“SHOWERS OR FLOODS?”

FOR YEARS, MOST OF TEXAS HAS BEEN IN A DROUGHT. A FEW SPRING SHOWERS RECENTLY HAVE BEEN BLESSINGS TO SAY THE LEAST. STILL IN A DEEP DROUGHT, A SPRING FULL OF THUNDERSTORMS WOULD BE VERY HELPFUL. WITH AQUIFERS DESPERATELY LOW AND MANY LAKES REDUCED TO LITTLE MORE THAN MUD HOLES, A LOT OF RAIN IS DESPERATELY NEEDED RAIN COULD HELP FILL WATER SUPPLIES AND AN ABUNDANCE OF RAIN COULD ALSO CLEANSE OUR LANDS AND CITIES. WITHOUT WATER, WE CANNOT LIVE. WATER IS NECESSARY FOR VERY EXISTENCE. WE MIGHT ALSO BE REMINDED OF THE ADAGE; ‘WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS’. WE USE THIS PHRASE WHEN IT SEEMS AS IF THE SHOWERS IN OUR LIVES HAVE TURNED INTO FLOODS OF PROBLEMS. HAVE YOU EVER FELT YOUR PROBLEMS WERE SO MONUMENTAL THAT YOU COULDN’T DEAL WITH THEM? IF YOU CAN REMEMBER THESE TIMES, YOU NOW UNDERSTAND IN SPITE OF THE STORMS IN LIFE, YOU HAVE SURVIVED! OF COURSE, THOSE WERE DIFFICULT TIMES AND THE MEMORIES OF THE PAIN AND SUFFERING CAN LAST A LIFETIME. IF YOU ARE GOING THRU A STORM IN YOUR LIFE, UNDERSTAND IT IS OK TO NEED AND ASK FOR HELP. THESE STORMS MAY SEEM LIKE THEY WILL DESTROY YOU. THE STORM YOU ARE IN CAN BE LESS DAMAGING WITH GOD ON YOUR SIDE. DURING THE FLOODS, ACCEPT GOD’S HELP. GOD IS ON YOUR SIDE. ARE YOU ON GOD’S SIDE? ARE YOU ALLOWING GOD TO BE THERE FOR YOU OR ARE YOU BLOCKING HIM OUT AND ATTEMPTING TO DEPEND UPON YOURSELF? WHEN MOSES WAS CHOSEN TO LEAD THE ISRAELITES OUT OF EGYPT, HE WAS NOT PREPARED FOR ALL THE...

“THE END OF THE EARTH!”

“AND JESUS CAME UP AND SPOKE TO THEM, SAYING, “ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH. GO THEREFORE AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU; AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE.” MATTHEW 28: 18-20 NIV READ: LUKE 12: 1-8 IN PREPARATION FOR A CHURCH REVIVAL, I SHARE WITH THE CHURCH MEMBERS THE FOLLOWING STORY. THERE WAS A COUNCIL OF PASTORS MEETING AT A CONFERENCE IN RUSSIA. ONE BY ONE, THEY EACH STOOD AND INTRODUCED THEMSELVES, TELLING A LITTLE OF THEIR MINISTRY, THEIR HOME CHURCH AND WHERE THEY WERE FROM. AS THIS WORKED AROUND THE CONFERENCE ROOM, ONE PASTOR STOOD, INTRODUCED HIMSELF AND SAID HE WAS THE ONLY ONE AT THE CONFERENCE WHO HAD TRULY PERFORMED THE GREAT COMMISSION. THE CROWD OF MINISTERS WAS SHOCKED! HOW COULD THIS MAN OF GOD BE SO SELF RIGHTEOUS? HE THEN TOLD THEM THAT HE WAS FROM YAMAL. INSTANTLY, A ROARING LAUGHTER FILLED THE CONFERENCE ROOM. YOU SEE, YAMAL IS FAR NORTH OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE. YAMAL, TRANSLATED, LITERALLY MEANS ‘THE END OF THE EARTH’. SO, IN TRUTH, THE STANDING MINISTER HAD TAKEN THE GOSPEL TO ‘THE END OF THE EARTH’ AS SCRIPTURES TELL US TO DO. TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE IS ‘THE GREAT COMMISSION’, GIVEN TO US BY JESUS HIMSELF. WE DON’T HAVE TO TRAVEL TO YAMAL OR ANOTHER DESTINATION TO FULFILL OUR ASSIGNED DUTIES AS CHRISTIANS. WHILE MISSIONARIES ARE DOING WONDERS IN CHRIST’S NAME AROUND THE...

“YOU’VE GOT MAIL”

“YOU KNOW THE MESSAGE GOD SENT TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, ANNOUNCING THE GOOD NEWS OF PEACE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS LORD OF ALL. ACTS 10:36 NIV READ: PSALM 29:1-11 “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” THIS SLANG TERM SOMETIMES DICTATES OUR DAY. WITH THE ADVANCES OF THE INTERNET, WE WERE AMAZED JUST A FEW YEARS AGO OF THIS NEW FOUND COMMUNICATION. TODAY, WE RECEIVE EMAILS ON OUR OFFICE COMPUTERS, LAPTOPS, MOBILE PHONES, TABLETS AND OTHER PERSONAL DEVICES. THE EMAIL IS GIVING WAY TO THOSE IMMEDIATE TEXT MESSAGES. ANYTIME, ANYPLACE YOU CAN REACH OUT TO ANYONE AND THEY CAN REACH YOU. OUR PRIVACY AND PERSONAL TIME CAN CERTAINLY BE INVADED. SOMETIMES, IT CAN BE OVERWHELMING. BUT, THE OPPOSITE WOULD BE SAD. WHAT IF NO ONE CONTACTED YOU? I CAN REMEMBER AS A CHILD WATCHING FOR THE MAILMAN. IT WAS AN EXCITING TIME OF DAY IN HOPES WE WOULD GET MAIL WE WERE ANXIOUS FOR A LETTER OR POSTCARD FROM A DISTANT RELATIVE OR FAMILY FRIEND. GETTING MAIL WAS EXCITING. WHAT ONCE WAS A TIME OF EXCITEMENT IS NOW OFTEN TAKEN FOR GRANTED AND JUST AS OFTEN TAKEN AS AN INTERRUPTION. HOW ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL WALK? DO YOU TAKE GOD’S ‘MAIL’ FOR GRANTED OR AS AN INTERRUPTION TO YOUR DAY. DO YOU START YOUR DAY WITH HIM? DURING THE DAY, GOD SENDS YOU ‘MAIL’. GOD’S MAIL MAY BE HIS THUNDEROUS VOICE OR HIS GENTLE WHISPER IN SOME AUDIBLE WAY OR A TUGGING WITHIN OUR HEART. HIS ‘MAIL’ TO US MAY BE IN A SIGN WE RECEIVE AS GOD USES OTHERS TO TALK TO US. IN ORDER TO HEAR, WE HAVE TO LISTEN...

‘RICH AND FAMOUS’

“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 THROUGH HIS POVERTY MIGHT BECOME RICH.” 2 CORINTHIANS 8:9 NIV READ: PROVERBS 28:20-28 WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY THAT IS MORE AND MORE OBSESSED WITH BEING RICH OR FAMOUS OR BOTH. THE OBSESSION HAS GONE FROM WANTING IT YOURSELF TO IDOLIZING THOSE WHO ARE RICH AND FAMOUS. WITH THE TABLOIDS, TELEVISION SHOWS OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS AND THE INTERNET BLASTING US WITH THIS INFORMATION 24/7, IT IS HARD TO IGNORE. IT SEEMS MANY WHO HAVE DECIDED THEY WILL NOT HAVE RICHES OR FAME ARE WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENVY OTHERS. NEWS ACCOUNTS DOCUMENT THE FALLEN LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS. PRISONS HAVE AN ABUNDANCE OF PEOPLE WHO STOLE, EMBEZZLED AND CHEATED IN ORDER TO HAVE RICHES THAT BELONGED TO SOMEONE ELSE. OUR SOCIETY HAS A GROWING NUMBER WHO FEEL THEY ARE ENTITLED TO ANYTHING THEY WANT WITHOUT HAVING TO WORK FOR IT. INSTANT WEALTH IS A GIVEN NECESSITY FOR MORE AND MORE. GLUTTONY FOR MONEY AND ‘THINGS’ IS A WAY OF LIFE FOR MANY…TOO MANY. FAME IS THE SAME. MORE AND MORE WANT TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT. FROM SEEMINGLY INNOCENT TALENT SHOWS PROFESSING TO MAKE THE WINNER AN OVERNIGHT STAR TO THOSE WHO WILL DO ANYTHING TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT.. THERE ARE WARPED MEN AND WOMEN WHO WILL TURN TO CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES JUST FOR THE MEDIA ATTENTION AND TEMPORARY FAME. HOW ABOUT YOU? DO YOU DESIRE MORE THAN YOU NEED…MORE THAN GOD HAS REWARDED YOU WITH? DO...