Tuesday, January 31, 2012
As we approached Baltimore the pilot notified us that we would be arriving about ten minutes early. Now my ten minutes to connect became twenty. I was relieved. After deboarding the plane and walking through the jetway into the terminal I checked the video screens for the Jacksonville flight information. It was delayed thirty minutes. Now my twenty minutes became fifty. I had time to relax, stop by the restroom, and enjoy a stroll through the Thurgood Marshall International Airport in Baltimore.
The fifty minutes then shrank to exactly the amount of time it took me to get from the arrival gate to the departure gate. I'm not sure how much that was. I'm convinced that Southwest was holding the departure from Baltimore so that the three of us connecting from Little Rock could make the flight. We took off a few minutes late, but not thirty minutes late. We arrived in Jacksonville right on time. Southwest Airlines did everything they could do to get me from Little Rock to Jacksonville via Baltimore as planned.
That makes me think about the security of my salvation. Once I accept Christ as my Savior he will do everything necessary to make sure I arrive in heaven after I die. Life may be uncertain or difficult along the way but God ultimately works around and through those things for my good and his glory. My salvation depends upon God's grace and my faith in him. His grace provides the means of salvation; my faith simply gets on board.
My journey to Florida and back may not be typical for those who travel by plane. Sometimes travelers miss connections. Sometimes jets have mechanical problems that delay flights. Sometimes weather brings havoc to the flight schedules. Sometimes a passenger waits too long in the restaurant. People miss flights for many reasons. People who place their faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation never miss heaven.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
The preaching has been great. The workshops have been very useful. The fellowship with other pastors makes me miss my friends back home. If I were to grade the conference, it gets an A+!
Perhaps the most special part is the couple I've met who are housing me for the week. In order to help keep costs down for those who need it, the members of the church who are able open their homes to guys like me. The hotel bill for this conference would have been several hundred dollars. Instead, $0.
Allan and Pat Pearce are a delightful couple. They have been part of FBC JAX since the '70s. They have served their church and the pastors in countless ways. Until this year they were part of the "Ask Me" crew - those folks that point us in the right direction as we try to move from place to place across this big campus.
Another way the Pearces have served, and how they are serving me, is by opening their home to me. Not only that, but they also picked me up at the airport AND let me use one of their cars to go back and forth to the conference each day. That saved another couple hundred dollars. Then I could also talk about the wonderful fellowship around their breakfast table, too!
It might be fun to fly into town, get a shuttle to a downtown hotel, and ride the metro to and from the conference every day. But I would have missed getting to know Allan and Pat.
I admire FBC JAX because of this conference, because of their pastor, but mostly because of the Pearces.
For my new friends, the words to this old gospel song seem appropriate: "If we never meet again this side of heaven I will meet you on that beautiful shore."
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Then he began quoting scripture about perseverence and the strength God gives.
Then I just couldn't help myself. From several paces behind him I resorted to a typical pastoral tactic. I proof-texted; I pulled a verse out of context to make my point.
In the dark hours of an early Tuesday morning I shouted: Be still and know that I am God!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
So the Lord is working through the church in Jacksonville, Florida to help this preacher from Little Rock, Arkansas have a time of rest, study, worship, and encouragement. I am thankful for the excellence in stewardship.
Now I have to think of a nice gift of appreciation to give the Pearces. And I need to think of ways my church and I can impact and influence people for the cause of Christ through hospitality.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
And I heard four good preachers deliver four good sermons. I love that, too. So it's been a pretty good week!
Gary Hollingsworth is pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock. He spoke on the topic of living in the will of the Father. One of his points was that our walk with the Lord is more important than our work for the Lord. He was quick to say - and I agree - that our work for the Lord is important. It just doesn't matter if the walk is right.
I believe that good works naturally develop out of a good walk. Nothing gets a person interested in helping others like getting to know the Lord better. As we learn more about Jesus we will soon learn that he was all about helping people. As you turn the pages of the Gospels you can't help but notice how he reached out to touch a blind man's eyes or a crippled man's hand. He had compassion for those whose family members were dying (or already dead!). He cared about the lonely, broken, left out in the crowds.
And could you dare claim that Jesus DID NOT have an incredible relationship with the Father? Of course NOT! Now, we aren't God like Jesus is. But the principle is the same: walk before works, walk leads to works.
One of my points of focus for 2012 is spiritual development. I plan to lead our church to a greater depth in relationship with Christ. What will come of that? I expect we will be more compassionate and will impact more people around us. I expect we'll be more urgent sharing our faith and will see more people come to know Christ as Savior and Lord.
In other words, by focusing on our walk we'll do good works. That will help us reach the goal of "Impacting Eternity at the Cross Road of Life."
Friday, January 06, 2012
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man's life is but a breath."
Have you ever watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Broadcast each year from various spots along the parade route, millions of people get an close-up view of the spectacular. The parade lasts three hours and follows a route from 77th Street to Herald Square in New York City.
Monday, January 02, 2012
Instead of singing "Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too," Green instead sang, "Nothing to kill or die for, and all religion's true."