Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on August 30, 2015 under 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Message preached Sunday, August 30, 2015 from Mark 7:1-13

Theme: A devotion to man-made traditions can pull us away from a relationship of love and obedience with God.

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THE ‘MAINTENANCE’ MEN – Judges 12:8-15

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on August 26, 2015 under AM Bible Study | Be the First to Comment

AM Bible Study Group; August 26, 2015 from Judges 12:8-15

Theme: This passage tells us of three judges who kept the peace in Israel between periods of trouble.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

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Posted by Angella Diehl, Webmaster on August 23, 2015 under 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Message preached Sunday, August 23, 2015 from Mark 6:53-56

Theme: The greatest ministry that we can offer to friends, family and neighbors in their times of need is to simply bring them to Jesus.

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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on August 19, 2015 under AM Bible Study | Be the First to Comment

AM Bible Study Group; August 19, 2015 from Judges 12:1-7

Theme: Jephthah’s sad conflict with the tribe of Ephriam teaches us the destructive divisiveness that comes from of a love of ‘first place’.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

The stories of many of the judges, as well as many of the great heroes of the Bible in general, have a mixture of good and bad in them—of great victory and of sad tragedy. This seems more true of Jephthah than of any of the other judges. We read of his tragic family life (11:1-3), then of his exaltation to honor (11:4-11); then of his wise diplomacy (11:12-28), but of his unwise vow (11:29-31); and finally of his great victory (11:32-33), and then of his tragic loss (11:34-40). And now, even after God had brought about a victory for Israel through his leadership against a hostile enemy, he now suffers the hostility of another tribe from among his own people.

The hostility comes from the tribe of Ephriam—a tribe that, sadly, already had a history of contentiousness. Because of pride and the passion to be thought of as ‘first’ among the tribes, they contended with Jephthah—the man God used to protect them—in a very unreasonable and ungracious way. Their behavior brings to mind another example of the same attitude of pride from the New Testament. The apostle John described the destructive nature of this attitude in his third letter;

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God (3 John 9-11).

The story of Jephthah’s conflict with Ephriam warns us of the danger of this Diotrephian spirit. Notice . . .


A. After the victory that God brought about for the people of Gilead against the oppressive Ammonite people, the tribe of Ephriam—a tribe who dwelt on the other side of the Jordan—confronted Jephthah. We’re told, “Then the men of Ephraim gathered together, crossed over toward Zaphon, and said to Jephthah, ‘Why did you cross over to fight against the people of Ammon, and did not call us to go with you?’” (v. 1a). Why would Ephriam take this attitude? It is, most likely, because they considered that they were a tribe that held a position of primacy over the others; and they felt that they ought to be consulted in all matters that concerned the land of Israel and involved in every matter. They, after all, were the tribe from which Joshua had come and in which he had been buried (Joshua 24:30). The tabernacle that Moses built was kept in Ephriam in the town of Shiloh; and it was there that the people of Israel would go to worship (1 Samuel 1:3, 9). The great patriarch Jacob placed the tribe’s founding father over the founding father of Menassah in his blessing (Genesis 48:8-20); and Gilead was of Menassah.

B. We saw this ‘first-place’ attitude from Ephriam at an earlier time in the Book of Judges—back in the story of Gideon. They confronted that earlier judge in his conflict with the Midianites in almost the same way (see Judges 8:1-3). Gideon was able to calm them with a gentle answer; but in the case of Jephthah, the attitude from Ephriam was much more harsh; “We will burn your house down on you with fire!” (v. 1b).


A. Perhaps Jephthah was battle-worn, or perhaps he was still grieving over the loss his suffered from his rash vow. It may even be that it was just not in Jephthah’s nature to give the kind of gentle answer that Gideon gave (see 11:1-3). Nevertheless, Jephthah’s answer was a reasonable one: “And Jephthah said to them, ‘My people and I were in a great struggle with the people of Ammon; and when I called you, you did not deliver me out of their hands. So when I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the people of Ammon; and the Lord delivered them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?’” (vv. 2-3). Apparently, Jephthah had called them for help; but they did not come. Gideon made it sound as if Ephriam was in a place of honor; but Jephthah’s answer made them appear to be a bunch of prima donnas.

B. Would things have been different if Jephthah had given a more diplomatic response? It may well have been so. Proverbs 15:1 is a principle that we can always rely on: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” May God help us to be more Gideon-like than Jephthah-like in responding to confrontation. But the hand of God’s providence can also be seen in the outcome. After all, the next phase of Israel’s history would be the establishment of the monarchy—first through Benjamin (under Saul), and then through Judah (under David). Some commentators suggest that had Ephriam not been humbled as a result of their conflict with Gilead, they may never have submitted as a whole nation under one king.


A. The heat was definitely on; and we’re told, “Now Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. And the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites and among the Manassites” (v. 4). It appears that the people of Ephriam had become completely insulting and utterly impossible to reason with—suggesting that, because of their sole effort in the conflict with Ammon, the people of Gilead were rebels and renegades.

B. It seems that the insulting and degrading attitude of Ephriam toward Gilead stirred up a people already red hot from battle. It was a very unwise thing to do. But more; it was terribly ungrateful. After all, if Gilead had not defeated Ammon, that oppressive pagan people group would most certainly have turned to oppress Ephriam! May God keep us from the ungraciousness and unthankful spirit that comes from this love of being thought ‘first’!


A. We’re told that, in this conflict, “The Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan before the Ephraimites arrived” (v. 5a). And they set up a security system based on dialect. The people of Ephriam couldn’t pronounce “sh” sounds—speaking them with an “s” sound instead. “And when any Ephraimite who escaped said, ‘Let me cross over,’ the men of Gilead would say to him, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ If he said, ‘No,’ then they would say to him, ‘Then say, “Shibboleth”!’” That word meant “a flowing stream”—which, of course, was what they had captured. “And he would say, ‘Shibboleth,’ for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan” (vv. 5b-6a). The mere mispronunciation of a word revealed their identity (see also Matthew 26:73).

B. It was a clever tactic; but the results were terrible. We’re told, “There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites” (v. 6b). What a picture, by the way, of Proverbs 18:7; “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.” Verse 21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Their pride motivated their words against Jephthah; and in the end, their words destroyed them. May God keep us far from the words that come from a sinful heart!


A. The story closes with this: “And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in among the cities of Gilead” (v. 7). Note that he is called by the name that the people of Ephriam had despised and belittled—Gilead!

B. Perhaps we should see a hint of tragedy. Jephthah only served for six years—perhaps, as one commentator suggest—worn and weary from a life of conflict and tragedy; nevertheless used by God.

* * * * * * * * *

Ephraim’s example helps to illustrate to us the warning we receive from Proverbs 25:6-7

Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king,

And do not stand in the place of the great;

For it is better that he say to you,

“Come up here,”

Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince,

Whom your eyes have seen (Proverbs 25:6-7).

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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on August 16, 2015 under 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Message preached a Baptismal Sunday, August 16, 2015 from Acts 16:25-34

Theme: The story of the Philippian jailer shows us how baptism is the natural and grateful response of a heart set free by Jesus.

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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on August 12, 2015 under PM Bible Study | Be the First to Comment

PM Home Bible Study Group; August 12, 2015

Hebrews 9:16-26

Theme: Just as the Old Covenant was dedicated by blood sacrifice, so the New Covenant is dedicated by the better sacrifice of our Mediator Jesus Christ.

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