August 2009


Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

      What a blessing to have rain!  I have really enjoyed the rain we had in Rio Grande City this weekend!

     Rain can bring such a great change to our lives, even in small amounts.  This rain brought a renewed life to our dry and parched land.

     The trees are a little fuller today and the grass is a little greener.  The crowd at Dairy Queen seemed a little happier today and more people in our community are smiling.  I really believe that even the dogs and cats in our neighborhood are in a better mood today because it rained.

     Yes, rain can make a huge difference in our lives; especially when it has been a very long time since we have experienced any of this life giving moisture.

     We experience drought in our personal lives much easier than we do in our environment.

    There are times when the flow of living water into our lives seems to slow to a mere trickle or stop altogether.  We become dry and the color of our life fades from vibrant to dull.  

     We face many issues in our life that seem to suck the life right out of us.  These experiences leave us feeling desolate and desiccated and feeling as brown as the dried out grass in our backyards.

     We are no strangers to events that bring much heat to bear upon us.  We get burnt by friends or loved ones, experience a person that makes our tempers boil and, ever so often, we feel like we’re toast.

     These events leave our hearts dryer than any desert and our souls drier than sun scorched stones.

     In nature, we trust God to bring the rain, maybe not when we want it, but we know that He will bring the rain in His time.

     But, how do we make it rain on our heart?  How does our very soul get moisture?  Is there any way to bring restoration and hope into a life that is dried out from years of persistent drought?

     We need water that penetrates deeper than mere H2O could ever go; moisture that penetrates not only our skin but also the hardness of our own hearts.

     We need spiritual water that can revive and rejuvenate our spirit and souls.

     We need spiritual water for our drought stricken life; we need living water.  We need Jesus.

     Hear His own words from the book of John Chapter 4 as He ministers to a woman who was no stranger to drought and damage in her life:  “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:10-15   ESV

     Jesus encourages us to drink deeply of His Spirit and His love and we will find the Living Water that refreshes our lives forever. This Living Water removes our dryness, rejuvenates our life and becomes a spring flowing from us into the lives of those around us.

      Are you in a personal drought?  Drink in Jesus Christ and experience your life rejuvenating and making a huge difference in the world around you. 

     Remember that God loves you!  And so do I.

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***NOTE:  This is a work in progress, check back often as God develops this thought in me.

I grew up in the hills of West Virginia and often heard people call us hillbillies, rednecks or backwards.  I really didn’t understand why since we had floors, indoor plumbing, running water, telephones (party line of course) and even television.  I came to see that their view was based on stereotypes and prejudice and began to ignore them.

There are many things that Christians have backwards.  Backwards, not because of preconceptions, stereotypes or prejudices, but based on the Word of God.

We go out of our way to please other people, spend billions on cosmetics, clothing and cars to impress people who really don’t care about us.  We will not even read a scripture, spend 5 minutes praying or give 1%, much less 10%, to impress or even obey God.  We are indeed a backwards people.

Even the religious are often backwards.  We worship a building, a person or a religious system/denomination instead of worshipping the Lord of all creation and religion.

We point laugh or fingers at someone in a bad situation, or chastise them for their problems saying, “It’s their own fault,” so quick to condemn and dismiss them instead of encouraging, love and help them.

More we have backwards-we want forgiven for every mistake but find it almost impossible to forgive others. we should sin less-forgive more.

When life takes a downward plummet, we turn to our cash reserves, the government, our wisdom or abilities, self help books or motivational speakers, drugs, alcohol, medications or any other of ways the world has developed to help instead of turning to God: The One who created us, knows our needs, has a plan for our lives and loves us completely.  Backwards.

Wondering just how much we have backwards. We will go deep into debt for a vehicle, home or toy, but run away from giving God a penny.

Late night thought: We hurt ourselves when we date like we’re married and keep our wedding vows like we’re dating.  Something backwards here?

Why are we so quick to condemn what we do not understand?  Because it is easier than finding out.  This is the root of racism and something else we have backwards.

We are eager to football games, nap, golf courses and shopping, but how anxious are we to go to God’s House? More stuff we have backwards.

Jude 21 “keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” ESV Good Advice!

Joshua 24:15 “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ESV Joshua had made his choice, have you?

Proverbs 3:5-8 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” ESV

Get in the Game

1 Corinthians 12:12- 31

Many people wonder why evil, selfishness, greed, worldliness and sin seems to be winning in the world today.  They say that Christians seem to have lost the “Game of Life.”  We see it in our politics, our workplaces, our youth and our communities.

No, God has not lost!  His plan will prevail.

The problem does not lie with God, it lies with us!…the church.

In a vitally important time of the game, during the last 2 minutes when we should be our most focused and intense; WAY TOO MANY players are sitting on the bench drinking water and chatting.

Workers are needed to bring in the harvest that is simply rotting away in the field.  Our family and friends are dying without Jesus Christ and landing in the “end zone” of hell while we are sitting idly by relaxing.

1 Corinthians 12:27-28 “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” ESV

There are many people who are members of different clubs, groups, civic organizations or similar “teams” in our community.  Christians are a member of something much greater!  We are a member of the body of Christ.  Yes, membership has its privileges; but membership also has its responsibilities.

Every team expects its members to be ready to play.  Every Civic group, sorority, fraternity, club or organization expects its members to serve.  God gives you the tools, passions and energy to “Get in the Game” and expects you to serve faithfully.

What if the entire defensive line of the Dallas Cowboys decided to just “sit this one out?”

  • What if the Steelers decided to sit in the stadium and watch instead of getting in the Game?

They would lose!

The would probably even be disqualified.

Some may say they are “IN THE Game” because they come to church on Sunday Morning.

WRONG!

The practice field is where plays are taught

The Game Field is where plays are ran for real – WHERE THEY COUNT!

This is the Locker Room.  A place to be encouraged, coached and challenged TO BE READY to play in the “BIG GAME”

Your COMMUNITY is where the Big Game is played.

Far too many people come to church as spectators.  They have a “crowd” mindset.  They want to be entertained or excited.  They think they are the audience.

WRONG.

If you are content to just SIT and SOAK then SASHE out the door. You need to do a real “GUT CHECK” because you may not really be on the team to begin with and are in real danger of being DISQUALIFIED!

We are THE PLAYERS!

  • We have an AUDIENCE of ONE!
  • God is the One we play for!

Are you In the Game, or are you still in the locker room?”

Are you a PLAYER or are you a PLOPPER?

  • Are you SERVING or are you SITTING?
  • Are you WINNING or are you WAFFLING?
  • Are you SWEATING or are you SIPPING SWEAT TEA?
  • Are you REAPING or are you RESTING?
  • Are you WITNESSING or are you WAITING?
  • Are you READY TO GET IN THE GAME or are you READY TO FOR ANOTHER WEEK OF WATCHING?

A WINNER wants the ball!  A SERVANT wants to SERVE!

A CHRISTIAN wants to FOLLOW CHRIST!

What are you?

YOU are the Body of Christ!

If  you are not working right – neither is the Body!

ARE YOU READY TO “GET IN THE GAME?”

  1. Why Join God’s Team?
    1. Just like in the NFL/NBA/NHL playoffs…in the end there can be only one championship Team.
    2. The Headlines of this epic battle have already been written.  God Wins!
    3. Join the WINNING TEAM
  2. How do I join up?
    1. There are no TRY OUT for God’s Team
    2. There are no cuts or preseason
    3. When you Join – YOU GET TO PLAY!
    4. You are know you are a member or you are not
    5. John 1:11-13 “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  ESV
  3. How do I “Get in the Game?”
    1. Like the Nike ad says, “Just do it!”
    2. At the start of every Game, every contest or every race there is an official who starts it.  Maybe they shoot a pistol, blow a horn or simply say “GO”, but they start the contest.
    3. God has already started our Game: Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ESV

The Grave or Grace

I made a typo in our church bulletin yesterday.  Here it is:

Worship Hymn # 201                        “Grave Greater Than Our Sin”

My wife caught my error…after the bulletins had been printed…and folded….and stuffed with our budget info for the coming vote.

She did something to fix it….she took an ink pen and changed the “v’ to a “c”.  The song makes more sense in church when it says grace and not grave.   I would imagine that Julia Johnston appreciates her hard work being correctly titled.

I began to think about this and here are a few of my ponderings.

  1. Grace is Greater than our sins.
  2. Our sins lead us into the grave…and deeper
  3. The grave is greater than our sins…it will last much longer than our words or reputations will.  Hell is for eternity too.
  4. We are all destined for the grave because we are all born sinners
  5. God’s grace changes everything!
  6. Instead of an ink pen, God used His Sons blood to change our “grave destination’ into grace that leads us to heaven and not hell.

John 8:51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” ESV

Romans 5:9-11 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Romans 5:17 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.” ESV

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ESV

Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:54-58 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” ESV

Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place* of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” ESV

John 3:16-19 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” ESV