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Showing posts from 2010

Lord, We Want Your Presence

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Colossians 3:23 (New King James Version)23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the church, not a single person was quiet as we prepared for the Christmas program. There was a buzz of excitement and an air of expectation to make sure it was just right. The voices, the timing, the sound, the lights, the speaking parts, the costumes, everything had to be flawless.

In dress rehearsal, the choir members were lined up on the stage with care, in hopes that a crowd would soon be there. The program was nearly perfect, everyone felt good about themselves. It is awesome to see how things come together, let's listen for the applause.

The lights come up and to our amazement there is no applause. To our astonishment there is no crowd, just one lonely figure sitting about halfway back on the aisle.

As our eyes adjust to the light and begin to focus, surely not, it can't be, but it is, it is the the Lord Jesus s…

Christmas, Contentment, and Libby

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Now godliness with contentment is great gain. for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we carry nothing out. and having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
I Tim 6:6

Recently I have found myself doing something that I must confess. It is something that Caesar the Dog Whisperer certainly won't recommend. I have found myself heating up the stove, and cooking our dog Libby two scrambled eggs. That's correct! I said it and feel better about it. I know it sounds crazy, but I thought it would be a treat, some serendipity in the life of a dog.

The strangest thing has happened. Instead of saying thank you in dog language, she comes back every time as if to say, where is the rest, there must be more.

Applying that to a Christian's life, we can be that way sometimes. God blesses us, and instead of stopping to say "Thank you Lord", we have already moved on to the next thing we think God needs to do for us.

Paul wrote to Timothy, that godliness wi…

Miracle On N. Liberty St.

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After serving our fourth Annual Free Thanksgiving Day Meal for the community, my response is, "It is worth it!" I am really proud of our church as we try to better serve people with the love of Christ. You have touched many lives serving with the heart of the Master.

Last night Renee and I watched the Hallmark Presentation, "Christmas in November." In this heart wrenching story about a little girl with leukemia, the parents moved the celebration of the holidays up. It was a reminder to me that we need to celebrate Christ every day, not just a few days at Christmas or at Easter.

In the movie there was unconditional love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and families sticking together when things got tough. That is a picture of a church and what Christ does.

As you watch some of your favorite Christmas movies this year, don't forget to thank the Lord for he really is doing a Miracle on N. Liberty St., one life and one family at at time.

Merry Christmas!

The Day After

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Have you ever shopped and stood on the outside of a store, just looking in through the window. For me suits always look better on mannequins than they do on me, but I like to look. People often allude to the statement that is easy to criticize, or coach, or lead, when you are on the outside looking in. Today, the day after my birthday, I met a pastor at Applebees for lunch. The parking lot was unusually crowded for this time of the day, and then it hit me. Today is November 11th, Veteran's Day. I saw the commercial and they were blessing all Veteran's with a free lunch. It was wonderful! It was packed! My dad did not have to serve and I haven't served, so sometimes I feel like the outsider looking in when we honor our vets. I made my way to the table and we had a good meal, and as I scanned the room, there were older men and women, many with canes or walking aides. There were men my age, and a younger group as well, some in uniform. I was reminded once again that a price has…

Cats in the Cradle or Dog In The Manger

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Psalm 94:1 The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. HCSB

This photo was recently sent to me and it preaches a message without words. A stray dog had gotten into the manger of the nativity and had fallen asleep at the feet of the Christ child.

I believe that this is what the Lord Jesus wants us to do.He wants us to come close to Him, and realize that He is our safety and our shield. He is a place of refuge. as the Psalmist repeatedly reminds us.

Psalm 27: 5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. NLT

Another interesting thing to note is that the dog is at the feet of Jesus. Isn't that where we need to be as a believer, learning to walk in obedience to Him?

How do we learn to walk in obedience? By studying His Word, being a person of prayer, and following the lead of the Holy spirit in our life.

With Christmas approaching, what will you loo…

Returning to Your First Love

Today, marks the anniversary of the first date Renee and I had 32 years ago. Little did we know that we would marry after five years, just celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary. We are getting ready to see our friends for our 30th High School Reunion. Where has time gone?

God has blessed me with a great wife, she is great mom, and wow...what a mamaw she is!!!!

While the years have changed us a little physically, I believe we love each other more today than we ever have. Our love for each other has grown, and if the Lord allows, we look forward to the days ahead and sharing it with our family, and serving the Lord's church together.

When you think about your love for Christ, remember when you became a christian? Go back to the time in your mind and in your heart when you surrendered your life to Jesus. Can you remember how hot for God you were at one time, and how important it was to be active and faithful in your local church?

Jesus said to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2

You're Serious Aren't You?

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Psalm 39:4“LORD, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days,That I may know how frail I am.Recently in a devotion on Psalms by retired IMB President Jerry Rankin, Psalm 39 reminded me ofhow fragile and swift.....how short life really is. He shared that his thoughts were always focused on what was ahead of him and what he will do someday.
Aren't we all a little like that? Spiritually it can come in the form of putting off telling someone about Christ, or calling or visiting a person who has been on your mind. For me personally it can come in the form of fixing something or cleaning up something (such as the famous garage you have heard about.) One day; tomorrow; when I am on vacation; then I will will do it! You know what I mean, we all can fall into the slippery pit of "I get around to it later." I don't know about you, but I can live in that world sometimes and not think a thing about it.Dr. Rankin goes on to say, that now that he is in retiremen…

Three Dogs and Three Points

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Today I saw an unusual sight driving home. It occurred as I drove by the dog pound in Eaton. They have an outside area that allows dogs to run and let off some energy. It is a place that you can take a prospective dog to interact with it outside, even perhaps taking it home with you.

There were two dogs that first got my attention as I drove by.

These two dogs were running from one corner to another having a great time. One was chasing and the other was being chased. As I watched them head into a corner they had to veer off quickly as a third dog, a larger, lab type dog was just sitting in the corner as if he/she were in a trance, focused on something else, almost looking up.

It may seem odd, but it reminds me of the christian life.

1 As Christian we are constantly being chased by the Devil. Listen, if you are doing anything for the Lord, the Devil will not be too far behind trying to discourage you or sway you from being obedient to your Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Some Chris…

Kool Aid , Cookies, and a Billfold

Do you remember your first Vacation Bible School? Can you remember how you anticipated that cup of kool aid and two cookies each night. Mom and dad kept in their garage for a long time, the frog I made out of busted up tile pieces.

I can still recall my young days at North Dayton Baptist Church with the pastor's wife, Lois as my teacher. I loved her. She had a heart for kids and taught us with a tender compassion. One of my more memorable events took place when she shared, that the first one to quote the books of the New Testament would receive a prize. I went home, and went though the books over and over, determined to be the first.

The moment of truth came, and by the Lord's grace, I raced through the New Testament successfully. The next day I received the gift. A billfold! I was so proud to receive the gift. I think it was her way of saying that all we have belongs to the Lord, so don't forget to tithe.

Another memory took place years earlier at the Northridg…

So You Want to Be a Leader?

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James 3:1 (New King James Version) My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
In most churches, there are a lot of folks who want to be a leader, but the group really shrinks when you talk about paying the price to be a leader.
In a recent devotion by John Maxwell in his Leadership Bible, I came across these thoughts and believe they will encourage you in the area of leadership.
Many leaders want to climb the corporate ladder, hoping that freedom and power wait at the top. They don't realize that leadership really requires sacrifice. Leaders who want to rise must do more than take an occasional cut in pay; they have to give up their rights. That's true of every leader regardless of profession. Talk to any leader, and you will find he has made repeated sacrifices. The higher that the leader has climbed, the greater the sacrifices he usually has made. Effective leaders sacrifice much that is good in order to dedicate themsel…

Passing Pride?

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Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV)

Pride? I know that in Scripture, it normally refers to things that will hurt you, but is there anything wrong with being proud of your kids? If that means being proud of your baby as she walks the aisle to receive her Bachelor Degree....Guilty!! At the same time tears filled my eyes as I watched another page in life turn for our youngest. Each graduate with goals and dreams, and at the same time a world that is much different than for many of us than when we graduated. The Dean made an interesting statement. "In just a few minutes you will walk out those doors and your life will never be the same." Boy, how true is that!

If I get a job, where will it be....when will it be... will it ever be? You see even with a diploma on the wall, life is still filled with questions. Questions that we have faced, or will face in our…

Ipod Worship!

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Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.

Have you ever heard a person sing with headphones on? It can be quite entertaining. Recently I was mowing with an ipod on and realized that I was singing loudly. Loud enough for my neighbors to hear my off key harmony??? above the sound of the mower. We even shout when we talk at times.

Why do you sing? Is it because you have a good voice, think you have a good voice, or is it because you have a song in your heart?

I have decided that I like songs about Jesus! If it is glorifying God, I will praise Him for it.

When we come together to worship, it is easy to fall into the trap of singing only the songs that I like. You know, the times where you let it all out on a certain song, then just tolerate the others. When my worship goes from God to watching others, from an active participant to a spectator.

Let us be reminded that wors…

Easter Shoes

Luke 24:6-7
He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee saying, "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again."

Years ago, the popular christian group Newsong came out with the heart stirring hit, "Christmas Shoes." I imagine that most of you have heard it. It was later turned into a movie starring Rob Lowe, which began a series of movies . As I think about Easter, I should write a tune entitled "Easter Shoes."

As a boy growing up, mom would have three sets of clothes for me. School clothes, play clothes, and church clothes. Most of those years, several weeks before Easter, she would take Sheila and I to get us an Easter outfit to wear to church on that special Sunday, as we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. I thank the Lord for parents who sacrificed greatly for us.

With the purchase of a new Easter outfit would normally come a new pai…

Revival or Life Support?

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Luke 14:23 And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

In just a few weeks we welcome Evangelist Ed Newton for our Spring Revival. He has been here before and will be a great blessing if you have not heard him. Some of my fondest memories as a boy were revival services. Dad worked second shift so mom would make us go. I would fuss for a while but once we got there it was usually a great blessing. I can remember the excitement in the two churches we attended in Dayton. The singing would raise the roof and the preaching was intense. I mean, they didn't dance around the tough subjects and called sin....sin. He would preach sin destroys, hell's hot, and heaven is real. He would preach Jesus, and stand on the truth of God's Word. The altar would be a friend in a revival.
You don't hear much talk about revival anymore. I wonder why?
When we invite people, we tend to invite other Christians mos…

What's In Your Sink?

Psalm 51:7
Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Snow was going to be my theme to share about this verse, mainly due to the fact that most Ohioans have seen enough this winter, but as I was preparing to shave, the Lord simply placed a thought in my heart in regards to my spiritual life, by using a washcloth.

The water was turned on, and the cloth laid in the bottom of the sink. I was anticipating a hot, lathery shave, so I waited. As the water ran, I picked it up carefully to not get burned, but discovered the water had not heated up and the rag was saturated with cold water.

As the faucet now began to transform into warm and now hot water, I knew I needed to get rid of the cold that was retained in the cloth, so I rang it out.

Sometimes our christian lives are like wash rags. We want to be hot for God, yet we are still saturated with cold and lukewarm spiritual water. For revival to come we need to allow the Lord to ring us out so that we …

Groundhog's Day

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Corinthians 5:17 (New King James Version)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Tomorrow, February 2, is Ground Hog's Day. A great day. One, mom and dad celebrate their 53rd anniversary, and two, the title of a great movie, in which Bill Murray keeps waking up to relive the same day, over and over. After he realizes what is happening, he begins to correct mistakes he has made in the previous day. He tries to manipulate events, getting wiser and more deceptive with each new ring of the alarm clock. Regardless of what happens in a twenty four hour span, he has to start all over at 6 a.M. the next day.

What if you could go back and re-do some of the mistakes you have made in life? Would you avoid bad decisions that had cost you? What if you could wake up with a fresh start each morning?

As a christian you can, and it is not a fictitious movie, it is the promises of God's Word. When you give your life …

Haiti Heartbreak

In my lifetime there have been plenty of natural disasters and hardships, but nothing any more than what we are witnessing in Haiti. After a team from our church returned this summer, we were reminded that the folks in Haiti didn't have anything to begin with. They were thankful for anything. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

How depressing it would be to be known for what you do not have. My heart and our prayers go out to the survivors and families who have lost loved ones. Especially those who have not heard from their loved ones who may have perished or be trapped, even as I write.

Why did God allow it? If God loves us, how could he do this? These are some questions that you may soon be hearing from your friends and loved ones. How are you going to respond?

Paul wrote in the New Testament, "1 Corinthians 13:12 (The Message)
We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weath…