Pastor John – Dec. 29

In Our Pulpit Today

Sherry, Mili, and I are away this week. We have been in Tennessee with Sherry’s dad, brothers, and their families. I prayed for you while we were away. I prayed that God would refresh you, bless your family time, and reach your lost loved ones with His lifegiving Good News. I look forward to hearing all about it when we get back together again.
Speaking of that! When I first arrived, I was spending a lot of time with you. I heard your stories, we shared our hearts, what God has been doing, and where we feel like God is leading. I am missing that and I want more of it. I still don’t know some of you really well. You don’t have to feed me. I really don’t need it! How about we meet somewhere for coffee? I want this and if you will be so kind, I’m asking if we can do more of it. Call the office. Sandra will put you in my calendar.
NOW… many of you have talked to me about how much you appreciate Dr. Jeshua Branch, Megan, and their children and how we should have him preach for us. I have had two different opportunities to hear a sampling of his God-given gift in this area and I agree with you. Not only can he preach and teach with excellence, he and Megan are authentic servants of our Lord Jesus. And, their kids are really cool. Here are some of the comments I have heard about Dr. Branch:

• “Jeshua is a real people person and an inspirational preacher. I’m so glad he is back at our church.”- Raynell Brady
• “Jeshua has a genuine heart for people to come to know Jesus. His use of visual aids while preaching effectively clarifies the Gospel for everyone. He is truly a leader for both the young and the old.”- Ron Nicholas
• “He is a passionate and fun-loving teacher and has taught me a lot during my youth group years”. – Madison Courtney
• “Despite being a Cowboys fan, he is a great preacher and teacher of the Word. Proves God can use anyone to do anything!” – Kevin Leppert

Today is going to be a great day in worship. If you are a first-time guest, I’m sorry I missed meeting you. Please come back! Our hearts are with you. We’ll be watching the livestream. We’re praying for you today. We love you, are so thankful for you, and we can’t wait to get back home to you next week. Now listen carefully and do what God tells you today.
 
Pastor John


Pastor John – Dec. 22

Looking Back

The people asked God, “Where is the God of justice? (Malachi 2:17). They arrogantly demanded God to account for His actions and defend Himself. God told them through Malachi, “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before Me” (3:1). His answer to their question of “Where was He?” was “Wait and you’ll see.” He’s coming. 

Zechariah expected this promise to be fulfilled. He was one of the few who kept the faith and walked with God in a trusting relationship (as did his wife Elizabeth). The angel Gabriel told Zechariah that their boy would, “…go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). And Zechariah saw his miracle son delivered, his mouth was finally opened, and he praised God unreservedly. “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun (reference from Malachi 4:2) will come to us from heaven… (Luke 1:76-78).

The God of justice came just like He said He would. He was faithful and just to forgive us from our sins (1 John 1:9). He was faithful to keep His promise and He was just to punish sins by laying them on Jesus the Son and punishing them thoroughly on the cross. The debt has been paid in full for everyone who has confessed Christ as Lord. Have you?

Looking Forward

One of our new members shared her testimony with me the other day. Her family was not a Christian one. But, one day some Christians knocked on her door… That’s where it started for Trudy Flamboe and look at her now.

Our 2020 vision is becoming more clear all the time. We are going to turn ourselves outward and become messengers of this Great News and wonderful family fellowship to people who don’t even know they need it yet. We’ve been given an abundance, and much is required of us now (Luke 12:48). 

Three things I badly need to mention to you as we get ready to enter the new year:

• Campaign 2020 isn’t over yet. Our corporate goal is to pay off the debt we owe and get ready for the next stage in this great church’s growth. More information is coming. 

• The Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions Celebration Evening is January 12. Let’s rock the Lottie! Much more information to follow.

• The business meeting for the 2020 budget was so encouraging. God is truly blessing us.

 

I’m so excited. Let’s get ready to roll in 2020. Love you guys. Pastor John

 


Pastor John – Dec. 8

Expecting Jesus

People. We become unbalanced in lots of ways. We swing one way with the pendulum or the other. Being balanced is a challenge for us. We have passionate feelings that drive us. Sometimes they drive us beyond where God
wants us to be. Read more…


Pastor John – Dec. 1

In Our Pulpit Today

I cannot get over what God is doing! I’m sorry that I talk about it all the time. He is bringing people into this church to create a ministry that is going to be very special. Many of you have been holding the fort while the enemy assaulted. Many of you are the reinforcements. And all of you have gifts that God is going to use.
 
Along with you, God has brought BACK to SMBC three former pastors – two youth pastors (John Sumpter and Jeshua Branch) and one senior pastor. God is going to use all three of these men, their wives, and families to minister here and grow us. Today, we have the privilege of hearing the Lord speak through SMBC’s previous senior pastor of 22 years—Dr. Ron Wade. Here are some comments I have heard about Dr. Wade:
 • “He is a great teacher!” (Linda Marquis)
 • “He is a true fisherman…of bass AND SOULS!” (Bryan Courtney)
 • “He has strong leadership skills and has a passion to preach the Gospel. (Betty Watson)
 • “I will be forever thankful for the Wades, whose influence helped direct us to joining the church family at Smith…Best pastor I’ve ever had!!!” (Beth Anne Bisbee)
 
Today is going to be a very good day in worship. I’m so sorry I’m going to miss it. Sherry, Mili, and I will be in Tennessee with my family. But, our hearts will be here with you. We’re praying for you today. We love you, are so thankful for you, and we can’t wait to get back home to you next week. Now listen carefully and do what God tells you today.
 
Pastor John


Pastor John – Nov. 17

Barbara Cava organized all of the meals and several Sunday School classes fed the team. Connie Diakun organized the housing and several families hosted the team. Kenny Heath organized the vehicles and several families offered their cars. Beth and Linda did much of the shopping. Sandra and Melanie handled the details. Al and Ann kept everything looking wonderful. Joey cleared the platform, took care of the technical issues, and led worship for the combined Sunday School sessions. The First Impressions Team made our guests feel right at home. Many of you helped with the nursery and did security watch. So many of you gave generously from your hearts and were willing to say your next “YES” to God. Greg was the Revival Team Coordinator and oversaw the whole thing. And, I got all the credit and a free retreat to the Life Action Lodge. Thank you all for making this a week the Lord could use to change our lives and thank you church for being present (heart, body, mind, and soul).
 
Love you guys!
Pastor John


Pastor John – Nov. 10

Two agendas are in play this week.
 
The enemy would like to use all his schemery to see you distracted and “unable” to be here this week. He would also like to exploit all his little footholds to get you off track for seeking revival. I’ve already seen it. Small things become bigger than they should be. Words and actions become more offensive than they need be. Again, relationships strain for no good reason. Pride obstructs.
 
The devil does not want revival here. Be on your guard and be aware of his tactics. The devil wants to distract and divide. God wants the exact opposite. He wants to spend quality, concentrated, focused time with us – time when we can gaze into His goodness and rest in His presence. God wants to bind us together as a loving family.
 
You and I will make one of the above happy this week…


Pastor John – Nov. 3

Looking Back

Have you seen how God has been getting us ready for revival? I have. I have seen strain in our fellowship. I have seen personality conflicts in our body. I have seen the devil tempting us, with success, to complain about people and things and lose the joy of service. I have seen sin exposed in our membership. I have heard God’s Word revealing the need for change. And, you probably have seen and heard these things too.
 


Pastor John – Oct. 27

Looking Back

The first word in the book of Malachi is “burden.” Malachi is heavy because God’s heart is heavy and the things He says in this book are weighty indeed. If you haven’t been with us (or if you haven’t been paying attention), this is what we’ve heard:
In chapter 1, God expressed His feelings concerning His people’s cynical, proud, sarcastic, insubordinate, ungrateful, apathetic hearts. God is hurt that His love has been met with their contempt. They have shown their feelings for Him by the defiled quality of their worship. What does our worship show about our feelings for Him?
 


Letter from Pastor John – Oct. 20

Looking Back

So, I take it it’s Pastor Appreciation Month. You guys really need to relax as it pertains to the Jickas. We have been showered with love since February 3, 2019 when we came and entered into this arranged marriage. I feel like this has been a match made in Heaven too. I hope you still do. Let the honeymoon continue!!! 
 
When is congregation appreciation month? You guys should have a protest or something. Just don’t go on strike!!!
 
I am the worst about sending cards and there are a lot of you, so let me just tell you here some of the things I appreciate about you. There is a great commandment and another that is “like unto it” and you exemplify both. You demonstrate love for God and love for your neighbor. You are sympathetic to the hurting. You desire to grow. You love the Lord’s Word. You worship with your hearts. You have a great tolerance for discomfort (bathrooms!). You like to have fun. You turn up to work. You like being together. You are patient with children and pastors who are slow to understand things. You are generous. You are great at hospitality. You are understanding. You are gifted and smart. You have been courageous and have overcome your insecurities. You invite friends, family, and random people to come. You are honest. You make me want to be a better 
pastor. My little family really digs our new church family! 
 


Letter from Pastor John – Oct. 13

Looking Back

I feel like I should confess the sin of ingratitude. God has done SO SO MUCH in such a short time. Remember with me and praise God for the Kelley family being here, the great number of people who have come to know the Lord and come to join (or rejoin) the church, the many guests, the progress in so many areas of ministry, the regular touch of the Holy Spirit when we gather together, our needs are met in abundance… I am deeply humbled and amazed. Lord, forgive me for not dwelling on the things You have done and are doing – great and small.