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December 12, 2014, 8:13 AM

So Much to Do, So Much Time?

Have you ever been overwhelmed with a task that seems monumental, or get impatient with the rate of your progress?

As a pastor that is just beginning at a new church, I have to remember to bed patient.  There are so many things that I want to accomplish, so much I want to see done, and so many people I want to reach out to, that it can sometimes be downright overwhelming.  If I am not careful and remember to be patient and wait on the Lord, it can even be frustrating and discouraging.  

In our Christian walk with God and spiritual growth, the same thing can happen.  As we grow in Christ, there are times when we sin, fail and fall down spiritually that we get discouraged with our what we perceive as a lack of spiritual progress.  Sometimes we may feel like our knowledge of the Bible or spiritual matters is not what it should be.  Or we lose our temper or get into a pointless argument and wonder if we will ever reach an acceptable level of spiritual maturity.  There are even times when we seem to lack the faith in a matter of prayer or during a crises of life and wonder, “what is wrong with me?”

Can I encourage you with a thought and verse of scripture that the H.S. encouraged me with today?  

Philippians 1:6

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"

Christian, God is not finished with you yet.  Understand that both our spiritual progress and my task as a pastor are both processes that take time.  God does not expect you nor me to immediately be a completed product.  In fact it is impossible for that to take place.  He will not be done with us, nor will we be done with our tasks on this earth until He takes us home to Heaven and perfects us according to His promise.  Until then he is molding and making us to that end, one step at a time.  Yes, we should be growing, yes we should be making progress.  when we fail and fall we must repent and ask God to help us.  But, always remember that He goes with us step by step and will forgive and restore us and keep us moving in the direction He has for our life.

Don’t get in to much of a hurry but wait on the Lord!  He began the good work in us and He will complete it!  




December 11, 2014, 8:44 AM

Don't Live by Presumption; Live by Faith!

Satan tried to convince Jesus to use Satan's means to accomplish God's purposes.

Matthew 4:6a "And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time though dash thy food against a stone."

Jesus understood that this would be acting on presumption and not living by faith.  It would be attempting attempting God's work with the world's methods.  Often times the worlds ways seem easier and quicker, but in the end they will fail.  Living by faith means that we may not always understand or see how things will work themselves out, but we believe without first seeing, that they will.

Remember, the world looks for spectacular displays, but God uses a holy life that is lived by faith not presumption.

 




December 10, 2014, 8:14 AM

Waking Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed

 

I think I may have woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed.  Here is how it all started:

1.  My youngest son decided to yell for me to “turn on his lamp” about 15 minutes before my alarm was to go off.

2.  My children decided to be especially loud this morning and despite all waking up early, procrastinated in getting ready for school, doing everything from taking 15 minutes to put on shoes, to refusing to put on a jacket even though there was frost on the ground, to watching T.V. (a normal no-no before school) when they were not even ready to go to school yet.

3. (And this may be the worst yet) I stopped at QT on this cold morning to get a hot cup of Pumpkin spice Cappuccino, paid for it before I poured it and then realized that they were out of pumpkin spice cappuccino.

Needless to say I was not happy, a little disgruntled and had a poor attitude.  

Then just before I got to church, I saw a rabbit running along side the road. He was hopping at a furious pace and then paused for a brief moment beside a squirrel that apparently had been hit by a car.  In the moment that the rabbit paused, a hawk swooped in and ensnared the distracted rabbit in its claws and in a blink of an eye flew away with its prey.  It was in a word breath-taking to behold.  And then it hit me…

The Bible says that the Devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  He is just waiting for us to become distracted by things that are most often outside of our control, so that he can swoop in and pick us off.  Just like the hawk did to that rabbit.

Christian, we live in a world that God has given us.  We have breath in our lungs that God has given us.  We have a new day to wake up to and serve Him and enjoy that God has given us.    We have blessings that we often take for granted, like children which God has given us.  We have money to buy coffee and a job to pay us the money so that we can buy coffee (even if it is not the flavor we wanted) which God has given us.  And as we run through our brief time in this world that we call but is not our home, let us give thanks to God for His many blessings.  Let us keep our eyes on Him and on the task He has set before us.  And in doing so we may avoid being picked off by the devil in a moment of distraction.  

God forgive me, your servant when I whine, when I grumble and when I complain.  

 



December 9, 2014, 10:00 AM

Not In Our Own Strength

Zechariah 4:6

"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying,  This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, sayeth the Lord of hosts.

God's word came to His people at a critical time.  They had been captured and exiled in Babylon for 70 years.  During which they had witnessed the most powerful empire in the known world   They had watched as the Babylonian army captured and defeated nation after nation. They had seen the wealth and influence of the Babylonian King.  When Babylon was conquered by Persia, they saw an even more powerful nation emerge and they must have felt inadequate and helpless before their strength and might.  They lost hope and heart in light of their own lack of strength, resources and numbers.  

When the Israelites were allowed to return home, they found their country and cities in ruins.  They saw their magnificent temple destroyed and their city walls torn down.  It must have been overwhelming for them. As they realized the enourmous task of rebuilding before them along with their own lack of ability and supplies they must have become greatly despondant, even to the point of giving up altogether.  

Then came God's Word.  God gave them instructions to rebuild and the promise that they would rebuild their home.  But it would not be in their own strength, abilities and resources that it would be accomplished, but rather by His Spirit that it would be done.  

Christian, we too are in a critical time.  We live in a world that is desperate in it's need for the saving love of Jesus Christ.  There will be times when the work we are called to as His people, will seem impossible.  There will be times when realize our own lack of numbers, resources and strength especially when compared to the enormous task that lay ahead.  If we look to our own strength, or own power, resources and abilities, we will be discouraged.

I can only imagine how the past 1 1/2 years has been discouraging at times.  But looking back over the 150+  year history of Pleasant Hill, you have seen time and time again how our mighty God has provided, especially during the lean years.  It is those times that have seen the mighty hand of God so evident that will increase your faith.  

Moving forward, the work that God has called us to do will not be easy.  There is much to do at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and in our community.  We must get busy about his business because the clock is ticking.    As we do the work together, we must also remember that we do not work in our strength but in God's.  

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and we must keep our eyes off of our limited abilities and on to God and trust in Him.  As long as we are united while we work and rely in the strength of God's spirit, we have all that we will ever need.  

 



December 7, 2014, 8:40 PM

Sunday Sermon Summed Up in 3 Statements


Acts 1:1-14
1. Friend, don’t doubt the truth of life and work of Jesus Christ; He lived died and rose again and was seen by over 500 individuals over the course of 40 days and 11 documented appearances.

2. Church, be united; God called you together for the purpose of praying, encouraging and serving the cause of Christ to a needy world.

3. Christian, don’t just stand there waiting for Christ to return; He will return one day, but in the mean time Christ has called you to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


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