Pastor Michael Walker serves as the Senior Pastor at the Bowmansdale Church of God in suburban Harrisburg, PA.  He was born and raised in the Churches of God and was converted to the Lord at the age of eleven (11) in the Windsor Church of God.  Michael answered the call to fulltime ministry at the age of 18 and matriculated to Findlay College, now the University of Findlay, where he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree.  Michael attended Winebrenner Theological Seminary and graduated from Evangelical Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree.  Michael attended Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and graduated from Bethany Theological Seminary with a Doctor of Ministry degree.  Michael has done additional graduate work at The Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Lebanon Valley College. 

Michael is married to his high school sweetheart Melinda, a schoolteacher.  Michael and Melinda are the proud parents of Pastor Sarah Baumgardner who is married to Troy Baumgardner and they reside in Huron, OH along with their daughter Lydia.

Michael currently serves on the Board of trustees at Winebrenner Theological Seminary, currently serving as the vice-chair of the Board.  Michael also serves as adjunct faculty at Winebrenner teaching in the areas of Theology, Bible, History, and Homiletics.
Dr. Walker's Weekly Devotional
February 17, 2014

Dear Friends,

I am sure that all of you have had days that were “scheduled” almost to the minute.   Sometimes they work out just like you had planned them, at other times something interrupts the schedule.  Now when that happens, you have several choices.  One, go with the flow, and take the day as it happens.  Two, struggle in trying to make everything right and fit into the schedule, and three, get angry and frustrated in the schedule not being met.  Perhaps the Lord is trying to teach you (me) something.  Let’s look at a long passage of scripture.

Mark 5:21-43

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded earnestly with him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live." 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"

31 "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?'"

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher any more?"

36 Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe."

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

The day starts with Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee from the eastern shore to vicinity near Capernaum.  Capernaum is where Jesus headquarters his ministry.  It is the home of Peter and in a lovely setting on the beautiful Sea of Galilee.  Shortly after Jesus arrives a man named Jairus, a synagogue ruler, comes to Jesus to ask him to come to his home because his daughter (a little child) is sick almost to death.  He wants Jesus to lay hands on her and heal her.  Jesus agrees and goes with Jairus toward his home.  In the middle of verse 24 the scene shifts.  Jesus is pressed around by a large crowd of people.  His fame has grown, and the people press in to get close to Jesus.  Verses 24b to 34 tells the story of a woman with an issue of blood.  She has been hemorrhaging for 12 years.  She is ceremonially unclean, she has spent all of her money on doctors, she should not be in public, and she comes to Jesus to simply touch the hem of His garment.  When she does she is healed.  What a wonderful story, but certainly not the end of the story.  What about Jairus and his daughter?  Wasn’t Jesus on his way with Jairus to heal his daughter?  In the middle of the journey comes a moment of Divine Interruption.

Verses 35 to 43 finish the daughter of Jairus story.  At first there is total devastation.  Men come from the home of Jairus with the message that the daughter is dead.  Don’t bother the rabbi anymore.  Jesus does not give up!  Her puts the wailers outside, takes the parents inside, holds the girls hands, and raises her from the dead!

Maybe, when your day is not going the way that you want you (I), will remember that the Lord sometimes works in moments of Divine Interruption!  

Blessings,

Pastor Mike

February 10, 2014

Dear Friends,

Lately I have been feeling a lot of pressure.  I sometimes feel like one of the circus performers that has the long sticks with the spinning plates on top of them.  You know the one that requires all of the attention of the performer.  You have to keep all of the plates spinning or they will fall.  Lots of things are happening at the same time.  I am sure that all of us have had this kind of pressure at some time in our lives. 

I decided to look up the word “pressed” in the Bible.  The Bible has a lot to say about being pressed.  Some of it is really good in the application for me at this moment.  The word “pressed” occurs 18 times in the NIV translation.  Five times this word is applied to olives.  They press olives to make olive oil.  Twice it is applied to figs.  I like both figs and olives, but this is not what I am looking to resolve.

Several times the word pressed is used in reference to battle.  One army pressed another in pursuit.   On one occasion a donkey pressed a Balaam’s ankle against the wall.  Seems right, but not for what I am looking. 

In Mark 5 the word pressed is applied to Jesus as the crowd pressed in close to him.  Am I so close to Jesus as to be pressing him?  We are getting closer, but not quite how I am feeling.  In Luke’s gospel the word pressed is applied to the measuring of food into a measuring cup.  You want a full measure pressed down, compacted, and a fair amount for the price to be paid.  Yes, I want a full measure as well, bit this is not the pressed that I am feeling.

Ah, here it is:  2 Corinthians 4:7-12

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

There it is.  Hard pressed on every side.  Hard to imagine in a jar of clay.  The jar of clay is our human bodies.  We are fragile, weak, and apt to break just like a jar of clay.  Here is the secret.  All of this happens so that in our fragile nature we might realize that we have no strength in and of ourselves.  We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  I (you too) need to realize that we need to rely fully on God’s ability to do his work.  I (We)  need to press close to him so that we can feel His presence, and allow him to carry us through our trials!

Blessings,

Pastor Mike

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