Saturday, December 25, 2010

Silently, How Silently, This Wondrous Gift Is Given

The British poet U.A. Fanthorpe (b. 1929) was the first woman nominated as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. I love how her poem BC:AD captures the unremarkable circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus.
This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future's
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.
Christians celebrate that ordinary night as the most extraordinary event in human history, for on that night "God was in Christ, reconciling the cosmos to Himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Merry Christmas to all!!!!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas Message

Luke 1:37... For with  God nothing will be impossible.
    As we read the Christmas story tonight we will once again be reminded of angels, shepherds, a carpenter's son named Joseph, a young girl named Mary, a baby boy named Jesus, and a caravan of traveler's bring gifts.  For many people that is the scene of Christmas.  The message is one of peace and salvation.        
However, there is a deeper truth that stands out in the Christmas story that I want to bring to the front.
    Think with me for a moment.  Mary was probably 13 or 14 ... the angel's visit had been more than a bit of a surprise ... and his announcement more than unbelievable.  No one could blame Mary for having a question or two.  "How could I have a child," she wondered, "when I have known no man?"
     It is important to note that Mary's question reflects her confidence in God to perform the miracle.  She was not asking for a sign.  She was enquiring how ... not if... God would perform this miracle.
   The angel explained that "the Holy Spirit will come upon you (Luke 1:35),  and told her of Elizabeth's miraculous birth (v.36).  Then the angel said, "for with God nothing will be impossible."

 Mary replied, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord!  Let it be unto me according to you word (v38).

   This is the Christmas message I want you to hear.... this is the message many need to hear.  Christmas is about peace, joy, and salvation....but Christmas is also about TRUST.  Peace, joy, and salvation are only possible as we TRUST God to accomplish His purpose and plan.  God's purposes for us far exceed our human abilities to accomplish them.  Our efforts can't succeed apart from Him, and that's exactly how God intends it to be.  When God reveals His plans, He is also promising to fulfill them.  TRUST Him -- and remember, with God, nothing is impossible.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas Prayer....

This was spoken in space on Christmas Eve by Frank Borman, Apollo 8 space mission, 1968.

Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love in the world in spite of human failure.
Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.
Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.
And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace. ~~~~~
It is my prayer that all who read this blog have a merry Christmas....and don't forget to unwrap God's gift of love and peace.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Confessions of an Auburn fan

Confessions of an Auburn fan

For those who are not aware, I was born, raised and live in a state where football is a god. There is little doubt of the magnitude of that statement.

The two largest universities have rich traditions in football and in the past three years alone, Alabama went 12-2 and 14-0 and Auburn is 12-0 this year; plus a Heisman trophy winner last year and apparently one this year.

I have been an Auburn fan all my life. I don't know why especially when most in my family where Alabama fans. I was once as passionate about football as any because I simply lived in the state of Alabama.

But these past few years has not been good for the state of Alabama. As a pastor, I have witnessed first hand how attendance and offerings would be negatively affected the Sunday after a football loss. The bitterness and wrath between the two schools has only grown more in depth. The "talk" around this state with its history, last three seasons and then the Cam Newton situation has been nauseating.

As Auburn plays for the SEC Championship today, I will watch it. I hope they win and that Cam Newton has a great game, but let me make these confessions:

1. My sustaining joy has not changed this year even though Auburn has won. I had to come to place several years ago that if football changed my joy; then it had to big of a hold over me.

2. I believe the best thing that could happen to the spiritual condition of the state of Alabama is for both teams to go 0-11 and tie in their game. (I actually said that publicly last Sunday in my message). Pride, arrogance, bitterness, wrath, anger and division do not make for a healthy spiritual lives and churches.

3. I would gladly give up (remember I am an Auburn fan) the undefeated season for our churches to experience the genuine presence and touch of God.

You see, I believe if a person can act one way on Saturday and then another on Sunday; there is an idol in their life. Don't misunderstand me - I DO NOT WANT OUR CHURCHES TO BECOME FOOTBALL GAMES. Our churches have something FAR BETTER, EXTREMELY BETTER than any football game can ever offer even if it is an undefeated and championship season.

The presence of God manifested through the Holy Spirit is "better than life." And oh, I hunger for it. EVERY SUNDAY!! EVERYDAY!!! Not just ever-once-and-awhile. If Nick Saban can "preach" to his players the importance of "every play, every down in every practice and every game" to do to the best of your ability - how much more the church of the living God.

So, Auburn and football is secondary, if even that. I want to enjoy God and His presence more than anything else. "Nobody has done me like Jesus!!" I look forward to worshipping Him today, tomorrow and everyday - if Auburn wins or loses. It don't matter. My joy will not change. Just give me Jesus!!! and His Spirit!!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Waiting on God

Exodus 12:40 reads ... Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.  Israel lived in Egypt for over 4 centruies.  During that time several generations had the opportunity to consider their sin, cry out to God and finally see His power to deliver them.
  Moses, spent his sojourn preparing for his role to lead Israel out of Egypt.  After killing an Egyptian who had assaulted a Hebrew, Moses fled to Midian, where he spent 40 years as a shepherd.  During that time God grew Moses into a person who could lead His people.
  God knows where he ultimately wants to take us, but often along the way He has us abide in a difficult place, a place we wold never choose for ourseelves.  Before we are ready to serve in the way He wants us to, we must first let Him build our character.  then, in His perfect timing, god will lead us forward.
  When has a time of sojourn in you life prepared you for kingdom work later?  No season of life is wasted if you spend it right where God wants you to be.
  If God currently has you waiting on Him, what might He be planning for you?

(copied from my daily quiet time reading --- discovering God's Daily Agenda.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Your vote can make a tremendous difference!

Why Bother?
 That’s a valid question you may have when it comes to voting. However, consider the following quotes:
"The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."                              Edmund Burke, British Statesman

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote . . . that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country."
Samuel Adams, Founding Father

"Bad politicians are elected by good people who don't vote."
George Jean Nathan

"If America is to survive, we must elect more God-centered men and women to public office; individuals who will seek Divine guidance in the affairs of state."
Billy Graham, Evangelist

"Ultimately, our loyalty belongs not to any political party or candidate but to God Almighty. And when the time comes, I believe God may ask each of us about how we voted and why."
Richard Land, President, ERLC

"We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow."
Ronald Reagan, U. S President
 Does my vote really matter?
 Yes!  Consider the following examples: 
·        In 1801, one vote in the U.S. House broke the tie between presidential candidates Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.  By the way, Burr was later charged with treason!

·        In 1839, one vote made Marcus Morton governor of Massachusetts and earned him the nickname “Landslide.”

·        In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from being removed from office.

·        In 1876, one vote in the Electoral College gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency.

·        In 1941, one vote extended the active service provision in the Selective Service Act (Draft) just four months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

·        In 2000, we had one of the most closely contested presidential elections in American history, and some people are still arguing about who won!

The point is this: Your vote can make a tremendous difference!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Proof of Life

In a recent post,Tom Goodman asked the following question.
How would you convince someone you're alive?  How long would it take?

It took a Romanian man a year of expensive litigation, and as I read his story it made me think about our life in Christ.

When Gheroghe Stirbu tried to renew his identity card, Romanian officials told him that he was dead.

Chalk another one up to government bureaucracy:  Stirbu had been confused with another man.  Although Stirbu pointed out the error, the government refused to acknowledge their mistake until Stirbu won a 12-month legal claim to be declared alive.

Judges renewed his status as alive -- and then charged him for the court costs!  "I will of course appeal the imposition of the costs," Mr. Stirbu said, "but I am already beginning to wonder whether or not I would have been better off staying dead."

When I baptize someone I recite a paraphrase of Romans 6:4--"You are buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in a new way of life."  From the moment you committed to Christ, Scripture tells us that "God made you alive with Christ" (Colossians 2:13) and so "count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11).

The problem is, sometimes we find ourselves in a position like Mr. Stirbu:  Our "aliveness" is up for question.  Maybe certain habits that should have been left behind still occupy us.  Or sour attitudes still flow like poison through our veins.  Or maybe we can't seem to find enthusiasm for connecting with other believers.  Or, given the choice between reading God's word or a night of idle web surfing, the mouse wins.  Or maybe we can't remember the last time we shared the gospel with someone.

What proof could you offer that you are alive in Christ?

Don't get me wrong:  No amount of behavior modification or attitude adjustment will set you right with God.  It's the other way around:  Entering into God's grace results in a new way of life.  If we have little evidence that we're alive in Christ, the first thing we have to do is reflect on God's amazing grace to us.  Every change and every commitment we make after that is just our "thank you" to God.

Find a tangible way to express that gratitude to God today and show someone you're alive in him!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

6 Reasons You Need a Sunday School Class

1) Sunday School is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. It’s a lab for practicing unselfish, sympathetic love. You learn to care about others and share the experiences of others: “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share its honor” (1 Cor. 12:26 NCV). Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship and experience the connection God intends for us to have (Eph. 4:16, Rom. 12:4–5, Col. 2:19, 1 Cor. 12:25).

REAL fellowship is being as committed to each other as we are to Jesus Christ: “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16). This is the kind of sacrificial love God expects you to show other believers—loving them in the same way Jesus loves you.

2) Sunday School helps me develop spiritual muscle. You’ll never grow to maturity just by attending worship services and being a passive spectator. One of the main tools of spiritual growth is participation in a Sunday School Class, where your spiritual muscles get a regular workout. “As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Eph. 4:16.)

Over fifty times in the New Testament the phrase “one another” or “each other” is used. We‘re commanded to love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, admonish each other, greet each other, serve each other, teach each other, accept each other, honor each other, bear each other’s burdens, forgive each other, submit to each other, be devoted to each other, and many other mutual tasks! These are your “family responsibilities” if you claim to be a part of God’s family.

Who are you doing these with? Isolation breeds self-deception. It’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking we’re mature if there is no one to challenge us. Real maturity shows up in relationships. We need more than the Bible in order to grow; we need other believers. When others share what God is teaching them, I learn and grow too!

3) Sunday School confirms my identity as a genuine believer. I can’t claim to be following Christ if I’m not committed to any specific group of disciples. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 NLT). When we come together in love as a Sunday School Class from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and social status, it’s a witness to the world (Galatians 3:28, John 17:21).

You’re not the Body of Christ on your own. You need others to express that. Together, not separated, we are his Body (1 Cor. 12:27).

4) Sunday School is the best way to take my God-given mission in the world. When Jesus walked the earth, even he had a small group! Today the church is Christ’s Body on earth. We’re not just to love each other; we’re to take that love together to the rest of the world. We’re his hands, his feet, his eyes, and his heart. He works through us in the world “He creates each of us to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing” (Eph 2:10 Msg).

5) Sunday School will help keep me from spiritually backsliding. None of us are immune to temptation. Given the right situation, you and I are capable of any sin. God knows this, so he has assigned us as individuals the responsibility of keeping each other on track. The Bible says, “Encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Heb 3:13).

“Mind your own business” is NOT a Christian idea when it comes to helping each other! We’re commanded to be involved in each other’s lives. If you know someone who is wavering spiritually right now, it’s your responsibility to go after them and bring them back into the fellowship. “If you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back” (James 5:19 Msg).

Related to this is the benefit that being connected to a Sunday School Class provides the spiritual protection of godly leaders. God gives shepherd leaders such as me, the responsibility to guard, protect, defend, and care for the spiritual welfare of his flock (Acts 20:28–29; 1 Peter 5:1–4; Hebrews 13:7, 17.). “Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God” (Heb 13:17 NLT).

If you’re detached from the Central Baptist Body of believers, I’m not responsible for you. If you are unplugged from the life of the Body and isolated from the fellowship of God’s family, Satan knows you’ll be defenseless and powerless against his tactics.

6) The Body of Christ needs me! You have a background and experiences that other people can learn from and draw strength from! God has a unique role for you to play in his family. This is called your “ministry,” and God has gifted you for this assignment. “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Cor. 12:7).

Your Sunday School Class is the place God designed for you to discover, develop, and use your spiritual gifts and talents.

See You In Sunday School!!!!

(rewrittrn by permission)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Football Idolatry

Here we are again…. In the south and in Football season.
We suit up in Blue and Orange or the Red and White…or whatever color of our favorite team.  It is the discussion at the watercooler, in the restroom, during Sunday School, even in home visit on outreach night. You can hear the flap of car window flags, watch animal tails wag from car trunks, and watch stupid youtube videos.  Weddings are planned and funerals are held up because of game dates.  It is football (SEC football) and nothing is more revered.
We chant War Eagle, Go Dawgs, R*## T@#! (sorry…just can’t say it). We scream, jump, laugh, cry …oozing with raw emotions as we watch our team.  We buy the tickets, we purchase cable sport packages in order to watch our team. Cost is not the question. The weather is not in question. Seating comfort is not an issue (we never sit). It’s  football and a “fan gotta do what a fan gotta do.”  We pull for them during the hard times and enjoy the thrill of victory. But win or lose we love the team.  There are no fair weather fans!
What bothers me is that we don’t always take that same attitude into worship.  Church has become “What have you done lately for me?”  If the preacher, choir, musicians, or teachers don’t perform to our liking then we will just go somewhere else.  Where’s the loyalty?  Where is the commitment?  Where is the passion?
·         If the people around you know your favorite team, but they don’t know your Lord—there is a problem.
·         If you leave the game worn out from yelling, clapping, and pulling for your team with everything you have, but get bored in church—there is a problem.
·         If you arrive early for the game, cook and fellowship with family and friends, and stay until the last moment, but get to church at the last moment and leave at the first moment—there is a problem.
·         If you pay large amounts for tickets and love the thrill of overtime, but give little to the church and get mad if it goes beyond an hour—there is a problem.
I could go on and on, but let me just tell you the problem—it is idolatry.  Jesus should be the subject of your conversation, the desire of your heart, and the passion of your life.  If something else takes the place of that it is idolatry and I don’t care if that idol is Alabama or Auburn, Georgia or Florida.  The most exciting day of the week is not Saturday.  Before Sunday — let’s evaluate our priorities and make sure we are worshiping the King of kings and the Lord of lords. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Doorkeeper in the House of the Lord

Several years ago I read Sam Shoemaker’s poem, “I Stand by the Door.” In his poem he warns that if you’ve been in the “house of God” for most of your life, you’re in danger of forgetting those still outside the house:

Go in, great saints, go all the way in--
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics--
It is a vast roomy house, this house where God is . . .

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in.
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door . . .

As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from people as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.

Where? Outside the door--
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But--more important for me--
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.

So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
“I had rather be a door-keeper . . .”
So I stand by the door.

Acts 2:39 reads “The promise [of forgiveness] is for you and your children and for all who are far off”. Too often our churches become places that are simply “for us and our children,” but we also need to pay attention to “all who are far off,” too. It’s not enough to reach out with special programs and class parties and youth and children activities. As important as these things are, Scripture tells us to connect with those outside our “house”.

As we get ready for this Sunday, let us also have eyes for those need God’s love and grace through Jesus.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Living by Grace

Some people live the grace of God much better than most others, Annie Johnson Flint was one of them...

   Annie Flint was born in the Johnston home where she lost her mother, then shortly after lost her father too and was raised by the Flint family. After she graduated from college, she contracted arthtitis in one of its most crippling forms and lay in bed for not one or two years, but for decades of her life. And if that wasn't bad enough she lost control of her internal organs and to her utter embarrasment had to live on diapers for many years of her life.And if that wasn't humiliating enough she began to become blind and cancer began to take its toll...according to one eyewitness, who wrote a book(called Making of the Beautiful), the last time he saw her, she had seven pillows cushioning her body from keeping the sores from inflicting undescribable agony. She moved to Clifton Springs, NY, in hope of finding a cure. Instead, she had to give up her dreams of being a concert pianist and live in constant pain, writing with twisted hands and body. Annie sought always to leave everything with Her Lord. After nearly 50 years of suffering submitted to Him, her last words were, “It’s all right.”

Life has a way of pushing us aside—of kicking us when we are down. Faith in God does not provide a guarantee against pain or loss. Good people suffer. Good people die in the prime of their life. Good people lose their jobs. And we cry out, “Life’s not fair.” Do you want “fair” to rule in your life? Try golf.

Even the great Apostle Paul had his “Thorn.” “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NKJV)

The New Living Translation renders that key verse this way:
                 “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.”

The Greek word for sufficient means “to be content…to raise a barrier…to ward off that which pushes us to one side.” Basically, “sufficient” means grace that is enough, but not super abundant, fantastic, huge, or incredible.

Sufficient does not say to us, “Grow up.” It doesn’t say, “Get over it.” It doesn’t say, “You’ll understand it better by and by.” It just says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” It says, “I am standing with you in this situation.” That’s really all we need to know.

Some of you who are reading these words know what “sufficient” means. You understand the feeling of loss, or failure, or pain, or loneliness, or disappointment. A “thorn” is a picnic compared to what you have experienced. Paul called his thorn “a messenger of Satan.” But God (aren’t you thankful for the “But God” affirmations in Scripture?) had another message for Paul, and for us. He said through Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” And it is. Hear the words of Annie Flint’s hymn:

“He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!
(Words by Annie Johnson Flint; Music by Hubert Mitchell)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Prayer About the Pure Joy of Trials

I share this prayer that Scotty Smith gave today on his blog: A Prayer About the Pure Joy of Trials

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-3
Dear Jesus, apart from the gospel of your grace, this admonition would appear to be the work of a madman. What sane person would ever associate pure joy with many trials? In fact, many of us have been schooled to believe that faith is the very means by which we can escape trials and hardships. And yet Jesus, it was because of the joy set before you that you persevered and endured the greatest trial of all for us… the cross (Hebrews 12:1-3).

Grant us your joy, Jesus… grant us your perspective… grant us your love for the glory of God above comfort… and grant us a greater love for your cross.
It’s only because of your cross, Jesus, that we can be certain that trials don’t come to us as punishment for our sins, but for the purification of our faith. We praise you for exhausting God’s judgment against our sins. We praise you that your cross was our Judgment Day. The perfect love of the cross drives away all fear of judgment and punishment (1 John 4:18). What peace this give us… what hope… what freedom!

Jesus, what dross would you burn from our faith through trials? What needs to be purified? Since faith is both the content of what we believe and the act of believing… please free us from all false gospels and from a lack of trust. Burn away everything we believe about you that contradicts the truth of the gospel, Jesus. What bad teachings have robbed us from the riches of the gospel? What bad teachings have made it easy for us to distort and misapply the gospel? Burn up these impurities, Jesus. We want the pure gold of the gospel to shine forth.

And burn away our double-mindedness and our lack of love for you, Jesus. We’re predestined to be like you. None of us likes to see our immaturity, and yet since maturity is Christlikeness, Jesus, reveal our immaturity… our incompleteness… our lack. In what ways do our attitudes and actions contradict your beauty? You’ll never condemn us, because you took the condemnation we deserve. But you will convict us. Grant us pure joy and godly sorrow which lead to repentance, salvation and no regrets (2 Corinthians 7:10).

So very Amen, we pray, in your most loving and patient name.

Burying a Grudge

The following is a copy of a blog from Turning Point Ministry.... I thought it was worth repeating.

Methodist pastor Charles Allen wrote that when he was in the fourth grade, a school official mistreated him. The man, who had a falling out with Charles' father, took it out on the son. Years later during Charles' first pastorate, he heard that his old antagonist was seeking a job with area schools. Charles knew that as soon as he told his friends on the school board about the man, they would not hire him.

He later wrote, "I went out to get in my car to go see some of the board members and suddenly it came over me what I had done. Here I was out trying to represent Him who was nailed to the Cross and me carrying a grudge. That realization was a humiliating experience. I went back into my house, knelt by my bedside, and said, 'Lord, if you will forgive me of this, I will never be guilty anymore.'"1

The concept of grace is hard to understand because it's so far removed from how we as fallen people relate to each other. But grace is grace--and grace changes things.  Matthew 5:44...But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

Every cat knows some things need to be buried (Ruth Bell Graham, in Legacy of a Pack Rat).

One more thought....when you bury that grudge...don't leave the handle sticking out. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

20 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity

1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.

2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.

3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "In."

5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

6. In the memo field of all your checks, write "For Smuggling Diamonds."

7. Finish all your sentences with "In Accordance With the Prophecy."

8. Don't use any punctuation

9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

10. Order a "Diet Water" whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

11 Specify that your drive-through order is "To Go."

12. Sing along at the opera.

13. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme

14. Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day.

15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

16. Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name.

17. When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I Won! I Won!"

18. When leaving the zoo, start running toward the parking lot yelling, "Run for your lives -- they're loose!"

19. Tell your children over dinner: "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

20. And the final way to keep a healthy level of insanity . . .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sometimes a can of cream of asparagus soup can change your life.

I was reading this morning and came across this article that caused me to stop and think.

Sometimes a can of cream of asparagus soup can change your life. Just ask Jeanna Dodd of Centreville, Virginia. She was out of work, short on rent money, and dependent on groceries from a local food bank. But when she popped the lid on a donated can of soup, jewels, gold, silver, rings, a bracelet, and a Rolex watch came spilling out. The soup can was actually not a soup can at all, but a replica used to hide valuables from burglars. Apparently, someone mistakenly donated it to the food bank. Dodd reported the find, worth about $7,000. When no one came forward to claim the treasure, it was hers. Jeanna Dodd found a treasure she wasn't looking for.

It's a different story for Bob Wehle, a diamond hunter at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. The park is the world's only publicly operated diamond site where visitors are allowed to search and keep any gems they find. In 2006 Wehle found a 5.47-carat canary diamond, bright yellow with no visible flaws. It could be worth well over $60,000.

Jesus compared life with him to treasure. In two famous parables in Matthew 13, he said it's a treasure some find when they aren't looking for it, while others find it after a long and eager search. Some discover him when they aren't looking, like Jeanna Dodd and her soup can. They are just taking things one day at a time, paying the bills, feeding the family, with no time or inclination to ask the deeper questions like, "What is my purpose in life?" or "Is there a God and is he happy with me?" Then, unexpectedly, they get exposed to life with Christ, and immediately they want in on this deal. On the other hand, some discover life with him after a long spiritual quest, like Bob Wehle and his diamond. They look for fulfillment in religious rituals and books with spiritual themes, hungry for answers to ultimate questions. But when they discover the grace and guidance of Jesus, they know they've found the real thing.

One of those stories probably matches your spiritual biography. What is you story?  Spend time today rehearsing how you discovered the treasure of God's love in Christ.

Monday, August 30, 2010

O God Our Help in Ages Past

Fierce winds blow, lightning flashes, and thunder cracks so loudly it shakes your home. That kind of storm makes us quake with fear and wonder how we’ll ever survive. And that’s the kind of storm we feel each time another terrorist strikes, or a job is lost, or a loved one dies.

In the midst of such storms, our hearts can find hope in the words of Isaac Watts hymn "O God Our Help in Ages Past."
            1.Our God, our help in ages past,

               Our hope for years to come,
               Our shelter from the stormy blast,
               And our eternal home.
            2.Under the shadow of Thy throne

                Thy saints have dwelt secure;
                Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
                And our defense is sure.
As the hymn writer states, God is "our shelter from the stormy blast....Sufficient is Thine arm alone." No matter what tragedy strikes, God can protect us.
But how can we be so sure that God is there in the storm? The hymn answers that question in these words, "from everlasting you are God, to endless years the same." God doesn’t change. He guided the Israelites safely to the Promised Land. He raised Jesus from the dead. And when we look at our own past, we’ll always notice the same thing: God was there to see us through the storms. Knowing that, we can live with hope that he’ll protect us in the present too.
What storms shake you today? Maybe you feel like an emotional wreck. Maybe you’re fighting tough spiritual battles. Maybe your family circumstances have spiraled out of control. But no matter what "stormy blast" may be swirling around you, hold on to the promise of this hymn. Let the truth of Psalm 90 be your strength for you just as it was for Isaac Watts so long ago. You can be confident that God will see you through.
O God You are, You are our help you are our helper, To all generations you will be, forever and ever, Our shield and our eternal hope, O Lord; You are the Ancient of Days and worthy of our praise.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sermon Summary for Joshua 6

As we study Joshua 6 we will discover serveral keys to overcoming the walls that we face in our christian walk.

Keys to Victory

      YOUR WORSHIP Joshua 5:13-15
      YOUR WALLS Joshua 6:1
      YOUR WORD Joshua 6:2
      YOUR WALK Joshua 6:6-21

Do not look upon your walls as impossible problems but as an opportunity to see the power of God at work in your life. 
As you face your wall remember..... 
    Doubt sees the walls; faith sees the way.
    Doubt sees the darkest night; faith sees the day.
    Doubt fears to take a step; faith soars on high;
    Doubt questions, “Who believes?” Faith answers, “It is I.”

No matter your wall...There Is VICTORY In JESUS.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Prayer: 24-7-365 for 100 Years

Prayer: 24-7-365 for 100 Years! is a post by pastorron7 on Prayer. Pastor Ron is a friend of mine from the Shoals.  I share this today to encourage us in our prayer life.

Imagine a church deciding to pray for a set period of time. That wouldn’t be thought unusual, unless we heard it was a decision to pray for 24 hours a day… for a week. But imagine if they decided to pray 24-7 for a month. That would be highly unusual to us, but not jaw dropping. But imagine if they decided to pray 24-7 for A YEAR! Now that would be something. But that is nothing compared to what one group of believers did. Their prayer vigil lasted 24 hours a day… 7 days a week… for 52 weeks… for ONE HUNDRED YEARS! (You read that right… 100 years!)

August 27, 1727: Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf’s Moravian community at Herrnhut, Germany, begins a round-the-clock “prayer chain.” Reportedly, at least one person in the community was praying every minute of the day—for more than a century. If you are interested in reading an article or two, click here and here. From the articles linked, this is written…

FACT: The Moravian Community of Herm­hut in Saxony, in 1727, commenced a round‑the‑clock “prayer watch” that continued nonstop for over a hundred years. By 1792, 65 years after com­mencement of that prayer vigil, the small Moravian community had sent 300 missionar­ies to the ends of the earth.

Could it be that there is some relationship between those facts? Is fervent interces­sion a basic component in world evangeliza­tion? The answer to both questions is surely an unqualified “yes.” That heroic eighteenth‑century evangelization thrust of the Moravians has not received the attention it deserves. But even less heralded than their missionary exploits is that hundred‑year prayer meeting that sustained the fires of evangelism.

During Its first five years of existence the Herrnhut settlement showed few signs of spiritual power. By the beginning of 1727 the community of about three hundred people was wracked by dissension and bickering. An unlikely site for revival! Zinzendorf and others, however, covenanted to prayer and labor for revival. On May 12 revival came. Christians were aglow with new life and power, dissension vanished and un­believers were converted. Looking back to that day and the four glorious months that followed, Zinzendorf later recalled: “The whole place represented truly a visible habitation of God among men.” A spirit of prayer was immediately evident in the fellow­ship and continued throughout that “golden summer of 1727,” as the Moravians came to designate the period.

On August 27 of that year twenty-four men and twenty-four women covenanted to spend one hour each day in scheduled prayer. Some others enlisted in the “hourly intercession.” “For over a hundred years the members of the Moravian Church all shared in the ‘hourly intercession.’ At home and abroad, on land and sea, this prayer watch ascended unceas­ingly to the Lord,” stated historian A. J. Lewis.

That prayer watch was instituted by a commu­nity of believers whose average age was about thirty. Zinzendorf was twenty-seven. The prayer vigil by Zinzendorf and the Moravian community sensitized them to attempt the unheard‑of mission to reach others for Christ. Six months after the begin­ning of the prayer watch the count suggested to his fellow Moravians the challenge of a bold evangelism aimed at the West Indies, Green­land, Turkey/Lapland. Some were skepti­cal, but Zinzendorf persisted. twenty-six Moravians stepped forward the next day to volun­teer for world missions wherever the Lord led them.

The exploits that followed are surely to be numbered among the high moments of Chris­tian history. Nothing daunted Zinzendorf or his fellow heralds of Jesus Christ ‑ prison, ship­wreck, persecution, ridicule, plague, abject poverty, threats of death. Church historians look to the eighteenth cen­tury and marvel at the Great Awakening in England and America, which swept hundreds of thousands into God’s Kingdom. John Wes­ley figured largely in that mighty movement and much attention has centered on him. It is not possible that we have overlooked the place, which that round-the‑clock prayer watch had in reaching Wesley and, through him and his associates, in altering the course of history?

Many churches are organized beautifully… running like a well oiled machine… with programs galore… everyone who is anyone attends there… they are the envy of many in the evangelical community. Yet I’ve been in the game long enough to know that it is possible to do ministry… outwardly “effective” ministry… in the flesh. Sad thing is, numbers don’t impress the King.

I wonder… what would happen if a group of believers determined to pray, and keep on praying, until God sent revival and awakening to us?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

“They’re coming home for Christmas and paying their own way.”

An old man in Phoenix calls his son in New York and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.”

“Pop, what are you talking about,” the son screams.
“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the old man said. “We’re sick and tired of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.” And he hangs up.
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone, “Like heck they’re getting a divorce,” she shouts. “I’ll take care of this.”
She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at the old man, “You are NOT getting divorced! Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” And she hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “Okay,” he says, “They’re coming home for Christmas and paying their own way.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are You Smarter than An 8th Grader?

Remember when our grandparents, great-grandparents, and such stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. - - - This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, KS, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no Modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb. Give Principal Parts of. lie, lay and run
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
7. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft deep, 10 feet long! , and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050lbs. for tare?
4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?
8 Find bank discount on $300 for! 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U. S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U. S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour) (The art or study of correct spelling according to established usage.)
1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, sub vocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u! '.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall & Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Also notice that the exam took five hours to complete.
Gives the saying "she/he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

What happened to us??? It is kind of humbling, isn't it?  I would have to admit, "I'm Greg Davis, I have a BS, MDiv., and DMin... and I am not as smart as an 8th grader.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What Are the 15 Most Precious Pages of Your Bible?

If you could only give someone 15 pages from your Bible, which would you choose?

Gordon MacDonald raised that question in one of his devotionals. He spoke of a visit to China 25 years ago shortly after it had opened its doors to American travelers: My travel partner and I met a Christian woman who had not seen a copy of the Scriptures for two decades. When she spoke to us of the Scriptures, her recollection of certain stories was faulty or distorted. What could you expect from someone who hadn't seen a Bible for that many years? Since all Bibles in the possession of travelers entering China at that time had to be registered at the border, and since we did not sense a calling to be Bible smugglers, my traveling companion and I could not pass on the Bibles that each of us had with us. But, on the other hand, it occurred to us that we could tear out certain pages from our Bibles and offer them to her. At least we were brave enough to feel certain that Chinese officials would not check our Bibles closely enough to see if every page was there.  And then he added this challenge as an aside: "By the way, if you could only give someone 15 pages of your Bible, what sections would you choose? You have minutes to decide."

So, what's your answer? I'd tear out the Parable of the Prodigal Son for her, or the pages where the Sermon on the Mount is found. I'd definitely include the story of the cross and the resurrection. And Romans 8. Oh, and probably 1 Corinthians 15 about the hope of resurrection.

What about you?

Try this little exercise and it should spark something within you. It should renew your appreciation for God's precious word, but it should also move you to want to share that word with others. If we really believe that the Bible has the power to change lives, then we're withholding help from our friends and family if we're not trying to connect them with the Book.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sermon Notes for Joshua 5

Topic:   Preparing For Victory
Text:  Joshua 5:1-15

  As we face our future at Central Baptist it is crucial that we prepare spiritually.  Joshua 5 will teach us several important truths that, if followed, will prepare us to enter into God's promised inhertitance and to conquer the battles that lie ahead. 
  1. Renew Your Commitment
  2. Reaffirm Your Confidence
  3. Release Your Condemnation
  4. Remember Your Past
  5. Reception to Change
  6. Relinquish the Control
 Before we rush into battle, we must take time to be holy.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remarks that I really don’t want to hear behind me during church service.

Here are just a few:
• “Dude, I’m gonna hafta call you back. We’re about to pray or something.”
• “Boo-oooo!”
• “The pastor looks really cute today.”
• “Mommy, my tummy doesn’t feel good. I think I’m gonna throw uh—erpleeeeeck!” (Accompanied by a  
     splashing sound against my seat.)
• “Hey there, ladies… nice bibles. You come here often?”
• “Zzzzzzzzzz…”
• “Sweet! I just scored the last Krispy Kreme at the snack table.”
• “He’s good, but he’s no Joyce Meyer.”
• “Dang it, I grabbed my Bhagavad-Gita by mistake. The Message Bible is still in the Prius next to my yoga mat.”
• “You think they’ll mind if I use the offering basket to break a five?”
• “Seven-day sex challenge? Now you’re talking, pastor!”
• “I can’t see the pulpit. The guy in front of me has a melon that could show up on Google Earth.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I wish to dedicate this new journey of blogging to a good friend and past worship leader...his name shall not be said...he knows who he is.  For seven years this friend and former staff member kept a journal of the unique phrases that I would say from the pulpit.  You might find yourself laughing, agreeing, disagreeing, even wondering about my musing.... but I hope that when all has been posted that God will use it to speak to your heart and spirit.   So let the Greg...isms begin....