April 2010

Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

When I was in High School my parents gave me an Volkswagen Super Beetle to drive to school and back.  My “Bug” was old but ran good.  I tried to “backyard repair” several rust spots so it kinda looked like it had the measles but it was the first car I could call mine.  I loved that car.  I would wash and wax it every week (even the spots), fixed it up the best I could afford and drove it every chance I could.

Several years later I bought my first new truck, a black Chevy S-10 that had an AM radio and no Air Conditioning.  My girlfriend at that time (who later became my sweet wife Connie) and I spent much time and money customizing that little truck and keeping it washed and waxed.  I loved that truck and drove it for many years.

Over my 49 years I have had many things that I said I “loved.”  Tools, vehicles, motorcycles, Strawberry Pop-Tarts and various other “things” populate this list.

But, over the years a strange thing happened to all of these things, they disappeared.  I crashed the VW Bug and a motorcycle, sold another motorcycle and traded the truck in on another vehicle; tools were lost or broken and favorite foods were replaced with new foods that were new and exciting..

Did I ever really “LOVE” these things?  No.  They were pleasurable and made my life better for a short while, but I was not “in love” with them!

When Connie and I were dating it was an easy choice to love her way more than I loved that old truck.  She is the greatest, sweetest wife in the world and God definitely blessed me with a better wife than I deserve!  I love my wife!

Connie and I have been married for 22 years now and my love for her has only grown stronger with time.

Kristen and Kelli came along and I sure do love the precious daughters God gave us to raise for Him! I love my daughters!  I know that my girls are not perfect, but I love them and remain committed to them!

There it is!  People ask “What is love?” all the time and get sappy emotional answers; but love is way more than an emotion.  Love is commitment.

Emotions change constantly for many, many reasons.  Behavior, mood, medication, drugs, alcohol and even chocolate can alter your emotions.  The true key to love is to remain committed, regardless of how you feel at one moment or the next.

Other issues, such as lust, looks, physical attraction, desires, plans, hobbies and more will also change over the years.  Love remains committed through all of these changes.

Who or what are you really committed too?  What holds your heart?

This is the thought that Jesus had when He taught us this in Matthew 22:37-40 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first Commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  ESV

God knows that we have a tendency to fall in love with our “stuff” and He wanted us to remember that our relationship with Him and other people is more important than our “stuff”

We must first and foremost be committed to God.  Seeking first His Kingdom and following His Will for our lives.  These are discovered by reading the Bible, attending Bible Study and Worship services, reading the Bible, praying, spending time with other Christian believers and looking for Him in all aspects of our life.

God is committed to you!  God gave His only Son Jesus so that we could have the eternal life He has planned for us.  Love is being offered to you today!  He will never leave or forsake His children and He has promised to hear our cries and to comfort, guide and protect us.

Only after we have made God first can we truly be committed to others.  God is love and it is through our relationship with Him that we learn what true love is and how to love others.  God’s example of love is commitment.

God also understands our human habit of making our “stuff” a priority in our life, even over God, our families and others.  We see this easily in the life of an addict who so quickly spends all of the family money on drugs or sells the refrigerator for alcohol.  What an addict is committed to is easy to see, it is their addiction – it is their selves.

What is harder to see is the man that spends huge amounts of money on their SUV or hunting trips; or the woman who spends large amounts of money on purses or spa treatments, while the family struggles to make their credit card payments or pay their utilities.  What are they committed too?

God understands our human weaknesses and failures!  This is why He teaches us in Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ESV

My VW Bug, my first new truck and my motorcycles are now long gone, but my relationship with God will last forever.

The “stuff” I so desperately wanted 20 years ago have been thrown into the landfill long ago, but my commitment to God, my family and to others remain strong.

What are you committed to?

So many people will say they are committed to God and are ready to spend eternity in His heavenly home, yet they will not even go to His house here on earth on a regular basis.  They look forward to being with Him forever, but will not take the time to talk to Him now.  While they say all they have is His, they withhold their time, talents and finances from Him.  Are they truly committed to God or just to the idea of being committed to God?  There is a difference.

Commit your heart and life to the Creator of all things!  Place your faith in Him who truly loves you.

God is committed to you!  Are you committed to Him!

Remember that God loves you! ….and so do I.


God and the American Dream

2 Chronicles 7:13 – 22

Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

First, know that I love my country and believe strongly in our founding fathers and the documents of our formation.  I believe in our declaration of independence and our constitution.  I have served in the United States Air Force and swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.

Here is the oath every member of your military is required to swear:

I, Charles Alderman, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

I believe in that oath as much today as I did the day I took that oath upon entering the US Air Force before serving our country in the US and Europe.

I am not going to talk about political parties in this series.  I will mention politics (define entomology – Poli – meaning many and tics – the small bloodsucking woodland creature) but will not talk about republicans, democrats, independents, greens, hippies, or any other political party.

You have to make your choice in what party you like and who you vote for.  Your faith should guide you, your pastor shouldn’t…at least not from God’s pulpit.

  1. Our forefathers had a dream for the new country they called the United States of America.
    1. They saw it as a new land of opportunity
    2. They saw it as a new land of freedom
    3. They saw it as a place where everyone who was willing to work hard, serve God and be responsible citizens could and would prosper.
    4. The American Dream of our Fore Fathers was rooted in the Will of God for all people
      1. Faith
      2. Freedom
      3. Responsibility
      4. Where is the American Dream today?
        1. We find ourselves in financial crisis
          1. i.     Stock market down
          2. ii.     Employment down
          3. iii.     National debt higher than ever
  2. We find ourselves in relationship crisis
    1. i.     Marriages crumbling
    2. ii.     Addiction skyrocketing
    3. iii.     Adultery skyrocketing
    4. iv.     Lifestyles that the Word of God condemns are openly accepted
  3. We find ourselves in a morality crisis
    1. i.     We are killing babies
    2. ii.     We are abandoning our seniors
    3. iii.     We are openly disrespecting of our parents and our leaders
      1. Policemen and soldiers are mocked and spit on
      2. Our governmental leaders are disparaged, ran down and made fun of.
      3. The Bible never says to Gossip, backbite or slander our leaders, it says to PRAY for them!
      4. iv.     Sin is openly accepted and blatantly pushed as “normal”
      5. v.     Crime is skyrocketing
      6. vi.     Entire countries are cowering at the mercy of drug cartels
  4. There are very few voices to faith and morality
    1. i.     God, His Word and faith have all but been erased from our American conversation
    2. ii.     America today is far from either the Dream or the Will of God
    3. iii.     Where are the “voices crying out from the wilderness” today?
    4. 4. America, without change, will falter
      1. The American Dream of our Founding Fathers may not be dead, but it is definitely on life support
      2. If America does not change we will self destruct under the weight of our pride, our gluttony, our greed, our arrogance and our sins
        1. i.     The Word says we will become a proverb
          1. America could become an object lesson of how not to be a country
          2. America will become a “by word” – spoken of as “past tense”
          3. In the same class as the goony bird, the pet rock and other similar failures that people make jokes about today.
          4. 5. If we ever hope to restore the American Dream we must go back to the foundation of our Christian American Roots.
            1. i.     Repentance – Turn from ourselves towards God
              1. Our scripture today defines true repentance for us
                1. Realize we are God’s People
                2. Humble ourselves before Our Creator
                3. PRAY
                4. Seek His Face
                5. TURN from our wicked ways
                  1. i.     Herman reminded us that God’s ways are not our ways
                  2. ii.     Our ways are not God’s Ways
                  3. iii.     God’s ways are holy ways, righteous ways
                  4. iv.     Our ways, when they are good ways, still fall so short of God’s ways
  5. Where 2 Chronicles 7:14 teaches us the way of repentance, Jesus teaches us the timing of repentance
    1. i.     NOW!
    2. ii.     Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” ESV
    3. iii.     Matthew says that this is the Very first sermon Jesus proclaimed after He began His public ministry.
    4. iv.     The message of Repentance was first on His agenda because it is our most pressing need.
    5. America, with repentant change, will flourish
      1. If we follow Gods plan THEN He will
        1. i.     Hear our prayer
        2. ii.     Forgive our sins
        3. iii.     Heal our land
        4. iv.     Turn His face towards us
        5. v.     Once again dwell in our cities and suburbs
        6. vi.     Provide us with Godly leadership
        7. America is being called by God right now to return to His plan for our country – the American Dream is God’s Will.

Patriotism begins first with faithfulness to the Creator of all things.

During this series of sermons I hope to challenge you on what it means to be an American and, more importantly, what it means to be a Christian in the United States of America.

For today it is enough to understand that our Founding Fathers knew the power of repentance to purge and cleanse themselves, their families and their country.

Do you?