Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trying to Please Everyone?

You can try to please everyone, but someone is always going to be unhappy about something. I go back to that beatitude as I mentioned before, "blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape"!
Thank God that we have programmable thermostats that no one sets!!!!
I hope that every family in our church has a very safe and happy New Year. As the calendar crosses into 2010, may it be a year of huge spiritual growth for each one of us. Blessings!

Grandpa Changes the Diaper

One of our church members (Dennis the Menace) sent me this one this morning. My only question is...what did you feed that girl? Seaweed?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Living Stones

A good thought from a devotion this morning. Chew and enjoy!

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.— 1 Peter 2:5

If you were in a restaurant with some friends and said, "Now, I have a secret I want to share with you. I don't want you to share this with anyone else, . . . " you can be sure they would start leaning forward. The people seated at the tables nearby would too. That's because everyone likes a secret.

Acts 2 contains what seems to be a secret to many people: the secret, if you will, of the early church. Yet it seems many churches today are in a race as to who can have the biggest church or the fastest-growing church or the coolest church. But I am far more interested in a biblical church.

The template given in Acts 2 for the church was followed by a handful of believers who left their world a different way than they found it. Yet the time in which they were living was difficult. There was rampant immorality. The Roman government was corrupt. Most of the religious establishment was corrupt as well. Everywhere the Christians went, they were ridiculed, opposed, persecuted, and even physically assaulted.

So what was the secret of the early church? They were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were sent out by the Holy Spirit. And they understood that everyone was called to do their part. Every person mattered.

A Spartan king was boasting to a visiting ruler about the walls of Sparta when he pointed to his bodyguard of magnificent troops and said, "These are the walls of Sparta. Every man is a brick."

In the church, every person is a brick. We are living stones placed in the church, each with gifts that God has given to us to contribute toward the work of the church. How are you doing your part in the church today?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bring on the Snow!

As I went to bed last night around midnight, after finishing my work, I was watching the rerun weather forecasts. They were saying that we might get a dusting to an inch and that things have shifted, so on and so forth. This morning I had to take my car to the shop and all everyone's talking about is how much snow we're going to get. It's like everything's shifted back now and the chances are going up for a white Christmas (and a white Christmas Eve)! I'm excited. I love winter, and I love snow. I say bring it on! I'm sorry if that spoils anyone else's travel plans because I would wish that on no one, but as for me, I'll be enjoying the white stuff. I hope that many people around here will to. It's been a long time since we've had a white Christmas, and they don't come too often in this parts. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You Never Know What You're Going to Get

As a pastor, you just never know what call you are going to get. That's why Jesus said in the beatitudes, "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape!" (Well, maybe He didn't say exactly that.)
Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

White Christmas

For my following, I'm sorry that I haven't blogged in over a week. As I mentioned before, ministry has seasons where priorities must shift and and some things get put on the back burner. Thus, the blog suffers.

Last Wednesday night, we had 6 groups go out and carol many of our church members, the elderly, and shut-ins throughout Enid. It was a great time of spreading Christmas cheer and sharing the message of Christmas through song. I had my girls in my group and we had a blast. One of the houses we stopped at had an older gentleman and his wife. His wife is in a wheelchair, but they come to church faithfully, even when the weather isn't so good. As he rolled his wife to the doorway, we began to sing Christmas carols. She just smiled with tears rolling down her face. At the end of our time, she made the comment that "people just don't do this kind of thing anymore". You could tell they were touched, but I think that our group of carolers were touched even more. Great times of sweet fellowship as a church body ministering together.

I'm originally from Iowa. White Christmases were much more common up north. In Oklahoma you could have it 70 degrees or -2 degrees. But the white stuff only comes every so often at Christmas. I think in all of the years in Oklahoma that I lived, we've only had 3 white Christmases. Well, it looks like we might have one this year. Chances for snow are going up for Wednesday and Thursday and this Iowa kid is excited. I don't mind the chill or the snow. I think that it's great! Keeps the wife closer cuddling and makes everyone stay indoors in the warmth. I don't know what it will mean for our Christmas Eve service, but God's will be done.

It was a great service yesterday. I had many comments from many of our people. The presence of God was especially heavy yesterday and the Holy Spirit was doing His divine work. I praise God for who He is and what He has done for us. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. What a great and mighty and wonderful God we serve!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Almost Christian

Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." — Acts 26:28

Almost is an interesting word, one that we sometimes use when we are delaying something, when we are not quite ready to commit. Maybe you've been in a restaurant where the menu is the size of a small phone book. When the server arrived at your table and asked if you were ready to order, you said, "Well, almost."

We will use this word when are not sure about something. We also use "almost" when we're procrastinating. For example, if a husband and wife are going out to dinner and he asks her if she is ready to go, she will say, "Well, almost."

While we like to use "almost" for a number of situations, there are certain words that don't work with almost, as in "almost pregnant." A woman is either pregnant or she is not. Another word that doesn't work with almost is "won." You either won or you didn't. I'm sure that our local Oklahoma Bible Academy (where I'm going to speak at chapel this morning) can relate to this as they lost 14-7 in the state championship for football this past Saturday. The winner is the winner, so you can't almost win.

Another word that doesn't fit with the word almost is "Christian." Either you are a Christian or you are not. You may be well on your way to becoming a Christian. You may be looking into the claims of Christ and investigating them. But you cannot be an almost Christian.

When the apostle Paul presented the gospel to Herod Agrippa, he said, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian" (Acts 26:28). Almost. He was close, but not close enough. Apparently Herod Agrippa was moved by Paul's powerful and persuasive presentation of the gospel, but then he turned and walked away from it. He was the almost Christian.

I think there are a lot of people like Herod Agrippa in our world today: almost Christians who think they are Christians when they really are not.

Friday, December 4, 2009

1 Corinthians 13 Christmas

Got this from a church member this week and thought I'd share.

1 Corinthians 13 - Christmas version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.

But giving the gift of love will endure. -- Author Unknown

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever." Jude 24-25

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Wanted to share these excellent thoughts. I got these from Greg Laurie. This is not just the duty of ministers or those in church leadership, this is the duty of every Christian. Are you serving the Lord faithfully in this way?

"Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately." — Ezekiel 3:17

The apostle Paul saw himself as a watchman, someone who would be positioned on the wall of a city to keep watch for the enemy or any other danger that was approaching. A watchman would then run and warn people about what he saw. Paul told the Ephesian elders, "I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it's not my fault, for I didn't shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. So guard yourselves and God's people . . . " (Acts 20:26–28).

Paul was drawing on the words of Ezekiel 3:17–18, where God said, "Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, 'You are under the penalty of death,' but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths."

Declaring the truth of the gospel is a serious matter—a matter of life and death. And when we meet someone who doesn't know it, we have a responsibility as watchmen to proclaim it. If we know a believer who is going astray or who is doing things that are contrary to what the Bible teaches, we have a responsibility as watchmen to warn him or her of what could potentially happen. We don't do this out of hate, but out of love, because we want to help. We want to protect them.

The job of watchmen is not unlike that of lifeguards, who constantly scan the water to ensure that everyone is safe. Because lives are at stake, it is crucial they do their job well. So how are you doing as a watchman?


Just to update everyone...yes, I survived the shopping trip at 4am. It was a little crazy (and full of people!), but I was successful in my tasks. I actually got everything on my list for the really cheap price. I couldn't believe it! For the most part, people were very polite and not too pushy. The environment was good and many people were helping one another. There was some hoarding going on, but that's expected from some people. Overall, I think that Wal-Mart did a great job organizing it and it was kind of fun for me.

As for the me-monsters, I only saw a few. One lady had a basket and rammed it into my hip trying to get by, but other than that, there wasn't too much nastiness.

As I was standing in a long line waiting on an item, I had some great conversations with some people in the line. We were stuck for about 25 minutes at a standstill, so that was pretty cool.

All in all, it was a success and a surprisingly good experience. I will definitely try again if there's a worthwhile deal next year.