Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Discouraging Word ...

A couple of cowboys were on horseback, checking out the range for stray cattle. 

One cowboy strummed his guitar and sang, “O give me a home where the buffalo roam, where the dear and the antelope play, where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the sky is not cloudy all day.” Two mangy buffalo were drawn in due to the wonderful singing. One cowboy saw the buffalo and said, “Look at those hump-back beasts. Have you ever seen such a sorrowful, pitiful sight?” “Nope,” the other cowboy replied, “They must be the ugliest critters under God’s heaven.” 

At that point, one buffalo turned to the other buffalo and said, “Brother Bison, I think I just heard a discouraging word.” 

Here is the truth! We need to be a church on the range where never is heard a discouraging word no matter how many clouds form during the day. Our God is an encourager by nature. Shouldn’t we do likewise? Some of us have the gift, but all of us have the command.

New land can be possessed once we passionately embrace the commands found in God’s word.

Never ...

I will never be known for my good looks, but I can be known for my encouragement.

You might never be remembered as a great cook, or a wonderful singer, or a teacher extraordinaire, but you can be remembered as an encourager. What are you known for? As of late, have you stopped anyone in the hallway and said, “Wow! This not just another capital campaign is going to change our church forever. Isn’t God good?” Will you be remembered as an encourager?

Have you taken the time to encourage church leadership and let them know that you are fired up about the chance to pledge and to give toward our monthly mortgage payment?

1st Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…”

Since our capital campaign has kicked off, have you said one encouraging word to anyone about the future?

Some of us have the gift, but all of us have the command. New land can be possessed once we passionately embrace the commands found in God’s word.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Daily ...

Some of us have the gift, but all of us have the command.

The gift of encouragement is mentioned in Romans 8:4-11, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Then there is the command to encourage whether we have the gift or not. Hebrews 3:13 says, "…encourage one another daily…" Daily! Not weekly! Not bi-monthly and not whenever we feel like it, but daily! Why daily? Because there are many days, when the people that we love are the bug and a windshield is coming. In case you have not noticed, life can be very challenging! Sometimes it is just plum difficult to keep on keeping on when you are hip deep in alligators and there is not one single drain in the swamp. Sometimes the only way for us to move forward is to simply put one foot in front of the other, put all of the drama behind us, and celebrate the fact that God has our back.

Someone is waiting for an encouraging word from you today. All of us want encouragement, but are we willing to be the encouragers? Every Christian is to encourage whether he or she has the spiritual gift of encouragement or not!

New land can be possessed once we passionately embrace the commands found in God’s word.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

More Time ...

Let us spend more time this week living as if the purpose of our lives is not to arrive safely at death and let us set God-sized goals.

Let us spend more time this week pursuing God-ordained passions and going after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Let us spend more time this week not repeating the past, but actually creating the future. Let us spend more time this week not playing it safe, but instead taking some risks. Let us spend more time this week living like each day like it is the first day and the last day of our lives and not allow what is wrong with us to keep us from worshipping what is right with God. Let us spend more time this week burning sinful bridges and blazing a new trail. Let us spend more time this week worrying less about what people think and more time reflecting on what God thinks. Let us spend more time this week doing our work to the best of our abilities before we find fault in the work of others! Let us spend more time this week dealing with the plank in our own eye and not worrying about the speck in our neighbor’s eye.

This week, let us not hold out or hold back.

New land can be possessed once we passionately embrace the commands found in God’s word.

Just another thought about our capital campaign ...

What is your definition of a priority? What is God’s definition of a priority?

Our priorities determine how we spend our time. What Corrie Ten Boom said is so very true, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” New land can be possessed once we passionately embrace the commands found in God’s word. That is why Jesus says this in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first (God’s) kingdom, and (God’s) righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Saying “yes” to one thing is saying “no” to something else. When we try to be all things to all people, we end up being nothing to everybody! Isn’t there wisdom in saying, “no” to pressing things so that we can say, “yes” to the most important things?

What is most important? Family prayer time or running to the movie theatre. Where should we be spending our time? With those who have little or with those who have too much. Shouldn’t a little time be allotted every day for God’s word so that we might spend less time on Google?

Have you spent anytime whatsoever counting your blessings so that you can pledge to our effort to easily make our monthly mortgage payment?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Look ...

Look at the command found in Ephesians 5:15-17, “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

We must be good managers of our time. One individual day contains a lot of opportunities: 24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds. Yet, for most of us, our daily cry is, “If only I had more time!” We all feel so busy — overwhelmed by our lengthy and never-ending to-do lists. It seems as if busyness has become a status symbol in the United States. Even Christians fall into the trap of over-scheduling, over-doing and over-committing.

However, as we mature in the things of God, we learn to put first things first.

Have you spent anytime this morning letting those whom you love know that you love them? Have you taken any time this morning to thank God for all of His blessings? Did you set aside anytime last week to memorize God’s word? When is the last time that you opened your Bible for personal devotional time?

Did you spend anytime last week praying about what you might pledge to our effort to easily pay our monthly mortgage payment?

In a nutshell ...

In Joshua 1:7-8, God is talking to Joshua and His people about another prerequisite that needed to be met in order for the Promised Land to be possessed, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

In a nutshell, God was telling His people to obey! That was the next step if God’s people wanted to claim what was theirs. New land would be possessed once God’s instructions and commands were passionately embraced.

In a nutshell, God is telling us that new land can be possessed once we passionately embrace the instructions and commands found in God’s word.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Smile ...

When did life get so serious? 

When is the last time that you shared a smile and a good laugh with a member of your church family … not laughing at them, but with them! If you are too busy to laugh with each other, then you are busier than God intends for you to be. Proverbs 17:22 is still very powerful instruction, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Let us pledge, give and live with a little cheer! 

Now folks, I take very seriously my life and your life and our lives in relationship to a Holy God. Some things are just not funny! We can make a list today of things that break our hearts, but some things are not nearly as serious as we make them out to be. 

With God’s help and the guidance of His Spirit, we can and must come to know the difference. 

We must all turn that frown upside down. We must all crack a smile every once in a while, and in light of God being the great gift giver, why should we not be a cheerful, joyful or hilarious pledgers, givers and livers? 

In Scotland -- during the 17th century -- one poor fellow was thrown in jail for smiling on the Sabbath. I would argue today that a smile is the best evidence there is that we know how blessed we are and we plan on pledging, giving and living like who God has made a promise to. 

On the 2nd Sunday in April, when all of us make a pledge to give, I wonder how much smiling will be going on? 


Because the cook … aka God ... can be trusted, our pledging and our giving and our living can be done with joy! 

Truth be told, God loves for our pledging, our giving and our living to be done with a little giddiness. Five Sundays from today, what will the atmosphere be like around here as we collect our pledge cards? Will there be joy or much jeering? 

Paul says it very clearly in 2nd Corinthians 9:7, “…God loves a cheerful giver.” That word, "cheerful" in the original Greek text, is actually the word, “hilaros” which gives us our English word, "hilarious." So, God loves a pledger, giver and liver who pledges, gives and lives with a hilarious spirit, but why? Well the answer is simple! A hilarious giver has figured out the real source of all blessings … which is God … and his or her real status ~~ which is blessed. God loves when joyful people pledge, give and live because that joy gives horizontal testimony to His great love and vertical praise to Him who is so very worthy. 

Just how giddy are you?