whole sermon only scripture

In Seminary, I often dreamed of craftiing a sermon that was only full of Bible.

Well, this man here has already done it! It is outstanding. I encourage you to take 30 minutes some time to watch this, take it in, soak it up, and be blessed by how Good God is and also be challenged to know and love His word more.

emotions stirred

Yesterday (I wrote this Friday and just got to post it.) was a good long day for me in ministry.

The day began with a routine weekly Bible study on the Biblical subject of Christmas (the birth of Jesus Christ.) It was encouraging to see so many ladies digging through God’s Word to grasp all that Christmas is Biblically (Incarnation, Virgin Birth, Immanuel, Holy Spirit, Dreams, Angel of the Lord, Joseph’s fathering Jesus, the name Jesus as a Savior, Peace, etc.)

As great as the morning Bible study was, that wasn’t what stirred my emotions mostly.

I officiated two funerals yesterday. A funeral of any capacity should stir your emotions, but these two did for sure. Both funerals were of two good men who died completely unexpectedly from massive heart attacks. One man was 52 years old and the other was 60 years old. That is young! (It is so hard for any family, wives,children, siblings, to lose the husband/dad/brother unexpectedly. It broke my heart. It made me think a lot.)

The second funeral of the day took place in the evening. The man that passed away was a Marine. The memorial service was accompanied by three Active Duty Marines who did a US Flag presentation to the family, and they played Taps on the Bugle. (If you have never seen a Military Funeral, you are missing out.) I had already gotten emotional before the service when briefly talking to the Marines. They spoke of their time serving our country overseas at war. I made sure to thank them and let them know we are very aware of their sacrifice and effort to protect our country. But when the conclusion of the service came, and the solemn congregation became even more quiet and attentive, the Marines marched forward, the Taps began to play. Every eye in the building teared up and many began to weep. The Marines were so professional, so serious, and so sincere. The USA Flag was presented to the oldest sister of the man who passed away.

At that moment, every one there was greatly aware that life is precious and valuable and not to be taken lightly.

As I had said earlier in the service, life only makes sense in Jesus. All the Military contributed to the service only further made that point. The service ended with me standing there my eyes watery and my nose sniffling.

I am proud to be American. I am so humbled to know that our country is the way it is because of so many men who wrk hard to keep it this way. “Land of the free and home of the brave” has so much meaning when you see the white gloves of a sharp dressed Marine folding a US flag while Taps plays in the background.

The day ended with me driving home thanking God that life is not about me. He has shown me that in Jesus. Who cares about me? There are so many things more important in life. So many.

peace

Reading the Christmas passages from the Bible along with Advent devotionals, I have been reminded of what peace truly is.

Peace is not the absence of troubles and problems and stress and drama. Instead, peace is the presence of God.

My observation of the world and the people in it only confirms this belief. Nothing brings peace except God.

So it is fitting that the heavenly host along with the Angel while appearing to the shepherds said

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)

Peace is not everywhere. And not everyone will have it. Peace is for those who know God.

psalm 16… refreshing

Psalm 16 ends with this

“you make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Everyone wants that type of satisfaction and happiness, but not everyone knows where you find it.  Notice where David finds it. The first two verses of the Psalm state “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” “

David finds guidance for life, fullness of joy, and pleasures forever in the loss and denial and abandon of himself and the all out surrender and trust in God.

All alone and left to ourselves, there is nothing good. Finding ourselves in God, everything begins to make sense!

try to get this christmas book

A few years ago, I got this book and absolutely loved it. I now get back into it every year at Christmas time. It is an advent devotional book. Nancy Guthrie has taken sermon excerpts from many of the greats and compiled it into one wonderful small volume. Some of the people she has taken from are Charles Spurgeon, Saint Augustine, John MacArthur, John Piper, Joni Erickson-Tada, Martin Luther, and so on. It is phenomonal!

You can buy it here on Amazon for $8. I really recommend this book.

Agnew on problem with ‘Radical’

I went to college with Travis Agnew. I loved him then, and I love him now. (even though we do not talk much)

Click here to read his short but very very good article on his problem with David Platt’s new book Radical. (It is a good problem.) Many of us need to hear what he is saying.

Please take time to check it out.

humility quote

Jonathan Edwards:

“A truly Christian love, either to God or men, is a humble brokenhearted love. The desires of the saints, however earnest, are humble desires; their hope is a humble hope; and their joy, even when it is unspeakable, and full of glory, is a humble, brokenhearted joy, and leaves the Christian more poor in spirit, and more like a little child, and more disposed to a universal lowliness of behavior.”

Wow! That is our prayer. God, please give hearts like this!

what sports taught me about life

As I grow up I am seeing more and more that the many things I learned from playing sports while growing up, actually have helped me a great deal in life. Here are 4 phrases that mean a lot. These phrases came from my years in basketball, but they certainly apply to life as well.

  1. Pressure can bust a pipe. Pressure can be very hard. Life is full of pressure. Life is hard. It all depends on how we handle the pressure that will determine whether or not it busts us. Life is hard, not horrible. When we make bad decisions, the pressure can bust us,  and then a hard life becomes horrible.
  2. Never too high, never too low. In our good days, we know worse days are coming. In our worst times, we know better times are coming. The key is to remain steady and constant. Don’t be influenced by your surroundings or circumstances.  Decide who you want to be… and then be that person. Don’t allow people, or stuff, or circumstances cause you to be too high or too low. Instead, stay steady.
  3. When you lose, say little. When you win, say less. It is always wise to let your words be few. Let your life and actions do the talking. If you lose, don’t make excuses. In fact, say very little. If you win, Don’t talk about it. It has always been true… Actions speak louder than words.
  4. Next one in. When I would do hours and hours of shooting drills, my coach would make us yell out “next one in” after every single miss. (I have already taught JJ this when we are practicing shooting on his mini hoop.) Saying this caused us to quickly forget the miss and quickly look on to making the next shot. It taught me optimism. It taught me confidence. It taught me to not let something bad, like a missed shot,  discourage me too much. There is always another shot coming, and if I am effected by the last miss then I will be no good for the future shots. Therefore, in our struggles, we press on, looking to whats next… better things.

I believe sports are powerful. They were powerful in my life. These four phrases helped me then in sports, and more importantly they help me now in life.

Christmas Candlelight Service

On Sunday evening, December 19th at 6:00pm, our church will be having a Candlelight Christmas Service.

This will be a delightfully warm service centered on the love and forgiveness of Jesus. We will sing Christmas songs, Read Christmas passages from the Bible, light candles, and soak in all that God has in store for us this Christmas season.

I am asking all of our people to make plans to have your entire family at this meaningful service.