Well, it happened again, and it was so awesome!
Well, it happened again, and it was so awesome!
This is an awesome time of the year! The apex of history is the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and His bodily resurrection from the tomb (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Matthew 26:57-28:10; 1 Corinthians 15). This event sets Jesus Christ and Christianity apart from ALL other religions around the world.
How important that our children understand the truth about Christ and Easter. There is no problem with enjoying eggs, candy, bunnies, and baskets, but our younger generation must know the truth, and Christ, Who is Truth.
My wife’s blog will help you accomplish this. Be sure to take take to read and watch, Helping Children Understand Easter
Recently while running the dial on Sirius XM, I heard a song from my teen years sung by Harry Chapin entitled “The Cats in the Cradle.”
This heartbreaking song tells of a father and son who can’t schedule time to be with each other, and it serves as a warning against putting one’s career before family. The verses start out with a natural harmony and depict the tale of a father with his newborn son. Although dad gets the necessities of child rearing accomplished, he doesn’t allow himself to put in quality time with his son because of his career. Initially, this seems like no big deal because of his hectic and oblivious life working and paying bills.
The recurring verse has the son saying, “I’m gonna be like you Dad, you know I’m gonna be like you…”
Over time, both father and son grow into a switching of life roles. The father realizes his son’s ambitions of college, grades, and driving, and wants to spend more time with him, yet slowly grasps the reality that now his son has no time for such things. In the last verse, Chapin illustrates that the son is all grown up with a fast-paced job and kids of his own. In a glaring twist of roles, we see that the son now has no time to spend with his father. With a heavy heart, dad realizes that his boy has become just like him. (Songfacts.com)
Dads, indeed, your sons are watching and learning you.
Making a connection with yesterday’s blogpost, may I ask you dads, are your sons growing up to be just like you when it comes to your relationship with God?
Will they sing in church like you do?
Will they open their Bible and take notes whenever the Word of God is preached like you do?
Will they be totally engaged in worship on Sundays like you are?
Will they be a man of prayer just like you?
Will they be a ready witness for Christ as you are?
Will they know the Word of God like you do?
Will they have the Word memorized like you do?
Will they be a surrendered servant for Christ just like you?
Will stand and testify of God’s grace, faithfulness and love like you do?
Will they be diligent to add to their original faith because you are?
Will they give diligence to make their calling and election sure because you do?
Men, we must be all-out, surrendered men of God like Christ, Moses, Joseph, Joshua, Daniel, Paul, Barnabas, Peter, etc. Not only for the glory of God but for the sakes of our sons who are watching and taking their cues from us.
“The cats in the cradle,” and he will soon be gone. Will he be just like you?
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Train up a child in the way he should go. (Proverbs 22:6a)
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. (Proverbs 23:24)
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11-12)
My family and I are fans of the Andy Griffith Show. To this day, we watch an episode or two practically every week. Those shows are full of good down-home humor with many connections to life even today.
In one scene of the episode, “The Sermon For Today,” Aunt Bea and Clara Johnson are found in deep discussion on the phone about what they were going to wear for church that morning. This was of great concern to these two dear ladies because a visiting preacher, Dr. Breen from New York City, would be delivering the sermon. They wanted to make a good impression upon the special “sermoner” from the big city!
Who are you preparing to see this Sunday?
As was noted in Wednesday’s blog, Christ is the Church. He is the Head, the Architect, the Chief Shepherd, the Master Builder, the Owner, and the Transformer of Lives in His Body, the Church.
Christ also is The Face of the Church, not the pastor, the deacons, the denomination head, or anyone else.
So, when you prepare for the worship gathering this Sunday, make it all about Christ.
Church is not about what the ladies (Bea & Clara) are wearing, or where the preacher is from, or how long the sermon lasts, or any other peripheral issue.
The Church is the body of Christ of which you, as a born again believer, are a member (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). So as you prepare to gather on Sunday, be looking for Christ in every facet of ministry. If the church you attend is a solid Bible-believing, preaching church, Christ will be there. Look for Him (Hebrews 12:1-2). He is the One you really want to see, to fellowship with, and to hear from in Church!!
To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, these things says He Who holds the seven stars in His right hand, Who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands (Revelation 2:1).
“How in the world could I carry on a conversation with folks from India? I don’t even like to talk.”
This was the transparent admission of a lady who had recently hosted a family in her home from a totally different land, speech, and culture. As she shared her story, she quickly admitted that the evening was one of rich blessings! During their meal together and discussion around the table, she and her husband learned of God’s work in a far off land; His answers to prayer; His working in the hearts of lost souls; His provision of peace, power, and protection; His encouragements to these precious servants of the Lord even in the most difficult of times. She was more than glad she had stepped out of her comfort zone. Her invitation to “Come!” set the stage for some “unexpectedly happy results.”
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality (Romans 12:13).
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9).
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2).
In the Hebrews passage, the writer is not advocating hospitality on the off chance that one might happen to receive an angel as a guest but rather because God is pleased when believers are hospitable. Sometimes unexpectedly happy results follow acts of hospitality. It was highly esteemed in the ancient world and was certainly very important for Christians. Accommodations at inns was expensive, and in any case inns had a bad reputation. But as Christian preachers traveled around, believers gave them lodging and so facilitated their mission. Without hospitality in Christian homes, the spread of the faith would have been much more difficult. (The Expositors Bible Commentary, p.146)
You see, when you invite folks into your home, it’s not you or your house they need to see; it’s Jesus. His invitation to you and everyone is always, “Come” (Matthew 11:28-30; 14:29; 19:14; Luke 6:47). Therefore, in following Christ, you, too, say to others, “Come.” That invitation opens up another opportunity to share Christ and to live out the gospel. Remember, Christ is the initiator in the invitation to come; therefore, you follow His lead and be the initiator in inviting others.
Have you recently taken the opportunity to host someone in your home? Have you prayed about it? Are you willing to trust in the grace of God to help you experience the joy of hospitality? How about the next guest speaker or missionary who’s coming to your church? (You want to really encourage the heart of your pastor? Look at the church calendar to see when the next preacher or missionary will be at your local church. Weeks in advance, tell your pastor you are more than glad to host them for a meal and/or provide their lodging!) What about the family that’s been visiting your church for the past couple of Sundays? Thought about having your neighbor over for a cup of coffee?
Don’t be looking for an angel, but do remember “God is pleased when believers are hospitable.”
Come on in!
This week my wife has written some extremely insightful, practical and helpful posts about the issue of children coming to Christ for salvation at an early age. These writings would be extremely helpful for parents and anyone who works in children’s ministries.
Having received Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at the age of five, this is a subject very dear to my heart.
As a pastor, I have had the joy of seeing many children born again over the years. How precious is a tender heart coming to Christ in simple faith, taking God at His Word.
Here are the links:
How would you respond if you heard this statement about your church “I would never be accepted at __________Church because I could not break through the clique.”
For years as a pastor, one thing I have pushed for so much is that our church be really friendly. Without sounding arrogant or haughty, I believe we are an extremely friendly church. When you walk through the front door, you will be warmly greeted and then by many others.
So, why would such a statement be made?
I’ll answer it this way: We must do a better job of “Carterizing” others!
Rod and Hope Carter have been married for 70 years and charter members of BCBC for 60 years. Their health has failed them greatly, so they are not able to do as they once did.
For years, I have watched Rod “campout” in the church foyer just looking for visitors, especially young singles and/or young couples as well as others. As soon as they entered the building, he was getting acquainted with them. His greeting was only the beginning of what I am calling here, “Carterizing.” He would invite them to his house for dinner or out to a restaurant after the morning service and would do the same in the evening. He made sure some other BCBC folks were invited to join the group. He wanted folks to go to the next level of relationship and communication. He wanted those guests to know he cared; that they needed to become a part of the BCBC family of believers. The bottom line is, he went beyond just a greeting. He was willing to get involved in their lives. I can call the roll of those who would testify right here!
How do you Carterize?
You see, getting involved in people’s lives takes planning, preparation, prayer and perspiration. Instead of coming to church and just being friendly, you must “Carterize!”
Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:41-47)
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9)
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
Men, may I ask you some questions? These are not accusatory questions. They are truly questions from my heart after 35 years as a senior pastor.
Men, your sons are watching you, imitating you, and learning from you . . . and you don’t have to say a thing. The old saying goes, “what you do in moderation, your children will take to excess.”
Men, it is important that our sons learn how to work, drive a car, be a gentleman, and make a living, but it most important they learn about the One Who is Life and how to really live by divine viewpoint. When they stand before the Lord at the Bema, they will be so glad that Dad walked the talk and taught them eternal values.
My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
8 He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path. (Proverbs 2:1-9)
Living in the mountains of East Tennessee gives many reasons for rejoicing and thanksgiving! The scenery changes every day and every season through the myriad acts of God’s creative, sustaining, sovereign hands. How often I find myself singing “How Great Thou Art,” and “How Great Is Our God!”
Yesterday while driving back from Asheville, NC, I had in my mind to stop along the creek near Rocky Fork State Park near Flag Pond, TN. Major rains had descended upon us through the night so I knew the waterfalls would be awesome, and it would provide a peaceful place to sit and commune with my God in prayer.
The Lord had other plans for which I am oh so grateful. When I turned onto the Old Asheville Highway, there was a bearded man with a full pack and hiking poles which immediately signified an AT thru-hiker. Since I love to hike, especially on the Appalachian Trail, this was a great opportunity in many ways! Upon offering him a ride, he threw his gear in the back of my car, and we headed for Erwin and Uncle Johnny’s. What a special treat to listen to his recent weather-related stories as well as the back-story of his life.
The very best part was the joy of talking about eternal life, listening to his answers, caring for his needs and ministering to him Christ Who has finished the work of salvation for all sinners including Jordan and myself. What a special privilege!!
Please pray for my new friend, Jordan, as he hikes the trail.
Meeting Jordan was the highlight of my day!!
Here are two links to his story and the reason for his AT journey:
Here is a video link for you to learn how you can have a personal relationship with God and know for certain your sins are forgiven and that you have a home in Heaven forever.
There she lay. Her earthly labors were over. Her bodily tent had been comfortably tucked inside a beautiful, stained wooden casket adorned with a regal spray of flowers. Her days here were over, but her life in Heaven had only just begun for all eternity on Saturday (John 14:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:7-8).
As her pastor approached the podium, he read from Proverbs 31 and then described her life by two words, one of which was, investments.
An investment is “an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.” This dear lady, 83 years old, had spent most of her making investments . . . into people.
She invested . . .
I am quickly reminded of what Jesus said as recorded in Mark 10:42-45, But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus came, died on the cross, and rose from the tomb to make an eternal, soul-saving investment in any one who would receive Him (John 1:12). Barbara Chandler, a devout follower of Christ, made investments in others for the cause of Christ to lead others to Christ because Christ lived in her (Colossians 1:27).
I never knew her in this life. No matter, even in death, she made an investment in me.
What are your plans in 2017 to make investments in people, to make a difference other’s lives, to make those eternal investments? I believe it’s called laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21)!