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February 17, 2020, 12:47 PM

How to Capture a Monkey


     How do you capture a monkey? Monkeys are clever and quick. Aside from shooting one, how do you get them out of the trees? Native peoples have come up with multiple solutions, but to capture one alive, this one method sticks out. You let the monkey capture itself.

     The trapper will cut a hole in a gourd and put nuts, fruits, and other things monkeys love to eat in the gourd. The monkey comes along finding the goodies, and will reach in for the treat. With a fist full of stuff, the monkey is now unable to remove it’s hand through the hole…the fist being to large.

     Infuriated, the monkey will refuse to yield and holds on; stuck, but only stuck by his own will. Even as the trapper approaches, the monkey will hold on and thus enslave and capture itself. Proverbs mentions this phenomenon in our lives in an unforgettable way. “As a dog returns to it’s vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.”

     What is your goodie? What is that thing that enslaves you and brings you death, to which you desperately cling with the promise of something good? Only Jesus frees us and gives us what is good. Instead of luring us in with promises of pleasure hiding death and slavery to sin, He offers the narrow road leading to freedom and joy. Will you hold on to the false promise, or choose freedom?




February 17, 2020, 12:45 PM

Should God keep me from suffering? a parable


     There once was a man named George who took a walk each morning. As he walked, George would converse with his neighbors. One morning, he happened by Sam and Gloria’s house to see them busy mowing the lawn. George stopped to talk but Sam quickly said, “no time to talk gotta mow!” George became curious seeing this morning after morning, knowing that Sam and Gloria had a teenage son who was capable of mowing, and wondering why they would do it every day instead of once or twice a week.

      George stopped and asked why Sam mowed every day. “Because our son has to walk across the grass and we don’t want him to stumble on an obstacle,” came the answer. George asked if their son could mow. “No!” “Why would we ask him to struggle like that?,” came the answer.

      George started to observe many ways that this couple kept their son from struggle. They cleaned his room and served him dinner in front of the tv so that he did not have to go up the stairs. George suspected that they even did the boy’s homework. Finally, he noticed Sam driving a huge tractor down the road. Curious he followed. Sam pulled into the school and proceeded to begin demolishing the curb and making a new path to the front door. “Sam, what is going on?” George asked. “Just smoothing out junior’s walk to the front door,” Sam answered.

     George left shaking his head knowing that this particular boy would never amount to anything. Why is it that we expect God to do everything and to pave the way for us when we simply should trust that He knows what is best for us as we encounter struggles in this life? God is no lawn-mower parent. He has a plan and a desire for you. Romans 5:3-5 states this: “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

      God does not leave us alone, but He struggles through with us that we might succeed in struggle, and that we might rely on and know Him. You are who you are because of the struggle that got you here.




August 27, 2018, 3:55 PM

Severing Sin


127 hours is a movie that recounts the experience of Aron Ralston. This young man was trapped alone under a boulder while climbing and only survived by cutting off his own arm using little beyond a multitool and a tourniquet. Make no mistake, he would not have survived otherwise and his story would have a far different outcome than a bestselling book and an award winning movie. Thus it is with us spiritually. Mark 9:43 states “if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It's better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands.” Jesus was, of course, not telling us to cut off a hand, we can always sin with the other one, but He was making a point. The most powerful sin in our lives is often the most difficult to remove. It does not disappear in a day usually, but must be cut off and slowly severed like a limb crushed under a boulder that will kill us eventually if we do not remove it. Sin is powerful. We like it. It is hard to get rid of, but if we do not it will destroy us. As Ralston slowly and painfully removed his own arm, he was saving the rest of his body. This is the point that Christ makes. It may take time, and you and I may feel pain in the process but someday we will tell our story knowing that we live because sin has been cut away. Unlike Ralston we cannot save ourselves and remove our own sin, but thankfully we don’t have to. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” “If we confess our sin He is faithful to forgive us…” Trust in Christ, and you will know freedom from sin.

Pastor John Byerly




August 27, 2018, 3:54 PM

Pleasing God


“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6 makes a startling statement to many of us that believe but wish to please God on our own. Actions alone won’t do it. Right doctrine alone won’t do it. Even the greatest generosity and kindness alone will not please God or give us eternity with Him. Hebrews and other passages make it clear that in order to please God we must have one simple foundational cornerstone. We must have faith. Why is it so impossible to please God without it? Simply put, one of the best illustrations comes from my children. We sent our oldest and youngest to California on a plane. It was a right of passage for the oldest that he took his younger brother through security at Denver International, got him on the tram, to their gate and on the plane by himself. As we watched from above, they went through security. You could see the concern and focus on the face of our eldest as he navigated this obstacle. His brother however was a study in contrast, bouncing along without a care in the world and full of excitement. What made the difference? Faith. Our youngest trusted the older son to take care of him and to get them where they needed to go. Faith is trust, a firm belief that drives action. God wants us to trust Him as He guides us through the life. Can we blame God that we cannot please Him if we don’t trust Him? The trust of my youngest for his brother caused him to be secure, and to follow. Faith brings action. What is it that God is calling you to? How is He calling you to trust Him? Place your trust in Christ and act on it and you will not be sorry. He will get you on the plane. Adventure awaits.

Pastor John Byerly




June 18, 2018, 1:07 PM

A Father's heart


Thomas Paine, the famous writer and philosopher who drove so much of the thought surrounding the American Revolution once wrote “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” Interesting is it not, this cry of the father’s heart for others. If there are hard times, let me bear them so that my family may be spared. Have you ever seen a parent take this attitude in life? With Father’s Day just passed, I cannot help but think of the many parents over the ages that have hoped for better for their children. Of course, the best we can do is hope and try to set our kids up for success. We have no control over the future. But there is one heavenly Father who has taken our trouble, which we created ourselves by the way, upon Himself in order to make a different future for you and I if we will only accept it. Jesus explained that He had to suffer and die, bearing our trouble, because God “loved the world so much, that He gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.” Take a moment to remember how much God loves you and what a Father He is. Take a moment to consider who you trust or “believe” in. He took your troubles, punishment for sin, upon Himself so that you and I might be spared. Consider this before you step out into the world today and think on this before you fight another battle on your own.

Pastor John Byerly


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