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Bullies and Believers                              Defeating bullying in our midst

Shedding the old Person and becoming a new Creation!

Becoming a BETTER person

The threat and effect of bullying is very real

  1. Bullying is a very real and present danger
  2. It is not harmless
  3. It is not a minor problem
  4. One life lost is too many
  5. One person destroyed is too many
  6. Crosswalk.com reported that over 60,000 kids miss school because of bullying
  7. The American Psychological Association reported that 90 percent of 4th – 8th graders report being victims of bullying in some form
  8. Several school violence events have been sparked by bullying
  9. Columbine being the most infamous
  10. Bullying is really individual terrorism
  11. Wrecks lives
  12. Brings a life of fear to people
  13. Breeds rebellion
  14. Leads to fights
  15. Leads to suicides
  16. Leads to low self esteem
  17. Destroys character
  18. Bullying can take the form of:
  19. Spreading rumors
  20. Teasing
  21. Exclusion
  22. Threats
  23. Gossip
  24. Mean words
  25. Name calling
  26. Oppression
  27. Slavery
  28. Taking advantage
  29. Hitting
  30. Kicking
  31. Pushing
  32. Other physical violence
  33. Stealing
  34. Damaging property
  35. Graffiti
  36. Destruction

iii.      other

  1. So many just give into the bully
  2. Surrender their power and life over to them
  3. In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes: There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully.
    Too many people feel it is easier just to pay the bully than it is to learn how to defeat him.
  4. There is hope and help for those experiencing bullying and for the bullier
  5. One of my all time favorite TV shows, for having good moral lessons as plot lines, was the “Andy Griffith Show.” There was an episode where young Opie was having his “Milk nickel” bullied away from him and could not afford any milk for lunch. “You wouldn’t want me to get weak bones?” Well, Andy found out about the trouble and looked to find a way to help Opie without making Opie ashamed or dependent of his fathers help all of the time. In itself this is a good lesson to parents, children must learn, and earn, some things on their own in order for them to fully appreciate it later in life, but that is not our point in this illustration. Andy began to tell Opie about the time that Odie Snitch stole Andy’s fishing hole away from him when he was Opie’s age. Young Andy had to eventually face Odie Snitch to rid himself of his awful feeling of being “Lilly livered” and found that a punch in the nose didn’t really hurt when taken for a good cause and that bullies often can’t back up their words with deeds. Opie took the words to heart and faced down his extortionist the next day. Opie came away with a “Bute” of a shiner, but he didn’t even feel the black eye because the sweet feeling of the loosing his trouble and regaining what was rightfully his.
  6. The point, you may ask? No trouble is as bad as it once seemed when completed than it did when we first dreaded and feared it.
  7. I would never advocate responding to a bully with violence, but it has proven worthy of our consideration.  Not because of the violent act, but because of the empowering act of standing up for yourself, your person and your rights.

iii.      Taylor Swift  said “If you’re horrible to me, I’m going to write a song about it, and you won’t like it. That’s how I operate.”

  1. “Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away.”
  2. Seek Help
  3. Counselors and Teachers
  4. Staff

iii.      Law enforcement

  1. Pastors, Priests, Rabbi, etc.
  2. Friends
  3. Parents and family
  4. Get involved in team sports or activities
  5. Bands, athletic teams and other group activities promote acceptance, team work and family
  6. Being part of something positive is good for us
  7. Know who you are
  8. You are a masterpiece of God’s Creation
  9. You may not be perfect, but no one else is either

iii.      Be patient, honorable and respectful

  1. Do not allow the bully pull you down to a low level
  2. You seek to improve yourself, to raise your character and reputation.
  3. Get to Know Jesus Christ
  4. He loves you
  5. He has a plan for you

iii.      He took on the ultimate bully and was entirely victorious

  1. He did this for you!
  2. His stripes can heal your wounds
  3. Treat others the way you would like to be treated
  4. Many bullies are bullied
  5. Many bullies have a horrid home life

iii.      Many bullies are poor

  1. Many bullies are jealous
  2. Many bullies have no power or control so they try to gain them over others
  3. Many bullies are raised or taught to be racist or sexist

vii.      Many bullies are alone

viii.      Many bullies are afraid

  1. Many bullies separate themselves from a mainstream they believe will not accept them and become involved in sub cultures
  2. Gangs

Anatomy of a Bully

  1. Afraid
  2. Socially awkward
  3. Jealous
  4. Angry
  5. Liar
  6. Deceitful
  7. Trouble maker
  8. Hurting
  9. Lustful
  10. Lust for power
  11. Lust for control
  12. Lust for people
  13. A boy usually teases the girl
  14. Killer
  15. Character
  16. Reputation
  17. Person
  18. Eager to do wrong
  19. Sow discord
  20. Cause division
  21. Break couples up
  22. Get someone fired

Scriptures

Proverbs 6:12-21 “What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars, signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing. There are six things the LORD  hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck.”  NLT

Living above Bullying  /  Believers Beating Bullying

Leviticus 19:17-19 “Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin.  “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD . “You must obey all my decrees.”   NLT

  1. Don’t carry hate
  2. Talk to people you disagree with – DIRECTLY
  3. Not behind their backs
  4. Not gossip
  5. LET IT GO!Don’t seek revenge
  6. There is no prize for the amount of wrong you hold on to
  7. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
  8. Obey God

Christians should be working hard to teach and encourage:

  • Better friendships
  • More confidence
  • Individual courage
  • Servanthood – helping others
  • Being ok with who you are – being the person God made you to be
  • Better grades
  • Better health
  • Doing the right thing
  • Character
  • Citizenship
  • Morality
  • Unity

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  NLT

  1. Love your neighbor
  2. Love your enemies
  3. Pray for those who attack you
  4. Do not take the easy road (love those easy to love)
  5. Rise above the culture and their influence
  6. Dare to be different

Ephesians 4:29 “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  NLT

  1. Watch your mouth
  2. If you cannot say something good about someone then don’t say anything at all
  3. Do not use foul language.Profanity
  4. Do not use abusive language.Gossip, hate, lies, crude
  5. Use your words to encourage, not discourage or destroy

Micah 6:8 “No, O people, the LORD  has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  NLT

  1. Do what is Right – by God’s standards – not mans
  2. Love mercy – love treating people right, whether they deserve it or not.
  3. You do not know their life
  4. You do not know their stress
  5. You do not know just how close to exploding they are
  6. Walk humbly with God
  7. Realize that you are far from perfect yourself
  8. You are flawed, faulty and failing
  9. Matthew7:1-5 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. “

Romans 12:9-18 “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” NLT

  • Really love others
  • Don’t be fake
  • Really care
  • Be really committed to others
  • Hate what is wrong
  • Hate bullying, not the bully
  • Ephesian 6:10-12 “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
  • Our bigger problem is not the people who are our problem
  • They are but tool/weapons
  • You do not blame the gun: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people
  • You don’t blame the pencil:pencils don’t misspell words, people misspell words
  • Behind every drug smuggler caught is a drug gang and leadership that enticed him, tempted him, threatened him and used him.
  • Behind every murderer, liar, misspeller, and drug trafficker there is:
  • A demand for drugs
  • A darkness willing to provide them
  •                iii.      A greed willing to exploit people and destroy lives to get rich.
  • Our bigger problems are
  • Satan and his minions
  • Satan is the ultimate bully
  • The “Anti Jesus”
  • He is hate and destruction
  •                iii.      He is NOT on your side
  • He wants to destroy you
  • The “behind the scenes” dark rulers
  • The ones who are pulling the strings
  • The influences and addictions that spread darkness
  • Sin/flesh
  • “The heart wants what the heart wants”
  • Temptation to satisfy our flesh
  • Food
  • Sex
  •                iii.      Power
  • Control
  • Drugs/alcohol
  • Arrogance

vii.      Self

viii.      Pride

  • Honor each other
  • Recognize other accomplishments publicly
  • Applaud others
  • Build them up

iii.      Look for the good

  1. Deal with their problems privately (Lev 19)
  2. Management says to reward publicly but discipline privately
  3. Be patient in Trouble
  4. Don’t“Fly off the handle”
  5. Don’t “lose your temper”
  6. You DO HAVE CONTROL
  7. You just may not want it
  8. So you let it roar.
  9. Keep praying
  10. Really help those who are in need
  11. Help the Bullied
  12. Help the bully
  13. Be hospitable
  14. Friendly and welcoming to strangers or guests
  15. Bless those who persecute you
  16. Be nice and helpful to the one bullying you
  17. Do not curse people
  18. Empathize with people
  19. Luke 10:30-37 “Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.  The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
  20. Live in harmony with people
  21. To be in agreement
  22. All the parts working together

Jesus took the Bullying so we would not have to!

Jesus was bullied by the government, the temple elite, the community business people, everyone

  • The “Sin Business”people were attacking Him because they lost money

o    Acts 16:16-24 “One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”  This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”  A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.” 

  • Temple Elite were attacking Him because they lost power and influence
  • The government leaders were attacking Him because they felt they were losing power and control
  • The kings were attacking Him because they did not want their people worshipping anyone except them
  • The people were attacking Him because He was upsetting the “Status Quo”

Their bullying did not work out so well for them then, and it doesn’t work out so well today.

Romans 3:23-26 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”  

John 3:16-17 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”  NLT

Jesus is the Anti-Bully

Philippians 2:5-11 “5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6

Though he was God,

he did not think of equality with God

as something to cling to.

Instead,

he gave up his divine privileges;

he took the humble position of a slave

and      was born as a human being.

When   he appeared in human form,

8          he humbled himself

in obedience to God

and      died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore,

God elevated him to the place of highest honor

and      gave him the name above all other names,\

that                              at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and      every tongue confess

that      Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

  1. Have the mind/attitude/love of Christ
  2. Follow Christ’s example
  3. He was EQUAL with God
  4. Yet, He CHOSE to lower Himself to our level
  5. He gave up the perfection of Heaven
  6. He came humbly to us, to the hogpen we had turned His earth into

iii.      Became human

  1. Think about that
  2. Humble
  3. Obedient
  4. Faithful
  5. Allowed the very ones He had created destroy His Human flesh
  6. You may think you are better than someone else but you are not

The Good News of Heaven

  1. There are no bullies in Heaven
  2. Every one there will bow before Jesus Christ
  3. He will be primary
  4. You will say He is the Ultimate and you are His humble sheep.
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Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

I drive a 2000 Ford F-250 pickup truck. It is not new, but it runs well and transports me from place to place. Age sometimes brings problems, even in Ford trucks.

Over time the plastic cover over the headlights had become weathered, scratched and dull. This happened slowly, over the eleven year life of the truck; so slowly that I had not noticed. I was quite happy with the performance of the headlights, until my wife drove my truck one night and complained that the headlights did not work very well. I took the truck out the next night and, for the first time paid close attention to the beams of light coming from the headlights. They were very dim and just barely lit up the road. Something had to be done, quickly!

I was not looking forward to the hundreds of dollars required to replace the entire headlight assembly! This was money I had not planned on this expense and, as we all know, money is tight in today’s economy. A few days later I pulled into Wal-Mart and saw a sign that advertised “Headlight Restoration” and I went to check it out. They said that they could restore my headlights to “almost new” condition for about forty bucks! Seeing how this was much cheaper than my only other alternative I paid the money and had them do their best to restore the lights.

I was really kind of skeptical about how successful they would be; the headlights were in pretty bad condition, but figured even a little better may save me a bunch of money! They called me when they were finished and I went to see how much yellow haze was left on the headlights and was SHOCKED to see that they really did look almost brand spanking new! The change was amazing!

That night I took my truck out and was very excited about the beams of light that now illuminated the roadway in from of me! The headlights now lit my path for a very long distance ahead and a wide swath from side to side! The change was immediate, intense and very, very pleasing!

In our lives today, sin and spiritual distance from God brings cloudiness to our vision of life here on earth. Things around us begin to look darker and darker until we become quite pessimistic about life and our future. God does not desire for you to live in this kind of darkness! God wants to bring restoration to your life. God is light and He wants to drive out all of the darkness around you.

John 12:44-47 “And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” ESV

Jesus is the only One who can restore our vision, our hope and give us new life.

The Bible also teaches us that Christians do not know everything. The Bible actually says that our vision of God and what He is doing is more limited than my trucks headlights.

 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ESV

 ‘For now we see in a mirror dimly” is a piece of scripture that lets us know that we are not nearly as wise as we think we are! There is so much about God that we do not know or understand!

The Good News is that, one day all those who profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will come to a full knowledge of Him and His love.

When we don’t understand what is happening around us we should trust God! He knows everything and understands the bigger picture of what is truly happening around us. In your darkest times grab hold to what is real and lasting, not on temporary “quick fixes” that may seem to help in the short term, but never last beyond the dawn.

Grab hold of your faith in God that’s trusts Him with your everything; the hope that you know you have in His power, His wisdom and His compassion, and the love that you know He has for you, love that will never let you down. When life seems difficult and hard; when your future looks as clear as mud, grab hold of God and allow Him restore your faith, hope and love!

The closer you get to God the clearer life becomes until the day that we are called to His Heavenly Home forever.

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

Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

      Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 

ESV

     No one ever accused the Apostle Paul of being timid about his faith!  Paul was always willing to share his faith, no matter what the cost. 

     Paul often found himself in jail for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but he never stopped.  Paul knew that people were hurting and needed the healing Jesus had for them and he was willing to pay any price for the opportunity to lead them to our Savior Jesus Christ.

     This kind of boldness is very rare today.  The sad part is that the world needs a relationship with Jesus Christ more than ever, but fewer and fewer people are willing to admit their faith, much less share it with others.

     There are a few brave souls in our world who will stand boldly against the tide of self and worldliness to profess their faith in Jesus Christ.  They are the few and the brave.

     I was very impressed with the courage displayed by University of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy after the BCS Championship game.

     This was the game Colt had strived for his entire football career.  This is the game all football players dream of playing in; and Colt McCoy was set to be the star.  But, he was injured just 5 plays into the game and was not able to play.

     Colt McCoy’s dream quickly turned to a nightmare.   His throwing arm was now as useless as a wet noodle and his team was now losing the National Championship game…badly.  A winner wants to play, and Colt is a winner who could not play.

     In his darkest moment this young quarterback would have had every right to be angry with God and curse his injury; but not Colt McCoy. 

     Hear his words from that night: “I worked and played my whole career to be on this stage, to be given this opportunity,” McCoy said. “I know what it would have been like had I played that game. To know that is tough. But at the same time, I am a man of faith. I stand on the rock. I’ll never question God for why things happen the way they do. … There’s bigger and better football days to come.”

     Colt McCoy faced his worse nightmare with faith and boldly told a national audience of millions that his faith was in God, not football.  Colt was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because he knows the power it holds for hurting people.

     How about you?  Are you ashamed of the Gospel that gave you faith, hope and love?  Are you  ashamed of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who so willingly gave His everything for you?

     Share your faith!   Allow others to know that you are a Christian who loves God and loves them.

     Share your faith, share your story, share the Word of God and share His love.  We need not be timid or afraid because God has promised to be with us every step of the way.

     We often think we need to be theologians or pastors to share our faith, but we do not!  Each and every Christian is commanded by God to share our faith and to be ministers of reconciliation.

     God does not need your great abilities!  God is waiting for you to simply be available to Him!  He will do His work through you, if you allow Him.

     Join Paul and Colt in boldly professing your faith!  Start locally, in your home and neighborhood, then spread on into the world around you.

     Remember that God loves you…and so do I.

Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

How do we find God in the midst of tragedy?  Well, we need to know where to look and listen.

1 Kings 19:9-14 “There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and  stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.  And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” ESV

When bad stuff happens, whether it be a tornado, earthquake, wildfire, or any other type of disaster, we often focus all our attention on the problem.

We want to know how big the storm was, what it rated on a scale and how devastated our community is after the storms passing.

We will miss God if we are obsessed by the storm.  God is not in the storm.

Even in the most violent earthquake or devastating hurricane, there is calm and peace just a little ways away.   Moreover, there is peace heading your way.  The storm will soon end.

Take a step back, pray fervently, have a good look around.  God is not in the storm, God is inside of you and the lives of those who now respond to help.

Elijah could have given into the fear he must have felt and ran away; but he would have missed the voice of God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “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.” ESV

Faith makes more sense that human reason and logic, especially in times of trial and trouble.  Trust God, not your thoughts.

Perhaps God was even speaking about earthquakes when He led Isaiah to pen this scripture, Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” NIV

It sure sounds like Jesus was speaking of a terrible storm when He spoke these words in Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” ESV

The message?  Build your house on the solid rock of the Word of God!  Then you can face any kind of storm with faith and not fear.

God understands our fears and our doubts.  God also knows that we will have times of terrible tragedy that we doubt we will survive.  He will be there, not with more devastation, but with love.

This should be our cry,

Psalm 69:1-2 “God, God, save me! I’m in over my head, Quicksand under me, swamp water over me; I’m going down for the third time.” The Message

Do you feel like you are about to go under for the final time?  Are you about to give up all hope and give up?  Call out to God!  He will hear your cry and respond to you.  Trust in Him and not yourself.

God is able to do far more than you, or anyone else in the world is able to do.  Trust God.

The great thing about God is that once you have Him, He will always be there for you!  Friends and family may desert you and your boss may fire you; but God will never give up on you!

Romans 8:38-39 “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.” ESV

Hebrews 13:5b “for he (God) has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ESV

Tragedy, trouble and disaster will come and there is nothing we can do to prevent them!  We can be protected from them by the Grace of our Savior Jesus.

Jesus Himself said,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” ESV-John 14:27

God wants us to call upon Him for help.  God is near those who need Him.  Our very salvation is based on our realizing our need for His Salvation.

Matthew 5:3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” – Jesus

Are you looking for God?  Stop looking and start listening.  Separate yourself from the noise and distractions of everyday life, and the devastation of the disaster around you and get alone with God.  Open a Bible and read, ask Him for wisdom, help and a relationship with Him that makes a real difference in your life.

God is calling your name.  God is trying to reach you.  Are you able to hear Him?

With God on your side nothing is impossible!  You can weather any storm, survive any disaster and experience real life, safely in the arms of Jesus.

Always remember that God loves you!..and so do I.

Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

I know that many of you have heard a well known Christian “talk show” host proclaiming that the earthquake in Haiti is their own fault, brought on by their own sinful actions.

I would like to address this statement in very simple terms:  This person is absolutely wrong!

God’s plan is a plan for salvation and hope, not destruction.

So why does bad stuff happen?  This is a very deep question that I will try to answer in the limited space available in this article.

First, People make bad choices.  Our bad choices affect us, our families and those around us.  Your bad choices are not God’s plan for your life.

Many years ago I lost a friend in a horrific motorcycle accident.  During his funeral I overheard people talking about “God’s will” and “God’s time.”  I do not believe that it was God’s plan and desire for my friend to be operating his motorcycle drunk at night at very high speeds on a very curvy mountain road.  My friend made several very bad choices.

God has a plan for you but you must choose to follow His plan and not yours.   Jeremiah 29:11-14a “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart,  I will be found by you, declares the Lord,” ESV

You are responsible for your choices.  We cannot blame others, you are responsible for you.  Choose God and seek Him with your everything.

If you choose to associate with criminals, you will begin to become like them.    It is impossible to spend time with pigs and not get a little mud on yourself.

If you choose to get drunk or high, things are going to happen to you.  You have less control and inhibitions, as do those you are with.  Make better choices for yourself, your family and your community.

Second, the bad choices of others can affect you.  One person makes the choice to drink and drive, then causes a accident that hurts or kills an innocent person.  This is not the will of God, it is the will of a person who made bad choices and inflicted their will upon others. Encourage others to make better choices.

Thirdly, we inhabit bodies made of flesh and bone that are not designed or constructed to last forever.  Our bodies are prone to disease and damage, as well as simply wearing out.

We can extend the life of our bodies the same way we extend the life of our vehicles!  Put only good stuff into it, keep it clean, operate it (exercise), don’t “hot rod” it and take it to the mechanic (doctor) for regular servicing and maintenance.

Unfortunately, even with the best of care, our human bodies will eventually wear out.  While this loss is very painful for us, it is reality.

The good news is that God has a plan for you to live forever!  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ESV

Fourthly, we live in a world that is both dynamic and temporary.

The earth is a very dynamic object that is constantly in motion and has several processes for maintaining and controlling the balance of life.

Earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes are just three of these processes.  They are the three we hear of most often because they tend to have a major effect on the humans that live here.

God knows the “expiration date” of our planet and He is desperately calling out to us to believe in Him while there is still time.

Finally, we have an eternal enemy who always stands against us.

We often try to blame every bad thing on the devil, but the reality is that he is not that powerful. While we cannot blame most of our troubles on him, satan is a very real factor in our world.

The good news is that, while satan came to take life, Jesus Christ came to give it!

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and  kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – Jesus

Do you want life, real life and not just existence?  You need to get closer to Jesus.

What did our Christian talk show host miss in his statements?  Love.

God loves you!  God will never leave you or forsake you, especially in the darkest time of your life.

People have tried to claim God’s Judgment upon hurting people since the beginning of time.   Hear the words of Jesus about this false claim:  Matthew 5:45b-48 “For he(God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” ESV

Jesus Himself even addressed the issue of sin in relationship to disaster in Luke 13:4 when He asked if 18 men killed in a tower collapse were worse sinners than those who live in Jerusalem, and His answer was “No!”

We are all sinners.  If we follow this faulty logic to its ultimate reality, none of us would be here!  We would all be destroyed.   So why are we here?  Because God loves us!

Here is what the scripture says God did for sinners,

Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ESV

Yes, you read that right, God loved you so much He sent His Son to take the punishment for your sins!  Jesus died for your sins and the sins of the people in Haiti, New Orleans or anyone else in the world.

Salvation, not destruction, is God’s plan.  Life, not Death, is what Jesus came to provide us.

Everyone will experience storms in their life!  Christians have the benefit of being anchored to and protected by Jesus Christ while non-believers have to face life’s storms on their own.  This is their choice, not Gods.  God has done everything He can to call every person to His saving Grace. Will you believe?

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

First Baptist Church

Pastor Bob Alderman

     Without a crème filling there could be no Oreo cookie; without Tom, Jerry would be unemployed and without Christmas there would be no Easter.

     These two holy days represent two very special things: The amazing grace of God and the lengths He was willing to go for a relationship with you!

     Jesus was born to a virgin, a young woman who had never been with a man. Mary was pure, chaste and faithful enough in her walk with God to willingly submit to His plan for her life. God did the impossible so that it would be possible for you to have a relationship with Him.

     The birth of Jesus was marked by a sign that read “NO ENTRY!” but He entered our world anyway Even in the death of Jesus Christ, God did the impossible! In the reality of our worldly understanding, dead means….well dead. We know that our lives here on earth have an expiration date, one that is unknown to us.

     This human law was miraculously broken by Jesus Christ! He was raised from the dead by a power that could only come from the God of all creation. Jesus walked out of His tomb alive and well. Even though tombs should be marked by signs that read “NO EXIT” Jesus walked out.    

     These are just two examples of how God did the impossible so it would be possible for you to have a relationship with Him. God is committed to you! God is committed to loving you!

     John 3:16-17 “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.” ESV

     This is the mystery of Christmas and Easter, that God loves you enough to send His Son to you and to send His Son to take the punishment for your mistakes. The answer to this mystery is found in God’s love for you! Even when you are hard to love!

     Romans 5:6-11 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 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.” ESV

     Without Christmas there could be no Easter. Without both the manger and the cross, God’s love for you could never be known.

     Yes, God is truly committed to you. You know, commitment is the true measure of love; not emotion and not mere words, but commitment. God is willing to do everything in His considerable power to have a relationship with you!

     The question I would like to challenge you with is this; “Are you this committed to God?” God gives everything, even does the impossible, so it would be possible for you to have a relationship with Him. Are you willing to make that kind of commitment to your relationship? Can God count on you?

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

Pastor Bob Alderman

First Baptist Church

How much time do you spend trying to impress somebody that you don’t even like? I think that one of the things that separates us from the critters is our desire to please people we may not even know. We spend countless dollars, hours and energy trying to impress people, gain their favor or just make them like us.

I have some good news for you today! Here are 4 realities we could all gain by knowing:

Reality Number one: You cannot please everybody. Jesus is the only person to walk the pathways of this earth that truly loved everyone, had compassion for everyone and never violated any part of God’s Word, and even He could not please everyone! Everyone from politicians to preachers despised Him and plotted His demise. Neither can God please everybody today! We pray for the Rattlers to win and our opponents pray that their team will win; so half will be disappointed. On any given weekend ranchers may be praying for rain while beachgoers are praying for bright sunshine. Even God cannot please everyone! Why would we believe we can do what even God cannot? You cannot please everyone; so stop trying.

Reality Number Two: You are not required to please everybody! There is no rule, law or moral imperative to please everybody you meet. We are commanded by God to love them just as we love ourselves; but we do not have to please them! This is really good news since we have already discovered that we cannot please everybody.

Reality Number Three: Being rejected by others will happen and it’s OK! Sure, rejection hurts and it usually causes us to wonder where we failed, but if we remember the first two realities we can move forward with peace. There are many, many people that we will never be best friends with, or even friendly acquaintances. Rejection may not be fun, but sometimes it is for the best! There are people out there who can quickly become destructive influences in our lives and being rejected is a very good thing for us. Quit trying to please everybody! Remember that nobody can make you feel rejected or hurt unless you give them permission to hurt you! This means we can believe this: “God likes me, and that is good enough! I like who God is forming me into and I am not going to worry about everyone else. I like who I am and if you don’t like me, then that’s your issue, not mine.”

Reality Number 4: There is only One you need to worry about pleasing! God. Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” ESV Paul knew the secret of these four realities! Paul sought only to please God in all things. Paul, like David, had a heart for God. We can all learn that our goal should be to make God smile as we grow into the Christian He created us to become.

Who are you striving to please? Review your checkbook, your calendar and your lifestyle and figure out who is most important in your life. Once you make this determination, make the changes necessary to please God. These four realities also mean that you can RELAX and be the person God has created you to be and not be drowned by the desires of everyone around you! Remember that God loves you….and so do I.

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