June 30

As churches, we do a pretty good job of evangelizing our local battle grounds. For the most part we do a good job sending mission groups to foreign and domestic areas. The local church does a great job of leading in Bible studies and worship. However, in my opinion, we do a pretty sorry job in restoration. When it comes to restoring an individual when they’ve hit a moral bump in the road, we still have a long way to go. Sometimes instead of ministering to the broken, we pronounce judgment upon them and wash our hands of any involvement with them. A the top of the list and leading the way in this endeavor, is pastors. It’s sad but true.

Last week I was talking to a minister who was going through a tough time. The situation, which he had no control had left him without a job and his family in turmoil. In my conversation with him he said: “The least amount of compassion he had experienced came from his minister friends.” I’m sorry, but I thought we had been given the ministry of reconciliation? The world will tell you: “You made your bed, now lay in it.” However, Jesus said: “Take up your bed and walk.” Sometimes all a person needs is a little compassion and understanding. You don’t have to approve of the situation, but you can help restore the hurting.

Sometimes rather than sitting in judgement of the fallen, we need to sit with them and assure them they’re not alone. When we do this, we demonstrate the love of Christ. After all, isn’t that what we’ve been called to do? Godspeed my friends.

 

June 29

The world will know we’re followers of Christ, not by the size of our congregation. Nor the size of our church budget. The world will know we are Christians by how we love one another. If we get this wrong in the church, you can bet our influence in the world will be minimal. However, if we get it right then we have a chance not only to grow, but help changes live and expand the Kingdom of God. But it has to start with God’s people loving each other. Godspeed my friends.

 

June 28

A few days ago, in a reflective moment, I was reminded of how many good friends I’ve had in my life. God has put the right people at the right time in my path and my gosh, they’ve made a huge difference. From grade school, all the way to adulthood, these people have made a huge impact in my life. As a matter of fact, in a real sense, these people have helped shape me into the man I am today. Because of that, I’m indebted to these folks for the investment they’ve made in me and my family.

However, of all the friends I’ve made over the years, there are no friends quite like church friends. That’s why the local body of believers are still important and relevant today. When there have been high moments in my life, church friends have celebrated with me. Likewise, when there are been low moments, they have supported me. When there have been moments of grief and sorrow, they’ve cried with me. To be honest, it’s hard for me to imagine how people make it through life without the love and support of a church family.

But on the other hand, there have been moments of hurt and pain which has been inflicted on my life by church folks. That’s just a simple truth. But it’s also true of the people you live with and work with on a daily basis. But for the most part, the good far outweighs the bad. Don’t give up on God’s people. They aren’t perfect, but most of the time they’ll be there. If you’re not attending a church on a regular basis, now is a good time to start. You be surprised at the blessings you’ll receive. Godspeed my friends.

 

June 27

There’s a lesson I learned the hard way many years ago. As difficult as it is to understand, I’ve found it to hold true over the years in almost every environment and most every situation. People are going to believe what they want to believe. It really doesn’t matter about the facts or the truth, it certain situations, their minds are already made up. Furthermore, it’s almost counterproductive to try to change their minds though words or arguments.

Several years ago, I began a new ministry. Sometimes church folks form an opinion about someone before they get to know them personally. Such was the case with one individual. There was a situation where I had to make a hard decision early in my time at that church. Because the decision was difficult, you had folks who were happy and others not so happy. However, the ones who were disappointed didn’t have all the facts. Opinions were made early and hastily. In that time it didn’t serve any purpose to try to go explain my actions to everyone. The only thing to do was just work hard and allow my actions do the talking. Listen carefully, your actions will always prove others are right or wrong about you.

Over the years that individual got to know me and became one of my closest friends and greatest supporters. However, it doesn’t always work out so well. I’ve learned it’s not so much what others think, but rather what God thinks that matters most. When you’re following him, there will always be opposition. It’s not my job to change other’s hearts. That’s a management decision. I’ll stick to sales. Godspeed my friends.

 

June 26

Today I get to go to the dentist for a teeth cleaning and check up. Over the years this has been one of my least favorite things to do. I’m just not real crazy about that hook they use to scrape your teeth clean. However, I really like my dentist and hygienist that we’re currently using and that can make all the difference in the world.

Several years ago while I was having my teeth cleaned, the hygienist looked at me and asked: “Do you floss everyday?” Now I don’t know if it was the gas or the fact that I have zero filter, but I responded: “I don’t know, but do you read your Bible everyday?” After a brief stare down, she said: “That’s a better question than mine.” The Bible is more than a book of ancient tales and moral lessons. It’s a book of life. Unfortunately, very few people actually read it.

There are certain disciples which we should have in our life everyday. Every believer should spend time in prayer. But listen very carefully, prayer is more than a wishlist we present to God. We need to spend time in confession and thanksgiving before we run to God with our petitions. Also, remember prayer is a dialogue and not a monologue. You might want to hear what God has to say.

Also, I believe every believer needs to spend time in God’s word. As one scholar said: “There’s a strange and wonderful world in the Bible. Unfortunately, very few find it.” It would do us well to stop debating the Bible and actually read it. When I read God’s word, it actually reads me.

So as you make your way through each day, remember these vital disciplines. You need to spend time in prayer and also in God’s word. You be surprised at the difference. Oh yeah, I forgot, don’t forget to floss. I’m referring to your teeth and not the dance. Godspeed my friends.

 

June 25

Many of you know we just finished up a vacation with our seminary friends, the Drums. Jeff and LuAnn came into our lives in a time when we really needed them. We went our separate ways when we moved back to Mississippi and reconnected through Facebook a few years ago. Now, at least once a week, Jeff and I talk on the phone and we text each other nearly every day.

It’s exciting to reconnect with old friends. For a while you reminisce about the old days. But then you spend a lot of time getting caught up on what’s been going on. The wonderful aspect about good friends is, you can be apart for years and yet when you see each other, it’s like you were never away one another. However, in order for a friendship to be restored, someone has to take the initiative. Someone has to make the call, the drive, the effort to see the other. I’m convinced that a lot of friendships end not because we’re overtly mean or rude to one another, but yet we just become apathetic. Just ignore a relationship and it will dissolve.

The same is true with our relationship with God. You don’t have to be the worst sinner in the world, nope, just become luke warm in your walk with Christ. Before you know it, he’ll become like a stranger to you. The good news is this, if you’ve been away from him, He’s ready to see you and restore the relationship. However, you’ve got to make the move. When you do, you’ll see his arms wide open. Don’t wait another day my friend. Godspeed.

 

June 19

Elton Trueblood once said:  “Deliberate mediocrity is heresy and a sin.”

 

June 18

Over the next few days I’ll be checking in with you guys a little spasmodically. My family and I are enjoying a bit of R&R. I’m not sure there has been a time when I needed to get away and recharge more than now. I love what I do, but to be quite honest, it can suck the life out of you at times. I slept till 8:30 this morning and missed my morning run. That hardly ever happens. Sometimes your body knows more than your mind how tired you really are.

Father’s Day was wonderful from the start to the end. We had 3 professions of faith and a total of 6 additions to our church family. After a drive to Orange Beach, I got to enjoy dinner with my girls. All and all it was a pretty good day. I’ll get back to you guys tomorrow. The beach is calling my name. Godspeed.

 

 

June 17

If your goal is to be average then you’ll have little problem achieving it. However, you and I need to remember that we were created a little less than the angEls. Just think about that for a moment. We are the only ones created in the image of God. But far too many of us are living below our means as a child of God. We have settled for average. Elton Trueblood once said: “Deliberate mediocrity is heresy and a sin.” In order for us to be what God called us to be, we’ve got to give a better effort.

Christianity is the only aspect of life where we settle for less. We’re okay just being average. However, when we rekindle our passion for God and the things of God, we see how our Creator uses average people to accomplish extraordinary things. But that only happens when average people give an all out effort. It’s time to give God the prominent place in our lives and allow Him to take us beyond mediocrity to heights never experienced before. Don’t settle for average. Godspeed my friends.

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