• 12/5/21

    Joy to the World

    Since 1719, “Joy to the World” has been a Christmas music essential.  Its lyrics were written by Isaac Watts, and to this date, it remains one of the most published hymns.  However, the song wasn’t even intended to be a Christmas Carol.  Even more, this classic wasn’t even supposed to be a song, and has been noted to be an “accidental Christmas hymn”.

     

    “Joy to the World” is based on Psalm 98, and the Second Coming of Christ.  It doesn’t have any trivial connection with the Christmas story, however, there does is a correlation – a “a second coming” cannot be manifested without a “first coming.”

     

    Sadly, many people are still looking for the Messiah’s first coming, if they are at all; and if you look at the news, there doesn’t seem to be much “joy” in the world today.  However, as believers in Jesus Christ, we know that our Savior DID come the “first time”.  Christmas does not only dwell in the past attainments, but it also looks forward to His return.

     

    Father, this Christmas … may I celebrate the joy of our Savior’s birth, the joy of His life, His death and resurrection, that has given us our salvation which is found in Christ Jesus alone, and may I celebrate the joy of His soon return.  Joy to the World!!!

  • 11/21/21

    Heart of Worship


    By Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

    Hebrews 13:15-16

    Matt Redman wrote a wonderful song titled, “The Heart of Worship.” Here is the chorus: “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You. It’s all about you, Jesus. I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it, when it’s all about You. It’s all about You, Jesus.”


    What is the heart of worship? The answer is one simple word: surrender.


    The writer of Hebrews challenges us to “offer the sacrifice of praise to God.” If you know anything about a sacrifice, you know that it represents surrender. Once you put a sacrifice on the altar, you lose total control of it and you never get it back. The heart of worship, then, is found in surrender. When you surrender your time, your talents, your treasures, and your testimony, that offering of surrender is an act of worship. L.B. Cowman, a former missionary wrote, “Life is not wreckage to be saved out of the world but an investment to be used in the world.”


    Father, make my life useful in bringing glory to You by surrendering to You and living with a worshipful heart.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • 11/14/21

    ASK, SEEK, KNOCK

    Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8


    Ask. Seek. Knock. God calls us to pray. Prayer itself is a bit of a mystery. Why should we inform God of something He already knows? And can prayer alter the plans of God, who already knows the end from the beginning?


    Prayer does matter, or else why did Jesus so strongly and consistently implore us to pray? And for that matter, why was prayer such an important part of Jesus’ life? Clearly, God will not do some things in our lives except through prayer. Prayer is part of God’s working in us to bring us to a place of humility and dependence on Him.


    What is it we seek? What do we need God to do for us? Jesus said all we need to do is ask.


    God is not some cosmic genie who bends His will toward ours to meet our selfish desires, but during prayer, God bends our will toward His, and conforms our hearts to see His will. God accomplishes this sanctifying work when we humble ourselves, acknowledge our dependency on Him, and pray.


    Yes, we can plan. Yes, we can work. But until we stop and pray, some things will not happen. So let’s pray!

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • 11/7/21

    Which One Are You?

    Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.  Do not be conformed to this aged,

    but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good,

    pleasing and perfect will of God.

    Romans 12:1-2

     

    When I was growing up, my Youth Minister use to say: “Every Christian is either a conformer or a transformer.  Which one are you?”  In the passage above, the apostle Paul is contrasting two ways of life – that of the believer who is being transformed by God, and that of the believer who is being conformed to the world.  It is the contrast between metamorphosis and masquerade.

     

    When Christian believers conform to this world and fashion their lives after the pattern of unbelievers, they’re changing the outside, but the change is not coming from the inside.  It’s not metamorphosis; it’s masquerade. 

     

    Vernon Whaley wrote in his book, Called To Worship, “Our lives are being changed by pressure from without (conforming) or by power from within (transforming).  The difference is worship!

     

    Lord, we bow down and worship You today—not just our bodies, but especially our hearts bow down before You. You are great, and we are small. You are holy, and we need the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from our sins. Thank You for being our Father. We love You and we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

  • 10/31/21

    Wait

     "Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart be courageous.  Wait for the LORD.”  -Psalm 27:14


    In my reading this past week, I came across this passage and quickly wanted to move on.  The word "wait" makes some people cringe. Who likes to wait? I do not know of anyone who actually enjoys waiting, whether waiting in line to purchase something, waiting on someone to return a phone call, or generally, waiting because of something out of our control. Waiting is hard work. Our culture caters to speed, not contemplation. We live in a fast paced society where convenience is king and slowness is to be avoided at all cost. This impatience can be very costly and tragic. There are more and more instances of road rage in our country, and I think the primary contributing factor is, people are getting very upset because someone else is slowing them down or impeding their progress.  Have you driven on IH-35 or 1604 lately?

    In the Christian life, however, waiting on God is an important part of our walk with God. The Book of Psalms uses the word "wait" more than any other book in the Bible. The word is used 26 times, more than double the amount it is used in any other book.  God rarely operates like a microwave; He more often operates like a crock-pot, marinating and slow-cooking until the perfect time. The passing of time is irrelevant to God. He is outside of time. We are consumed with time schedules, and we often think God should hurry up because we need an answer or we need help, pronto!

    So many times God answers our prayers with a resounding "yes", and for those times we are so grateful. At other times, God tells us "no", and we have to be good with that, because He simply knows what is best for us. Aren't you glad, looking back on the times God told you "no", because He had a better "yes" later? Then there are times when we cry out to God and it seems the heavens are as brass. God seems distant or aloof. But nothing could be further from the truth. In those moments, we may not sense His presence to bless, but we can rest assured that He is still omnipresent; He sees and hears us clearly.

     

    I want to encourage you to keep being faithful and persistent in your prayers, and wait on God.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • 10/24/21

    I Am Sealed

    Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. – 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

     

    Some time back, I came across what “sealing” meant in the Roman world.  Two facts stood out to me in particular.  First, when a government affixed its seal on anything, tampering with it was viewed as an attack on the government itself.  An example would be Pilate’s sealing of Jesus’ tomb.  Second, a government seal was an official reassurance that a container held exactly what it claimed.

     

    Now consider those two things in regard to your relationship with God.  Belonging to Him means you are so secure that to “tamper” with you would be to take on all the powers of heaven!  When I read the Scriptures, God says that I am loved, blessed, forgiven, gifted, a child of God, and I have an eternity with Him.  Often, I don’t feel all those things.  But His seal guarantees that my “vessel” contains exactly what His Word says.  I can take comfort in knowing that I belong to God.  He has sealed me for all of eternity, and nothing can remove His seal!

     

    Father, I thank You that it is in Christ alone, my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • 10/17/21

    KEEP GOING!

    Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the Word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth. But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

    2 Corinthians 4:1-6

     

    I’m not much of a farmer, in fact, I have trouble growing plants around our house.  Much to Sharon’s dismay, I praise God for silk plants, though around our home, I have been known to kill a silk plant or two!

     

    Over the years, the example of plowing fields has always been associated with ministry.  I have been on a combine, thanks to my good friend in the Valley who owns a large farm.  With today’s technology in machinery, he is able to put a laser on a target on the other side of the field, and drives that big tractor to make straight rows, or should I say, he puts that combine on cruise-control!

     

    It seemed pretty easy sitting in a climate controlled cabin, but as my friend told me, “It wasn’t always that way.  Growing up on the farm, there were days when we had to remove a large rock or a tree stump, and if we didn’t eradicate it then, we had to figure a way to go around it.”

     

    The Apostle Paul wrote these words to encourage believers that we may gain strength to persevere despite the circumstances around us. There are times that I wish we could put ministry on “cruise-control”, but we must continue to press on … proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, letting our light shine before all men.  We need to keep going … plowing the fields of the world, and planting the seeds of the Gospel, while praying to the Lord of the harvest.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • 10/10/21

    I WANT TO KNOW HIM

    My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. – Philippians 3:10


    I had a professor at Seminary who told us, “Gentleman, be careful not to miss out on your personal Quiet Time with the Lord. It will be easy for you to fail to do so as you study the Bible in all your classes.”


    Have you noticed that there are so many Read the Bible In a Year programs? These reading plans are written to help us as a goal, to read the entire Bible from Genesis to the maps. Hey, I’m going through the Word this year like I have done so for many years, but as I do, I’m reminded of what a wise professor said, “It can be easy to miss what God has to say to us personally.”


    Dave Browning, in Deliberate Simplicity, stated, “We are convinced that that gap holding back most believers is not the gap between what they know and what they don’t know. It’s the gap between what they know and what they’re living out. Many Christians are … educated beyond their obedience.”


    The goal is not just to learn more; it’s to hear from our Father, and then to live out what we know from His Word. We are all busy and it can be so easy to gloss over our reading just so we can get on with the next thing in life. It has been said: If we are too busy for God, then we are too busy! I hope that we never get to the point where we have to schedule God on our calendar.


    Father, as I read Your Word, I want to be still and know that You are God!

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • 10/3/21

    Trust God

    I was watching LHN last Saturday night wanting to gain some insight from the commentators regarding a game I had just watched, when a commercial regarding physics “abruptly interrupted” the programming. The infomercial explained the increase or decrease of sound, light, or other waves as the source and observer move toward (or away) from each other. It is called the Doppler Effect, and according to astronomers, our universe is still expanding.


    As I listened to this “all you can tell in 30-seconds” research, I couldn’t help but recall the sermon series, In The Beginning, brought by Pastor David these past few weeks.


    As I read past the first three words of Genesis, I noticed something significant in verse 3 (in light of this research). The significance is this: The four words that God spoke at the beginning of time, “Let there be light,” are still creating galaxies at the edge of the universe. If God can do that with four words, what are you worried about? There is nothing He cannot do. After all, He created everything out of nothing.


    His Words never return void. Neither do your prayers when you pray the Word of God, and the will of God. The same God who hovered over the chaos at the beginning of time is hovering over your life, and you never know when His answer will re-enter the atmosphere of your life. As Don Miller said in our prayer seminar series, “What may seem impossible, becomes Himpossible when God’s people pray”.


    Father, with all that is going on around me, socially, politically, economically, or whatever it is … nothing surprises You. I thank You that I am Yours. I am significant, and You are still watching over Your Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12).

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • 9/26/21

    Buy Low, sell high

    Yesterday, I was enjoying my favorite television show NCIS, when it was interrupted by a commercial! I know that commercials are used to support the financing of a television program, but they are also used to entice you to buy or invest in the product. This particular advertisement was trying to encourage the listener, in this case me, to buy coins. During this 90 second infomercial, the word “investment” continually came up. The next time that particular commercial comes around, I want to count how many times it is used, but then again: Do I really want to spend the time?


    Buy Low, Sell High – that’s all I really know about investing. I do know that an investment is an asset or item with the goal of generating income, but I also know that an investment is giving our time to our family and children because we value them. Do we invest to a lost world? Are we investing in things that are eternal?

    In his book, Replicate, Robby Gallaty put it this way: “Let’s say I offer you $86,400 today to spend on whatever you desire with one stipulation – you have to spend all the money today. What’s left over will be lost forever: you cannot carry over today’s money to tomorrow. Could you do it? Most likely you are nodding your head right now. Amazon packages would be primed and ready for shipping! You might even give a few bucks to charity.


    After your spending frenzy, let’s say I show up the next day with the same offer: another $86,400 with the same stipulations. Could you do it two days in a row? Of course you could. You wake up the next morning to new stock investments, cleared debt, increased retirement funds and a replenished savings account.

    God gives each one of us 86,400 seconds each day. We are free to spend them in whatever manner we wish. And when they’re gone, they’re gone. So what should we invest in?”


    Father, help me to use each day wisely and invest in things that are eternal.

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • 9/19/21

    Can Do or Can’t Do?

    For You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. – 2 Samuel 22:29-31


    David is a “can-do” person. “Can’t” wasn’t in his vocabulary. The source of his confidence was not himself but his God. David trusted God with all his heart. Only by the Lord could David successfully go against a troop of men or leap over a high wall. He believed Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”) even before it was written.


    What about you? Are you a “can-do” or a “can’t-do” person? Do you see difficulty in every opportunity or an opportunity in every difficulty? Maybe you are facing a seemingly impossible situation. Maybe you are thinking it just can’t be done. Look to the Lord and factor Him into the equation. When you do, impossible becomes possible with God.

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • 9/12/21

    Reconciled

     Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

     

    Reconciliation is a sweet thought.  When we reconcile with a friend, a burden is lifted.  When enemies reconcile, we rejoice.  But nothing compares to reconciling with God.  Why are we now reconciled to God?  God pursed us when we were enemies and reconciled us to Himself.

     

    Now we have the ministry of reconciliation.  God has sent us as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) to plead with everyone to be reconciled to God.  For us everything has become new.  How we see others is new.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “We regard no one according to the flesh.”  We now see the world not as the enemy to be shunned, but as sinners needing reconciliation. To God.  A sure sign that we are indeed a new creation is that we are active in the ministry of pleading with sinners to be reconciled.

     

    How do you see others outside of Christ?  Do you see them as people needing to be reconciled to God?  Today, rejoice that God has saved you.  Today, pray that you will represent Him well by imploring others to be reconciled to God at work, at school, on the field, in your neighborhood, and wherever people are far from God.

     

    Father, I praise and thank You for reconciling us to You through the cross thereby killing the hostility we had with You, our self, and others (Ephesians 2:16).

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • 9/5/21

    Doubting What?

    The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them.  When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted.  Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:16-20

     

    In the book, “Replicate” by Robbie Gallaty and Chris Swain, the writers state, “I’ve been baffled by the two words in this passage: Some doubted.”   I too have to agree with these guys.  What were they doubting?  What were the disciples uncertain or hesitant about?

     

    The word doubt means “to waiver or question the reliability of something.”

     

    The writers continue, “Could it be that they doubted themselves?  For three years, they watched Jesus give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and provide other miracles.  But things changed when Jesus died on a cross and was buried in a tomb.  Although Jesus rose from the dead, they were most likely contemplating the same fate for themselves.”

     

    Whether the disciples doubted Jesus or their own uncertain way forward, the end result is the same:  Jesus knew the ministry of disciple-making would be tough, which is why He changed their perspective from focusing on themselves to focusing on the providence of God.

     

    2000 years later, being a disciple of Christ is just as hard, but God’s promises are still the same, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Just as Jesus changed the perspective of the disciples, allow Him to change yours daily … after all, “It’s All About Jesus!”

     

    This coming Wednesday, the Fall Discipleship programs begin.  It is not too late to sign up … I hope you will.  

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • 8/29/21

    Abiding in Him

     Do not love the world or the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17

     

    The Apostle John wants to make sure that we understand that being a follower of Christ in this life is not easy.  He tells us in previous verses that we are overcomers of this world because Christ overcame.  We are in Christ, and He is in us.  Our identity is in Christ.  It’s not about imitation, but rather incarnation.  Christ lives His life through us.  If we are in control, He isn’t in control.  So we must yield our lives to Him to walk in truth.

     

    In the passage above, John shares with us the wrong kind of love; namely desiring the things of the world that have no eternal value.  Pastor David has been preaching on this subject these past few weeks in his Generous series.

     

    Simply put, the temporal, the world, is passing away.  On the other hand, eternal things abide forever.  When we do anything, it will either make God smile or Satan smile; they won’t smile at the same thing.

     

    Years ago I heard a story of a person who was led to the Lord.  A year later, this believer ran into his older brother in Christ, and he was asked, “How are things going?”  His response was, “Well, it’s as if I have a good dog and a bad dog inside of me, and they’re fighting all the time.”  The older believer asked, “Which one is winning?”  To which the younger believer replied, “Whichever one I feed.”

     

    Father, keep me ever mindful that Your will is best for me – not my own will or the ways of the world.

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • 8/22/21

    How to Spend a Day with God

    Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth

    and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.

    – Psalm 25:4-5


    In this passage, we find actions to take daily if we want to please the Lord:

    Show me Your ways. Jesus taught us to pray not our will, but for His to be

    done. Discernment is vital as we long to understand the mysterious dealings

    of the Spirit. God will make His ways known to us. Listen for His voice saying,

    “This is the way; walk in it.”


    Teach me Your paths. Like parents who guide their child who are just learning

    to walk, God is our Father and will instruct us on which paths to take. A fork

    in the road is not a simple choice for Christians. We must heed the Father’s

    direction, and then walk in it.


    Lead me in the truth. This is where we must have ears to hear. Stop and listen,

    because the Father is speaking. He often uses three pointers in helping us

    discern the way. Bible passages are one source of help. The Holy Spirit offers

    direction in following God’s will. The wisdom of saintly counselors also offers

    Godly advice to follow.


    Father, help me to recognize that every day is a gift. Today will be gone forever, and

    tomorrow may never come. Help me to see that I have a choice of what to do with

    each day, and to make it worthwhile.

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • 8/15/21

    Who are you investing in?

    “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave me to do.”

    – John 17:4

     

    God gave Jesus a task – that task was not just to die on the cross.  Notice that Jesus told the Father that He accomplished the work He was sent for, prior to dying on the cross.  In this prayer, Jesus never mentions miracles, multitudes, or programs.  Rather, forty times He prays for His disciples.  The task the Father sent Him to complete was to invest in twelve men.

     

    Who are you investing in?

     

    In the book, “Replicate” by Robby Gallaty and Chris Swain, they state from a recent survey, “Eighty-three percent of church attendees are clueless about the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.  In a society with more access to information than ever before, we have ignored the final words of Jesus.  As a result, people sit by idly while “trained, certified” pastors carry out ministerial tasks.  No wonder we can’t motivate our people to participate and serve.  For years, they’ve been taught to watch.”

     

    In a few weeks, the Fall Semester will begin and UBC discipleship will restart, after taking year-and-a-half “forced break”.  I encourage you to find a place to serve and grow and get involved on Sunday or Wednesday Evenings.

     

    Father, may I be obedient … investing in people!

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • 8/8/21

    Praise Him

    Praise the LORD, all His angels of great strength, who do His word, obedient to His command. 

    Praise the LORD, all His armies, His servants who do His will. Praise the LORD, all His works in all the places where He rules. My soul, praise the LORD!

    Psalm 103:20-22


    In the book, “Not God Enough” by J.D. Greear, the author poses a question, “What does it take to impress an angel?” He says, “There’s not much angels haven’t seen. They had a front row seat at creation. They have seen God make a donkey talk. They filled the heavens with praise at the birth of Jesus and rolled the stone away from His tomb. The apostle Peter tells us there is one thing, that still blows their minds; one thing that leaves them in silence. God’s love for the rebellious human race.”


    When this psalm is finished, the final shout of praise comes, not from the angels, but from the psalmist himself. To think … all “redeemed” men and women have more to praise the Lord for than do all the angels in heaven and all the universe (Psalm 107:1-2).


    Father, I will praise You today. I won’t hold back and agree with the psalmist who wrote: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” (Psalm 103:1)

    Written by: Pastor Terry


  • 8/1/21

    Conduct

    Just one thing: As citizen of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. 

    Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel.

    Philippians 1:27

     

    Charles Swindoll is one of my favorite writers and one of my “heroes in the faith.”  In one of his writings, he tells a true story of Alexander the Great, who acquired and conquered the largest empire of the known world.  The story is told that one of his soldiers, also named Alexander, was behaving badly.  When the soldier was brought before him, the king asked the soldier’s name.

                The soldier replied, “Alexander, sir.”

                The ruler replied, “Then change your name or change your conduct!”

     

    We who follow Christ are called Christians.  We are named after Christ, and our daily conduct is to reflect Him.  I’ve heard this said many times: The best argument for Christianity is a Christian; and the worst argument against Christianity is a Christian.

     

    How well do we represent the One we are named after?  My mother always told my brother and I when we were walking out the door, “Behave yourselves!”  I think she still does.  Think about it, how well do we behave ourselves in our homes, what we post on social media, how we behave at work or on vacation – it all matters.  Christ lives in us.  When we are not behaved, our conduct does not reflect the gospel of Christ. 

     

    Just as the soldier received the strong rebuke from Alexander the Great, we too need a strong reminder of whom we represent.  If we have repented and trust Christ, our names have been changed, and our conduct should change too.

     


    Father, with every breath, make me more like You.  Amen.

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • 7/25/21

    True To Christ

    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” and “your neighbor as yourself.”

    – Luke 10:27

     

    It’s pretty simple.  Love God and love people.  Every biblical law and command ultimately comes down to one of those two.  There were 613 laws in the Jewish law, but you can sum them all up with just two.

     

    In Francis Chan's book, Letters to the Church, he writes about his daughter and her birthday party. He asked her how many people would come if they were invited to a party with just her and some cake. She said maybe one or two friends. But then he asked, "What if I rent out Dave and Busters, and we have free games and food? How many would come then?" Chan's daughter told him that the whole school would come, if they were invited.  Then Chan told his daughter, "Then they would not be coming for you, but for the pleasures of what they would get." It is the same in many churches. I would rather serve God faithfully and be true to Christ and the Scriptures than have many more people in attendance for the wrong reasons.

     

    The Westminister Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”  When we love God, we glorify Him.  Worship is more than just songs that we sing, it is the total expression and act of love towards God. 

     

    The second command is as important as the first: love people. 

     

    On Sunday, Sharon, my Mom and myself, went to eat lunch at Jim’s Restaurant.  After all, my thought was, “I can get a chicken fried steak, and the service is quick.” The place was packed!  When we finally got to our table, a bundle of “joy and energy” came to our table to take our order.  Tonya was so incredible and vibrant.  I can still hear her telling us after she took our orders: “You got it sweetie!” “You got it honey!” “You got it darling!”

     

    Toward the end of our meal when Tonya came to refill our drinks and find out if there was anything we needed, Sharon said to her, “I wish I could see your smile behind that mask.  You seem to enjoy what you do.”  Tonya’s reply was quick and to the point, “I love people!”

     

    It’s pretty simple.

    Written by: Pastor Terry

     

  • 7/11/21

    Psalm 150

    Hallelujah!  Praise God in His sanctuary.  Praise Him in His mighty heavens. 

    Praise Him for His powerful acts; praise Him for His abundant greatness.

    Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with harp and lyre. 

    Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings. 

    Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals. 

    Let everything that breathes praise the LORD.  Hallelujah! – Psalm 150

     

    Whether you can play an instrument or not, no matter where you live or what your ethnic origin, male or female, young or old – Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  After all, that breath comes from the Lord, and if things that do not have breath can praise the Lord (148:8-9), surely we can too!

     

    Today, give Him praise and don’t hold back!!!

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • 7/4/21

    Is History Repeating itself?

    After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what He had done for Israel.  Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.  They forsook the LORD, the God of their father, who had brought them out of Egypt.  They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. – Judges 2:10-12

     

    The context of this passage is found two verses before: “Joshua, son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died …” (vs. 8). And now we see a nation in decline: “They provoked the LORD to anger because they forsook Him and served other gods.  In His anger, the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them.  He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist …” (vs. 12-14).

     

    I read this passage and I have to be careful in comparing it to America.  I see a political landscape that is disheartening, the depravity of social values, and even the declining numbers in churches, and I wonder:  Is history repeating itself?  In two short chapters before, we read: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:14).  It is sad how quickly a nation forgot and forsook the LORD, the God of their father, who had brought them out of Egypt.

     

    Today, as an American, I will celebrate our nations birthday, and I will continue to pray for revival for our country.  I believe that revival will happen in the state house when it first begins in the church house.  We need to continue teaching the Word of God, applying it to our lives, and sharing it with the next generation.

     

    There is a song we sing here at UBC entitled, We Will Remember (by Tommy Walker).  Below are the chorus lyrics to that song:

     

    We will remember, we will remember;
    We will remember the works of Your hands.
    We will stop, and give You praise;
    For great is Thy faithfulness.

     

    Father, today I thank You for allowing me to live in this great country.  I thank You for our forefathers who came to this new world to establish a country under God, but as I celebrate “the 4th”, may I never forget … It’s All About Jesus!  Worship Him today!!!

    Written By: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • 6/27/21

    Be A LIght

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  1 John 1:1-5

     

    Verse 1 of this passage is packed with an incredible story.  It’s the story of Jesus.

     

    Most of us understand that when “the Word” is mentioned, John is referring to Jesus.  But why did John choose to use the “Word” to describe Jesus?  The answer is that John had come to see that the words of Jesus, were the true Word of God.  “Word” depicts the entire story of Jesus.

     

    If we break down verse 1, we can see three things:

     

    The first part of the verse says “In the beginning was the Word.” Where have you heard “In the beginning” before? Genesis 1:1 tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the   earth.  John is telling us here, that Jesus was there in the beginning. 

     

    The middle part says “and the Word was with God”.  Here, John tells us that Jesus was with God.

     

    Finally, the last part says “and the Word was God”.  (By the way, this is the heart of the trinity.) This part of the verse tells us that Jesus is God and He has a relationship with God. 

     

    In the rest of the passage, John goes on to tell us what Jesus brought and still brings into our world: light shining into darkness, light becoming the light of men.   He wants us to understand that God’s desire for our lives is that we would receive His light and then reflect that light to the world. 

     

    We live in world of darkness.  This world needs the one, true light!  Have you come to the place where you have received Christ as your Savior?  As a believer, have you embraced the fact that you are God’s adopted child?  If you have, then His light will begin to shine through you because the light that fills us, cannot help but shine forth.

     

    “You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

    Matthew 5:14

    Written by: Sharon Samplaski

  • 6/20/21

    If I Could Teach One Thing


    Now fear the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:14-15


    As a parent whose children are grown and are raising their own families, Sharon and I had a desire to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. There are so many truths to teach, so many character traits to develop; it was always a challenge to be complete in our instruction and their training. Though we tried to be careful in our teaching, sometimes I could not help but prioritize in my mind the teachings we considered to be important.


    I asked myself many times, “If I could only impart to my children one truth, what would it be?” If they learn nothing else from their father, what is the one thing I must give them? I could convince them of the need to be faithful to a local Bible-believing church, because there they would receive instruction and encouragement. Another good first choice would be to encourage them to learn the ways of love, for the Bible says that it is greater than even faith and hope. It would also be important to teach them the importance of living a sanctified life, for they must learn how to deal with sin and how to appropriate the holiness of Christ. Or how about the need for obedience, both to God and to the authorities God places over them?


    I have settled the issue in my mind: If I could teach my children only one thing, I would teach them to be worshippers of God, for when one truly worships God, all else is well!


    Happy Father’s Day!

    Written By: Pastor Terry


  • 6/13/21

    New Identity

    Therefore, if anyone is I Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away,

    and look, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

    In today’s world, we are being told so many things about what our identity is, or what it should be. One secular author defines identity as, “who we experience ourselves to be – the I each of us carries within”. Finding our identity is nothing new. In fact, did you know that many of the people in the Bible also struggled with finding their identity? Some of them messed up really bad and yet, somewhere along the way, they were able to grasp the truth that though they did mess up, God still loved them. They understood that their true identity was found in Christ, and when they began to walk in this truth, God used them to lead others to Christ.


    One of those people is Paul. Paul the Apostle, is considered by many scholars to be one of the most influential leaders in the early Christian church. He was a well-documented missionary, spreading the gospel of Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike and wrote half of the New Testament. Paul was the son of a Jewish Pharisee and at birth he was given the name Saul. But did you know that Saul actually began his work as a crusader against Christians. He spent years causing pain and destruction, and even death for followers of Christ. He had identity struggles. He identified as evil and hate.


    Among the many terrible things that Saul and his followers did was that he was the instigator and gave the approval of the stoning of Stephen.


    In the beginning, Saul identified with cruelty and hate, but something happened that changed him. He was challenged when He was called to become a leader, writer, and speaker of the truth. You see, Saul came face to face with God while on the road to Damascus. Acts 9:4-6 says, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” At that moment Saul asked, “Lord what do you want me to do?” I find this statement kind of amusing because you see, God already knew what Saul was doing, but his question to Saul, caused Saul to really STOP and THINK. God had to get his attention. How many times has God had to do that to you?


    So what can we learn from Paul? From the moment of Saul’s encounter with God, Saul changed his direction, and was transformed. He began to embrace his true identity with a new name, Paul. Instead of being defined by evil, he began to be defined by God. His work and writings now classify him as a true Biblical hero with an identity firmly planted in Jesus.


    When we think about people in the Bible who struggled with their identity, it is amazing to me that the list would include Paul. But the one thing that Paul had in common with others that struggled with their identity, is that they all met with God. That meeting changed everything about them. They learned that their identity was found in Christ.


    Are you listening to what the world has to say about your identity, or have you stopped to listen to what God is telling you? Our true identity as Christians can only be found in Christ.

    Written by: Sharon Samplaski


  • 6/6/21   

    Be A “Doer” Of His Word

    Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.

    – Joshua 1:8

     

    As I continue reading through the Bible in a year, and having finished the Book of Deuteronomy, I noticed command words like: “Observe”, “Remember”, “You shall not …”.  All of these words were to remind the children of Israel of the utmost importance of God’s Word. 

     

    Moses has died, and now the LORD is talking to Joshua, and we find these words, “Do not …”.  It didn’t take me long to figure it out: “The Word of God must be important!”  In fact, worship, both corporate and individual, must begin with meditation on the Scriptures.

     

    So, whatever else we include in our worship, be it our personal devotional time, our spontaneous praise, our acts of reverence, or our corporate services, it should all be founded on our meditation on Scripture. Mere citation of the Bible is not enough. Only worship derived from the deep penetration and impact of Scripture will begin to look like biblically defined worship.  I’m reminded of an old Gaither Vocal Band song, “Into the Word”, where the lyrics are written:

    I’m happy to hear you’re getting into the Word

    but, is the Word getting into you?

     

    As I read the commands given to the children of Israel, I also see how they apply to us. First, we should view our time in Scripture as an integral part of worship.  Second, we ought to think about the other elements of worship in relation to the Scripture. Are lyrics (whether sung by the congregation or listened to by the individual) reflective of a deep and meaningful interaction with Scripture? This does not mean lyrics should be limited to quotations or paraphrases of Scripture, but that they should be so influenced by Scripture that they too help us meditate on Scripture and how we trust and obey it in our lives. Third, genuine meditation on Scriptures leads to trust and obedience.

     

    Father, from this day forward, may I be found to be a “doer of Your Word and not just a hearer” (James 1:22).

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • 5/30/21

    Remember 

    So that this will be a sign among you, in the future, when your children ask their fathers, “What do these stones mean to you?” You should tell your children, the water of the Jordan was cut off in front of the ark of the LORD’S covenant.  Therefore, these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.”

     – Joshua 4:6-8

    Memorial Day is a day for us to remember.  I have many family members and friends who have served in the Armed Forces.  A friend of mine back in Alabama, once told me that one of the proudest moments in his life was the day that he graduated from the Marine Corps boot camp.  It meant that he had earned the right to serve our country in the military and to wear the uniform of a United States Marine.  That uniform holds a special meaning to those who serve in the Corps.  From the high neck banded collar, to the blood stripe on the trousers, every aspect of that uniform is significant.  If you don’t believe me, ask Colonel Frank Corte, Jr.

    At the end of chapter four (vs. 23-24), Joshua is again instructing the nation of Israel (regarding the use of twelve stones), to be set up as a memorial after the crossing of the Jordan River.  He tells them to teach their children that God’s intent for the miracles of the crossings of the Red Sea (as with Moses), and Jordan, was twofold.  First, he wanted all the peoples of the earth to know that the Lord’s hand is powerful.  Second, God wanted to lead the people of Israel and their children to fear Him forever.  This is something for us to take note, apply to our lives, and to give testimony.

    What memorial stones do you have in your life that you continue to share with the next generation?  Peter said, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood … (1 Peter 2:4-5)”. Do your children, your grandchildren, friends, co-workers, etc., see you reading God’s Word, attending church regularly, or sharing the gospel which causes them to say in a sense, “What do these ‘stones’ mean?”

    Tomorrow … stop and remember those who have given their lives for our country so that we may live in freedom.  And just as many veterans wear their uniform proudly, we too wear the name of Jesus for the world to see.  Today, stop, remember, and thank God for “twelve stones” in your life.  Prayerfully, you have many more.

    Written By: Pastor Terry

     

  • 5/23/21

    Keep Your Worship Pure

    “Who will you compare Me to, or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One.

    Look up and see: who created these? He brings out the starry host by number; He calls all of them by name.
    Because of is great power and strength, not one of them is missing." – Isaiah 40:25-26

     

    Several weeks ago during the Sunday Evening 4-Week Study: Foundations of a Christian Worldview, Pastor David challenged us to read through the Bible, from cover-to-cover in a year. I’ve done that yearly for quite some time, and decided back in January, “I won’t this year.” After all, I have my daily quiet time, read a chapter of Psalms and Proverbs, and study a Bible book. I’m usually reading two or three books at a time, and right now going through, “Biblical Worship: Theology for God’s Glory” by Vernon Whaley.

     

    However, when Pastor David challenged us, I knew that God was speaking to me. I have to admit that it is refreshing … not to study … but to read. Here are some of my thoughts that I wrote down from “the beginning” to where I am now, in the Book of Joshua:

    God created the heavens and the stars. He also created the materials that men use to build false idols. However, when our worship turns away from God and shifts to something He created, it is improper and dangerous.

     

    Throughout their history, Israel often worshipped idols, which was a direct violation of God’s law. If we are honest, we have too!

    God wants us to worship Him. He invites us to the challenge and compare, “Who will you compare Me to, or who is My equal?” He tells us to look up at the stars and realize that by His power, He created them, He named them, and He put them in the heavens. Being amazed by God’s creation is not wrong, but we must be careful that we worship the Creator, not the creation.

    Written by: Pastor Terry