Simply Spoiled

I just want to illustrate how spoiled we are with a simple story.

This morning I woke up a little late and had to get ready to go to work. Because I woke up late, I didn’t have time to fix any breakfast or even a cup of coffee. That made me a little ill. 

I was short with my wife, who I woke up, because I couldn’t find her purse. I needed at least a dollar or two to buy cup of coffee this morning, because, I mean, seriously, it’s going to be another two hours before I can get a cup of coffee at home. All I was asking for was a cup of coffee, not breakfast; I can eat breakfast in a couple of hours. 

So, here I am, sitting on the school bus, waiting for my next route, knowing it’s going to be a couple of hours before I have a couple coffee or anything to eat and I’m ill.

How do I know I’m spoiled? I’m acting all upset when I should be thankful. 

  • I woke up. 
  • I was able to get out of bed. 
  • I woke up in a house, not a box. 
  • My wife is alive and still living with me. 
  • I had running water. 
  • I’m fully dressed. 
  • I have a job. 
  • I have a bottle of clean water to drink, which is more clean water than a lot of people see in a lifetime.
  • I only have to wait two hours for a cup of coffee and some food when some people may have to wait two days. 
  • I’m writing all of this on an iPhone. 

So, there you have it…I’m simply spoiled and ungrateful. God, please forgive me! 

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Filed under Christian Maturity, General Observations, Life Lessons

Do You Believe? YES!

Last night I was privileged to see the new Pure Flix movie Do You Believe, which will be released in theaters on March 20. Wow!

Yes, I got to see it before the rest of you because I am uber-special and have connections. No, seriously, because I’m a pastor, I was invited by email to a screening. The purpose, of course, was to see the movie ourselves before we start encouraging others to buy tickets and flood the theaters.

Buy tickets and flood the theaters. It’s that good.

Seriously, Do You Believe fires on all 8 cylinders (that’s non-hybrid car talk). It is dramatic, well-produced, and unwilling to pull punches. Look at it this way, if you liked God’s Not Dead, you’re gonna love Do You Believe. On the other hand, if you thought God’s Not Dead was Christian propaganda, you’re gonna have an aneurysm before this movie is half-over. Do You Believe is all about the Cross and faith in Jesus Christ – no apologies.

If I could explain this movie to you in another way, I’d say it must have been derived from the classic book In His Steps. If you remember, those who believed in Jesus were challenged to walk “in His steps,” to live as He would if walking in their shoes. In this movie, those who truly believe are challenged to “carry the cross,” regardless the cost.

When God’s Not Dead was over, people were taking out their cell phones and texting “God’s not dead!” to all their contacts. When you see this movie, which I hope you do, the first thing you’ll probably do is stand and sing along with music playing during the closing credits. If you’re like some people I saw, you’ll sing with hands raised as you praise God. Others, like me, will stand shivering with tears in your eyes, realizing you’ve just been kicked in the gut by the Holy Spirit. The next thing you’ll do is go out and “do something” with what you believe.

After the movie was over, we took a little girl whom we took with us to the movie as a guest back to her home. There, for the first time, we got to sit and talk with the girl’s mother about the Gospel, about God’s love for us manifested on the Cross. It was like we were still in the theater, ’cause I even found myself, a preacher, using some the lines I’d just heard in the movie. So, what does that tell you?

Go see Do You Believe, and take the unbelievers with you. I guarantee you this: some will believe.

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Filed under Apologetics, current events, salvation, Witnessing

Just a Quick Word for Ferguson

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord.” – Romans 12:19

No amount of cop killings will bring you peace.

No amount of violence will bring meaning and fulfillment.

Burning down buildings and protesting may make you feel like you are accomplishing something, but you’re not; you’re only making it worse.

If you really want to do something that will last, love and pray for your policemen; love your neighbor; pray for your city leaders. Shooting at men only trying to do their job, when you should probably be at one, or at home with your family in the middle of the night, is getting you nowhere.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not happy.

ALL lives matter.

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations

How Did I Do? The TRUTH Comes Out!

Mock Trial

This was the first year my daughter, Haley, competed in something called “Mock Trial.” In a nut shell, students from different public and private schools send students to compete in make-believe trials before actual judges, with actual layers as juries, in actual courtrooms.

Haley posing before entering the court room.

Haley posing before entering the court room.

The students are divided up into teams which work together through the season on a particular case. Each team member is assigned two characters to play, one when the team acts as the prosecution, another when they act as the defense. This seasons case was one involving a young woman being accused of vehicular homicide; Haley played a witness for the prosecution and an attorney for the defense.

On a side note, Haley is home-schooled, along with all of the other members of her team. Last night, when they competed against a very prestigious local private school (Baylor), the other team was shocked – they had never seen kids who home-schooled – they were amazed.

Anyway, mock trial is not simply a bunch of acting; it’s a real trial. Each participant must know the case, and the characters he or she brings to life, inside and out, and work as a team. The winners are the ones who can show that by literally being put on trial.

How Did I Do?

Sooooo…. Last night, on the way home, Haley asked me, “So, Daddy, how did I do?” I replied with, “Do you want me to tell you what I really think, or do you want me to answer you the same way you and your mother always answer me when I ask that question after I preach?”

Haley: Tell me what you really thought.

Me: Nah, I think I’ll just say what you always tell me after I preach, “It was good.

Haley: Oh, no you don’t! NO! Do you really want to know what I thought about Sunday night? Huh? Do you!?

Me: Seeeeee, there ya’ go! I knew it!

Haley: OK! FINE! You want to know what I thought about the message you preached last night (Sunday)? Fine, I’ll tell you! …You preached like an OLD WHITE GUY!

Shawn McBride

Shawn McBride

Pause for explanation… Last week Haley went with a youth group from another church to a youth camp in Ridgecrest, NC. The speaker that weekend was a lively, energetic, funny, African-American – in other words, a BLACK preacher. His name was Shawn McBride.

Now, I have never heard Shawn McBride preach, but in my defense, I have never had the opportunity to speak to a thousand+ youth at a retreat, either; large hoards of effervescent hormones are not my typical audience. How one preaches to a bunch of crumb crunchers is different from how one preaches to those with blue “handicap” decals hanging from the rear-view mirror of their cars.

Me: What? Well did he preach anything doctrinally deep enough to wade in? Or, do I need to make my points from a ladder on stage? (she said he used a ladder at one point)

Haley: Sure, your stuff was deeper, that’s true – but you still preached like an OLD WHITE GUY!

You really don’t need to know all I said about Haley and her “acting,” do you? Really, I was nice – after about a minute. Then I bought her a cheeseburger.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. – Romans 14:4 ESV

We just have to do the best with what God gives us…even if we are OLD and WHITE!

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Do not judge, General Observations, Homeschool, Preaching

Saturday Morning Prep Time

Sun Is Up!

Our daughter’s little dog, Jack, a Chuweenie, ran into the our bedroom, leaped on our bed, then on my chest, and in clearly-understandable dog language yelled with an obvious smile, “The sun’s up! You need up, too!”

All smiles

All smiles

Yep, the sun’s up, so now I’m up, having taken Jack out to do his business, and now back here at the computer listening to worship music (Keith and Kristin Getty) as my coffee brews.

It’s a Saturday morning, but Sunday’s coming! And I’m excited!

Preparing 

This morning started off with reading a selection from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening – oh, what a blessing! “Have faith in God,” Jesus says in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God!’

What better way to prepare for Sunday morning, or any morning, than to have faith in God? I can’t do anything in my own strength; I am weak, scared, inadequate, unprepared. But when I look forward toward tomorrow with faith in God, I can do so resolute that the battle is not mine, but His, and He is with me!

Little-faith says, “It is a rough road, beset with sharp thorns, and full of dangers; I am afraid to go;” but Great-faith remembers the promise, “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; as thy days, so shall thy strength be:” and so she boldly ventures. Little-faith stands desponding, mingling her tears with the flood; but Great-faith sings, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:” and she fords the stream at once. - Spurgeon

I am looking forward with expectation to Sunday morning! God is going to bless us with His Word and His presence, even more faith. I may even show up to church as Little-faith, but when I leave I’ll be wearing some new “iron and brass” shoes!

Sun Up Earlier

But just remember, you who will actually wake up tomorrow with anticipation, set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight. Otherwise, you might end up doing something few desire to do anymore – get to church early.

Have a great day in the Lord!

 

*Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).

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Filed under Christian Living, Depression, Faith, God, worship

Shunning Green Pastures

Study Where You Can

rotundaLast night I was sitting in the rotunda of our county courthouse. No, I was not in trouble – this time. I was just there waiting on my daughter as she was practicing with a group of other kids for upcoming mock trial competition. (If you don’t know what that is, it’s a bunch of high school students from different schools who compete against each other in “mock” trials in court).

Anyway, because her practices usually take at least a couple of hours, I always take something to study. I mean, if I’m going to have to be there, I might as well make use of my time, right? So, this time I took with me my Bible and volume one of a series of commentaries on the book of John by the late Dr. James Montgomery Boice. You see, I’m am beginning a sermon series through the book of John this next Sunday.

So, outside in the rotunda, where I actually found a leather chair in a relatively quite spot, I read the following passage from Dr. Boice’s book. Here’s a little teaser for ya’ – I had to stand up after reading it and raise my hands, with tears in my eyes, and say aloud, “Hallelujah!”

Did you know that a sheep will not eat or drink when it is lying down? Most people have never heard this. But it is a fact, and it gives special meaning to the phrase, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” If a sheep is lying down, even in the greenest of pastures and even with the most tender morsel of grass within an inch of its nose, the sheep will not eat the grass. Instead, if it is hungry, it will scramble to its feet, bend over, and then eat the morsel that was much easier to reach before. Thus, when the psalm tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ, our Shepherd, makes us to lie down in green pastures, it means that he is able to satisfiy us so completely that we cannot possibly yearn for anything more. – James Montgomery Boice. The Gospel of John, Volume 1: The Coming of the Light, p.41.

What did you think about that?

Greener Pastures?

So, what got me so excited there in the rotunda of the county courthouse? Reading a truth that had never crossed my mind before: Jesus wants to make me not even care about green pastures!

That’s right! When Jesus satisfies our souls, nothing else can compare, not even the best offers of the world; more prestigious position; the more attractive temptation; etc.

When we are totally satisfied with Jesus, He can lead us to the greenest pastures and have us so fulfilled in Him that we can lay down and never take a bite! For that matter, when our souls are completely nourished with Him, the desire to seek greener pastures doesn’t even cross our minds; it’s not even appealing!

Oh, hallelujah, my friends! Satisfy your hunger with the Bread of Life; quench your deepest thirst with the Water of Life. Find your satisfaction in the abundant life of Christ and greener pastures won’t even be appetizing.

With Jesus satisfies your soul, you can be content in whatever field you’re led.

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Netanyahu and Purim

My Stand

Let me be very honest…very honest. For that matter, let me be so honest that some of you reading this will want to unsubscribe, write a hateful comment, or even threaten bodily harm (which is not uncommon nowadays with those who supposedly celebrate free-thinking and tolerance).

I stand with Israel. That’s right, I stand with Israel.

No, it does not mean that I agree with everything Israel’s government does. No, it does not mean that I am happy that Israel’s Prime Minister denies Jesus Christ. But what it does mean is that I stand with the one nation in the middle east which is not tied to a bunch of fanatics who want to cut my head off, burn me alive, or rape my wife and children in front of me until I renounce Christianity and embrace Islam – and then cut my head off.

Hate me, yell at me, curse me, or whatever; I don’t care. You can take the side of Hamas, the Ayatollah’s, Hitler, or Haman of old, but I will stand with Israel.

Bibi’s Speech

Last night the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, made a speech to the joint houses of Congress in the capital building in Washington, D.C. Our president chose to act like a teenager who’d been “dissed” and avoided the speech, along with his staff and a lot of Democrats. However, others were there, including a truly-deserving Nobel Prize winner, award-winning author and holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel. (All I could do was cry when I read his book, Night)

So many have taken the opportunity to condemn Netanyahu for coming to America and speaking. They have called his speech “worthless” and “political,” even dismissing it as ineffective for not even making a dent in the current negotiations that the Vietnam veteran and French-serenading John Kerry is currently conducting with Iran.

Big deal.

What Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech proved was that he does not trust his current enemy to behave any differently than any number of previous enemies, including one who signed a 1938 agreement in Munich which was supposed to bring “peace in our time.” As a matter of fact, he sees this attempt to appease a border-thirsty, caliphate-seeking nation as nothing more than starting the countdown clock toward nuclear war.

Another prime minister who spoke to congress three times, Winston Churchill, was laughed to scorn by the leaders of Europe and America when he suggested a future treaty signer was nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Who was proven to be correct?

Purim

It amazes me that in such a short time so many people forget what happened in the concentrations camps. It amazes me even more that there are idiots and psychopaths who deny the holocaust happened. But it did, and it wasn’t the first time, either.

In the 4 century BC, another leader within another Persian empire, a man named Haman, sought to utterly destroy the Jews. Long before the Ayatollahs of Iran came on the scene, even before Nazi Germany, this ticked off noblemen decided to pursue a plan to kill the Jews in one day. By God’s grace a young woman named Esther,  who later became queen of Persia, was raised up “for such a time as this” to deliver her people. In one day the tables turned and the Jews were allowed, by another declaration, to defend themselves – which they did.

One of the most brilliant things Prime Minister Netanyahu did was link the intents of an ancient Persian anti-Semite with the intents of modern Persian anti-Semites: the leaders of Iran. How many other countries in the world today have been battling for survival for over 4,000 years? How many times will we have to go down this road before we understand that those who say they want to destroy Israel aren’t joking?

Tonight I will also celebrate the festival of Purim. No, there will be no feast or gifts exchanged (except at a birthday party for my daughter we are also going to), but I will tell the story of Esther and her people’s miraculous deliverance from destruction. I will also pray that more leaders will have the wisdom and foresight Esther’s uncle, Mordechai.

Somebody needs to call the free people of the world to stand with courage, to stand with Israel, and to stand against those who seek her destruction…for such a time is now.

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Filed under America, Countries, current events, Future