Friday, March 30, 2012

God Overrules

Where was God when ...? Why did God permit this horrible tragedy? God has wise and holy ends to accomplish by allowing evil to take place. When bad things happen as a result of man's sin (sin for which man is responsible) God overrules them for his own purposes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ica-russ Falls (or Ica-russ Rises,The Sequel)

We were on the ground, but we were still flying high.  We had soared over our school, dropped our cargo, and at least one of the precious Sukhia for President pillows had been found and retrieved (ironically, by the one classmate of whose vote I felt assured, the one who is sitting next to me as I type this, 45 years later). The mission had been a success.  It would be the talk of the school the next day; now, if we could just get through the next 48 hours or so without any nasty consequences...
It was History class, on the morning after our triumph; a fitting class for an event to occur that would put an end to what might have been a historic political career.  It was a day that will live in infamy in the annals of-----that will go down in the record of------a day that will forever be memorialized in-----well, in point of fact, there are no annals or records of such things, but if there were, then what I’m about to tell you would be in them. Oh yes, it would assuredly be in them.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Legalism or Liberty?

There are many ways we can fall into bondage when we've been granted liberty. We can fall into the trap of trying to earn our salvation by our good performance. We can follow unfairly imposed, extra-biblical rules, out of fear that if we don't, we will be judged a bad Christian, or no Christian. In this video clip, Pastor Russ discusses the bondage of legalism and the liberty of conscience.

6 minutes 29 seconds
To watch "Blinded But Seeing," the entire sermon from which this video was extracted, 
To hear the entire sermon click here

From Little Loaves, the blogging fellowship of Pastor Russ Sukhia. All rights reserved. Website: | Phone: 410.655.5466

Friday, March 23, 2012

Flying High: Ica-russ Rises

It has occurred to me that I may have an inexhaustible supply of material for Wry Bread, as pandas can wander into my mind’s kitchen anytime they wish.  But as far as the things which actually happened to me are concerned, I have only limited time to recount them before my neurons, which are already slowing down, stop firing altogether. (Maybe if I had been using high test gas in my various Speck-mobiles all these years, my brain would be running cleaner). So while I still can, I will attempt to recount the story that was, as a sixteen year old, my brief claim to fame. This much I remember:

The year was 1967.  I was a junior at Lyman High School in Longwood, Florida, and it was time to elect class officers for our senior year.  “Who better than I to be class president?” I thought (and I tended to put my thoughts in quotations back then).  “If not me---who?  If not now---when?”  The reason I decided to throw my proverbial hat into the proverbial ring, was not because I had any serious thoughts about how to improve our proverbial school, or benefit my proverbial classmates.  My sole thought was decidedly non-serious and un-proverbial.  “Wouldn’t it be cool to be class president?” 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Indestructible World Trade Center

On the hill of Calvary stands an everlasting exchange. The Gospel proclaimed by Pastor Russ on 9/11/2011.

3 minutes 49 seconds
To watch "Who's in Charge Here?," the entire sermon from which this video was extracted, 
To hear the entire sermon click here

From Little Loaves, the blogging fellowship of Pastor Russ Sukhia. All rights reserved. Website: | Phone: 410.655.5466

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tater Tales

My first conversation with Tater was by phone.  I can’t say for sure that there was a piece of straw in his teeth, or a wad of tobacco in his mouth, but I’m pretty sure he was in a rocker on his front porch, and there was a lazy hound dog close enough to hit with a projectile.  
We had just moved from Florida to the lovely town of Maryville, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Smokies, with our son Nathan, 13, and daughter Grace, almost 12.  I had spotted a cute little log home nestled in some trees, within a mile of the church grounds.  My thinking was, “We’re in Tennessee now.  We should live in a log home, as Lincoln would have done, if he had lived in Tennessee.”  The family could hardly argue with that logic.  The house I liked was vacant, so I left a note, asking if I could have it.  The owners, Kirk and Gail (to protect their identity, we’ll call them Dirk and Dale) who became friends and members of our church, called several weeks later to say they were planning on moving into the home soon; so no, I couldn’t have it, but they would put us in touch with the builder, a fellow named Tater.
“Sure, Bud.  I kin bild you a house.  You find yerself a lot, I’ll buy the lot an build the house an you kin git a loan from the bank fer the hole amownt and buy it from me.”  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Blinding Enemy

If you were walking along a beach and you saw the words, "Earl loves Joann," written in the sand, it would be possible for you to conclude that the writing was caused, not by an intelligent being, but by the natural forces of wind and waves, snails and crabs.  But would that be a reasonable conclusion from the evidence?

6 minutes 31 seconds
To watch "Blinded But Seeing," the entire sermon from which this video was extracted, 
click here!

To hear the entire sermon click here

From Little Loaves, the blogging fellowship of Pastor Russ Sukhia. All rights reserved. Website: | Phone: 410.655.5466

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Intelligent Design

This clip describes a process that is presently underway to simulate, with an IBM super-computer, the functions of a human brain.  [Note: The IEEE to which Russ refers is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers]

To hear the entire sermon click here ________________________________________________________________
From Little Loaves, the blogging fellowship of Pastor Russ Sukhia. All rights reserved. Website: | Phone: 410.655.5466

Luther's Prayer

Are there times when you feel like a failure as a Christian because you doubt, fear, you are weary, or even feel as if God is not listening and has abandoned you? You aren't alone. On occasion, even heroes of the faith have felt this way. Listen to Luther's prayer the night before he refused to recant his writings before the leaders of church and state.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What, More Bears?

OK, full disclosure:  There is a sense in which it could be said that not everything in the story of my “panda pandemic” happened precisely as I described it; in the sense that maybe I didn’t find a panda chewing on our kitchen’s bamboo floor, and in the sense that maybe our kitchen doesn’t have a bamboo floor.  But I steadfastly stand by my account of our having a kitchen, and the rest of the story happened pretty much just the way I imagined it.  The following bear story however, has some basis in fact.
When we lived in east Tennessee, my brother Doug and his wife Nancy came to visit us. (That we once lived in east Tennessee, that I have a brother, Doug, and that he has a wife, Nancy, could all be independently verified by a reliable source, if you could find one; so far so good.)  When out-of-staters come to the Smokies, locals often take them on the Cades Cove Loop, a long slow drive past the remains of the original homesteads of mountain settlers, situated in the southwestern stretches of the Smoky Mountain National Park.   Before their land was purchased (or confiscated) so we could drive through it and admire it, folks used to farm, worship, get wed and get buried in those parts, often in that order.  (I noticed, walking through their preserved log homes, that those early settlers were also accomplished graffiti artists.) 
One of the attractions of the cove is the wildlife, much of which would be better called tame-life, because they’ve grown accustomed to being photographed by Yankees wearing Red Sox caps. I suppose someone, at some point, may have driven along the loop road without seeing any deer, but that person would have to be legally blind, and shouldn’t be driving. 
From time to time, however, black bears are sighted along the loop, and when it happens, people tend to pull over to watch them.  On this particular day, as I recall, Doug and Nancy were in the front seat and Donna and I were in the back.  Presumably we took Doug’s car because he and Nancy didn’t want to be crammed into the back of whatever miniature car we owned at the time (the youth at our church christened one of my fifty-mpg cars The Speck.  Sometimes they would move it from my parking spot without bothering to start it.  I think I found it once in a church closet).  The cars ahead of us had pulled over, and I knew this probably meant that there was a black bear ahead.  I asked Nancy to hand me her camera, and I hopped out of the car and hurried to the spot where some tourists had gathered in the nearby woods.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arminians in Heaven?

You may be surprised to find, in heaven, positions of honor occupied by Christians who on earth were members of denominations whose doctrine was lightly esteemed by you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Panda Pandemic

I wouldn’t call myself a coward, necessarily. Let’s just say I’m careful.  For example, as I’ve acknowledged publicly, even though I’ve spent a good portion of my life in Florida, I’ve never been scuba-diving, because I have O-positive blood; I’m a universal donor. This means, as I understand it, I can be eaten by a shark of any blood type. 

The same goes for bears, so I see no reason to needlessly attract them, which is why I’d rather not live in a house with a den, and I refuse to grill salmon outside. Why live dangerously? 

Unfortunately, these precautions have not succeeded in keeping our home entirely bear-free. Trying to do our part for the planet, when we needed a new kitchen floor, we chose bamboo, because it grows so fast. It was fast growing alright; within a week it had spread into our dining room. Worse, I came into the kitchen one morning to find a panda gnawing on my floor (at that moment I regretted not reading the small print that came with the bamboo). 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Salesmen and Suckers

Multi-million dollar "parsonages," private jets, paid family "ministry staff," Bentleys and Rolls Royces, these are the trappings of some of America's most popular pastors and evangelists. The Scripture warns us of those who will use the gospel as a means of personal gain.  Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for "devouring widows' houses."  What would He say to these modern scoundrels?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Veil

The law God revealed to Moses was glorious.  So much so, that  when  Moses descended Mt. Sinai with the tablets of the law, his face was radiant.  But Paul calls that glorious law a "ministry of death," because it could only reveal our sin.  It had no power to remove it.  That glorious law pales in comparison to the gospel, as the light of a candle fades in the light of the sun.  The gospel not only shows us the way of life, it carries with it, when anointed by God's Spirit, the power to make us alive. The glory of the law is properly understood by those who have been driven by it to the much more glorious Messiah; and when one turns to the Lord Jesus Christ, the veil is taken away.

10 minutes 20 seconds
To watch "A More Glorious Ministry," the entire sermon from which this video was extracted, click here!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Corrupt Clergy

In this segment of a Reformation Day sermon, Pastor Russ attempts to summarize 1500 years of church history, emphasizing how false teaching may have crept into the church over the centuries.  To understand the Protestant Reformation, we must understand that the state of the Roman Church of the 16th century was evidently quite corrupt.  The Church seemed to have more interest in raising funds to build St. Peter's Cathedral than in teaching the message of salvation by grace through faith.

9 minutes 18 seconds

Working at Love

A strong lasting love demands effort and sacrifice----not the stuff of which fairy tales are made.
5 minutes 7 seconds