Thanks!

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Once again we find ourselves in November.  Social media is being filled with various posts of gratitude, and that is a great thing.  I too am very grateful today for God’s blessings.

Thanksgiving falls immediately after October, which is traditionally pastor appreciation month.  My church, Craft Baptist Church, is an expert at showing appreciation.  I am so grateful for their support and encouragement throughout the year.  There are very few weeks that go by without someone expressing their love to us.  During October, they reached a fever pitch of cards, hugs, kind words, and gifts.  I am overwhelmed by the love and appreciation they show us.   I am grateful to have the privilege of being their pastor.

As children of God, we should always be grateful, not just during November.  Let us use this month to start showing gratitude and then simply not stop.  Why don’t we have a thanksgiving post every week?

Remember 1 Chronicles 16:34:

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!” ESV

Talent and Timing (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12)

A good one from my brother.

Life Meets Theology

“Plan Hard, Work Harder, and Rest Easy”

I don’t know where I picked this up from but it resides on a list I call “Personal Axioms and Plum Lines”.  The idea is to plan your work, work the plan, and then rest in the providence of God.

Perhaps the more “theologically astute” of my readers might have heard another, similar expression: “Work like an Armenian; sleep like a Calvinist”.  Granted, that expression is equally offensive to both Armenians and Calvinists alike (sorry!), but the idea works.

As Christians, we know we have an obligation to use the gray matter between our ears and the bodies we’ve been given and not resign ourselves to fatalism.

But is it possible we can take on a concept of “functional atheism”?  In other words, we profess God but write off things to “chance”, “timing”, and “circumstances” instead of providence.  Is it possible we as…

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Holy Ground

10 of us from Craft spent last week at Daniel Springs Baptist Camp.  Our Bible studies this were focused on the life of Moses.  When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, He told Moses to remove his shoes because he was on holy ground.

Like Moses, I feel like I am walking on holy ground every time I am on the campus of Daniel Springs.  I have attended camp there nearly every summer of my life.  God has spoken to me under the trees, in the tabernacles and worship center.  Revisiting the camp, is like a walk through memory lane where I can review the lessons learned, friendships gained and commitments made.

This year, I was once again reminded of the call of God to use my life in His service.  When I answered that call, I had no idea what that would entail, but as preteen, I knew He called me to serve and I committed my life to serve Him.  Later, He clarified that I was be a preacher.  Seeing the alter where that commitment was made  brought it all back to my mind.

It is a good for us to pause occasionally and reflect on where we have been and what God has done in our lives.  The good news is that we don’t have to be at a special place.  We can pause wherever we are and go over those pivotal moments in our lives.  Review those special times in your life where God met with you and revealed more of Himself, His purposes and His ways. As we remember what God has done in our lives, we should also renew our commitments to serve Him.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to Daniel Springs and the reminders of God’s work in my life.

Turning the Page

  
Well, I haven’t blogged for a few weeks.   I have busy unpacking boxes.  We have officially moved to a new town.  As we turn this page in the book of our life, I want to pause to reflect on the past.

Landmark Baptist Church of Mexia

For 17 years you were our spiritual  home.  We worked, played, cried, and laughed together.  Your love and generosity carried is through Shanmom’s bone marrow transplant, and my Guillian-Barre Syndrome.  You helped us welcome our two miraculous children into our family.  You received them and celebrated with us when our children were born again into the family of God,  this chapter in our lives will always be remembered fondly.

Craft Baptist Church of Jacksonville

We are just beginning our time together.  You have already been a blessing to us with your warm welcome and assistance completing the move. Thank you for investing in me in ’86-’88 as I was a student at JBC.  Thank you for calling me to serve in this awesome church.  I look forward to many years together and can’t wait to see what God has in store for us.

Sick Computers

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In my job, I see many sick computers.  There are several ways computers can start to fail.  Sometimes malicious software (malware) and viruses can infect a machine and grind its processors to a halt.  At other times, they have been running too long and need to restart to clean out the junk which clutters their memory.  An especially aggravating malady to afflict our computers at work is that they quit trusting the domain.  When that trust relationship fails, they will no longer allow users to log on.  I requires being taken off the domain and reintroducing the computer to the domain in order to get them to trust each other again.

As I was deep into administering some TLC to a cart of computers this week, it struck me that similar things can interfere in our walk with the Lord.

Sin is far worse than any virus/malware at bringing destruction.  It interrupts our communication with God.  Sin starts destroying our testimony, and left unchecked (repented of), it leads to the destruction of our lives.

There are also times in my life in which I need a fresh start.  The junk in life starts to clutter my mind and distract me from God’s purpose.  It is good to occasionally clear out the junk which distracts us and wastes our resources.

Finally, many lose their trust relationship with God.  They forget their place in the Kingdom.  Like the prodigal son, they move on and forget their heavenly Father.  It never changes the fact that God is their Father, but they get out in the pigpens of the world and need to be reintroduced.  They need to remember who they are and what God has provided for them.

Hopefully, we will learn from the machines and not let sin contaminate, junk to clutter, and trust to wane.

Getting by…..

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I once asked an older gentleman how he was doing and he replied, “I’m getting by ok.”   This exchange is typical in central Texas for hello.   However, I began thinking how many of settle for just getting by.   How many times do we just go through the motions and settle for making it through another day of mediocrity?  

As children of God, we are called to so much more.   C. S. Lewis argued in his sermon “The Weight of Glory” that we often set the bar to low.  “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” In comparison to what God wants to give us, the best this world can offer is toys, trinkets and tinsel.

We need to set our sights higher than just getting by.  Scripture says that we are joint heirs with Jesus, royal priests, sons and daughters of God, more than conquerors, etc.   None of the descriptions I read inspire me to just get by.  Raise the bar and go for it!   Live life.  Do not settle for merely enduring it.  

Remember what Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (‭II Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭10‬ NKJV). We will one day appear before Christ and give an account of how we managed this gift of life He gave to us.  In that day, I do not want to say, “I got by…..”  On that day, I want to know that I entered heaven having really lived and experienced abundant life in Christ.  Set your sights high!