Sunday, February 26, 2006

Patience

It's a famous saying. One that all of us have heard. Candidly, one that EVERYONE of have not only said, but said in "prayer." Here it is; "Lord, give me patience, and give it to me NOW!"

Have you ever considered the "why" of this statement, request, or demand (grin)? It is because we desire something to happen. This "something" is different everytime we make this statement or pray this prayer (come on, you've said this more than once). However, it is worth making note of the fact that whatever it is paints a picture of what is important to you right there, right at that time.

Our daughter, Christy, is expecting a baby. As of this writing she is 9+ months pregnant. She is ready to have our little grand-daughter whose name will be "Piper". Christy is ready for this little girl to be born. Christy's brother, Jonathon is ready for Piper to get here. Grandparents (that'd be Deboria and me), are ready for Piper's arrival. Great grandparents (both sets) are ready. Guess what, we are all getting impatient. ("Lord, I want patience, and I want it NOW!!")

To finish that thought, Piper will be born either when SHE decides it's time or the doctor decides it's time. For this baby, not to worry--she'll get here and we'll be excited when she does.

In considering this issue and situation, I believe the Holy Spirit has thrust my thoughts into a new realm of thinking; "Could it be that the "what" we become impatient about has much to say about the person we are?"

Being a preacher, I could write or talk all day about this question. But in the converse let me just give a couple of "thought-provoking" ideas;

1) Wonder why we are not as impatient about the eternal destination of those closest to us??
2) Wonder what it is that make us "truly" impatient? Is it selfish things? Or selfless things?
3) Why are we impatient for the "preacher to finish his 30-40 minute message and then are so patient to sit and watch a 3 hour ballgame? or show?

My challenge to you is to examine what it is which makes you impatient and be sure that it is worthy of your showing or being impatient. One of the "Fruits of the Spirit" is Patience. Think about it. Consider it. And then let's change our lives to reflect it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What Will the "Lord's Day" Bring??!!

Since coming to Hueytown Baptist Church it seems that each Lord's Day brings an event in worship and Bible Study which is both uplifting and exciting. God has been and continues to be gracious to us everytime we gather.

This coming Sunday should prove to be no different. To hear the choir, soloists, and congregation lift God's praise in song brings more than just a little joy. The understanding that "God is good all the time" and "all the time God is good" seems to radiate throughout the house. Every week seems like a "buildup" to a "pentecost" experience.

From the most senior (ah, that would be the oldest) to the most junior (well, that would be the opposite), those in attendance seems to desire a fresh encounter with Jehovah God through the presence of His Holy Spirit.

There is no better place on earth than to be with God's people, in God's house, sensing God's presence, singing God's praises, reading God's word, and hearing God's message. That thought reminds us that "it's all about Him" and not about us.

His word tells us to "be anxious for nothing", but rather, "seek first God and His Kingdom" and then "all these things will be given to you." So, let's give up the thought of "what's in it for me?" and embrace the thought, "I Love you, Lord, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength".

"Father, make it so"

Monday, February 13, 2006

You Never Know!!

Imagine my surprise as I passed through the "student area" of HBC's Sunday Morning Bible study when several students said to me, "Bro. Jerry, I read your blog." Now I guess that I knew the "younger generation" will be the one to make full use of technology, but it was a pleasant surprise to know that some of these great students took a moment to read what an "OLD PREACHER" had to write. (Thank you, girls and guys.) Even today, this truth has made me a little more thoughtful about the words which I write.

Words have a powerful influence. Whether spoken or written. When you think about it, you never know who reads or hears your words. Additionally, you REALLY don't know if what they "understood you to say" is exactly what you "meant to say".

This morning I write about this truth hoping to call us to be careful to say "good", "fun", "caring", and "uplifting" words. Let's do our best to be examples of Christ's love in both word and deed.

In the morning message yesterday I shared the Matthew 12 passage which says, "For the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart." As a general rule, what you say is birthed in your heart, your mind, your makeup.

My morning (mid-morning) encouragement to each of us is to have Christ ruling our heart that the thoughts birthed there will become words that will honor Him.
Lord, make it so.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Love and Faith

Preparing the message for the HBC evening service, I am studying 1 Thessalonians 3:6ff. The more I study God's word, the more it becomes apparent that God and His word is nothing if it is not consistent. I matters not where you jump in the message will be truthful, built on the same principles, and exude the same message.

When Timothy returned to Paul from Thessalonica he brought a report 'about their love and faith'. It was a glowing report about their "memories of the Apostle Paul and His team" and about how strong and firm they were in "faith and love".

This scripture causes me to wonder - "what if some one came to investigate me or this congregation? what kind of report would they return with?" Seems to me, this question is one which is the most apropo of all the questions we could ask.

Faith is seen in our actions and activities. It is seen in the way we live our lives. It is seen in the things to which we hold fast, the things we believe in.

Love is seen in our treatment of others. To demonstrate "agape" or God's unconditional love requires that we have "experienced" this love through a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Thus the two are intertwined. Love and Faith. Faith and Love. Matters not which order - what matters is this: Are they seen in my life? Dear Lord, Please make it so.

Monday, February 06, 2006

A Day - Not My Best

It is always interesting to me that when God grants a tremendous blessing, old Satan sticks his ugly head up in an attempt to distract and downplay the blessings of God. After such a tremendous blessing of God yesterday as we "Celebrated Super Sunday"...It has seemed that everything I have attempted has fallen short today.

Today, I spoked to the "Minister's Conference" and somehow never sense God's spirit during the entire message. Trying to study today - I have had one mental distraction after another.

However, greater is He who is in me that he who is in the world. I may lose a battle every now and then - but the war is already won. Thank you Jesus, for the victory I find when I kneel at the cross. I remember those words from an old gospel song which I heard sung at a funeral many years ago. They assist me on days like today. Here they are (just the chorus);

"I find victory, real victory when I kneel at the cross,
Lost in the beauty of its holiness there.
Bond are broken, hearts mended,
Doubts driven, spirits lifted,
I find victory when I kneel at the cross."

"Thank you Lord for the daily victory that I find in you"

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A "Super Day"

Once again the "Lord's Day" has come and gone. It seems that "each Sunday" is more special than the last. Today was an absolute "Super Sunday".

In the Lord's house we shared in Bible Study that was exciting and where classrooms were full. Bro. Rick, the HBC Worship Minister did a "fantabulous" job of leading us to the very "Throne of Grace" in worship. The message for the day entitled "Bragging Rights" (from our 1 Thessalonians study entitled, "The Model Church") spoke directly to our hearts and then to top it off--Welcoming a new couple and a young boy into the fellowship was wonderfully refreshing.

When we thought it couldn't get any better, the Mark Trammell trio setup and more of heaven came down. After today, it is obvious what the Psalmist David meant when he wrote these words, "My cup runneth over" or to say it another way, "My cup overflows".

How about a prayer: "Lord, never let us take for granted the blessings which you send to us. May each blessing motivate us not only to love you more, but out of the "overflow of our hearts", share your gospel, grace, and love, with everyone we meet. Keep us focued on touching with your gospel those who need you. Thank you for your love.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

WHAT A DAY!!

For the past 24 hours my wife, Deb, and I were on a trip with the College and Career from the church. Talking about being reminded of how "OLD" I've gotten. It was "fun" with these guys and gals just listening to them talk and "hang out". Candidly, there is probably not a better group of young people than these - and we (as least "I") had a great time.

There is one overriding truth which I gleaned from this Alabama College/Career Evangelism Conference and that is: This young generation is truly developing a heart for the Lord, a passion for learning how to live out this faith, and a desire to discover HOW TO share it. Today, my prayer is that we, as the generation just ahead of them, can learn some of the truths which these students have embraced.

As the conference drew to a close, several hundred of these students made a public committment (in writing) to walk closer with Christ, to be more concerned about their lost friends and family, and to share Christ more effectively and efficiently.

My prayer is: "Father, please give these student the courage and the endurance to stay with the commitments which they have placed on the altar for you. And give us who are presently charting the course for the congregation a similar passion for those who need to know you. Help us see our world through the "BI-FOCAL" lens of "those who know you" and "those who need to know you". AMEN!

Friday, February 03, 2006

God is Good all the time

This past month has been an incredible month! God has been so good to us as we have opened a new chapter in the lives of the Watts family and Hueytown Baptist Church. Obviously, God has great plans for this people.

One of the most encouraging signs which I, as the Senior Pastor, see is the level of Spiritual sensitivity which is evident in the members of HBC. It is consistently heard in the hallways of these buildings that someone is "mentoring" a non-believer. Watching those mentors leads their friends down the road, step by step, to faith in Christ is exciting!!

On Wednesday night, to have Bro. Lee Thomas teach us about "prayer" and to see the huge number of people which came to learn (coupled with the fact that many or most had read the book at least once) is also a sign that God is "up to something" in our midst.

My prayer today is this; "Lord, help us get "in on" what you're "up to." AMEN.

Whisper a prayer for the VBS workers who are in Nashville and the College/Career Students who are in Montgomery this weekend.

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