Seven denials


Seven denials that lead to the downfall of any society.

  1. Deny Scripture to be the word of God.
  2. Deny God created everything.
  3. Deny man and woman were created differently and for each other.
  4. Deny marriage is a God ordained institution.
  5. Deny God instituted human governance.
  6. Deny God’s definition of sin.
  7. Deny God’s son is the only way to heaven.

These are the steps that lead any society into a downward spiral that ultimately tries to place man above God. The end result being a culture of hate, violence, greed, and immorality.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Is your church raising mature Christians?


Is it possible to truly follow Christ and not change? If we are to grow as Christians that would include changes in our lives. It’s completely contrary to nature to grow without change. A normal expectation is for all living things to reach a point of maturity. As an example a mature fruit tree produces fruit. A mature disciple of Jesus will produce more disciples. The greatest failure of any local church congregation is the failure to produce mature Christians. This seems to be a plague on the current Western culture church.

A big part of the problem many church congregations face is the mistaken idea that we must conform to be in unity. Unity is not the same as conformity. Unity is clearly seen in the beauty of diversity. We should readily accept that other believers are going to have a different worship style than our own. The unity of the Church should be clearly evidenced in the teaching of and adherence to the Holy Bible. Twisting scripture, or ignoring part of it completely, in order to conform to a “new” culture is destructive heresy.

God did not leave us to figure out how to become mature all on our own. He gave the Church certain ministry gifts as is recorded in Ephesians 4:11. These purpose of these gifts are clearly stated in 4:12.

Ephesians 4:11-13 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Marks of mature conduct

  • Prepared for works of ministry
  • Edifying the body of Christ, which is providing moral or intellectual instruction.
  • Reaching unity of faith
  • Growing in knowledge of the Son of God

The opposite of maturity is immaturity.

Ephesians 4:14 NKJV that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

The immature believer is easily swayed by false doctrine and deceived by clever lies of greedy and selfish teachers. The same as a child is not aware of their own gullibility an immature believer is not aware of theirs. It requires patient instruction from mature believers to guide young Christians.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

 

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… to inherit eternal life?


Luke 10:25 “…Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

This question was proposed to our Savior by a lawyer. It is a good question when asked with a sincere desire for instruction.

It loses its goodness when proposed out of ill design, merely, as a matter of discussion and dispute.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Producing mature Christians


Closed church

Local churches close for a wide range of reasons. Economic changes, natural disasters, change of local culture, and poor leadership decisions are among the most common. But the greatest failure of any local church congregation is the failure to produce mature Christians.

In our culture we are facing a newly emerging, unnamed religion that is intolerant to the Gospel and the Christian faith. Without returning to our true mission of making disciples the Western Church will be overwhelmed by this new religion.

 

In ‘The Emotionally Healthy Leader’, author Peter Scazzero references this historical example;

“In the seventh century, the church in Arabia and North Africa appeared prosperous. They had a rich history going back to the first century. They were theologically sophisticated, boasted well-known leaders and bishops, and exercised considerable influence in the culture. Nonetheless, Islam advanced over these Christian churches in a very short time. Most church historians agree the church as a whole was beset by a superficial spirituality that was unable to withstand the intense assault of this new religion. Local churches were divided from each other over minor doctrinal points, refusing to recognize the presence of Jesus in those whom they differed. Moreover, they failed to translate the Scriptures into Arabic, the language of the people. As a result, while attendance was strong and the financial giving stable, people were not grounded in Jesus. Their lack of a spiritually solid foundation as churches led to a rapid collapse under the weight and pressure of an advancing, intolerant Islam.”

It is possible to overcome the fast approaching changes this culture is presenting by slowing down. By committing ourselves to learn from both contemplative tradition and writings of leaders through church history. If we allow the global church to teach us through diversity. Other believers, who are different than us in some ways, have much to teach us about such things as solitude, silence, and stillness with God as we strive to bring the Gospel message to those around us.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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To know the love of Christ


It has been said that preaching is a lot like dying while being naked. Not a pretty picture when thinking about an overweight, middle-age man. None the less there is some truth in the statement.

I have preached this message previously but to a different congregation. This sermon message is from Ephesians 3:14-21 if you care to take the time to listen. With great enthusiasm I delivered this message to a church in Clutier, Iowa on September 2, 2018.

Live preaching has no retakes, or special editing. I am thankful for that and would not want it any other way.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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4 guiding truths of the Christian faith


This is the audio of a sermon preached at Amazing Grace Church in Charles City, Iowa.

The four truths discussed are;

  1. God created the heavens and earth. Humans were created with and for a purpose. We were created by God to live in fellowship with Him.
  2. ALL people are created with value. It does not matter color, language, physical defects, or heritage, ALL human life is precious and is to be valued and protected.
  3. Marriage is a part of the created design of humans. A spouse is the most important human relationship second only to God.
  4. God is our highest authority. Human authority is divinely ordained and is to be respected. It is showing honor to God by respecting positions of authority.

I would encourage you to think about these truths and how they impact your thinking. None of us have fully matured in Christ. Think about these truths and how you can improve your relationship with Christ as well as share these truths with others.

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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Let’s be honest


I am tired. I am tired of being tired. The last several months have been a long bout of depression. This is not a normal response for me.

There are a number of factors that have contributed to my anxiety and depression.

  • Leaving Illinois where I resided for almost 30 years. It was a desire to leave for many years but still change is hard.
  • Taking a church position that was based on misleading information. Yes I am still mad about that. It’s not realistic to just forgive and forget a deep breach of trust.
  • Going to work in a factory on night shift. Nothing wrong with factory work but changing shifts is a major life event.
  • Working on an old house in need of many updates and repairs. That included dealing with water seeping in the basement that the last owners “had no knowledge of”.  We bought the house based on the income of the church job.
  • Applying for open Pastor positions. For the most part Pastor search committees decide what they want in a Pastor and then pray for God to bring that person. Maybe if they would seek God’s desire for their church first then only the right candidates would apply.

With all this going on I have explored the possibility of planting a church. Several people have suggested that I start a church. The reality is those same people like to hear me preach but they don’t want to commit themselves to the work of church planting. It is obviously a waste of my time to pursue church planting any further.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. We all have expectations that are not based on reality. Pastors lie for fear of losing congregants. House sellers lie just to sell their house. Employers lie in order to fill employment occupancy.  Pastor search committees lie because they have personal agendas. There are some good reasons to have trust issues.

I ask myself, in all this where is God? I place my trust in God and study the Bible to understand Him more and how to live the way God wants me to. Sometimes I think the way I live makes a difference to others. Sometimes I think it would be better to drop out of society completely and let people live out their short existence on earth with their own self-made misery.

This site is written for Christians. Atheists sometimes make their ignorant and even hateful remarks but I am not writing for them. As Christians most all of us could take some time to evaluate our integrity. Proclaiming to be one way and living another is a form of lying. Both an honest life and a dishonest life have far reaching impacts.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Planted by the River


This is the audio of a sermon from Psalm 1 that was preached on July 29, 2018.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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A different view on conceal carry rights.


Totally stepping away from the normal platform of this site.

A constant drama is played out on social media about gun control. I do not have a convincing argument for or against gun laws. However I do have a strong opinion for those who choose conceal carry. To preface this post please remember I am not saying you are wrong or right.

I was in the crossfire of gang shootings at three different times while living in Aurora, Ill. All three times the shootings took just a few seconds. No warning before people started shooting at each other. In the first instance the shots ended before I could figure out what was happening. The second time I immediately took cover knowing what was happening. The third time I was angry enough to want to do something about it.

As I stated there was no warning before the shootings began. There almost never is. For the sake of this scenario you have a three-second warning.

A shooter enters a store where you are shopping. You have been fully trained and are carrying a loaded pistol. You have to decide the threat level. Do you run and hide, or stand and fight? Where is your gun? Is there a clear shot? Are you within the laws boundaries to kill the shooter?

It took about 14 seconds to read the last paragraph. You only had three seconds of warning from the shooter… You are now suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

 

Here is the point. That gun may be giving a false sense of security. If you are not willing to die then you are not willing to take a life without hesitation.

I hope no person reading this is ever in an active shooter situation. I also hope that you think with clarity before making any decisions about owning guns. Protecting yourself and others come with a great amount of responsibility. Sometimes it comes with a lifetime of regret.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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A most unusual day


tornado damage

To support a ministry life I work as a welder at Vermeer Corporation.  On Thursday July 19, 2018 Vermeer property was hit by an EF3 tornado. Vermeer employs about 2700 people at this location. Several hundred of us employees along with a large number of visiting customers were on site when it occurred. Three of the seven manufacturing buildings were damaged. Two of them are not repairable. Dozens of vehicles were damaged as well. With all the devastation there were only a small number of injuries, all of them minor. Praise God for that.

At the time of this writing there are hundreds of us employees that do not know when we will return to work. Prayers are appreciated.

As I was pondering this most unusual day Jonah came to mind. I’d like to think my stubbornness is not as bad as Jonah’s was but that’s debatable. Jonah was sent to a city he did not want to go to. He tried to go an opposite direction but wound getting a ride in a fish to the place he was supposed to be. Despite Jonah’s reluctance to preach it, God’s word brought about repentance to a sinful city. The last we read about Jonah was a most unusual day even for him.

Look for yourself at Jonah 4:5-11

Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed. Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”

The parallel is that I’m not where I want to be. If you have followed this blog for any amount of time it’s obvious that employment as a welder working second shift is not a part of my plans. However, the job has brought a great amount of financial relief. Then one day, like the worm eating the vine, nature took away that covering.

Forrest+Pella+2

Among the blessings of that day is my car was not damaged, my home was not damaged, I was in a building hit by a tornado and didn’t even get a scratch. If my car and home had been destroyed and I was hurt would I complain. Most likely I would have been whining to God. After all he gave me these blessings and my heart has been less than grateful for them.

Do I have the right to complain? The answer is no. God knows our needs and He provides for them. Not every person employed at Vermeer is a follower of Christ but God protected all of us from serious harm just the same.

 

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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