[Spencer Daily Reporter nameplate] Fair ~ 31°F  
High: 48°F ~ Low: 21°F
Friday, Nov. 28, 2014
Pair plan digital redemptions (07/28/14)
Both Sarah Palin and Paula Deen are launching subscription-based online networks. Apparently, it's a "thing." The two, one a disgraced cooking show maven, the other a politician whose 15 minutes are over, both cited the freedom the new media opportunity offers them to "be themselves." Those who like the uncensored Deen and Palin can, for a fee, have access to their content 24 hours a day...
How should the resurrection of Jesus change me? (03/27/14)
Most of us are probably very familiar with the themes we celebrate during Easter. We know that Easter celebrates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also know that Jesus' death on the cross pays the penalty of the sin for all those who trust in what Christ did. ...
Positive surrender for the New Year (12/27/13)
The year 2014 is right around the corner, and while you might not be a person who makes New Year's resolutions, the diet and exercise industries bank on a fair amount of people turning over a new leaf in January. Why not? A new page on the calendar is as good a reason as any to shed unwanted pounds or at least develop healthier habits...
Who is Jesus Really? (11/28/13)
Lots of people like to think of Jesus in good terms, but is just saying good things about Jesus enough, C.S. Lewis wrote in his book "Mere Christianity," "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we...
Pastor's Column: Give thanks (11/22/13)
Our world today provides many reasons for skepticism and negativity. Perhaps that is why Jesus declared, "be of good cheer I have overcome the world." He also reminded us that we are in the world but not of it. In a few days we will celebrate Thanksgiving. As I have been considering this particular holiday's name, I am reminded of the lyrics from a couple of songs. Hopefully for some, this can be an encouragement to put a more positive spin on our world and the day in which we live...
Dealing with disaster (11/15/13)
It seems to happen every month: somewhere in our world, tragedy strikes and hundreds - if not thousands or millions - of people find their lives suddenly turned upside down. Right now it is in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the strongest storm ever measured. Earlier this year it was tornadoes in Oklahoma and a fertilizer plant exploding in Texas. In addition, there are the man-made tragedies such as the Boston Marathon Bombing or the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting...
Pastor's Column (11/08/13)
A few weeks ago I came across a wonderfully uplifting story about a canceled wedding in Atlanta, Ga. Just 40 days before her wedding, Carol and Willie Fowler's daughter decided to cancel the nuptials for reasons that remain unknown. Of course, that close to the wedding date, the family's deposit on the reception hall and the caterer was non-refundable...
Pastor's Column (11/01/13)
Hebrews 12:28-29 "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." Dear friends of Christ, faith worships. Worship is to faith as breathing is to the body. ...
The Fields are White and Ready to Harvest (10/25/13)
Harvest 2013 in northwest Iowa is drawing to a close. It seems only yesterday that farmers were planting. Time has a way of getting away from us and life is a vapor, according to James 4:14. There is a wonderful promise way back in Genesis 8:22. "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Jeremiah had some Spiritual insight for harvest and summer in 8:20. ...
The Best Church Doesn't Fit You (10/18/13)
In a conversation about what our adult children are doing these days, a friend mentioned that her daughter and son-in-law are trying to find a church to attend in their new community. They wish there were some kind of service or directory that could tell them what each church in their city is like. They half-joked, half lamented that there wasn't a kind of rating system, or an app, for finding a church...
Practice matters (09/27/13)
Today is the Spencer High School homecoming celebration. The community is abuzz with excitement for the Tiger Football team to take the field. The players will play their hardest, marching band will play their best, the spirit squad will pump up the crowd, and the fans and alumni will cheer their loudest. Everyone will take to Dale Norton Field in hope, rather expectation, of a big win for the home team...
Distractions! (09/13/13)
In each of our lives, we have a God-given mandate to do some specific thing. He didn't forget to assign a task to you or retire you to the bench to watch the game, no participation required. Each of us has a role to fill designed by God. He formed us to fit what He created us to do...
Sacred festivals (09/06/13)
I love the fair. We live near the fairgrounds, so right about the time the "No Parking" signs spring up on our lawn I know it is time to start planning my week. I set my schedule for volunteering as Fair Chaplain and working at the Kiwanis booth and manning a Nutty Bar stand. I get a fair brochure and start planning out the free shows I want to see. I make a list of mealtimes and chart out which foods I need to eat before the fair closes...
It's the most wonderful time of the year (09/03/13)
Summer's over. School's begun. And, despite last week's oppressive heat, fall is on its way. That can only mean one thing -- Clay County Fair time is nearly here! Beginning on Labor Day weekend, the collective pulse of the Clay County community rises. Schedules shift, making time for display set-up, project completion, baking, sewing, flower arranging. Everyone, it seems, has something special to do to get ready for the biggest show around...
Pastor's Column (08/23/13)
I want to talk about a few ridiculous stories -- at least they sound ridiculous -- but in reality they are true events from the lives of people of great faith in the only true and living God. The first ridiculous statement is made in Hebrews 11:3, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command." Did you catch that? "God's command ..., so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." How many people in our world believe that today, that God created the world out of nothing? Not many. ...
Praying for change (08/09/13)
CHNG. Can you guess the word I have shortened? It's change. Why shorten it? Well, it seems as though change is a four-letter word to a lot of people. Change is hard for all of us, but there is something that is even more difficult: changing someone else...
How do I make sure I am right with God? (07/19/13)
Many people do not feel close to God because they are not sure they are right with God. King David struggled with how to get right with God after he sinned and felt this great separation from God. When David was king he committed adultery and then had the husband of the woman he cheated with killed in what he tried to make look like an accident...
Comfortable Christianity (07/12/13)
A famous author once wrote, "I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity." His name was CS Lewis. Some of you would recognize a few of his works like "The Chronicles of Narnia." He might be surprised to find out that a few awesome movies were made out of his books. Entertaining is not what he was about most of the time...
Pastors Column (07/05/13)
Dear friends of Christ, what does it mean to be free? Are you free spiritually? What do you feel when you see the cross? Do you feel that excitement of freedom? Or are you bound to sin? Do you know and understand the flag of Christ's redeeming love that forgives all sin? Do you understand the words of Paul from Romans 6, "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin -- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.". ...
Pastor's Column (06/28/13)
The Fourth of July holiday is quickly approaching, and I know that many are digging out their red, white, and blue clothing and making plans with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our nation. There will be community celebrations, barbecues, swimming, and dazzling fireworks displays overhead to dazzle us with their beauty...
A tribute to Christian fathers (06/14/13)
It is wonderful to have a child or children show appreciation toward their parents while they are still living. The following letter was penned by such a daughter, a pastor's wife, and was an expression of the love, appreciation and memories she had of her father which represented the feelings of the rest of the family...
Jesus is the bread of life (05/17/13)
What does Jesus mean when He said He was the bread of life? Well, bread was the most common food source of Jesus' time and bread became associated with basic food. Give us this day our daily bread means more than just bread but the food we need. We might say today that Jesus is the meat and potatoes of life...
Going after 'the one' (05/10/13)
Anyone who is a parent knows what it feels like to lose sight of your child for a few minutes in the grocery store. Terrifying. You'd want to yell, "Lock the doors and everybody comb the building! My child is missing!" Even if you're the shy type, you could become loud and demanding if you couldn't find your kid. ...
Pastor's Column (04/26/13)
A few days ago I woke up to the strangest sound: birds. Even now as I write this article I can hear them singing outside of my window, and they are beginning to become regular visitors to the trees around town. Birds, of all things, are a sound that I had grown unaccustomed to hearing...
Pastor's Column (04/19/13)
Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away." Dear friends of Christ, how many things have you broken throughout life? I don't know about you, but I've been guilty of breaking plenty. ...
Who are we going to trust? Jesus is coming again! (04/12/13)
We are living in a day when it is hard to know who you can trust and what you can trust. Christians know that they can always trust in the Lord and in His Word. Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever. 1Kings 8:56 ... there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, Psalms 34:4 The Word of the Lord is right .....
Darkness and light (04/05/13)
A couple of years ago my husband and I went to see "Knowing," a suspenseful movie about someone who discovers a code that predicts disasters. It is a page filled with numbers, which turn out to be dates, and the location and number of casualties for each major disaster...
Palm Sunday crowd: right and wrong (03/22/13)
Palm Sunday. The Triumphal Entry. It is a story we are all familiar with. One we love to commemorate on our Church calendars and in our Church services. It is a real pivot point in the season of Lent. Here is the beginning of Holy Week, the start of the roller coaster that brings us hurtling at breakneck speed toward the cross. ...
How to find great happiness (03/15/13)
Almost everybody is looking for happiness. It is strange that the Bible tells us clearly how to find great happiness, but rarely do people follow God's advice. Maybe we have become so convinced by advertising that happiness is found in security, money, things, or human relationships that we don't trust the Bible anymore. The Bible is clear that there are forces working against us to find any lasting happiness (or an abundant life) in this world. John 10:10 The thief...
Compassion: Love in action (03/08/13)
St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words." Jesus said the world will know that we are Christians when we demonstrate brotherly love. If there is anything that the unsaved person needs from the Church, above all else, it is to be loved, accepted and forgiven. ...
The God of Angel Armies (03/01/13)
Chris Tomlin has a new song on his latest album that has been getting some airtime on Christian radio and which we recently began singing at our church. It's called "Whom Shall I Fear," and the chorus goes like this: I know who goes before me I know who stands behind...
Faith and civil discourse (02/22/13)
In late January, I had the pleasure of attending Re-Mind and Re-New: A Conference on Faith and Civil Discourse at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I always enjoy my time at the seminary because of the deep, lasting relationships that I have formed there, as well as the opportunity to be challenged and pushed in new and exciting ways. ...
What is Ash Wednesday about? (02/15/13)
On Ash Wednesday Christians come to have ashes placed on their forehead and to hear these words: "Remember - you are dust, and to dust you shall return." But not many churches have Ash Wednesday anymore. It's kind of humbling walking around in public with a black cross on your forehead, isn't it. The ashes mark you as someone "different." And who wants to be "different?"...
It is time for a heart examination (02/08/13)
Heart month is a good time for a heart examination. From what I have read, Planet Heart is a widely popular screening program. The screening can help identify heart-related health risks and can then enable them to treat their patients to prevent serious medical conditions. That is wonderful news for our physical hearts, knowing that heart disease is the number one cause of death in our nation. Everyone wants to be healthy...
We are all treasures to God (02/01/13)
My husband and I like to watch the show "American Pickers" together. Two men from Eastern Iowa travel all over the U.S. looking for "treasure" in people's old sheds and attics. It's fun to see what they can uncover that has some value. What looks like old junk to me, they rescue and sell for decent money...
A great community (01/25/13)
If someone asked, "Do you live in a good place?" we would all say, "Absolutely! Spencer is a fantastic community, for a whole variety of reasons." We enjoy excellent quality of life, outstanding schools, great businesses, good employment opportunities, high-quality civic leadership, numerous service clubs, good churches, and good opportunities for youth and adult recreation. All of us could add to this list of high praise, reasons we are glad and proud to say, "I live in Spencer."...
The whole nine yards...of what? (01/18/13)
The other day I was listening to a fascinating radio program about the etymology (or origin and meaning) of different common phrases. Well, it was fascinating to me, anyway. They discussed the phrase "the whole nine yards" and all the various myths and rumors about where "the whole nine yards" came from. ...
A cure for the after-Christmas Blues (01/11/13)
Most of us get the after-Christmas blues. The holidays are over, the bills are due, the vacation time is usually spent, and we have the cold winter to look forward to. If we viewed life just from this world's narrow perspective, of course we should get depressed. That is why the Bible calls us to see things from God's perspective. In John 4:36 Jesus says, "Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together."...
Walking together (01/04/13)
Pastor Barb - Recently, I had an injury to my back that kept getting worse. It seemed like it altered my life almost instantly. I couldn't do the things I wanted to do and even needed to do because of the debilitating throb! What was strange about it was that the pain I was feeling was not in my back; it was in my leg! The injury originated in my back but, because everything inside of me is attached, it caused the pain to be felt all the way down my leg! Weird! But that's a body...all the parts are attached to each other. ...
A Current picture of Jesus (12/28/12)
When you think about Jesus, what picture comes to your mind? Having just come through Christmas, a lot of people think of the Nativity. They have an image of Jesus as a tiny infant, laid carefully in a manger. The Word of God made flesh. Other people most commonly think of Jesus in His passion, hanging on a cross with a crown of thorns upon His brow. ...
A savior is born (12/21/12)
We celebrate Christmas every year with awe and wonder, as we consider what really happened 2,000 years ago in a stable on the other side of the world. How incredible it must have been to see God's plan of redemption coming to life; to witness history and the Bible blending together as one. ...
The matchless gift (12/14/12)
Christmas continues to be an exciting time of the year. It is a time of great celebration for many Christians and non-Christians all over the world. It was all God's idea. He so loved this world that He gave, John 3:16. And we are to follow His example. ...
What difference does it make? (12/07/12)
We do good things during the Christmas season. We shop at a Target store and drop a dollar in the Salvation Army kettle out front. We bring a few canned goods to the 4H dinner. We buy a pair of mittens for the mitten tree. We send a few extra dollars to the children we sponsor around the world. Sometimes we might ask ourselves, "It is such a small thing to do. Am I a fool thinking that it can make a difference?"...
The shortest verse (11/30/12)
Remember when we were children in church school and asked to memorize a Bible verse? How many of us chose John 11:35? You remember? "Jesus wept." It was short. But this shortest verse in the Bible is a word of dynamite in a small package. It stirs all kinds of questions and thoughts within me. "Why did Jesus weep?" "Do I ever cause Jesus to weep?" "What things in the world cause Jesus to weep today?" God weeps with us; God weeps over us...
When Blessings Are Best (11/23/12)
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I enjoy the time with family and friends. I love some of the holiday traditions. And, of course, I love the food. It's wonderful to be able to spend some time set aside for the purpose of giving thanks for God's many blessings...
Getting back to the original intent of Thanksgiving (11/16/12)
In 1777 Congress adopted the Thanksgiving declaration from a draft by Samuel Adams. It is interesting to read the document and note the original design they had for of what they determined would make our country great. The start of the second paragraph of that document says:...
A branch of the vine (11/09/12)
Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." This Bible verse reveals the importance of every believer having continuous fellowship and literally being yoked to Jesus. Your life is an outflow of Jesus living in you and through you. Living in vital union with Him empowers you to touch people with His love, supernaturally impacting them through simple acts of kindness...
Church and Politics (11/03/12)
It's an election year. I know, because my phone rings more than it ever does otherwise. In the last few weeks, much has been made about the IRS rule that prohibits tax-exempt organizations (like churches) from endorsing a particular candidate or party. ...
'We are God's Workmanship' (10/26/12)
Eph. 2:7-10, "In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - 9. Not by works, so that no one can boast. 10. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."...
Jesus Is Coming Soon! Who Are We Going To Trust? (10/19/12)
2Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation...
Are you on the way or in the way? (10/12/12)
I've been whitewater rafting a few times, and I hope I get the chance to do it again. It is soothing to float down a river and peacefully glide by the trees on the riverbank. Then it gets exciting, when the group obediently and quickly follows the instructions of the guide to make its way through the rapids. It's about as "extreme" a sport as I care to undertake, but I love it...
Harvest time (10/05/12)
It is harvest time in the country. Though I am not a farmer, I can only imagine that when the fields are ripe and ready, all farmers have a power surge flow through their bodies, and they shift to a totally different gear. Weather conditions could change, the quality of the grain could be compromised, or the beans could begin to shell out. ...
No drama, please (09/28/12)
Internationally known author and speaker Donald Miller recently wrote about a friend of his who has an interesting and unusual email signature. Every email he sends has a simple statement at the bottom next to his name: "No Drama." Drama is a big part of our lives, unfortunately. ...
Encouraging words are powerful (09/21/12)
How hard it is to control our tongues. We have all probably been victims and victimizers in the use of our tongues. In fact, the Bible describes the difficulty of controlling what we say in James 3:2. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. ...
Ask Jesus to come into your heart (09/14/12)
I became a Christian as a young boy, maybe 8 or 9 years old. I was very active in church and Sunday School. Then I got into my teen years and I began to be less interested in the things of God. My folks didn't push me and I got fairly wild and crazy...
Running the race (09/07/12)
I am scheduled to run in my first marathon this Sunday morning. Lord willing, and the cramps in my leg don't get too bad, I'll run 26.2 miles in somewhere around five hours. I'm a little bit excited, a little bit nervous, and quite a bit scared. Preparing for the marathon, I've thought a lot about the verses in the book of Hebrews that mention running. They are Hebrews 12:1-2:...
Only one life (08/24/12)
"Only one life will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." These words have a way of getting my attention. The older I become the faster life seems to be zooming by. Someone has well said: We shall not pass this way again, any good that we can do, let us do it now, let us not detour nor neglect it because we will not pass this way again. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:28...
The Drought: Is This a Sign? (08/17/12)
We follow signs every day of our lives. We become so accustomed to it that we don't even think about it most of the time. We make sure we're at the right wedding by looking at the church sign out front. We look for restroom signs in restaurants. We see a frown on someone's face and react to it as a sign of anger or confusion...
Chasing dreams (08/10/12)
No doubt most of us are watching the Summer Olympics, enjoying the competition of the world's finest athletes going for the gold. I am continually amazed at their physical condition, their effort to win, and how smoothly they run, swim, or dive. Even in my dreams, I am not that good. I am also struck by the raw emotion: the joyous celebration of victory and the agony of defeat...
Confess and pray for rain (07/27/12)
Rain is an interesting subject in the Bible. It is a subject that is tied very closely to prayer and to people coming back to God. In James 5:15-18 it says, "And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. ...
Pastor's Column (07/19/12)
Do you need a good washing? The Bible talks about how Jesus washed the Church with the water of the Word. He filled a whole book with words just for us! It shows us how meaningful words are to God. Think about it... He spoke everything into existence. ...
Pastors Column: Big God (07/13/12)
The story is told about Princeton Seminary professor Robert Dick Wilson: One day, one of Dr. Wilson's former students was invited to preach at the Seminary chapel. Dr. Wilson came and sat near the front. When chapel ended, the old professor came up to his former student, cocked his head to one side in his characteristic way, extended his hand, and said, "I'm glad that you're a big-godder. ...
Pastor's Column
Church