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Veterans’ Day – Lessons Learned

By Don Loftis | 11.14.18

This past Sunday (and Monday) we observed the centennial celebration of Veteran’s Day.  Originally called Armistice Day, it represented the end of WW I.  Through the years, it has become the day we honor all men and women who have served in our military, while Memorial Day honors those who died in that service.  The patriotic songs and speeches from the day remind me of the three great truths.   First, we need to be continually thankful for the blessings secured by these soldiers.  For all the griping we hear, our daily freedoms transcend those of other societies.  The peace we experience today is another of those legacies.  We need to be both aware and thankful for the physical and spiritual blessings we enjoy.   Secondly, we recognize that anything of value has a cost.  [...]

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Why Do You Preach Like That?

By Don Loftis | 11.07.18

I like to think that most preachers seek to be balanced in their sermon selections.  Some lessons are topical others are textual; some biographical others doctrinal; some positive others negative.  Even with balance, sometimes we are asked, “Why do you preach against so many things?  Why not just talk about how to be happy and love one another?”  In some way, many listeners connect a sermon against sin as being unloving.   If a patient is sick, very sick, is the doctor unloving in telling the man that he has cancer?  Is the teacher unloving, when she informs parents that their child is failing math?  Is the engineer unloving, when he tells the city that a certain bridge is unsafe to cross and needs to be closed to prevent a disaster?   Sermons against sexual [...]

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Contentment Is Possible

By Don Loftis | 10.31.18

Contentment is a rare commodity in our American culture.  Professional advertisers spend millions of dollars to maximize our desires for things we don’t have — cars, clothes, bodies, cruises, food.  In addition, they seek to create guilt, if we are not giving our children every social, academic, recreational or spiritual opportunity.  How can a person be content, when their life is “missing so much?”   This conflict makes the reading of Philippians 4:11-13 even more difficult.  How could Paul be equally content in times of prosperity and adversity?  How could he face being full and hungry with the same assurance?   The answer was simple; he had learned to rely fully on the Lord’s power in all circumstances.   A group of former students visited a retired professor and poured out their career stresses and frustrations.  [...]

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Are We Really Peacemakers?

By Don Loftis | 10.17.18

We certainly live in a culture that is experiencing serious conflict and growing divisions.  One person described Americans as “cats in a room full of rocking chairs”.  We seem to be twitching our tales and hoping someone will rock on us, so we can squeal and scratch.  We see this in domestic disputes, formal divorces, dueling politicians, business competitors, and even ill-tempered preachers.   Yet, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.”  The apostle Paul told Christians in Rome, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”   Historians have shown that President Ulysses Grant sought to facilitate genuine reconciliation between the North and the South after the Civil War.  Despite having led the northern armies, he became close friends [...]

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Moving Past Our Anger

By Don Loftis | 10.10.18

In 1969 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published her classic work entitled Death and Dying.  In it she posed five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  While everyone’s grief is different and there is no defined timetable, these five components are typically present.   Anger is one of the most interesting and explosive.  It may be directed toward the medical staff, “If you all had acted faster…”  It might be toward the deceased, especially if they had ignored repeated warnings or chose to take their own life.  Anger toward God is not uncommon, “Why didn’t you spare my child?”  Feelings of guilt may even lead to anger directed at ourselves.   A lady whose husband had unexpectedly died was having a very difficult time with her grieving process.  Every day she took fresh flowers [...]

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