with a “my way and nobody else’s way” attitude.  Our Scripture takes a different direction.

    In verse 1 of our Scripture, we are urged to live a life worthy of our calling – humble, gentle, patient, loving, keeping the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Question: Are we doing that?  Is our church doing that?  Are we living lives worthy of His calling?

    In verse 13 Paul refers to unity in the faith and attaining the “full measure of the fullness of Christ.”  — Unity in the faith?  — the full measure of the fullness of Christ?  I’m afraid churches spend more time arguing about details of our faith and doctrine than they do in reaching “the full measure of the fullness of Christ.”

     In other words, although the importance of sound teaching is emphasized in verses 11-13, where God gives apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers, we are to be equipped “for works of service” being built up in love – verse 16: “ . . . speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

    We are to put on the new man, v. 24, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
    Again, we are sometimes much more concerned about being “right” than being righteous and holy.

    Finally, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

    Every greeting, every meeting, every hand-shake (elbow-bump) and every conversation in the church and outside the church needs to be immersed in this attitude: to be kind and compassionate, forgiving each other.
    So, check you own growth in Christ.  Is your walk worthy of your calling?  Are you seeking “the full measure of the fullness of Christ – in the unity of the faith?  Are you putting on the new man and putting off the old man?  Are you kind and compassionate toward others, forgiving one another, as God has forgiven you?

  25. Scripture and Thoughts August 16, 2020
    A Changed Person

    Greetings from Concord Community Church and from Pastor Steve Ward. Concord Community Church is located at 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana. We’re actually located half-way between Patriot, Indiana, and Florence, Indiana. Our Sunday Morning service is at 10:00 AM. Please join us.

    When Peter was called to be a follower of Jesus, he was working on a fishing boat.
    Jesus told him to “Come, follow Me,” and he did. That didn’t make him into the bold preacher that he became. In fact, for the moment, it probably didn’t change Peter much, at all. James and John did the same thing, but they didn’t instantly become candidates for being New Testament authors and leaders of the New Testament Church.

    As we look around the table at the last supper, after three years of following Jesus and listening and watching and learning, we still find a group of twelve bewildered, questioning men who seem to have very little idea of what is going on.

    When Jesus said, “This is My body which is broken for you,” they, no doubt, were still trying to see some connection with the unleavened bread of the Old Testament Passover which was unleavened – prepared without yeast – because it was “prepared in haste” for the impending trip out of Egypt. The cup, which, as Jesus said, represented His own blood, shed for them and for us, would also, most likely, still be connected, in their minds, to the traditional Passover symbolism of the shed blood of the Passover lamb.

    The point is that these men had been with Jesus for close to three years, but they were far from being dedicated, die-hard followers of Jesus, the Christ. This became obvious when they each so readily deserted Him on the night He was arrested.

    But they changed. Between the time Jesus was arrested and the time when Peter stood up and addressed the crowd on the day of Pentecost, each one of them went through a transformation.

    We know what they saw. We know what they experienced. We know they saw, from afar, the trial, the crucifixion, and the burial of this man, Jesus, whom they had been following. Then they also saw Him alive after His burial. They had seen the empty tomb. They had touched Him. They had eaten with Him. They were believers, and they were eye-witnesses. The change for them was dramatic.

    For us it may be not be. Yet, the fact remains that Jesus changes lives. He changes attitudes and priorities and outlooks. How can it be otherwise when we realize, recognize, and believe the same truths that the disciples came to know and believe?

    Do you believe and trust Him? Is your faith in Him?

    “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    Are you a changed person?
    Has Jesus Christ made a difference in your life?
    Is He the risen Lord of your life?
    Let Him be the changing force in your life.
    We all should be transformed.
    Have we let Him do that?

  26. Scripture and Thoughts, August 23, 2020

    Good Morning, and welcome. Greetings from Concord Community Church and from pastor Steve Ward. If you can actually join us in person on Sunday mornings, please do so. Our Sunday morning worship time is 10:00 AM. Remember: 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana – half-way between Patriot and Florence, Indiana.

    Our Scripture, this morning, is quite varied and from several sources, and, as you might see, “The sermon is in the Scriptures.” Read them slowly and thoughtfully, please, and let your heart join the verses of praise, those of prayer, and the verses from the Book of John, which lay out very clearly who Jesus is: the Son of God, God in the flesh, the Light of the world. You will also find some of the words of a few of the morning’s songs sprinkled in among the verses of Scripture.

    Psalms 95:1,2 “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
    2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
    Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”

    Hymn #31, “I Exalt Thee” “For Thou, O Lord, art high above all the earth; Thou art exalted far above all gods. I exalt Thee, I exalt Thee, I exalt Thee, O Lord.”
    Psalms 139:1,2; 23, 24
    “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
    2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
    23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    Try me, and know my anxieties;
    24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
    And lead me in the way everlasting.”

    Hymn # 338, “Wonderful Grace of Jesus, Greater than all my sin. How shall my tongue describe it? Where shall its praise begin? Taking away my burden, Setting my Spirit free; For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me. Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus; Deeper than the mighty rolling sea. Higher than the mountain, flowing like a fountain, all sufficient grace for even me. Broader than the scope of my transgressions, greater far than all my sin and shame. O magnify the precious name of Jesus; Praise His name.”

    John 1:1-14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

    6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

    10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    1. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

    I Corinthians 10:3,4: 3 “(Our fathers} all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”
    Hymn #342, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee.”
    Hymn 343, “Amazing Grace”
    Hymn #345, “What a Wonderful Savior”

    A Changed Person (II)

    Jesus changes people. Getting to know Him changes people. Walking with Him changes people. Talking with Him changes people. Listening to people talk about Him – such as the disciples and other followers – changes people. That’s why reading the Bible changes people – especially when you realize that the entire Bible is about Jesus. The entire Bible is about the redemptive plan of God, and the whole sweep of history and prophecy and poetry in the Bible culminates in the redemptive action of Jesus when He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. When we realize that – and, especially, that He died for each one of us, individually, it should change us.

    Has it changed you? Has it changed me? It should be changing us every day. It should be making a difference in the way we live our lives from the time we wake up in the morning to the time we go to bed at night.

    Don’t hang it on the shelf when you walk out of church on Sunday. Make it yours. Grasp it close. Don’t let it go. Don’t let it out your sight. Don’t allow it to leave your consciousness. Keep it in your thinking, always.

    Closing Song: #503, “Since Jesus Came into My Heart”

    “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
    Since Jesus came into my heart;
    I have light in my soul for which long I have sought,
    Since Jesus came into my heart.

    o Refrain:
    Since Jesus came into my heart,
    Since Jesus came into my heart;
    Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll,
    Since Jesus came into my heart.”

    Concord Community Church -www.concordcommunitychurch.org

  27. Scripture Reading and Thoughts
    Aug 16th: Part I: A Changed Person
    Aug 23rd: Part II: Has it Changed you?
    Aug 30th: Part III: Changed

    Sermon 8-30-2020
    Good Morning, and welcome. Greetings from Concord Community Church and from pastor Steve Ward. If you can actually join us in person on Sunday mornings, please do so. Our Sunday morning worship time is 10:00 AM. Remember: 7578 Concord Road, Patriot, Indiana – half-way between Patriot and Florence, Indiana.

    Romans 7:14-25 “ . . . but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
    Hebrews 12:1,2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance (patience) the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    Phillipians 3:13, 14 “ Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
    Romans 12:1,2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

    We’ve been talking about change, recently – the new nature and the in-dwelling Holy Spirit and how, as Christians, we are a “new creation” in Christ. Nevertheless, Paul lays out for us, here in the 7th chapter of Romans, every man’s and woman’s dilemma. “I want to do good, but I end up doing evil.”

    “I’m trying to reform, but sin is still at work in me.”

    He caps off his struggle with the following statement: . 19 “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

    Why didn’t we think of that argument while we were growing up? “It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it. It was the sin living in me that did it.”

    Sounds a little like Flip Wilson: “The Devil Made me do it.”

    Still I’m quite sure that every one of us identifies with Paul’s struggle. “I want to do what is right, but I still do what is wrong.”

    Paul goes on to show us that it’s because of the sin nature within us that we keep on struggling and why we keep on sinning.
    I hope you noted that Paul’s struggle ends with a high note of victory. Paul’s lowest point of despair and desperation was: “O, wretched man that I am . . .” His victory, and ours: Who shall deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

    One evening, not too long ago, I was in downtown Vevay, and I was inside a building, looking out onto the sidewalk, and along the sidewalk came some people walking past the window, going into the building next door. One of those people was walking with a particularly determined step, and with a very determined look on his face, and I knew he was fighting a battle. The battle was almost over; it had already been decided, and he knew he was going into that building, and I knew that he probably wouldn’t be coming out until two or three o’clock in the morning, and he would not be coming out sober. That was his battle.

    His determination was in line with his intention. He had fought the battle with his inner self, and now he was determined to carry out the culmination of his battle. It would culminate when he started the drinking, and his addiction would take over from there. He lost the battle. The victory would not be his, even though he ended up doing what he really wanted to do.

    It was just as Paul said, “Who shall save me from this body of death?”

    Jesus is still in the rescue business, and we are still fighting the battles – like the man I saw on Ferry Street, and, like him, we often fight the battle within our own selves.

    The Christian life is a series of battles. How often is that a struggle with our own selves – a struggle to overcome sin, and a struggle with our own tendencies to do wrong?

    And this Christian life – the life we try to live for God – let’s not confuse the Christian life with the wrong things. For example, let’s not confuse the Christian life with feelings about the Christian life. If you go to a meeting or have a wonderful experience and have wonderful feelings afterward, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a changed person. It may only mean that you had a wonderful meeting and a wonderful feeling about it. Don’t confuse feelings for the Christian life.

    Let’s not confuse doctrinal teaching and much learning with what God wants for us to be as Christians. No amount of head-learning is ever going to be a substitute for the life of Christ flowing through you. Let’s not confuse teaching and learning – even good doctrine and good learning – with the Christian life.

    Let’s be careful not to confuse formalities of the church with the change God wants to come over our hearts. Formalities and traditions can be meaningful and beautiful, but let’s not confuse them with the Christian life.

    And, finally, let’s not confuse “Christian activity – or activities – with God’s plan for our walk with Him. Lots of people get involved in a lot of things to do – good things – that still fail to hit the mark for what God has in mind for your life. You still need a personal walk with God.

    Paul gives us three admonitions in the other verses that we read, this morning. First of all, in Hebrews 12:1,2: Lay aside every weight and sin. Lay it aside. Do not encumber yourself with it. Do not let it be an additional burden or distraction, but let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

    Then, in Philippians, we are told to forget the things that are behind and to reach forward to those things which are ahead, and to press toward the goal for the prize for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

    And, finally, in Romans 12, to present our bodies a living sacrifice, to not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

    The change in the Christian life is not simply a decision to change, but the ongoing battle to lay aside our old sins and distractions and to keep our focus on God at all times.

  28. Scripture and Thoughts (Pray for One Another) 9-6-2020
    Greetings and blessings to you from Concord Community Church and from pastor Steve Ward.
    We hope and pray that you remain well during this time. If you can join us at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings, please do so. We’re at 7578 Concord Road, half-way between Patriot and Florence, Indiana.

    Our many Scripture verses, this morning, are all about one subject. It won’t take you long to figure out what it is. (Unless otherwise noted, these verses are from the New International Version.)
    Scripture Reading:
    I Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
    I John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
    I Chronicles 16:11 “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
    II Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
    Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
    Jeremiah 29:12 “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
    John 17:15 “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”
    James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”
    Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
    Psalms 17:6 “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
    Psalm 102:17 “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.”
    Psalms 141:2 “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”
    Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
    Psalms 145:18 “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
    Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
    Colosssians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
    I Thessalonians 5:17 “pray continually,” (KJV: “Pray without ceasing.)
    I Timothy 2:8 “Therefore I want men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”
    James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
    I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
    I Timothy 2:1 “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—
    Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”(KJV)

    Thoughts:
    Prayer changes things. Prayer even changes people. Perhaps the most dramatic change that can come over people is not just when they are prayed for, but when they are praying for someone else.

    People who pray for other people are somehow different. They are somehow unique. Perhaps you’ve noticed it. They often have a compassionate air about them – even a deeply-felt empathy for other people that can be seen and noticed. It makes sense, because the compassionate, caring person praying for another person needs to know and even feel the needs, hurts and, perhaps the sorrows of the one for whom they are praying.

    James tells us, (James 5:16) – “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

    Then, we find the Apostle, Paul, instructing the church at Ephesus to be
    (Ephesians 6:18) – “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

    Then, writing to the Colossians, in chapter 1, verse 9, he says, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”

    Are you praying for someone? Perhaps you’re praying for several or even multiple people. I urge you to do so. I urge you to pray fervently for others.

    As members of this congregation, we ought to be praying for each other. Let’s be a church where we care about each other’s needs and hurts and difficulties. Let’s be a praying church. Let’s be a church beseeching the Lord on behalf of each other.

    It’s not that we want to neglect other needs – our neighbors, our co-workers and other acquaintances, our country, our schools, etc., etc., but we need to pray for each other.

    “Brethren, pray for us!”
    “always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)

  29. Scripture and Thoughts (Pray for One Another II) 9-13-2020
    Greetings and blessings to you from Concord Community Church and from pastor Steve Ward.
    We hope and pray that you remain well during this time. If you can join us at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings, please do so. We’re at 7578 Concord Road, half-way between Patriot and Florence, Indiana.

    The setting for this Scripture is immediately after the last supper, the night when Jesus would be betrayed and arrested. His 12 disciples are with Him, and He is praying for them. You will see that He also prayed for us.

    Scripture Reading: John 17:9-26
    9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them [e]in the world, I kept them in [f]

    Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
    Jesus Prays for All Believers

    20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

    24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

    Jesus prayed for you, and He prayed for me. Can you believe it? As mentioned earlier, Our Scripture records the prayer Jesus prayed as He was with His disciples on the night before He died on the cross.

    Although He knew He was going to die, and although He knew how He was going to die and although He knew all the agony He would be going to be going through, He was still thinking about you, and he was thinking about me. After He prayed for His disciples, — that is, the apostles — He prayed for us.

    “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word;” (verse 20)

    Last week we talked about praying for each other, and those of us who were at the church spent the entire service praying for each other.

    Prayer is powerful, and being prayed for is powerful. Being prayed for by the whole church is powerful.

    Being prayed for by one person is powerful.

    When I was away from home, going to Bible School, and I knew my Mother was praying for me, how powerful (and humbling) do you suppose that was! When I got up early in the morning and walked the 15 blocks to the college so I get in 2 hours of piano practice before breakfast, in those early hours of the morning, my Mother was praying for me, and I knew my Father was at his desk, having His Bible study and prayer time and praying for me.

    That’s powerful. Many of you have similar stories and similar experiences.

    What if you had Jesus praying for you and interceding for you, now?

    Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

    Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us?

    Romans 8:33-35
    33 “ Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

    There it is, again. Jesus is at the right hand of God, the Father, and He makes intercession for us.

    I John 2:1
    “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

    Jesus is our advocate! John’s message is clear as well as reassuring. He is encouraging us to live Godly, righteous lives – preferably, without sin. “and if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” When you or I sin, Jesus is right there, saying, in effect, “I’ve got it covered. I already paid for that. My blood was shed for that sin; you can’t charge it against her/him. It was already charged against Me, and I paid the full price for him/her.”

    Jesus never forgets us, and He’s never not mindful of us. How can we forget to pray for one another?

    As Samuel said, (I Samuel 12:23) “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you:”

    Let’s always continue to pray for one another.

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