Category Archives: Pastor’s Corner

Choosing Right Over Wrong

This week the country suffered another senseless massacre – a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.  While information is still developing, initial reports are that at least 17 people have died with several more injured.  The alleged shooter was a former student of the High School who had been expelled. While differing groups rush to fix blame for the disaster (gun control advocates, law enforcement groups, etc.) we must remember to PRAY for everyone involved – ESPECIALLY the alleged shooter.  As we are continuing to learn in our sermon series about Christian Curiosity, many of the tragedies and sinful behaviors in our culture are caused by our own disobedience to God’s laws.  We CHOOSE to live a lifestyle which God has told us will destroy us. The country’s flagrant disobedience of God’s perfect design for humanity is the primary cause of most of our crimes, societal injustices, and tragedies. Scripture is VERY clear on the fact that God WILL judge nations who turn their backs on Him. The solution is so simple – confess our sins and repent. This simple solution is, however, extremely difficult to enact because we refuse to cede our place as Lord and Master of our own lives to The One who is Truly Lord and Master of EVERYTHING in the Universe.  We, the people, can CHOOSE to follow God and enjoy His blessings or we can choose to defy Him and suffer the consequences.  Please pray for us to return to being One Nation UNDER GOD!

-Pastor Dave

In God we Trust?

This morning in Washington, D.C., the President spoke at the 66th Annual National Prayer Breakfast. The full transcript of his speech is found below. Some of the President’s critics claim his “God and Country” speech was high-handed rhetoric meant to appeal to the Christian community.  Other groups attacked his remarks as being “too Christian” and ignoring the other faiths represented in America.  Still others, specifically the Atheist coalition and ACLU, denounced the speech as being “anti-American” and “anti-science” as well as discriminatory against Atheists.  The speech made a number of references to America’s Christian heritage and the blessings of God we have enjoyed (I have highlighted some of them).

My intention in sharing all this with you is not to endorse the President or even his speech, but simply to ask you to take the time to read it, compare it to what Scripture says and what the founding fathers of America said and  wrote and see if you agree.  Would America’s founding fathers have considered the content of the speech appropriate? It will also be interesting to watch how the media reacts to the speech over the next few days. My goal is for us to THINK! We need to be aware of the fact that we cannot separate our faith and our civic/political lives.  I encourage you to be a Berean! Read the Scriptures, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and pray for our country to turn back to  God. I look forward to your feedback!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Dave

 

Remarks by President Trump at the 66th Annual National Prayer Breakfast

February 8, 2018

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Charlie.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  And thank you, Randy, for that very kind introduction.  I want to thank you and Congressman Charlie Crist for serving as co-chairs this year.

It’s an honor to be with so many faith leaders, members of Congress, and dignitaries from all around the world as we continue this extraordinary tradition.  I’m very glad to be joined by many members of my Cabinet.  You’re doing a terrific job.

I want to extend our appreciation to the First Lady of Rwanda for leading the opening prayer.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

I also want to thank my two great friends, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.  They’re some here.  Where are they?  They are two terrific people.  Stand up, Mark.  You deserve it.  Even though he comes from Hollywood.  (Applause.)  Roma, thank you very much.  Thank you for being here.

Major Scotty Smiley and Tiffany, we’re moved by your faith and your courage, and inspired by your service and sacrifice.  That was really beautiful.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

And to my friend, and everybody’s friend, Steve Scalise, we are so glad to have you with us today.  Your presence reminds us of Jesus’s words in the Book of Matthew: “With God all things are possible.”  You are fantastic.  You really are, Steve.  (Applause.)  Fantastic man.

America is a nation of believers, and together we are strengthened by the power of prayer.  This morning, our hearts are full of gratitude as we come together for the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast.

But our hearts are also saddened by the absence of the co-founder of this wonderful breakfast who passed away last year, Doug Coe, who everybody loved.  (Applause.)  For 60 years, Doug devoted his time and passion to this Prayer Breakfast and to many other wonderful causes.  Today, we are blessed to be joined by Doug’s wife Jan, and two of their sons, David and Tim.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Great man.

I want to thank you for carrying on Doug’s legacy also, and bringing our nation together in prayer.  You are indeed carrying on his great legacy.

Each year, this event reminds us that faith is central to American life and to liberty.  Our founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence.  Our currency declares, “In God We Trust.”  (Applause.)  And we place our hands on our hearts as we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and proclaim we are “One Nation Under God.”  (Applause.)

Our rights are not given to us by man; our rights come from our Creator.  (Applause.)  No matter what, no Earthly force can take those rights away.  (Applause.)  That is why the words “Praise be to God” are etched atop the Washington Monument, and those same words are etched into the hearts of our people.

So today, we praise God for how truly blessed we are to be American.  (Applause.)  Across our land, we see the splendor of God’s creation.  Throughout our history, we see the story of God’s providence.  And in every city and town, we see the Lord’s grace all around us, through a million acts of kindness, courage and generosity.  We love God.

We see the Lord’s grace in the service members who risk their lives for our freedom.  We see it in the teachers who work tirelessly for their students, and the police who sacrifice for our communities — and sacrifice they do.  (Applause.)

And we see the Lord’s grace in the moms and dads who work two and three jobs to give their children the chance for a better and much more prosperous and happier life.

As the Bible tells us, for we are God’s handiwork, created in Jesus Christ to do good works.  America’s heroes rise to this calling.  In their selfless deeds, they reveal the beauty and goodness of the human soul.

When catastrophic hurricanes struck, first responders and everyday citizens dove into rushing waters to save stranded families from danger.  And they saved them by the thousands.  Neighbors opened their homes to those in need of food, clothes, shelter.  Firefighters braved blinding smoke and flames to rescue children from devastating wildfires.

During the horrific shootings, strangers shielded strangers, and police officers ran into a hail of bullets to save the lives of their fellow Americans, right in Las Vegas.  A terrible day, a terrible night.  But such bravery.

Families have adopted babies orphaned by the opioid epidemic and given them loving homes.  Communities and churches have reached out to those struggling with addiction, and shown them the path to a clean life, a good job, and a renewed sense of purpose.

And soldiers, sailors, Coast Guardsmen, airmen, and Marines have spent long months away from home defending our great American flag.  (Applause.)

All we have to do is open our eyes and look around us, and we can see God’s hand.  In the courage of our fellow citizens, we see the power of God’s love at work in our souls, and the power of God’s will to answer all of our prayers.

When Americans are able to live by their convictions, to speak openly of their faith, and to teach their children what is right, our families thrive, our communities flourish, and our nation can achieve anything at all.  (Applause.)

Together, as Americans, we are a tireless force for justice and for peace.  We have witnessed this truth over the past year.

For years, ISIS had brutally tortured and murdered Christians, Jews, religious minorities, and countless Muslims.

Today, the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and all throughout Syria.  (Applause.)

Much work will always remain, but we will never rest until that job is completely done.  And we are really doing it like never before.  (Applause.)

We know that millions of people in Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, and other countries suffer under repressive and brutal regimes.  America stands with all people suffering oppression and religious persecution.

Last week, during the State of the Union, the world was inspired by the story of a North Korean defector, Mr. Ji Seong-ho, who is now back in South Korea.

Before his escape, when Seong-ho was being tortured by North Korean officials, there was one thing that kept him from losing hope: Over and over again, he recited the Lord’s Prayer.  He prayed for peace, and he prayed for freedom.  And now, as you know, Seong-ho is free and a symbol of hope to millions of people all around the world.  (Applause.)

Here with us today is another symbol of hope, a very brave 9-year-old girl named Sophia Marie Campa Peters.  Sophia suffers from a rare disease that has caused her to have many strokes.  At one point, the doctors told Sophia that she would not be able to walk.

Sophia replied, “If you’re only going to talk about what I can’t do, then I don’t want to hear it — (laughter) — just let me try to walk.”  (Applause.)

She tried, and she succeeded.  And one of her doctors even told her mom — and they’re right here in the front row where they should be — “This little girl has God on her side.”  (Applause.)  Thank you, Sophia.  Thank you, mom.  Great mom.

I said, “Do you love your mom?”  She said, “I have a great mom.  I love my mom.”  (Laughter.)  Right?

Just two weeks ago, Sophia needed to have a very high-risk surgery.  She decided to ask the whole world to pray for her, and she hoped to reach 10,000 people.

On January 24th, as Sophia went into surgery, she far surpassed her goal.  Millions and millions of people lifted Sophia up in their prayers.

Today, we thank God that Sophia is with us, and she’s recovering, and she’s walking very well.  (Applause.)

And I have to say this, Sophia: You may only be 9 years old, but you are already a hero to all of us in this room, and all over the world.  Thank you, Sophia.  (Applause).

Heroes like Sophia come from all across our country and from every different background.  But they all share one thing in common: Through their love, their courage, their sacrifice, we glimpse the grace of almighty God.

So today, inspired by our fellow citizens, let us resolve to find the best within ourselves.  Let us pray for that extra measure of strength and that extra measure of devotion.  And let us seek to build a more just and peaceful world, where every child can grow up without violence, worship without fear, and reach their God-given potential.

As long as we are true to America’s founding and the example that all of these great founders have set, we can all be heroes to everybody, and they can be heroes to us.

As long as we open our eyes to God’s grace and open our hearts to God’s love, then America will forever be the land of the free, the home of the brave, and a light unto all nations.  (Applause.)

Thank you for this incredible event and to our wonderful hosts.  And thank you to all of our heroes for serving, protecting, and inspiring America each and every day.

God bless you, and God bless America.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END

Setting Our Priorities

For the past two Sundays I have been preaching about the importance of Christians reading The Bible EVERY day.  Today, my wife shared with me a devotional that reminds us to set our priorities on God and His Word trusting that He will provide everything else we need.  The devotional comes from Joseph Prince Ministries and can be found on josephprince.org:

One Thing is Needful

George Müller, who lived in the 1800s, cared for about 10,000 orphans in total in his five large orphanages. But he never allowed his huge responsibility to take him away from the Word of God. He said that every day, he would set aside time to study the scriptures until his inner man was happy in the Lord.

Once, Müller met a man who worked between 14 and 16 hours every day. He told the man, “You are destroying your health. You don’t have time for your family and, most importantly, you don’t have time to nourish your inner man with the Word of God.”

The man replied, “I hear you, but I can’t see how I can cut down my working hours and spend time in the Word because even with the 14 to 16 hours I put in each day, I still can’t put enough bread on the table for my family.”

As the man walked away, Müller said, “He doesn’t believe that if he gives time to God’s Word first, God will take care of all his needs.”

Likewise, do you really believe that every day, only one thing is needful? Even if the bills don’t get paid, the children are not making any headway in their studies and the office work is not completed, all these things can wait. Only one thing is needful—that you spend time in the Word of God.

When Martha complained to Jesus that her sister Mary had left her to serve alone (Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing His Word), Jesus defended Mary by saying, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41–42)

My friend, you will not lose out when you take time to sit down and listen to God’s Word. Even your health and well-being will be blessed. (Proverbs 4:22) So take time today to meditate on His Word. It will make your way prosperous (Joshua 1:8–9), and give you divine health and good success!

-Pastor Dave Jones

Get Your Gratitude Going!

It is SOOOO easy to get caught up in the ruts of our routine lives and SOOO easy to focus on our challenges rather than our blessings.  Please take a minute and see how the Psalmist told us to look at it as we consider this week’s prayer list.

PSALM 150

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!

-Pastor Dave Jones

Giving Thanks with Hearts of Gratitude

In this Season of JOY in which we celebrate the birth of Hope, Redemption, Salvation, and Reconciliation with God, please remember to turn to God in prayers of rejoicing, putting ALL your cares at His feet. In the dark days of winter, praise the eternal light found under the star of Bethlehem – Immanuel: God WITH us!

-Pastor Dave Jones

“Fake News”

We hear an  awful  lot about “fake news” these days.  While I am by no means a journalist, I thought the duty of a news reporter was to chronicle and publish stories which were based on facts and truth about events.  It is true that one can view events from one’s own perspective and thus “see what you want to see,” but it is also true that professional reporters have a duty to present factual accounts which fairly represent the events covered.  In today’s highly politicized media world, it has become extremely difficult to find fair and balanced reporting.  It seems that both “liberals” and “conservatives” want to spin events to shine the best possible light on their particular causes.  It is a sad commentary on the culture of America today. Politicians spending all their time investigating and accusing one another instead of focusing on legislation and governance of the people.  Mud-slinging for political gain is certainly not new, but it has been given unprecedented “importance” thanks to the politicization of major news outlets.

I urge you to consider carefully what you believe to be truth.  Most news outlets have proven to be less than reliable sources of information.  As we know from history, it is best to go back to the original source documents (or happening) to find the facts.  If you want to know if a Court’s decision to declare something unconstitutional is valid, go back and look at the Constitution and see for yourself.  Many of The Supreme Court’s “opinions” rendered in the past century, when examined under the scrutiny of the Country’s original documents, do not appear to be valid.  Why? The justices who sit on the courts have biases (e.g. liberal or conservative) and tend to interpret the law in the way which best mirrors their own agenda.

With all this politicization going on in government and the media, how are we (Christians) supposed to fulfill our civic duties as citizens? It is simple: go back to THE Original Truth – Scripture, and measure everything against that. The Word of God has the absolute truth which we need to determine if an action is good or evil. Scripture has clear guidance on many hot-button social issues such as abortion, homosexuality, infidelity, marriage, bearing false witness, greed and a myriad of others.  The question we must ask ourselves is twofold: how well do I know Scripture and how well do I base my values judgments on its tenets?  Where do you stand on The Truth and what are you going to do about it?

Food for thought,

Pastor Dave Jones

Please excuse me, I seem to have lost my way…

These words could be spoken by any of dozens of politicians, entertainers, business executives, and public figures who have recently been caught up in the rash of allegations regarding sexual misconduct. Some of these figures have resigned, retired, or been fired from their posts after admitting that they engaged in some form of sexual misconduct.  Others have apologized, but said  they intend to keep their positions which implies that they think their misconduct wasn’t all that serious. Then there are those brave few, perhaps only one, who staunchly deny all the allegations and have gone on the offensive to “clear their good name.”  While sexual misconduct by ANYONE is sinful, it is particularly disturbing and reprehensible when committed by a person who holds authority over others.  All these “celebrities” who  have abused their power and defamed their office by their misconduct shine an illuminating light on the bigger problem – our Country’s misguided standards for virtue and morality.

Our country was founded by men and women who wanted to be “one nation under God.”  This is clearly evidenced by our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, original laws, and the writings and practices of our founding fathers. All of these documents irrefutably show that we were designed to be a “God-fearing” people who followed God’s truth and His principles. Our earliest laws were based primarily on Scriptural laws and our first law school book stated that ALL civil law should align with Scripture.  Why did the founding fathers insist on such strict adherence to biblical teachings? Because, as many of them publicly stated, without the guiding principles of Scripture, we cannot have virtue and morality.  Without virtue and morality, we cannot exist as a civilized people. Our founding fathers had great foresight and we are now seeing the consequences of disregarding their directions. Our country has adopted a “relative morality” focusing on “individual rights” rather than a definitive code of conduct, which is leading us down the path to destruction. We have lost our way. The country’s original virtues of truth, respect, honor, and selfless service have been sacrificed on the altar of the all-powerful “pursuit of happiness” [at all costs]. Scripture warns us that “our sins will find us out.”  Our choices have consequences and sin demands payment.

It is so easy to get lost on our journey – after all Jesus warned us in Matthew 7:13-14: 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

The way to life is narrow and sometimes hard to stay on – it is easy to take one of the million off-ramps which lead down that broad, easy-to-follow highway to destruction. Commentator Cal Thomas made some excellent points about the rewards of virtue (please follow this link to view article: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/11/30/cal-thomas-return-virtue.html) which reminds us of the consequences of ignoring Jesus’ entreaty.  My prayer for us all is that we will embrace the one true virtue and morality presented to us in The Person and works of Jesus Christ.

-Pastor Dave Jones

Time to Give Thanks and Present Petitions

The National Day of Thanks first proclaimed by President George Washington in 1789 is suffering from an identity crisis. The newly founded Americans of that era would hardly recognize the frenzied festivities of today.  Polls tell us that less than half of Americans will even offer a prayer of thanks today; and even those who do will be non-committal as to whom they are thanking. Our true American history and heritage are quickly becoming unknown to us as we increasingly follow the deceptions of this world. Scripture (2 Timothy 4:2-4) warns us that we will fall prey to the deceptions of this world if we do not preach the word and follow Its truths. We will come to a time, if we have not already arrived, when we will seek out preachers who will tell us what we “want to hear” to justify our sinful actions. Much of our Nation is already there – I urge you not to be deceived by this world, but to maintain your faith in ABSOLUTE truth provided by our Creator. Many will say I am exaggerating the importance of our national Christian heritage. Most of you have been educated to believe that our country firmly stands for “separation of church and state.”  That “religion” is “off limits” to our civic governance and that the constitution and the founding fathers who authored it intended it that way. If you have been led to believe that is true, I CHALLENGE you to actually read the constitution and see for yourself. I believe that, regardless of what we have been taught in the past century, our country was indeed founded as “one nation UNDER GOD.” As a small example of my belief, I offer you President George Washington’s first National Proclamation of a day of Thanksgiving.  Note to Whom the President gives thanks:

 

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

 

May we all pray as our founding fathers did.

-Pastor Dave Jones

Thankful Hearts

A week from today is Thanksgiving!  It is a wonderful holiday – celebrated with feasting and family.  A number of our VVBC family will be gathering at the fellowship hall for our annual Thanksgiving Potluck.  We would love to have you join us – it is always a great time of fellowship!  While there are many reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving, it is important that we never forget to Whom we are giving thanks.  Sadly, most Americans consider Thanksgiving a “day off” to enjoy football, food, and family (and, of course, rest up for Black Friday shopping).  I hope you can all join us this Sunday as we dig into history and uncover the true meaning of the Thanksgiving Holiday and reflect upon how we can revive that spirit and TRULY celebrate the privilege of giving thanks.

-Pastor Dave Jones