Green grass, pretty flowers, and then snow.


Perhaps as we get older we get more sentimental. Lately I’ve been thinking about things that make me happy. More accurately things that are related to fond memories. Most everything that comes to mind also has a not so pleasant connection.

For instance, I like well-manicured yards and tidy flower beds. Before the grass and flowers can grow we must have some rainy days. Because of working outdoors I am not fond of rainy days. Sunny skies are preferable than cloudy days. Both bright sunny days and gloomy rainy ones are needed before we can enjoy beautiful flowers.

It is also not possible to have a well-groomed yard without someone doing the needed work. Mowing, raking, trimming, pulling weeds, are all necessary to have a picture perfect yard. All that work has become almost enjoyable to me in order to have a nice looking lawn.

This time of year I look forward to snow covered yards and beautiful ice covered trees. Oh, and don’t forget ice fishing! Of course, that means gloomy days, snow removal, and freezing temperatures. Fortunately I am blessed with a snow thrower and warm clothes. Sometimes it’s so fun to remove snow that I will clear a few neighbors’ walks and driveways too.

It is not always easy to embrace the seasons as they occur. Maybe I could learn to accept dark days in life because they could be what lead to better things to come.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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The season is upon us!


It’s that time of year again. The Christmas season has officially begun. Oh the joy of crowded stores. Such fun and lasting memories of battling other drivers for a parking spot at the Mall. The stress over finding just the right presents for loved ones adds a certain feeling to the holidays. Most of us, I’m sure, are anxiously awaiting the chance to stand in long checkout lines to be greeted by cranky cashiers and max out credit cards.

Okay, so these aren’t the best parts of the Holiday season. Stress and frustration are often a part of this time of year. All the extra activity can distract us from the reason for the season. But it’s also possible to use all the busyness to build or strengthen bonds. You can shop with a friend and spend some “catching up” time. It can be quite fun to drive around after dark and look at Christmas lights with loved ones.

In our house the day after Thanksgiving marks the time to start decorating for Christmas. This is no small task. It can take weeks to finish decorating the house. It is likely that every horizontal surface and most vertical surfaces will be decorated with festive adornment. The poor dog is afraid to lay down during decoration time for fear of having ornaments attached to her. Of course, we must never forget to wear Christmas socks any chance we can. This is a part of our Holiday tradition that makes some great memories.

The cold weather also brings with it a reason for homemade soup. It is not possible in our home to make a small batch of soup so that means inviting guests for dinner. Soup, warm bread, good friends, conversation. Now there’s a recipe to chase away the winter blues!

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Answering The Call


Answering the Call continuums

Here is a sermon preached at hilltop Chapel in What Cheer Iowa November 19, 2017. I have included the two continuums that were presented during the sermon.

A video is available of this sermon on Facebook. Message me if you would like to view it.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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In response to another tragedy


It is doubtful that the recent tragedy in Texas is a direct attack on the Church. Rather it was an easy target to allow full vent to some unknown rage. We live in a world that for decades has declared “whatever you want is okay.” It is the fault of the Church as much as it is society in general. We have declared with a unified voice that God is not where our trust is. We have put our trust in personal choice, which includes the choice to unlovingly criticize others who do not share our beliefs.

     It is past time to put away our religion and quit acting like we are better than others and show through word and deed that we believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ our redeemer, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in truth. This can start with a genuine smile and kind gesture such as holding a door for someone. It must also include a genuine change in our lives on every day including Sunday.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Pastor Appreciation


Every October Hilltop Chapel celebrates Pastor appreciation month with a special service and fellowship time for our Pastor. I was asked to preach a short sermon for this years event and decided to share the audio with my online audience. Enjoy!

Rev. Burt Schwab

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7 Myths of Repentance part 2


This is part 2 of a two part series titled ‘7 myths of Repentance’. The sermons were inspired by the book ‘REPENTANCE’ by Richard Owen Roberts.

It is my desire that these sermons help clarify some misunderstandings about repentance and help guide the listener into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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7 Myths of Repentance part 1 of 2


A few years ago a friend gave me  book titled ‘REPENTANCE’ by Richard Owen Roberts. Chapter 4 of that book is titled ‘7 Myths of Repentance’. The chapter intrigued me so much that I turned that material into a two part sermon series with the same title.

Today I am posting the first of the two sermons and next week the second sermon will be released. I hope you can find some enlightenment and encouragement from these sermons.

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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I am revising this blog site. Several friends request audio of sermons when I preach. This is an attempt to fill that ministry request.

On October 8, 2017 this sermon was presented at Hilltop Chapel in What Cheer, Iowa. This is the raw audio recording with no apologies for sound quality.

This sermon is about 43 minutes in length and may require a download to play. Please be patient with me as I learn more about sharing audio on this site. Thank you.

Rev. Burt Schwab

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Grow where you are planted.


 

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On a trip through the Great Smoky Mountains I encountered this tree that had grown on some rocks in a river. Although this tree has been dead for some years now it still tells a story. It reminded me of the words one Pastor I know is fond of saying and that is “grow where you are planted.”

This tree certainly had done exactly that. The roots of this tree were firmly imbedded in the rocks where it was planted. The roots were thick and far-spreading which allowed the tree to stay in place during the inevitable floods it encountered during its life cycle. I don’t know how tall this tree may have been or how old it lived to be. I do not know if it was a lovely tree or one marked by scars of a harsh environment. I do know that even in its death a visual reminder of strength and endurance remains.

In just a few days I will be transplanted to a new home in Iowa. I came to Illinois almost thirty years ago with less than five dollars and all my belongings in a suit case. I was a wayward high school drop out from Texas that came to the Chicago area in search of work. It was my full intention to go back to Texas within a year. Like that tree washed up on the rocks either as a sapling or seed, I found myself planted where I landed.

There are many memories of living in the suburbs of Chicago that haven’t been pleasant. At the same time I would not be the same man without them. Somehow, against the odds, my life has taken root in the rock Jesus Christ and that has allowed me to stand firm in my faith as the floods of change threatened to carry me away. I suppose there are some noticeable scarring from life storms that I carry. That isn’t uncommon, in fact, it makes us all unique and beautiful in some special way. The best anyone can hope for in this world is to live a life that leaves a legacy for years after to inspire others to stand firm in Christ. That is what I want. How about you?

I have decided to make this my final post for this site. I may start a new blog to chronicle a new life. For now, thank you for following this blog. My prayer is that somehow you have found comfort or at least a nugget of wisdom in something that was written in the posts. When the time to renew this site comes up in a few months I will let it lapse into whatever happens to unpaid blog sites.

God Bless you and thanks for reading!

Rev. Burt Schwab

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I have bought a field…


247.jpgIt has been a true blessing to have so many people involved in helping during this time of transition. My wife and I have spent the last few weeks either planning or setting up our new home. It hasn’t been easy because we are working in one state during the week and traveling to another on the weekends. There are some dedicated friends and family helping out in big ways but this is still stressful times. Anyone who has ever moved or changed jobs can understand the unique stress of those types of changes.

An unexpected change has occurred in all this commotion. My time in scripture and prayer has been disrupted by a flurry of activity, planning, and projects. At first I convinced myself that once we closed on the new house I would be able to relax during the week because it appeared there wouldn’t be much to do. After all I am over four hours away from home during the week so it seemed reasonable I could spend time concentrating on spiritual rest and growth. That has not been the case at all. Instead my evenings are filled beyond full planning “priority” projects. One such project is much needed kitchen cabinet replacements. By the time the cabinets are purchased I will have spent multiples more hours in researching them then the time it will take to install them.

I do look forward to our new life and in particular the blessing of serving in a rural community as a minister. Somehow it seems unlikely that others will learn from me how to have fellowship with the creator God if I am so easily distracted in life. In thinking about this, the parable Jesus told about a great feast that many were invited to attend and yet they all began making excuses to not be dinner guests came to mind.

Luke 14:15-24 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”

16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ 22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ 23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. 24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

The first excuse given really hit me hard. “I have just bought a field and must inspect it.” The obvious question is who in there right mind buys a field without first inspecting it? Before buying a house I am inspecting top to bottom and behind every hidden spot I can access. Time is spent looking at the neighborhood, yard, streets, and even the surrounding community. I would not even consider making an offer until after looking at every valve, outlet, cabinet, and tree on the property. If I inspect a property for sale it will be obvious to me what condition everything is in. Besides banquets are an evening event, who is going to be looking at a field in the dark? Then it occurred to me the excuse is the same one I’m using. My mind has become preoccupied with a large purchase. Most of my time is spent strategizing improvements and how best to get them done. So much for spending my free time in fellowship with God…

Think about a banquet. It’s more than food, it’s a time of celebration and fellowship. Nobody invites guests to a banquet and expects them to prepare the food and plan the entertainment. The guests are invited to relax, have fun, connect with the host and such. We as Christians are invited into daily fellowship with Christ. It should be a time of celebrating the day and not thinking about tomorrow.

I get it that this parable was not talking about our earthly fellowship with Christ but there are eternal connections. So often we focus on the temporal instead of the eternal. We make excuses such as “there is too much responsibilities with my job or house to spend time with God today.” Another one is “my family responsibilities don’t allow personal time in prayer.” What about the times we place our focus on relationships rather than God? In the parable an excuse given was “I just got married.” In other words “my new relationship is more important than your invitation to fellowship.”

If the time spent on earth is focused only on the things of this world a day will come when we will miss out on the great banquet in heaven. Think about that instead of the latest distraction in your life.

Rev. Burt Schwab

 

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