May, 2018

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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.

Pledge

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Memorial Day should be a day of remembrance. In honor of each one of our men and women who served our country, I give you this video. Not a song. Much better. You may have heard it before but it still stands true. Enjoy!

I should add: Jo & I were at home the other night and she was flipping the TV stations and ran across a video advertisement for his old shows. Man, did I laugh! Anyway, this man had a serious funny bone. He also had a serious bone. This is one of them.

Here’s the video

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.

Cowardice

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

A coward is defined as “a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.”

Cowardice manifests itself in a variety of ways, as you know. I’m not going to list them. Fear is huge in many peoples’ lives but I don’t necessarily want to lump all fear in the same dump as being a coward.

I despise the use of “anonymous.” Letters to the editor are not printed if they are not signed by name. No blog I know of allows anonymous comments. I have received my fair share of anonymous letters and notes and until I learned that it was a coward who wrote them, they bothered me. Greatly. I mean, I would spend waste hours trying to figure out who wrote it dependent on the subject matter.  I would lose sleep over it, wondering who didn’t like me? (That was one of my great big weaknesses…always wanting to be liked by everyone).

I have already told you what I think of people who write anonymous letters (see highlighted words above). I received an anonymous text from someone recently. It came from someone not in my contacts and when I texted back and asked, “This is who?” I received no response. Yeah…cowardice. The text was not about me (for once). It was sent to me about someone else at the urging of a third party. Talk about being complicit to unbiblical actions!! How do I know? I went to the person whom it was about and that person was able to tell me. Frankly, I deleted it as unwanted junk.

So I say this to all my readers: please, if you must pass along something take ownership. Cowards send anonymous tips, emails, texts, letters, or voice mail. If it important enough for you to pass on, it is important enough for you to put your John Henry to it. And oh yeah…try the Biblical approach. Go to the person of whom something is being said. I do believe the Bible speaks about gossip and passing along information, be it true or false. Try considering reading Ephesians 4: 25, 29, and 31.

There. I’ve said my piece. And I sign my name to it.

Holy

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

Every day I live I am reminded of Isaiah’s words in chapter 6: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts!”

What could possibly have gotten Isaiah so worked up and so “slain” that he admits to having unclean lips and living in the midst of unclean people? Only one thing really:

He. caught. a. glimpse. of. the. holiness. of. God.

It must have been an earth-shattering sight for him. A “take me to my knees” sight. A “rock my world” sight. Words fail me when trying to find the words to describe it. This sort of thing happened once to me. I was on a much-needed personal retreat of 4 days of fasting and praying. I needed to clear some things in my head, but more importantly, in my heart.  I was walking the property I was staying at and praying when I found myself on my knees. Overwhelmed and overcome by the weight of it all. For once I felt like I was standing in God’s presence. So began my journey out of legalism and into freedom. But it all started with catching a glimpse of God’s holiness. I didn’t froth at the mouth. I didn’t convulse. I didn’t have any ecstatic experience. I was just overwhelmed.

Here is a song I’d like you to listen to. It is long (a little over 9 minutes) because it is a medly of two songs. They are both good alone. Combined they are powerful. Hope you enjoy. More: I hope it brings you a reality of God’s holiness and helps you focus this week on Him.

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.

Sides

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

“The ink is black, the page is white…” so sang Three Dog Night. (I will not forgive you if you haven’t heard of them).

“A child is black, a child is white…” (Same song as above, just different dance)

Innocent.  Guilty.

Fire.  Ice

Rock music.  Country music (cough cough). Or is the real music vs non-music? 🙂

Wisdom. Fool.

Yin. Yang.

Two sides.

Two sides to every story. Wise to remember that. Being friends with someone puts that ability in danger, especially when one is louder than the other. Or mud is being slung. Or lies being told. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Maintaining a rational view and seeing both sides is often hard…and gets more difficult as the situation escalates.  It is natural to see only one side or to take sides. Anger kicks in. A sense of justice kicks in. A desire to strike out heightens.

But the Bible speaks about wisdom and words of wisdom. “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.” Pr.10:11.

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” Pr.12:18-19

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Pr.17:27

There are two sides to every story. In every aspect of life. Choose wisely if you must. Otherwise, stay calm and don’t be swayed by lies.

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!

Words

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

In case you didn’t read my other blog for today (May 9) …yes that’s a hint…I used a quote I had read in another source I use for my Quiet Time in the morning.

When words become weapons, our relationships soon become casualties. (May 9-Our Daily Bread)

We will often use phrases like “He likes to open mouth and insert foot” or “The mouth gets involved before the brain gets engaged.” How about this one: “The mouth often speaks before the brain is consulted”? (I know that’s bad. I just made it up).

But do consider the import of that statement. Maybe there is something to the idea that James 1:19 lists “Be quick to hear” first before “slow to speak and slow to anger.”

I seriously doubt any of us would just outright murder someone. But the Bible says if we hate our brother we are a murderer. Don’t you think the same thing can be said about the one who plays war games with his words? Slash. Slash. Dice. Mince. Cut. Chop. We are capable of doing all those with our words. Even sarcasm is dangerous when used with regularity or used when someone perceives we are serious.

Maybe it is time to STOP! Time to WEIGH OUR WORDS MORE CAREFULLY! And then really do what the Bible says to do: SPEAK ENCOURAGING WORDS.

Those are my thoughts this Wednesday afternoon. What are yours?