Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

I have always voted!  But today, I feel much differently than ever before after the vote.  I always study each platform and candidate to the best of my experience and knowledge base, but having just taught that God created government and gave it to us to restrain evil, and that we are to submit to the authorities over us and joyfully join God in our responsibility as citizens of this kingdom (VOTE!) and an eternal kingdom to which we look forward, (LIVE THE CHRIST LIFE) I feel exhilarated!  Regardless of who wins this election and at what level, it is spiritually satisfying to have joined God as He orchestrates His sovereignty over our land.  May His will be done, not only in the United States of America, but also throughout the world, and most especially I pray in my life and for all of you who read this today!!!  God, please use me today to fulfill Your purposes in my life and in the lives of those You have divinely appointed to me today.  May that be our prayer as Your people!  Amen!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Death Bed

I grew up hearing, "This is death bed! You cannot tell anyone!"  I knew that meant that this was information for our family only.  Another is "Death Bed Salvation."  Have you heard of it?  Well, it is similar to the story of the confessing criminal on Jesus' side at the cross (Luke 23:39-43).  He was dying, received Christ, and Jesus promised him that he that very day would be with Jesus in paradise.  Some doubt the sincerity of death bed confessions.  I experienced this for the first time last week.  A man confessed Christ at death's door on Thursday and died on Saturday!  I say Praise the Lord!  The question comes though.  Did he really mean it?  Was he sincere?  Here is what God taught me.  We ask that somewhat out of jealousy, like the workers in the field when Jesus explained their being payed the same amount for diferent hours worked.  We sinfully think "that is not fair."  Here is the deal.  This man did not bear the burden of truth.  He did not bear the burden of daily proving his faith by obedience and seeking to avoid the coming onslaught of hypocrisy.  God took that off of him.  The only thing I know of him is faith.  That is liberating.  Here is a liberator too--you and I have the next breath, maybe even the next day.  What a joy!  What a privilege to bear tomorrow the responsibility of that burden--avoiding rebellion and hypocrisy and seeking obedience and authenticity.  Here is greater joy, Jesus carries that cross for us too!  Be still!  Stop striving! Know that I am God!



Monday, October 22, 2012

Where to Go? How to Know?

Last week I was following a reading plan for the Bible to read it in a year.  I looked up that day's assigned reading in Isaiah 30.  I began by asking God to teach me again from His word.  As I look at this truth today in light of a message preached yesterday from John 8:31-32, I feel really good about sharing with you some insight into making good decisions that will keep you in line with God's purposes for you.  Isaiah 30:1-2 reads, "Woe to the obstinate children, declares the Lord, to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; ... without consulting me."  Isaiah 30:15 reads, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."  Isaiah 30:21 reads, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your eyes will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" In John 8:31-32, Jesus says, "If you continue in My word, you really will be My disciples.  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Where to go?  How to know?
1--seek God's plans
2--form an alliance with His Spirit (Consult God Daily)
3--Repent where you have walked ahead of God
4--Rest securely in your salvation through Christ alone
5--Be quiet and trust
6--So you can hear God's whisper
7--Continue in His word (More often I hear God's directions for me in His word)
I hope this proves helpful to someone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Marriage Festivals

This past weekend, Tina and I revisited a retreat we attended many years ago.  We joined some friends at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center in Black Mountain, NC just outside of Asheville.  What a tremendous weekend.  Every speaker encouraged us in our covenants to one another.  On Saturday night, every couple faced one another, held hands, and renewed our vows.  This was special.  Tina and I have been married 25 years, and I am sure there were couples there who have been married longer.  With us was a couple married just the weekend before.  They decided to alter their honeymoon plans and attend the Marriage Festival.  I thought, "Wow!  Their vows are only a week old, and here they are promising their love to one another with 750 other couples.  There is still time!  Call Lifeway today and sign up!  Grab a motel room in Asheville and go experience three days with your spouse that is a life changer!  http://www.lifeway.com/Festivals-of-Marriage/c/N-1z13xex?type=events  Travis Cattrel will be the worship leader.  Prices start at $149!  Surprise your spouse and take the weekend! 

Monday, August 27, 2012


I apologize...i have neglected to keep this up to date.  I will try to do much better.  Here is an encouraging word of God's faithfulness to me.  Months ago He led to preach two sermons on Baptism.  I won't bog you down with all the specifics, just trust He was clear.  Our first lesson was yesterday, and we announced that we were planning to fill the baptismal pool next week in anticipation of those who would be baptized.  Here is the beauty of it all, two individuals came forward between services requesting baptism both indicating that they were already planning to ask if next week would work.  Ain't God good!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Post Mother's Day

I spent a few moments this week remembering mothers of the Bible.  Take a journey of warning or encouragement with me.
Sarah secured Abraham’s favor for Isaac over Ishmael as the son of promise.
Hagar prayed to God to remember her son Ishmael while perishing in the desert.
Rebekah favored her younger son Jacob over Esau.
Rachel was the first on record to lose her life in giving birth to Benjamin.
Jochebed knew Moses was special and hid him in a wicker basket on the Nile to save his life from the Pharaoh’s scheme to kill the Hebrew sons.
Bathsheba intervened to ensure Solomon succeeded David as king.
Hannah cried out to God persistently in her barrenness promising to give her boy in service if He would answer and so she did with Samuel.
Eunice and Lois were the godly mother and grandmother respectively whose sincere faith and wise instruction of Timothy resulted in the young man joining Paul and Silas to preach the gospel at ~15.
Salome was the mother of James, the early Jerusalem church leader, and John the disciple who Jesus loved and put in charge of His mother’s care.  We will hear today more about her bold prayer for her sons’ favor in the kingdom.
Elizabeth in her old age was blessed to train and raise the herald of the Christ, John the Baptizer.
And Mary, the revered mother of Jesus, we are assured loved, taught, nurtured the Son of Man all the way to His rightful place in God’s plan of man’s redemption.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Give Me A Break!

We often are prone to think we deserve a break.  We take work breaks, snack breaks, and look forward to spring and fall break and our favorite summer break (especially teachers and students).  In the area of our spiritual lives, I want to encourage you to guard against desiring a break in the following areas because that desire is not from any other than our enemy.
We should avoid:
1. Time away from God’s Word—that is like skipping meals during the day
2. Prayer breaks—that would be like not speaking to a family member or to your parents
3. Time away from church—which could be comparable to leaving for the summer and not see-ing your family
4. Taking a break in giving—which is literally robbing God (Malachi 3:8)
5. Not sharing our faith—comparable to allowing dozens per day just to walk into eternity with-out Christ because we are afraid, lazy or unconcerned.
6. Skipping opportunities to serve another—might be comparable to a soldier going AWOL
Have a great summer!  Invest any free time to strengthen your daily walk with the Lord!  You will experience noticeable dividends!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Post Easter Thoughts

I cannot get away from Jesus' words in Luke 24:49--"I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you."  It is really easy to just slide right past that.  But listen to it this way: I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon YOU." Or how about "...upon YOU!!!!"  Did you catch it.  It is not Jesus shouting.  It is our finally listening!  We need to read His word more often and pick up on lines like this where our Lord does not suggest but says very clearly that God the Father has chosen to reveal His Son, Jesus, through His Word, the Scriptures and through His word as it is personified in our lives.  Live truth.  Be His witness.  Share the promises.  I am motivated...you?


I do not intend to infer that I am unfeeling or lack compassion, but have you ever heard someone say that they had a bad week?  How about you? Remember the last time you completed a week and reflected, “I don’t want to ever live another week like that one!”  Jesus' week of the Passion puts that in perspective.  You can read about it in the gospels (Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; John 13, 18-19).  Within a week, many were plotting seriously Jesus’ death, some of His disciples argued against the lavish worship Mary offered to Jesus, Judas, a friend, betrayed Him, James, Peter and John fell asleep when He asked them to come pray with Him, the eleven deserted Him and Peter denied Him, the Father kept resolute to the plan through His Son’s agony in the garden, Jesus submitted His will to the Father and sealed His destined purpose, He was betrayed by a kiss, arrested by a mob, He faced the Jewish Sanhedrin with little defense, Judas, a betraying friend ended his own life, He was tried before Pilate and silent before Herod, His life was traded for a murderer’s release, He was mocked, beaten and crucified, His clothes were sold, His Father turned away from Him and He died.  All in one week’s time! 
The next time I am tempted to sigh away a terrible week, I hope I will recall these seven days in the life of my Lord and Savior.  Why would anyone voluntarily endure such as described here?  The Bible simply answers because of His great love for us!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Mother Story

The other day, I discovered a squirrel nest where facial board needed to be repaired.  I gently and carefully removed the contents, three adorably cute baby squirrels.  Just days before their eyes would open, I figured that I would now have to raise these siblings.  As work continued, the box I had placed the nesting squirrels in was left unattended.  Within minutes, the mother squirrel had returned, noticed the new board on the building, searched, found and rescued her little family.  I was amazed at the care this mother demonstrated.  She had obviously watched me playing with her babies, heard their desperate screams for understanding and rescue.  At just the right moment, she slipped in and carried each away to a new home. I was immediately reminded of the many sciptures that illustrate God's watchful eye on His children.  Many scriptures describe God just as a mother eagle or hen spreading His wings over us to protect and deliver us. 
"Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me.  For my sould takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by."  Psalm 57:1

Throw Me Yonder

Often when I am fishing on the bank of a pond or lake, the fish I release back to the water will just lay at the edge.  I like to see how long it takes them to get back to the water. Usually one or two flips will get them back in the safety of their comfortable environment.  I do remember one fish that just didn’t seem to want to go back to the lake.  It literally just kept flipping the opposite direction.  Poor thing, I finally picked it up and tossed it back in the water.  Recently, it hit me…
Jesus was a fisher of men.  He challenged His followers and He charges us to be fishers of men.  We speak of dying to self a lot.  Here is a picture. Jesus calls us through His Spirit to be saved.  We turn from ourselves to Him in repentance and receive God’s forgiveness through grace.  But we often forget the cost of the turning.  It is much like that strange fish flipping the opposite direction.  We must in like manner say to Jesus, by faith, throw me yonder, far away from the shore, where I cannot flip back to my old life.  The obvious conclusion is death.  The picture ends there.  Following Christ does not result in a slow, painful death by asphyxiation. Jesus promised that to lose your life you will gain it.  He also promised a life abundant and eternal.    He has indeed made me alive to a whole new way.
Come out of the water!  The land is great!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Our world needs a lot of love!  I have been reading much about love in the Bible this week.  Romans 13:8-10 tells us that love is the fulfillment of God's law.  We are being most like Jesus and most like what God desires for us to be when we love our neighbor.  Love is the glue between the bricks of all our good works that erects a temple of God in our bodies.  I Corinthians is a great source of looking for love in the exact, right places--Chapter 13!  As you read each potential act of love as we know it, we will find ourselves on empty if the act is not preceded by genuine love of God and love for others!  Love is the greatest!  Happy Valentines Day! 

Combating Temptation II

In the Bible that I grew up with I discovered something I had cut out from a devotion when I was younger that helps us decide if something that tempts us sinful.  Well, now that I am older, that answers it right there.  If I am wondering, it probably is!   But I hope these three tests help you.  I wish I could identify the original author, but I didn't have the source.  When in doubt, ask:
Test # 1--Universality Test
What would the world be like if everyone was doing what I am doing or tempted to do?
Test #2--Secrecy Test
What if everybody found out what I was doing or tempted to do?
Test #3--Blessing Test
Can God bless what I am doing or about to do?
These should lend all of us great clarity in fighting temptation.

Combating Temptation

The other day I memorized a verse I addressed as "Combating Temptation" at 4:7-8 James.  "Therefore, submit to God, but resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, sinners; purify your hearts, double-minded people."  This would be a good one for all to memorize.  You will need it.  I preached on combating temptation the last two weeks.  I wanted to be really practical, you know, 3 points and four take homes.  Here is the bottom line though folks.  We have to love God more than we do our sin.  We have to cherish God's Word and hide it in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). We must draw near to God and put distance between ourselves and the things that tempt us.  In James 1:13-14 we discover that God doesn't tempt us but we set our own traps, pamper our pet desires and bait our own hooks that then entice us and draw us away from God.  Do you want to resist temptation?  That is the starting point. If our answer is yes, then I think the above advice is really practical and helpful.  Strive!
More Later!!!!

Enduring Pain

The other day I read a devotional by Adrian Rogers from II Corinthians 12:9 "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me."  I have many friends enduring loss, pain and suffering right now.  Three encouragements Adrian shared that I think will help us all:  1) Praying for Escape from the pain makes it your enemy, 2) Praying for endurance in your pain treats pain and suffering as your master, but when we are 3) Praying to enlist the pain for our good and God's glory, we make it our servant.
Love to all and hope this is comforting!
Coach/ PJ

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Coffee Stains

Recently I had the opportunity to preach the message at the funeral of a dear lady in our church, a saintly disciple of Jesus Christ.  As is my habit, I like to ask the family for the Bible of the passed loved one.  As I perused this lady's Bible, I turned the page to Proverbs 15.  Go read it sometime!  On this page, was a perfect circle and then some spill spots of coffee.  I paused in great joy and wonder.  Evidence of the morning custom of starting her day in God's Word was right there before me. I was reminded of Jesus' custom of rising early in the morning to pray and be with His Father.  Have you the habit/custom of rising early, cup of coffee, God's Word and the day ahead prepared by aligning your life/will with God's?  I was encouraged.  Careful with the coffee, but no worry...someone just might learn from your mess!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hmmmmmmmm! May I recommend?....Jesus!

I just finished the book, Speaking of Jesus: the Art of Not Evangelism, by Carl Medearis.  recommended by a dear friend, Thomas Davis, who works with sharing the gospel good news of Jesus (ISA) with Muslims. I was blown away.  Thomas and i were trained together in sharing the gospel many years ago.  We learned to pray, partner, share the gospel with our bibles, with tracts, with story.  I with Medearis still believe there is a place for that training and for sharing the gospel in the way/method of many good and well-meaning "programs"  Medearis proposes that we share JESUS.  that is all.  Not how to be a Christian.  Not how to be religious.  Not a ticket to heaven.  Not any of the religious things we have fallen into.  Share that you are following Jesus.  Trying to live like Jesus.  Is He making a difference enough in your life today that people would want to hear your story?  Share that!  back it up with sound knowledge of His word, that love letter you need to read again and again. I invite you to read this work.  My eyes are open!  Love people like God loves you!
                                                                                                                                        January 8, 2012
Last Sunday, on their way to church services, the Longstreet family from Lexington, encountered one of our social ills—a drunk driver. Many in the family and a third party were injured.  Emma, the six year old daughter, was tragically killed, and others in the family are still in critical condition.  And again the drunk driver was not injured.
We all know these days that any day of the week, any time of the day, the roads can become extraordinarily dangerous when alcohol consumption is added to the equation.  I do not intend to offend anyone here who drinks socially, but it always bothers me how we approach this freedom in our country.
I hear remarks like, “Well, I am sure he did not intend to kill anyone.” Or someone will remark, “People should always designate a driver if they are going to party.”  Being a victim of drunk driving myself, I am a bit harsher in my evaluation.  I believe that once a person decides to drink excessively then they have already made the decision that human life is to some small degree less important than their desires.  I have good friends who are really good people, who would never imagine being in a similar situation to the man who caused this accident. And I know of people who have experienced near misses with the same type of headline.
A simple wake-up call is due today.  For just a moment, imagine your name in that headline.  Imagine the cost to you, your family and the innocents.   Is there any behavior being observed under control in your family that your children one day will practice and will not be able to control?  Is the temporary buzz or whatever is experienced worth the loss and suffering forced on others who have no choice in the matter?  I hope we can all receive this alarm with the love and concern with which it is offered.

He in Us

                                                                                                                                     January 1, 2012
I love to play the guitar.  Many years ago I noticed how an FCA event was made special in the giftedness of one guitar in the hands of a talented leader.  Our FCA was struggling in the area of music, so I vowed to God on the trip home to pick up my mother’s old nylon six string and try to learn in thirty minutes like the title of her book in the case promised.  I learned the chords G, C and D, and I was off and running.  I have never mastered it but take great pleasure in watching Josh play.  I taught him those chords long ago and he is just amazing now. 
Last week, I had struggled, but I managed to pick out “O Come, O Come Immanuel” on Mom’s old guitar.  I had a hard time singing it so invited Lauren to come sing as I picked.  All of the sudden I felt like a professional.  A beautiful voice disguised all my stumbled strumming.  It is amazing how that picture illustrates what Jesus Christ does in our lives, isn’t it?  He comes into the likes of us, people who are broken, awkward, fumbling and lost and makes us new, useful, gifted and purposed.
Lauren has always wanted to learn to play and noticed that the chords for that song looked easy.  “Daddy, can you teach me that song?”  You can imagine my joy when just five minutes later; Lauren was strumming to “O Come, O Come Immanuel.” God multiplied my joy that night!  He made three become one voice as His Spirit filled a moment for a father and daughter.
Happy New Year!