Monthly Archives: August 2014

Investments

1 Cor. 3:10-15 tells us that as Christians, one day we will stand before the Lord and our works will be judged.  Works that were temporal, done with impure motives, works that really didn’t matter will be burned up, yet we will endure.  Works done for the Lord, works done for His honor and glory will not be burned.  While on this earth, in this body, we have opportunities for investments.  Investments to provide for our retirement, investments to provide for college, or in case we are unable to work to provide for ourselves.  Stocks, bonds, and securities just to name a few.  But the greatest investment I believe we can make is in people.  When our Lord walked this earth, He invested in people, preparing them for the day He would return to the right hand of His Father.  They would be left behind to carry on His legacy.  For almost 35 years now I have been privileged to minister to people of all ages.  The greatest compliment I receive is that of people I ministered to when they were young children.  Now, many are grown adults with children of their own.  The fact that they still are active in church and are loving and serving the Lord touches my heart and brings honor and glory to our King.  It is due in no part by my abilities, but totally by the grace of God.  Souls that were saved, now sharing with others the glorious gift of God’s love and forgiveness.  The gift that keeps on giving.  Now that’s the greatest investment.

Hamburger or steak?

One of my favorite things to enjoy with the summer season is cookouts.  I enjoy a nice hamburger.  You always know when a neighbor is cooking hamburgers out on the grill.  The smell is unmistakable.  You just feel like going over there and dropping in for a bite to eat.  But on the other hand, I don’t believe anything beats a great steak.  Once to sink your mouth into that buttery, tender, flesh, a hamburger pales by comparison.  Now, my wife would say, “They’re both just beef, only one is ground.”  And I know she’s right (technically), but there is no doubt as to which one is preferable.  Hebrews 6:4-6 talks about “tasting of the Heavenly gift” and “tasting the good Word of God.”  That once someone gets a “taste” of God and the things of God they would never want to “go back,” to the things of the world.  Like the smell of a hamburger on the grill, the world and the things of this world are enticing.  There is indeed, “pleasure in sin for a season.”  Sin may “taste” pleasant to the pallet for a bit, but it will leave you wanting.  God is like that perfectly grilled steak (pardon the comparison).   Once you have tasted of God’s Heavenly goodness, you’ll never want to go back.  Satan is certainly tempting, as witnessed by the fact so many have chosen to follow him.  But in the end, they too will be left wanting.  Hamburger or steak?  Each one of us must freely choose.  I made my choice, and I can honestly say, I’ve never once regretted it.  Choose God today and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Who paid your sin debt and mine.

Say what?

I was flipping through the television channels recently and came across a show in which interracial marriage and race in general was being discussed.  One woman forbid her son from even dating outside his race, one woman hated the fact that she was black and one Jewish gentleman said he wanted to be black.  One woman even went as far as to say the Bible was against interracial marriage because it said we are not to marry outside our “tribe” and we are not to be “unequally yoked.”  Of course when the Bible was brought into the discussion it peaked my curiosity.  I find some people know just enough of God’s Word to make them dangerous.  For the most part I don’t care who people marry with one exception.  The Bible does refer to not being “unequally yoked” (2 Cor. 6:14), but it specifically refers to believers and unbelievers.  I would always advise a Christian NOT to marry and non-Christian.  I personally would not marry a Christian and non-Christian.  That being said, where the Bible talks about not marrying outside your “tribe,” in the O.T., that was given to the Jews to maintain their national purity.  God knew if the Jews were to marry Gentiles, there would be an excellent chance they would be pulled away from God.  Who today could look at their ancestry and find they were from only one “tribe” anyways.  Most of us are from mixed ancestry.  And for someone to bring the Bible into the discussion, you would think they would remember we are all from one ancestor anyways; Adam and Eve.  All mankind originally started from that singular gene pool.  A persons skin color is not what defines who we are.  It’s what is on the inside that makes us who we are (1 Sam. 16:7).  Matt. 15:18 refers to the importance of a man’s heart.  If we are ever going to get past racial prejudice we need to tear down the barriers that divide us rather than build new ones.  People are beautiful inside not only outwardly.  The one and True God is Lord of us all (Rom. 10:12).

What it means

I heard an excellent sermon the other day that in it said we’re not about “religion.”  That is so true.  When people ask me “what faith” I am, the answer is simple, I am a Christian by faith, a Baptist by conviction.  To me, Christianity is not some club you join.  It’s not something you’re born into.  To me, Christianity defines who I am.  It (the Word of God) gives me guidance and direction for every area of my life.  It tells me how to have a meaningful and productive life with God, and tells me how to get along and be a blessing to the people around me.  If my opinions differ from what God’s Word says, it’s simple my opinions are wrong and I change them to conform with known Truth (God).  It does not mean I am better than anyone else.  It does not give me the right to force my beliefs on anyone else.  It does give me a responsibility to share God’s Word with an unbelieving world, a responsibility to warn my fellow man of impending judgment, and a responsibility to live my life in such a way as to point people to Christ.  I aim to please my Heavenly Father, as I desired to please my earthly father.  Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship.  Christianity does not mean I’m perfect, only forgiven.  It means I am to love others as Christ loves me.  It is not an option, it is a commandment.  My relationship with God fills a void in my life that nothing else could fill.  It tells me why I’m here (to have a relationship with God), where I would go without God (eternity in Hell), and now, by His grace where I’m going (Heaven) not based on my righteousness, but solely on the righteousness of Christ, and the confession of my sins and trusting in His atoning death.  I’m not yet where I want to be, but thanks to God, I’m not where  used to be.

Robin Williams

In a follow-up to a previous blog regarding the untimely death of comedic actor Robin Williams, it has been reported in an article on Facebook that Robin Williams did indeed accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior before his death.  The article mentioned that while in rehab, Mr. Williams was witnessed to and was led to the Lord.  There probably isn’t much doubt to the comedic genius of Robin Williams.  As funny a man as he was, some say his best works were in later serious roles.  It is tragic to think of how many people are walking this earth, making other laugh, while they themselves are hurting so, inside.  So many times our lives are so superficial that we fail to recognize those around us who are hurting.  It shames me to say, that even in my line of work (ministry), I miss what may be signs, or cries for help.  May God bless Robin’s surviving family and friends and hopefully others may come to know the peace with God that Robin did.

The cross

Earlier today I was reading my Bible and I began to write a sermon.  In the Book of Matthew, and chapter 16, the Bible says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”  I must have read that passage numerous times, but this time the Lord impressed upon my heart something I must admit, I’m not sure I ever thought a lot about.  If we are to be followers of Christ we are to take up “our cross” and follow Him.  Every one of us, young or old, rich or poor, educated or not, has a cross to bear.  Sometimes I think we expect life to be smooth sailing, or at least “smoother” sailing than what it is.  The fact is, whether we like it or not, or whether we want to think about or not, we all have our crosses.  For some it is health, others it may be finances.  Some have family problems, others seem to be on a life long trek to find happiness.  The Bible says the servant is not greater than his Lord (Jn. 13:16).  As Jesus was forced to carry a cross He wished He didn’t have to, we ought to bear up our crosses and gladly follow Him.  We each have our own distinctive crosses (burdens) to bear.  Just a thought.

Will he make God laugh?

It seems the world is saddened today at the death of Robin Williams.  On the news a billboard outside a comedy club read, “RIP, Make God laugh.”  I hope for his sake that Robin IS in heaven, in the presence of God, rather than spending eternity in hell.  Contrary to the way some people feel, to me it’s sad when anyone dies.  For Christians, we know after death is eternity in heaven with the Lord.  For saved loved ones we know we will see our departed loved ones who were saved again.  But they still leave a void.  As the Bible says, we don’t grieve as the world grieves, yet we still grieve.  The death of Robin Williams is a solemn reminder that money cannot buy happiness, fame cannot buy happiness, nor can success buy happiness.  It seems with everything he had going for him he was still sad inside.  The man that could bring you to tears laughing was most likely lonely and hurting inside.  I know people with very little of this world’s riches, yet are happy people.  I believe inside every one of us, as God’s creations, there is a void that can only be filled by the presence of God Himself.  No money, fame, success or even alcohol or drugs can fill.  As we bid goodbye to Robin Williams, I truly hope he was a Christian, “saved by the blood of the crucified One.”  They say later today the coroner will announce his/her findings.  Does it really matter?  I guess in some small way to some it might, but the fact is, he’s gone.  Will he make God laugh?  I truly hope so.

Where was I?

I lay here in bed trying to get some much needed sleep and the thought crossed my mind that I find myself feeling like Rip Van Winkle.  I feel like I’m awaking out of many year slumber only to find that things have dramatically changed.  I ask the question over and over, “Where was I?”  Where was I when what once was good, now is looked on as bad?  Years ago (when I was young) that if a girl got pregnant out of wedlock it was a shameful thing to a family.  Now we celebrate the pregnancy even though the young lady may be unemployed and the child will grow up never having the good fortune of having a Daddy present.  There was a time when the church was the focal point of the town.  It was where people gathered to worship and grow together.  Not anymore.  The outside world looks at Christians and calls us hate mongers when nothing could be further from the truth.  When the government is only concerned with people eating their veggies and keeping us from having an extra large coke, it is the church who concerns themselves with people’s souls.  We don’t hate gays, alcoholics, or anyone else.  We love them because Christ loved them.  We don’t consider ourselves better than anyone else, only forgiven.  If we’re honest with ourselves we’ll admit that we are as much a sinner as anyone else.  When people need a helping hand paying their bills, or help putting food on their shelves they call the church.  When a family member passes away and no one attended church, they call a minister they don’t know to conduct the funeral.  And if at all possible, the church comes through.  Again, I ask the question, when did we become the bad guys?  The only time you see Christians portrayed on television is as some over zealous extremist or the brunt of jokes.  I guess the only response I can come up with is that of Jesus when He was being crucified, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Gospel Text Mission

Yesterday we were blessed to have Bro. Mike Viscome and his wife Georgann at our church, representing Gospel Text Mission.  What a blessing they were to our small group.  Bro. Mike did an outstanding job sharing the Gospel as well as testimonies as to the success of their sign ministry.  I would def have them back again and would recommend them to any churches interested.  The signs they offer are first rate and they truly convey a Christ-like spirit.  I look forward to seeing fruit from their visit with us and pray for much fruit to be added to their account.

“Lessons”

I am 54 years old, and I’m glad to say I still enjoy learning.  One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a Dad were the times spent helping my daughter study and do homework.  I hope I never quit learning, nor lose that thirst for learning.  I thank God for all the things that we have learned all because of Him.  If it weren’t for God revealing Himself to man, either in the Person of His Son or through His written Word, we wouldn’t know Him.  Oh I guess He could reveal Himself to us through His indwelling Spirit (as with Christians).  But most of what we know of Him has come through those 2 means.  Another thing I really don’t think we could fully understand without God is love.  Oh sure, we love, but our love can be self-seeking.  We love for what we can get out of it.  We love in hopes that love will be returned to us.  God’s love is pure.  It is without conditions.  God loved us way before we ever thought of loving Him.  “For God so loved the world…”  He loved and still does love those who choose not to love Him.  He showed us that love is giving.  “For God so loved the world that He gave…”  He taught us that love (internal), must be evidenced (external).  God’s love for me has enabled me to better love my wife, my daughter, and those around me.  He has taught me that love is forgiving, as He has so often forgiven me.  As He has given His life for me, I too am willing to give my life for those I love.  I hope that for however long the good Lord allows me life on this earth, may I never quit learning.  And may my learning begin  with Him.