JULY 31

Next week our church will host a back to school revival. Our special guests will include Dr. Richard Jackson, former pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church and Derrick Burt, minister of worship at FBC Natchez, Ms. There’s no way I can adequately prepare my people for the blessings they’ll receive from these special services. In my opinion, Dr. Jackson is in the top 10 SBC preachers of all time. On the other hand, Derrick can sing down the stars and will bless anyone who hears him. But so many people will miss it. I guess my question is: “Why?”

We look at our nation and cry out: “We need a spiritual awakening and revival!!!” However, it’s hard to have revival when God’s own people don’t think they need it. How many people will give up the time to actually immerse themselves in the teaching and preaching of God’s word? I can tell you this, God has never blessed a situation based on entitlement. But He will bless those who are serious about seeking him. But here’s what we will battle against and the excuses we’ll hear. “School has started back.” “We have football practice.” On and on they go! What you prize, you will praise. What you praise, you will worship. Take time for what is important. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 30

I guess in the nearly 35 years I’ve been in the pastorate I’ve heard about every excuse as to why individuals or families no longer attend church. “The church is full of hypocrites!” It is and we have room for one more. “They aren’t friendly.” Well you’re no prize yourself. “I was out for a few weeks and no one checked on me.” So what you’re saying is the church is responsible for you. “The pastor did something which I didn’t like.” Did you ever say or do something he didn’t like? As I’ve said before, whenever you want to run out on Christ and His church, Satan will always provide adequate transportation.

However, today there is a segment of people who feel as though the church is no longer relevant. The other day I had someone tell me: “I don’t have to attend worship on Sundays, I watch Adrian Rogers on the television.” My response may seem cold, but I said: “You know he’s dead and if you need him in a moment of crisis, he’s not coming forth like Lazerus.”

The church is not only a place of worship, but it’s a place of restoration and healing. There’s no better place to be than among God’s people when you’re hurting. I know from first hand experience the difference people can make to a broken heart. Don’t offer excuses, just get back to where you belong. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did. Godspeed my friends.

 

 

JULY 29

Are you happy? Before you answer that question, I want you to think about when you were the happiest in your life. For the most of us, it isn’t right now. As I think back on my life and my happiest days, it was probably when I didn’t have much money or material things. So many of us think: “If I can only have this or that. When I buy this car or that house, then I’ll be happy.” That my friends is a devil’s lie. Sometimes the more we get, the more we want. Each time we think that “thing” will lead to happiness.

I remember when we were living in Louisville, Kentucky, while I was attending seminary. We couldn’t afford to pay attention. The wolf was not only at the door, she had moved in and had pups under the bed. There were nights when I’d be driving home from work and I wished I had enough money to buy a MacDonald’s Happy Meal. Financially it was a struggle and at times, a nightmare. There were moments when we didn’t know how we were going to make it. But God was faithful and somehow He provided for all our needs.

When we are comfortable in life, we tend to sail on our own power and resources. Don’t forget that true happiness, joy, and contentment don’t come from things, but rather relationships. So we’re back to our original question. Are you happy? Maybe a simpler life can lead to happiness. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 28

I guess from the time we drew our first breath, until the time she drew her last, my mother would worry about her boys. I know in my conversations with her she would be worried about my schedule, my health, my ministry, and my family. She’d tell me I needed slow down and smell the roses. I’d tell her: “You can smell roses when you’re running with them.” There was nothing I could do to keep her from worrying. And believe me, there are many out there who join her ranks. If you’re a chronic worrier, pay attention to the following lessons.

Worry is unnecessary. Why would I say that? Remember, God is our creator and He’s concerned about you. You may feel isolated and alone, but God is fully aware of your circumstance and He’s concerned. Did you realize that worry is a form of atheism? It is. It’s like living a life apart from the love and care of your creator.

Second, worry is useless. You can’t add one minute to your life or change a single thing by worrying. A simple rule to live by is: “If you can change something, change it. If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it.”

Finally, have you noticed that most of our worry centers around material things? Remember, God knows what you need and is ready to supply those needs. Let today’s worry be enough for this day. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 27

People will surprise you, either good or bad. It happens to me all the time. This past week was such an example. I had someone come and see me about something I said to them five years ago. What I said wasn’t rude, as a matter of fact, I don’t recall it at all and it just didn’t sound like me. I was careful to listen and not justify a thing. I didn’t even use the word “if”. I just said: “You heard me say that and all I can say is: “I’m sorry.” But I was surprised she carried a seemingly small thing around for that long. If she’d come to me sooner, it could have been resolved.

The next thing I didn’t see coming as well. Actually, it moved me deep within my soul. I had a word of affirmation and love so deep from an unexpected individual. It’s not that I didn’t think they cared, I just didn’t know how much they cared. When they were talking to me it was hard not to become emotional.

People basically see what they want to see, especially in preachers. The best we can hope for is about a 90 percent approval rating. But we weren’t call to be popular, but rather obedient. Hopefully we’ve done that. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 26

We’ve had a blast this week. The reason is quite simple, our grandson has been with us since Tuesday. It’s really his first long visit in our home. For a while we were worried how our dogs would respond, but for the most part, they’ve been very protective of him. It’s nice to be here when he wakes up and goes to sleep. Sometimes I find myself watching him nap and thinking: “He’s ours.”

The other day he was sleeping on my chest, as he’s accustomed to doing. When he woke up, he lifted his head and his eyes met mine. He broke out into the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. He recognizes me, although he’s not fully aware of who I am, he knows he’s safe in my presence.

Maybe that’s what you need to feel today, the safety of a presence. Maybe you need to look up at a face and smile at the one who loves you so much that he died for you. You may not recognize Him, but he knows everything about you and desires the best for your life. His plans for you are to bring blessings not harm to your life. Maybe you need to fall asleep in a His arms. Someone said to me the other day: “You got it bad for that grandson, don’t you!” Not nearly as bad as God has it for you. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 25

Today I want to provide you with a little information about our new book, Start Here. On August 1 we’ll start accepting preorders which will be sent out around August 19. All you need to do is contact me through Facebook Messager and we’ll give you the proper instructions.

On August 18, we’ll have our first book signing at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church from 2-4 pm. The following week on Saturday, August 24 we shall be in Canton in the morning for a signing and in Jackson that afternoon. We will give you locations as we get closer.

On Thursday, August 29 we shall have two signings in Cleveland. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Again, as we get closer we’ll give you the times and locations.

We are looking at a signing in Natchez in September, but a specific time hasn’t been determined. It will most likely be on a Wednesday night.

I hope this will give you the information some of you have requested. I hope to see you at one of these places. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 24

Some things might not seem hard until you try them. For instance, running. I’ve had people tell me they want to run with me. For some reason they feel the need to get in shape and find some exercise which isn’t too difficult. When someone runs with me I will always say: “You set the pace and I’ll follow.” As we begin our run, inevitable they will turn to me and ask: “How far do you usually run?” When I reply: “Four or five miles.” For the most part, they respond by saying: “That’s not too far.” That philosophy usually holds true until they ask me five minutes into the run: “How far have we gone?” When I tell them around a half a mile, all of a sudden this task seems harder than expected.

The same is true with the Christian walk my friends. There’s nothing easy about being a follower of Christ. I mean what’s easy about loving your neighbor and praying for those who make your life miserable. What’s easy about denying yourself and taking up your cross and following God? There’s nothing easy about forgiving grudges rather than holding on to them. And there’s nothing easy about letting Him increase and you decrease. But there’s no other way to experience true life and have it more abundantly.

When i start a run in the morning, it’s not easy. When I finish, there’s nothing more rewarding and satisfying. The same will be true when we end our race here on this earth. But it will only be true if we’ve kept our eyes on Him. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 23

Never enter a relationship thinking you’re going to change a person. I often repeat those words to future brides and grooms prior to their wedding as they go through their counseling. As a matter of fact, it’s not our job to change people. Our job is to love, pray, encourage, and sometimes even mentor others. But I can’t change a person. I can influence them, but I can’t change them. They are who they are.

If you’ll remember when Jesus called his first disciples, he said: “I’ll make you fisher of men.” Our job is to love and catch the fish, it’s God’s job to clean them. So many of us become frustrated at the actions of others. However, we need to remember the words of Popeye the Sailor Man: “I am what a I am.” You are who you are and I’m who I am. The best you can do is love others as you’d want to be loved and allow God to work in and through others.

It’s exhausting trying to change another person. Don’t you think it’s time you read your job description again? Just love them and leave the changing to God. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 22

One of the problems we have as society is we focus more on what we don’t have in common rather than the things we share in common. Several years ago I heard an individual say: “It’s not that we have all things in common but rather we have each other in common.” In other words, before you go to battle with someone over the differences you have, you might want to see the areas of common interest you share. I’ve seen sports teams, religion, and children bring people together from different walks of life and bind them together.

Growing up in a home of four boys, there were moments of great tension because we didn’t agree on certain things. Finally, my mother passed a rule that when we were together we couldn’t talk about politics, religion, school systems, and sporting teams. Her point was to get us to talk about things we shared rather than the things we didn’t.

I don’t agree with everything my brothers believe or do. That just being an adult and a unique individual. But I believe in my brothers and my love for them is greater than anything which could divide us. It would be nice if we could practice that philosophy in the church and in our world. We don’t have to agree, but we can still love. Make that happen and the world will change one relationship at a time. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 21

There’s no way you can properly love others until you have a healthy love for yourself. Part of the greatest commandment of all is: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The problem with many of us isn’t that we think too much of ourselves, but rather we think too low. We have a problem knowing who we are and why anyone would love us because we have a hard time accepting us.

In order to love one’s self, you have to realize just who you are. You were created in the very image of God. As a matter of fact, you were created a little lower than the angels. You are the crown of God’s creation. Think about it for a moment. The pecking order is God, which includes The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the angels, and then you. That pretty significant. If God thinks that highly of you, then start seeing yourself through His eyes.

Finally, you were worth dying for! I’ve heard individuals struggling through life say to me: “I just want to matter. I want to be worth it to someone.” Well, the good news is, you do matter. You are worth it. You were so valuable that God sent His son to die on a cross so that you might live. How you like them apples? Don’t buy a devil’s lie that you are worthless. See the one who loves you and desires to walk with you. If you can accept yourself, then you’re ready to accept others. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 19

I heard an interview with Sir Paul McCartney the other day. The question was asked: “Following the breakup of the Beatles, was there ever a time when the four of you were in a room and played together?” The answer was: “No.” I realize that times are different now, but how sad. The greatest band ever, never played together again. I’m sure they thought there would be other days. However, the was no warning that John Lennon would be murdered and George Harrison would die of cancer. Opportunity only knocks so often.

Last year my three brothers and I realized it had been three or four years since we had been in the same room together. When your parents pass away and your children get married and start having children, time and distance just separates even the closest of families. We weren’t mad at each other, we just hadn’t been together.

Well we decided to fix that problem. We set aside a weekend where the four brothers could just be together. That’s what’s taking place right now. Oh, there could be other days, but this might be the only day. The same is true with you and your family. The only time you have is now. Don’t look back years from now and wish you had done something. What are we doing? Absolutely nothing but talking and laughing. Maybe Paul, John, George, and Ringo should have done the same. Maybe things would have turned out differently. Will it for you?

 

JULY 18

You don’t wait to learn how to fly a plane while you’re in the air. You don’t wait until you’re in the deep end before you learn how to swim. And you shouldn’t wait to pray until you find yourself in trouble. I absolutely despise the bumper sticker which reads: “When all else fails: Pray.” Well my question is simply this: Why wouldn’t you start with prayer? There are a lot of pitfalls which could have been avoided if we would have spent a little time in prayer and seeking God’s will for our lives. The problem is one with the will and ego. We simply think we know the situation better than the one who created us. How much different would your life be if you actively and passionately sought God’s direction in your life.

The problem with most of us is we’re afraid of what we’ll have to give up or do if we truly follow Christ. If that’s your thought process, you’re going about it backwards. It’s not what you have to give up, but rather what you gain. You do realize He not only brings eternal life, He brings abundant life.

I’ve been amused at the aging app many are using to see what they’ll look like as a senior adult. For most of you it’s not good. I don’t have to worry about age because I’m forever young through Christ. Think about that as you make decisions today. He’s making all things new. Godspeed my friends.

 

 

JULY 17

Many years ago, while pastoring my very first church, I got some great advice from our organist. She was a no nonsense kind of lady who called things as she saw them. I was a green behind the ears pastor doing my best to preach on the weekends and go to school full time during the week. As a matter of fact, I learned many lessons during those three years which have been a foundation for my ministry.

One day Harriett told me: “Preacher, I have one relationship and one relationship only to worry about. That’s my relationship with Christ. When that relationship is where it should be, it has a positive affect on all my other relationships. I tend to get along with my husband better. I care more about my friends and family. My church life is better. If I can remember to keep Him central in my life, everything seems to flow smoother.”

I have seen this play out over and over. If relationally you are struggling with multiple individuals, it may not be those relationships that need your attention first. Ask yourself: “Where am I with God? Am I spending time with Him in His word and prayer? Am I faithfully following Him?” Fix that relationship first, then the others will be easier to mend. Harriett was right. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 16

This past Sunday morning I was making my way down to our multipurpose building to visit the Sunday School classes that meet there. About the time I arrived at the main entrance, one of our families was about to enter the building. Their daughter Ally had a present all wrapped up so nice and pretty in Mississippi State wrapping paper. “This is for you” Ally said as she handed me the gift. “I made this for you at art school.”
Upon opening the gift I found a beautiful canvas which read: “Be the light.” Also there was a note attached to the gift.

Now what you need to know about Ally is, she’s one of the most compassionate, caring, and loving little girls I’ve ever known. She doesn’t think, nor does she act like an eleven year old. (I’m not quite sure of her age.) She has loving parents who have taught her how to conduct herself. But here is the kicker that just blew my mind. While she was attending art school, she was thinking of me. You want to talk about encouragement and love, it doesn’t get any better than that.

We as pastors often host the feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. Sometimes all it takes to make a difference in our day, week, or month is the fact that someone thought of us. Someone remembered and encouraged us. Mine came in the form of a canvas and a child’s smile. Did it matter? You bet it did. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 15

Last week we had an opportunity to welcome Jeff Drum and LuAnn Drum into our home for a few days. Jeff and LuAnn were our closest friends during our seminary years in Louisville, Kentucky. The unique aspect of our friendship was, Jeff wasn’t a seminary student, but rather an employee of Hallmark. He came by the store where I worked and we became fast fiends. When we moved away from Louisville to our first Church, they helped us move and later on, celebrated our first Christmas in Vine Grove.

You have to remember that we didn’t have cell phones back then and staying in touch was harder. Jeff and I never had one cross word between the two of us. But time and distance came between us. We lost touch with each other for over 20 years. There were no bad feelings, just apathy and life. He moved to Atlanta and then to Kansas. We on the other hand ended up in Canton, Natchez, Decatur, and ultimately in Columbus.

Through social media we hooked back up a few years ago. They came to Laura Jo’s wedding and a few months later we vacationed together. There’s not a week that goes by that we don’t talk these days. But the time we lost for those 20 plus years can’t be redone.

I wasn’t there for his children’s birth nor his mother’s death. There are just some things we both missed that can’t be relived. That’s what happens when you drift apart.

The same is true with your relationship with God. You don’t have to be overtly evil, just become apathetic and indifferent. But beware of all the blessings you’ll miss that can’t be recaptured. Don’t let indifference come between you and your God. You think you’re fine, but you need him more than you realize. Why don’t you talk to Him today? Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 14

Most of us will remember singing about Zacchaeus and how “he was a wee little man and wee little man was he.” It’s a fascinating story about a small tax collector who climbed a tree in order to see Jesus. The problem was other people were blocking his view. As a tax collector, he was a despised individual and no one was going to do him any favors.

I wonder today how many individuals want or need to see Jesus and we’re blocking their view. When I say “we”, I’m talking about the good church going crowd. We’re blocking others by our words and deeds. We are blocking the people who work with us, the individuals who live next to us, and even the people we socialize with on a regular basis. Someone once said: “I’ll think about becoming a Christian if I ever see one.” Just a thought: Does the world see Him in you?” For too many of us our bigotry, anger, frustrations, and disposition betrays us.

I find it interesting in this story that Jesus met Zacchaeus where he was. He didn’t tell him how bad he was. He didn’t tell him to quit his job. He just went home with him. Remember, it’s our job to catch fish as fishers of men and women. It’s God’s job to clean them. Don’t block others from seeing Jesus today. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 13

The other day I had an opportunity to play golf with an ole friend of mine from my seminary days. That day I chose to wear a solid white pair of shorts. The reason for the selection was two fold. First, white shorts go with anything. And second, it was hot and I didn’t want anything that would absorb more heat. The fact is, I love playing in those white shorts, but I never wear them off the course. But there’s just something about the way they look on a golf course. Khakis are just too boring.

But there’s a problem with these beauties. They get dirty. When I say dirty, I mean filthy. Upon coming home following our round, it took three washings to get out all of the dirt and stains from that one round of golf. I walked into the laundry room this morning and saw where they were hanging up. As I looked at them again, they looked beautiful. It’s well worth the three washings and all the stain removal to have them available to wear again.

So where am I going with this? I’m sure you don’t want to start your day with a lesson on maintaining white golf shorts. Those shorts represent your life. There is a desire to be clean from all the mistakes we’ve made in our lives. We try to do better by cleaning up our act, but the burden of our past actions weighs us down. I know people don’t like the word, but it’s called sin. The good news is, you can find redemption and forgiveness. Scripture tells us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) The good news is, it doesn’t take 3 washings, just one prayer. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 12

Two of the most painful things for me to do is: One, listen to myself preach and two, watch a video of my golf swing. When I watch a video of my preaching, and these days it isn’t much, I cringe at the sound of my voice, facial expressions, and mannerisms. However, in order to get better one must examine the tape like a coach to see and hear your flaws. And believe me, there are many.

The same is true with one’s golf swing. In my mind, while swinging, I envision myself looking like a cross between Freddie Couples and Tiger Woods. The reality is my swing most resembles a folding lawn chair. When examined, especially by someone in the know, one can see all the imperfections which accompany that unique swing.

How often do you examine your spiritual life. Have you ever gone to the tape of your life and examined how much you’re exercising your faith or your spiritual gifts? How are you in the area of service, ministry, or the usage of your spiritual gifts? It might do you well to ask a couple of questions. First, am I closer to Christ today than I was a year ago? Am I willingly and lovingly giving Him the best of my time, talents, and tithe? The tape footage never lies. Neither does the checkbook and the daytimer or calendar. Just a little food for thought. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 11

Several years ago, in his early 80’s, my Dad was facing open heart surgery. The night before his procedure he requested a meeting with all four of his sons. I’ll never forget how he sat on the edge of his bed while the four of us were crammed into a two seat sofa. He had already had his bath for the surgery, so technically we weren’t suppose to touch him. But eventually we did.

I had never seen my Dad as emotional as he was that evening. Maybe it was the magnitude of the moment, or the reality that this might be the last time he’d talk to us. He wasn’t afraid of dying because he had faced death before while serving in World War II. Also, if there was anyone secure in his faith, it was him. Later on, as he faced death, I witnessed first hand his calm demeanor and faith in Christ. No, that night was different because we were receiving our marching orders. He told us everything we needed to know about his finances and business. Then, he looked at us and said: “Make sure that no possessions will come between any of you. I’ve seen families torn apart over things that aren’t important.” We assured him that would never happen.

We kept our promise to our Dad and Mom. As far as I know, nothing separated or caused a division in our family. But I’ve seen it happen more than once with others. My Dad was right. Possessions will divide a family so quickly. Remember what Jesus said: “Where your treasures are, there will your heart be as well.” Treasure your family more than the items that can divide you. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 10

Do you carry unnecessary guilt in your life? Some of the finest individuals I’ve ever known have wrestled in the present with guilt from past actions. It might be something from their high school or college days, but they’ve carried this burden with them. Like an anchor, it weighs them down and keeps them from being all God wants them to be. The minute they start serving God, the evil one comes and reminds them of their past actions. They want to move forward, but it seems impossible. Let me see if I can help you.

It’s impossible to forgive yourself and remove the guilt unless an individual is a believer and follower of Christ. The unbeliever feels guilty because he or she is. However, when we we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord he completely forgives us of our sins. Don’t have a higher standard of forgiveness than your creator.

Second, are you majoring more on your guilt or on God’s grace. Are you magnifying how bad you are or focusing on how good God is? No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, God loves you. God didn’t suddenly become loving at the cross. He has always loved us and desired a relationship with us.

Finally, live your life as a forgiven individual. In other words, take God at his word. Too many of us are listening to the wrong voice today. Start today with a journey to the cross. Confess the sin and leave it there. You’ll feel better about life and your own heart. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 9

Sometimes it’s just plain hard. As a matter of fact, it’s not only hard, it’s nearly impossible. You know what I’m talking about don’t you? It’s difficult to forgive someone who has hurt you. I’m talking about an individual who has really done a number on you, your character, and reputation. They have said or done something to you that has been so painful, that it’s just hard to get over it. Every now and then, just when you think you’ve dealt with it, it hits you unexpectedly and the pain and hurt is as real and fresh as if it just happened to you.

You’ve heard the old expression: “Forgive and forget.” Well I’m here to tell you that’s an impossible task. Not even God forgives and forgets. But He does forgive completely as if He remembers our sins no more. But you and I can forgive and get on with it. In reality, you get to decide how long these individuals from your past will hurt you. You decide how long you’ll carry the burden of bitterness and discord. Remember, the individual who hurt you usually doesn’t give a rip if you forgive them or not. However, God does. And that’s the rub.

You’re willingness to forgive others is directly related to the forgiveness God grants you. Yep, it’s one of those technicalities we often forget or ignore. The teachings of Jesus were meant to be lived out in our lives, not just admired or studied. So you get to decide today how long you’ll hold on to the bitterness. Aren’t you tired of carrying it around all day and night?  Leave it at the cross and your life will become a lot happier and less bogged down. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 8

Do you remember the excitement of going to summer camp either as a child or youth? Can you recall being so pumped up that you literally couldn’t sleep the night before? Of course, if you had a genius as a youth pastor you left at midnight so everyone could sleep through the night. Right! How did that work out for you? Do you remember the friendships that were formed during your time away from home? Can you also remember a solid week where you concentrated on your relationship with Christ?

This morning around 6, we loaded up a group of girls to head out to camp Garaywa in Clinton, Ms. The sounds of giggling girls and silliness filled the air. We gave them a dozen donuts just so they’d be ready when they hit the ground. During this week God will use their enthusiasm and excitement to speak to their hearts.

Maybe as adults we could handle a little summer camp excitement. It could be that we need to have a little child-like wonder in our spiritual walk. Jesus reminded us: “Those who humble themselves as a child will see the Kingdom of God.” There’s a difference in being child-like and childish. It’s called getting back to the basics of our faith. Hopefully we can. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 7

Last night I had the strangest dream. Normally I don’t remember most of what I dreamed the night before. However, last night was different. I not only remember the details, but I remember the names and faces of the individuals in my dream.

It seems that I had just flown into the Jackson airport. It must have been a return trip because upon my arrival, I couldn’t find my car. I couldn’t remember where it had been parked. I knew the general area, but my key fob must have been just out of range because the panic button wouldn’t work. It was becoming more and more frustrating. As I made my way through the parking lot, I ran into several people I knew. There was one pastor and his friends, they were off to a Beach Boy’s concert. Too busy to offer assistance. There was a church member of mine, returning from a quick trip for the weekend. He had to get home for business. No one would help me.

Finally, a mother with three children, who had just flown in from a travel ball tournament saw my predicament. She offered to drive me around with my hand out of the window holding the panic button. I woke up before we found the car.

Does the story sound familiar? Who is your neighbor? Anyone who is in need. “Now go and do likewise.” Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 6

Have you ever thought how far a kind word can go? The other day I found myself at Lowes in search of a few home improvement products. Now, don’t get all judgemental, there are a few things I can do on my own around the house. I’m a great mower of grass and a pretty fair weed eater operator. I’m also a pretty handy with a power washer as well. But, I digress. Upon finding the products I needed it was time to checkout at the self-checkout. (Am I the only one who thinks there should be a discount at the self-checkout?)

As I started scanning my products, I heard a female voice say: “I love your shirt.” I didn’t know if she was talking to me because my shirt was nothing special. To the next person that walked by, I heard her say: “I like those shoes, but I love your hair.” This lady was an employee responsible for the self-checkout lane. Everyone who passed by received a compliment. She found something positive in every person who came her way. Everyone who left her presence felt a little better about life and themselves.

Words have a powerful effect on people’s lives. We can lift others up with our words or tear them down. We can speak words of love or hate. We can make someone’s day with our words or destroy it with our speech. I think we need more people like the “complimentary lady.” That’s what I’ve named her. The Psalmist reminded us: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight.” (Psalm 19:14) May that be our goal. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 5

The other day I was asked by an individual: “Now that you’ve written a book, are you finished posting on Facebook?”  I responded: “Not quite yet. As long as I feel as though I still have something to say, I’m going to continue.”  They replied: “So you’re going to keep on until the day you die.”  Yep, probably so. There’s always has to be a follow up to the first book. May God bless each of you this weekend. Stay safe and enjoy your family. Be on the lookout for another Facebook page from us as well as dates for our book signings. Mail orders will begin on August 19. Thanks again for all your support and encouragement. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 4

Everyone has a history. Everyone! Our past is made up of good and bad events which have shaped us into the people we are today. There are things I’ve done that make me both proud and embarrassed. I can’t hit a rewind button and erase all the mistakes from my life. I’m not an etch-a-sketch game which when shaken will remove all the bad decisions I’ve made. I’m a Christian who has been forgiven, but there are still consequences for all my actions. That my friends is life.

The same is true with our nation. We’re are great and glorious country, but we’re not perfect. In our history, there have been good and bad days we’ve enjoyed. There have been victories won and lost. We can look back at embarrassing times which should make us all hang our head in shame. But we cannot change history. We can learn from it, but it cannot be changed.

I’m puzzled how the voice of one individual over a patriotic shoe can make a Fortune 500 company fold like a pup tend. Betsy Ross is now offensive. Really? If we’re not careful we’re going to erase 150 or more years of our nation’s history. Read your Bible, especially the Old Testament. The Children of Israel were constantly reminded to “remember” their past. Learn from it, less you repeat it.

We’ve become so politically correct that we can’t offend anyone. That in itself is offensive to me. My job is offending others. It’s called sin. Oh, but I forgot, that word has been stricken from our vocabulary today. And we wonder why we’re so divided. We actually can’t talk to each other for the fear of offending someone. I guess I’m the only one who sees this. We need help from above. Lord, we need you. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 3

I’m not afraid to be different. Never have and never will. Sometimes it comes as a blessing while other times it can be a curse. I guess this trait was handed down to me by my Dad. What would you expect from a man who served in WWII, who wasn’t afraid to wear a pink suit with white shoes? He was different and stylish, but not to draw attention to himself, but rather because he liked such clothes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone tell me: “I’d like to wear something like that, but I’m just not secure enough to do it. I’d be afraid of what people would say.” When you’re worried about what others think, you might as well pack up and get on the bus because the game is over.

The same is true with our faith. We are encouraged “not to  be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our mind.” (Romans 12:2) In other words, as a child of God, don’t be afraid to be different. Why do you think that less than 10% of Christians ever share their faith? The main reason is the fear of what others think. Maybe we ought to be more concerned about what God thinks rather than other people. Let me ask you a few simple questions: Do you think Christ really makes a difference? Do you think He’s the only way to Heaven? Do you believe people outside a relationship with Him are lost? If you answered yes, then I’d ask you: “Why aren’t you sharing your faith?

The world is struggling in darkness because we’ve refused to be the light of the world. This one is on us. Don’t be afraid to be a little different. It’s actually quite liberating. Godspeed my friends.

 

JULY 2

Yesterday morning I had an early eye exam. To tell you the truth, I’ve never minded going to the eye doctor, although it had been two years since my last appointment. (Now the dentist is a whole different story.) I’ve often wondered if during the eye exam if the doctor doesn’t mess with you a little? When he or she asks: “Better one or two?” How many times are they the same? Upon the end of my exam the doctor told me my sight wasn’t much worse, but my astigmatism had significantly changed for the worse. However, with a little adjustment and a different prescription, everything should be fine.

I think there are many of us who need an eye exam today. I’m not talking about reading a chart, but how we see physically and spiritually. Some of us need to see some things differently.

We need to see others not by race, creed or color, but we need to see the heart and soul of another. Too often our sight betrays us when it comes to other people. Scripture reminds us that a God judges much different than us, He doesn’t judge based on outward appearance, but rather on the heart. We need to see others as individuals that God loves and died for at Calvary.

We also need to see God differently. So many of us think that God exist for us and to meet our needs. Nothing could be further from the truth. We exist to serve and worship God. Each day it should be our mission to please God in word and deed. Remember, it’s not about you.

How are you seeing today? Maybe, just maybe you’d benefit from a good examination of the eyes and heart. Godspeed my friends.

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