September 2015

Still waiting on Blue Bell. Has anyone seen it anywhere in the RGV? I was just pondering this sad reality and a thought occurred to me! Maybe we could learn a few BIGGER lessons from this tragedy.
Blue Bell stopped producing and shipping all products due to a microscopic “bug” that makes humans very sick. The where and hows are for them and the regulators to determine and release, not me.
Evidently a long process of cleaning, disinfecting and testing ensued and they began releasing Blue Bell again sometime in mid-late August. Have you seen it yet? Some places have, but many have not. Production time, shipping time, market demands, contracts, etc have effected when some communities will once again be able to enjoy their beloved Blue Bell.
BUT…..What if this was not just one company? What if it was not just ice cream?
What if it was milk? Gasoline? What if it was all groceries?
Just as this little “bug” shut down all Blue Bell production, many things could have a dangerous effect on our supply chain.
  • Major storms.
  • Trucking strikes.
  • Labor strikes.
  • Fuel shortages.
  • Civil unrest
  • War
  • and many, many more.
FEMA advises we be prepared to fend for ourselves for three days. 3 days. Not very long. A case of water, some peanut butter, jelly, bread and SPAM. A few days worth of our meds, toilet paper, soap and some sort of phone charging system and we are good.
But, what about longer?
It has been 40 days or so since Blue Bell began to ship and we have none yet! 6 months since the problem was found and response began to deal with the issue. a little bug.
Storms could back up supply chains for weeks. Bridges knocked out, fallen trees and storm debris hindering helicopter landings. Too many hungry people with too little supplies trickling in to meet the needs.
Are you ready?
Remember Hurricanes Katrina and Rita? Two Big storms very close together. Rita came in and hit the very area many Katrina evacuees were sheltered.
Some communities were ready and some were not prepared. We heard much about the unprepared and little about the prepared.
Are you prepared? Are you ready?
We have been trained to depend on the government to meet our needs, in regular life and especially in disaster. This is a dangerous plan. The US Government and state resources will be available but they are huge machines of bureaucracy that takes days to get into motion.
Groups such as the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams can mobilize quickly but need the supplies to have food for the kitchens to prepare and for the American Red Cross to distribute.
The REALITY is that the one with FIRST RESPONSIBILITY of providing for your family, in good times and bad, is you and your family. You are responsible for your safety and security.
Do not depend on others. Have a plan. Have the supplies. Be prepared.
Are you ready?
Still waiting for Blue Bell.
What if the power was out due to a storm and no fuel was able to get in for generators?
How long would the city be able to provide water for everyone? 3 days?
Time after time the Bible tells us to be prepared. For Christ’s return and in everyday life. Do you have oil for your lamps?
Still waiting on Blue Bell. But in the end, I am glad it is only ice cream and only one company.
It could be worse.
I need to get ready.

September 27th                     What Jesus Does                  Luke 7:11-17

Luke 7:11-17  “Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.”   ESV

Many times we are caught wondering where God is or what He is doing while we face adversity, uncertainty or great trouble.

I think we can find some of those answers in our text today.

  1. Jesus Came
    1. Not accidently
      1. This was not a coincidence
      2. God had a plan
    2. Jesus KNEW
      1. Just as He knows the trouble you are facing today
    3. This trip was not about THE LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE who were following Him
      1. He already had them wrangled up and had been teaching them
      2. This was about going outside of where they were and ministering in a hurting world.
  • This was about following God’s Will even if it took them away from their homes and into uncomfortable spaces.
  1. God HAS A PLAN for you
  2. Christ is HERE for you
  3. They were willing to go to GREAT LENGTHS for you!
    1. Even to Calvary’s Cruel Cross
  1. Jesus Cared
  2. In a world full of uncaring, arrogant and self-focused people it is easy to believe that NO ONE CARES. WRONG!
  3. There are people who care
    1. Most importantly: GOD CARES
  4. He came across this funeral procession and had GREAT COMPASSION
    1. Funerals are for people who have passed away.
    2. The text proclaims that this young man HAD DIED
  5. He found a widowed mother who had lost her husband and now her son.
    • She was hurting, helpless and hopeless
  1. No family
  2. No support
  3. No hope
  1. Jesus Commanded
    1. We sometimes forget that the Words of Christ are the Word of God
      1. The Word became Flesh
      2. We have the written Word of God
  • They were hearing the audible Word of God
    1. The Words of God gave her peace and assurance
    2. He gave her reason for hope
  • Jesus brought her peace and removed her tears.
  1. Sometimes, the peace God brings is beyond ALL of our understanding
    1. The young man who this funeral was being held for HAD NO CHOICE but to obey the Word of God
    2. HE AROSE
      1. And started talking
      2. I wish we knew what he said
  1. I find it interesting that the bearers “Stood Still”
    1. They somehow knew not to interfere
    2. We must be careful not to stand in the way of the Mission of Jesus in our lives and the lives of those around us.
  2. Jesus competed His Work
    1. The lost restored – JESUS GAVE HIM TO HIS MOTHER
      1. Lost son
      2. Lost hope
    2. Family restored
    3. God glorified
    4. The Word of God spread around the country
  3. Will you allow Jesus Christ to come into your life, bringing all His Compassion and Power, to be a positive and saving force FOR YOU?

Luke 6:43 – 49 -DIG DEEP into YOURSELF

We are not a people who likes to delve deep into our own heart and faith.  We like the “surface” view just fine, thank you.

The problem is that what shows on the surface is often not the full picture.  This view is how WE want to see ourselves, not how GOD actually see us.

We often put “make up” on our exterior and become accustomed to seeing ourselves as we want others to perceive us.

This is the “FOR SHOW” us.  We NEED to see the “FOR REAL” us.

Hebrews 4: 12 – 13  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” 

It is good for us to reflect and evaluate where we stand with God and what is at the heart of our faith.

  • WHAT IS MY FRUIT? 6:43-45
    • A good heart produces good fruit and an evil heart produces evil fruit.
    • What is your fruit?
    • Is your fruit really what you think it is?
      • You may think you are producing good fruit
        • It may look good
        • It may smell good
        • It may look like the rest of the WORLDS fruit
      • BUT, is it the GOOD fruit God planned for you?
      • If it is not God’s fruit it is EVIL regardless
    • Are you pointing at the good works of yesteryear and trying to make it count for today?
      • Old fruit is rotten fruit – past its prime!
  • WHO IS FIRST? 6:46
    • What is your priority?
      • Is it really a “what?”
      • Is it a “WHO?”
    • Check your calendar
    • Check your checkbook
    • Check your heart
    • Who is really first?
    • What are you thinking about when you are in Church?
      • The time? Length of sermon?
      • Caro’s? Food
      • The Football game or afternoon activities?
      • God and what He is speaking to you? Worshipping Him
    • If Jesus is Lord, you will do what Jesus says to do.
    • IF you LOVE Him you will OBEY Him
  • What are your feet planted on?
    • Something that can easily be removed?
      • Like a rug pulled out from under you?
    • Are you on FIRM footing?
    • A person who hears and obeys the Lord Jesus has built his house on the rock.
      • This house will stand.
    • A person who hears and disobeys the Lord Jesus has built his house on the sand.
      • This house will fall.

These are things YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR SURE

Dig Deep into YOU:

When things get tough will YOU stand or fall?

Luke 7:1 – 10              The text is about Jesus healing the servant

“What’s So Amazing About Grace?”

Much like the 4 men and the paralytic, the centurion was a conduit for the servants healing

  1. The servant- in need of healing grace
    1. Sick and Dying
    2. Valuable/Important
    3. Cared for by his superior
    4. Not much more known
  2. The Centurion
    1. Roman – GENTILE
    2. High ranking – had money/influence/power
      1. Had soldiers serving under him
    3. Not Caesar – Top Rank – BUT POLITICAL
      1. Served under authority
    4. Well to do/resourceful
      1. Built the Jews a Synagogue
    5. Had a good relationship for the Jewish Nation
      1. “he loves our nation”
    6. Cared for his servants
      1. Compassionate
    7. Heard about Jesus and knew his need for Jesus
      1. Sent Jewish elders for Him
        1. An act of humility and/or desperation
        2. Had to be tough since the Jews of the day liked NEITHER ROMANS or JESUS!
      2. We do not how long he had known about Jesus
        1. But sounds recent
        2. ALL To help his servant
  1. He showed a strong faith at first, evidence by the sending for Jesus and the proclamation of Christ; but…..
    1. But it was a NEW wavering/weak faith
      1. Why did he send his friends to tell Jesus not to come into his home?
      2. He spoke of his position as a centurion
        1. Perhaps he feared loss of rank or privilege?
          1. Do we do this today at work?
        2. Perhaps he feared losing the friendship with the Jews?
          1. Do we allow this fear to keep us from allowing Jesus full access?
        3. “”Lord, Don’t trouble Yourself,….”
          1. Are we afraid of “troubling God” with our issues?
  • “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof”
    1. Are we afraid that our sins/lifestyle/issues/problems are too great
    2. Do we FEAR the REJECTION of Jesus?
    3. The TRUTH is that none of us are WORTHY!
    4. WE are made worthy by GRACE alone through FAITH alone in CHRIST alone
  1. Did not think he was worthy to go to Jesus on his own
    1. “I did not presume to come to you”
      1. How many times do we reject Jesus because we think we are not worthy
      2. How many times do we seek the prayers of others while not praying ourselves because we think we are not worthy
      3. How many times do we think Jesus is TOO GREAT or To BIG for us to approach?
      1. He wants you to trust Him and go to Him
      2. You need NO INTERCESSOR other than JESUS
    3. Maybe WE ARE NOT TO DIFFERENT from this Centurion
      1. “But say the Word, and let my Servant be healed”
        1. Just do it Jesus
        2. Don’t come here
      2. The centurion should be glad I’m not Jesus
        1. I wasted all this time traveling to you and now you say, “don’t bother, just do it!”
        2. That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works”
        3. I may have still healed the servant but the centurion just got leprosy!
      3. Jesus
        1. Saw his faith
          1. Even though it was very small
            1. Maybe even a MICROSCOPIC faith
          2. Even when he was weak and afraid
        2. Of Course Jesus could heal the servant from anywhere
        3. But Jesus wants a CLOSE personal relationship
          1. Jesus was willing to GO to the centurion
          2. Jesus was willing to GO to the dying servant
        4. GRACE = Jesus blessing us with what we DO NOT deserve
          1. Christ shows us His grace here
          2. A little faith went a long way
        5. I am reminded that faith the size of a MUSTARD SEED can move mountains
        6. The Centurions Faith reached out to the Grace of God who healed his beloved servant
          1. The servant was healed by GRACE ALONE through FAITH alone in CHRIST alone.
        7. If this Roman Centurion was able to muster the faith to call on Jesus with little instruction or knowledge HOW MUCH GREATER should our faith be!
          1. We have the entire Bible
            1. God’s True and Correct Word
          2. We have the Church, Sunday School, VBS, Revivals, internet, and long winded preachers
  • We have 2,000+ years of church teaching
  1. We have the “Great Cloud of Witnesses” to guide us
  1. So, what’s so AMAZING about Grace?
    1. I think it is because it has so very LITTLE to do with us
    2. I think it is because it has SO MUCH to do with God
      1. We are WEAK
      2. He is STRONG
  • We have FAILED
  1. He brings VICTORY
  2. We are ashamed and try to separate ourselves from His RIGHTOUSNESS
  3. He will NEVER LEAVE His Children
  1. The centurions wavering faith was little, but enough.
    1. He may have had a MICROSCOPIC FAITH
      1. But Jesus has SPECIAL EYES!
      2. God knows and sees!
      3. God does not need Grandiose GESTURES
      4. God requires FAITH
        1. even if it is small
      6. Yet we, like this centurion, have a weak and undeveloped faith.
        1. A faith that God can use, YES
        2. But a faith that could move mountains if developed just a little
  • A faith God could use to CHANGE THE WORLD if further developed
  1. Isn’t it good to hear that God’s grace is greater than our weak or wavering faith?
  1. What is so AMAZING about GRACE? GOD!
    1. GRACE that brought Jesus to us AND the CROSS
    2. GRACE that speaks to us HERE AND NOW
    3. Have you heard about Jesus? Call for HIM!

Sept 6 – Blind Leading the Blind        Luke 6:37 – 42

Life is HARD.

Life is HARDER if you are BLIND

Life is IMPOSSIBLE if you are BLIND and so is your GUIDE

Unfortunately, there are a BUNCH of leaders out there who are blind and they are leading people towards THE PIT!

We have all heard the expression “It’s like the blind leading the blind” meaning nobody knows where they are going or what direction they are traveling.

Did you know it is of Biblical origin?  It comes from our text today.

This remains a valid description of lost folks in our world today!

People are searching for leaders, and they get BLIND GUIDES!

People are following new age guides, scientists, mother earth, the almighty dollar, kabala, political correctness or ideology, false prophets, tin foil hat wearing doomsday guides, sports players, cults, etc all over our planet.

The blind leading the blind.

Regardless of the leaders cause or purpose (it doesn’t matter where they begin their journey at) without GODLY INTERVENTION the final destination is always the same:  THE PIT!

Everyone is heading in some direction but no one is real sure where they are going.

So they begin to follow another person who is just as blind (TRUTHless/CLUEless) as they are, and the results are never positive.

One by one our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances and strangers are being led off the cliff and into the great pit by blind leaders.

Oh, these blind guides may think they are heading in the right direction but they have been fooled, tricked into buying into a lie straight from the very pit they are going down.

Christians should be LEADERS!  Not necessarily CEO’s of faith, but guides calling out to the lost and lifting up Jesus Christ so they might be drawn away from the wrong road they are traveling and onto the path He has already prepared for them.

We Christians should be guiding people away from the pit!  Not giving them reasons or excuses for continuing towards the precipice.

Yet, it seems every day we hear or see a Christian doing some very UNCHRISTIAN things and people are TURNED AWAY from truth and towards another lie.

I think we see 5 steps to help in this process of safely guiding people to Jesus.

  1. We should know that there is a pit that we were heading for ourselves until someone led us to safety.
  2. Don’t Judge
    1. Do not judge a lost person by their lost condition.
    2. They are lost. Do not be surprised they are off course.
    3. To JUDGE means to “try impartially and in an open court, hearing all the evidence and arguments.”
      1. You are a sinner and not truly capable of impartiality
      2. We do not try in open court, we judge in our closed hearts and minds
      3. We have all been judged by God and found guilty.
  1. We are WAY TOO QUICK to judge anyone and everyone, usually by OUR STANDARDS – not Gods
  2. We are QUICK TO IGNORE our faults
  3. We do not know their life – we do not want to hear all the evidence.
    1. Truth usually messes up our narrative!
  4. DON’T JUDGE – GUIDE! Lead them to Forgiveness and LIFE
  1. Do not Condemn
    1. To condemn means to pronounce guilty and sentence to punishment
    2. If you are not able to properly judge you certainly cannot pronounce guilt and punishment.
    3. There is WAY TOO MUCH CONDEMNATION in our world
    4. Even Christ did not come to condemn – why would you?
    5. DON’T CONDEMN – LEAD THEM to Jesus so their eternal condemnation can be removed! LEAD THEM TO FREEDOM!!!
  2. Forgive.
    1. Grant pardon for an offense, debt, transgression, etc.
    2. To give up all claim on account, absolve
    3. Cease to feel resentment against
    4. To cancel and indebtedness or liability
    5. Forgiveness is not easy
      1. Forgiveness cost Jesus His life – but He gave it for YOU!
    6. We can model Christ by forgiving those who have repented
    1. To present voluntarily and without excepting compensation
    2. We might give, but, like Sheldon, we expect reciprocity
      1. You gave me a gift worth $90 now I am in your debt for $90
    3. Give generously. Give all you can
    4. We have been given so very much
    5. Leadership required giving
    6. The GREATEST LEADER is not an arrogant narcissist!

If you judge and condemn your hypocrisy will be revealed and you will be judged and condemned

If you forgive and give you will receive the same in abundance

You will not only be judged by your actions, you will receive what you have sown.

Will you go LEAD someone to Jesus?

All Lives Matter

I,like many Americans, are hurting at the state of race relations in our country. We seem to have forgotten the lessons of racial equality we had learned and instead look for ways to harbor and bear the weight of hate across our land. We are broken and bleeding.

Many point at this person or that leader for this systemic failure. I am reminded of the scripture that tells us there is a bigger culprit at work: Evil.

Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”ESV

It is evil that pulls the trigger, the gun is just a tool.

It is evil that jabs the knife, the knife is just a tool.

It is evil that spews hate and calls for murder; the mouth is just a tool.

Evil wins when love is removed or rejected. Those who choose the path of hate accept evil into their hearts and lives to bring decay and destruction. Evil wins.

All lives matter.

·                Infant lives, children’s lives, teen lives, adult lives and senior lives matter.

·                Law Enforcement lives matter, as do criminal lives.

·                Black lives matter. White lives matter. Brown lives matter. Red lives matter. Yellow lives matter. If there is life on Mars then grey and green lives matter as well. All lives matter.

·                Homosexual lives matter. Heterosexual lives matter.

We err Biblically and socially if we raise any race, style, color or person above another.

Paul wrote to the church in Colossae that “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”  (Colossians 3:11 ESV) The ground is level at the Cross! There is no difference no matter who you are or where you come from! Stop looking at physical or mental differences and focus on the spiritual realm! We are in a spiritual battle, not a physical one.

Murder is wrong. Anger is wrong. Hate is wrong. Wrath, slander, gossip, obscene talk, evil desires, arrogance, pride, self-serving, immorality and evil scheming are wrong and must be take off like the coveralls worn while working in the pig pen! They were a filthy stain on our lives that needs to be removed and discarded!

Put on the clean life of righteousness,kindness, tolerance kindness, humility, forgiveness, patience and, most of all,love!

Any person or group that calls for the murder or destruction of another person or group is outside the Will and Word of God.

Racism, Bullying, Manipulation,Attacks, Murder, Gossip and Hate are incompatible with Biblical Christianity. Thankfully, even though they seem so prevalent today, they will not endure! Three things will endure: Faith, Hope and Love. And the greatest of these three is love!

Law Enforcement Lives Matter

Have you ever stopped and pondered what our country would be like if there were no Law Enforcement professionals to stand between the law abiding citizens and those who would seek to steal from us, harm us or kill us?

What if there was no one to answer your 911 call or no Officers to respond?

Anarchy? Chaos? A total collapse of our society UNTIL someone or a group of someone took a stand for what is right and good and formed a police force to protect their lives and property.

We have all seen the headlines and social media posts about the war on the brave men and women of our Law Enforcement Community. It breaks my heart to see those who are willing to stand between my family and evil attacked for serving the very people who are attacking them.

So very few people have the pride of community and the True Grit to place themselves in harm’s way for their community. A very limited number of people are willing to head into the danger zone while we run and hide. We need each and every one of them and more!

If these attacks continue I am afraid that more and more of these brave men and women will turn in their badge and walk away from their duty for their own safety and the safety of their families.

Who would blame them? It is much safer to work in the oil field, in an office or even at a fast food restaurant than in a Police Cruiser.

Their community complains when they do their job, gossips about their lives, calls them all corrupt (Yes, I know a very small percentage are, but in smaller numbers that the criminals) and works to see their budgets cut and salaries reduced.

We reap the benefits of their presence then complain about that very presence in our communities. All of this BEFORE radicals begin attacking them.

How long would you stay?

The men and women who make up the “Thin Blue Line” that separates us from evil chaos are deserving of our respect, appreciation and funding.

What can we do?

1.    Pray for our Law Enforcement and their families.

2.    Encourage them with your words and support. If you see an officer eating at a restaurant in uniform maybe pay for their meal or send a Thank You letter to their local office.

3.    Ask your elected officials to fully fund their salaries, overtime and equipment needs. Send letters to the editor or to your Mayor/County Judge to express your appreciation for the good work your Law Enforcement Agency is doing.

4.    Watch their backs…RESPONSIBLY! If you see an officer getting fuel, out of their vehicle on a stop or any other location look around and if you see anything suspicious TELL THEM! They have the training and equipment to deal with most situations if they just know a problem exists. Be Responsible! DO NOT grab your 30-30 and run up to the officer saying you are there for them! We don’t need their lives complicated any more than they already are! Just be an extra set of eyes and a potential warning system for them.

5.    If you are stopped be polite and respectful. The officer has no idea what kind of danger may exist for them at any stop they make in the line of duty. Do everything in your power to let them know you are not a threat to them. The road side is not the place for a Constitutional argument (or any argument), the courtroom is the right place for that debate.

6.    Teach your kids that they are there to Protect and Serve our communities, not the “bad guys” who will take them to jail if they do not eat their broccoli!

7.    Stand for Law Enforcement and be bold in condemning those who would call for their harm!

We NEED the brave men and women of our Law Enforcement Community!