Doctrine

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Faith

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

During my devotional times each day I read from several different sources. One is Whiter Than Snow by Paul David Tripp, and another is The ESV Reader’s Bible, along with New Morning Mercies.  Today was one of those mornings where what I read really hit a nerve. I’d like to share it with you.

Whiter Than Snow: “The way that seems wise to me isn’t wise, and the way that is wise looks to me to be the way of the fool.” That reminds me of the Scripture which says, “There is a way which seems right to man but in the end is judgment.”

My reading in Mark was the woman with the blood-not-stopping issue and Jairus’ daughter. Both instances required faith: the woman that she could be healed (even if it was a “what have I got to lose?” approach); and Jairus, that Jesus would heal his daughter, then ultimately bring her back to life.

I need that kind of faith. Faith that sees no end but believes. Faith that take Jesus at His Word.  One side thought: I think it is interesting that Jesus did not seek the limelight when healing someone. Exact opposite actually. Says something about today’s hucksters don’t you think?

For more reflections on my reading check out my other blog: http://betransformed.ovcf.org/

 

Covered

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

I am, if the truth be known, an eclectic listener of music. I can jump from Tommy James and Frankie Valli to rock to melodic metal to worship music to classical. There are certain kinds I won’t listen to (country, rap, R&B, and opera to name a few).  Personal preference I know. That is why there are so many genres I suppose.

Last week during our worship music set we sang the following song. I heard it about a year ago sung by a high school student who was worshiping with us before she shipped out to the military.  We have since sung it with our worship team.  I LOVE this song!  If it wasn’t for Good, Good Father, it just may be my favorite.

This is my song of the week. My prayer is it will be meaningful start to your week.  It is a little long in this version but we have shortened it.

 

Shameless

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

It is called Shameless Promotion.

And so it is. I have another post coming out tomorrow morning for the weekend and wanted to fill in today so I thought, “Why not?”

Theology without love is simply bad theology.

To read the rest of this devotion, please head over to my other blog based on New Morning Mercies called Be Transformed.

I’d love to see you over there and hear your thoughts.

Religion

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

One of the values of my new blog, Be Transformed,  is the emphasis it places on grace. Actually, since it focuses on the daily devotions found in New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp, it is really only fair to say NMM places an emphasis on grace. I do invite you to join me there-not only in the discussion but also in the daily reading.

But this post is not a plug for Be Transformed.  It may appear that way, but it really isn’t. However…  🙂  Back in October I read a devotion by Derwin Gray called A Never-Ending Climb. I thought it was really good so I clipped it for future use. I saw it again today and decided it was a good one to use today:

Religion, or works-based righteousness, paints a picture of a god sitting atop a high peak, waiting for us to scale the mountain through our good behavior or adherence to religious principles. The more “good” we do the closer we come to approaching our god. If we do something bad, however, the god on top of the mountain turns Zeus-like and throws a lightning bolt to strike us and knock us back down the mountain. After the electric shock wears off and our singed hair stops smoking, we dust ourselves off, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and start the long trek all over again.

Long story short: the trek of works-based righteousness is a never-ending hill climb. One step up and two back. That to me is what religion is like. To give another picture it is like the hamster in the wheel. “‘Round and ’round it goes, where it stop nobody knows.”

Get off the treadmill. Be done with works-based religion. Get on the GRACE track.

NEW!

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

January 1, 2018. As Doc Brown says, “Amazing! Simply amazing!” I’ve been writing this blog since 2/20/08. That is a lot of blogs (2654 to this point) and a lot of years. Some things have never changed though.

My love for Jesus.

My love for my family.

My love for the church I pastor.

My desire to stay true to the message of the gospel.

And my every January 1 post with this song. And you gotta love the hair in this one.

But I have a new thing in mind for this year.  This time of the year we hear a lot about a new slate before us. A new year ahead of us. A new path to walk on. New life. New hope. New direction. Ad infinitum.

So I thought I’d get on the bandwagon and create a new blog. A NEW BLOG???? Seriously? Yes that is exactly what I am saying.  Its purpose is totally different from this one.  It is called BE TRANSFORMED and you can find it at this address. If you want to know what it is all about then please take a look.

Why? Because I am convinced followers of Christ need to be serious about a daily walk with Jesus. Some of us (myself included) need help doing that. We need guidance. We need focus. We need a “lift” to start our day. Every morning I have found myself doing that with more regularity and missing it when my schedule gets all whacked.  If you go to that new site and read the About section you will see what it is all about. Or you can read the Purpose post. I do hope you will join me.

And for your new year here is a song I heard in 2016 and recently while working out and listening to my playlist on Spotify, it came up. I thought it would be an excellent challenge/reminder for this coming year. I KNOW it is not the cup of tea for many of you…okay most of you. Silence the music and at least read the lyrics.

Here is the song.

So…do you have a song or a Scripture which will guide your new year’s thoughts?

 

 

Breath

Monday, December 18th, 2017

One of our teenagers sang a couple years ago. Scared. Nervous. Fairly new to singing, at least outside her home. She has grown up into a beautiful young lady with a lovely smile, a more “open” personality, and more active singing role in the school choir.

Two years ago she sang Breath of Heaven and did a lovely job. After two years of more public singing and some voice lessons (from Hanna), Kaedence will be singing this Christmas Eve morning. I have asked her to sing Breath of Heaven again. I’m looking forward to it!  Here is the song she will be singing in case you haven’t heard it before.

What a difference a breath makes!

Messiah

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

In an effort to slow down some last week and over the next couple of weeks, I’m continuing my “musical” posts. No, it is not me singing. You DON’T want that. 🙂

One of our young ladies, Hanna, has already been featured in the post Noel. She will be singing that as a solo. She will also be leading our worship team in another song which has become a favorite of ours. It is called Messiah. Personally, I like Hanna’s version better than this one, but this is the original.

Messiah: Long-awaited. Longed for. Desperately needed. Here for all.

OneWord

Friday, December 15th, 2017

 

And no I’m not trying to explain my titles. For several years I’ve tried to use just one word to describe my blog entries. Yeah…it has been a stretch at times. But I think that is called poetic license. 🙂

We have several young children “running” around the church these days. I love seeing them do that, even if sometimes it is during the sermon. 🙂 🙂 That means only one thing really: they are more wide awake than their parents or some adults.  But what I find interesting is as they learn to talk. I have yet to hear, no matter how smart the parents think their child is, a child speaking in complete sentences right off the bat. You know…”the ramifications of the hyperextension of the patellar tendon…” We would be calling the Menses society for sure and/or posting it on YouTube or some other media site. “Hey! Look at my smart child!” But it is one word. That’s it. One word. And very often unintelligible words to boot. I’m always at a disadvantage because “Jo” is easier to say than “Bill.” Mine usually comes out “bull” or something like that.

When you think of Christmas what one word crosses your mind? Trees. Lights. Carols. Gifts. Love. Prophecy. Substitute. Grace. Jesus. Aaaah yes…Jesus. The one word…the one Name…which should be on the lips of every Christ-follower this Christmas season.  Why? Jesus gives the meaning to the season; we are the reason.

I’m continuing my series on “Familiarity Breeds…” with a sermon using One Word: Jesus. I’ll also be looking at the names Jesus is given in Isaiah 9:6. Thanks so much for praying.

Noel

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without songs. Old songs. New songs. Classics. Soon-to-be-classics. I’m going to do something different over the next two weeks. Because my schedule is whacked (and with Christmas it should slow down right?) I’ve decided to take a writing “break” so to speak. But I still want to maintain my presence here and also “bless” people. So…here is the deal.

On Christmas Eve morning our church family will be meeting at another facility. Our auditorium is way too small for our normal crowd. Normally in two services, we have gone to one service December through February for various reasons, and after the first two weeks, there is no doubt in my mind we will not have enough room. Unless, of course, we have a blizzard then we will have all the room in the world. (I’m praying we don’t). Anyway, this past week I spoke with our new neighbors, Bill & Suzie Abram, who have built an event center called Abram Farms Event Center. It is used for weddings, receptions, and all sorts of gatherings. Suzie has been so gracious to allow us to use it for our Christmas Eve morning worship.  To make things even better? She is allowing us to use it FREE of charge!!

I decided to do something different that morning long before we found that out. I am not preaching (some wanted to stand and clap when I announced that. I dispatched my security team) 🙂 🙂 Just kidding, of course. We are going to have a magical, musical Christmas Eve morning worship. Congregational singing. Special music by our own people. Families will be together that morning. We want to pack the barn (house)! My plan is to share with you some of the music we will be hearing and singing that morning.

Hanna O’Neal will be singing a new song called Noel. You can find it being sung by Lauren Daigle on Chris Tomlin’s new CD called “Adore.”  Here are two versions: one is just lyrics while the song is being sung; the other is a live version of Lauren singing it. Funny: I have not always been a fan of her singing, but she won me over big time with this song.  I guarantee you will fall in love with this song.

Excitement

Friday, December 8th, 2017

 

Perhaps you have heard the story about the little girl who came home from Sunday School triumphantly waving a paper. “Mommy!” she said. “My teacher says I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen!”

The mother studied the picture for a moment and concluded it was indeed a very peculiar Christmas picture. “This is wonderfully drawn, but why have you made all these people riding on the back of an airplane?” the mother gently asked.

“It’s the flight into Egypt,” the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment that the picture’s meaning was not immediately obvious.

“Oh,” the mother said cautiously. “Well, who is this mean-looking man at the front?”

“That’s Pontius, the Pilot,” the girl said, now visibly impatient.

“I see. And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby,” the mother volunteered. Studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, “But who is this fat man sitting behind Mary?”

The little girl sighed. “Can’t you tell? That’s Round John Virgin!”

We laugh, but the sad truth is that little girl’s mixed-up perspective of Christmas is not really a whole lot more muddled than what the average person carries around. In fact, many are so jaded they don’t even want to hear the Christmas story anymore. Look at the faces of many of the people walking around the stores. Many of them are haggard-looking, definitely not all that thrilled about Christmas.

When did we lose the excitement of Christmas? At what age did it become so “old” to us? Well…something excited the prophets! Something excited the shepherds! Something excited the angels! That very same something should excite us also. My sermon this Sunday is about that…Familiarity Breeds Excitement. And as you might be able to piece together it is about the prophets and the angels and the shepherds. And hopefully…me.