Showing posts from 2014

Christmas...You are not alone!

The following article was printed in the 2014 edition of The Marion Ledger: They were completely alone! Their life was common at best. I guess you could say it was not a “Wonderful Life” , but more like a common and ordinary life. A daily routine of care and making provisions for their charges wore on day after day and month after month. There seemed to be no real interest in how they were feeling or even how they were doing on their job. While visible to the eyes of a passerby, they really had lives that were invisible to the same passerby’s heart. There were no invitations to a party, an announcement of a job promotion, or even a simply note of thanks. Some of them probably deemed themselves as victims of an economic and social hierarchy that left them on the outside looking in. They sat among the rocks, in the dirt, and along the hillside. Perhaps in the cool of the evening there was a small fire for warmth, the distant sound of the bleating of a young sheep, and maybe even the

Give God His Applause!

A little boy had attended church on Sunday morning with his parents for the first time in a while. That night he knelt to say his prayers before going to bed. The little fella prayed, “Dear Lord, I sure had a good time at church today. I sure wish you could have been there!” Wow! No truer words have ever been spoken. When we were created by God, we were created to worship Him. The word worship is literally translated as “worth-ship.” We are to live our lives to prove God’s worth-ship, and that He alone is worthy of our praise. I’ve been thinking about why we give God so very little worship in our daily lives. The Bible indicates that we should praise and worship God in all things. This means our family should bring praise to God, our jobs should be of worship to God, as well as our finances, words, thoughts, actions, and motivations. But still, our lives give God so very little worship. Last year at the end of VBS a little boy came up to me and said, “Preacher, I like comin

Church Shopping!!!

Last month I wrote an article about the concept of “Church Hopping” that was very well received. I thought I would follow that up with some words of advice and encouragement for new people going into a church and looking for a new church. Let’s think about “Church Shopping.” According to the Barna Research Group, we aren't alone. One in seven people will look for a new church this year. In case you're among that one in seven, here are 6 important things we learned are critical to a search process.   1. Does This Church Preach the Right Message? So first look for a place where truth is preached from the Bible—where God's Word is seen as living, relevant, changeless, and inerrant, rather than just a "good book" filled with advice on how to be a more loving, moral person. Look for a place you can invite friends to and feel confident they'll hear the gospel truth directly from Scripture, a place where difficult passages as well as straightforw

STOP the HOP!!!

Today I am writing to say to Christian people every where some simple words of advice: STOP THE HOP!!! Church've heard of this right? You may have even participated in it, but may have not even realized it. Church hopping is a modern day phenomenon that seems to increase by the year. What is it you wonder? Well technically speaking church hopping can be defined as going from one church to another over short periods of time without really committing to any one church for any significant period of time. Ok, so now you are getting the picture, right? Having pastored here in Marion, Arkansas for the past 13+ years I have seen my share of church hoppers. In fact, there are so many church hoppers I am thinking they should start their own support group in town. The hard-core church hopper goes into a church seeking something for self or for their family, but they never even makes an initial commitment. They perpetually float between churches, pursuing a B

The "White Elephant" of God's People

I recently read that in ancient days when the King of Siam had an enemy he wanted to torment and slowly destroy, he would send that enemy an elaborate gift. While this may seem strange to send your enemy a gift, the King of Siam would send his enemy the gift of a rare, white, albino elephant. These animals were considered to be so rare that they were sacred and of great value. Therefore, in the culture of that day the recipient of the white elephant had not choice but to intentionally care for the animal. An elephant would and did live for many years and would require a great amount of energy, time, resources, emotions, and money from the enemy. Over time the enemy of the King of Siam would become burdened in every area of his life because of this rare gift. On the surface the white elephant was valuable, but underneath it was nothing more than a mechanism of torture, frustration, and robbery to the life of the recipient. I found that to be very interesting and, of course, the sourc

Easter: The Grand Event for your life!

Richard Bewes writes that on the morning of August 27, 1883, the "most stupendous explosion ever recorded took place." It was heard as far away as 3,000 miles. The whole northern and lower part of the island of Krakatoa, lying between Java and Sumatra, had blown off. Stone, dust, and ashes surged 17 miles into the air. Entire forests were buried beneath the debris from the explosion. As far away as 150 miles the sky was so dark that people had to use lamps in the middle of the day just to see. The tidal waves reached as far as Cape Horn which was an 8,000 miles away. Across the world weather patterns and sunsets were dramatically affected for many months. When I read that information I thought to myself, "Wow! The magnitude of that volcanic eruption changed the landscape of everything it touched." As magnificent and huge as that event was in 1883, there was an even greater, more life-altering event that took place over 1850 years earlier. They event, of course, is

Changing our Ways!

Several years ago the Peanuts comic strip had Lucy and Charlie Brown practicing football. Lucy would hold the ball for Charlie’s placekicking and then Charlie would kick the ball. But every time Lucy had ever held the ball for Charlie, he would approach the ball and kick with all his might. At the precise moment of the point of no return, Lucy would pick up the ball and Charlie would kick and his momentum unchecked by the ball, which was not there to kick, would cause him to fall flat on his back. This strip opened with Lucy holding the ball, but Charlie Brown would not kick the ball. Lucy begged him to kick the ball. But Charlie Brown said, " Every time I try to kick the ball you remove it and I fall on my back." They went back and forth for the longest time and finally Lucy broke down in tears and admitted, "Charlie Brown I have been so terrible to you over the years, picking up the football like I have. I have played so many cruel tricks on you, but I’ve seen the e

Generosity...a Key Word for 2014!!!

As we begin a brand new year of 2014, I would imagine that following all of the Christmas purchase and gift giving that the number one topic on most people's minds is NOT the topic of generosity . For some reason, however, it is something that is in the forefront of my mind this week. I am not sure why? Perhaps it is because I am one of those people who had much rather give a gift than receive a gift. I feel awkward when I get gifts sometimes, but I get great joy in giving gifts. Maybe it is because I have been thinking this week how the Lottie Moon Christmas offering for International Missions we received during December at First Marion will be multiplied and used by Southern Baptist missionaries around the world to reach people for Christ and start new churches. Like I said though, most of you are probably NOT thinking about generosity . Many of you are looking at your bank statement and either it is  thin or it is about to get thin when the Christmas bills start rolling in. W