Everyone loves a celebrity. We seek their autograph, their picture, and if you are running for public office, you seek their endorsement. But this brings to mind the old saying, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.
Today I read about Madonna, (and I thought that she was a has been but I guess she is still a celebrity), and her endorsement of the president for the upcoming election. OUCH! She called him a black Muslim. She should thank her star on the famous Broadway walk that she is not a Republican who said something like that. Why she would be ran out-of-town. But, she is a not and she can say whatever she wants too and not have much backlash. But let me go on record as saying that I think her remarks are absolutely ridiculous and that she should apologize to the president and to the country. I will wait patiently.
Why does she have to call him black? He is our president. I never refer to any president as white or black or Hispanic or any other ethnicity. Is she a racist? If I were to call him black and criticize him I would be called a racist. Does she think that people are stupid? It is obvious that he is not green or blue. I thought that people were people and the color of their skin did not matter. At least that is how I was raised in my middle-income home with white parents and siblings. FYI…we had a cat that was black.
But, Madonna has said stupid stuff in the past and got away with it and it is her right as an American, even though she is white, to say what ever she wants. Freedom of speech does not limit stupid speech and her speech has been stupid at times. But as a celebrity, when she says something, people listen, even if it is offensive to one group or another.
Would it matter if the president was a Muslim? He says that he is a Christian and that doesn’t seem to be a problem. The Republican candidate says that he is a Mormon and I really don’t care. I want to have a president who stands for all Americans of every race and religion. If the president was a Muslim, he would still be the president that was sworn to uphold the constitution of the USA. Does being a Muslin or a Christian or a Jew or a Mormon, or an atheist change that? I hope not and don’t think so.
So why did Madonna say that the president was a black Muslim? The only conclusion that I can come to is that I can think of is that celebrity stupidity is still a part of free speech and as offensive as it may be and as stupid as it may be, she has a right to say whatever she wants in this great country that has great men who serve as president no matter what color they were born or what religion they follow.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!
Everyone loves a celebrity. We seek their autograph, their picture, and if you are running for public office, you seek their endorsement. But this brings to mind the old saying, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.
I want to tell you about an organization that is worth checking out. It is called Third Option Men. The founder is a guy named Evan, and him and his dad were the ones who made our trip to Cuba possible. I encourage you to check out the website and/or Facebook page. The website is www.thirdoptionmen.org and just type in the name to find them on Facebook. The purpose of this group is to encourage guys to develop relationships that allow for accountability and more than just a Sunday morning type relationship that is far to common in the church today. It is about the type of relationship that Jesus had with his disciples, close and personal.
Far too often men tend to take their Christianity way too casually. We want the type of relationship that does not allow another man to get close enough to ask the hard questions or hear the brutal truth about how we are struggling in our relationships at work, home, and with God. Evan describes this beginning and often only type of man to man relationship of Christian males as the ‘awkward handshake’. The kind of relationship where we know your name and your favorite football team but never know that your marriage is falling apart and you might be struggling with an addiction. He encourages us to develop relationships that are real, relevant and reliable, just like Jesus and His relationship with others.
Basically, men have only three options in life. We can live for self, live for worldly gain, or live for God. Christian men need to choose the third option…get it? Third Option Men?
Living for self is easy. Looking out for number one is the way we are taught through most of life and the media. This is much like the “if it feels good do it” mentality. I saw a commercial the other day about a company that does cosmetic surgery and one of the women made the statement that if there was something that someone could do to make them feel better about themselves that they should do it at any cost. So if you think the way God made you is not good enough and that He made a mistake, a doctor can fix it and you will feel good about yourself. Sadly, surgery does nothing for that God shaped hole we are all trying to fill. So self-indulgence is not the answer.
Living for worldly gain sounds good. If we could only have more money, a bigger house, or a nicer car, we would feel better. Even if we could have bigger breasts (not men, but our wives) and less wrinkles, that would help, but you need to have the money for that. After all, we see how happy all the Hollywood crowd is with their plastic surgery and successful marriages and lack of drug and alcohol abuse, (Sarcasm). I actually saw more satisfied people in Cuba making $20 a month than I see in Hollywood making millions. Before you disagree, think about the number of famous people who are divorced, in rehab, gone broke, or even killed themselves. Jesus said it best about this option; Matthew 16:26, What good will it do for people to win the whole world and lose their lives? Or what will a person give in exchange for life?
The third option, to live for God, requires one to deny self and think of others. It requires you to build a relationship with someone who cares enough to invest time in you or vice versa. It requires you to give and to love and to get involved with someone to the point that you know what is really important and what can really help. It is what Jesus did with the men that He decided to hang out with. It is what we need to do as Christian men.
We took this message into Cuba and found that men there have the same reservations as we do in America. But when laid out in plain and biblical truths, it is undeniable that it works and is needed. Not the program or the book, or even the title, but the lifestyle. Third Option Men has a heart for those who are hurting and is going into churches and communities and countries to help men get over that macho attitude of self-reliance and teaching them to live for God.
I chose the third option. It is not easy and I fail often, but I have some friends who know how to help and care when I struggle. They too have chosen to follow God. God does not want men to be loners, but to have vital relationships to help us through that many paths that He may lead us.
Check it out…Third Option Men.
You see the weirdest stuff on Facebook. People who air their dirty laundry, complain about people they never met, and are experts on everything. One of my least favorite things to see on Facebook is conversations about Christianity. It is amazing that the experts on Christianity are usually the ones who don’t believe in God. Those who do believe are so weak in their knowledge of the Bible that they sound quite foolish at times and even go as far as admitting that they don’t really believe what they are hoping to be their eternal destiny. I do consider myself an expert on the Bible and believe that it teaches assurance and simplicity for salvation that we can be absolutely sure of.
I know that last statement will get some feathers ruffled, but I do consider myself an expert on the Bible. I have my Masters in theology and am half way to my Doctorate. I have read the Bible completely more times than I can count and make a living teaching what it says. I take this very seriously, because I believe that there is a God just as much as I believe that 1+1=2. No, I can’t prove that God exists, but no one can prove that He doesn’t. I have the ability to understand that order never comes from chaos and that where there is a creation of any type there must be a creator. I know personally that God changed my life and that the Bible has been true every time that I have tested it. Yes there are things that I can’t explain and don’t fully understand, but that is true with about anything in life.
The question was asked of me about how someone who professes to be a Christian can say that they believe the Bible enough for salvation but at the same time believe that God has made other ways that are not in the Bible to receive this salvation. That is a tough one. I personally believe that many people are not truly trusting God for the understanding of salvation but trusting in human understanding. Proverbs 3:5 Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Humans do not want to believe that they are not the smartest creature in the universe. As a Christian, the thing that we often miss is that God wants us to begin to trust Him and His word and change are hearts and mind. Romans 12:2 Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect. This is hard when we are challenged by those who don’t believe and make it their point to argue what they believe of a non existing God. (I think it is sad to be threatened so much by something that you don’t even believe in.) But for those who say they believe they are Christians, God is the ultimate expert in who He is and what He wants you to know and believe. If He is who He says He is, and you believe that, then we should always try to seek the Godly way in our beliefs.
From the beginning, as the Bible states it, man has doubted God and wanted what we want. It has always led to failure. Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a person, but eventually it ends in death. Religious people have tried to turn what God wants into their gain, whether it was the Pharisees of Jesus’ day or corrupt preachers of today. Those will answer to God for their false teachings. But why do professing believes get thrown off by people who profess not to believe? It is one thing to say, I believe this way but respect your opinion, but never is it okay to go against what God clearly teaches. For instance, Jesus is the only way of salvation. The Bible is very clear about that. Why would a Christian argue against that? It borders on heresy and at best ignorance.
Your eternal life is a dangerous thing to play a game of people pleasing with. If you believe in the God of the Bible, don’t doubt what the Bible says. Faith is believing, not wishful thinking. It is by grace through faith that we are saved. God condemns those who don’t believe. But he made what He wants you to believe simple and direct and easy to obtain.
Proverbs 28:26 Whoever trusts his own heart is a fool. Whoever walks in wisdom will survive. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
I think I believe is a people pleaser’s way of saying I don’t know. Salvation is to know.
I always hate blogging about stuff where I have to talk about what I am doing, but sometimes I can’t help it. My wife, whom I love dearly, was given a diet for a thyroid condition and it is really good for her. One of the things it does is keep your weight in check, and if you need to lose some pounds it does that well and quickly. The only problem is that it requires her and I to be on two different menus, and that gets expensive and not practical all the time. After talking about it and me encouraging her to get back on it because of the health benefits, I told her to make it easier I would eat the same stuff too. So for the last month we have been faithful to follow this thing and I have lost 12 pounds already. She has lost about the same, but I did not think she needed it cause she is so fine, but I guess everyone if given the option can be happy with dropping a few pounds.
Our church tries to provide a variety of activities for the members and guests, including exercise programs. The latest to start was P90X for the men. Because I was losing this weight, I thought that it would be a good time to start exercising again. For many years I was a gym rat. I even went through the training to become a personal trainer at one time. I love to workout and enjoy the sweat, but for the last five years I have had chronic back pain that limits my ability to exercise like I want too. But I am giving this a try.
P90X is an advanced workout routine for freaks. If you have never seen it advertised you should Google it and check out this torture. I am not a wimp and even though my back limits me, I am not in bad shape. Not in good shape, but I can hang in there with most people. Considering the fact that I am 50 now, I think I am doing okay with it. My only problem is that I can’t feel my arms from the workout 2 days ago and my legs are hurting from last nights workout. There are a handful of us trying to do this, a couple of youth and a couple of younger adults. I am trying not to hate the guy who started this, but my body says that I need to.
I know that if I stick with it I will overcome the soreness and my desire to hate the guy who started it. I know that I will increase my stamina and my muscle tone. But sticking with it hurts. I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but I am allergic to pain. It makes me hurt and walk funny.
As I was thinking about this I realized how similar Christianity is to a good diet and exercise. The Bible tells us to exercise our faith and to walk by faith. The problem is that most people are lazy and would rather cut back on eating than exercise. Starving yourself physically will lose weight but you only become weaker. Same is true with our faith. Walking by faith and exercising our faith often hurts. At best it is uncomfortable and takes dedication. Like I want to hate the guy who started the P90X, many want to hate the preacher who tells them to do what the Bible says instead of sitting around doing nothing. But I know that in a few weeks I will thank him for this; maybe.
Most of why we do or don’t do things is because we don’t have a change of heart and change of mind. That desire to do what is right is often overridden by the easiness of doing nothing. This diet that we started is a healthier diet than my burger and fries diet that I love. But it too means changing my heart and mind. Sure I could have bought bigger clothes, but I can’t buy another body. We can’t change the fact that God has one way of salvation and once we are saved He desires the best for us. He knows that a steady diet of His word mixed with exercising our faith makes us strong and less vulnerable to spiritual attacks. Healthy Christians are far more likely to get the praise of God when we all stand before him. Sure He will give us a robe that fits us, but I want to look good in mine, not cover up an out of shape faith that I never did anything with.
We can work out and eat better to change our physical health. We can eat better spiritually, but in the end, it is better if we get our faith in shape and work it out too. Change your heart and mind and eat the good stuff and exercise what God gives you.
I have a friend who lives in the Philippines and he is someone who starts churches and helps pastor of the churches that he starts. I talk to him regularly on Facebook and occasionally on the phone. We first met about nine years ago when he visited my church while here in the states raising funds for his work. For whatever reason God bonded us in friendship and we have stayed in touch and I feel much closer to him than the distance of being half way around the world from him should allow.
The Philippines is for the most part a poor country, and especially where he is. Many people there do not have running water or sewage. He told me the other day about a 3-year-old who died from complications caused by drinking from the river because they do not have the ability to drill deep wells for safe drinking water. His church had to get the body from the morgue for the family who could not afford it. This family of 6 live in a 3 meter by 3 meter room.
Although my friend is younger than I am, he is not in the best of health. He is a diabetic and has hepatitis. On top of that, he has bad allergies that cause frequent sinus infections. Every time I talk to him I tell him that he needs to take care of his health and he tells me that he stays busy so that he doesn’t have to think about it. The availability of medicines is not the greatest and the doctors and hospitals are nothing like what we have here in the states, so even if money were not an issue, the quality of care can be questionable at best.
This morning I got a Facebook message from his wife telling me that he is in the hospital. I have not heard what is wrong or how serious it is. There is a 13 hour time difference that makes talking a challenge, so I am waiting for a reply. I am asking those who believe in God to pray for him. He is an amazing person who cares for his people with great compassion and with very little concern for his own well-being. His wife and kids are amazing people too and they have supported him and his ministry with uncompromising dedication.
I also ask you to pray for that nation. There is a wide variety of beliefs in that country and many are in direct conflict with Christianity. Some even resort to violence against those who don’t believe as they do. There is little help from the government in the form of protection for those who are trying to start the churches. Being a nation of islands, many of the smaller or more remote ones are often ran by those who have little regard for the law. The church in the Philippines is not the powerful force of money and resources as we see in the states. It is much more like the church of the early New Testament, a group of believers who join together to help those in need. Its kind of refreshing when you think about it like that.
There is a need in my friend’s church and ministry for financial help if you were to feel led to do so. I normally would never mention something like this, but I have personal knowledge of the legitimacy of the need. If you are interested in helping out that way, you can contact me via email or message me on Facebook. My email is email@example.com. I will give you a direct contact source or you can give through our church. But most of all I ask for your prayers for my friend’s health, his ministry, and his country.
Thanks for the prayers and I will update this as soon as I hear about why he is in the hospital or that he is out and all is okay.
Today is a national holiday in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I have to admit that I have never studied this man in-depth and what I know of him is limited to a few brief bio’s that I have skimmed over and what I have heard from the media, which scares me to think that I would even trust those. I do know that his desires for racial unity were good and honorable and to that I applaud him. He was a Minister of the Gospel and his compassion for the human race was rooted there.
I think that in the media’s reporting of his life there has been a severe lacking of linking Dr. King with Christianity. Again, I am not an expert on him, but just casually trying to recall all that I have heard reported about him and his life, I rarely hear that He was a minister. If I am wrong, I apologize, but to me he is made to sound more like a community activist than a man who was taking the love of Christ to the streets with a belief that it would change the world. Personally, I believe that is exactly what he was doing.
Jesus taught that those who call themselves Christians should love not only each other, be even our enemies. He taught that our neighbor should be loved like we love ourselves and that our neighbor was our fellow-man. Jesus did not segregate. He did observe the laws and customs of the day, which compared to modern American laws and customs could seem bigoted, but Jesus had compassion on all of humanity.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that he became all things to all men in hopes that he might win some of them to Jesus. This was not a statement of someone who was trying to please everyone all the time, but rather of a man who loved people enough to meet them where ever they were in life, rich or poor, Jew of gentile, Christian or not. He taught that in God’s eyes that all were sinners and that Christ died for all; red yellow black or white, it did not matter.
The Apostle James warned the church about being the type of Christians that only hear what God says but do nothing to show our faith. He warning about judging someone based on their financial status and what they wore. He challenged Christians to pray for those who were less fortunate and then to put feet on our prayers.
So Dr. King was echoing the Bible and the heart of God when he proclaimed his dream that one day little black children and little white children would live together in a world with equal rights and equal opportunity. He was echoing the Gospel as he proclaimed that we all have a responsibility to teach our children to love each other and to not look at the outside to judge one’s worthiness. Dr. King did not walk the streets shouting angrily at the injustice of the white man or the government, but rather he walked in faith knowing the truth of the Gospel was more powerful than the lies of hypocrisy and racism. He knew that the church, which is the body of Christ, was the answer and the key to all men not only being created equal, but being able to live that way in America.
Today I have the honor of working with some bold and brave black pastors who have decided to carry on the call of Dr. King look beyond race and look to Jesus to solve the issues that face of today. They have taught me more about the true person of Dr. King, the minister on the Gospel, then any book and media report I could ever hear or see. They have embraced the call for reconciliation and recognize that only Christ can truly change the heart of a man, but without the examples of men who know this truth, all is in vain. I thank them for showing me an example of the greatness of a man who loved God and loved his neighbor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lately there has been a lot a media attention about the Denver Bronco’s quarterback, Tim Tebow and his Christianity. It is funny that there has been so much criticism for him making a public display by kneeling in prayer so often. But I don’t think that Tebow should feel special, after all he did not get this thing started, and our modern media was not the first to criticize.
Jesus came on the scene as a guy that few recognized for who he was and what an impact on the world He would have. Even though there were thousands of years of prophesy pointing to His coming, those who knew the prophesies best, did not recognize Him when He made the scene. It was a very religious crowd of people who got the ball rolling toward criticizing Christianity, or in this case Christ. From there it overflowed into society and there has been a steady flow ever since.
I guess some ask, why the criticism? After all, Jesus was not a man who did a lot of intimidation to those He met. He was humble, kind, and compassionate. He was the perfect Christian, duh, and yet He got slammed by those who did not understand Him or like Him. I hear many Christians today saying that the church does not resemble Jesus very much and that is why we are criticized. I will be the first to agree that the church has gotten off track in being what Christ wanted us to be. But, there aren’t any perfect people, even Christians, so that should not be a surprise. But what about someone like Tim Tebow. What has he done that is so un-Christ like? Kneel and give God glory in public? Help little children who are needy? And yet he still gets blasted at every turn.
There is nothing Christians can do to stop this. If we are not Christ-like then we are hypocrites, if we are Christ-like then we are “holier than thou”. So what should we do? How can we stop this injustice and get everyone on our side. After all, Christians have feelings too. (Pardon me as I wipe the tears away and blow my nose.) Hopefully those who know me and read my blog regularly know that there was sarcasm in that and something else is coming. So here it is.
Stop your whining and grow up, Christians. Jesus was not a whiner. He even told us that we would be criticized. He said people would hate us. He said that should not stop us from loving people. He said to love those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you. He never told us that everybody would love us if we just acted a certain way. Christians spend far to much time holding their feelings out for the world to see and hoping to get some sympathy instead of looking for those who need sympathy and running to encourage them. We were not put here to receive praise from humanity, but rather to glorify God in heaven.
Christians are not the only people who get criticized by others. So do any other religions outside the Christian faith, and we are the ones who criticize. If we don’t like criticism, perhaps we should not criticize. I am not saying that we can’t point out differences and truths, but stop the badmouthing for the sake of nothing better to do.
But, there are others who receive criticism regularly too. Politicians, coaches, referees, teachers, lawyers, drivers, children, parents, and people who let their dogs bark all night, to name a few. In other words, Christians are not special because we get criticized by others. So get over it, please. Tim Tebow is a big boy and if he weren’t a Christian he would be criticized for his lack of passing ability, his pour throwing mechanics, and his bad decision making in games. But all that amounts to nothing when you win the game.
Christ has given us the victory! Let that overshadow the criticism.
By now those who follow my blogs have noticed that these early 2012 blogs have been rather serious. Don’t lose heart, the humor is still here, but the challenge to tweak a few things in my life has hit me pretty hard. Many in our church have been saying for months that we felt like God was going to do something big in our church this year and I agree. But I have always believed that God will start with the leader and this time is not different.
Jesus gave the command to go into all the world and make disciples, and, this is something I love, but can improve on. Standing before a group of people on Sunday mornings preaching a sermon is not making disciples. It is an important part of my calling and I love it, but God expects all of us to help others grow in their Christian life. This is not any different from any other family. Older brothers and sisters should help teach the younger siblings how to be productive parts of the family. Since the church is full of brothers and sisters in Christ with God as our Father, it only makes sense that we help the young to grow in their faith.
My wife and I have taken this challenge serious for years, and I can look back through the years at the younger brothers and sisters that have grown and are now teaching others. This year we are purposefully picking a few young men and women to pour our lives into. We are not going to teach them to be deacons or Sunday School teachers, but we are going to teach them how to know what God has in store for them and help them pursue that.
A wise man once told me that you only have to be one step ahead to lead. This sounds simplistic and it is true. But what we are missing is the fact that much too often, those who are a step ahead end up sitting still and stay where they are, thus they quit leading and began gathering a crowd. Jesus was not about gathering crowds, He gathered a group of people to live with and teach a lifestyle to, not a position in the church. He taught them about life as His follower, not how to act in a building on Sundays.
Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to teach people how to have church. We are to teach people how to have Christ, then how to live as Christians. Christianity is meant to be a life of discipline in the ways of Christ. That is what a disciple is, someone who is disciplined. Discipline is not punishment, it is living under control and in subjection to the ways of Christ. It is about learning how to do what the Bible says and not just learning what it says. And, for a person to do this they must first see it in action.
If you are one step ahead, keep taking the steps needed to lead. Don’t rest because you feel as if you have reached your potential. God has no limits and neither do the ones who follow His ways. Church is not the place where Christians live, it is the pit stop in the race to the finish. It is where we rest and fuel up and get a cool drink of living water in order to go back out and run the race.
I am looking forward to leading this group of young men. I eagerly look forward to the day that they are leading others and so on. After Jesus left this world to go and prepare a place for us, he left behind men and women who understood that the leading was now on them. Each one of them was responsible for leading others and then those were responsible for even more. Fast forward and couple of thousand years and millions upon millions have come to know Christ. The family has grown and yet somehow we seem to have reached the point where we are satisfied with a weekend meeting. It is time to rethink what the church has become and return to the command of Christ to make disciples.
Incredible would be the best word I could use to describe this past weekend. Our church had its annual lady’s retreat and about 30 of our ladies spent the weekend in Tybee Island, Ga. From the pictures I saw on Facebook and the short conversations that I had with my wife, they had a great time and I am sure once I hear the details it will only get better.
Of course when I talk about 30 women being away for the weekend, that meant that they are away from our church too. On most Sunday mornings we will have about 140 people attending and that includes an average of about 30 kids also. So if you take 30 people away from our normal Sunday morning it is noticed simply by looking at the crowd size. But we notice it even more because many of these ladies serve in our church in vital areas. Children’s director, teachers, greeters, check in stations for kids, just to name a few. Add to the ladies being away the fact that we had our audio/video guy and his wife out and about 12 other folks who were away, and it was really noticed that people were missing.
I have to say that rarely do we have people who just lay out of church. The folks here have taken an ownership in what God is doing and for whatever weird reasons, they seem to enjoy coming. Mostly because people find God here, but secondly, they have real friends that come here. Not just people we see once a week, but people that we hang out with and have a real relationship with. So I am not the type of pastor who has to guilt people when they are away and usually when they are away it is for a good reason, not just laziness and lack of desire to come. Have I told you lately that I am a very blessed pastor? God has allowed me to serve a bunch of folks who are real and excited about knowing God.
With so many people away this Sunday I was expecting the worst. Although my wife assured me that things were well taken care of, I couldn’t help but be skeptical. All the other people who were gone had also assured me that they had things covered and that nothing would be missed. They were right. Although the people were missed, things went over without a hitch. I was so amazed, and I really shouldn’t be. That is just what kind of church I serve.
I also thought that because so many of the regular folks were out that the crowd would be rather puny, but it wasn’t. Sure those who are here regularly could tell that people were missing, but only because we knew who they were. We had plenty of folks and if those 40 plus people had shown up we would have been near capacity. Boy, listen to me whine.
My sermon this week was on using grace as the foundation to build your Christianity on. Grace is favor given, not earned. God just loves us and when we seek Him, He gives us grace and therefore we have favor in His sight. Being in His good grace is a special thing that anyone can experience, but sadly too many people don’t because they pervert who God is. God is love, not someone waiting to crush you like a bug when you screw up. Sure, if you continue to deny Him and never ask for His favor, He can and probably will prove He is able to squash you like a bug, but that is not His goal. His grace is an awesome thing that allows us a very personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.
Because of God’s grace, six people became God’s children this weekend. It is not uncommon for our church to see 3 or 4 people each week trust God, but this week with a lot of folks gone, God showed us that He never misses hanging out with people who welcome Him. As we were finishing our morning worship time I informed people that we would be filling the horse trough for baptisms next Sunday because there were 2 or 3 people who had asked about it. As the day progress and we came back for the evening Bible study, about 12 more people had contacted me about getting baptized next week. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see 20 people baptized next Sunday.
If you don’t consider yourself a Christian, maybe you find this hard to get excited about. But it is what God gets excited about. He is not excited about money or buildings or how important a person thinks they are. God is excited about people knowing about His great love and sharing it with others. So if you are not a Christian, first let me thank you for reading my blogs. Secondly, if you live in the Rock Hill SC area, come next week and see all these baptisms and meet some people who will be surprisingly a lot like you. Either way, the first visit is free and if you don’t like it you don’t have to come back.
But WOW!!! This was an incredible weekend. I will be so glad to get my wife home and all those ladies who serve all over our church. They should be really stoked for next weekend. Holy Kaw! Next weekend could be better than this one!
As you read through the Old Testament you can run across some stuff that will make you scratch your head and wonder. Some things seem cruel, some things are just bizarre, and others like what I read today, just makes you go Hmmm. That would make a great song wouldn’t it, “things that make you go Hmmm”?
In 1 Chronicles, we are given a summation of King David’s life. Toward the end, David begins to prepare his son Solomon to take the kingdom and to build the temple. Part of doing this is designating the priests’ assigned duties. There were thousands of them who made sure that the temple was maintained and ready for worship. This is what I found that made me go Hmmm. David appointed almost 2000 priests with the sole purpose of giving thanks in the morning and in the evening. Hmmm. See? Did it again.
My first thought is that this would be a really easy job and where do I apply. Imagine this as your workday: Alarm goes off at 6:30am and you eat breakfast, shower and shave, although the priests did not shave, fix your lunch, and head down to the temple. Once there you clock in, walk into the office, say “Thanks”, tell the boss and your fellow priests, “see you later”, go prop your feet up on the desk and play Angry Birds until 4pm, walk in say “thanks” and clock out. Then go home and tell the wife to keep the kids quiet, you have had a rough day. Sounds pretty cushy, doesn’t it?
Here is the catch. These guys had to spend their days looking for and recording the things that they would offer thanks for. I wonder how hard that must have been some days. You know the days I am talking about. When you get up on the wrong side of the bed and so does every one else. The kids don’t want to eat their breakfast and they don’t want to wear the clothes you laid out for then and you don’t want to wear the clothes you just put on. The coffee maker broke, the toast burnt and that re-heated cup of coffee from yesterday just spilled down the front of your white shirt. You get to work and your boss lets you know that everyone that helps you has called in sick and everything that they did needed to be done by noon. You call to have lunch brought in and once they finally get there, your order is wrong and you left you wallet at home and the person who you usually can borrow a few bucks from is one that called in sick. On the way home you have a flat and its raining and the spare tire was never fixed from the last time you had one of these days, and your cell phone is dead from using it so much at work. Once you finally make it home, you don’t feel like cooking so you decide to go out but realize that there is no money in the bank because the mortgage is due and you received a note from the IRS today in the mail saying that they made a mistake and you owe them $1500 more.
With all of this you finally make it to bed and you realize that you have not stopped to pray or read your Bible all day. So quickly you grab your Bible open it and decide that you will read where ever you open it too and this is what you see: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. Isn’t that just like God to ruin an already sucky day by tell you to be thankful?
Don’t you know that those priests had days like that too? But that did not stop them from having to fulfill their duties and it was their duty to give thanks in the morning and the evening, daily.
What do you do on a day like that? Here are a few things that we can always give thanks for:
~ You were alive to have such a bad day.
~ You have a job
~ You have a home and a family
~ The perseverance that you show will encourage others
~ God loves you
~ You have a brain that works because of things that make you go Hmmm.