Wednesday, December 26, 2018


Here we are again. . . looking ahead to what the new year has in store for us. What better place to look for what the new year holds for us than in the Bible? Here are some things to think about as we ponder what lies ahead in the new year.


Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. Isaiah:40:30-31

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17


But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." Revelation 21:5

And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self . . . to be made new in the attitude of your mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24


So, as we look forward to the new year, I leave you with this final thought; the future is not in our hands. Our success in the year ahead is in God's hands.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Monday, November 26, 2018

Advent Trivia Quiz

The Advent season begins on the first Sunday of December this year. During the Advent season, we will see many Christmas programs, pageants, plays, and displays. Many of them will contain traditional ideas that are not found in Biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus. I thought it might be fun to take a trivia quiz to test our knowledge of the events surrounding the birth of Christ as it is recorded in the Bible.

Answers are provided at the bottom of the page, but I encourage you to carefully read the Biblical accounts to check the accuracy of programs you will be seeing this Christmas season.

1. Joseph was originally from... (Luke 2:3)
    A. Bethlehem
    B. Nazareth
    C. Jerusalem
    E. None of the above

2. What does the Bible say that the innkeeper said to Mary and Joseph? (Luke 2:7)
    A. “There is no room in the inn.”
    B. “I have a stable you can use.”
    C. “Come back later and I should have some vacancies.”
    D. None of the above

3. A manger is a...
    A. A barn for animals
    B. A wooden hay storage bin
    C. A feeding trough
    D. None of the above

4. Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus’ birth?
    A. Cows, sheep, goats
    B. Cows, donkeys, goats
    C. Sheep and goats only
    D. The Bible doesn't say
5. Who saw the star in the east?
    A. Shepherds
    B. Magi
    C. Three kings
    D. Both A and C
6. According to the Bible, how did Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem?
    A. Camel
    B. Donkey
    C. Walked
    D. Joseph walked, Mary rode a donkey
E. The Bible doesn't say

7. How many angels spoke to the shepherds? (Luke 2:10)
    A. One
    B. Three
    C. A Multitude
    D. None of the above

8. What did the angels say/sing? (Luke 2:14)
    A. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given”
    B. “Alleluia”
    C. “Glory to God in the highest, etc.”
    D. “Joy the world, the Lord is come”
    E. “Glory to the newborn King”

9. In Matthew, what does “wise men” or “Magi” refer to?
    A. Men of the educated class
    B. Eastern kings
    C. Sages
    D. Men who studied the stars

10. How many wise men came to see Jesus?
   A. 3
   B. 6
   C. 9
   D. 12
   E. We don’t know
11. Where did the wise men find Jesus? (Matthew 2:11)
    A. In a manger
    B. In a stable
    C. In Nazareth
    D. In Saudi Arabia
    E. In a house

12. When the wise men found Jesus he was... (Matthew 2:9)
    A. A babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
    B. A young child
    C. A boy in the temple
    D. A grown man

13. The “star in the east” that the wise men followed... (Matthew 2:9)
    A. Stayed in the same place their entire journey
    B. Disappeared and reappeared
    C. Moved ahead of them and stopped over the place where Jesus was
    D. Was just a mirage
14. The wise men stopped in Jerusalem... (Matthew 2:2)
    A. To inform Herod about Jesus
    B. To find out where Jesus was
    C. To ask about the star
    D. To buy presents
15. Where in the Bible do we find the Christmas story?
    A. Matthew
    B. Mark
    C. Luke
    D. John
    E. A and C
    F. B and D

Adapted from an article by Dr. Ray PritchardAuthor, Speaker, President of Keep Believing Ministries

To download a  PDF version of this quiz, click here.

Answers: 1. A 2. D 3. C 4. D 5. B 6. E 7. A 8. C 9. D 10. E 11. E 12. B 13. C 14. B 15. E

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

'Tis the Season

I was quite surprised when, during the first week of September, I received a couple of emails through the Sermons4Kids website, asking me if we had any Christmas plays for children. Now I like to plan ahead, but I must confess that in the first week of September I haven't even given a thought to planning for Christmas. Not only that, but I would still have to answer, "No" had the question come in the first week of October or November, because I actually have never even written a Christmas play.

My immediate reaction to these emails was to Google the Internet for "free Christmas Skits for children."  The very first site on the search results was Sunday School Center.  When I clicked the link, I knew I had found a winner. The site not only had a gold mine of Christmas skits, but it also had skits on many different subjects. I wholeheartedly recommend this site to you for your children's ministry. It isn't just skits. Sunday School Center also has other helpful suggestions for children's ministry such as games, Sunday School lessons, and teacher training. I highly recommend this site to anyone who is involved in children's ministry.

I did find some excellent material on some other sites. Here are some others you might want to check out.
Another suggestion I would offer is the Sermons4Kids Facebook page. Our Social Media Ami Watson, our Social Media Strategist, will be posting ideas that she finds and also posts from those who follow us on Facebook. You will find a host of ministry ideas there!

Gods blessing upon you all as you minister to children. Not just at Christmas, but all year 'round!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Jesus Is Rejected in His Hometown

The City of Nazareth

Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him.  Then he began to tell them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read.”

Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.

Luke tells us that, at first, the people were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. But then, some began to question the authority of Jesus. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" The more Jesus spoke, the more angry the people became. Finally, they got up and forced him out of town. They took him to a hill on which Nazareth was built. They intended to throw Jesus off of a cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.

View from Mt. Precipice where tradition says they took Jesus to throw him off a cliff.

The beautiful Jezreel Valley below Mt. Precipice.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Breakfast on the Beach with Jesus

On our recent trip to the Holy Land, we spent a lot of time on and around the Sea of Galilee. On one of our excursions, we sat on the shore as Pastor Stan Allcorn brought a devotional about the time Jesus appeared to the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:

Several of Jesus' disciples were  gathered beside the Sea of Galilee.  The group included Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

Suddenly, Peter said, "I'm going fishing." 

"We'll come too," the others said.  So they got in the boat and they fished all night, but caught nothing."

As the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't make out who it was.  Jesus called out to them, "Friends, have you caught any fish?"

"Not a thing," they called back.

"Throw your nets on the right-hand side of the boat and you'll catch some!"

Did they do it?  Yes they did!  Did they catch any fish?  They caught so many fish that they couldn't even pull the net into the boat!

Then the disciple that Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Lord!" When Peter heard that, he jumped into the water and headed for shore.  The others stayed with the boat and dragged the loaded net to the shore.  When they got there, they found Jesus cooking breakfast — fish over a charcoal fire and some bread.

"Bring some of the fish you've just caught," Jesus said.  Peter dragged the net to the shore and there were 153 large fish.  "Now, come and have some breakfast," Jesus said.  Then Jesus served them fish and bread.

It just doesn't get any better than that.  Breakfast on the beach with the risen Lord! What would have happened if the disciples had refused to throw their nets on the right-hand side of the boat?  They would have missed out on a wonderful breakfast on the beach with Jesus.  What happens when you and I refuse to do the things Jesus has called us to do?  We miss out on the wonderful blessings that he wants for us!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked

From my early childhood days I heard and sang the song "I Walk Today Where Jesus Walked." I never really dreamed that I would truly walk where Jesus walked. I always imagined that it would just be in my mind's eye that I would see the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, the Garden of Gethsemane or any of the other places I learned about in Sunday School.

Those dreams did come to reality in March of 2018 when I went to the Holy Land with a group of 45 travelers made up largely of members of my church. It was a wonderful experience and a great photo opportunity. I will share just a few of my favorite experiences with you.

The Jordan River was even more beautiful than I had imagined. About sixteen members of our group chose to be baptized in the river. One thirty year-old man was baptized for the first time even though he had made a profession of faith in Christ many years before. 

Many of the sites were brought to life by devotionals brought by our pastor, Stan Allcorn. At the above site in Caesarea Philippi, pastor Stan brought a challenging message based on the Gospel account of Peter's great confession that Jesus was the Messiah.

Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

JESUS PRAYS IN GETHSEMANE: They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed.

The Garden Tomb is operated by a nondenominational Christian charitable trust based in the United Kingdom. However, the tour guides who lead groups past a hill that could be Golgotha and into the empty tomb only go so far as to say, "It could be the actual tomb of Jesus."
The most important thing is not whether this is the actual tomb where Jesus was laid, but that the tomb did not contain Jesus permanently. The important thing is that he is not there. On the door of the tomb we see these words, "He is not here, he is risen."
I took over five hundred photos on this trip and then narrowed them down to about a hundred of my favorites. This represents a handful of those favorites.  I might share some other photos in future blogs, but with Easter just a week away, I wanted to share these to give us something to think about during this time.