A Psalm for Giving Thanks
Psalm 100

The Sunday before Thanksgiving I always take a break from whatever we are studying so we can focus on some Scripture that will help stir thoughts of gratitude and thankfulness for who God is and what He has done in our lives. Focusing on gratitude is very important for me because I recognize that there is so much going on in so many of our lives that would seek to pull us down and cause us to lose sight of the gratitude that we all should have regardless of our circumstances or situation at this time. Continue reading “A Psalm for Giving Thanks
Psalm 100”

The Most Important Lessons of Life
Psalm 139

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It has been such a fun week! All week long we’ve had lots of kids, about 140 kids, with us for Vacation Bible School. I’m absolutely amazed at Linda Birsner and her team of leaders. We had lots of helpers, men and women, tons of teenagers, and all of them were used by God to plant seeds in the hearts of our kids that I believe will continue to be watered and nurtured by their families as well as by all of us, their church family. Continue reading “The Most Important Lessons of Life
Psalm 139”

A Grateful Disposition
Psalm 106

gratitude

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The dispositions of the human heart are varied. A “disposition” is the predominant or prevailing tendency of one’s heart, a habitual inclination, or characteristic attitude. When we stop to think about our own heart, our own tendencies concerning how we navigate the ins and outs of life, I think we might recognize some similarities with those around us. I can’t peer into the depths of your heart, but I can see pretty clearly into my own. What I see is not impressive. What I see I am not comfortable with by any means. What I see is a tendency to grumble when life doesn’t go the way I had planned. What I see is a tendency to “expect,” rather than to appreciate. Continue reading “A Grateful Disposition
Psalm 106”

Remember
Psalm 78:1-20

thanksgiving-2015

In my estimation, one of the greatest gifts that God has given us is the ability to remember. Because I am able to remember I will always treasure that day that a friend of mine led me in a prayer to ask Jesus into my heart as Lord and Savior of my life. Because of God’s gift of memory I will always treasure, not just the surroundings, but the feelings I felt when I stood before the preacher and said “I do.” Because of the gift of memory I will never forget what it was like to experience the birth of my children and the joy that Connie and I shared together in welcoming them into this world. Because I am able to remember, I will always be able to have a laugh whenever I recall the Sunday that I baptized Ina Whitt and she forgot to tell me that she was scared of water. When I plunged her beneath the water she pulled me under with her! My clothes were so soaked that I had to preach in a choir robe. I don’t know that there were many of you who were here for that one. If you were then you will surely remember! Because of memory I will always treasure the friendships the Lord has allowed me to share and the blessings that each of you have been to my life. Because of God’s incredible gift of memory I have such wonderful, vivid memories of my mom even though she has been gone for more than three years now. The ability to remember is truly one of God’s greatest gifts when it is used in the manner in which the Lord has intended. Continue reading “Remember
Psalm 78:1-20”

I Will Not Be Shaken!
Psalm 62

psalmsWe are going to take a one week break from our study of John’s Gospel because of an experience I had this past week. I was studying for my Wednesday night Bible study when, in our study, I was led to Psalm 62. The Psalm jumped out at me in a way that is hard to describe. I’m sure you will know what I mean once I explain. There are times in our life when the combination of our life experience and the truth of God’s Word combine in such a way that is more than powerful. It can only be explained as God’s intervention to convict us, strengthen us, counsel us, and reassure us of His divine Sovereignty and omnipotent power to see us through to the other side.

Our Bible study on Wednesday night, called “Recovering Redemption,” has been one of the most powerful studies I’ve done in a long time. The focus of the Bible study has been to recognize that we are broken sinners without hope apart from God’s intervention through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. For most of us, when we are confronted with the broken places of our lives we tend to focus more on behavior modification instead of focusing on crying out to God to change our hearts. Matt Chandler, the pastor of The Village Church and author of “Recovering Redemption” says, “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.” Continue reading “I Will Not Be Shaken!
Psalm 62”

Part of the Family!
Psalm 68:5-6

IMG_6937We have had an absolutely amazing week of Vacation Bible School! Dana Stevenson and her incredible crew of volunteers have blessed our kids each and every day this past week. The kids have learned about Jesus’ love in ways that will impact them for the rest of their lives. Each day during VBS we’ve had a theme. I want to share the themes with you before we get into our study of God’s Word this morning.

Our overall theme was “Weird Animals” and I have to tell you that when I first heard the theme I wondered what in the world “weird animals” has to do with anything other than a zoo! Well, it didn’t take long for my questions to be answered. God has filled this planet with some crazy, weird creatures, and you and I are among their number. The whole idea behind our theme was to teach kids that when they feel weird, different, or even lost in a crowd that they can always count on Jesus’ love for them. Continue reading “Part of the Family!
Psalm 68:5-6”

Men of Passion
Psalm 1

father-and-sonI love Father’s Day. I absolutely love Father’s Day, but it’s not because I need another tie or gift card or anything else for that matter. I don’t need a thing. I love Father’s Day because I love being a dad, and now a grandfather. Wow, does that sound weird! How can I be a grandfather when I am so young? You are probably wondering if I was a teenage father! There is another reason I love Father’s Day and it is because it gives me an excuse to talk to men. Ladies can listen in, but on Father’s Day I get the opportunity to share God’s Word exclusively with men.

Men, I want you to know that I believe that you are the single greatest untapped resource for the Kingdom of God today. I say “untapped” because, for the most part, our influence, passion, resources, skills, time, and efforts simply aren’t being used for Kingdom work today. We have chosen to invest ourselves in other ways and in other places.

The Church is a strange place for many of us men. A place where we feel like we don’t belong. I know what I’m talking about because I use to feel the same way. When I first became a follower of Jesus, just before heading off to college and began going to church, I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb. I was uncomfortable. Everyone hugged each other, sang songs, and spoke a language that I didn’t recognize. I couldn’t sing a lick and I didn’t speak their Christianese. Therefore I felt so out of place. Another thing that made me feel uncomfortable was that it seemed like there were so few people who were like me. I grew up playing sports and hanging out with guys like me. At church I saw lots of older people, women and little kids, but I didn’t see hardly anyone who I thought was like me. The church was an unfamiliar place to me. I went because I was told that I was supposed to go, but my passion was reserved for the athletic field. I was young, eighteen, and a freshman in college at the time, but the church didn’t appeal to me like sports did back then. On the field I was challenged. My coaches demanded everything of my teammates and me. No price was too great to pay. Sacrifices weren’t celebrated, they were expected. The message I heard from my coaches was so different from the messages I heard from the preacher. Continue reading “Men of Passion
Psalm 1”

It Is Well With My Soul
Psalm 116:7

psalmsI have been a minister of the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for almost thirty years now. In that time I have come to understand that some people look to ministers to supply answers to unanswerable questions, to bring comfort when pain’s sting is excruciatingly agonizing, and to have faith when uncertainty seems our only option. I wish that I could stand before you as such a man. A man with all of the answers. A man who possesses comforting solace that soothes pain’s sting. A man of such faith that he never has any uncertainty. I am not that man. Continue reading “It Is Well With My Soul
Psalm 116:7”

God’s People and Gratitude
Psalm 106

The dispositions of the human heart are varied. A “disposition” is a tendency, a habitual inclination, or frame of mind. When we stop to think about our own heart, our own tendencies concerning how we navigate the ins and outs of life, I think we might recognize some similarities with those around us. I can’t peer into the depths of your heart, but I can see clearly into my own. What I see is not impressive. What I see I am not comfortable with by any means. What I see is a tendency to grumble when life doesn’t go the way I had planned. What I see is a tendency to “expect,” rather than to appreciate.

Robert Hughes wrote, “The Culture of Complaint,” in 1993. In his book he shares his assessment of American culture and the American people’s tendency to perceive themselves as being entitled to having all their desires fulfilled. We take this entitlement to be part of our birthright. We label ourselves as victims when this doesn’t happen. Mr. Hughes says that we live in a culture of complaint. It forms our minds and hearts. Continue reading “God’s People and Gratitude
Psalm 106”

Giving Thanks In The Day of Distress
Psalm 77

Our Thanksgiving celebration has a long history. In our day we have lost touch with much of the meaning of Thanksgiving. Today Thanksgiving has been largely reduced to indulging in lots of delicious food and watching football games with our families or friends. For those first folks who gave thanks many years ago, they did so with a great awareness of God’s preserving hand that had kept them alive and provided for their every need.

Continue reading “Giving Thanks In The Day of Distress
Psalm 77”