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Showing posts from 2013

The Tune of the Unknown

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 I love Calvin Miller’s title for today’s Advent Devotion from his book, "The Christ of Christmas."
The Tune of the Unknown.Years ago Renee and I visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virgina and stood at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was powerful display of discipline, patriotism, and gratitude. The message to us was that there will be no man or women who has served our country forgotten.
Luke 1:51-53 (NKJV)
51  He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52  He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53  He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent  away empty.

The high and mighty rarely seek God’s help, so most of His work is done by those with less reputation.

It doesn’t appear in Scripture that Mary saw herself as an almighty saint, but as a person of lowly status.God was the Great One. Only He was mighty, exalting those of low degree.Most of the great bible her…

I Don't Belong

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Today I attended the funeral service of a friend and colleague in ministry, Fifty nine year old Pastor Rick Shoemaker. He would have turned sixty this Sunday.  Rick pastored the First Baptist Church of New Carlisle, Ohio for thirty four years. While we were not in weekly communication, we did touch base periodically.  At one time Rick was even considering becoming the Associational Missionary for our Association. He was always kind, and gracious.  As you see from his picture, he usually had a smile.

His  memorial service was absolutely packed with family, his church, and many friends and fellow pastors. Those that spoke , spoke passionately about the impact he had made on their lives.  He invested in people! His life, and even in his death, he has reminded this pastor that you really never know the impact or the reach of the ministry that God has place us in, or me in.  A Missionary from Thailand I believe preached the sermon and it was powerful!  Love his thought when he opened to R…

Home

Lost! Do you ever spend part of your time dealing with the word lost?  I don't know about you, but I spend many minutes a day looking for misplaced things or lost things.  The urgency of the search depends on what value I place on what is actually missing.Luke 19:10 (NKJV) for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."If Jesus came to save us from being lost, there must be some place we are supposed to be. That place is in a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. What value God places on you.  He loves you and me and died so that we could be found, be saved!

Today marks another loss in our personal lives.  Twenty nine years ago today, Renee's dad, Floyd Smith said goodbye to a great family and a cancer stricken body and went home to be with the Lord.  Today as we remember him, I thank God for the great daughter he handed to me thirty years ago to take care of as my wife. He would be so proud of her. 

Today I am now a father i…

TenTwo

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Flag Poles and Prayer

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On this See You at the Pole Wednesday, students across the nation gather around a flag pole to pray and ask God for his blessing in their lives, this nation, and our school campuses. O. Hallesby writes," Listen my friend! Your helplessness is your best prayer.  It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas.  He hears it from the very moment that you are seized with helplessness, and He becomes actively engaged at once in hearing and answering the prayer of your helplessness.  He hears today as He heard the helpless and the wordless prayer of the man sick with palsy."
   As a nation we turn to God when tragedy hits.  When we have a national crisis we are all about prayer from the White House down. It is during these times that we get it.  There is no other place to turn to find comfort for the hour, and hope for the future.  Jesus Christ is the answer friends, do you know Him as your Savior?Jesus said, "Peace I

Happy 30th to my girl!

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Today Renee and I celebrate our 30th Anniversary. What a blessing to be able to travel this journey with such a great wife, mom, and memaw! God knew what I would need when He was shaping me to be a pastor.  We have been blessed with a great family and I am honored and humbled to pastor a great church.  It is exciting to think of the days ahead.  Let us be faithful to the call!
Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
Vv. 28-30 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29"Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all." 30Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. 
Thank you Lord!

Back to Something!

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I love this time of the year.  College Football and the Ohio State Buckeyes are certainly two reasons, but they are only two of many things that I appreciate. Leaves, pumpkins, marching bands, Pork Festival, Black Walnut Festival!  It is a time for kids to go back to school, a time for farmers to harvest crops, and a time for many after being away during the summer to get back to church. 
   We have designated September 8th as Back to Church Sunday.  That seems to be a little odd just saying it, but we live in a day where we must make choices and my prayer for our church family and for my family is that we choose to worship and to make that choice a priority. I am excited about our new Bible Studies for LifeSunday School that we relaunch on September 1.  All of our age groups  looking at the same lesson together weekly.  The beginning study of James will set the tone for a great quarter of ministry and discipleship together.  I hope you will join us for Sunday School or perhaps it…

Joy in the Journey

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As we prepare for a family vacation.  This time it is a little different. Since our last trip to the beach as a family, we have added a grandson, Drew and Ashley's second,  and Stacy's husband Kyle.  The anticipation for a trip all boils down to arriving at your destination.  While that is true, I want to slow down and take in the joy in the journey to get there.  The laughs, memories, and sometimes best sermon illustrations actually come from the journey itself. I am going to be looking for those kind of things on this trip, this adventure!

As a Christian, I pray you are finding joy in the journey of serving the Lord.  God gives us something to celebrate, and that is a peace that the world cannot produce.

This summer slow down a step or two and take a look around.

One Step At A time

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I hope you were part of the viewing audience that watched Nic Wallenda walk the tightrope over 1400 feet across a section of the Grand Canyon. To make it even more sensational, he did it without a tether or any kind of safety device. If that weren’t enough, he prayed and praised the Lord all the way across with a microphone that went out to the world that was watching. You talk about a public testimony.I have come to find out that this is nothing new for him to pray and talk to the Lord as he performs. When asked if he got into trouble on the tightrope what would he do, he said, “He would go to the rope as a point of safety.” At one point he told his dad that he didn’t want to talk to anyone.It was just him, His heavenly Father, and his earthly father. Our rope of safety as a Christian is in the Divine Hand of a Sovereign God.When the winds of life knock us off balance, the Lord is there to steady us and to hold us.
Nic Wallenda’s feat reminds us all that the Christian w…

A Prayer on Mother's Day 2013

Lord, Mother's day is one of my favorite Sundays.  Help me to recognize and preach with a tender heart as I minister to folks in different stations of life and relationships with their moms.  To the moms in attendance, I want to encourage them. To those whose moms  are living, I want to challenge them to take steps of communication. We have several who have recently lost their mothers.  Help me to love that person in a tender way tomorrow.  To the many who have buried their mothers  help me through Your power to rally that person to remember the special memories that each one has of their sweet mother. Help me not to pretend that I know how they feel.  I still have my mom.  To the mothers that have lost children,  help me preach with boldness from Scripture that heaven is real and that reunions will take place one day.
   Lord, thank you for my wonderful mom. While she is away tomorrow, her love and my gratitude will be forever tucked in my heart. This is the first …

Lord Help Me See Clearly

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Anyone who has ever worn glasses or gotten a new prescription for a different pair knows what it is like to adjust to them. Many of us have come out of the optical store high stepping our way to the car.

This new pair of progressive lens actually has far, mid, and reading ranges.  It is amazing what a small tilt of the eye or head changes.  In our Christian lives this is a good application. Oh how we long to see God up close  in our lives working, but for some reason it seems a little out of focus, a bit cloudy.

Maybe I need to fix my eyes on His Word more and lock in to what He is saying and wanting for my life.  It is easy to look around and become a little disoriented by what the world is throwing at us, but when fixed on the Word of God, on the Lord Jesus, regardless of how tough life gets, there is a hope and Someone who will stick closer than a brother.

Our Gang?

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Over the weekend we had our two grandsons Aiden (3) and Eli(1) nicknamed Wreck It Ralph. Over the course of our time together, Aiden and I decided to start a club.  It would be exclusive, we would hand pick who could be in it.  It would be named the "Pistol Pete Club" due to our, I mean my love of the great past Basketball star who is now in heaven, and that I refer to Aiden with this nickname.

I asked Aiden who could be the first one in our exclusive club, and he said "MEMAW"! I forgot to tell him it was a boys club, but Memaw superseded the by laws and jumped to the top of the of list.

Sometimes when I look at the church in America today, we act exclusive.  What I mean is that we act as if some folks can be part of us and others can't. Part of us indicating that we are somehow more important than actually being a Christian. As if the church is for exclusive people.
The Gospel is for you and me and the Bible reminds us that we are all sinners.

Romans 3:10-11 As i…

Holy Land Blessing!

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I sit here today in Nashville reflecting on the recent trip that the church blessed me with to Israel. A trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land!  Over the past 20 years the church has blessed me with many things, but this trip may have been the greatest investment they have ever made.

It was so much more than I expected.You mean I expected something less? I based this assumption on it not being what I thought it would be based on reports from other people who have visited. You simply have to see it for your self to as the Bible comes alive in a new way that will never be forgotten either in my mind or sermon.

As it all impacted me, the Garden Tomb was where I was overwhelmed with great emotion as we read the Biblical account and shared communion as believers.

To walk where Jesus walked and to stand in the synagogue ruins where He taught, it has etched images in my mind that will forever change the way I preach. to walk down the rough steps to the dungeon where Jesus was beaten  was a me…