My Baptism Sunday, Feb 11 2018 

The scripture I would like to bring your attention to this morning is found in the book of Ephesians chapter 4 verses 4-6. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

Back in 1967 there was a man, whose name I cannot remember, who opened his farm to Christian youth. I went there in the winter that year for a week. While I was there, we worked skinning rabbits and learning about various things with regards to survival. One of the things he taught us was about healing by the laying on of hands.

It was winter so I remember there being snow outside. This was up north somewhere in the state of Washington. It was very cold. So the first thing he did was to have us feel his hands as we had just come in from outside where the rabbit hutches were. They were cold. Then he began to rub his hands together and blow into them. After a bit he had us feel his hands again. They were warm. Then he explained how the Spirit was bestowed by the laying on of hands as referenced by 1 Timothy 4:14 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the [a]presbytery.

So he put his hands on top ours and they became hotter and hotter until it was like they were on fire but it did not burn us. When he touched us he could feel the power draining just like Jesus did when the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.

Needless to say, that week changed my life.

I had received the baptism by fire.

This has been over 50 years ago and still the fire is in my hands by the grace of God. I am feeling compelled to pass it on to my grandchildren so they can see it working in the lives of those they touch.

Through the years, I have seen many people healed. Some were dramatic. Others you wouldn’t know unless they told you. It is important to ask them if they feel anything just like Jesus asked the blind man. It helped him to teach us how to know to continue. I’ve learned through trial and error. I’ve failed many times. I do not understand why sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I just keep trying in hopes that it will work. The more you try the more you see success. All I know is God is real and he is in us.

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My Church Saturday, Feb 3 2018 

The Scripture that I would like to bring to your attention this morning is found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in chapter 3 verses 20-21: 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations [a]forever and ever. Amen.

When a person attends a particular church they tell others, “My church is such and such.” They identify with a particular church, a particular group of people, a particular location.

My church’s purpose is to worship and glorify God. It is a place of unity. Every Christian member is also a part of the household of God. It is an intimate group. There is a difference between a city where we live and a church where we attend. The city is external but the church is internal or intimate if you will. We know the people of our church. We pray for them and with them. We know their families.

My church is the bride of Christ just like every other Christian church. We are also the body of Christ. “The two shall become one body.”  Ephesians 5:32 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

God wants his church to be united intimately just like a married couple. You share life together. You care for one another. You help each other. You encourage one another. You love one another. John 13:35 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Just like in a family the people of the church are responsible for one another’s spiritual health. We hold one another accountable. We call each other to task if a brother is living in sin. Matthew 18: 15 “If your brother sins[k], go and [l]show him his fault [m]in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every [n]fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as [o]a Gentile and [p]a tax collector.

Most churches today won’t do this for fear that they will lose their members. They say, “Anything goes. We all sin. Why should I call out a brother when my own life is just as vile. No, no we have to love everybody and treat everybody the same.”