Pastor John's Thoughts
Rev. John Casey, Sr.
Senior Pastor
JohnC@VimyRidgeImmanuelBaptist.com

I am very pleased and excited to be the new Senior Pastor at Vimy Ridge Immanuel Baptist Church!

This section of our Website will be devoted to my thoughts regarding a wide variety of topics that directly relate to VRIBC and to the local community that it serves.

THOUGHTS FOR LIVING

A lady went to her Pastor and said “Pastor, I won't be going to your church anymore.” The Pastor responded “But why?” The lady said “Ah! I saw a woman gossipping about another member; a man that is a hypocrite; the worship team living wrong; people looking at their phone during service; among so many other things wrong in your church.”

The Pastor replied “OK. But before you go, do me a favor: take a full glass of water and walk around the church three times without spilling a drop on the ground. Afterwards, leave the church if you desire.” The lady thought: too easy! She walked three times around the church as the Pastor had asked. When she finished she told the Pastor she was ready to leave.

The Pastor said, “Before you leave I want to ask you one more question. When you were walking around the church, did you see anyone gossipping?” The lady replied “No.” “Did you see any hypocrites?" The lady said "No." "Anyone looking at their phone?” “No.” “You know why?” “No.”

“You were focused on the glass, to make sure you didn't stumble and spill any water. It's the same with our life. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we don't have time to see the mistakes of others. We will reach out a helping hand to them and concentrate on our own walk with the Lord."  By Anny Harris

TRUE, KIND OR NECESSARY

Philippians 4:8-9 ~ Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

IF IT ISN'T TRUE, IF IT ISN'T KIND, IF IT ISN'T NECESSARY, THEN IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE SAID The Apostle’s message is as relevant in the twenty-first century as it was the day that it was written to the Christians at Philippi. Almost daily, someone will speak “out of turn” and shatter the hopes for a good day for another person. Sometimes there may be a grain of truth in whatever that thoughtless, rude and/or arrogant person has said, but this is where the “Rick-ism” comes into play. IF IT ISN'T TRUE, IF IT ISN'T KIND, IF IT ISN'T NECESSARY, THEN IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE SAID.

Sometimes it may come from a statement given directly to another person about someone who may be a friend or relative. Or, it may come in the form of unsolicited criticism from that “friend” who “just believes in speaking the truth in love.” The one who says something similar to this: “I just wanted to ask you….” Or, “I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but…” Or, “That kid of yours is disliked by everybody.” Or my all time favorite just before I step into the pulpit, “Preacher, I’ve got a bone to pick with you. You need to stop Mrs. Jones’s mouth. She shouldn’t even be allowed to say anything because she doesn’t give anything.”

Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?
At a particular church where I was pastor many years ago, there was an individual who was of the latter persuasion. I spent many hours trying to erase problems from hurts caused by this individual who, when confronted, would say, “Well it’s the truth and if the truth hurts, then it needs to be said.”

EXCUSE ME??? When did God put You in the position of judge? Have you not ever read in the scripture, “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” These are the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew’s gospel 7:1-4.

Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?
In yet another church, I kept wondering why the young adults who were being saved would suddenly leave the church but I could never get them to give me a good reason. Finally, one day during Vacation Bible School I discovered the reason quiet by accident. A young mother whose husband was deployed on the battlefield had recently been saved and was getting ready to be baptized. She came to drop off her three small children for VBS and being the wife of an American soldier, she had very little money. In order to try to be as frugal as possible, she had opted to stay at the church during VBS. Not wanting to waste her time or resources, she came by my office and asked if there was something she could do to help.

I told her to go to the kitchen because they could always use help. One of the women had taken charge of the kitchen and ran the young visitor out just as she started to enter the room. Later, “the mess-sergeant” was overheard talking to her friend by the young lady talking about her and her children. They stated that she had never been married and that all three of her children belonged to different men. Needless to say, the young wife and mother never returned and, as far as I know, was never baptized.

Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?
Recently, while visiting with a group of men who had invited me to their weekly Sunday School class breakfast at a local restaurant, the man who sat by me (we’ll call him Yankee) had been the Sunday School teacher for a young singles class in the church I was visiting. He let me know that he had spent so many years, months, days and six hours in the United States Navy and hated every minute. His hatred was so bad, he said that he threw his sea bag in the Potomac River as they crossed.

He seemed to want everyone in the room to hear him and to believe that he knew more than any other person there. He kept his smart phone out all the time to look up any subject to try to prove wrong the opinion of anyone who talked (the subject didn’t matter). Someone mentioned a pesky Arkansas seed pod called a sand bur. He said, “That’s the same thing as a ‘cocklebur’.” Someone said, “No, it is completely different.” Out came the smart phone to look it up but he didn’t know how to spell, not to mention pronounce, ‘cocklebur.’

After losing the “cocklebur” discussion, he began to complain about a relative of mine who had attended his class. Now understand that my relative only sees in black or white and has no problem letting someone like Yankee know that he didn’t agree with him. Yankee said, “I told him to either shape up and quit disagreeing with me or leave the church. I know he left but I don’t know where he went. He also had a problem knowing more than his employers. He must have learned a little because the last I heard he was working for the same company now for a little while.” He can’t get along with anybody seemed to be Mr. Y’s summation of the young man’s life or value.

As I listened, I thought, “Now if this boy hadn’t been raised in a Christian home with solid background in Southern Baptist work and the education gained from not one but two of the best of SBC institutions of higher education, I wonder where he would be?”

In the words of the country song writer, 
“A tongue can accuse and carry bad news,
The seeds of destruction may sow,
But unless you’ve made no mistakes in your life, 
Be careful of stones that you throw.”

In the words of Mrs. Ida Nelle Ramick, widow of a deacon of Sulphur Springs Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas was near death and burdened still for the lost of the community said to me, “What this old world needs is a little more fellowshipping with Jesus.”

In my own words from many years ago,
“Your walk talks, and your talk talks.
But your walk talks louder than your talk talks.”

Signed: Pastor John Casey Sr.

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