Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SUMMER RAINS

I love summer rains. They make things grow. They clean the air. Green grass gets greener. Flowers brighten. Dust washes away. Yards glow. Forests sparkle.

Spiritual rains do similar works. They water the soul. They refresh and cleanse. They renew for growth. They clean the heart.

Dry times come, but the rains come again.

God has promised rain. He promised the rain of the Holy Spirit.

The promise is to all who are hungry and thirsting. The promise is for the dry soul.

So open your soul. Look to the rain. Let it rain. Let it rain. Let it rain.

Right now. Let it rain.

Monday, June 27, 2011

FEEDING THE FLOCK

God has called me to preach and offer spiritual care as a pastor. I love it, and I am thankful for His call on my life. My job has many and varied dynamics and responsibilities. Today I will spend time praying, studying, managing, ministering, etc. It is daily.

One aspect that is incredibly fulfilling is preaching His Word and feeding the flock. Now, it should be noted that people don't do well physically if they only eat one or two times a week, and neither do people do well spiritually if they only eat once or twice a week at church. We need spiritual food daily so people do have a personal responsibility to feed themselves.

Yet, pastors are to preach The Word and feed the flock.

How do you do it?

I try to hear from God, study His Word, feed my soul, and prayerfully prepare and preach The Word. I have actually had one person say that a sermon I had preached years ago that the sermon was the best they had ever heard, and I have had another person say that the same sermon was the worse sermon they had ever heard.

Go figure? I guess the answer is found in need and maybe in heart. We we need specific words from a message then it has personal and maybe profound meaning. It we don't have a heart with good soil ready to receive then the Word may never take root.

Yesterday I preached from James 5 and my topic was "The Power of Patience." I told the people that good things happen to people who wait and endure. I pray it was a blessing. Several told me that they needed to hear that message. Thankfully, no one told me it was the worse sermon they had ever heard.

Today I am preparing other sermons for the week to preach. May God help me to be a faithful pastor and feed the flock well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A VISIT TO FRIENDSHIP FOUNTAIN


Jacksonville has some "cool" things to do and "cool" places to go. I have always enjoyed the St. Johns River walk downtown. Eating at The Landing is a nice thing to do too. There is something relaxing about water and eating a meal on the river.

Now there is an added attraction since the city has restored Friendship Fountain.

The fountain and park were designed by Jacksonville architect Taylor Hardwick in 1963 and opened in 1965. The fountain's three pumps could push 17,000 gallons of water per minute up to ten stories in height. Friendship Fountain remained one of Jacksonville's signature attractions through the 20th century, but severe corrosion and deterioration to the equipment resulted in periodic closures in the 2000s. The city just completed a $3.2 million renovation to the fountain and the surrounding park.

Wednesday night after church, Wanda and I took the grands and Julie and Jennifer done to see the newly restored fountain. It is fantastic and worth the time to go.


It has spectacular lights and music and many different variations of water spray. It is soothing and captivating. We all enjoyed as you can see.

And it is free!

Did you know that free is better than cheap?

Now, I am not cheap, but free entertainment gets my attention.

And the grands are the grandest entertainment.

Watch the video below and enjoy!

video

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A HOUSE FULL



We have six of our seven grandchildren here in our house for the week. All are 11 years old or younger. Now that is a busy house with busy kiddies.

Wanda is one loving Nana. They all love her dearly as she tries to keep the ship upright and right. How many times has she gone to the grocery store? How many towels and clothes have been washed? How many dishwasher loads have been unloaded? The list goes on.


This is an unusual opportunity for us. One grandson is not here. I wish all could have been together. I guess that is a hard thing to do.




They are good kiddies with good hearts. They soak everything in and push to do more and more. Life is full.

I took all six by myself to the hands-on museum Monday afternoon. The car was full. They had a ball, and I had the best of time watching our grands enjoy themselves. It gave Nana a break as well as Julie and Jennifer.

Summer is the time for grands. They are just that. GRAND!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

Yesterday I enjoyed a wonderful Father's Day.

The girls, Julie and Jennifer, are here along with their kiddies. They were all in church with me. That is special.

Wanda cooked a delicious lunch with a fabulous chocolate pie. Wow! Fantastic!

The only thing that could have made it better would have bee to see my own father too. I did wish him a Happy Father's Day by phone. I am so blessed to have wonderful parents who have incredible faith and love. 

I preached a message for Father's and pray my words will help dad's to lead their families in the knowledge of the Lord. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.

Someone said the children love their moms but they follow their dads. I think there is some truth there. I pray my children will see Jesus in me and want to serve Him with all their hearts. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

FAMILY TIME

Jennifer is home with her kiddies, Claudia and Lorenzo, and we are having a ball with them and Julie and her boys, Alex and Nic. We headed to the Smokies the beginning of this week and have enjoyed being with family. We are having a ball!

We have gone white water rafting, horse-back riding, mountain trail riding, swimming at the lake, hiking, playing in the streams, and eating, eating, eating! I didn't do all of this, but I have eaten at every appointed meal-time.

The most special time has been the spiritual time. We have sung worship songs, read the Bible, prayed together, and generally had church. It has been fantastic. I have especially been thrilled to watch my daughters and grands worship God and read the Bible and pray together.

We have seen God answer so many prayers in our family. God is a prayer answering God.

Thursday we hiked in the Joyce Kilmer Forrest. Alex, my grandson, lost his newly-made sling shot somewhere on the trail. He asked if I would backtrack with him to find it. We looked and looked. Finally he found it.

He told me, " Papa, I prayed that the Lord would help me find it. I turned my headed and there is was."

God is a prayer answering God. It thrilled me that Alex would pray over this need, and that it gave God credit for helping him find his sling-shot.

Thank God for a prayer believing, prayer practicing family.

Prayer works.

God makes family time fantastic!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

THE GLORY OF GOD

I see His glory.

It is all around. Look around. Look up. Praise Him. He is alive. Listen to His glory. Do you hear a little bird? Do you see the sun's rays? Does the moon glimmer in your night?

His glory speaks in all of His creation.

His glory is manifest.

Just listen. Just look.

He is real.

Monday, June 13, 2011

OUCH! THAT HURT!

Ever hurt your little toe?

Ever break it?

I think I broke my little toe on my right foot Saturday morning. I was hurrying out to the garage and stumped my little toe. Wow! That hurt bad. To be honest I hadn't thought about the little guy at all recently. No reason to until I stumped it. Man did that ever hurt.

So why write about little toes? Glad you asked.

Because I learned again that the one of most unthought-of parts of my body is important. It took tripping over a set of work-out weights for me to notice the little toe, but I did when it wasn't working so good.

The point is that we often take little things and "little" people for granted. But Paul said that everyone is important in the body. Every family member has a place and is needed.

Over and over I have learned that in church life. Janitors, nursery workers, sound personal, yard workers, and many others never get the accolades, but that are vital parts. And what about seniors? They have a vital part too. Regretfully, we don't give them enough place in today's church.

So, my little toe got my attention. It took some pain, but I am going to treat the little guy better. I hope that I will treat others better too.

Friday, June 10, 2011

WORTH THE WAIT

Good things are worth the wait.

My thoughts have been directed toward the command of our Lord for the 500 present when He ascended to wait for the promise of the Father. That promise was the gift of the Holy Spirit. Only 120 waited, but since then untold millions have received the gift.

I was 13 when I received the gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I had prayed and waited on the Lord many times before I finally received. I have never been drunk in my life. I have never drank strong drink. But I was drunk on the new wine of heaven. They had to literally hold me up to help me to my cabin at the youth camp where I was attending. It was the new wine from above.

I began to speak a language I did not know. It was powerful transforming in my life. It was definitely worth the wait as I tarried for the Father's promise.

Pentecost is real. It is real in my heart and life. Praise God for the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is real. It is real. It is real.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WILL YOU WAIT?

Only 120 of the 500 who heard our Lord's command to wait for the promise of the Father to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit actually obeyed. That is not even 1/3. Would you have been in that 2/3 group who did not obey our Lord? Are you today in that 2/3 group who still disobey our Lord?

Waiting if not a likable event. No one wants to wait. We don't want to wait for anything.

Yet, waiting on the Lord is one of the most powerful experiences in life. Think of it for a moment. To wait for the infilling of the Holy Spirit is the single most incredible event in a person's life after salvation.

Why should we wait?

The Lord said to.
To try to live without the power of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is like trying to drive a car with no motor. Or like flying a plane with no engine.

There is power in the Holy Spirit. There is wind and fire. That is the promise.

So wait this week before the Lord and receive new power from heaven. Receive the fire and wind. You will soar high and go far.

Will you wait?

Monday, June 6, 2011

JUST WAIT

This is Pentecost Week. After our Lord's Ascension, He told the 500 who witnessed Him rising into heaven to wait for the Promise of His Father. Luke notes that only 120 obeyed His directive.

How typical, people don't enjoy waiting.

Give me what I want now is the name of our game. But waiting offers several prospects. It can fine tune us. It helps us focus. It allows opportunity for none essentials to be left by the board.

Waiting on God renews our strength. It draws us closer to Him. Waiting on God makes us turn full attention upon Him.

So what are you waiting on? Money? Vacation? Retirement? A new position? A new car, or house, or boat?

Maybe you need those things. Maybe you don't, but one thing I do know is that waiting on God is essential. You wait for doctors, and red lights, and payday. Can't you wait on God?

Friday, June 3, 2011

DOES GOD HEAL TODAY?

I believe in Divine healing.

I believe that Jesus heals sick bodies today. There are many stories that I could tell about miraculous healing and answers to prayer. Yet, there are many who remain sick even though they have asked the Lord for healing. I have preached the funerals of many precious saints who died from extended sickness and some who died suddenly and unexpectedly.

How do we answer the question of the critic or skeptic or doubter about why all sick people who pray aren't healed immediately? I certainly don't have a simple answer or solution. Yet, again, I know God heals.

Sometimes there may be a lack of faith, or sin, or other hindrances. But this I know, when we asked God for forgiveness or humbly acknowledge our lack of faith, God is faithful and forgives and helps with our disobedience or lack of faith. He doesn't play games with us. He loves us too much for that.

To be real honest, I don't know why every sick person who prays and asks for healing is not healed. I have learned to trust the Lord in this matter. It is for us to pray, to pray in faith, to be obedient, and to trust. Beyond that, we have to rest in a loving, faithful God.

Read John 9. It has some answers in that God allows some sickness for His glory. Ultimately, all will be healed who truly trust in the Lord. Everyone will be whole and well in heaven. There will be no sickness there. There will be no pain.

Until then, I will keep praying for the sick and believing in Him. I can trust in His loving care.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

FAITHFUL

Love is faithful. It doesn't quit. It stands strong through good and bad.

I grieve at some of the shallow commitments that are espoused by some in high places. They proclaim dead raising faith but fail to live their faith in relational living. Their marriages don't work. Their life is imbalanced. Their walk isn't stable.

But they have "success" and "prosperity".

I choose another type of faith.

I choose a brand that is faithful in its faith. It might not fly in corporate jets, and it might not dine in the gourmet restaurants of the world. It might not have the largest bank account. It probably will not have the acclaim of the masses. It might not move the largest mountains, but it maintains its position.

But faith that is faithful will hear the most important words that good ever be spoken to an individual, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Faith that isn't faithful is arrogant boasting. It is self deceiving. It has the wink and blessing of the devil.

Oh God, help me. Help us to be counted faithful.