June 17

Our Missionary speaker this week was telling us some of the tools he uses in his work overseas.  One of those tools was American football.  I liked when he asked our congregation, whose majority is over 65 years old, “How many of you play football? . . .  Well you can now!” and he went on by explaining that we can play football because he plays football in his ministry and we can be a part of that ministry when we pray or support his work overseas.  I can proudly say that I play football.  Isn’t wonderful that we can support others all around the world through our prayers and fiances.  God is using us to play football!

June 10

It is a sad and yet joyous week here at Groveland Missionary Church.  A member from our church lost his battle with Pneumonia.  But we know that he is rejoicing in heaven today and so we are happy he has a new, healthy, resurrected body.  I reminds be of a verse in the last 2 chapters of the Bible where Jesus says, “Behold I make all things new” (Rev 21:5).  We who are God’s children will be reunited with Him when our earth ravished bodies lie cold in the ground and we will be with the Lord forever.  Praise the Lord.

June 3

Today is my youngest son’s birthday.  I preached on his namesake yesterday.  The number one characteristic that is mentioned about the Caleb in the Bible is that he fully trusted in the Lord.  This is a grand characteristic.  And it is one that I hope my son will take away from his namesake.  It is one that I hope is said about my life.  In fact, I hope that all who read this will strive to make true in your life.  Fully trusting in the Lord is not easy. Caleb had to overcome peer-pressure, sinful surroundings, and literal giants.  And God allowed him to win and be successful because of his trust.  How fully are you trusting in the Lord?

May 27

Heroes come in all shape, sizes, and genders.  This Sunday we celebrated the hero in Esther.  And on Monday we celebrated and remembered the heroes who have died for our freedoms.  In many ways, Esther’s heroic story is very similar to the story of our country.  Esther chose to stand up for her people and for freedom to fight to survive.  And down through the ages, men and women had stood on front lines for our freedom to survive.  So as we honor Esther, we honor them.

May 20

It has been a busy week last week here at the church with the Region Conference being hosted in our building.  And I could have been overwhelmed with the details and my hosting duties.  However, one of my prayers just before conference began was that the Lord would allow me to put aside a some time that I would be able to listen to the reports and encouraging messages from around the region and that the Lord would speak to me and give me a word or two for me to take away from the conference.  And as I have experienced time and time again, God was faithful and answered that humble prayer.  I was busy and could not focus some of my time on the speakers, God did quiet my heart and allowed me to focus on Him and His message for me.  You must understand, I am a task oriented perfectionist.  I could have easily and happily focused my time and energy on other things that would have distracted me from hearing God’s voice.  But God is faithful.   What might God tell you if you too would ask Him to quiet your heart and soul from the busy schedule that you have and spend some time listening to His voice?

May 13

Calling all warriors.  You know who you are.  Especially if you listened to this week’s sermon.  God has given us all the strength we need to fight in the battle He has given each of us.  Not battle is too great for him.  So trust Him for your warrior strength and accomplish the task God has placed before you.

May 6

It looks like I missed last week with a devotional thought and it is already Friday of this week.  Our church is hosting a major conference in another week and I ma running here and there trying to get the building ready and all the details put into order.  However, I have been trying to keep current with my personal devotions.  I am not sure if I have mentioned this recently, but every morning I like to spend 15-20 minutes reading a devotional book and a few chapters from the Bible.  The devotional I use is titled “Our Daily Bread”.  I think I have posted a link to it under the “Links” tab. (if not it will be soon).  After that, I am doing a “Read through entire the Bible in one year” goal.  So I am reading the English Standard Version from cover to cover (on my Logos app).  The reason I am telling you all this is that not only did I preach on Nehemiah but this week in my read through the Bible, I am up to the book of Nehemiah in my devotional time.  It is fun to reread the same thing I just read, studied, and preached on the week before.  And no matter how many times I read the Bible I find something new.  What is something new you read today?

April 22

Easter.  The Resurrection.  What a wonderful day that changed the world.  Without the resurrection, Jesus probably would have been written off by historians as just another messianic movement that failed like countless before.  Jesus’ disciples were not going to carry on Jesus’ mission.  “The witness of the four Gospels is unequivocal that following the crucifixion Jesus’ disciples were scattered, their hope shattered by the course of events.  [The only thing that] halted the dissolution of the messianic movement centered in Jesus was the resurrection. (Lane 585)  As I said in my sermon, the women were so distraught over the death of Jesus, they forgot the most basic task needed in order to anoint Jesus’ dead body . . . how to get to the dead body with the stone in the way.  Yet the resurrection changed all that.  These scared, uneducated fishermen and common men stood up boldly to proclaim a message no one would believe without faith . . . a dead man is now alive.  Who would do something like that?  Only one who who was touched by the resurrected Christ.  Are you proclaiming it?  Maybe it is time for you to be touched again by the resurrected Christ.

April 15

  I got choked up on Sunday listening to Stuart Townshed’s song, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.”  The thought that it was for me that Jesus had to suffer so much pain and agony is bringing tears to my eyes even now as I write this.  “It was my sin that held him there, until it was accomplished” is a sobering thought.  That kind of love was shown to someone so unlovely as I sinned and rebelled against him.  That is the only kind of love that could reconcile one like me to a Holy and Righteous God.  I could to nothing.  As another hymn reminds me, “Not for sins could I atone, Thou must save and Thou alone.”  And He did on that cruel cross at Calvary.  “Jesus was not murdered; He willingly laid down His life for us.  He was not a martyr [so we should not blame the Jews nor the Romans]; He was a willing sacrifice for the sins of the world” (Wiersbe 149).  Has He made a difference in your life?

April 8

Mark 14 has a lot in it.  And I hope you take the encouragement I gave Sunday to read and reread this important chapter that Mark has written.  Much of what Mark has been writing has its climax in this chapter.  His messianic claim is finally verbalized because now is the time for the fulfillment of God’s purpose and plan to take place.  No need to “hide” His identity.  The teachings about his betrayal and death are coming to fruition.  Jesus gives his disciples his last words of encouragement and warning.  The gospel message (loving extravagantly) is seen in one last example from an unnamed woman.  And Jesus speaks and embodies living sacrificially.
  There are some quotes that I loved from the commentaries I read that I just could not fit into the message that I want to to think about as you read this chapter again.  Garland remarks in connection with the disciples sleeping in the garden a good connection with us, “Followers of Jesus who do not pray and try to follow on their own power will collapse.”  I like what Kernaghan has to say about the disciples in the garden as Judas approaches, “Jesus’ followers were prepared to die for him, but they were not prepared to die with him.  On this night salvation would come to God’s people not through defeat of their enemies but through the death and resurrection of the Savior” (306)  Later when Jesus was before the high priest Lane says, “It is evident from Mark’s Gospel that Jesus had carefully avoided calling himself the Messiah [up to this point].  It was not his desire to arouse the nationalistic and political hopes which clustered around the figure of the Messiah in popular thinking. . . . [But now] to the question whether he claimed to be the promised Messiah, he replied clearly, ‘I am'” (536).  And finally from Garland again, “While Jesus was under fire inside, Peter warms himself by the fire outside.  As Jesus confesses under immense pressure and hostility that seals his fate, Peter capitulates under the gentlest of pressure and lies to save himself.” (566)  Hope you have a good week.