“For I Was Hungry”

“‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in;  I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me. (Matthew 25:35-36, CSB)”

 

Have you ever been hungry, and opened refrigerator door to find it empty?


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Don’t Miss the Resurrection!

Can I just admit to you all who easily distracted I can be?  Will you judge me for that?


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Back in the Habit

I would like to say that I have taken the last couple of months away from blogging in order to rethink my perspective and prayerfully consider what the Lord would have me to do with this space.  I would LIKE to say that, but it would be a lie. The truth is


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Snow Day 2018

So, just when I was getting used to the idea of being back on a “normal” schedule, along comes a snowstorm (snow-cyclone?).  Looking outside my home, I have two conflicting thoughts: “I should have taken down the Christmas lights before the snow hit”, and “If I plug them back in, they’d be really pretty in all this snow.”  Of course, neither of these thoughts will cause me to take action.  Instead, I will stay inside where it is warm, and work, while watching the occasional snow plow or sliding neighbor.


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For Our 245th Year

As we rapidly approach the end of 2017, this seems like an opportune time to look at where we are as a church, and where we need to go in our 245th year, 2018.  Currently, our directory contains 59 names (children included).  Our average attendance at worship service is approximately 35-40.  Obviously, not all members can attend every service, but it would be nice to average 50 during 2018.  Attendance at Wednesday night Bible Study averages about 12; it would be nice to increase to 15 in 2018.


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Silent Night?

Have you found the Christmas season to be “too busy”.  Do you feel like you’re on a treadmill that you just can’t get off of?  Are you just trying to survive until the 26th?  It can be easy to be overcome by the events of the season.  We often try to jam too much into a few days.  There is a lot of pressure to “get it right”.


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Sit Down and Stay Awhile

A few nights ago, I had the privilege of attending a Christmas program at an elementary school.  There is a certain joy to seeing children perform, because, well, you never know what will happen.  There are inevitable technical difficulties (“the microphone was working a few minutes ago”), children who freeze on stage, children who thrive on stage, props that go sailing, etc.  Is it really a children’s program if these things don’t happen?  This particular program was set up with each grade level performing a song, with the handbell choir performing classic Christmas songs between each.  And it was a really good program, but unfortunately most people there missed it almost entirely.


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Pray for First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs

I remember on one of my Iraq deployments, either 2007 or 2008, there was a huge problem of convoys being hit by pressure-plate IEDs.  A vehicle would roll over a bomb or a land mine and set it off.  So someone came up with a plan to minimize the damage and casualties by installing a “mine roller” in front of the lead vehicle of the convoy.  This consisted of a large row of wheels several feet out, that would set off the bomb, before the vehicle itself was over it.  I remember thinking when I saw it, “Won’t they just move the pressure plate forward of the explosive to counter this?  I know that I was far from alone in this thought.  When someone is really determined to do evil, they refuse to be stopped.


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Study To Show…

I have recently come to discover my need for a personal librarian.  Since I have been a pastor, I have been blessed to receive a great number of books that are useful in my calling.  Besides the books that I acquired in school, I have several that my predecessor left in the office when he moved.  While I’m sure he took the “good” ones and left the “others” here, I found some to be quite interesting and kept them.  Ones that I would never use were rehomed, of course.

A handful of the books in my collection were given to me by very special people to me, and I treasure them dearly.  I have received several from the collections of deceased persons as their family members have gone through their belongings.  I find it interesting to look at what people studied, and the books that helped to form their opinions.  I feel like I’m getting to know them posthumously.


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How’s Your Witness?

How is your witness?  Have you even thought about the answer to this question?  When you report something as the truth, can others believe it?  Is it important to be factual?  What about on social media platforms?  I have seen some disturbing trends from believers on social media that is, quite frankly, a bad witness.  I think that it would be great if some of our fellow believers took note of the acronym used in elementary schools encouraging kids to “THINK” before they speak.  That is, is it True?  Helpful?  Inspiring?  Necessary?  Kind?  I have found several social media posts by believers that does not meet at least some of this criteria, so I suggest that before posting, one should ask these questions:

“DO I KNOW THIS TO BE FACTUAL?”  I cringe every time someone shares one of the “Let’s make this guy famous” posts.  You know the ones.  This guy beat up this woman, or this child, or he tortured his dog.  Share until he gets arrested!  After all, you have no heart if you don’t want to see justice done for his victim.  But here’s the problem:  If you share this post, you are accusing him of a crime of which you have no knowledge.  Exodus 20:16 commands that we not testify falsely against our neighbor.  You were nowhere near Oshkosh, Wisconsin where the alleged attack occurs.  When you testify falsely against someone, in the town square that is social media, you prove that you cannot be trusted to tell people the truth about anything.  The same also holds true of things that we post about public figures.  Ed Stetzer reminds us of this point in his article “Some Christians Hate Joel Osteen More Than They Love The Truth”  If you do not know the facts, do not proclaim them.  

“DOES THIS POST BRING GLORY TO CHRIST OR DETRACT FROM HIM?”  Does it show a “perfect love that casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).  Or does it contribute to a fear of those we are called to reach with the gospel, such as people of other races, religions, nationalities, and even political affiliations?  Colossians 4:5-6 reminds us how are are to treat and speak to “outsiders”, meaning those outside of the faith.  Our words and tone matter.  An old saying reminds us that you will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  I can assure you that you will not win any Millennials to Christ by continually referring to them as “crybabies”, “snowflakes”, or other derogatory terms.  How do I know this?  Because they are unfriending you, and therefore you lose any influence you may have had with them.  Matthew 5:16 reminds us that we are to let our light shine before others so that they may glorify the Lord.  Will your post cause people to glorify God, or turn away from Him?

“DOES THIS POST SHOW WORSHIP OF THE ONE TRUE GOD, OR SOMETHING ELSE?”  Do you love the Messiah more than ‘Merica?  Do you love the Savior more than statues?  Do you love the Son of Man more than the man in the White House?  Do you love the Lamb of God more than the last man in the White House?  Do you rely on the Promises of God or the promises of men?  Do you love the Redeemer more than the Republican platform?  Or the Son of David more than the Democratic platform.  Do you love the Son of God more than the sensual desires?  As Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15).  If your post, or the overall tone of your social media account points to something other than Christ, you are joining the world in pointing them in the wrong direction.  

Everyone has a public platform for proclaiming the gospel that was unavailable to us just a few years ago.  How do we use it?  For idle speech and things that do not matter in eternity?  Is this the best use of our platform while those around us enter eternity in hell?  Matthew 12:36 reminds us that we will be held accountable for every idle word we speak.  Immediately before ascending into heaven, Jesus instructed the apostles that they were to witness to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:7-8).  This command carries to us, and we have tools that can literally allow us to communicate all over the world.  Let’s use it to communicate the gospel, not steer people away from it.




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