Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Jesus said, "I am coming soon."
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I have a metal plate and five pins in my left leg just below the knee. That's from a snow skiing accident twelve years ago. Up until now the knee has not been giving me problems. But I hope the pains are just the typical aches that go along with using body parts you haven't used in a while. My knee has more stress on it now than anytime in a long time.
I've had muscle aches along the way. Not worried about that. Didn't even know I had some of those muscles! But watching the knee to make sure I'm not doing damage there.
I gotta go to bed now because 4:30 will be here in just a little while! If you pray, please add me and my knee to your prayer list. I want to do all I can and not damage my knee.
Friday, April 20, 2012
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago."
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I watched as they began to group together in booths and tables in the dining area. Some body language clearly said that some kids were welcome to sit with them and some weren't. I began to wonder how it was in my high school. We didn't have cell phones. We didn't drive $30,000 cars. But we were probably just as clique-ish as today's students.
Nowhere are divisions more noticeable than in the typical Baptist church in the south. I've read articles recently about white churches firing pastors for baptizing people of another color. I've read articles of churches requiring members to hold to particular forms of racism or discrimination. That's really sad.
If a person should feel accepted anywhere it should be in the church. If that "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" statement (Ephesians 4:5) is really true, then one Church is also true. Who is there to follow besides Christ? Sure, there are local expressions called churches that are uniquely fit for carrying out the Great Commission and Great Commandment, but that doesn't mean a local church can exclude anybody. We (Christians) are all on the same team. We ought to act like it.
I'm assistant coach for the Red Roc Rockets baseball team. We don't let the boys talk down to one another. They are on the same team. They are to encourage and help each other. That's how a church should be and how churches should interact with one another. What's at stake for the church is much more important than a baseball game. A vast majority of people alive today are headed for eternal separation from God if they don't hear the gospel and accept the gospel.
We have a huge task and we have no time to waste. So quit saving seats for the people you like and join with all Christians to win all kinds of people to Christ. Eternity depends upon it.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
When I was a senior in high school at Dardanelle, playing for the Sand Lizards' football team, Coach Richie Mathis would run us hard every Monday. He said he was running the poison out out of us. I never had that kind of poison in me and the running was bad. I can't imagine how bad it might have been had I boozed it up over the weekend! Coach Mathis felt that by the end of Monday's practice he would have our bodies back in shape for the rest of the week's practices.
My mother (Tuti) and step-father spent the weekend with us. She likes to cook, he likes to pay when we go out, and I like to eat. That combination probably has something to do with my current physical condition. They arrived on Friday. We ate out Friday night. She got up early and cooked a big breakfast Saturday. We stopped for a quick bite for lunch on the way to a ballgame. After a band concert Saturday night, we ate out again. She got up Sunday morning and fixed sausage and biscuits. We ate out after church.
They went home Sunday afternoon so when I say I ran my mother off today, it's not what you think.
The alarm went off at 4:30 A.M. I jumped up and started the routine that has become habit on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I meet my walking/jogging crew at 5:00 A.M. Tuesdays are running days. We started out in January walking each of the three days. I've gradually gotten to the point that I can run. So Tuesdays and Thursdays hold at least a 2-mile run on the schedule.
I gained some weight over the weekend. Thanks, Tuti! I ran it off today.
So I ran my mother off today and I feel good about it.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
We are looking at principles of prayer throughout the Bible. The first lesson was "Praying the Jericho Way" and we talked about the prayers that the Hebrews must have prayed as they prepared for and marched around the city of Jericho.
The second lesson was "Praying the Babylon Way." We looked at several of the prayers found in the book of Daniel and drew some pointers form them.
The third was "Praying the Gethsemane Way." The contrast between Jesus' prayer and the disciples lack of prayer made the difference in the trials they were all about to face.
The fourth lesson was tonight. We looked at "Praying the Jerusalem Way." Peter and John had stirred up a commotion in the temple when they healed a crippled man. The religious leaders didn't like that at all so they called the disciples in to punish them. "Don't speak in the name of Jesus again!" they were told. But the followers of Christ answered, "We can't help it. We can do nothing but speak of what we have seen and heard." Then they went to where the other believers were gathered and told them what had happened. The church began to pray for boldness to speak the name of Jesus. The house shook and they proclaimed his name throughout the city! Oh, that we would pray like that and experience God's power like that and obey his command like that!
Next week we'll look at a fifth perspective of prayer, "Praying the Philippi Way." Paul and Silas were jailed. But they were singing and praying at midnight. And something mighty happened. We'll uncovered some prayer principles to help us in our midnight hours.
The final installment of the series is "Praying the Patmos Way." From the Revelation, we'll find principles of praying from John's prayer on the Isle of Patmos.
Then I hope to write up the lessons in a format that I can share with other pastors and teachers. The series is doing me a lot of good! And I hope my church benefits, too.
Monday, April 09, 2012
My family and I got up early to attend the Community Sunrise Service hosted at Martindale Baptist Church. The sky was cloudy so I'm not sure the sun got up that early but we had a good time. Christians from Martindale Baptist Church, Holly Springs Baptist Church, and Cross Road Baptist Church get together every year for worship, fellowship, and a good breakfast! Sunrise Services may be a thing of the past for many churches, but I'm glad we take part in this one.
Cross Road kept the regular schedule for Sunday morning. We had Bible study at 9:45 and worship at 11:00. CRBC is different that other churches I've served and attended. We rarely have big crowds on special Sundays. I'm not exactly sure why and that is frustrating. Some of our members attend other churches with family on Christmas and Easter - they get a "hall pass" for that. And a few families gather at Cross Road. But a lot of people who would consider themselves to part of the CRBC family just don't come to church on these special days. Too much cooking to do. Too much family to enjoy. Too much of __________. I just don't get it.
But those of us who were in church at CRBC yesterday had a great time. The Bible study I'm part of talked about sin, judgment, and grace and how God balances all that. We had a good, spirited discussion. Then our worship service included music that pointed us to the cross, the empty tomb, and beyond as we focused upon our Savior Jesus Christ. The choir sang a beautiful song. I'm thankful for those who love to sing and are glad to lead in worship. My message was based on Mark 16:1-8 and was entitled "The Difference the Empty Tomb Makes." The empty tomb - the resurrection of Jesus - turns our perspective from death to life, from despair to hope, from desolation to relationship, and from doubt to belief. The resurrection is real and really makes a difference!
We had lunch with Deana's family then headed to North Little Rock to talk with the folks at the Church at Argenta. This is a church plant just getting underway. Michael and Amanda Carpenter moved into the Argenta district last fall. They now have another couple and individual who have moved there to help staff the church. They plan to open a coffee shop and Argenta's third place and the plans are coming together. Michael told us about space on Main Street that is available. All they need to do is a little remodel and they'll be ready to go. He is aiming for an opening date of September 2012. A group of believers are already meeting in the Carpenters' home and they have been taking a van load of neighborhood children to a supporting church in North Little Rock for several months. We met a 10-yr old girl yesterday who is getting baptized soon! We are glad to be associated with the Church at Argenta.
Then we were off to Dickey-Stephens Park to watch the Arkansas Travelers take on the Frisco Rough Riders. That was a great way to end a great day. Just with the Travs would've won the game!
Jesus, church, and family. It was a great Easter Sunday.
Friday, April 06, 2012
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Some people aren't good at encouraging others. Either all they want to talk about is themselves or they are just so negative. Who needs that!
One of the great encouragers in the Bible was Barnabas. We meet him in the story of Paul's conversion in the book of Acts.
Paul is a new convert. He's been persecuting Christians so everybody is shying away from him. They aren't sure his conversion is real. Maybe he's just laying a trap for them.
But Barnabas comes to Paul. And then he introduces Paul to the disciples. Then he travels with Paul to spread the gospel.
Barnabas didn't call Paul on the phone and say, "Next time you're in town let's do lunch." No, he went out of his way to go to Paul.
Barnabas didn't expect Paul to be anything other than a new convert to Christianity. New believers aren't as wise and mature as those who have been following Jesus for a while.
Here's a principle of encouragement: An encourager comes alongside you rather than demanding you come alongside him.
Forrest Grimmett is my encourager in this fitness thing I'm doing. Forrest is in great shape and can run circles around me...backwards. Instead of constantly telling me to do like he does, he walks and jogs alongside me. Sometimes he picks up the pace and I do too. He hears me breathing hard and he slows down.
That's how we encourage others. Come alongside them and slowly lead them to where you are. That's a good principle for both physical fitness and spiritual fitness.
Paul didn't learn the lesson quickly. He gave up on Mark because Mark didn't finish a mission trip. But Paul eventually got it. He mentored Timothy like a pro - like Barnabas. And he came back around with Mark, requesting that Mark be with him near the end of Paul's life.
Who are you trying to encourage? Take time to come alongside them. You will be more help to them there than from where you are now.