SHATTERED LIVES.

LAST SUNDAY’S EXPRESS NEWS HEADLINE READ “SHATTERED LIVES”. IT TOLD STORIES OF THE 13 KILLED AND THE 3 WOUNDED BY THE ACCUSED, MAJOR NIDAL HASAN, AT THE 2009 FORT HOOD MASSACRE. AS THE STORIES UNFOLDED OF THOSE KILLED AND INJURED, WE GOT A GLIMPSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL TRAGEDIES. A GLIMPSE…. WITHIN SECONDS, LIVES WERE CHANGED OR LOST FOREVER. DEATH, PHYSICAL INJURY, LIFELONG PHYSICAL PAIN AND EMOTIONAL DISORDERS THAT MAY NEVER BE HEALED WERE IMMEDIATELY THRUST UPON UNKNOWING VICTIMS. BUT THE VICTIMS WERE MANY MORE. BESIDES THE IMMEDIATE VICTIMS, HUNDREDS OF SPOUSES, PARENTS AND CHILDREN WILL CONTINUE TO SUFFER FROM THIS EVIL, HORRIFIC ACT. THEY ALL NEED OUR PRAYERS. DAMAGES CANNOT BE UNDONE. BUT HEALING IS AVAILABLE TO ALL THROUGH THE GRACE OF GOD. OUR GOD IN HEAVEN, CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE HERE FOR US TO SUPPORT US WHEN WE DON’T HAVE THE STRENGTH TO SUPPORT OURSELVES. WHEN YOU MEET SOMEONE TODAY, KNOW THEY NEED YOUR LOVE AND KINDNESS. YOU MAY NOT KNOW THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT JUST BEYOND THAT GREETING SMILE IS A BODY WREAKED WITH PAIN OR A HEART FULL OF HURT OR DISAPPOINTMENT. OTHERS MAY NOT TELL YOU OF THE PHYSICAL OR EMOTIONAL PAIN THEY ARE SUFFERING, BUT ALL HAVE HAD OR WILL HAVE THE PHYSICAL OR EMOTIONAL PAIN THAT SEEMS UNBEARABLE. REACH OUT TO OTHERS AS GOD REACHES OUT TO YOU, REMINDING THEM OF HOPE THROUGH HIS STRENGTH! IF YOU ARE CARRYING PAIN TODAY, EMOTIONAL OR PHYSICAL, YOU ARE IN MY PRAYERS. “FOR IT IS COMMENDABLE IF A MAN BEARS UP UNDER THE PAIN OF UNJUST SUFFERING BECAUSE HE IS CONSCIOUS OF GOD.” 1PETER 2:19...

FILL ME LORD!

THE PASTOR PREACHED WHAT MANY WOULD CALL AN ORDINARY SERMON ON AN ORDINARY SUNDAY. AS HE CONCLUDED WITH AN ALTAR CALL, A MAN UNKNOWN BY THE CHURCH CAME FORWARD. HE RAISED HIS HANDS TO HEAVEN AND BEGGED “FILL ME, LORD, FILL ME WITH YOUR SPIRIT”. THE PASTOR WELCOMED HIM AND COUNSELED WITH HIM. THE NEXT SUNDAY THE SAME THING HAPPENED. THE SAME MAN CAME FORWARD ASKING GOD TO “FILL ME, LORD, FILL ME WITH YOUR SPIRIT”. THE NEXT SUNDAY, HE CAME FORWARD AGAIN WITH ARMS RAISED, “FILL ME, LORD, FILL ME WITH YOUR SPIRIT”. FROM THE BACK OF THE CHURCH A CONDEMNING MAN RUDELY QUIPPED….”FILL HIM AGAIN? HE MUST HAVE A LEAK!” HOW OFTEN DO WE ALSO CONDEMN OTHERS WITHOUT LOOKING AT OUR OWN FAILINGS? DON’T WE ALL HAVE A ‘LEAK’? WE ALLOW GOD’S SPIRIT TO ‘LEAK OUT’ IN SUBTLE WAYS AS WE ALLOW THE SINFUL WORLD TO SWAY US. STAYING IN GOD’S WORD, IN HIS GRACE, KEEPS US ‘FULL’. HAVE YOU MADE CHOICES THAT ALLOW THE SPIRIT TO ‘LEAK’? ARE YOU ‘FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT”? “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ROMANS 15:13...

WHY DO YOU GO TO CHURCH?

ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS OUR U.S. PRESIDENTS TRADITIONALLY ATTEND ONE OF A COUPLE OF CHURCHES NEAR THE WHITE HOUSE. ANYTIME IT IS RUMORED A PRESIDENT IS ATTENDING THE CHURCH, THE CHURCH’S PHONE STARTS RINGING WITH REQUESTS AND INFORMATION AS TO HOW THE CALLER CAN ATTEND THE SAME SERVICE. MANY YEARS AGO, I HEARD THE STORY OF ONE CALL GOING SOMETHING LIKE THIS: CHURCH RECEPTIONIST: “GOOD MORNING, HOW CAN I HELP YOU?” CALLER: “CAN YOU TELL ME IF THE PRESIDENT IS ATTENDING SERVICES AT YOUR CHURCH THIS SUNDAY?” CHURCH RECEPTIONIST: “I AM NOT SURE. BUT, GOD WILL BE HERE!” CALLER: (SILENCE…..DIAL TONE). DO YOU GO TO CHURCH TO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD, HEARING HIS WORD AND GROWING IN YOUR FAITH OR ARE YOU LIKE THE CALLER? DO YOU GO TO CHURCH AS A SOCIAL THING OR TO WORSHIP GOD WITH OTHER BELIEVERS? DO YOU GO TO SEE OTHERS, TO BE SEEN BY OTHERS OR TO SEEK GOD? “GOD IS SPIRIT, AND HIS WORSHIPERS MUST WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.” JOHN 4:24...

YOUR BIBLE IS THREE BOOKS.

CHANCES ARE YOU HAVE ALWAYS HEARD THE BIBLE DESCRIBED AS THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS DIVIDED INTO ‘BOOKS’ FROM GENESIS THRU REVELATION. BUT, HAVE YOU CONSIDERED THE BIBLE IS ACTUALLY THREE BOOKS? YES, THREE BOOKS WHICH CONTAIN ALL THE SAME VERSES. YET, ALL THE VERSES CAN BE STUDIED ON THREE DIFFERENT LEVELS. FIRST, THE BIBLE IS GOD’S RECORDED HISTORY BOOK.   PEOPLE FROM EVERY CONTINENT, FROM ALL CURRENT ‘RELIGIONS’, SCHOLARS AND SCIENTISTS HAVE USED THE BIBLE AS A HISTORY BOOK TO AUTHENTICATE AND EXPLAIN THE EXACT TIME OF EVENTS.  THERE IS NO OTHER BOOK EVER PUBLISHED THAT HAS A RECORDED HISTORY OF TIME WRITTEN WITH EXACT DATE TIME LINES. EVEN AGNOSTICS AND ATHEISTS HAVE USED THE HISTORICAL TIME LINES OF THE BIBLE. GOD HAS RECORDED HIS HISTORY FROM CREATION TO THE END TIMES FOR US. THE BIBLE IS TRULY ‘HIS STORY’. THE SECOND BOOK WE CAN STUDY FROM THE SAME SCRIPTURES IS GOD’S INSTRUCTION BOOK.   AGAIN, FROM GENESIS THRU REVELATION GOD GIVES ALL PEOPLE OF HIS CREATION THE RULES HE WANTS US TO LIVE BY.   FROM SIMPLE AND SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, TO THE LESSONS OF EXAMPLES OF ADAM AND EVE, KING DAVID’S SINS AND SUCCESSES, THE FULFILLMENT OF PROPHESY WITH THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, HIS DEATH AND HIS RESURRECTION, HIS PROMISE OF SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE TO THE RESULTS OF SINS AS DETAILED IN REVELATION, THE BIBLE IS TRULY GOD’S INSTRUCTION BOOK FOR ALL HIS PEOPLE.   GOD’S BOOK EVEN GIVES US INSTRUCTIONS ON MOLD REMOVAL (LEVITICUS 13 & 14), ESTABLISHING A LEGAL SYSTEM (EXODUS 18), CIVIL RESTITUTION (EXODUS 22, LEVITICUS 5, 6, 22), PHYSICAL INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE...

DON’T COMPROMISE YOUR FAITH!

INCREASINGLY, WE ARE BOMBARDED WITH PRESSURE FROM THE WORLD AROUND US TO ‘GIVE A LITTLE’. THE SINS OF THE WORLD ARE BECOMING COMMON AND ACCEPTABLE, EVEN LEGAL, BECAUSE OF OUR EAGERNESS TO COMPROMISE OUR VALUES WHEN WE IGNORE WHAT IS TRULY RIGHT AND WRONG. THERE IS A STORY OF A MAN WHO LIVED ALONE IN THE WOODED MOUNTAINS. KNOWING WINTER WOULD SOON COME, HE WOULD NEED A COAT TO KEEP WARM. DECIDING A HUGE BEAR SKIN WOULD MAKE A GOOD COAT, HE LOADED HIS RIFLE AND WENT OUT IN SEARCH OF A BEAR. SHORTLY, HE CAME UPON WHAT LOOKED LIKE THE PERFECT BEAR AS IT SEARCHED FOR ITS DINNER MEAL. AS HE RAISED HIS RIFLE, THE BEAR TURNED, STOOD TALL AND BEGGED NOT TO BE SHOT. THE BEAR TOLD THE HUNTER HE HAD A SOLUTION…A COMPROMISE. IF THE HUNTER WOULD HEAR HIM OUT, THEY COULD BOTH GET WHAT THEY WANTED. THE HUNTER COULD BE WRAPPED IN A WARM BEAR SKIN AND THE BEAR COULD GET HIS DINNER. THE HUNTER LISTENED AND COMPROMISED. THE BEAR WALKED OUT OF THE FOREST AFTER EATING THE HUNTER. THE BEAR GOT HIS DINNER AND THE HUNTER WAS WRAPPED IN THE BEARSKIN…PERMANENTLY! EVEN WHEN THE COMPROMISE SOUNDS LIKE BOTH PARTIES WILL GET WHAT THEY WANT, IN EVERY COMPROMISE, THERE IS A WINNER AND A LOSER. DID THE HUNTER WANT A BEARSKIN COAT OR TO BE PERMANENTLY WITHIN THE BEAR’S SKIN? DON’T COMPROMISE YOUR FAITH! “YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. BUT IF THE SALT LOSES ITS SALTINESS, HOW CAN IT BE MADE SALTY AGAIN? IT IS NO LONGER GOOD FOR ANYTHING, EXCEPT TO BE...