July 1

I have been camping the first part of this week and so this is getting posted on the 4th.  The fourth of July is a very big celebration and like most people we try to go to a parade and watch fireworks.  My wife always makes the boys wear patriotic colors.  And I am studying for next week’s sermon on Psalm 2 which speaks about the King.  Whether about David or Jesus, this psalm has some patriotic undertones.  And if you have been reading the news this week, there is more fighting and protests and upheaval in Washington DC.  It is hard to celebrate America when there is so much fighting.  I know we are in the election season and I know it will only get worse over the next 16 months, but I want to pause and thank God that 243 years ago, some brave men believed that all men are created equal.  And no matter how history is twisted this idea is based on the Godly principle found in the Bible.  So thank you God for you love and care of us and this country.  Allow us to see that today as we celebrate our independence.

June 24

I just got back from vacation this week.  My family and I went up to Buffalo, NY to visit with family.  And we once again traveled a few miles north to Niagara Falls.  This is my fourth time to see Niagara Falls, but I am still stunned and amazed by it’s wonder and power.  On this trip we did something I had never done before: I rode on a boat that travels up the river into the mist generated by the plunging water and I got to see the falls from a whole new perspective.  And from that new perspective, my perception of it only increased.  The same is true about God.  Our views on God’s greatness leave us stunned and amazed by his wonder and power.  And getting a new or different perspective will only increase that; especially if we get an opportunity to see Him closer to us.

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.