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#RunningonEmpty

Friday, August 12th, 2022

NEW SERIES!!

After spending the past 7 weeks on Seven Cancers, I’m starting a new series called Eight Cures.

We often elevate celebrities to a place they do not deserve nor have earned.  I have been guilty from time to time of doing that with athletes, especially when I was younger. Then I saw they put their pants on like me, one leg at a time. Worse, I often found out they had feet of clay.  Christians have done that to athletes, musicians, actors, and even (gasp!) politicians.  Then a singer deconstructs, or an actor’s language is atrocious, or a ballplayer’s marriage disintegrates. Gone is the humility we thought we saw. We cling to celebrity looking for validation of their commitment. The recent death of Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) is a case in point. I am not her judge and she may very well be one who greets me in heaven, but the fawning over her and calling her a “Christian celebrity” (as I read the other day) just sort of did me in. 

But I digress. Sorry. Sunday’s sermon is from Matthew 5:1-3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.”   (Yeah, the 8 Cures are the Beatitudes).  What does poor in spirit mean? I suspect you may already know, but if not, I invite you to join us Sunday at 9 and 10:45.  We also live stream at the same time.

{And for the record: I liked ONJ’s music at one time. It is no longer my cup of tea. I like mine a little (okay, much) stronger.  It was not a slam against her, but against the Christian community running to embrace celebrities who talk about or mention any kind of faith. And taking it one step further: I am truly hoping she was prepared to meet Jesus. She talked about faith. I sincerely hope her faith was in Jesus…of which I can make no judgment}.

#Cancer#Hidden

Friday, August 5th, 2022

Of all the cancers which we have covered (6 so far), this last one is what I am calling the “Hidden” one. Why? Because most often it can be hidden from other eyes. Given the internet and given the plethora of other avenues, this cancer is considered “private.”

The cancer? L.U.S.T.

Someone has said, “Unbridled lust: A cannibal committing suicide by nibbling on himself.”

Another anonymous person said, “Lust, I read somewhere, is the craving for salt by a man (or woman) who is dying of thirst.”

I don’t need to go into detail of what happens when lust takes hold. A lust for money often leads to gambling. A lust for pleasure often leads to a life of unbridled lack of control. A lust for ease often leads to a life spent looking for short cuts. And a life of lust often leads to a body count left behind with destruction in its wake.  But like all the other cancers, it will eat away at us until it reveals itself in some way.

Lust is not a losing cause.  It is a disordered and idolatrous sexual desire that is both enslaving and destructive, but it is not an adventure in futility. This week I hope to disclose lust for what it is, but also to offer hope to those who struggle with it.  Please join us at 9 and 10:45 in person or via live stream. If you are unable to, please commit to praying for me-for us- as we study. Thanks.

#Cancer#Resepctable

Friday, July 29th, 2022

We have the Big 10. You know…the 10 Commandments. “You shall have no other gods before you.” “You shall not murder.” “You shall not commit adultery.” And others. The biggies.  People will also throw in some of their social issues with them. Curiously, there is one we tend to leave off the list. In fact, of all the cancers we have been talking about, this one most people will take the least seriously than any other. The cancer?

Gluttony.

I’m going to be honest. I don’t have an axe to grind.  I like to eat like all the other folks do. I used to say, “The Apostle Paul said, “I buffet my body, not buffet (like endless eating) my body.” I have to admit that I preferred the latter more than I should have. Pizza. Ice Cream. Chinese. Age has slowed me down some I’m sorry to say, but I do still like to eat! 🙂 

Gluttony is more than just overeating at Thanksgiving or Christmas or some special occasion. The failure to see that fact is flabby thinking about the Bible and what it says about this “respectable” cancer. I call it that because it normally doesn’t show up on someone’s list of sins.

This Sunday I am going to be preaching about what the Bible says about this “respectable” cancer.  I would love to have you join us in person, or if that is not possible, online.  We have two services at 9 and 10:45. Both are live streamed as well.

#Cancer#GottaHaveIt

Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Perhaps you have heard the saying, “God has promised to fill all our needs, not all of our greeds.” (Yeah…I know…that is not a word. Spell check tells me that). 🙂

Here are two sayings that I thought were pretty interesting:

“Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected…Hoarding is idolatry.”

 

“Just as a circle can never fill a triangle so the heart of greed is never satisfied. Its hunger is never filled; its thirst is never quenched. No wonder we are so often warned against it.”

When we think of greed our minds often go to misers like Ebenezer Scrooge; or corrupt bankers or some tycoon on Wall Street; or a wicked pirate like Captain Barbosa in Pirates of the Caribbean. SURELY NOT US!!

The problem with greed is that it is usually masked and isn’t that obvious. We see someone working hard and perhaps getting wealthy and we think “a man is worthy of his hire.” Little do we know that down inside that man or woman might be a heart of greed. I’m not just talking about someone in the “worldly” vein either. We get that same picture of many in the church. We think we want to be like that person, but come to find out there is a heart of greed beating down inside.

Cancer #5 is the Deadly Sin of Greed. I’m calling it the “gotta have it” syndrome.  What does the Bible say about greed? Actually a lot. That is my topic for this Sunday’s message. I hope you will join me as we delve into this volatile subject that so many of us want to deny we have but…

Please join us at 9 and 10:45 either in person or via live stream. I would love to have you or see you. If not, you can always pray for us, for me. I will never turn that away!! 🙂

And by the way: Pastor Ryan has taken about 12 people to Hickory, KY for some help with tornado clean-up. Your prayers for their travel and service would be greatly appreciated.

#Cancer#Sloth

Friday, July 15th, 2022

A sloth is an “interesting” animal. I use interesting in quotes there because to me, watching a sloth would be like watching grass grow or paint dry. You get the idea. B-O-R-I-N-G.

Proverbs 20:5 says, The lazy one does not plow after autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.”  For more on that read another passage: Pr. 24: 30-34.

I realize there are some people who move slower than others. That is their makeup. But being lazy or being slothful is a whole ‘nother animal (pun intended).  A sloth is someone who is careless, unwilling to act, half-hearted in their approach to life, and gets discouraged in the face of difficulty.  In one of the more humorous passages in the Bible the writer of Proverbs describes the slothful person as one who says, “There is a lion outside; I shall be killed in the streets!” so he just stays in bed. Another passage, Pr. 26:14 says, “As the door turns on its hinges, so does a lazy one on his bed.”

Not very complimentary is it? It is not meant to be. That is why sloth is considered one of the 7 Deadly Sins, which I am calling 7 Cancers.  That is my current sermon series and I’d like to invite you to join me as we study. If you are able to visit in person, we would love to have you.  We have two services- one at 9 and one at 10:45. We live stream both services as well. If you are unable to join us, I would appreciate your prayers.

#Explosion#Cancer

Friday, July 8th, 2022

So far in this series I am calling “7 Cancers,” we have talked about pride and envy. This week’s cancer is on Anger.

We have all sorts of ditties about anger. Such as:

“When angry, count ten before you speak; If very angry, a hundred.” Thomas Jefferson

“When angry, count four. When very angry, swear.” Mark Twain

“It’s wise to remember that anger is just one letter short of danger.” Sam Ewing

“Anger helps straighten out a problem like a fan helps straighten out papers.” Susan Marcotte

“Secular” thoughts to a spiritual problem. “Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” James 1:19.  Now that’s more like it!

Anger seems to be all the rage (pun intended) these days. If people aren’t screaming and yelling or protesting or ranting and raving about something we tend to think there is something wrong with them. (I, on the other hand, think there is something most definitely wrong with those who do).  Our society is becoming angrier and angrier and it is finding ways to carry it out which boggles the mind. Who can forget the riots of 2020? Who can forget the mass shootings we have witnessed?

Christ-followers are not immune to those same kinds of feelings. BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE THEM RIGHT.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that of all people Christ-follower ought to be setting the example of how to react to unfavorable situations or decisions.

Anger is one of the cancers which plague us all. What should be our response to situations which “try men’s souls”? How can I win over this cancer? My sermon this week on The Explosive Cancer will attempt to answer those questions and more. Please join me in person or via live stream at 9 and 10:45. If you can’t, would you mind praying for me? Thanks.

#Cancer#Envy

Friday, July 1st, 2022

I read of a movie called The Prestige. I have not seen it so I will rely on someone who has. It is the story of rival stage magicians in late 19th century London. Both men were brilliant and ambitious. Both want the best. The film follows the obsessive drive they each have and underneath their drive to be the best is a fierce competition which leads to murder and self-destruction. Their rivalry, fueled by envy and jealousy, wreaks havoc in their personal and professional lives.

Proverbs 14:30 says, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”

Socrates called it “the ulcer of the soul.” Envy is a sickness of the soul, a consuming, wasting spiritual disease (cancer) that devours its host from the inside out. Like cancer, it eats away at us from the inside out. So many people are being eaten alive by envy (and its evil twin jealousy) they don’t even know it…or recognize it.

My series on 7 Cancers continues this week with my sermon on envy I’ve entitled “The Green-Eyed Cancer.”  Think “green with envy” and you get the picture.  I hope you will join me in person or via live stream. We meet at 9:00 and 10:45.

#DeadlyCancer#Pride

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Gregory the Great, who became pope in 590 A.D., once said pride was the “queen of sins.” And even though the papacy is not Scriptural, I have to say I agree with him. C.S. Lewis called pride “the great sin.” He went on to say, “The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride.”

When you think about it, all sin seems to find its roots in pride. Proverbs 8:13 and Proverbs 16:18 seem to say that as well.  Funny side note: do you remember the song by Carly Simon called “You’re So Vain”? It was reported to have been about Warren Beatty because he thought he was God’s gift to women.  Remember part of the lyrics: “You’re so vain you probably think this song is about you.” I just thought she was saying, “If you are arrogant enough to think I’m singing about you in what I have said, then vanity is an issue.” 🙂

Anyway, when pride takes over everyone suffers.  Two weeks ago I began a series I am calling “7 Cancers” with a sermon on Whatever Became of Sin.  This Sunday starts that series in earnest. As you can tell, pride will be the focus of the sermon I’m calling “The Queen Cancer.”   I hope you will join me either in person or online. We have two services-one at 9 and one at 10:45.

Let me close with a quote from J. Oswald Sanders:

Nothing is more distasteful to God than self-conceit.

#Father’sDay#SpecialEvent

Friday, June 17th, 2022

As I recover from my back surgery God’s impeccable timing becomes even more apparent. I’m not really sure I would have been up for a normal Sunday morning sermon. Without knowing anything about surgery or a date, I decided to do something different for Father’s Day. 

First, the backdrop. On Mother’s Day, I asked several women to share in sort of a roundtable discussion what woman or women in the Bible was one they looked up to. I used the word “hero” when I asked. Seven women participated, two via video. It was well-accepted and much appreciated. They didn’t preach. They didn’t even stand in the pulpit. I set chairs up for them to sit and share their thoughts with the audience and each other.

Now Father’s Day. I decided to do something similar for Father’s Day. I asked 15 men the same question: what man in the Bible would you consider a hero…other than Jesus.  All of them got back to me with their thoughts. When I asked if they would be willing to share that with others, 9 of them said, “Yes.” I have to tell you how excited I was about that! Many consider the women the more open of those who will speak.

This Sunday, 9 men will be sharing their example, the one they look up to as one to follow. Due to space and time it will not be a roundtable. They will present their thoughts from the pulpit. I’m so excited to hear their thoughts. I have to admit men I never thought would feel comfortable standing in front of folks will be doing so. What a phenomenal sight it will be to see men lead. Another man is giving the Communion thought.

I invited you to join me at 10:00 this Sunday. One service only this week! You can join us in person or online. Meanwhile, please continue to pray for my recovery. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

#Sin#SayWhat?

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

In 1973 Dr. Karl Menninger wrote a book entitled Whatever Became of Sin? Although I have never read the book, i borrowed its title for this week’s sermon.  The very real truth is that sin is part and parcel of life here on earth, but our culture wants to either redefine it, dismiss it, or dismantle it.

Holiness is not an option for the follower of Christ, and for us to accomplish that we must come to grips with the effects of sin in our lives. Anyone who knows the Bible or even of the Bible, knows the beginning of sin from Genesis 3. Adam and Eve decided to take things into their own hands, believe the serpent who said they would be like God, and eat the fruit. Life has been all downhill since then.  Try as we may, we cannot change the outlook or consequence of sin.  I have to confess that I get really embarrassed for those who think they can sing because someone told them they could.  Even though I don’t watch American Idol , I have seen enough promos to know there are some who are downright awful. And when I say awful. I mean A.W.F.U.L. They remind me of those who think they can pull their life together and overcome their sin by themselves. They can’t sing and neither can someone do the latter.

I am starting a series on June 26 (a break for Father’s Day) on 7 Cancers. This week’s sermon is sort of a lead off batter to it.  I would love to have you join me in person if possible. If not, we will be live streaming it at 9 and 10:45. Please join us. If not possible, then please pray for the service. Thanks.