Archive for September, 2011

Do I Really Need An Education?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

We have become discontent with so many things in life. Preparing dinner took too long, so frozen TV dinners were introduced. When I was a kid in the 1960’s it was exciting news to hear the traditional family meal at the table would be replaced with a TV dinner for the evening. Yes, we ate them on TV trays, in the living room in front of the TV set. If we were lucky, we had something called a fizzy to drink with it. If you don’t know what a fizzy was, it can perhaps be best described as sweet flavored alka seltzer that fizzed when you dropped it into a glass of water, dispensing the purest of artificial flavors science could deliver.

The discontent we experience today can lead to such a troubled heart. The pressure sometimes seems like it is just too much. We are not only discontent with our situation; we are discontent with the time required to change our circumstances. When a person decides to place their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, that re-birth takes place in an instant. Learning to trust in Christ for the future is moment by moment with a little here and a little more there. Don’t expect to become mature instantly, you must study.

Philippians 2:12-13
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Working out your salvation should not be confused with working for your salvation. The word used for work as in “work out your salvation” is katergazomai, which means to perform. The word used for work as in “God who is at work” is energeo, which means put forth power. All your work can have the power of the Holy Spirit working according to His good pleasure. You are not alone; the power to help you through any situation is available to all that trust Christ.

Galatians 3:24-26
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

The Greek word for tutor here, is paidagogos (pahee-dag-o-gos’). Among the Greeks and the Romans, a tutor was a guardian and guide of boys. They were trustworthy slaves with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The tutor would take the boys to school everyday. (School did not become mandatory for all boys until A.D.65) In this illustration, Paul is saying the law was the slave (tutor), and Christ is the teacher. God is able to teach us how to have a better life, but He will educate us only as much as we will allow. Bring all your cares to Him, and work out your salvation with His power.

2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Anthony 1897

The Anthony was never marketed or mass-produced. It was an electric car built by 17-year-old Earle Anthony in Los Angeles, California. The Anthony Electric runabout was powered by an electric half-hp motor built from scratch. It utilized chain drive and could reach speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. The photo above is Earle Anthony with his 1897 electric car, in front of his garage where he most likely built it. The vehicle did not handle well, and it couldn’t go far without needing to be re-charged, a common problem for early electric cars.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles displays either a replica, or restoration of the car, built in the 1920’s using the surviving parts other than the original engine and wood. The car was in an accident in 1903, and the engine was cleaned up and mounted on a stand where it was displayed on the desk of Earle Anthony for years to come. Anthony owned radio stations and then went on to become the leading Packard distributor in Southern California when he opened a Packard dealership in San Francisco. The photo below is the Earle C. Anthony Packard Showroom located at 901 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. It was built in 1927 and is on the historic building registry. Opening night was attended by Hollywood starlets and was broadcast on one of Anthony’s radio stations.

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Run as if Your Life Depends on It!

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Have you ever worked on something as if your life depended on it? That expression is used when someone puts his or her whole heart into something. The Apostle Paul used the analogy of running a race to succeed in life. Paul is telling us how important it is to place your focus and attitude—that is your whole heart, into winning. (Not whining!)

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

Like running a race, living life to win requires a healthy heart. God warns us to watch over our hearts. We must be cautious of anything toxic that leads to heartbreak or a hardened heart. Your faith grows and your heart strengthens only when you are stretched to live in a situation like your life depends on it. That is when you have the opportunity to grow toward God or to allow the stress to shift your focus from mission to survival mode.

Proverbs 4:23
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

When you find yourself in survival mode, you are accepting what life gives you instead of what God wants you to have. God wants your trust to be in him with your whole heart, not just part of it. A halfhearted trust in God will give you more stress than living for Him like your life depends on it. There are believers in Christ that are stressed out because they refuse to give their hearts and trust over to God.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

There are times we need to stop whining, making excuses or playing the blame game, and run our race with endurance and perseverance. Is there something you need to let go of so you can live like your life depends on it? Are you making excuses to protect an attitude that needs to go–so you can win the race?

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

If you want to run this race to win, you are going to have to agree that blaming someone else, or your circumstances, are not going to be enough. You are still the one who is going to lose. In the story of the fig tree, Jesus cursed the tree with no fruit, despite the circumstances of it not being fig season. The disciples were being told to bring fruit, not excuses to the Lord.

Mark 11:12-14
Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.

The Prophet Ezekiel was asked to work as though his life depended on it. Could you stand up to this pressure?

Ezekiel 3:18-19
“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. “Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

Running to win the race is not only about you. While you are trying to just survive, Satan has a better chance to get you to minimize the fruit you bring to God. Your life may not depend on you sharing Christ with someone, but theirs does. Forty percent of the people who share their faith say they are worried they will not do a good job explaining their faith. A third of those who share their faith enter the conversation with fear they will not be able to answer questions the person has about Christianity. Do you have excuses not to share your faith?

Winning the race requires a healthy heart, but even that is a gift from God. Share the gift.

Isaiah 61:1
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

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Howard Coffin began tinkering with automobiles while he was a college student. His first car was a steam-powered vehicle built in the late 1890’s, which he drove to deliver mail. Howard also built his first gasoline engines around 1898. Coffin had a desire to build automobiles of his own design, but because of his youth, thought he would not be able to secure finances to accomplish his dreams. To the best of my knowledge, there was no official Coffin Motor Car Company, as a manufacturer. There was a Coffin Motor Car Company that was a Harroun automobile dealer in Indiana according to the March 1917 Motor Age. The photo above is a 1901 Coffin steam car.

Oldsmobile hired Howard Coffin in 1902 as an engineer and by 1905 he was Oldsmobile’s chief engineer. Coffin had come up with a design for a new medium sized car for Olds to market between the large and smaller offerings. Shortly before production began the new car was canceled. Coffin decided to take his design and launch an automobile company of his own. Roy D. Chapin and Howard Coffin resigned from Olds effective March 1, 1906 and Chapin convinced E.R. Thomas (Owner of the famous Thomas Flyer Company.) to form a joint venture named the Thomas-Detroit Company. Thomas-Detroit was essentially an assembler for the Thomas Flyer Company. In February of 1909 the men wanted to realize the dream of starting their own independent automobile company. They struck a deal with wealthy department store owner Joseph L Hudson, who was the uncle of Roscoe Jackson’s wife. (Roscoe Jackson was another ex-Oldsmobile employee.) The new enterprise was named the Hudson Motor Car Company, after the financial backer, and held its first meeting of the board of directors on March 6, 1909. Production was set up in a building on Mack Ave. in Detroit, shown below.

Advertising for the new car dubbed as the Hudson twenty, convinced some 4,000 new customers to send in a $25 deposit for the car priced at $900. 1,108 Hudson automobiles were turned out in 1909. In May of 1910, work began on a large new Hudson factory on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. Hudson built 4,508 cars in 1910. Coffin would serve as Vice-President for the next 25 years. The photo below is Howard Coffin at the wheel of a 1905 Olds.

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Coates–Goshen 1908 – 1910

The Coates-Goshen was produced by Joseph Saunders Coates in Goshen, New York. Automotive industries reported $150,000 was raised for a new factory at 183 Greenwich Avenue Goshen, NY with a capacity of 150 units for the year.

The cars had four-cylinder engines of 25-hp and 32-hp and in 1910, larger 45 and 60-hp models were built. Some sources say the factory burned down and they closed after they built only 30 cars. This story makes no sense with the advertisements and records for years of production. Others sources say the building still stands as of 2010  retaining its original look as Healey Brothers Chevrolet-Buick.

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Breeze 1909-1910

The Jewel Carriage Company of Cincinnati, Ohio built the Breeze.
This high wheeler car was upholstered in green leather and equipped with lamps, (As a safety precaution, some period owners manuals warned drivers to blow out the lamps when re-fueling to avoid an explosion.) horn, top with rollup storm front, and solid rubber tires. There were 8 Breeze models in all to choose from according to the advertisements in the May, 1909 Farm Journal, selling from $425 to $850. The Farm Implement News, New Car Buyers Guide, had the Breeze listed available as a 1910 model, but I find no reference of production later than that.

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Tragedy or Treasure?

by Rev. Rick Robinson

I don’t minimize the loss of life in the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, and I suffered no personal loss, but can anything good come out of a tragedy? Immediately after the September 11 attacks, millions of Americans made changes in their spiritual priorities. Residents of the New York City market are more spiritually active today than they were before the attack with an increase in church attendance of about 15%. In fact, the percentage of residents in the New York area who are unchurched declined while the national average of unchurched adults increased.

Going to church is not the most important thing in life, a relationship with Jesus Christ is, but the tracking data includes all religions. The percentage of New York residents who say they will go to Heaven because they have accepted Christ and been forgiven of their sins has increased from 20% to 32% as compared to 40% of adults nationwide who can be classified as born again.

Although researchers say they cannot determine what caused this change for certain, there is no doubt that God can turn a tragedy into a treasure. Look at the attitude of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers.

Genesis 50:20-21
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. “Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Tragedies seem to open and close windows of receptivity quickly for most people. You may have heard of the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, which places a number on the events in our lives and how they can affect our health. The death of a spouse is 100 on the scale; being fired from work a 47, and the foreclosure of a mortgage 30, for example. If your total score is over 300 you have a high risk of the stress making you ill, while the score below 150 has a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future. I don’t know how reliable this test is, but I do know people with a higher stress number tend to be more receptive to the gospel when I go door to door.

I know it is not easy to face the trials that come our way. I have been guilty of whining when things don’t go my way. We can take hope that God is in the middle of the trouble with us, for He is faithful—even when we are not.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

While we know we have placed our hope in Christ alone, it is important to remember those who have no such hope. They do not know the tragedy they face can turn into treasure. You must have that vision for them, before they can have that vision for themselves. In your quest to rescue those suffering by bringing the hope of Christ to them, you will also be storing up treasures in Heaven for yourself.

Luke 12:33-34
“Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

It is a matter of where your heart is in the matter. Tragedy touches the rich and the poor—there is no economic safety net. When Peter began to compare himself to the rich man who would not give up his trust in riches to follow Christ, Jesus made it clear it was trust in Him alone that would bring true riches.

Mark 10:28-30
Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, “who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

Ask God to give you a vision for the lost around you, and store up for yourself treasures that can be enjoyed forever.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Fear in the Garden

The world today is not so much different from all the days past. People are afraid of what the future holds, but this is not a new worry. Fear was not present until after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Eve had a conversation with a snake without fear. When I was a kid, I watched Mr. Ed, the television show about a talking horse, but I can not imagine a talking serpent. Snakes don’t talk, but I don’t know many women who are not afraid of them. Fear came to mankind after sin took root in the garden. Adam and Eve expressed fear for the first time when they tried to hide from God. Sin separates man from the peace and security only found in God. Jesus died to give that peace and security back to us.

Galatians 1:3-5
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  

In the history of the United States, over 30 of the American Presidents have addressed the fear of the American people in their inaugural address. On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln said in his first inauguration address;

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that—I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Just two weeks earlier Jefferson Davis had been inaugurated as the President of the Confederacy. The country was in much more trouble than it is today. Each generation has problems that seem like no other, the question remains what can be done about it. Today, many Americans are looking for a hero to turn things around. President Ronald Reagan said, “We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes just don’t know where to look.” Do you know where to look?

A young American soldier killed during the war in Europe was found with a diary in his pocket. Written in this diary under the heading, “‍My Pledge,‍” were these words: “‍America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.‍”

If we had this attitude for the cause of Christ, the economy may not turn around, but the peace the world is hungry for would spread rapidly. In troubled times, where is your peace found? Jesus Christ is our only hope for the peace we are looking for.

Psalm 22:8
“He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

The world should be looking to Christians now for answers but many of us are to far ahead of them in the “complaint department” line to help. If you have discovered that Jesus Christ is the hero people are looking for, will you endure until you are called to the other side of eternity? Since the fall of man, the world has always, and will always be imperfect. Place your trust in Christ alone, and share your faith with someone looking for a hero.

Psalm 25:20-21
Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.  

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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