HOW ARE YOU SPENDING YOUR DASH?
In every cemetery, on every headstone across America, there are two dates. The first one is the date of the person’s birth. The second is the date the person left this world. What matters most is not the dates. It is the dash between those dates. It represents all they did here on earth.
It does not matter how much money or how many possessions we have. It is how we spend our dash. Are there things in your life you would like to change to be a part of your dash? You still can.
Most of us have said and done things we wish we had not. Take them to God. Ask His forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess them to God, He will forgive us. Psalm 103:12 says that as far as the east is from the west, that is how far God will remove our sins from us.
We never know how much time we have left to change our dash. What will your eulogy be? Will you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?
by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard. Are there things you would like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that can still be re-arranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what is true and real
and always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives as we have never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,
remember that this special dash might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent YOUR dash?
ONE DAY AT A TIME
As you continue your journey through life here on earth into the new year, whatever is happening in your life, take it one day at a time and put it in Gods hands.
Most of you know that is what our son Kelly said when told he had cancer a few months ago. His belief in God and his positive attitude are helping him fight this dreaded disease. We do not know what the outcome will be. We do know it is in Gods hands. Thank you to all of you for your prayers. They are appreciated. We love you all.
At Sac River Cowboy Church, we are a family. Many others in our family are going through health issues also or with family members. Please keep Scotty, Gail, and all the others in your prayers. Others are going through financial issues and other unknown problems.
Pile on top all the craziness going on in the world, the division in our country, all the negative news, corrupt politicians, shortages, high prices, and social media that is out of control. It is enough to get anyone down. Turn to the bible and not the television or social media. Lift each other in prayer and pray for our nation.
When you pray, thank God for being with us every day of every year. Thank Him for giving us the grace of fresh starts and new beginnings. Pray not to be shielded from sorrow and pain but for strength to bear it if it comes. Pray not to make your path easy but to make you sturdy enough to tread any path.
Until Jesus comes again to take us home, take it one day at a time, and put it in Gods hands. Like the words to the Kris Kristofferson song says -
One day at a time, sweet Jesus that’s all I'm asking of You
Just give me the strength to do every day what I have to do
Yesterday's gone, sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never be mine
God help me today, show me the way, one day at a time
GIFTS FROM WISE MEN
The three wise men brought the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the stable in Bethlehem. They also brought their hope, their time, and their worship.
The wise men gave Jesus their hope when they saw the light in the night sky. The sight of the star sparked a desire in their hearts. They went, seeking Jesus. When night comes to your world, what do you see? The darkness or the stars? Hopelessness or hopefulness? Sometimes, as he did so long ago, God uses the dark to reveal his stars. Give God your hope for Christmas.
Give God your time. The wise men did. Before they gave God their presents, they gave their presence. Before that one moment when they knelt before Jesus, the wise men spent many moments, months, perhaps years searching, in anticipation of that meeting. Just as the wise men devoted themselves to seeking the Savior, so can you. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, You will seek him and find him when you seek him with all your heart.
And when they did find him, the wise men gave Jesus another gift. Their worship. These were men of wealth, influence, and intellect. What did they do when they saw Jesus? It says in Matthew 2:11,“…they fell down and worshiped him.”
Worship. It’s a gift that extends to the giver as well. Worship helps us see God more clearly. We stand before God with a prepared and willing heart and let God do his work. And he does. God softens our hearts, touches our cheeks, and wipes the tears away. He changes our faces as we worship. The wise men sought the child of God. God seeks his children.
Hope, time, and worship. Three gifts we should all seek and give, but not just at Christmas.
At Sac River Cowboy Church Event Center, there are two flags—the American flag and the Christian flag. They fly side by side from our flagpoles for everyone to see as they drive by. They hang side by side on one wall of our Event Center as we worship.
These two flags represent two types of freedom. One is freedom allowing us to go where we want to go and say what we want. To live where we want, dream big dreams, and pursue them.
Many veterans from all branches of service attend all our church services. We will celebrate Veteran’s day this month, as we always do. These men and women will stand so we can honor and thank them.
This year on Sunday, November 20th, we will also thank these veterans and their families. A special SRCC Salute To Our Veterans with a meal, entertainment, and speeches will at our Event Center.
These veterans and all that served before them have given us the freedoms we have in America that many countries do not have. These veterans have also given us the freedom of religion so that we might gather each Sunday and Thursday at the Livestock Center and our Event Center. We have the God-given right to worship our Creator anytime, anywhere, because of their sacrifices.
That leads us to the other type of freedom, represented by the Christian flag— greater freedom only found in Christ, who died on the cross to set us free. Freedom from a life of futility, freedom from sin, regret, hate, and bitterness. The freedom to love God and love our neighbor. The freedom to worship as we please.
As we gather with our families to celebrate Thanksgiving this month, be thankful for all God has done for each of us. Give thanks to our veterans. Also, be thankful we have two flags.
If you dread the work you need to do, try changing your attitude toward your work! Max Lucado’s book Cure for the Common Life tells of a stay-at-home mom that keeps this sign over her sink: Divine Tasks Performed Here Daily. You see, work can be worship. Volunteering at Cowboy Church can be worship too.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “You are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God.” So, let every detail in your life—your words, actions, volunteering, whatever—be done in the name of Jesus.
Your work is God’s pulpit! When you attend Cowboy Church, you are going to God’s house. When you volunteer at Cowboy Church, it is God’s pulpit! By helping in any way, you are showing the goodness of God to others.
Step boldly out of your usual circle of friends you sit with or stand and visit with every time you are at Cowboy Church. If you see someone you do not know, introduce yourself. Try to get to know them and make them feel welcome. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t get upset if someone is in your seat. Let them see you smiling and happy to be at Cowboy Church rather than griping or complaining about something.
If you can pray, be a prayer warrior. Can you work with youth, children, or infants? Then volunteer. If you can cook, clean up, sing, play an instrument, visit the sick, work security, or make coffee and put out doughnuts, then volunteer. Find something for you to do to match the gifts that God has given you. By volunteering, you will be blessing others. You will find that you will also receive a blessing.
You never know when someone might come to Jesus just by watching what you do and listening to what you say. Always remember, you may be the only bible some people will ever read. Maybe we need to put up a sign at the Livestock Center and our Event Center that says, Divine Tasks Performed Here.
BAPTISM AT THE RIVER
Mark 1: 9-11 says, “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Sunday, September 11 is our annual “SRCC Baptism at the River”. All the details along with a map how to get there are in this newsletter.
Before being baptized you need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and that he died on the cross for your sins. You need to confess your sins to God and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Baptism is a public confession of faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ. It is a symbol of Jesus’s burial and resurrection. Some will come that have already been baptized. They do so because they want to re-dedicate their life to Jesus.
If you want to talk to someone about being baptized, see me, Scotty, Mark, Don, Treda, Curtis, David, or one of our board members. Any of these folks will be glad to talk to you about baptism.
The entrance into the water during baptism symbolizes Jesus’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead. Baptism shows that you love, trust, and have put your hope in Jesus. Baptism does not “save” you, only your faith in Jesus does that.
Many have added their name to the sign-up sheets at the Livestock Center and our Event Center. This information is needed so we can have baptismal certificates ready for that day. You still have time to add your name to the list. But, if you don’t decide to be baptized until that very day or even that very hour, please don’t let that stop you from being baptized at the river.
DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY
How many of you can remember back 34 years ago to 1988?
Ronald Reagan was finishing his second term as President of the United States. George H.W. Bush was elected president. $24,450 was the average annual income, and new cars cost $10,400. Gas was 91 cents a gallon. Eggs cost 65 cents a dozen, and a gallon of milk was $1.89. We enjoyed watching shows like Cheers and The Golden Girls on TV.
The No. 1 hit on the music charts in 1988 was a song sung by Bobby McFerrin called, Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Many of you probably remember the words to the song -
Here's a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry, be happy
In every life, we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy
In 1988, people worried about the HIV/Aids epidemic. Global warming, the economy and, politics were also on their mind. Don’t Worry, Be Happy helped them to smile and get their thoughts off their worries for a little while.
Fast forward to 2022. We worry about COVID, gas prices, supply shortages, the economy, politicians, elections, mass shootings, the high cost of food, and everything else. Negative news and social media only add to the worries.
Worry has no positive side effects in your life. It does have negative ones like stress and high blood pressure. Yes, not worrying is easier said than done. When you start worrying, sit down and open your bible. You will find many bible verses about worry to comfort you. Going to God in prayer when you start worrying will help too.
Replace worry, fear and doubt with faith. Turn your worries over to Him and then walk around singing, humming, or whistling Amazing Grace, Because He Lives, Peace in the Valley, The Old Rugged Cross, I Surrender All, God Bless America, or whatever your favorite song might be. You could also sing, hum, or whistle Don’t Worry, Be Happy.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Our nation was founded on God. Of our 56 Founding Fathers, 27 were trained as ministers, and the others, as well as many patriots, all had strong beliefs in God.
“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, but upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God” – John Madison
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!”
- Patrick Henry
“We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come”
- Samuel Adams
“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God Governs in the affairs of men” - Benjamin Franklin
The people that run and lead our nation need to read the following words of Thomas Jefferson.
“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever…”
While we are all celebrating Independence Day, with cookouts and fireworks, we should also take time to celebrate and honor God for the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus gave to give us freedom from sin and death.
God bless America. Land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above.
God is the perfect example of what it means to be a dad and a great model for us human dads.
God is willing and able to forgive you of any sin you have committed if you only ask Him. Nothing you have ever done is so bad that God won't forgive you.
God is active in your life all the time if you let him. He is always at work around you. More important, the invitation is always open for you to get involved with Him. You never have to wait for your turn.
While we earthly dad’s get too busy to do this or that, God always has time for you. Whenever you feel lonely, struggle with a problem, want to share a thought, or need to deal with a concern, He is there for you. You can't find a time in your day when He is too busy to listen to you.
God knows your heart and He loves you anyway. Some people may not want to be in your life if you make mistakes. God wants to be with you anytime, and He alone is able to change your heart to be all you were created to be. Believe me, I know.
When you are in a tough place in your life, He is right there with you. Whether other people are there or not, God is by your side.
The Bible is His letter to His children. The best way to get to know your Father is to spend quality time reading all about Him.
If you have been blessed with an earthly father who has a lot in common with our Heavenly Father, be grateful. If you have missed out on a relationship with an earthly father, like some of us have, be thankful that God is there for you. This Father’s Day let God know how much He means to you.
PRAYER IS ALL YOU NEED
Thursday, May 5th is National Day of Prayer. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. It is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for our nation.
It is very doubtful you will see or hear anything about it on the national news or even local news. If you do Facebook you probably won’t see anything about it there or on any other kind of social media for that matter.
Our nation and our politicians need our prayers. Other nations around the world need our prayers too. When we seek to bless others through prayer, we are blessed. Studies draw causal links between prayer and faith and health and happiness. The act of praying for others has a boomerang effect. It allows us to shift the burden we carry for others to the shoulders of God and those are big shoulders.
God promises us in His Word that He hears every word that we pray to Him. Like a good parent, He is waiting, ready, and willing to listen to our worries, concerns, and needs. Whether we are seeking forgiveness, strength, or healing, prayer provides the channel to communicate with God. Make every day a prayer day.
Don’t grow angry at our nation’s condition, pray for our nation. Don’t fret about the polititians, pray for them. Is there a crisis in our world or your world? Do you need hope where hope cannot be found? Is prayer all that you have? That’s okay—prayer is all you need.
"True prayer is a way of life, not just for use in cases of emergency. Make it a habit, and when the need arises you will be in practice." - Billy Graham
THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
It’s Friday night. The disciples of Jesus were frightened, confused and fearful. They all believed that Jesus was dead and they would never see him again. Peter had denied him. The other disciples kept their distance and said nothing to stop them. Only John would come near the cross. They huddled in an upper room with the door locked
The women who went to the tomb fully expected to find Jesus dead body. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were walking away from Jerusalem. Their faith had been buried with their Master in the tomb guarded by Roman soldiers.
It is a few weeks later and those same disciples now boldly stand in the temple courts. They are telling everyone that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. They are preaching that only by repentance and faith can anyone be saved. The women are telling whoever would listen that when they went to the tomb the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. An angel told them. “He is not here, for He is risen.” The two disciples on the road turned around and came back after seeing Jesus. The rest of the disciples told of Jesus coming to them in the upper room.
These cowering men and women changed into evangelists who spread the message of the gospel and shook the world. There is only one credible explanation for such a radical change. They had all truly heard and seen the risen Christ.
No one throughout 2,000 years has been able to come up with a credible answer to the question, “If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, what happened to his body?”
Let the truth of this story change your life like it did those of the women and the disciples. Like they did, boldly share this story with others and let it change their lives too. That’s what Jesus wants us to do because it is the greatest story ever told.
A MONTH OF CHANGES
March is a month of changes. During the latter part of the month the season of winter ends and begins to change to the season of spring. Mother Nature changes from the dull shades of winter to springs beautiful colors. Wildflowers start bursting through the dead leaves. Tiny leaf buds start to appear on bare tree limbs. Fields, forests and your backyard feeders change with the addition of migrating birds joining birds that have been around all winter. They sing their songs of spring. Pull up a seat in your yard or on your porch and enjoy the show.
If you love hunting and fishing like I do, it changes too. Fish head to their spawning areas and so do the fishermen. Turkey gobblers will soon be feeling their urge to mate. Deer and other wildlife will be welcoming their babies into the world. Delicious morel mushrooms will appear among the forest leaves. It’s a wonderful time to take a walk or take a hike. Maybe even pitch a tent, set around a campfire and look up into a dark sky filled with millions of twinkling stars and talk to God.
The coronavirus is still around changing our lives. It has been with us now since March of 2020. Since that time many people have discovered that the great outdoors is a great place to social distance plus it’s great for your health both body and mind. In this month of changes why not get outdoors to see all the changes. You may never feel closer to God. The outdoors that God created can change your life. It did mine.
Maybe it’s planting fields on your tractor or planting a garden or planting flowers and seeing the changes that come from your work. Maybe you’re just not an outdoors person at all and that’s okay too. All of us can make March a month of changes by reading our bible more, praying more or volunteering to serve more. Maybe it’s telling others about Jesus more and changing their life too.
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE
Bart Millard’s parents were divorced when he was 3 years old. His mother didn’t want him so Millard was sent to live with his father who was abusive to him through much of his childhood. As a child he lived in fear of his father. When he would get upset about something he would take it out on Bart.
When he was a teenager Millard's father was diagnosed with cancer and their relationship began to change. His father found God and the two became closer through his illness. By the time he passed away, Millard called his father "the Godliest man I'd ever known" and through that Millard found God as well.
At his father's funeral his grandmother said to him, "'I can only imagine what your dad's seeing now in heaven." That phrase, “I Can Only Imagine”, stuck with Millard and he eventually turned that phrase into a song that has become one of the best-selling Christian songs of all time. The song and later a movie of Bart’s story has touched the lives of people all over the world. I pray that Bart’s words to his song will touch your life too.
I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by Your side.
I can only imagine what my eyes will see when Your face is before me.
I can only imagine.
Surrounded by Your glory what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You, Jesus or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine.
I can only imagine when that day comes and I find myself standing in the son.
I can only imagine when all I will do is forever—forever worship You.
I can only imagine.
HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR
The past two years things have changed dramatically. We are a divided nation. A pandemic had a lot to do with that. So did politics, negative news and social media. So, what will 2022 bring? I have no idea but I do know God is in control. Galatians 5:22 & 23 shows us a way to get through it all.
Choose love – Love God, your family, your friends, this church. For others, pray for them because no occasion justifies hatred and no injustice warrants bitterness.
Choose Joy – Do your best to refuse the temptation to be cynical. Do your best to see people as human beings created by God. See any problem as an opportunity to talk to God.
Choose peace – Live forgiven. Forgive so that you may live. Do not judge and hopefully be not judged by others.
Choose Patience – Rather than complain that the wait is too long, thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of letting others frustrate you, pray for them.
Choose kindness – Be kind to the unkind for that is how God has treated you.
Choose goodness – Go without a dollar before you take a dishonest one. Be content to be overlooked before you boast or brag. Look at your own faults before you accuse. Tell others about Jesus.
Choose faithfulness – Be faithful to God. May your spouse and family not question your love or your friends your friendship.
Choose gentleness – If you raise your voice may it only be in praise or song. If you clench your fist, may it only be in prayer.
Choose self-control – Be impassioned by your faith. Be influenced only by God.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Commit to these in 2022. If you succeed, give thanks. If you fail, seek His grace. Do these things and you will have a Happy New Year!
WE ALL NEED CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR
Get out of your house and go to a quiet place. Escape the pandemic and politics, diversity and division. Escape the negative news and nothing worth watching on TV. Escape all the social media “stuff”. Escape your smart phone and computer. Escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas.
Take a hike up one of our many Ozarks hills and gaze over the beautiful valley below. Feel the warmth of a campfire as you watch the flames dance and sparks float hypnotically upward into a dark night sky filled with thousands of twinkling stars. Pull up a log and sit on a gravel bar. Let the flowing water calm you. Go to one of our many area lakes and enjoy watching an eagle out fishing. Climb a tree and sit in a stand whether you hunt or not as the animals go about their daily lives not even knowing you are there. You can also just close your eyes and go to these places in your mind.
Now, look around at all you see before you. That did not happen because of some cosmic explosion or any other theory. God created the great outdoors for all of us to enjoy. Travel in your mind to a dirty, smelly stable in the city of Bethlehem. Close your eyes and imagine what Mary must have felt like when she touched God’s face and held His hand. If God was willing to be born in a stable surrounded by cows, sheep and donkeys then have faith that He is here among us now in this messed up old world. There is no limit to His love. All we have to do is believe and accept God’s gift to us of Jesus. When Christ was born, so was our hope. In a changing world that has not changed.
Enjoy the Christmas tree and all the decorations. Go to our Christmas Eve service. Hear the story of a baby born in a manger. Sing the joyous Christmas songs. Hold your family close. Take comfort in the real reason for the season. We all need Christmas this year!
STORMS OF LIFE
Most of the time life is going along just fine. Suddenly without warning, storms of life happen.
Mark 4:35-5:1 tells us about a terrible storm. The disciples were with Jesus on a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus slept a furious storm came up and the disciples were afraid for their lives. Did God not care? Weren’t they handpicked by Jesus and closest to him? Weren’t they obeying Jesus who told them to go to the other side? Why then were they going through such a turbulent time?
The disciples initially feared the storm but the storm brought them closer to Jesus. The disciples said, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Not a one of us are exempt from the storms of life. A lot of us have been through some storms lately. Some are still going through them.
We may not understand why God allows storms of life to happen to us. Just know that we, like the disciples, can come to be closer to God through them.
For some the storms have ended, for some the storms are still to come, for others the storms continue and the boats still rocking. The storms of life prove the strength of our anchor. Through the storms of life, the Son still shines!
GOD’S GIFT OF AUTUMN
To me, autumn is a gift from God. It is a time that lingers in your heart and mind. God gives us cooler temperatures to refresh body and soul. He paints the landscape with brilliant colors of red, yellow and orange. He makes the sunsets coppery.
God created the beautiful harvest moon to enjoy as we take an evening walk or sit outside wrapped in a sweater enjoying the moonlit night. He also created it to give farmers more time to harvest their crops before winter comes.
Autumn smells are everywhere too. Apple cider and hot chocolate. Smoke from burning leaves, chimneys or campfires. The singed pumpkin of a jack-o-lantern plug. A slight hint of the smell of decaying leaves and plants fill the air.
The sounds of autumn are distinct too. Crickets sing their song of summers ending. Crisp dead leaves begin covering the ground and crunch underfoot. Squirrels chatter and raise a leafy rattle as they scurry around burying acorns.
Bucks vying for dominance fight and their antlers clack and scrape. Migrating geese fly across the autumn skies in wide V’s belting out calls of reassurance to one another. The chorus of honks fills the chill air first softly, then loudly and then fades away. A new fleet of geese takes up the call then passes too and the V’s continue.
Have you ever wondered why geese fly in a V formation? When each goose flaps its wings that causes an updraft for the bird that is behind it helping the other goose fly with less effort. So, each goose helps the other and the whole flock is able to fly much farther than one goose could by itself.
Also, you never see the same goose flying at the point of the V. When the lead goose gets tired they take turns. And, all that honking noise you hear. Well, that’s their way of encouraging each other.
If a goose gets sick or shot and flies to the ground two geese will join that goose to watch over it until it is able to fly again or it dies. As Christians, like the geese, we need to realize we really need one another.
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