Floods. Hurricanes. Acts of Terror. Disasters of both natural and man-made sources.
Politics—everyday, all day—with charges, counter-charges and counter-counter charges. Challenging times to say the least.
So, in times like these…what do we do? What is to be our response? How do we act and react?
Let me suggest the following:
When considering the floods and other disasters, let’s put faces to those affected. Instead of seeing the water in the houses, picture the occupants, now homeless. Instead of thinking about an act of terror, picture the victims and their families who will never be the same. Considering the people adversely affected makes the situation much more personal than if we focus only on the event. When we remember that those are people, souls—the events will take on a completely different meaning—and so will our response.
Realizing that we always have personal responsibilities to help where we can and to do what is right, the other response that I suggest is that we all voluntarily fast and pray.
Yes, you read it right. Fast and pray. That is a scriptural concept, you know, even though the biblical sense of “fast” has not been applied too often in American culture. (Or, at least we don’t know that it has, which would be a good thing according to Matt. 6:17-18). Fasting is the giving up of something good for that which is better. It can be food, it can be any number of good things from which we will willfully abstain in order to focus on prayer. What would be the result if as a congregation we specifically focus on combining fasting and prayer over the next few weeks. Somehow I think our world can be drastically changed!
Focus on people (souls) and increase our prayer and fasting–that’s what I believe should be done
In Times Like These!
I cant wait to see you
Last Sunday night we talked about fellowship, this is a very important part of our worship to God. Even though it is very important, it is one facet that is often overlooked. Throughout the Bible we see many instances where this service to one another is not a recommendation but a commandment; it was also a way of life for the early church. “They devoted themselves to the apostlesʼ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47 NIV
May we learn from this passage and put into practice the same actions of our brothers and sisters as we see they had daily meetings from house to house. This is so vital to the growth both numerically and spiritually.
As the holidays quickly approach we all look forward to fellowship with our families. In my opinion, it is far more important to spend time with our church family. Going about this is key. If we say, “let’s get together soon” most likely it will not happen. So, try this: set a date and time and invite someone over. When that knock on the door comes, open with a smile and say, “come on in!”
I can’t wait to see you!
I would wake up early in the morning, before the sun would come up. In search of something, something that I have never had. Something I was trying to get. It brings to mind, Matthew 13:45-46, seeking after this great and valuable pearl. I would beat the sun to the water and as it came up shining on my face, I would cast my fishing line over and over. As I think back over my fishing trip and the many times I had to force myself to leave the water. I would often say to myself “just one more cast” and “I just might hook into the big one!”
Jesus saw something in fishermen, was it their patience, was it the skill or was it the willingness that fishermen have to go after the catch no matter the bugs, heat or waves? God seems to have these characteristics; He never stops pursuing us (just one more cast).
Paul is one of my heroes, a spiritual giant, what a catch! When we look at the actions of Saul (Paul) our reaction to this man is totally opposite of the Lord’s. He pursued this man kind of like a fisherman chasing a stinky fish. After caught and cleaned up it is so valuable. The outcome of (just one more cast). Read: I Timothy 1:12-17 NKJV
I hope to encourage you, either if God is pursuing you or He is using you to real one in, don’t give up! It can get rough at times but stay focused on the prize, your soul and their souls. God is encouraging and showing us that it pays off to make one more cast. You just might hook into the big one!
I can’t wait to see you!
Does God want us to worry about the things going on around us? Evil is running ramped, some politicians are corrupt and some cops are crooked. Many people I talk to daily are greatly distressed in the direction this nation is headed. What should the Christian stand for, is the ultimate question. Throughout the Bible we see many instances when God’s people were oppressed and attacked. Many rulers have stood up against them, throwing them in prison, even physically hurting them. How could God allow this, or did God allow it to happen? It is a troubling thing to try and wrap your mind around; it can even shake your faith, if you let it.
How can we maintain our faith in God when it seems things are out of control? The answer is simple, God reigns. He is in control and His ways are above our ways, Isaiah 55:8-9. He knows exactly what he is doing and it is impossible for us to understand His purpose. We simply need to trust Him. He has everything under control. Psalm 45:6, He is on the throne.
It is, however, very important to take advantage of the blessing of our freedom to vote. With that being said, let us remember God is on the throne no matter who is in office. God is in control. We can gain encouragement from Paul’s words to the church in Rome, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
As we talk to folks don’t be drawn into the doom and gloom of the things in the headlines. Rather, tell them your father reigns and He is still on the throne. This is the blessing we have in Christ, the peace that surpasses all understanding. Read Philippians 4:4-7.
I can’t wait to see you!
Have you ever woke up with a song in your head? One of our sisters just went home and received her reward. As we sat in her living room, a story was told how she would wake up singing. Not just any old song, but a song of praise to her Father in heaven. When we allow the blessings of God and the power He has to fill us up, it really doesn’t matter how much we possess or how much money we have in the bank. We will rejoice in His power and His shelter.
In Psalm 59, you see David is in a tough spot. Many evil people are after him. Yet in his distress, he praises God for being his shelter and the one who holds all power. Let’s take this lesson from David and reflect his action. When the world around us is falling apart, when our enemies are stacked against us, let us not forget who is in control.
So wake up singing! Sing of the Lord’s mercy. Sing aloud of His goodness. Allow His grace, goodness and love for you to stir up your soul. Allow God’s goodness to motivate us with the attitude like David. When the world is against us, sing hallelujah for He is a great God and the King above all Kings! And He is our Father who loves us, delivers us and forgives us. He is our shelter. He is our mercy. He is our defense.
“But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.” Psalms 59:16 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, sing how great He is!
I cant wait to see you!
The Bible tells us our life is like a vapor, here for a little while and then vanishes away. It is important that we live life in a way that pleases God. The only way we can do that is by learning His ways. We all want to receive the blessing of heaven; I don’t think I have ever met a person who honestly wanted suffering, hardship or pain in their life. When we sit and think about our lives, the actions we take or the things that run through our minds, we need to ask ourselves are they pleasing to God?
Sunday night, the lesson was about how Nathan approached David and confronted him about the actions he took. This must have been very hard for Nathan and also hard for David. Read: 2 Samuel 12, the story is so powerful. David’s anger was stirred up against the man in Nathan’s story and when Nathan reveled that David was the man, David’s response is one we all must have. David didn’t make excuses, nor did he blame others. David knew his actions were wrong, and was willing to admit his sin. His sin was personal, personal against God.
The question was asked what seat are you sitting in? Are you called by God to boldly approach David or are you listening to the rebuke of Nathan? Either way, we have a responsibility to God, to repent like David or help our brothers and sisters get in the right place with God like Nathan did. Be blessed, and respond to God’s call.
Psalms 1:1-3 NKJV
I cant wait to see you!
This week’s challenge from last Sunday night sermon was to read Psalms 119. As we read it, it is my prayer that the heart of the writer moves us to thinking like him. I would like to share one of the passages that has really encouraged me and my prayers. I have listed it below. I hope you have been blessed as you have read Psalm 119 this week.
“Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word. Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me. My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times. You rebuke the proud—the cursed, who stray from Your commandments. Remove from me reproach and contempt, For I have kept Your testimonies. Princes also sit and speak against me, But Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” Psalms 119:17-24 NKJV
Open my eyes Lord, sometimes I feel I’m walking around like a blind man. Have you ever felt that way? If so, may our thinking be transformed into what we see here from the Psalmist. We are to be transformed by renewing our minds by the Word of God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 NKJV
Let’s continue on the path of allowing God to open the eyes of our hearts so we can see like He sees.
I can’t wait to see you!
We have all heard it haven’t we, maybe even have said it, once I heard one of our kiddos say, “Mom, dad, I’m starving! And there is nothing to eat!” It wasn’t very long after that, Natalie went into the kitchen and whipped up a delicious meal. So really, there was plenty to eat, they just weren’t willing to do the work to enjoy a great meal.
We just had our Revive Us Again Sunday and Parkway On Parade, we saw the fruit of our labor. I’m sure you can join me in saying, “we are so blessed with being a part of such a great congregation, a congregation with intentionally providing the spiritual food needed for the soul”.
On Wednesday night, we had a toe stompin’ devotional, lead by one of our shepherds Tim Norman. As he talked about the Beatitudes, he mentioned the verse from Matthew 5:6, which says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled”.
As I asked earlier, we have all heard someone say, “I’m starving” and I’m quite sure we have all said it. Have you ever heard any one apply that to their spiritual appetite or their spiritual hunger? I know we get hungry both physically and spiritually. When you get hungry, you make sure you have the things you need days before the hunger finds you. The same applies to our spiritual food. Prepare before hunger pains hit. Just as you set a food budget, set a time budget to spend time in the Word and make sure to head over to 3120 Parkway Drive. Dig into the feast of the Word of God. You don’t want to find yourself saying IM STARVING!
I can’t wait to see you!