The Real Lincoln Bible


 

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Can You 'Read'?


Some people can read the signs, others never will! 

 

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The Exception


 

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"By Doing Good"



 

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Lift One Another Up


     Last Sunday, right after the third service here at OT, I jumped in the car with a couple of our men and we raced up to catch the 1:00 service at Calvary Chapel Godspeak in Thousand Oaks. I somehow thought we'd get there on time, but it's at least a 90-minute drive and we arrived about ten minutes into the sermon. 

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Modeling Christ To Our Children!


And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deut. 6:6–7 NKJV)

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Your Redeemer Lives!



      Far back into the record of my wife's ancestry is the story of a woman who was kidnapped by the Narraganset Indians. Her name was Mary Rowlandson, and she was Sharilyn's great-aunt eleven generations back; I don't even know what to call that except to string eleven 'greats' together.

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Vacation Bible School 2020

    This past week at VBS was amazing! We saw God show up in many ways. I began working on VBS in January, before any of us had any idea that the world would change in a matter of three months.  I had picked John 16:33, as our theme verse, which says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  Fast forward to June 2020, and that verse was a beautiful reminder that God already knew exactly what we needed to hear.

I had about three weeks to plan, and gather volunteers to make VBS happen in a few short weeks. God brought people to me, and in the first week, I had the same number of volunteers signed up to help, as we did kids attending.

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Not Without Testimony


Article was written by Pastor Rod Schorr from our July 2001 Messenger Archives

 

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We Will Fight On!


       “You, therefore, must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim. 2:3 NKJV)
       October 8, 1918, the soldiers of the United States 328th infantry were witnesses to the most unbelievable sight! They watched as three US Soldiers escorted one hundred and thirty-two German captives into the battalion command post.
       The Batallion command did not want the responsibility of 132 german captives and they instructed Corporal Alvin York to take the surrendered enemy to regimental headquarters. In his own words, York said, "We had such a mess of German soldiers that nobody wanted to take them from us. So we had to hike back quite a far piece ourselves." Upon finally arriving at the regimental headquarters Brigadier General Lindsey came out to greet Corporal York and said, "Well York, I hear you have captured the whole...German army." York replied, "No, I only have 132."
       The events leading up to the capture and surrender of the German enemy are quite marvelous! The allied army was finally outnumbering the German army and pushing forward to break through the Hindenburg line. As the allies were moving forward toward the front in the Argonne forest York recounts in his diary "...we were stumbling over dead horses and dead men and shells were bursting all around me and then it was that I could see the Power of God helped man if he would only trust him. Oh, it was there I could look up and say: O Jesus, the great rock of foundation where on my feet were set with sovereign grace; Through Shells or Death with all their agitation thou will protect me if I will only trust in Thy grace. Bless thy holy name."
      Three days deeper into the woods York's squad was cut down to seven men by entrenched machine gun nests. York wrote, "There must have been over twenty of them (machine guns) and they kept up a continuous fire. Never letting up. Thousands of bullets kicked up the dust all around us. The undergrowth was cut down as though they used a scythe. The air was just plumb full of death."
      While the few remaining soldiers in York's squad were hunkered down trying to survive, York had made his way into a position where he could begin firing on the machine gun nests with his bolt action US Enfield rifle. In order for the enemy to reposition the machine gun to fire at him they had to lift up their heads and in York's words he, "touched them off". For the Kentucky mountain man, it was easier than shooting turkeys back home. This went on and on twenty times until a German Major surrendered, shouting, "English?" York replied, "No". The German commander said, "What then?". York said, "American." "Good Lord!", said the German major, "If you won't shoot any more I will make them give up." Thirty soldiers surrendered themselves to a single man and came out of their machine gun bunkers!
      In order to learn about the surrender of the other 102 soldiers that day you will have to read Sgt. Alvin York's biography. If it had not been for the war, the story is so extraordinary it is almost comical.
      York's life story is so intriguing and inspiring. It is a wonderful story of heroism, conviction, and Christ! York wrote that all the trials, hardships, and battles were only to prepare him for his greatest battle for the future generations of his home town.
      York knew he had to help the future generations of the Kentucky mountains with giving the children an opportunity at education, trade schools, and a Biblical foundation. His greatest fight was for the generations coming behind him! As he was trying to get a good school built he writes, “So I raised about $15,000 myself and the state and the county each put up $50,000. That gave me $115,000 to build new schools. I wanted a modern, up-to-date vocational school, which later on could be a sorter developed into a mountain college. The Board they give me couldn’t see things the way I did. So I have had a most awful hard fight, a much worse one than the one I had with the machine guns in the Argonne. The politicians and the real estate people tried to use me. The small-town bankers tried to get in on it. Jealous factions wanted to get a-hold of it and handle it their way. So it done got held up. And oh, my, I had a terrible time. But I knew I was in the right. So I kept on fighting jes the same.” Eventually, he won the battle and got that school built! Alvin York was a man of strong conviction and when he knew something was right he kept on fighting.
       Barna came out with a troubling survey about church attendance through the pandemic. The survey showed that over 50% of the Millennial generation who was attending church prior to Covid-19 shutdowns have altogether stopped attending church! Make no mistake we are in a fight for the generations to come! We will endure and we will keep fighting!
       The recent battles have been training us. We understand best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our church. As Covid cases increase I want to ask that we all take extra caution for our church. I encourage everyone to have a mask on their person and wear it if you come within six feet of another. Let’s put off handshaking and hugging for the next couple of Sundays. Please be mindful not to congest walkways or exits. I have asked our ushers and security team to remind us of our guidelines if we forget or are unaware. Please do not be offended if they remind you to keep social distance or move a conversation out of a walkway, away from the sound booth, or outside instead of the front pew. God has protected our fellowship and we will continue to “trust in His grace”! The fight is not over and we need to endure for the safety of others. We must keep our church open and our people safe! 

 

Crossing Out Dragons


     Okay, I’ll just come right out and confess it: I am addicted to maps. I’m not sure what they call that addiction (cartoholism?), but whatever it is, I have it and I don’t really want to be cured. 

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That Beautiful 'Crack'


*Every Liberty Bell should be cracked! 

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"The Gates Shall Not Prevail"


      The distance between Taipei and Southern California is only a quarter of the way around the globe, but on one particular day, I felt like I'd fallen off the edge of it. I think it goes down as the loneliest, strangest moment I've ever experienced.  

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Da Vinci's 'Roadblock'


 

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Your Lifeboat! Get In!


I've read shocking things about the sinking of the Titanic; I wonder if you have as well. When the celebrated "Unsinkable" suddenly went down—"Why, not even God Himself could sink this ship"  was how one employee of the White Star Line had put it; did you know?—but when it went down into the icy waters of the Atlantic, it took 1,527 people along with it.

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Who Rescued Jessica Lynch?


      Back in 2003, we were all deeply moved by the details of the heroic rescue of Jessica Lynch. The US Army Private First Class was injured and captured during an ambush of her convoy while crossing the Euphrates near the town of Nasiriyah, during the invasion of Iraq. 

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No Time To Waste




     

      Last Sunday was awesome! I'm so glad we did this. It was so good to be together again and it was a very important start! Of course, it wasn't what we are all accustomed to, but we'll try to return to full normalcy just as soon as we possibly can.  

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Prepare to Reopen!


 

Sunday, May 17 is only a few days away, and we are excited to worship our God with all of you in person! Our staff has been extremely busy with preparations, and now I ask that you would help us with these preparations.

 

First, and most importantly, let us endeavor to keep our unity! Our church has always shared such a wonderful koinonia (fellowship, love, unity), and we want to guard it. The current trials we are enduring have created divisiveness in our culture and the church in America. Many of us have differing views about our current politics, wearing masks, not wearing masks, COVID-19, Stay at Home, Open Now, etc. In preparation for your coming to fellowship this Sunday, prepare your heart and minds that you will keep Christ and His church the most important and essential focus. 

 

There is a beautiful exhortation Paul writes to the Ephesian churches that I believe is more applicable than ever for us. In context, Paul has just finished declaring the power of God to do abundantly more than we ask or think. He continues in the letter with the following, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1–3 NKJV).

 

Believers are to “walk worthy”. The word “worthy” is “axios” literally meaning equal weight as balanced scales. The believer is to have an equal balance between his/her confession and his/her conduct. In modern-day slang, we would say this kind of person is the “the real deal” or “not only talks the talk, but they also walk the walk.” Every Christian’s desire should be “to walk worthy”! 

 

So, how does a genuine believer act? How do we balance our confession and our conduct? Paul gives a wonderful list for us to consider. The genuine believer in the Lord is humble and gentle with others. The genuine believer bears other’s burdens and endures hardships for others. As we make these sacrifices for others, we make them unto Christ. Our lives become a wonderful act of worship that proves our confession true! The more you meditate on this list the more you will see Jesus enduring the cross for us! The genuine believer takes up his cross and follows his savior! 

 

The result of all this sacrifice is unity and peace. Paul writes, “…endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit…” The church in Ephesus is not trying to obtain unity in the Spirit, they already have it! The exhortation is to keep it! When we are born again, we experience unity and peace in the family of God almost immediately. We begin to lose it as we make our comfort the priority over our calling in Christ. The Church of Jesus was never intended to be comfortable; it was meant to be contagious! It is in our discomfort that we see God’s power on display! 

 

King David writes “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psa. 133:1 NKJV) The unity of our fellowship is so good and pleasing to the Lord. Guard our unity against any divisive attitude. In his book, “The Treasury of David” Charles Spurgeon writes, “We can dispense with uniformity if we possess unity: oneness of life, truth, and way; oneness in Christ Jesus; oneness of object and spirit—these we must have, or our assemblies will be synagogues of contention rather than churches of Christ.”

 

Our church services will be different this Sunday. The services will be uncomfortable. They will be shortened to one hour for young families and sanitation time. The bathrooms will have limited use. We will sit in different seats than normal. We will wear masks. BUT, we will joyfully make ourselves uncomfortable for others. 

 

Every time in my life that I have made myself uncomfortable I have experienced the Lord in the most powerful and tremendous ways! Prepare to see God’s power poured out on our fellowship this Sunday!

 

God Bless you all!

Dave Johnson

 

FAQ About Church Reopen

Will you still live stream services?

Yes, we will Livestream all our services on Facebook and Youtube. We understand that some are not ready to attend services in person, and we will keep our streaming services available. 

 

Why do we need to RSVP for church?

You do not need to, but it will be very helpful. We have no idea how many people to expect per service, and we need to prepare for social distancing.

 

Do I need to RSVP every week?

No, just once is fine. 

 

Am I not obedient to God if I do not attend services in person?

Whether you choose to attend in person or not is between you and the Lord, and we support you. We encourage you to pray and check the CDC guidelines.

 

Are we opening church as a protest?

No. We are reopening our church to worship our God and have fellowship with one another. We believe that we can operate Sunday services safer than Costco, Home Depot, Stater Brothers, Walmart, and the like. Our worship has always been essential to us, and it is time to reopen.

These Doors Will Open


 

 

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His Image...in You!


 

      I read the most wonderful story about a devout follower of the horrible Peter Singer. Perhaps you've heard the name. He is the so-called 'scholar' at Princeton University who teaches all his students not only that abortion is perfectly fine, but that infanticide should be legal as well if ever a child is 'unfit' for normal everyday living, or even just an 'inconvenience' to the parents. 

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