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Promises

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

It used to be a handshake was enough.

The old saying was, “Your word is your bond.”

Every once in a while we will hear someone say, “I know you. You’re good for it.”

Or you might hear someone say, “You gave me your word and that is good enough for me.”

How great it would be if we could honestly say, “A promise made is a promise kept.”

In our day and age we are more likely to hear, “I’m getting me a lawyer!” We live in a litigious society and more and more people are breaking their word than keeping it.  Promises are a bedrock of any society. No telling what will become of ours.

The theme of promises weaves its way through the pages of Scripture-both of those who keep them and those who break them. My Scripture for this weekend is a lengthy one: Joshua 10:1-12:24. It is a litany of promises. Promises made to God. Promises made from God. Promises made to others. The obvious application will be how we, as followers of Christ, should keep the promises we make. There will be a couple key thoughts I will share with the folks Sunday. I’ll share them with you this upcoming week. Meanwhile, I always ask for prayers from you. I ask you to pray a little extra for this weekend. Thanks

Pretending

Friday, June 15th, 2018

If you have ever watched Lord of the Rings there is a scene where Frodo and Sam pretended to be Orcs by wearing the armor and “face mask/helmet” and marching with them. Eventually they were exposed and it took some quick thinking to escape.

Pretending to be someone we aren’t is not new. We learned how to do that in childhood. Maybe we were the “good child” because everyone expected us to be. Then again, maybe we were the “evil child!” 🙂

As men we are often expected to act a certain way. In my era (yeah that’s a long time ago) it was the rough and tumble man, the Marlboro man (even though he died of cancer from smoking). We had an image to uphold. We were taught that men had to make their own way in the world. So we learned to walk by sight. Even in our Christian journey we were taught the cold, hard facts and not to deviate from them. No emotions were allowed. Not only was that wrong, but it taught us something else: walk by sight.

The story of Joshua and the Gibeonites in Joshua 9 is a story of walking by sight and not by faith. After the lesson of Ai it would seem rather strange that Joshua would get caught again for almost the same error. But here it is in black and white. Is he any different than me and you? I think not…at least for me.

Sunday is Father’s Day, a perfect day to challenge men with walking by faith and not by sight. I hope you will be celebrating FD in some way with a “man” in your life-husband, father, grandfather, uncle, son, friend. May I ask while you are celebrating that you take time to say a prayer for me as I preach and the folks as they listen? Thanks.

Mulligan

Friday, June 8th, 2018

If you have ever played golf with a “duffer” you will have heard the word “Mulligan” used. There is quite a history behind the term. You can go to GriffGolf.com to learn more. But it is named after a person and is a term used to offer someone a “free pass” on a bad shot.  History says it came as a result of a bad first shot and it was called a “correction shot” by David Mulligan.

The story I will be preaching on Sunday needs a mulligan. The words “sin in the camp” has such an ugly ring but in this case it is true. If you are familiar with the story of Israel’s defeat at the hands of a city named Ai, you are probably also aware of the reason they lost. “Sin in the camp” is a good way to put it.

But there is more. The preparation for going to war against Ai also showed two other things:

  1. The Israelites were too self-confident.
  2. They definitely had a lack of prayer.

The application to our lives is easy to see. I’ll also be spending some time on what led Achan to do what he did.  It definitely was an eye-opener for me, as well as a gut-check on my attitude toward the enemy. I’d appreciate your prayers for all involved-myself and the audience.  Also, our worship leader is on vacation so prayers would be much appreciated for those who are filling in.

Going…Going

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Jo and I leave tomorrow (Friday) morning for a few days of R & R in Ohio. Well…as much as it can be while running all over creation with a 11 1/2 year old. We plan to watch him play baseball on Saturday (2 games) and probably one or two make-up games on Sunday. Then we plan to head up to Sandusky to visit Jo’s sister, whom we haven’t seen since before Thanksgiving. We are hoping our one man comedian show will make the short jaunt with us. Braden is so funny…he keeps us in stitches.

This weekend Ryan is preaching for me. He is continuing the series, Courage, from Joshua. He’ll be preaching on the battle of Jericho from Joshua 6. I’d like to ask you to pray for him. If you have never read the story; or read it a long time ago; or need to read it to refresh your faith; I’d like to suggest you do that.  If you are out somewhere reading this and don’t have a Bible, here is a link you can use.

Forget?

Friday, May 25th, 2018

MEMORIAL DAY

Day off or Day of Memory.

Day to cook out or Day to be thankful.

There’s a third. Around these parts,  high school graduation takes place Saturday. So Memorial Day is a day of recuperation. And drying tears. And relishing one of the last possible times for a family cookout before life really gets hectic.  🙂

Memorial Day was a day designed to remember. Even more than July 4, it was designed to call to mind the sacrifice and commitment so many men and women, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, etc paid to keep our nation free (or to help others be or stay free). It is a day of “Lest We Forget.”

Did you know God also instituted opportunities for the Israelite nation to not forget Him and what He has done? Three of them, in fact.  I switched last week’s sermon and this week’s around so I could focus on those three opportunities this week. What are they? Well…I’m glad you asked!  🙂

  1. The Ark of Connection. You read that right. Why do I say that? Because the Ark symbolized God’s presence.  The story is in Joshua 3.
  2. Stones of Remembrance.  That unique story is found in Joshua 4.
  3. An Act of Consecration. You will find that story in Joshua 5.

We all tend to have “memory amnesia” from time to time. The Israelites were no different. God wanted them to remember “lest they forget.” Same goes for us. We all need memory joggers. May Sunday, then Monday, be a time of jogging your memory of God’s goodness to us as His people and then to be thankful for living in this free country.

Have a nice weekend. A fantastic day of worship. A time of memorial on Monday. But in all your celebration, please don’t forget WHO is behind it all.

Commander

Friday, May 18th, 2018

General Norman Schwarzkopf was known as “Stormin’ Norman.”  In preparation for this week’s sermon I read several articles on his military life throughout Vietnam, Operation Desert Shield, and Operation Desert Storm. He definitely has earned the title “great military commander.” In fact, he might pass muster as one of, if not the greatest military mind of his generation. He was very quotable as well:

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”

“True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow.”

And one more (and this is off the topic of leadership): “I’ve managed to convince my wife that somewhere in the Bible it says, ‘Man cannot have too many shotguns and fishing poles.’ ”  🙂

While he stands out as a great military mind and hero, we are studying one right now: Joshua. It takes a leader-a good one- to take over from a leader and be successful. Moses had led the people of Israel for 40 years, but he was now dead and had left the leadership reins in Joshua’s capable hands. He was now the Commander-in-Charge. No, that is not a misprint. Joshua knew the Commander-in-Chief was God.

This Sunday I’m going to take a look at Joshua’s track record (where he proved himself) and then ultimately show that his real power came from his willingness to submit to God in a faith-defining moment (Joshua 5:13-17).  Prayers for this weekend would be much appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.

GraceLadies

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

In my last post I said I would be preaching on Rahab, a subject which seemed out of sorts for Mother’s Day. I gotta agree but that was not the reason for my changing heart Saturday night.

After a 21+ ride and a quick run to Walmart with Jo we started talking on the way back to the house. She expressed a concern about the source of my topic for Mother’s Day. So even though I was planning a fairly relaxing evening, I worked until almost 9:30 on a sermon and an outline for the Sunday bulletin.

It was still on Abounding Grace but I decided to use Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:1-16 as my Scripture. I’m sure most, if not all of you, know the story behind this passage. There are 5 woman in the lineage of Jesus who are anything but pristine and represent God’s grace in spades.

Tamar– Her complete story is in Genesis 38. Dressed up as a prostitute to seduce her father-in-law, Judah.

Rahab– Her complete story is in Joshua 2 and 6:22-25. A prostitute.

Ruth– a Moabitess (they came from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters after Sodom & Gomorrah). Also a Gentile.

Bathsheba– an adulteress.

Mary– a teenager carrying a baby out of wedlock, one in which the man she was “married” to, was not the father.

Not a very “clean” lineage. Lots of black marks in those five ladies. But God showed them incredible grace and used them in bringing to pass Jesus’ birth.

Grace abounding. For them. For me. For you. Makes me appreciate His grace even more. I’m glad I serve a God of such magnanimous grace.

Rahab

Friday, May 11th, 2018

I can almost hear the collective gasps this Sunday. You know…Mother’s Day. Preaching on…Rahab?  Say what? I mean, Proverbs 31 would fit (but I have yet to meet a woman who appreciates me telling her how a woman should do or be a Proverbs 31 woman. Preach on a woman submitting to a man?  Hmmm. Isn’t this supposed to be “honor you mother day?”  “How can you (a man) tell me (a woman) how I’m supposed to operate in my family? Besides, I don’t do flax and get up before dawn, etc.” Then there are those aching because they aren’t mothers or even married.

So Rahab does seem like a “far out there” subject for Mother’s Day. But hopefully when I am done it won’t seem like it that much. Why? Because Rahab is a Grace Receiver. Grace abounded in her life and in spite of her profession, she followed God.

Did it work? Did Grace Abound to her and in her? Well…let Matthew 1:5 give you that answer. Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 add further proof of Grace Abounding.

I do believe Rahab is a good woman to use an example on Mother’s Day. She is an example for all , especially the ladies who will be there, that we all need grace. Even those who seemingly least deserve it. As you can imagine, your prayers would be appreciated.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL YOU LADIES!

Transition

Friday, May 4th, 2018

I started writing this post with the title TheGap. But I changed it because there would be those who would troll the internet and see that title then start spamming me on all things related to TheGap, a store I have never even been in. And why would I want to be? I’m not a girl. The two which are mine are way beyond Gap clothes (I think).

So I decided to use Transition because it is probably a better word to use anyway. If you follow my blog you notice a new banner. A new banner means a new sermon series.  As you can see it is called COURAGE, and will be a series from the book of Joshua. My plan right now is for the series to go until the middle of July.

This weekend is on Joshua’s call to fill the gap as Moses’ successor.  Joshua has been with Moses from the beginning and has shown himself to be a great learner and fantastic leader. Joshua 1:1-9, my focus for this weekend, gives four essentials to Joshua’s commissioning as a leader. As a leader, I know I would do well to listen well to this passage.

If you are close by and are able to, I would love to see you. Even if you aren’t, I’d like to challenge you to take the passage and read it and study it. Find those 4 essentials and then make an effort to apply them. Thanks ahead of time for your prayers.

Finishing

Friday, April 27th, 2018

One of the things I want to do is finish well.

I can remember as a kid growing up my parents would say, “Finish what you start.” Quitting was not an option.  When I was in 8th grade I joined the Model Airplane Club. I had a friend who was in it and talked me into it. I had about as much business being in that club as I belong on a catwalk. (I was looking for an extreme). I’m not very detail-oriented and certainly not in “fine” things like cutting balsa wood and building airplanes which are supposed to fly. But I wasn’t allowed to drop out of the class because I had to “finish what I started.”

Paul compares the life of the Christ-follower as a race. The writer of Hebrews talks about “looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” The race we are in is a marathon not a sprint. It is a long-distance run. It is a race which requires endurance and a constant battle against discouragement.

My final sermon in the True North series is “Finishing Well” this Sunday. This will be a good way to wrap up the series and bring closure. Thanks for your prayers.