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What beauty!!!

While spring is my favorite time of the year, if I can just get past my distaste for the cold wintery weather and high heating bills that autumn ushers in, I also love fall.  The trees turn beautiful shades of yellows, oranges, reds, and browns.  The air cools down so daytime temperatures are comfortable and a light jacket keeps us warm at night.  The yard no longer needs its weekly mowing and those pesky mosquitoes are gone until spring.

What fun!!!

For me, fall ushers in the greatest sport, football, and with the start of school our lives get in a routine.  With school, your routine may have gotten busy, but at least you know what you are doing day-to-day.

What satisfaction!!!

The other aspe
ct of fall is the harvest.  Your garden produce nears its end, and whether you freeze, can, or eat fresh from the garden, you look back with satisfaction over the summer’s crop, plus you are likely already preparing for next year.   Farmers are doing the same as they harvest their soybeans and corn with satisfaction that this crop year is ending and they already have their sights set for a better season next year.

Beauty, fun, and satisfaction

Beauty, fun and satisfaction rarely come without effort unless you are a child and others are doing all the work.  For example, the past couple of falls I have had fun planting flower bulbs: hyacinths two years ago and tulips last year.  The result has been that I can hardly wait for early spring to see the beauty emerge.  It brought me delightful satisfaction to look at the magnificence of God’s creation and start planning for this fall’s bulbs to plant.

It takes preparation

In order for me to see the beauty of the spring flowers, I have to plan ahead.  This past spring, as the hyacinths and tulips stopped blooming and began to die down, I placed small flags in the ground to mark where I wanted to plant next spring’s flowers: daffodils.  And now with several bags of yellow and white daffodils, I will plant the bulbs in preparation of next year’s spring beauty.

Whether you farm for a living or do gardening or landscaping, you know the importance of preparation.  If you fail to prepare, you know the dismal results that bring a lot of disappointment.


The same principles
of preparation apply to life.  We know that education, whether formal or hands-on training, prepares us for better life experiences, better jobs, and usually more money.  At the very least and maybe the most important, preparation by education brings us satisfaction in the work we do or in how we can help others.

Preparation also applies to retirement.  If we plan and set money aside as we go through our working and productive years, we will have money to retire on.  If we begin the planning and preparation for retirement when we are young, our nest egg waiting for us at retirement will be huge, but failure to plan can be devastating.

The next life

The Bible tells us of our need in preparing for our final destiny.  If we prepare as we should
, we too will have a very pleasant surprise upon leaving this life and entering into the next one.  Surprise?  Yes, we will have a surprise because –

9 However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,

what no ear has heard,

and what no human mind has conceived”—

the things God has prepared for those who love him—

1 Corinthians 2:9

No matter how well the Bible describes heaven to us, we cannot fathom what God has prepared for those who love Him.

Are you preparing for spring?

I have repeatedly stated that one of the most terrifying passages in the Bible to me is Matthew 25:31-46.  Jesus begins this teaching in chapter 24 where He tells His disciples about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, and the chapter concludes with Jesus stating that no one knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ return.

In Matthew 25 Jesus continues His teaching.  He begins with the parable of the ten virgins: five were prepared for a wedding and five were not.  The five who were not prepared were locked out.  He calls those virgins, foolish.  Next, Jesus goes right into the parable about a master, his servants, and bags of gold.  We know this parable as the parable of the talents.  The one who did nothing except hold onto his bag of gold lost everything because he had not increased the master’s holdings.

Jesus concludes His teaching on this topic in Matthew 25: 31-46 in telling His listeners that in the last day, those who have not been faithful to Him will be cast into eternal fire.

Prepare for the harvest and future beauty.

In every teaching of Matthew 24-25, Jesus tells us that preparation for the next life is vital.  Those who prepare have a vast prize waiting for them, while those who do not fully prepare will meet terrible disappointment and devastation.

What we do now has an effect on the next life, whichever one that may be, heaven or the lake of fire.  Things that you and I might not think important might be vital.  Let’s stop comparing ourselves with others; thinking that we are better than them.

Let’s read the Word of God.  Let’s examine the teachings of Jesus.  Let’s till the soil. Let’s fertilize, not forgetting the seemingly insignificant micronutrients.  Let’s plant the seed. Let’s weed out every single weed.

Let’s prepare for the harvest.

Let’s prepare well.

Love ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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my face

I want to share a short story from author and preacher Perry Noble. The conversation comes between him and his three year old daughter.

The other night I was putting Charisse to bed and I told her that I love her. She looked me right in the eyes and told me, “I love you too daddy.” I then told her, “Charisse…I love you more than you could ever imagine!” She said, “What does imagine mean?” So I told her, “Basically I love you bigger than you could ever think about or dream.” Her eyes got really wide and she looked at me with the most serious look I’ve ever seen on her face and then asked me, “Do you love me more than 18 dollars?

Noble, Perry. “Do You Love Me More Than 18 Dollars? | Blog | Perry Noble.” Perry Noble. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

Eighteen was the highest number his three year old could count to, so to her, $18 was the biggest amount she could “ever think about or dream.” I love this story for two reasons. One, I can’t wait to have kids of my own! Two, it speaks volumes of the Father’s love for his children. I’m speaking of God’s love for you and me. I have heard that if you say something over and over and over again, it starts to sound trivial and slightly silly. If there is one thing that deserves repetition it’s the fact that God loves you. This phrase will withstand the test of time and though some may say “God loves you” has become trivial in our ever-changing culture, the fact of the matter is not that it’s said too much. I believe the fact of the matter is that it’s not said or lived out enough.

“God loves you” is a phrase that has withstood the test of time, so when we approach the topic of showing this love to others, it has become this daunting task that we’re afraid to do. I wholeheartedly believe that the problem with our approach is not the phrase “God loves you” but is in fact actually showing others what that love is all about. We know as followers of Christ that we are to tell of his greatness and to show that greatness through our actions, but we (and I say this with as much grace and love as I can) have failed at showing that love to those either outside our immediate circle or those who are less “approachable” than we’re used to.

God’s love exceeds any cultural barrier man has set up. God’s love exceeds any preconceived notion we may have of who we believe will be receptive to the gospel. The truth is that we do not know who will listen and who will hear the message but not actually hear what we say. It is not our job to pick and choose who gets to hear the gospel. It is our job to show the same love that was displayed for us on the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul said that God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). There is no specific group exempt from this truth: God showed his love for us (sinners) in that while we (sinners) were still sinners, Christ died for us (sinners). Paul also says that all have fallen short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24). Did you notice that? While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and even though we have fallen short of the glory of God, we are justified (made right) in God’s sight because of what Jesus did on the cross for us.

I wholeheartedly believe that we cannot hear the gospel enough. Sometimes we read or hear about the love displayed for us on the cross of Jesus Christ and we (without disrespect) flippantly pass through it in our minds and miss what Jesus did for us. We can never get to a point in our walk with Christ where we no longer need the gospel. The gospel always applies to our lives no matter how long we have been coming to church. In the account of the Prodigal Son we see Jesus talking to the sinners and tax collectors, but that was not his only audience. Jesus was talking to both the religious elite and the worst of the worst when he talked about God’s welcoming love (Luke 15).

God’s love is bigger than 18 dollars. God’s love is bigger than we can ever image or dream. That means that God’s love exceeds any boundary we try to place on it. Any person, not matter how unapproachable, deserves to hear about the all-encompassing love that God displayed for us on the cross. We as Christians are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). That means we do his work to show this love because we have known this love in our lives. I want to encourage you to seek out those you may have neglected to share the gospel with. I know it’s difficult and quite daunting at times, but if we don’t plant that seed, they may never get a chance to know this great love.

Romans 5:8 // Romans 3:23-24 // Luke 15 // 2 Corinthians 5:20 // 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

With grace,

Channon Martin

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kennyFirst of all, why jump?

I really don’t know why I decided to do a tandem skydive except that when the thought first came to my mind, it sounded like fun.  Last year after my first-ever mission trip (to Haiti) and then my first ever 320 mile bicycle ride from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, the thought of a tandem skydive came to mind.  After I thought about it, I thought, “Why not?”

I lost Martha to cancer over 12 years ago.  Our kids are all grown, married, moved away and have their own families. My obligations that are left in this life are in this order: God, my health, my family and my congregation (family and congregation tied in third place only because of my current stage in life), and taking the Word of God to people.  So why not jump?  Jumping out of an airplane sounded like a good idea – as long as I could use it for ministry in some way.  Last Christmas when I told my kids of the idea, they gave me their blessing and after they made certain their inheritance was secured, they gave me Christmas money  to  use  for  the  jump.   (My 92-year-old mother still does not know of my insanity.)

What about the landing?

Amazingly, on the day of the jump, I was not nervous and not really anxious.  I actually looked forward to the jump. So after the preliminary instructions, my instructor, Joe, said we were ready to go.  He instructed me about everything but the landing so I asked about it.  He told me that he would give me those instructions on the way down, after the chute opens.  With the wisdom of a man who has made almost 12,000 jumps, he said that if the chute doesn’t open, we would not be concerned about the landing.  I understood his reasoning.

On the way up, I asked if he had a reserve chute on.  “Yep,” came his reply.  He said he would be dead 19 times without that reserve chute.  Amazingly, I still had no concern about the jump.  I completely trusted him and Him (Capitalized ‘Him’ means God).


Far above the clouds

We reached the altitude of 12,000 feet, at least one mile above the clouds, and Joe gave me the final instructions of where to place my hands and even my head when we jumped out of the plane.  After we were clear of the plane, I was to change the position of my hands and head.

The moment came and we were out in the air, picking up the speed of our descent to 120 mph.  It was difficult to breathe with that much wind velocity coming at me, which Joe had cautioned me about, but then his hand grabbed my head and he pointed to the cameraman who was free-falling out in front of us.  I was to keep my eyes on the cameraman and wave or do whatever to make it look like I was having fun.  And it was fun; I did not have to pretend.

Before I knew it, we had free-fallen one mile, the chute opened, and then Joe instructed me how to adjust my harness to get comfortable.  By the time I got everything adjusted and could look around, we were far below the clouds.  I finally looked at the earth below and it was beautiful.  We floated the rest of the way to the ground and before long we made a perfect landing standing up.  What a thrill!

What I didn’t expect

As soon as we landed, the cameraman was there to get my comments regarding the jump.  That is when I realized that I had not even thought about God the entire jump after leaving the plane.  Actually, I could not even remember much about the jump.  I was so focused on the instructions of exiting the plane, the cameraman as we were free-falling, and then the instructions about adjusting the harness after the chute opened that I could not remember much at all about the jump.  I had to wait to see the video to see what I had just experienced but could not remember.  I never expected that I could jump out of a plane over two miles above the earth and not remember much about the jump.  No way!  But, oh yes!

So distracted

What an experience, but it is so much like life.  I had gotten so wrapped up in the particulars of the jump that I missed the experience.  I had gotten distracted, but isn’t that like life?

You and I go through life and we get so caught up in our everyday busyness that we often miss what living is all about.  As with my jump, we get so caught up in the excitement, fun, troubles, plans, concerns and worries that we often forget about God, and we also forget about the big picture of life.

What does this mean?

Well, let’s first ask what life is supposed to be about.  A simple verse from the Bible answers that question.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  – 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

Our main purpose in life is to glorify God.  We are to do this in everything we think, say, and do, all day everyday, all night every night. With every breath we take, we are to glorify God, but oh, how we fail so miserably.

Life is like jumping out of a plane.

Life passes us by and is over before we know it.  We get caught up with so many nonessentials of life that we cannot enjoy it like God intends. We fail to really experience life and we fail to experience God.

So, here is my suggestion.  Pull the cord now.  Open the parachute so you can slow down and start enjoying life: life in God and life in general.  Look around and find someone you can be Jesus to.  Discover someone you can serve.  Be Jesus to your family: your spouse, your son, your daughter, and other loved ones.  Look at all the beauty of God’s creation.  Don’t miss God.  Don’t miss the simple things of life.  Don’t miss the life that God intended for you

Love ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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