Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my groaning…

…heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to Thee I pray. In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch (Psalm 5.1-3).

Scripture instructs us to “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5.6). David reminds us that God forgets not “the cry of the humble” and “…though the LORD is exalted, yet He regards the lowly” (Psalms 9.12; 138.6).

When life knocks us to our knees we discover we are in the best position to pray. Burdened by the weight of civil war, Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction I had nowhere else to go.”

Eugene Peterson has written,

“Untutored, we tend to think prayer is what good people do when they are doing their best. It is not. Inexperienced, we suppose there must be an ‘insider’ language that must be acquired before God takes us seriously in our prayer. There is not. Prayer is elemental, not advanced language. It is the means by which our language becomes honest, true, and personal in response to God. It is the means by which we get everything out in the open before God.”

Answer me when I call, O God…be gracious to me and hear my prayer (Psalm 4.1).

– Bill


The Suffering of the Christ

He said to them, “…did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” (Luke 24.25-26)

Why did Luke lay such stress on the sufferings of Jesus? Emphasis on the cross gives us understanding, Christ died for our sins, the cross is the heart of the Gospel. But why the emphasis on His sufferings?

First, suffering identified Jesus as the true Messiah. He had plainly stated the Son of Man must suffer many things and enter His glory through suffering. In his Gospel, Matthew portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament, paying particular attention to His sufferings.

  • Jesus was betrayed and deserted by His friends in fulfillment of Psalm 41.9: “Even My close friend in whom I trusted, who ate My bread, has lifted up his heel against Me.”
  • He was painfully oppressed and repudiated in fulfillment of Isaiah 53.3: “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
  • He remained silent before His judges, Isaiah 53.7: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.”
  • He was flogged, punched, slapped, and spat upon, Isaiah 50.6: “I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.”

All these, Matthew maintains, were signs of the true Messiah, the suffering servant of the LORD.

Second, suffering also identifies the messianic community. For example, the eighth beatitude declares persecution to be a necessary characteristic of the Messiah’s followers.

This is still true today. According to Paul Marshall there are between 200 and 250 million Christians being persecuted for their faith today, and a further 400 million living under serious restrictions of religious liberty (Their Blood Cries Out, Word Publishing: Dallas, 1997). Thus suffering is a badge of both the Messiah and His disciples.

“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved” (Matthew 10.22).

 – Bill
(John Stott, Through the Bible, Through the Year, 252)


The Back Page 9-11-2016

In Our Prayers

Mildred Meyers in the Manor and Sue Jackson in Sunrise Heights.

Dawna Schmidt is still recovering at home. Thanks to all who have provided meals since her surgery.

Please pray for the success of the Doors of Opportunity Workshop, now less than two weeks away.

On the Calendar

Today. Potluck dinner followed by men’s business meeting. The women will meet to plan details for the workshop.

September 15. Women’s Bible Class at the Sunset Apartments, 10:45 a.m., will discuss the introductory lesson in Ephesians.

September 16. Joe and Linda are hosting a Pizza Party for Westside at 6 p.m. at the church building. Please let Cheryl know if you can come so she can give the Thomases a count.

September 24 – Doors of Opportunity Workshop, 8:30-4:30. Today, Joe and Linda Thomas are in McCook and Wray.

October 14-16 Annual Fall Lectureship in Chadron. Copies of the schedule with the list of speakers are on the bulletin board and on the back table.


5 Steps to Salvation?

“5 Steps to Salvation”: How It Can Be Misleading

August 28, 2016 – Bill Bryan

Common Chart Used for “5 Steps of Salvation”PlanOfSalvation








Scriptures Used:

1 John 1:7 – We are continually cleansed in the blood of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made Christ to be sin.

Romans 6:1-4 – In baptism, we died to sin. We continue to live in Him.

Romans 10:10 – Relationship of confession to salvation — not just a single act.

Matthew 10:32 – In context, Jesus asks His disciples to be willing to confess Him at the risk of losing their lives.

Ephesians 2:1-10 – We are saved by grace, through faith — not because we have finished a checklist. Salvation is not by merit.



The Back Page

In Our Prayers

Mildred Meyers in the Manor and Sue Jackson in Sunrise Heights…Boomer Libra, recovering from West Nile virus…Jacquie Grams, with an infection in her leg…Danelle Hayes, with a chronic intestinal disorder that prevents her from digesting her food.

For the Westside church, that we might “search the Word  daily” (Acts 17:11), appreciating those who sacrificed their lives so that we could read it for ourselves.

On the Calendar

September 24 – Doors of Opportunity. Joe and Linda Thomas are visiting in St. Francis, Kansas, and Brush, Colorado, today.


William Tyndale: The Cost of Translating the Bible

William TyndaleOn October 6, 1536, William Tyndale was strangled by the civil executioner in Belgium and his dead body was burned at the stake.

His crime? He had translated the New Testament and major portions of the Old Testament from the original languages into English so that English-speaking Christians could read the Scriptures in their own language.

Our Need for God’s Word

The Bible is indispensable to our faith – not just theoretically, but practically; not just through preaching and teaching, but through our own individual reading and study. Since the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us, we cannot know Him without knowing it. Without the Scriptures, the God you worship is the god of your imagination.

How many Bibles do you have? I suspect more than one. I have scores – Bibles in different languages, in different translations, in different bindings (leather, bonded leather, imitation leather, hardback, softback, loose-leaf, etc.). Everybody, or at least nearly everybody in our part of the world, has a Bible. But that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, there have been times when owning a Bible would have cost you your life. Take William Tyndale for example.

Opportunities and Obstacles

William Tyndale was trained in Greek and Hebrew. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Oxford in 1512 (at the ripe old age 16 or 17!) and his master’s degree in 1515. He later studied at Cambridge to round out his education. In due time, he became fluent in six or seven languages. In short, Tyndale was no dummy! Furthermore, his sense of English style was unparalleled.

As he was contemplating a fresh translation of the Bible in the 1520s, he came to the realization that it was impossible to do this work in England. The 1408 edict against Bible translation was still in effect. Besides, Tyndale could find no one in England who knew Hebrew. So he traveled to Germany – and there he was introduced to rabbis from whom he learned the language of the Old Testament. While on the Continent, he translated much of the Bible into English. He could not return to England for fear of his life.

He had a passion for getting the Word of God to lay folks. He wanted the boy behind the plough to know more of the Word of God than the literati of his day. His prayer would come true.

By 1525 he had completed his first translation of the New Testament, but it would not get printed until 1526. Three copies of this first edition exist today, only one of which – discovered just a few years ago – is completely intact.

Tyndale later revised the New Testament substantially, and the revision was a bona fide masterpiece. He even coined some new words that found their way into the English vocabulary for the next five centuries – words such as Passover, peacemaker, scapegoat, and even the adjective beautiful were coined by Tyndale. Altogether, he produced five editions of the New Testament, but the third edition of 1534 is the one most remembered.

Tyndale also did substantial work on the Old Testament, but he did not complete the task. As far as we know, he translated through 2 Chronicles.

Betrayal and Martyrdom

As he worked in Antwerp, the agents of King Henry VIII and other opponents were scouring Europe, hoping to find and capture him. He was betrayed by a fellow Englishman, kidnapped, and arrested on May 21, 1535. He was imprisoned in a Belgian fortress and eventually brought to trial for heresy and found guilty. His charge: A corrupt translation of the Bible. The reality: A superb translation of the Bible. But the clergy were ostensibly afraid that common folk could not understand the Bible; they needed the clergy and tradition to interpret it for them. The verdict condemning him to death came in August 1536. On October 6 of the same year he was executed at Vilvorde, Belgium.

Tyndale’s dying words were “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!” But he did not know that just a few months before his death a version of the Bible in English, based largely on his own translation, had already been printed in England with King Henry VIII’s blessing. In the sense which he intended, the King of England’s eyes were already opening when he voiced his dying prayer. An English version of the Bible that drew on his translation was in circulation before his death. Three years after his death, Henry required every English parish church to make a copy of the English Bible available to parishioners.

 – Bill

(source: Daniel Wallace’s lectures on The History of the English Bible)


In Him was Life…

In Him was Life,
and the Life was the Light of men

(John 1.4)

When John uses the term life he usually means “spiritual life or eternal life,” but here he has a broader view in mind – Jesus is the source of all life – physical, moral, spiritual, and eternal.

He is keenly concerned with all those aspects of life. His ministry focused on transforming mere life into abundant life, to have a “surplus” life, a life of meaning and purpose now and a transcendent life that exceeds our ability to comprehend.

When He breathed life into the nostrils of that lump of clay, we became “living souls” (Genesis 2.7). He created us for life not death, and He came and walked among us to show us the way to true life.

In Scripture light is frequently used of things pertaining to God while darkness is just the opposite, as in 1 John 1.6: God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

The darkness Jesus came to dispel was caused by sin. We got ourselves into this mess through our own willfulness and we’re powerless to find our own way out. That’s where He comes in – He’s “Life and Light.”

I am the Light of the world;
he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness,
but will have the Light of life
(John 8.12).


Reflections on the Majesty of God

Night SkyThe prophet Daniel referred to Him as “the Ancient of days” (Daniel 7.13).

Isaiah asked, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth. Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable” (Isaiah 40.28).

Ezekiel saw the cherub and the glory of the Lord as the temple “was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD (Ezekiel 10.4).

And Isaiah “saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.”

And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6.1-5).

The reverberating anthem of the Apocalypse in chorus about the throne is, “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; for all the nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed” (Revelation 15.3-4).


The Back Page 7-17-2016

In Our Prayers

Mildred Meyers and other friends and family members in the Manor.

For the Westside church, that we will “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2).

On the Calendar

August 21 – September 24, 2016. Joe and Linda Thomas will visit area churches and prepare for the Doors of Opportunity workshop at Westside. We have sent out the first set of invitations to 42 churches in Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado. We’ll send out the second set the first week of August.