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Pastor in the Pasture Wendel Elliott: The Faithful Few

As I rode out on the morning to check some waters I decided to listen to a program I had downloaded a day prior. I don’t listen to a whole lot while riding horseback however this day was different. As the program started suddenly and unexpectedly, with no introduction, there they were….names being read off in alphabetical order. As each person read off the names in tandem with another, they would alternate back and forth. Then they would read at the end of their list the name of their loved one that had passed. Along with their loved one’s name they would share a few words about them. I didn’t make it through the first list without dust and dirt getting in my eyes and a lump in my throat.

It was the recording of the reading of the names of those that died on September 11, 2001. Obviously, there were a few of the speakers that had loved ones that were first responders that tragic day. When they would read off their loved one’s name they would include “Port Authority Police Officer…” or “Battalion Chief…” to identify them as one of those brave souls. They were the ones that ran into harm’s way to help and save who they could. They were the faithful, along with others that included civilians as well.

That terrible day set in motion a response by other faithful folks that answered the call of their nation. That call they answered was to battle evil that brought such tragedy to “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” Those names that have passed during these past twenty years on the battlefield are an addition to that list.

Across this great land are memorials great and small that have names carved and etched in marble and stone that identify those faithful few. Those memorials help us remember the loved and lost and the last full measure they have given. They were faithful to their last breath.

It reminds me of some of the faithful few in God’s word that we are able to remember because their names and their stories are etched onto pages of the Bible. Of those, I point to the church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-13. The letter to that church commends them in their faithfulness. That included keeping “My word”, “have not denied My name”, and keeping “My word of perseverance.” This church, these people, faced persecution and probably idolatry and pagan worship around them. However, they remained obedient to God’s word, didn’t deny the name of Jesus, and persevered despite the evil and assault against them. In verse 12 the Lord tells them, “I will write (on the overcomer, see 1 John 5:5) the name of My God, the name of the city of My God, and My new name.” One day Jesus will carve and write on the faithful overcomer those names, similar to what we see on a memorial or monument today.

As you and I live out our lives, let us be citizens of the United States of America that are worthy of the names upon memorials and markers. Let us live and continue in the freedoms that God has given us. Let us live a legacy of honor to the faithful few. More importantly, let us be guided by and led to live that life from a faithful walk with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Let us as believers be found faithful to bear those names Jesus will write on us one day.

Well, I tip my hat to all of those names of the faithful few…and the Faithful and True, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…. I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!

 

Pastor In The Pasture Wendel Elliott: Ain’t Dyin’ It’s Livin’

Lately, the mini-series, Lonesome Dove has been on my mind. This highly acclaimed production was released 32 years ago and has been a favorite ever since. To the western way of life, ranching, and agriculture folks it is definitely a staple in movie libraries. We know the characters and have our favorites. Newt, Pea, Deets, Roscoe, Lorena, Call, and of course Gus. Along with the characters come the famous quotes that we all use during cattle works, day working, or neighboring. You’ll hear the typical, “Get on your horse Jasper, we got cattle to drive.” Or perhaps in the morning around the fire, “Suppose you’ve been up all night reading the Good Book.” Another favorite is when, “That ain’t the point,” is put forth at opportune times. These are a few of the lines that never seem to get old. I’m sure you have your favorites as well.

Probably the one line that carries the most weight, in my opinion, is when Gus utters, “It ain’t dyin’ I’m talkin’ about, it’s livin’!”

This reminds me of the time when Jesus has a visit from Nicodemus at night. You’ll find this in the book of John chapter 3:1-16. Nicodemus is a Pharisee and supposed to be an expert of the Mosaic Law. He comes to Jesus at night perhaps a little timid. He definitely has a human or carnal, worldly stand point. Plus he has questions regarding the truth of Jesus. The lost world (those that are in a state before putting their faith and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior) are today’s representation of Nicodemus. They are timid, possibly not wanting their friends to know they are seeking. This may have been Nicodemus’ reason for coming to Jesus at night. The lost world is also in a state of human or worldly thinking. It could be pride that stands in the way. It might be lies they’ve believed or have been telling themselves. Regardless of the first two the lost world still has questions, whether they want to admit it or not. They have questions about dying and living.

Nicodemus, we discover later, finally comes around to believing that Jesus is who He says He is and putting his faith and trust in Christ. He settles those questions about dying and living for himself. This interaction between Nicodemus and Jesus gives us a piece of Scripture that is probably the most known. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NASB)

Nicodemus, during this time of conversation winds up having more questions and confused. Jesus, finally has to say, “That ain’t the point… It’s not dyin’ I’m talkin’ about, it’s livin’!” Because of this time together Nicodemus winds up (eventually) with a spiritual mindset instead of worldly, a bold stature instead of timid, and a confident faith in Jesus. This time changes Nicodemus’ life so much so that we see him later at the Cross of Jesus providing for the burial of the One that taught him about life. The disciples witnessed at that place of burial, an empty tomb with the stone rolled away and a resurrected Savior.

The apostle Paul wrote about death and life. This is one of those passages: “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 NASB)

With all the fear and uncertainty that has seemed to plague the world lately, these words should bring us hope, joy, and peace. With this sure foundation we can all live in the here and now knowing our future is secure. That’s what Easter Resurrection Sunday is all about. It says to all…”it’s not dyin’ I’m talkin’ about, it’s livin’!”

I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!

Photo by Carrie Stadheim

 

Pastor in the Pasture: It Ain’t Dyin’, It’s Livin’

Lately, the miniseries, Lonesome Dove has been on my mind. This highly acclaimed production was released 32 years ago and has been a favorite ever since. To the western way of life, ranching, and agriculture folks it is definitely a staple in movie libraries. We know the characters and have our favorites. Newt, Pea, Deets, Roscoe, Lorena, Call, and of course Gus. Along with the characters come the famous quotes that we all use during cattle works, day working, or neighboring. You’ll hear the typical, “Get on your horse Jasper, we got cattle to drive.” Or perhaps in the morning around the fire, “Suppose you’ve been up all night reading the Good Book.” Another favorite is when, “That ain’t the point,” is put forth at opportune times. These are a few of the lines that never seem to get old. I’m sure you have your favorites as well.

Probably the one line that carries the most weight, in my opinion, is when Gus utters, “It ain’t dyin’ I’m talkin’ about, it’s livin’!”

This reminds me of the time when Jesus has a visit from Nicodemus at night. You’ll find this in the book of John chapter 3:1-16. Nicodemus is a Pharisee and supposed to be an expert of the Mosaic Law. He comes to Jesus at night perhaps a little timid. He definitely has a human or carnal, worldly standpoint. Plus he has questions regarding the truth of Jesus. The lost world (those that are in a state before putting their faith and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior) are today’s representation of Nicodemus. They are timid, possibly not wanting their friends to know they are seeking. This may have been Nicodemus’ reason for coming to Jesus at night. The lost world is also in a state of human or worldly thinking. It could be pride that stands in the way. It might be lies they’ve believed or have been telling themselves. Regardless of the first two the lost world still has questions, whether they want to admit it or not. They have questions about dying and living.

Nicodemus, we discover later, finally comes around to believing that Jesus is who He says He is and putting his faith and trust in Christ. He settles those questions about dying and living for himself. This interaction between Nicodemus and Jesus gives us a piece of Scripture that is probably the most known. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NASB)

Nicodemus, during this time of conversation, ends up having more questions and confused. Jesus, finally has to say, “That ain’t the point… It’s not dyin’ I’m talkin’ about, it’s livin’!” Because of this time together Nicodemus winds up (eventually) with a spiritual mindset instead of worldly, a bold stature instead of timid, and a confident faith in Jesus. This time changes Nicodemus’ life so much so that we see him later at the Cross of Jesus providing for the burial of the One that taught him about life. The disciples witnessed at that place of burial, an empty tomb with the stone rolled away and a resurrected Savior.

The apostle Paul wrote about death and life. This is one of those passages: “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 NASB)

With all the fear and uncertainty that has seemed to plague the world lately, these words should bring us hope, joy, and peace. With this sure foundation we can all live in the here and now knowing our future is secure. That’s what Easter Resurrection Sunday is all about. It says to all…”it’s not dyin’ I’m talkin’ about, it’s livin’!”

I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!

 

Pastor in the Pasture by Wendel Elliott: The Unfinished Work Serving Christ

 

I have been thinking recently of the kind of help I am to those that call on me to daywork for them. It’s somewhat of a self-evaluation. You know, kind of like having your employment evaluation at the end of the year or whenever they do it where you work. I have to say as I’ve pondered over the past year with the spring and fall works, that for the most part I would give myself a passing grade. However, I look at a few of those moments and cringe. Like the time I pulled up and listened and looked around only to realize I was by myself. I went to thinking am I behind and need to ride up? Or, am I just a little ahead and need to pull up and wait for the gather to come around? Or,…am I lost and someone is going to be riding over the ridge saying the boss sent them after me? I want to be a good hand… after all it’s an honor to be asked. They thought enough of me to extend an invite. Therein lies the thought and realization that to be asked is a gift. Sometimes I forget that or to think of helping someone else in that regard,…as a gift.

It’s really easy to find yourself taking for granted something that has been given to you free of charge. Sometimes it may be that a person is somewhat naive to the worth of the gift. That can be easy to do if you don’t know what something cost. A person might throw an expensive tool on the back of a flatbed pickup with no protection from the elements, let alone theft. It would be kind of like putting a 15-million-dollar diamond in an old, chipped crock you picked up at a secondhand store or garage sale. It’s not in a vault someplace under lock and key with security guards posted. We’re human, we make mistakes, we’re not as agile as we were, our gear may not be up to snuff…still inside of us we want to help, serve, and be a good hand. Just like that honorable desire within a fallible person; we as believers of Christ and His servants, have an invaluable treasure in us to share and serve the world around us.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-7 ESV)

Have you ever thought about the treasure that Christians have within them? What an honor and gift to have! Much like the honor and gift to help someone with their cow works; the honor to serve others through and because of Christ is an invaluable treasure worth more than anything on earth. Are you serving Him with this treasure in a jar of clay? What is a true spiritual heart of service? What does that look like and how do you go about doing that?

First, have a thankful spirit. Thank the Lord for the people in your life that you can reach out to and serve for His sake.

Second, have a genuine concern for folks that God has in your life. Praying for them will be a sure-fire way that you can serve them.

Third, be willing to do the work of service. Sometimes we pray for a big and complicated answer. Have you ever thought that you might be the answer? Not to be self-righteous but to be a “doer of the word.”

Let us be the kind of folks that don’t keep this great and awesome treasure in this jar of clay. Instead let’s share it with those around us and bring hope to them in times of great need.

I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!

 

Pastor in the Pasture Wendell Elliott: Privileges of The Believer

 

Like quite a few folks in ranching and farming, I grew up in a large family. I am the youngest of five brothers. Not only was I the youngest but I was a number of years behind the others that had been born closer together. It was great growing up in their shadows. Being included in the regular routine and chores made me feel a part, more grown up, and important. There were times when tempers flared as with all siblings. They would call me the usual “mama’s boy” or “big baby.” You know the typical stuff. They would think that I was somehow privileged. However, I don’t think that they stopped and fully appreciated their situation. When they were all together that made for four pairs of hands to make light of hard work. Then one day they grew up and left, leaving me by myself. One pair of hands to do chores or help out with ranch work, working on windmills, or fixing fence. Now don’t get me wrong I know I had it good. It makes me wonder about who, really, was the more privileged?

You know that word “privilege” has been thrown around a whole bunch lately. Here in the United States we’ve heard it used to create division and arguments between different groups. However, when someone uses that term here in the U.S. to attack others do they really understand their own situation? I did a quick search and found a study in 2011 from Pew Research that stated that 56% of the U.S. population lives in what is considered the high income bracket which is living on more than $50 a day. That is leaps and bounds with 7% of the global population that lives in the same bracket. The study further showed that 56% of the global population lives on $2.01 – $10 per day. Just think of that! The average person in the U.S. probably has more change in their pocket or purse than over half the global population for that particular day. People here in the U.S. need to understand their position with a little more clarity before they spout off.

We as believers and followers of Christ live in a privileged state. Sometimes we lose sight of that fact and need to be reminded ourselves. What privileges do we have in Christ? When does this take place or how do we attain it? In 1Peter 2 we find, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1Peter 2:4-5 NASB)

First, we must come to Him, the Living Stone. When we come to Him in faith that puts us in the position of privilege. “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst… All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:35, 37 NASB) So coming to the Living Stone puts us in the position of privilege, however what are a couple of these privileges?

One such privilege is being made alive in Christ. “You also, as living stones,” we are alive in Christ because we have come to Him. We are no longer given over to death and destruction we are alive and will be alive in eternity with Him. Acts 17:28 says, “for “‘In him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28 ESV) Can you think of another religion where the one that is worshipped becomes the life of the worshippers? Only Christ can and does do that.

Another privilege is, we have a firm and solid foundation to be built up as a spiritual house. Peter knew the physical make up of the Jewish Temple. He had seen the stones that it was made of and how they fit together. However this house, you and I – The Church, that is being built is spiritual. We are that spiritual house that is being built on the foundation of the Living Stone. We have Jesus as the foundation and each other as fellow believers to help.

Have you forgotten the privileges you have in Jesus Christ? It’s a good exercise to list more of those privileges and express thanks to God for them. Let us be His people that is grateful for what He has given and use it to reach others so that they can be living stones as well.

I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!

 

Pastor in the Pasture: The Real Jesus

 

I sure don’t want to sound prideful in anyway. However, I love when folks prove themselves wrong. I know that there are new ways, procedures, and technology that help get the job done more efficiently. Sometimes, those things just don’t cut it, are impossible, or impractical. Take for instance using machinery, four-wheelers, and utv’s as a means of gathering and working cattle. There are people in the ranching way of life that depend on and utilize these modes of transportation in their cattle work. I laugh when someone comes to our part of the country thinking that those will work here. Where we ranch there are places that even a good horse and sometimes a mule can’t traverse from point a to point b. If a cow happens to find a way up to secluded terrain sometimes as the crow flies is impossible. The only way is to circumnavigate terrain to make a good gather.

Perhaps you have experience and expertise in areas such as mechanics, welding, or even in other areas. You, no doubt have had those conversations that the other party will definitely be regretting what they said or the idea they have put forth. You smile, nod your head “yes,” all the while knowing it’s not going to turn out well for them. In Proverbs 14:16, the Bible says, “A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.” Another version says, “but a fool rages and is self-confident.” There’s nothing like pride that can get in the way and ruin someone’s day. Sadly, we can be and have been the fool in that scripture. So, we can see both sides of the coin.

There is one area and something we as believers in Christ can be certain of and are always right on and that is God exists. There are those that rant and rave about and against God’s existence. It’s funny and sad at the same time. I love the movie “God’s Not Dead.” The great scene is where a college student is tasked by his Philosophy professor to argue the case for God’s existence. The student during the last of his presentation asks the professor, “Do you hate God?” The professor responds, “Not even a question.” The student asks, “Why do you hate God?” The professor, enraged comes back with, “Because, He took everything from me.” Quietly the student responds, “How can you hate someone if they don’t exist?”

To me this is one huge downfall of atheists and their position. They sure spend a whole bunch of time worrying about, arguing, writing, debating, and studying to prove that someone doesn’t exist. Seems like if someone doesn’t exist then it would be of no consequence and a huge waste of time and effort.

As believers and followers of Jesus, how can we be equipped and prepared when faced with these types of discussion? In the book of Hebrews we find, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,…” (Hebrews 1:1-3 NASB).

The following are some things to remember about the real Jesus from those verses to help be equipped and prepared:

1. We must remember that the real Jesus is the final word from God. In the past the prophets and the Law spoke for God. That is all given to us in Jesus and He is God’s final Word. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17 NASB)

2. We must remember that the real Jesus is the Creator. In John we find, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:1-3 NASB)

3. We must remember that the real Jesus is the completion or finisher of our faith. From the cross when Jesus died for the sins of mankind He said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30 NASB) He is “the author and perfecter of faith” as it says in Hebrews 12:2.

When faced with discussions let us be equipped and prepared to remain steadfast in our faith. Let us remember the real Jesus. There’s no substitute and He’s real!

I’ll see y’all out in the pasture.

 

Pastor in the Pasture By Wendel Elliott: Being Prepared

“Wendel, go to the truck and pull up 20cc of BenzaPen with an 18 gauge inch and a half, grab a wrap, dmso, furacin, vetrap, and elasticon.” As I trotted back to the vet’s truck and in the process of remembering the list, I came to a skidding halt. I thought to myself, “Joe Bob is going to be pissed!” I hadn’t restocked the vet box and I knew that it was out of vetrap and elasticon from the previous night’s emergency call. I gathered up what was in stock and on the list, dropped my head on the way back waiting for what I knew was coming. I handed the stuff I had to him and said, “we don’t have the vetrap and elasticon.” I was thankful the customer was standing there; at least it wouldn’t be as bad. He shook his head and said, “grab me a field bandage then.” I ran back to the pickup this time grabbed the field bandage and made a hundred yard dash that would rival any track and field star. The horse was treated and bandaged but it was not ideal. Days like those made an important point of being prepared. I learned a lot of life lessons and vet care there in that job and I am so thankful to have them.

In today’s society there are a growing number of people that see and act on the importance of being prepared. They prepare supplies and needed materials in cases of natural disasters, power outages, and/or civil unrest. These folks with this mindset in the modern age have become known as “preppers.” Now granted, there are varied levels of extremes within this group, however, what used to be scoffed at now has become a pretty good idea. They have brought back to the surface and reformulated what our grand parents and great grand parents would call good ol’ common sense!

Jesus preached about the importance of being prepared. In the parable of the ten virgins (found in Matthew 25:1-13), Jesus shows that His return will be like these virgins waiting for the bridegroom. He contrasts those that are prepared as prudent and those that are not as foolish. The prudent, or wise, took along with them their lamp and some extra oil for replenishment. The foolish took their lamps but no reserve of oil. Now the scene, as you can imagine, during a week long wedding celebration has within it joy, excitement, and expectation of the bridal party. The culmination will be the bridegroom coming to take his bride away with him. Sadly, because of the delay of the groom’s arrival, those in the bridal party resort back to the natural and excitement deteriorates as they fall asleep. They knew he was coming but not the exact moment.

It reminds me of the PRCA Rodeo Clown legend Quail Dobbs. The audience had seen him multiple times throughout their lives and knew some of the routines. One in particular was the old jalopy he would drive into the rodeo arena between events. It was loud, spitting and sputtering, smokin and a poppin wheelies. He would drive it to the middle and get out and turn it off. It would continue to spit, sputter, and whistle as the motor wound down, sounding like a bomber dropping bombs in the movies. Then as the whistle got louder and louder…and you knew it was coming but not exactly the moment…then…BOOM! An explosion would rock the stands and the crowd would all jump out of their seats.

With that same surprise the groom comes to collect his bride. They knew he was coming but not the precise moment. So on the announcement of his arrival all of them got up, grabbed their lamps, trimmed the wicks…and that’s when it struck the foolish. They remembered they had not brought any extra oil! In desperation they asked the wise for some. The wise had only enough for themselves. They make the suggestion for the foolish to go buy some more. So the wise go off with the groom and the foolish in a desperate search for oil. The wise went in to the wedding festivities and the foolish were locked out. Later, the foolish return knocking at the door but they weren’t with the procession so they can’t enter. The foolish were caught unprepared. All ten virgins gathered there had lamps with them. However, the wise were the ones that made it inside.

Folks, there are people in churches all over our communities, nation, and world that think they are prepared for the Lord’s return. Sadly, some will be foolish ones and because of their foolishness they will be desperate to enter into the wedding festivities.

There is hope found through faith in Him, Jesus Christ! First, have you submitted your life to Him as your Lord? The disciples called Him Master. Is He yours? Second, serve Him in all you do. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do work heartily as for the Lord not for man,…” Thirdly, live in expectation of His return. He’s coming back.

If there is anything that 2020 taught us and we see prudence in carrying into 2021 is the fact of being prepared for the Lord’s return. When? I don’t know exactly when, but just like in our part of the country… we’re one day closer to the next rain. He’s coming folks… do you have your lamp and do you have extra oil? If needed you can reach me at: wendel@pastorinthepasture.com

I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!

 

Pastor in the Pasture by Wendell Elliott: Consistency

If you’ve ever started a colt or tried to teach your horse something new then you know the importance of consistency. It is the difference between a successful new skill set and failure in competence. We all want our horse to respond to our cues and do what we ask, when we ask. However, I’ve noticed that if you climb on your 4 wheeler or into your side by side or pickup just because “it’ll be quicker;” then you and your horse miss out on a golden opportunity. It’s surprising to see how small things can add up when done consistently. The great leadership author, John Maxwell says in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.” I have this colt I’m working on right now and if I’m not consistent, then he ain’t learning anything and I’m not developing him into a good mount.

I feel like I’m terrible when it comes to consistency. This here column is a testament to that fact. I have good intentions and come up short time and again. I want to share God’s word and encourage others however, I look up and it’s been months since I’ve written. No sugar coating here, I confess and ask you to forgive me, yet once again.

There are other areas in our life that we find the need for consistency. It helps us in our job or career, in parenting and disciplining our kids, and definitely in our marriages. We find this need in our walk with Christ and reading God’s Word. We all need to be more consistent in regards to living out and practicing our faith. What are some things that keep us from being consistent in this important area? What creeps in and steals this life changing opportunity? What can I do to overcome and get back into a practice that will bring about long term and eternal results?

We struggle in consistency because of many things but the major thing is distractions. Distraction in and of itself can be in the form of sin, worry, disappointment, and fear. The list of things that keep us from being consistent however is endless. Some of your reasons are the same as mine. We are made as individuals, unique by God so therefore there are some I face that you don’t and vice versa.

Here are three things to help you remain consistent regardless of the reason:

1. Start at the cross of Christ. If you start at the cross of Christ and remember what He endured and went through for you; then consistency on your part pales in comparison. “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14 NASB

2. You are Christ’s workmanship. When you think of what He has made you because of His saving work then you can live in such a way on a consistent basis. You can also walk fully in His purposes and plans for your life by being consistent. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB

3. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Looking to Jesus as your example to follow you can clearly see His consistent walk with God the Father. He and the Father are one and we, as Christians are one with Him. Jesus did the time of seeking the Father’s will and doing His work. Jesus went through sufferings beyond what we can imagine and after His resurrection gained His rightful place in heaven. Jesus’ faith in the Father to complete and do what He had laid forth in scriptures through the law and prophets is the example for us to follow. Therefore, we need to be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NASB

Let us be consistent in our walk with Christ as well as in the everyday responsibilities in our lives. The consistency and growth in your faith should be evident in all aspects of your life. I pray that we will all find ourselves more consistent in our faith and growth.

Well, that colt ain’t learning anything new so I best get out to the round pen.

I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!

Pastor in the Pasture Wendel Elliott: Advanced Horseman or Elementary?

When it comes to horsemanship I definitely could use more knowledge and experience. If we stop learning we become complacent and stagnant. However, imagine paying a good sizable fee to attend a clinic where the instructor taught only elementary type techniques. Now don’t get me wrong there are beginners that need such techniques and teaching. What I am referring to is an experienced and accomplished teacher that should be capable of advanced techniques but instead teaching at an elementary level. For me personally I could use more refinement in lead changes and/or sliding stops. Say that I paid good money to learn these techniques but the clinician spent 5 days on defining and showing me a lead without any instruction on actual lead changes. I would be demanding a refund in a hurry!

Another way to look at it might be if you’ve taught a coworker a process. You’ve spent so much time on the technique that they should be able to host a three day conference on the subject. However, they keep asking you how to carry out the procedure. They should be more than capable by now but seem to be stuck on the elementary parts of said process.

Sadly, there are Christians that fit this mold. They have been taught time and time again in areas of faith and have been walking with Christ many years. These types of believers and followers of Christ should be able to teach a small group on multiple topics from the Bible. Yet, they are stuck in elementary ways of thinking or action.

What if the great clinician and horseman Ray Hunt had stayed in elementary ways instead of passing on his immense knowledge and experience to the world? Can you imagine the void of his impact? Those that are familiar with his influence would shrink back at the thought. If we are concerned about an area of horsemanship why would we not be wanting and willing to influence others in an area that has eternal ramifications? As believers and followers of Christ let us lay aside elementary ways of walking and acting like children. Instead let us mature and teach others of Christ and pass on the hope in Him!

Hebrews 5 says, “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”(Hebrews 5:11-14 NASB)

I pray that you and I will not remain in elementary principles but instead mature, practice our faith, and train our senses to discern good and evil. Let us move on from milk to solid food.

Well, I better get to it…partaking of solid food and teaching others…I pray you will join me as you follow Christ in your life.

I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!

Pastor in the Pasture Wendel Elliott: Getting Serious In 2020

There is an expression that you may have heard that says, “He means business.” I’m sure there are other ways it has been used or different ways it has been said. It could be something like, “Man, he ain’t joking around,” “He ain’t messing around,” or even, “He’s for real.”

It can sometimes be utilized in a negative light as when you got in trouble with your dad. He meant business when he got the belt. Not that disciplining your kids is a bad thing but it sure wasn’t fun suffering consequences for dumb actions. Nonetheless…he meant business.

Another way it’s used in the ranching way of life is talking about a colt or horse that bucks. Some ol’ feller will be telling a story about a horse he once rode. It usually goes something like this, “That colt ducked his head, kissed his butt, and went to bucking. And boys, he meant business!”

Say it however you would like the message conveyed about the subject is simply this…they are getting serious.

We all know what it’s like and what it takes to get serious about certain things in life. You set your mind to something and you mean business. With the New Year getting underway you may have looked over some areas from last year and thought I need to be more serious about that in 2020.

You may have gotten your Bible back out and started on a reading plan to take you through it in 2020. If you are more of a device user you have the YouVersion Bible App and have a daily plan you follow. You are serious. You mean business.

I know that there might be a day or two that you’ll miss but don’t stop! You can do it! Here a few things to remember about God’s Word that may help encourage you when you find yourself not being as serious.

● God’s Word is timeless – Psalm 119:89 says, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” (NASB) Think of all of the rulers, kings, and tyrants that have tried to destroy the Word of God. Think of all of the atheists and agnostics that have come against the Word of God. Even false teachers and preachers that have misled, twisted and removed the Word of God from churches. Yet despite all of those efforts…God’s Word remains!

● God’s Word stands on its own merit for it is Truth! – John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”(NASB) God’s Word is truth and stands on its own apart from anything else. It doesn’t need anything to “shore it up.” It is the source of all truth.

● God’s Word is His – 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is inspired by God (God-breathed (NIV)) and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness,…”(NASB) God didn’t look at some man’s writings and say, “Yep, that looks good,I’ll use what he wrote.” No! God breathed His Word and the scriptures out as the writers of the Bible held writing instruments in their hands.

I hope those few points help encourage you as the days, weeks, and months of 2020 pass. However the question remains, “Do you mean business?” Which brings me to my last point and question. Is God’s Word treasured in your life? It’s amazing to me what becomes valuable in our lives. It can be utterly ridiculous when you think about those things that we treasure. What is the most prized possession you own? What is your most valuable possession? I pray that you and I truly treasure His Word. That’s my challenge and encouragement to you and me for all of 2020. Let us truly treasure His Word.

Well, I’m behind a couple days, I better go get to reading.

I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!