Wash Before Using

Wash Before Using

By Pastor Steve Schantz

Rom 6:1  What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (NIV)

1 John 3:19  This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (NIV) Continue reading “Wash Before Using”

Lost & Found

Lost & Found

by Pastor Steve Schantz

Luke 15:8-9

The first two verses of Luke chapter 15 set the stage for the way Jesus responds in a trilogy of parables that follow: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost or prodigal Son.

Through the use of parables, Jesus told simple stories from ordinary experiences to help reveal truths about the nature and purpose of God’s Kingdom which He Himself was initiating. Parables have been described as earthly stories carrying a heavenly meaning. So let’s look at the occasion which prompted Jesus response.

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Laughing With Church Lady

Laughing With Church Lady

by Pastor Steve Schantz

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”                                                       (Gen 21:6-7  NIV)

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.  (Luke 6:21 NIV) 

                Laughing with Church Lady

Sometime in the late 80’s I discovered Cal and Rose Samra’s volumes I & II of Holy Humor, (still available for about $2 a copy at on-line sites and sponsored by the Interdenominational Fellowship of Merry Christians.) I came across these well-worn gems at a used book store in Cape Coral, Fl, one shelf down from the ragged edged Harlequin Romances, (which I passed by). Before the computer revolution and on-line resourcing they took up new residence in my Pastoral library.

The illustrations, jokes, and anecdotes shared by the Samra’s began showing up in my preaching – an anecdote during an offertory message here, some church announcement bloopers there, and a healthy dose of cajoling for our Christian insensibilities sprinkled generously everywhere. Pastors are assumed to have discriminating literary taste buds.  So, like many, collecting pulpit jokes had not been a high priority item on my assigned reading list. But humor and laughter are not a supposed to kind of experience.  And in similar manner but at another level, neither is truth – or God, for that matter.  As Michael Jinkins observes the creator smiling at us through His freedom, “Creation is grounded in the delight of God, not in divine compulsion.” (Invitation to Theology, p. 88)

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“What Happens in Vegas..”

“What Happens in Vegas..”

by Pastor Steve Schantz

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.                                                                      (Heb 12:9-11 NIV)

“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32 NIV)

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“What Happens In Vegas…”

Rural Upstate New York can be a lot of fun in the winter.  Before snowmobiling captured our teenage attention outdoor fun involved skating, sledding, building snow forts, and of course many snow ball fights with siblings and neighbors.  When my little sister was all of 8 and her brothers were 11 and 13, we decided to find out if “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas”.

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Hope Builders & Truth Tellers

Hope Builders & Truth Tellers

by Pastor Steve Schantz

Hope-Builders… Building Leaders  

Neh 6:14 – 7     

     Good afternoon to each of you! I hope you had an enjoyable and safe Independence Day wherever you celebrated. Welcome to the weekly chapter meeting of the Grace Communion Orlando’s Hope- Builders support group! In our text in Nehemiah, we have learned that certain co-opted leaders posing as Nehemiah’s colleagues were really set on tripping him up, subverting his God given mission, and harming him.  Though their methods were crafty and deceptive, they failed to take into account the kind of man Nehemiah was: A man on a mission who depended on God for his strength through prayer. As the last brick in the rebuilt wall was set in place, and all the refurbished gates hung on new hinges, the very schemes intended to bring Nehemiah down resounded to God’s glory throughout the region! Please join me in reading from your own Bibles Nehemiah chapter 6, verses 15-16.

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