April 19

When we have unity and harmony in the church, we are demonstrating who God is in our lives.  When we agree together, we are showing the world that God is more powerful than anything in this world.  Because all the world knows is self.  It does not look out for or respect the opinions of others.  Jesus was the kind of person (as seen in Philippians) who laid himself aside and died so we might have an example of humility to follow.  So let’s try to understand and respect those around us (especially those in the church) so that we too can agree with one another in love.

April 12

I am writing this later on in the week because of a couple of things here at the church that have taken my time and attention.  But I wanted to get back to what I talked about on Sunday about teaching one another.  We sometimes think that we have to be called to be a teacher in order to teach or that we need a special education or training to teach.  But that is not what the Bible says.  There is a difference between teaching as a teacher and teaching as a believer.  The teaching talked about in the passages we looked at Sunday (Rom 15:14 and Col 3:16) might be better translated sharing of ourselves in order to teach and admonish and to rebuke others.  Bringing something back to their minds, something they already know but may have forgotten in the moment.  And we all can do that without special training or extra knowledge.  So teach them what you have learned.  You never know, they may help teach you something down the road that you need to learn in return.

April 5

Well I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.  Here at Groveland Missionary Church we had a great Easter egg hunt on Saturday with many boys and girls from the area searching high and low for candy and prizes.  And our worship service yesterday was also great.  I just love the hymns about the cross and the resurrection.  We do serve a mighty Savior who is alive forever more and who we will see one day face to face.  I hope that Jesus’ resurrection and the celebration we were able to have this year will fill your soul with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  While I did not include this in my sermon the wonderful verse from Romans 8:11, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”  We have life in these moral bodies because of the resurrection of Christ.  So let’s us go live for him!

March 29

   The sermon I preached on Sunday was not only fun to deliver, but also fun to prepare.  I wanted to be as accurate to the Bible as I could without reading it word for word.  All four of the gospels tell the story and while they are slightly different from each other (due to who the author was and his perspective) they all tell the same story.  But I always like to think about what it would be like to live back then and see the events for myself.  Many times I wish I could actually go to Israel and see the sights of myself.  I know like many times pictures do not do justice to seeing the city of Jerusalem from the mount of olives for myself.  I was going to try to include a visual to my sermon but I could not find a good picture or image that had Jerusalem with the temple instead of the ones with the Dome of the Rock from the present day.  So I had to use my imagination along with a lot of research to figure out what to include in my sermon and to give you a vision of what my character may have seen or heard clear back then.
  One event that I struggled whether to include or not was the scene in the temple with Jesus overturning the tables.  While Matthew and Luke’s story seem to suggest that it happened on Sunday, Mark’s gospel clearly states it happened the next day (along with the cursing of the fig tree which I alluded to in my sermon).  Matthew and Luke seem to condense the stories into one to keep their stories moving along (Most people think that the book of Mark was written first and the other two borrowed from his stories when they wrote their own versions). I left it out of the final draft because I felt that my sermon was long enough and also because the idea of peace tied many of my thoughts together.  Plus I seldom get to have a cliffhanger in my sermons.  But Palm Sunday’s story is just that.  It is a wait until the story is finished the next week to have a wonderful climax to the story.  So until next Sunday, may God bless.

March 21

    Well we are officially into spring in our neck of the woods as the sun makes it’s move north of the equator and warming up the northern hemisphere.  And with spring comes new life as the trees start to bud and the flowers that had lay dormant over the winter months start popping out of the ground.  It is also a good time open our windows to let the warm, fresh breezes blow through our cars and houses.  We hear the birds start gathering in the trees, chirping and communicating with each other.  The grass gets greener as the gentle rain showers water it.  And the world seems to come to life again.
    But what about your spiritual life.  Sometimes it has turned cold as the winter weather.  It too needs more Son moving closer to you.  Maybe some of the deadened areas of your life need to start to bud again and pop up from the soil.  Maybe it is time to feel a new breeze of life on your heart warming you and freshening your attitudes.  Maybe you need to stop and hear the small voices speaking to you over the noise that have dampened your hearing.  Maybe it is time to let a gentle rain produce a greener heart.  Maybe it is time to let the Lord bring new life from your sin-sick heart. 
    Make this spring one of new beginnings not just around you but in you as well.

March 15

Well, I have finally gotten the church’s website back up and running.  For some reason I could not post my sermon or my devotional two weeks ago.   In the process of trying to correct this, I messed it up even more.  It is a good lesson to learn.  Most of the time I try to do things on my own, even if I have little or no knowledge of how to fix things.  I figure I am smart enough to figure things out on my own.  And when I try, many times I fail and have to call in the experts to fix not only the initial problem, but correct what I made more difficult along the way.  That is what it took to correct this website.  I had to call the experts (several times) because I made things worse.
  The same is true about our spiritual lives.  When we try to fix them on our own, we find that we cannot fix the problem and sometimes make matters worse when we fail to fix them.  We need to call on the expert, God, (several times) in order to get our lives back online.  Do not wait until things are too difficult to fix.  Call on the expert today.

March 8

Due to website problems, I was unable to post a devotional this week.

March 1

Due to website problems, this devotional was unable to be uploaded.

February 22

As I start this new series on the one another commands in the Bible, I just want to remind you of the importance of these commands.  The church, the body of Christ, the fellowship of brothers and sisters, is what Jesus set into motion when he walked on the earth.  The Old Testament had a family group (from the line of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob who were called God’s people.  The church is a combination of families and nationalities from around the world.  In fact, if you continue reading a few verses after the command not to lie to each other in Colossians, Paul talks about Jew and Greeks coming together.  And the basis of all this is telling the truth.  If so many different people are to come together as one, certain “ground rules” need to be in place in order for fellowship to occur.
Now add to this the ideas we are bombarded with about separation, quarantine, social distancing.  If these ideas leak into our relationships as Christians instead of purely physical distancing, the church could get into big trouble.
So hopefully, as we continue looking at the one another’s, we will overcome this negative tendancies.

February 15

   I hope you all were able to listen to my sermon online Sunday.  I do not like closing church due to the weather, but I also know the concept many people have about needing to come to church “every time the doors are open.”  Some people feel guilt about staying home on Sunday when there is a worship service.  I love the fellowship of seeing everyone face to face even if only a few come to worship during inclement weather.  But I also know the dangers this kind of weather can be on people, their vehicles, and the streets between their home and here.
   This is one benefit of this Covid 19 has had over this last year.  Watching a service live on your computer was something only the mega churches did not too long ago.  But with the church closures this last year, more and more churches, even small ones like Groveland Missionary, are starting to reach out via the internet to those who may be to timid at first to come to a building or for those unable to attend.  I pray that God will use this medium to continue to grow his church.
   However, that all being said, the Bible makes it clear that meeting together and having fellowship one with another is also important.  This is the scope of my new series starting this next Sunday.  One another . . . what can we do to help our fellow Christians.  So I hope you will tune in and show up in the coming weeks.