Devotional- April 2016

April 30, 2016

 If you're waiting on someone to give you a medal for doing the right thing, you're going to be disappointed. As a matter of fact, in doing the right thing you may face persecution, rejection, and criticism. So, expect it, it's probably going to happen. Let me give you an example. Many years ago, at a church where I was serving, we had a black doctor attending our services. I say black, because he wasn't African American, but rather from Jamaica. He loved classical music, soccer, and a more formal church service. He was only going to be in our area for a short period of time, so our church service offered him a place where he could worship. Oh, I forgot to tell you,me was educated at Johns Hopkins. One Sunday my daughter, Melanie, had a bit of a sore throat. Prior to our service I told our new doctor and he willing to give her a look. He decided to write her a prescription for a little antibiotic and did so sitting on the front pew. Just as he was writing out this prescription, people were coming into the church for service. One senior adult man noticed the situation and assumed this black doctor was filling out a membership card. He quickly called me into the hallway and began to tell me I'd better put an end to this nonsense. He said: "If you allow him to join, we'll get us another preacher." Now mind you, this is 10 minutes before our service. I told him to cool his jets, and he was welcomed to recommend my termination at any time. Well, nothing happened, but there's nothing like being jumped by people you least expect. The reality is, it happens to all of us. They crucified Jesus for doing the right thing. The good news is, no medals here, but one day a crown of righteousness.  I'll take that trade. Godspeed.


April 29, 2016

The other day an individual was reflecting on their life, the mistakes and decisions made which probably weren't the best and said:  "I wish there was a way I could go back and undo some of the things I did. I wish God had been at the center of my life 10-15 years ago." Well folks, that sentiment is the same one most of us feel. The maturation process as a believer is hard and long. It's called a process or a journey for a reason. I'm glad my life is not a public film for the world to see all my mistakes and stupid decisions. Nobody lives the perfect Christian life. As that old saying reminds us: "Thank God I'm not what I use to be and thank God I'm not what I'm going to be." Be patient with yourself and understand in this life we're going to have peaks and valleys, but remember this:  I believe God is more concerned about direction headed than distance covered. Point your life towards Him and begin the process. When you run off the road, don't stay there. One day the traveling will be over and we'll was worth it all. Godspeed.


April 28,2016

When you hit the status icon on Facebook, you're asked a question:  "What's on your mind?" Today, I'm not sure, would be a good time to ask me such a question. There are things which have happened that bring me great joy, while other things have brought huge disappointment. There are things on my mind which brings a smile to my face, while others break my heart. As Gordon Lightfoot once sang:  "If you could my mind, what tale my thoughts would tell." And wouldn't they all! However, in order to be productive for the Kingdom, we are given a charge by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8:  "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Let your mind be consumed with things from above and the burdens of this world will become lighter. That my friends is a promise. Godspeed.


April 27, 2016

 When I was growing up, I would roll my eyes when my parents would tell me about the "good ole days" from their childhood or youth. However, as we look at the world in which we live, there are thing from my childhood I wish today's children could experience, but probably won't due to our loss of innocence. It's just a different world, and in a sense, that breaks my heart. Here are a few things they'll miss that had a profound impact on my life. Riding my bike to school everyday. Taking your new pocket knife to school, not because you wanted to hurt someone, but because you got it for your birthday. Spending the night a your friend's house. Understanding your friend's parents were your second parents. Playing wiffle ball in the Foshee's front yard. Going to Fireman's Park during the summer days. Playing tackle football on Sunday afternoons at Immanuel Baptist and thanking God the window to the library was shatterproof. Throwing the frisbee on Saturday nights in front of Walter Sillers Coliseum. (Only place with lights.) It was knowing if you got in trouble at school, you got in trouble at home. It was annually going to the county fair and the Cross Tie Festival. It was riding on the tailgate of your coach's pickup all the way to Quickie Hamburgers if you won your minor league baseball game. It was knowing you could go almost anywhere in town without fear. It was coming home after school to an unlocked house. It was riding my bike to the Varsity for a rare treat because Mom didn't cook that night. It was staying at home most of the time, because home was important. These are just a few things our children and grandchildren will miss. What a shame, it happened on our watch. Godspeed.

April 26, 2016

Autocorrect is a good thing, but often a bad thing. Without notice, without warning, just when you least expect it, she'll throw a word in your sentence which will change the entire thought. One that I notice that he will do very often (please note both masculine and feminine pronouns have been used.) is when I type the word God.  I can't tell you how many times they've substituted "a god" for the word "God".  However, autocorrect is the only one who is guilty of this action. We've substituted other gods over the one true God. We have bowed before their alters and have willing handed over the keys to our hearts, time, pocketbooks, and minds. These gods have become very demanding in requiring our first allegiance and priorities. We fail to realize how far we've traveled down the road to nowhere until we need God. All of a sudden, He seems distant and remote. The interesting  thing about the conundrum we find ourselves in is, God has never moved. The time has come to rid ourselves of the false gods that dominate our time and occupy our hearts. In begins in the heart. For whoever controls the heart, controls the life. Godspeed.

April 25, 2016

Several years ago during our staff prayer time, the person voicing our prayer prayed the following: "And Lord today I want to pray especially for those children whom no one prays for." As much as anything, that particular request touched and burdened my heart. The thought that there are children in our schools facing temptation, bearing burdens, suffering broken spirits, and feeling all alone, and no one is praying for them. These children haven't received a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, nor a hug of appreciation. And no one is praying for them. Some of the children are hungry for food but they are starving for some kind of attention, and no one is praying for them. Most of us know how hard it is to raise a child when all the circumstances are right. However, how hard is it for a child to reach his/her potential when there is no support, love and no one praying for them. Today, during your quiet time, see the faces of those children and lift them up in prayer. You might be the only one doing so. Godspeed.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

There are many people in our world wondering if there is a God. Some can wrap their brain around the fact that there's a higher power out there, but we can't get to him personally. There are others that believe there is a God, but he's angry at us, therefore we could never be good enough to make up for all the horrible things we've done. The truth is, there is God that knows everything about us, and loves us still. There is a God whose very nature is love. As a matter of fact, we have the capacity to love because He first loved us. Also, understand there isn't one thing you can do that will make God love you any less nor love you anymore. But finally, you and I need to realize the only way we can find love and forgiveness from a loving God is through His son Jesus Christ. For it is not what you do, but rather what He has already done for you. I pray you'll experience the forgiveness and wholeness Christ can bring to a life. Godspeed


Saturday, April 23, 2016

I don't know if you've noticed, and hate to be the bearer of bad news if you haven't, but normal isn't normal anymore. The things we thought we'd never see in our lifetime have now become common place. In other words, if you'd have told me just five or six years ago that males would be allowed in female bathrooms and same sex marriage would be the law, I'd have asked you which planet you're from? The transgender bathroom situation is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard of in my life. Just open the door for every pedophile in society to hide behind this law and forget about sending your child to the restroom by themselves. There are some things one shouldn't have to explain to a 6 year old. However, the thing which gripes me the most is, if you disagree at all with the LGBT movement or points of view, you art labeled as bigot or intolerant. However, these same supporters can bash and belittle Christianity and justify their actions. From what I've observed, the LGBT group is without question, the most intolerant group of people. You not only have to accept their position, you must agree, otherwise you're narrow minded. Well, call me narrow minded because I find zero biblical evidence to support their stance. There is a court higher than the Supreme Court and there is a law higher than our laws. We have become like Israel in the time of the Judges: "There was no King and everyone did as they pleased." God help us because we sure can't help ourselves.


April 22, 2016

Yesterday, like many of you, I was shocked to hear about the death of musical legend, Prince. Now right off the bat I'm going to tell you I was not a big fan of his music. In other words, he wasn't one of my favorites. However, I can recognize talent, charisma, and star power when I see it. And Prince certainly had those things. He was kinda of an enigma, in that I'm not really sure a lot of people understood him. After all, who changes their name to a symbol? He was adored by fans all over the world. After all, he performed at the halftime of a Super Bowl. His songs such a "Purple Rain" and "Little Red Corvette" are as timeless as a songs can be.  He wasn't  given to much scandal, however, he seemed to be an individual who struggled with who he was. A lot of mega stars are just like that. Even with all his fame, fortune, and notoriety, he couldn't buy himself 10 more minutes on this earth, and neither will you. He was a Prince, but did he know the King of Kings?  How sad to have earthly provisions and still died unprepared. I pray that he knew the true King. I pray you do as well. Godspeed.


April 21, 2016

When someone takes you into their confidence, keep your mouth shut. That person has shared with you information which is private, personal, and spiritual. As they are pouring out their heart, they are trusting that you will not share this with your spouse, friends, and for sure, your prayer group. (Christians often use prayer request as a way of sharing gossip.) The only exception to this rule is if the individual is considering harm to themselves or others, or have abused a child.  However, there are so many church people, ministers included, who have been burned by people they trusted. They have poured out their heart about a situation, only to hear it repeated to them at the grocery store, beauty parlor or barber shop. As a matter of fact, I can tell you, there are very few people I trust with my personal life. I can count them on one hand. On the other hand, I've had things repeated from sources I'd never expect, including fellow ministers. So, if someone is struggling with a burden in life and they take you into their private life and confidence, honor them and God by keeping your mouth closed. In doing so, you'll ease their load instead of adding to it. Godspeed.


April 20, 2016

My God is a great and awesome God who answers all prayers according to His will and in His time. With that being said, WE HAVE A CONTRACT  ON OUR HOUSE!!!! It has been on the market on and off for four years. At a glance you'd say: "Why did it take so long?" Well, let me show you how God works. We came to Columbus fours years ago. At the time, I commuted by and forth to Decatur. We eventually packed everything and moved into the parsonage owned by the church. There would have been no way we could have made two payments on two houses. We were able to survive for about a year and a half, and finally, got some relief. Our realtor, Whitney Ford Clemons, found a nice couple to rent our house in Decatur. Whitney did so without taking a dime, for more than two years. She is without question the best realtor in Decatur. I don't know many that would do what she did for us. We knew our renters would be moving out in January 2016, but their move was delayed till March. For two years, they covered our payment. In that time I paid cash for a wedding as well. One month after our family moved out, we got a contract. I can tell you, the amount wasn't what we wanted, but it's manageable. We lost a lot of money. But it was also offset by the renters helping us reduce the principal. However, the burden had become so heavy that yesterday, upon signing the contract, I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Now let me tell you this: There's no way you can out give God. Through this whole experience, and there were times when it was rough, we continued to give The Lord what was His. That's not bragging nor boasting, but a fact. I say that to encourage you to understand that if your in a financial crunch, you'll never get out until you make God your partner. Thanks for your prayers. The post I wrote about my house, was the most viewed and commented post I've written. Your love and encouragement made a big difference. We hope to close at the end of May. Keep praying, we're almost there. Godspeed


April 19, 2016

When God speaks and gives you direction, it's better not to debate the issue, but rather act in obedience. Too often we sit frozen with indecision, not realizing that to say, "not now to God" in actuality is to say, "no!" How many time have we missed the burning bush before us because we're debating whether the bush is actually on fire and is a sign from God?  Be on the lookout as to where and when God is at work. You'll be surprised at the the opportunities and appointments He has for you. When He offers guidance, take it. When He offers counsel, heed it. When He offers discipline, endure it. When He offers forgiveness, accept it. It's not enough just to love God, He expects you to follow and obey Him. For every time He is called Savior, he's called Lord 10 times. Get out of the debating mode and do what He asks you to do. Who knows, the opportunity for that service may never come around again. How sad it would be to miss the blessing He has in store for you. The first step of faith is obedience. Godspeed.


April 18, 2016

 The other day, after returning from a funeral in Canton, I had an overwhelming sensation which swept over my heart and my soul. The effect of this feeling was so strong, so overpowering that almost every emotion was stirred  within my body. People from my past in my minds eye marched before me like a Christmas parade on Main Street. One thought flooded my mind as they passed one by one: "My goodness, so many people have been good to me in spite of myself." There's no way in the world I could ever pay the debt owed to so many friends, family, coworkers, fellow ministers and church members. One thought kept resonating through the back chambers of my mind: "You've taken far more than you have given." The same could be said of most of us today. I believe it was Albert Schweitzer who once said : " I am haunted by the lack of gratitude I demonstrated as a youth!" So am I. Thank you Denny, Karen, Harriet, Norman, Mary Alice, Patty, Bryce, Kim, Bucky, Charles, Steve, Lou, Pat, Robert, John, Chris, Ralph, Charlie, Clyde, Yvonne, Argile, Keith, Johnny, Robbie, Dan, Larry, Howard, Cliff, Billy, Gary, Nell, J-Man, Jeff, Norwood, Jim, Russ, Al, Richard, Pete, Mom, and Dad. The list it too long to mention everyone. I need to work at being a better giver. Forgive me for the lack of gratitude on my part. Godspeed.

April 17,2016

If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. At least that's what my Dad would always tell me. There's usually no such thing as a free lunch and there aren't many shortcuts to success. If you want something, there's usually a cost attached to it. As Christians we often talk about salvation being God's free gift to us. Now it is free in that it involves no exchange of money between you and God nor the church. However, eternal life is costly on two levels. The first is that someone had to pay for the penalty of sin. That person was Jesus. He literally bore the sins of the world, including mine and yours, willingly and lovingly. He did for us, what we could never do for ourselves. Second, salvation cost you your life. The Apostle Paul put it this way: "I am crucified with Christ, yet I live." Jesus himself said that we have to be willing to take up our cross and follow him. That's a daily surrender. So, in reality when we talk about the free gift of salvation, let's remember the costly nature of it. For it will cost you all you are and all you'll ever be. The question is: Is the price too high? For your sake I hkjope not. Godspeed.


April 16,2016

Are you blocking someone's view?  Think real hard for a moment. Are you the obstruction that's hindering someone from seeing Jesus?  You remember Zacchaeus don't you from the New Testament. This is what we know about the man. First, he was a tax collector by trade. However, he wasn't just a collector of taxes, he was the chief of all collectors. There's no telling how much money he'd cheated out of during his hay day. (That reminds me, gotta mail my tax stuff today......squirrel) Second, he was rich. Rich from taking advantage of the common people. Third, he was a wee little man and wee little man was he. Sorry, couldn't resist. However, he'd heard about Jesus, this itinerate preacher, this new dog and pony act, who was traveling through his town. Out of curiosity, old Zach ran out to get a glimpse of this famous new celebrity. But the crowds were so great, kinda like when the Beatles came to America. Due to the fact that he was a small man, he couldn't see Jesus.  In other words, the people blocked his view.  We do the same by our words, actions, and responses to others. How often do we have one chance for others to see Jesus in us, and we blow it?  Well, Zacchaeus found and old sycamore tree and climbed it and the rest they say is history. Don't assume there will always be a tree!!!! Let others see Jesus in you. Don't block their view. Godspeed.


April 15, 2016

You don't hear the name Rahab a lot in our society today. Oh, there are girls named Ruth, Deborah, Mary, and even Phoebe. But no Rahabs. I guess it's because of the two words associated with that name, "the harlot" which is deal killer. The same is true with a couple of other names. Names like Judas and Benedict. At least one of those had some eggs named after him. But Rahab was different. You remember the story in the Old Testament, in the book of Joshua, how Rahab the harlot hid the spies from Israel on the the roof top of her brothel. As a result, when the city of Jericho was destroyed, Rahab and her family were spared. She had so many strikes against her, yet God used her. He often uses the ordinary to accomplish extraordinary. Why did God chose Rahab? I don't know. Why did He choose me or you? He sees potential in all of us. Well, this woman obviously had a huge life change, after all in Hebrews she mentioned in the Faith Hall of Fame. But go to the gospel of Matthew, chapter one around verse 5 and 6, in the midst of all that begatten stuff about the family tree of Jesus, look who's there, yep, Rahab the Saint. Now you have no excuse about your past. Get on with it. Godspeed.

April 14, 2016

The other day I had the high honor of preaching the funeral service of Eloise Stringer. Eloise was on the pastor search committee which ended up calling me as pastor of FBC Canton. During my almost 10 years as ) pastor we share times of joy and sorrow, victories and defeats, high moments and low ones. Because of her age and wisdom, at times it was hard to determine who was pastoring who? I leaned on a lot of women in that church who helped a pastor more than he helped them. On Thursday afternoons, Eloise, Lou McDonald, and several others had a sewing group which met at the church. I'd frequent that group often and would listen to their sacred stories of the past. That more than anything help me pastor more effectively. Preachers today need to listen to the guidance and wisdom of senior adults instead of just blowing them off. I'll always remember what Eloise said one day over one of her fine tuna fish sandwiches: "Everyone has troubles. If we all sat down in a room and everyone threw their troubles on a table and you saw what they were dealing with, you'd quickly pick up your own." In the Saints Hall of Fame, she'd be a first ballot hall of famer. For 95 year years on this earth, she lived for Jesus, now she's getting more Jesus than ever before. I'm honored to have known such a special lady. See you soon Eloise, save me a tuna sandwich!!!! "Go rest high on that mountain." Godspeed


April 13, 2016

If you knew me, I mean really knew me, you wouldn't like me very much. If you actually knew some of the things I've done or said, you'd lose so much respect for me. If you knew some of the places I've been or the way I've abused my body, you'd turn your head in disgust. How many of us have had to live with some of these thoughts lodged in our head or residing in our heart? The moment God starts to impact a life for good, Satan offers a million reasons why you aren't worthy of His love, much less, His forgiveness. And as a matter of fact, because of the things you've done, God could never use a person like you. But here is the simple truth, God already knows everything you've done, or said, or even thought, and He still loves you with an unconditional love. Your service in the Kingdom doesn't depend on your goodness or cleanliness, but rather His forgiveness and His goodness and a willing heart. You and I will never be good enough to serve, but since we are forgiven by His grace, He's looking for those who will put their hand to the plow and not look back. For if you're constantly looking back at what you were, you can't see where you're going and what you are becoming. Stop dwelling on the past and your unworthiness, and concentrate of His love, forgiveness, and grace. As we once sang: "Grace that is greater than all our sins." Godspeed.

April 12, 2016

When you have a friend who is going through a tough time, the best thing you can do is be there and listen to them. You don't have to solve their problem, as a matter of fact, most people don't expect that from you. Just be sympathetic and understanding. However, if the problem is severe, encourage them to seek professional help either from a minister or a licensed counselor. Now I know what you're thinking: "If they go to a professional counselor they might have to spend some money. That may be true, but if they go to a doctor due to a medical issue, wouldn't they have to pay? Well, insurance will pay for the medical issue you might argue. The same is true with most family therapist. And even if it doesn't, isn't one's health, both physical and mental worth whatever it cost to get healthy? You or your friend don't have to stay where you are, there is help available. However, you must ask yourself: "Do I want to get healthy? Some people actually enjoy their pain. Don't be that person. Godspeed.

April 11, 2016

Several years ago, following our morning worship service,I was approached by a young couple who asked if I could meet with them for a moment. They had not attended the service, but had waited to speak with me after the conclusion of our worship. As we met in my office, they told me they wanted to get married. They had been living together for a couple of years, and even had a child together. They decided now was the time to make it legal. They wanted to make this all happen in about six weeks. Now mind you, I've never seen these two before. My response was: "My job is not to just marry people, but to the best of my ability, conduct Christian wedding ceremonies. If I'm to do your wedding you must agree to the following: First, you must meet with me three times for premarital counseling. Second, you must attend a Bible study 5 out of the next 6 weeks. Third, from now until your wedding you must abstain from all sexual activity. Fourth, you must attend at least one worship service a week." Those were the conditions. They got up and said: "We'll get someone else to do it." If I'm putting my name on a marriage license, I'm going to do my best to make sure that the couple getting married is ready not only physically, financially, but spiritually as well. While living in Natchez, I could have made a lot of extra money just doing weddings, but I required the couples to get counseling. That in itself cut me out many times. I did these things and made these demands because of my faith and convictions. No one, I mean no one, will ever force me to do what I know is biblically or morally wrong. Shame on those who want to enforce their beliefs on me. The Constitution of our country protects this right. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. You can't have it both ways. My rights as a minister are just as important as yours. Get over yourself if you don't agree and find someone else to do your weddings. That includes gay weddings and secular weddings. That is my position and it will never change. My calling means too much to me. Godspeed.

April 10, 2016

 Are you sensitive to what others say to you? Do you worry about what others think? Do you seek the approval of your peers? Are you afraid to be different, so you mostly go along with the crowd? Or do you dare to be different? Will you be true to the calling of God for your life regardless of what others think? Far to many of us are listening to the wrong crowd when it comes to how we live our lives. In reality, it comes down to listening to a crowd of ONE. For what we need to understand is, there's only one person's approval we need to seek, and that is God's. If you're right in that relationship, all others will be effected. When it comes to how we live: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed." In other words, don't stoop to the world's standards, but have higher standards which come from above. Then your life will take on a new vitality. In other words, color outside the lines, be different, you will wear funky socks, be who God wants you to be! You'll be happier and more content. Godspeed.

April 9, 2016

As I've said recently, the measuring stick I use to gauge the success of a church has changed dramatically over the past few years. Like most people, I watched the attendance, finances, baptisms, and mission money given at barometers. That's not the case anymore. There are other things which indicate a vital, growing church. Let me offer one which now one of the new standards. This summer we shall have four of our college students working in Christian camps. One of our kids is actually a high school senior. Yep, these kids are getting out of their comfort zones and will spend the summer sharing God's love. There's no doubt they've been encouraged and nurtured by their parents, but they also have a great minister of students in David Honeycutt. All of these young people have been on at least three or four mission trips sponsored by our church. Our job as a church is to equip the saints for doing ministry. It's a gas when you see it actually happening. I'd put our young people up against any out there. Honored to serve them. Way to go guys, thanks for "getting it". Godspeed.

April 8, 2016

Several years ago, while I was just a young pastor, a lady in my

church was diagnosed with throat cancer. She had already suffered

so many setbacks in life. When I talked to her in the hospital, I told

her if anyone ever had the right to question a God, it was her. Her response echoes in my heart to this day. She said: "I never ask 'Why me?', but rather 'What and how'. She continued on by saying: "I ask what can I learn and how can I help others." The question we might want to ask when bad things happen is: "Why not me?" If not me or you, then who? Some of the greatest lessons we learn in life, are the ones that are given to us in the darkest days. When you go through those time, be care and observe the great lessons before you. Also, lend a hand to the people you meet in the darkness, it will shine a little light in your path. Godspeed.

April 7, 2016

This life we live is hard . So why are we surprised when things don't go the way we planned?  Why are we surprised when our lives seem out of control?  Why are we surprised when relationships are strained?  Why are we surprised when people constantly disappoint us?  Why are we surprised when the same temptation greets us around the corner??? Why aren't we more prepared for the down side of life? After all, wasn't it Jesus who said: "In this life you're going to have trouble." So why are we surprised? Because somehow, someway we've come to believe that life isn't suppose to be so hard, so painful, so disappointing, so black. But it is, and it is for everyone. So when life hits you square in the face, you need a coping mechanism. Shut your eyes for a moment and breathe. Now simply acknowledge your weakness to God. Tell Him you're not strong enough to face this situation, but you also know He is. Nothing catches him by surprise and He strength is sufficient. When you do that, life won't get easier, but the burden will get lighter. Godspeed. 

April 6,2016

They say the Masters golf tournament ticket is among the hardest to attain. You can't get on a waiting list. You can't buy one at the gate. The best you can hope for is to win a practice round or single ticket in an annual lottery held by Augusta National each year. Everything about The National is not disclosed. They won't tell their total membership, the dues required, nor the amount of patrons attending the tournament. ( Augusta has patrons, not galleries nor crowds.) It's hard to get in, but it is a trip of a lifetime. Contrast that to the Kingdom of God. The creator is waiting on you, there is no waiting line, everything one day will be disclosed, it is always inclusive rather than exclusive. Oh, and by the way, you can't buy a ticket into Heaven, that my friends has been done for you.  Your price of admission was paid in full through the blood of Christ. In other words, your ticket has been punched through His wounds. All you have to do is accept it. The MASTER has done all the work. No green jacket, but a crown of righteousness. Which one do you want? Godspeed. 

April 5, 2016

It isn't our job to fix people. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure we have the ability to perform such an act. Our job is to love others and allow God's light to shine through us. We were called to be fisher of men and women. It's up to us to catch them, and it's up to God to clean them. After all, you really don't have the capacity, ability, nor the power to change a person. However, the God we serve is in the life changing business. Why don't we love others and allow God to be the one to change them? After all, He's in the life changing business. One last thought, you realize there are folks who don't want to be changed, right? So love those individuals in spite of their and your weaknesses. It will be less frustrating. Godspeed.

April 4, 2016

One of the most profound mysteries of the Christian Faith is "the Will of God." For the most part, I believe the majority of God's children want to know what God's will is for their life. And the reality is, God wants you to know His will even worse than you want to know it. But the journey to find it is sometimes difficult and frustrating. Now, if discovering God's will for you is hard, then how much spiritual arrogance does it take to tell someone else what God's will is for their life? Who is so bold as to speak to another about the events in their life and the desires of God for their lives? How many times have we put our arms around another individual who is going through a tragedy and say: "It's just the will of God, we must accept it and move on. I know we mean well, but let's not attribute evil and bad things to a God who loved us so much that He died for our sins. Sometimes you say it best, when you say nothing at all. Godspeed.

April 3, 2016

Today at the close of our worship service, we'll gather on our concrete slab for a time of dedication. It's really hard to believe that God has brought us this far in such a short period of time. Three valuable lessons have been taught to us through this process. The first is patience. We'd all do well to realize God can't be rushed. He works in His time, not ours. So often we want to rush ahead of our Creator, thinking we have better plans and solutions. However His time is the right time. Second, even in the toughest of times, the work of God must continue. We call it growing through chaos. There are a million excuses why you shouldn't do something, the only reason to do it is, God expects you to do so. When God speaks, we'd all do better not to debate this issue and just be obedient. Finally, understand the Christian walk was never meant to be easy. Why would we expect different. However, there is joy in the journey which can enrich a life as nothing else can. It's going to be an exciting day at PHBC, but then again, every day is.  Godspeed.

April 2, 2016

I've written on this subject before, but it's worth repeating. There are certain catchphrases we use regularly as Christians which are theologically incorrect. And to be honest, many of them drive me over the wall. The first is our response to death or some other tragedy: "Well it was just God's will." How arrogant are we that we would supposedly know God's will for somebody else? We often attribute certain acts to God and reality, He had nothing to do with it. I could write all day on this one, but let me move on. The second is: "Everything happens for a reason." Really???? Really??? Sometimes things happen and the only reason it did was we made a stupid decision, or we acted in disobedience. What has happened is worldly thoughts have slowly become a part of our theology. The Psalmist wrote: "I will lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord." He doesn't say my pain, my tragedy, my grief comes from the Lord, but rather: "My help!" And sometimes the only reason something happened in my life, was because of my stupidity. Be careful what you attribute to God, the last time I checked, "every good and perfect gift comes from above." Not every bad event. Godspeed.

April 1, 2016

I never imagined it nor could have imagined it in a million years. Four years ago we came to Columbus with the agreement we'd stay 6 months as their transitional pastor. The church was beat up pretty good, but then again, so was I. You might say we needed each other. They were barely running hundred in Sunday School, and I was at the point of wondering if there was anything left in my spiritual tank. All that being said, this Sunday we'll have our dedication for our new sanctuary. Of course it's only a concrete slab, but we shall close our service on that slab. Our numbers have more than doubled, and each week, God is bringing new people to our services. It's fun to watch God literally transform lives right before your eyes. This past Wednesday evening, one of our new members, who is totally new to the faith came to me and said: "You will never know what Holy Week meant to me. I learned so much!" I'm blessed with a good team, a wonderful church family and the prospect of a bright future. Who would have ever thunk it four years ago! (I know improper English was used.) Godspeed

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