Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 3/27/08

Acts 19:8-10
8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

Have you ever talked to someone about God or spiritual things and felt like you were talking to a brick wall? Take heart from the example of Paul. He spent three months speaking in the synagogue and there were people there that just refused to get it. They started talking badly about him and the people who believed his message as well. But Paul continued to speak and to share for two years in the area until all had the message of the Gospel. We are not responsible to make people believe the truth, but we are responsible to share the truth with any who haven't heard.

From the Pastor's Desk Column for 3/24/08

What is the most important thing in your life? Is it your family? Is it your health? Is it a prized possession? The Bible asks us all the question, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his soul?” So I ask you again, what is the most important thing in your life?
I have a shirt that says, “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” Which is a really confusing way of saying that we should keep our priorities straight. Last week I mentioned that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. In other words, it is the “main thing” in Christianity. Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”
Yesterday, lots of people celebrated Easter, or as my kids have come to call it “Resurrection Day”. When Christ rose from the dead, it confirmed His message, His ministry and His mission. Because of the truth of the resurrection, we don't have the option of thinking of Christ as just a great teacher or a great man or a good example to follow. He has to be the main thing. Anything less is an insult to Him and to all that He said and did. He said, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”(John 12:25-26)
Back to our original question of the most important thing. I hope you see that the most important thing in life isn't our family or our health or our things at all; it is following Christ.

More Than Bread Devotional 3/26/08

Phillipians 3:15-16
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

I was reading these verses and it reminded me of my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Rogers. She managed to do something that amazed us even to this day. For that one year of my academic life, I made all "A's" in school. She had a way of motivating and drawing out potential in me that I never really understood at the time and never managed to duplicate at that level in school again(much to my Mom's dismay). Here Paul is encouraging us to live up to what we already have. This seems kind of strange until you realize the implications of it. Just like my teacher was able to get the most out of me by expecting and encouraging the best. Paul is looking to help us get the most we can by encouraging us to do the best we can. Look at his earlier admonition to press toward the goal. And in the next chapter he tells us we can do all things through Christ. Be encouraged. You can do it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional 3/25/08

Isaiah 58:2-10
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?
6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

I know this is a long one, but hang with me here. I was listening to a sermon by another pastor tonight and this thought struck me. Why is there such a disconnect in our culture between our professed love for God and our obedience of His ways? Or to put it another way, how can we say we love God when we don't keep His commandments? I spent several days witnessing to people at the Sturgis Bike Rally one year. After I shared the gospel with them, many would say, "Oh, yeah I already know that" or "Yeah I have done that"(referring to praying to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord). But the observable lifestyle of the people I was talking to led me to ask one more question. Jesus said, "If you love me you will keep my commandments"; do you keep His commandments? This usually started a great list of excuses on the part of most individuals and a list of unrealized intentions from others. But it gets to the heart of our relationship with God. I heard it said once that people will always find time to do exactly what they want to do, and I have found the same to be true in my life. What about you?

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I tried to watch the Razorbacks play today against North Carolina but it was no use. CBS here wasn't going to switch to the game and the internet feed was worthless. In fact, judging by what little I did see in the stops and starts, the feed was much like the Razorback's play in the game. Spotty and frustrating and frequently frozen in place. The audio stream part of the feed held up a little better, but the only thing more frustrating than watching the Hogs lose is having to listen to Billy Packer chime in on the whole thing. For pete's sake, can't CBS find someone better for their "A-list" team? I would rather listen to Dick Vitale yell for 40 minutes of ACC kissing up than to hear Packer do it. Ah well, perhaps next year will be better. It certainly seems like it could be.