Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Turning Point Phrase

In the context of Matthew 26, the Chief priests plot against Jesus as to how they might trap and destroy Him. Meanwhile; Jesus is at Simon the former Leper's house where Simon is hosting a feast in honor of Jesus. Not only is Simon there, but also Lazarus who used to be dead. During the meal a woman anoints Jesus' head with expensive oil. Judas offended by the "wastefulness of this act" seeks to betray Him.

The scene changes and Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples. During the meal, Jesus reveals His betrayal. He also establishes the Lord's Supper and tells Peter “you will deny me three times.”

As the narrative moves along, Jesus goes to garden to pray where Judas arrives, with a mob in tow, and he betrays Jesus with a kiss.

Matthew records the events surrounding Jesus' garden prayer in Matt 26:36-46. As you read this passage focus on Matt 26:39:

Jesus' soul is “VERY sorrowful." As a man He needed His friends near Him and praying for Him and with Him, yet they repeatedly fell asleep. Jesus prays, “If it is possible let this cup pass . . .” Could we conclude that Jesus does not want to die such a death? The physical, human part of Jesus does not want to die this way. As Jesus prays, our eternal salvation literally hangs in the balance of His prayer. Although He knows our need for salvation, and desires along with the Father for man to have salvation, Jesus wants to do this differently.

At this point, Jesus utters a word which changes everything for Him. Jesus simply says, “NEVERTHELESS, not my will but Yours be done.” --- "Nevertheless," what a word! What a concept! What love! Jesus would submit not to His own wishes, hopes, or happiness, but to the will of God the Father.

"Nevertheless!" The world needs this attitude toward God. Our Nation needs this attitude toward God. Our State, our community, and churches need this attitude toward God. You and I – we need this attitude toward God. Peter says in 1 Peter 4:1-2, "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God" (ESV - emphasis mine: SMc).

How will a "Nevertheless Attitude" affect your worship? How will a "Nevertheless Attitude" affect your daily living?

My challenge -- Live "Nevertheless" for God!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Revelation and Perseverance

Monday I attended an area preacher's meeting at 6th Avenue church of Christ in Jasper, Alabama. Levi Sides and Vance Hutton both handed each of us a stack of outlines to study. One of these outlines is an old outline of Revelation based on the idea of perseverance. I am going to have to take time to study this outline more, but I thought you might enjoy it as well.

Revelation: Perseverance Challenged!
I. Perseverance challenged with earthly trials (Rev 1-11)
A. Christ's presence encourages perseverance (Rev 1-3)
B. The world's persecutions threaten perseverance (Rev 4-7)
C. God's judgments strengthen perseverance (Rev 8-11)

II. Perseverance challenged with spiritual conflict (Rev 12-22)
A. Perseverance is needed because of the great conflict between good and evil. (Rev 12-14)
B. Perseverance marks those who are truly God's children (Rev 15-16)
C. Perseverance triumphs over persecution, deceit, and worldliness (Rev 17-19)
D. Perseverance will stand triumphant in eternity (Rev 20-22)

Blessed is the one that OVERCOMES!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunday's Spaghetti

This beautiful plate of spaghetti and meatballs is not what it seems. This is a creation of my wonderful wife. More about that later . . .

Sunday afternoon, our young people met for a pasta meal and to study Proverbs 17-19 for the Walker County Youth Bible Bowl. Our young team (oldest member is 16 youngest is in first grade) is doing well on the test, and are studying hard.

One of the benefits of Bible Bowl is our young people put extra time into learning the Bible. This years trek through chapters 12-31 of Proverbs is challenging when we get to the day of Bible Bowl, but the lessons we are learning as we get there are invaluable. If you do not have a Bible Bowl that meets in your area, then start one. If other congregations are not close enough or are not willing, then have the young people challenge different groups of adults (parents, deacons, ministers, elders, teachers, etc.). Great fellowship and learning about each other are great additional benefits to what you learn from the text you study.

Back to this "plate of spaghetti." What you are seeing is a dessert. Cupcakes, piped butter-cream icing (the spaghetti), a raspberry glaze (the sauce), and Ferrero Rocher Chocolates (the meatballs). Have I told you how much I love my creative and great cook of a wife?


Monday, October 19, 2009

Who Do You Love?

In our Bible class yesterday morning, Rick W. told us about three statements he heard in a sermon recently. I cannot help but think about what the preacher said. Let me know what you think.

"If you attend worship on Sunday Morning, you love 'your church.'"

"If you attend worship Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening, you love 'your preacher.'"

"I you attend worship Sundays and Wednesdays, you love the Lord."


Friday, October 16, 2009

Thanks for Dropping In

This map shows the locations of recent visitors to the Morning Drive. All I can say is wow! Who knew that someone writing about his thoughts as he drives from an Alabama town of 900 people to a town of 1,200 could attract the attention of people so far away.

I am really not surprised; the wide range has very little to do with my ability or inability to write. The power is in the Word of God that has relevance to all creation.

Thanks to all who stop by -- spread the Word.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Raising Great Kids!

(At left: My son Andrew and his cousin Katy explore a drainage ditch in Grayson, KY)

Paul tells parents, " . . . do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Eph 6:4 (English Standard Version)

HOW can we do this?
I find a method in the imagery of the words of the Psalmist “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5.
Bow season begins this weekend in Alabama, so shooting skills are on my mind. When using a bow, there are four principles to a successful shot. These principles apply to raising great kids:

1. The Direction of the arrow is pointed is important. Where am I pointing my children? Toward the things of the world or toward the things of God (2 Cor 4:16ff)
2. The Strength of the pull on the bow-string is important. How much influence do I have on my children? Am I using the opportunities given me to give them strength to follow through with faith?
3. The Timing of release is important. Sometimes we push our children to grow up too fast. When children are "dating" at when they are barely out of diapers, we create problems for the future. Allow them to be kids. Do not release them to the temptations of the world before they are ready
4. The Accuracy of Aim is important. Know where you are pointing. Aim high. Point them to God and release when they are ready.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do You Love Like Jesus?

Jesus loved the Heavenly Father - Matt 22:36-37. Do you and I love the Lord with ALL of our heart, soul, and strength, or do we love Him just a little more than self?

Jesus loved the Word of God - Matt 24:35. Do you and I spend as much time listening or reading God's word as we do to the emails, blogs, and updates of our online friends and family?

Jesus loved Prayer - He was a man of prayer, there are many instances we read of Him going off to pray. Do you and I take time out of our day to talk with God?

Jesus loved Lost Souls - Luke 19:10. He loved the lost enough to sacrifice himself for them. Do you and I love them enough to tell them about God's offer in Christ?

Jesus loved the Church - Eph 5:25. Jesus gave His life for the Church, His Bride. Do we love the church or do we find excuses not to be around

Monday, October 12, 2009

Second Chances

The dated was January 1, 1929: The Golden Bears of University of California Berkley were playing the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech in the ROSE BOWL for the National Title.

Roy Reigels of UC Berkley picked up a Georgia Tech fumble and began running it in for a touch down – the wrong way!

Reigels own team mate (Benny Lom) tried to turn him around at UC's own 3 but a wave of Georgia Tech players pushed him back the the 1. On the next play, Lom punted hoping to give Georgia Tech the ball on the other side of the Fifty Yard Line. Georgia Tech had other plans and they blocked in the Endzone for a safety.

In the locker room during half-time Reigels did what any college football player would do: He sat by himself and bawled. After a pep talk to the entire team, Coach Price of UC Berkley said, "Everyone who started the first half will start the second half." Reigels waited for all the other players to leave the locker room and asked Coach Price if he meant all the starters but himself. Coach price replied, "Roy, get up and go back – the game's only half over.”

Although Georgia Tech did go on to win by a score of 8 to 7; Georgia Tech's Coach Alexander said he never saw a player play like Reigels did in the second half.

Every Christian gets discouraged at some time is his or her walk with God. Maybe you see where you have disappointed God. You are not alone. Consider Peter (Matt 26:69ff) or Mannaseh (2 Chron 33:1-11). Both of these men failed to be pleasing to God with their words or actions. However, when Mannaseh repented, God gave him a second chance (2 Chron 33:12ff), when Jesus appeared to the apostles on the shore, He asked Peter three times, "Do you love me more than these?" Reassuring Peter, of God's love and plans for him, even if he had made a mistake.

The next time you disappoint yourself and God, ask for forgiveness and go back to work knowing the game is only half over.


Monday, October 5, 2009

When I Preach

Last Thursday on iPreach, I mentioned the following poem about preaching. After a search on Google, I found the entire poem, but was unable to find the author's name. If any one knows or finds out, please leave a comment and I will give credit where credit is definitely do.

When I Preach

When I preach, there are some who say
They could listen to me all day.

Others think I preach too long.

And some think I go about it wrong.

Some say my sermon is much too deep.

To others, it's shallow and they go to sleep.

Some report I hold them spell bound,

While others squirm and look around.

Some speak of me as an orator,

But others feel I'm a perfect bore.

Some believe I have no light,

And others think I preach just right.

Some affirm that I'm too bold,

Others wink and say I'm cold.

Some used to say I was much too young.

But others declare my spring has sprung!

Some folks tell I have met success.

Others think my work is a mess.

Some have said my pay is too low,

When they discover the pace I go.

Still others say it is above the peak,
"Why he only works three hours a week."

From all this, 'tis plain to see.

That as a preacher, I'm up a tree.

Condemned if I do, condemned if I don't;

Criticized if I will, criticized if I won't.

I can't please men of such discord,
So I'll just keep trying to please the Lord.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

George and Alice

Fellow blogger and preacher, Trey Morgan wrote earlier this week about Rules for Potlucks. His story of sweet potatoes reminded me of an event from early in my work as a minister.

I was still in college at Faulkner University and traveling every weekend to work with the church in Bay Minette, Alabama. On the weekends I would stay with different members who would also provide my meals (I gained a lot of weight the 18 months I worked there). One older couple regularly (about once a month) had me stay in their home. George & Alice were a great example of a loving couple. They had no children of their own and were in their 60's. George had retired from the Forest Service and Alice had stayed home taking care of their aging parents for most of their marriage. Alice was a southern cook and homemaker; walking into their home was like walking into the pages of Southern Living Magazine. The meals she prepare and the table she set could have graced the cover of any hospitality or food magazine.

The only thing she made that I did not like was a congealed salad. A gelatin based formed food product served on iceberg lettuce . . . and she made some every weekend I stayed. My southern upbringing taught me to eat what was offered, so every meal I was with George and Alice, I choked down my “salad” with a smile, before enjoying the field peas, chicken dressing, fried okra, etc. If Alice went to the trouble of preparing a dish I was gentleman enough to eat it.

One weekend, Alice had been busy preparing a meal for a family in need and did not take time to make a congealed salad. When she apologized, I accepted her apology by confessing my dislike for it. Alice laughed and said, “I wish I knew you didn't like that stuff. I can't stand it myself. But you ate it first every time you were here so I thought you liked it.”

Although I think we both needed to work on our communication skills, we were doing something right. We were following what Paul teaches in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” We were trying to demonstrate love.