September 2018


This picture is from last weeks Rattler game against Mission Veterans High School.rattlers

This was a tough, physical game with lots of hard hits; most of them legal but some not so much, resulting in several unsportsmanlike penalties. There was a little drama with the stadium lights that halted play and some controversial calls by the game officials…for against sides. Being an ex football player myself I am sure there was a little bit of “chatter” and spirit filled discussion during the game.

But once the game was over and the victor decided both teams lined up, shook hands and moved on to preparing for their next game.

This picture spoke volumes to me about the current status of our country and community politics.

Election contests are often hard fought, harsh words sometimes spewed, mistakes made and sometimes we disagree with the “calls” of the officials.

Once these contests are over and a winner decided we must come together, shake hands and move on. No one benefits and many are harmed by a continued division and backbiting.

We should learn the lessons of sportsmanship and humility out young athletes are teaching.

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9 23                 Unity/Tolerance

There are many forces seeking to drive people, communities, ….countries apart.  We need look no further than our newspapers, News shows or internet media to understand that is our reality.

God warned us about this behavior.

FOCAL:      Romans 16:17-18 “And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.  NLT

We CAN choose a better path!

Say NO to intolerance

There are those who would seek to divide and destroy us based on differences in color, heritage, political sides or other frivolous excuses.

Don’t let them

Yes, we do have differences.  So what.?

We used to be able to recognize them, deal with them, laugh at them, and move on.

Over the past 10 years or so it seems we only use them to go to war with each other.

There are times I think people are looking for things to divide us, separate us and make us fight; creating new ways to divide.

Don’t let them

We need to regain our collective sense of humor, tolerance and UNITY

We used to be able to laugh together about each other without the anger

Mel Brooks, Archie Bunker, George Jefferson, the Rat Pack and Richard Pryor gave us lots of material to laugh at…. they would be arrested today or terrorized.

Why and When did we stop laughing together and start fighting

A sense of humor is a terrible thing to lose

Our Founding Fathers created our Constitution to unify us, not divide us.  A common foundation and basic rules for government.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Union:  an act or instance of uniting or joining two or more things into one.  The growing together of SEVERED parts.

We are severed today.  We need UNITY!

In Christian theology, unity is the oneness of sentiment, affection or behavior. “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”  Psalm 133

But how do we find this UNITY?      Faith, Hope and Love.

Colossians 3:12-15 “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”   NLT

Amos 3:3 “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?”   NLT

We may NEVER agree on everything, but we MUST agree on direction OR their WILL BE division

There is ONE WAY to repairing unity.  Jesus Christ.

Will You Walk with Him?

9-16-2018                    Patience

We have been talking about love over the past few weeks.  To Love God, to love others, especially those in your same household – your family, then to spread love across our community, our state, our world; even to those who do not like us or that we consider enemies or opponents.

Now we are breaking love down into a few key components.  Last week we learned to be encouragers.  To build others up, to push them to better and greater things in life and to let them know that God and we are on their side.

Today we come to patience, maybe add in a bit of tolerance.

Patience is HARD, but critically important!

We need to love others with the GRACE of PATIENCE.

They might not deserve it, or earned it or even ask for it; but we (people) are in need of patience FROM GOD and from others.

FROM GOD:

1 Corinthians 13:4a…..“Love is patient and kind”

Romans 2:1-4 Don’t you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin?”

God works on God’s Time.  NOT YOURS!  Be patient, it is worth the wait!

TO AND FROM OTHERS:

We HATE waiting, even more so when we are in some sort of hurry!

Ephesians 4:2 “Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”  NLT

Remember that you are not perfect either!

YOU need patience and tolerance from God and others!

YOU AIN’T PERFECT!

Tolerate others as they tolerate you!

Jesus taught it this way:  “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”  NLT   – Matthew 7:12

Do we EVEN consider the life, needs or reality of others as we boil over?

That check out clerk you are silently mumbling about as you wait in line, tapping your toes and glaring your eyes; may have just lost their financial aid, be dealing with a critically ill parent or just got chewed out by her boss for something….maybe something beyond her control.

Maybe that old couple slowing you down as you seek to speed down the grocery isle just got some bad news from their doctor and are savoring each moment they have left together.

The stories could be endless but the message is the same:  BE PATIENT and give people a break.

Your time is coming soon enough, you will be slowing up traffic, cutting someone off or in need of a little undeserved grace.

We would be VERY concerned…agitated…ANGRY if we were treated so harshly, with such arrogance, rudeness and down right orneriness!…Why would we treat others this way?

BUT WE CAN BE BETTER THAN THIS!

We can be patient and tolerant.

We can talk with the, hear their story and share their pain…MAYBE even help them as we love them as Jesus loves us.

Proverbs 16:31-33 “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.  It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city.   We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall.”   NLT

Often we become so arrogant that we think the world revolves around us and our “station” in life would protect us from these petty inconveniences.  “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? We shout.

It doesn’t matter!

It is BETTER to be PATIENT that POWERFUL!

Romans 12:12 “Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.”   NLT

2 Peter 1:5b-9 “A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  NLT

Today is September 11th, 2018.  A date in our American history that shall always be remembered.  A date that, 17 years ago, brought much fear, pain and destruction on to our American shores as Muslim Extremists brought their campaign of hate and terror to Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and New York City.  Their hate was based in culture, religion and history, a hate more violent than most Americans had ever witnessed.

Unfortunately, the American Soldier was already very familiar with the results of violent ideology.  Over the decades it may have sprouted from Japan, Germany, Italy, the Middle East, Africa and other locations around the globe.  Wherever the root resides the spread of evil and destruction soon followed, and it was often the American Soldier who was called upon to fight to drive the hate out existence; or at least back underground.

Terrorism did not start on September 11th, 2001.  Some would say it started in the Garden as brother killed brother, others would point to religious attacks on the Nation of Israel or by the Nation of Israel.  Wherever it started, it starts with anger.  Anger matures to hate, hate into evil and evil into destruction.  Maybe it is the idea that we are right, you are wrong; we are better and you must submit to our ways or we will force you to change.  Maybe it is just a belief system that leaves no room for other beliefs or ideals; or a political party of the same thought pattern.

On August 8th, 1985 at 7:15 am terrorists blew up a car bomb at Rhein Main Air Base, Germany.  These terrorists simply hated Americans and the American presence in their country.  Forgotten was the freedom they now enjoyed and the economic boost the German economy enjoyed because of the Americans who served on their soil, all that remained was an ideological hatred.  This attack killed 2 and caused much damage but would have been much worse if it had detonated 30 minutes later, as planned by its evil builders.  The parking lot and Wing Headquarters building would have been full of military and civilians beginning their work day.  I was station at Rhein Main on that day and on a normal day would have been close to the Command Building after being relieved of my normal duty time on the flight line at 0700.  Fortunately, US Intelligence had detected a plot being planned  and the associated “chatter” so we were searching aircraft and equipment for explosives or unauthorized people.  I think the sad part was that, even then, the search for bombs has become common place as the threat of terrorism was very real and ingrained in our lives.

Today, while we ponder the results of an effective Muslim extremist terror attack on our country, let us also look deeper at the roots of these violent outbursts of destructive evil; and as we look into that cesspool we never want to look into let us look into ourselves as well.

The same root as Mussolini, Hitler, Bin Laden  and the like, resides here among us today.  The root of hatred is the same, while the ideology pushing it forward may be different.  We have seen neighborhoods burned as violent riots break out across the country, horrendous and calculated attacks on various people groups of all lifestyles and beliefs and a growing propensity for outbursts and calls for violence erupting in our political groups.

We are not immune from evils dastardly desires and must always be wary and watchful to prevent their destruction becoming common place on American Soil.

There is one sure weapon against hate:  Love.  A love for God and our neighbors that is life changing and Evil erasing!

1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  NLT

Simple principles that could revolutionize our American experience and eliminate hate and violence.

All that would need to happen is one thing:  Implementation into our lives.

Go, defeat terrorism by loving the hate out of people!

9 9 2017                      Encourage

Encourage:  give support, confidence, advice or hope to someone.

Be of Good Comfort

Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

 Chorus Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

2 Corinthians 13:11 “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Rejoice. Change your ways. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”   NLT

Today there is much said and done to discourage people.

The sad part is that the more hurting or broken a person is, the more discouragement is thrown at them.

  • Lady had LOTS of reasons to distrust men
    • She had been married 5 times
    • Who knows how many times she had been lied to, cheated on and mistreated
  • She had lots of history, shame and secrets to keep hidden from strangers, her neighbors and other men
    • She was a woman with a bad reputation
    • Does not mean she was a bad person
      • Just the subject of much gossip
      • Recipient of many disapproving stares and comments
    • She had been bullied and hurt by everyone
      • She probably received LITTLE to NO encouragement
    • Her was another strange man starting a conversation with her and asking her to serve Him
      • But this was no mere man
      • HOPE had arrived
        • Encouragement was before her
      • Here was man her race didn’t get along well with
      • Jews and Samaritans were generally enemies
        • They just didn’t get along
          • Religiously
          • Relationally
          • Culturally
          • Civilly
    • Jesus Encouraged her by:
      • Recognizing her as a person
      • Recognizing that she existed
      • Speaking to her politely
      • Telling her there was hope for her life
      • Being open and honest with her
      • Speaking the truth to her, IN LOVE
        • He knew about her history
        • He knew her life
        • He STILL offered her eternal life
        • He STILL told her He was the Messiah she had heard about
          • He was here for her.
        • Who do you know that needs to hear some encouraging Words?
          • Maybe even an enemy?
          • Maybe someone who is of a different belief system as you
          • Maybe they are of a different culture or faith
            • Encourage them
              • With Your Words
              • With your actions
              • With God’s Word

Hebrews 10:23-25 “Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.  Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.”    NLT