Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting back to blogging

I am at Exposure Youth Camp this week and will not take take to blog.  I will try to wrap up the whole Exposure Experience on Thursday when I get back to a somewhat regular routine.  For now here is a promo video for EYC:


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Rudy was well known and respected in his small town.  Even those that had not met him, knew him on sight because of his flaming red hair (everyone in town called him "The Red").  One morning in late December, Rudy and his wife discussed the weather over breakfast.  "The forecast is for snow this Christmas," she said.
"Nope," replied Rudy, "the air is too warm."
The banter continued until a clap of thunder made them both look outside.  "You were right," Rudy's wife proclaimed.
His only comment was "Rudolph the Red, knows rain, dear."

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jesus' First Coming

Here is a slide show from of the lesson we studied at Parrish this past Sunday morning.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top Ten Passages on God's Grace

Here is a list of ten of my favorite passages about grace.  Feel free to add your own passages.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (Joh 1:14-17)

But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." (Act 15:11)

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Act 20:24)

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Rom 3:21-25)

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 5:15-21)

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Rom 6:14-15)

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2Co 4:15)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2Co 8:9)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:4-10)

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2Ti 2:1-2)

Dear Father, Thank you for the undeserved favor that you offer each of us through the gift of Your Son our Savior, Jesus the Christ. - Amen


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fortune Cookies and Friendship

One on my favorite places to eat are good Chinese restaurants.  The American tradition of Fortune Cookies is fun for our family.  We try to make something out of them and see what laughs these "fortunes" generate.  One visit produced "fortunes" that seemed connected and lead to the following "Sermon from Fortune Cookies."  Each cookie seemed to focus on friendship.  The wise man reveals; Prov 27:17 “Where would we be without the friends who shaped us?”

Fortune Cookie #1: The Only Rose without a Thorn is Friendship
Prov 17:17, “A friend loves at all times,”
Prov 18:24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly,”
I went out to find a friend,
But could not find one there,
I went out to be a friend,
And friends were everywhere.

Fortune Cookie # 2: Share Your Joys and Sorrows
Rom 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep”
Jas 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another,”

Fortune Cookie # 3: You Will Be Called Upon to Help a Friend in Trouble
Prov 27:10, “Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend,  Nor go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity;  Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.”
Gal 6:1-2, "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

The following quotes demonstrate the universal need for friends.
  • “Some make enemies instead of friends because it is easier.” – E.C. Mckenzie
  • “Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “If you really want to know who your friends are: make a mistake.”  – The Bible Companion
  • “So long as we love we serve. No man is useless while he is a friend.” – R. L. Stevenson
  • "We are mistaken if we think that people are simply looking for friendly churches; they are looking for friends." - David E. Garland.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday's Comin'

A great sermon starter.

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Religion of the SEC

In my part of the world - about 45 miles north of Tuscaloosa, Alabama  (For the uninformed and those outside of the US, that is the home of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide) there is a good bit of excitement concerning the Tide's number 1 ranking and defeat of the Florida Gators.  In the past few days numerous people, both friends and strangers, will stop others who are decked out in Crimson and White or Houndstooth to talk about NCAA Football and specifically Bama's rise to title-hood and their hopes for a 13th National Championship.  In the SEC Football is almost if not already on par with religion.  Most will change churches before they change which team they follow. With all this in mind I made the following observations.

1. We make time for football.  We will set aside time weekly if not daily to watch or read about our favorite teams and players.
2. We support football financially.  We buy tickets to games, travel great distances to attend those games.  We buy clothing and other paraphernalia in support of our team.
3. We raise our children to love football.  I have friends who refuse to let the colors of their rivals to enter their house.
4. We get excited about football. We love for our team to win.  We can't wait to go to a game or watch them on TV.

Now consider the following passages:
"I was glad when then said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'" Psalm 122:1
"Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!" Phil 4:4

Can I and do I get enthusiastically excited about the things of God?


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Guess Post - To Judge or Not To Judge

This comes from my older brother, Doug who posted this on Facebook.  Add your comments here!

I'm coming across something that I think is generational. When I look at Matthew 7:1-6 that says,

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. "

I think that I shouldn't judge people's motivations. I think that when I judge whether someone else's choices are right or wrong that I should be sure that I apply the same measuring stick to my own life.

However, I have come to realize that there are many people who believe they have a right to live a totally "un-judged life." I do not understand how you can care for someone without judging whether they are making good choices or bad choices.

I'd like your opinions. I kind of want to see if it has a generational bias. Did we, by changing the way we (as a whole) discipline children teach them that all points of view are right and therefore not subject to the judgment of others.

Is judging always wrong? How old are you?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What are You Waiting For?

Above: Andrew waits for someone to distribute
presents at our Family "Thanksgivemas" last week.

Adam had to wait for God to create a companion for him.
Noah had to wait over a century while he built the ark for the rains to come.
He had to wait for the water to recede once the rain stopped.
After not waiting for God, Abraham finally waited for God to provide and heir.
Jacob waited to see if Esau was still angry.
David waited for Saul's reign to end before taking power.
Elijah waited in caves for the Lord to speak.
Israel and Judah waited for the Messiah to come.

What are you and I waiting for? Spiritually we are waiting for Christ to return so that we can be with Him eternally (1 Thess 4:13ff; 2 Pet 3:10-15).

BTW:  We need to learn this concept of waiting and apply it to our temporal life.  I can wait to make that purchase until I can afford it.  You can wait for sexual intimacy as a part of marriage.  I can have patience with you and with myself as we individually and collectively mature in Christ (1 Thess 5:14).


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top Ten Ways to Show Love

(image courtesy of Daniel Howell Photography)

From the home office just off of AL Hwy 269 in Parrish, Alabama is today's Top Ten Ways to Show Love to your husband or wife . . .

10. Speak Kindly to your love, even when you disagree. - Eph 4:29.
9. Put the one you love first, before yourself - Phil 2:3-4.
8. Write notes to them telling of the love you have for them - Phil 1:3-7.
7. Spend time with them, getting to know them even better, and enjoying their company - Song of Solomon (Songs) 8:6.
6. Build them up in public. I cringe when I hear other men putting down their wives and criticizing them in front of others. (I feel the same when women are men-bashing) - Matt 7:12.
5. Chase your spouse. You had to chase them to catch them, keep pursuing - Songs 3:1-4.
4. Give them and show them R-E-S-P-E-C-T - Eph 5:33.
3. Be affectionate with them - Songs 1:2.
2. Be faithful to them for life - 1 Tim 3:2, 12.
And most importantly, share a common faith in God and
1. Pray together - 1 Pet 3:7.