Monday, April 20, 2009

Saddest Story

In my job recently I interviewed a party concerning a friend who had died. It was one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. In getting information, I asked several pertinent questions. When I asked about family...this individual had none. His real parents were dead. He had no children...only an adopted dad from out of state. When I asked about his faith or a church...not only did he not have one, but I was told he hated churches and preachers. He was paranoid of everyone. A service was not planned because, in the words of the party being interviewed, "Nobody would come anyway." So a direct cremation was ordered.

The more I thought about this, the more I saw what a thief Satan is. He had virtually stolen everything valuable and meaningful to life from this man. It appeared to me that he had also stolen any joy, hope or victory over death. is a precious gift. Live it fully and do not let anything steal it from you. You can only live life with the hope of God living within your heart. Make Jesus Lord of your life. Turn from sin and begin to live. You will find hope, joy, friends and life eternal. That is what it is all about. Life really is too short to live miserable. Live it with Jesus!!

Have a blessed day in Him.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Mushroom Christians

This is the time of year when folks, myself included, look for mushrooms. The spring rain and warmer temps produce the Morel mushrooms that are excellent table fare. If you've never tried 'em, you should check it out! This last week I found some nice one's and Trish fried them up for me. Yummy!!

The thing about mushrooms is that when the conditions are just right, they pop up overnight. Almost as quickly, the mushroom season ends and they are gone. This scenario reminds me of many Christians that I have known. I'd like to think of them as 'Mushroom Christians'.

Mushroom Christians usually don't show up until conditions are just perfect to suit them. If it is a big event, or a service that involves a dinner afterward, or the weather is really nice, or, or, or.....they pop out for the occasion. But, Mushroom Christians disappear when the 'heat' is on and the conditions are unfavorable. When there is work to be done, or forgiveness to be handed out, or the weather is rainy and cold..or, or, or....they are no where to be found. "Mushroom Christianity" is weak and cannot make a real difference.

The folks who really matter to the Kingdom, are thick skinned, can bloom when conditions are unfavorable, are the same no matter whether things are perfect or horrible. These kinds of Christians don't have to be poked, stoked or provoked to be faithful month in and month out! Psalm 1 describes these Christians as trees and not mushrooms.

So much for mushrooms! They are for a short season and then they are gone. Trees stay rooted....remaining the same in the heat, cold, fair weather and through the storms of life. Lord, help us all to be trees and not meaningless mushrooms.

Be blessed.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Great Weekend Despite the Rain

Easter Sunday was really special. I was afraid it would be a downer because of all the rain. It rained like crazy all morning and basically all day. Despite the weather, so many people turned out to worship the Lord and to celebrate the resurrection.

It was so gratifying to see the church filled with people from all walks of life. There were so many guests there. I truly hope they will return again and again after getting a taste of such inspirational worship. I heard a lot of positive remarks from many people.
They were impressed by the worship, the children's program and the kindness of the people. I can't say much for the preaching...ha!

Anyway, God is soooo good! I thank Him for the progress and the destiny of NLT. 375 people may not be the largest crowd in town...yet. But it is well on its way!! We are witnessing a miracle week after week as new people are coming and being blessed by a church full of genuine people, free from religious baggage and wanting only a relationship with the Lord. All the credit and praise belongs to God for His Grace to us all.

Let me know your thoughts on Sunday's service.

Pastor T

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dead 'In' or Dead 'To'

Scripture reminds that we were dead in our former life of trespasses and sins. In this context we understand that sinners are dead to the things of God. The natural man cannot receive the things of God because it carries within itself, the death of sin. Sinners cannot hear, feel, know, understand righteousness because they are dead to these things.

The flip side of this coin is the need for a child of God to be dead, but in a different sense. Instead of being dead in our sins, we are to be dead to our sins. Part of our faith in Christ is to identify with His death by repenting of our sins and 'dying' to all the things that displease God. We are instructed to take up our own cross and follow Jesus. That means there are some things unique to you and me that will destroy us if we do not destroy them.

I have witnessed so many people who profess righteousness, but obviously have not died to sin. They wear their righteous robes, as it were, but they also wear their gossiping tongue, their desire for revenge, their perpetual hatred none of which has been crucified with Christ. No amount of religious rhetoric is a substitute for actual life in Christ. Religion is a poor substitute for relationship. It really a matter of life and death.

This Easter, as we celebrate the life of Jesus, let me encourage you to become dead to the things of sin, and become totally alive to the things of God. At the end of the day we are either alive to God or... to ourselves and to sin. Let this resurrection be to Godliness, righteousness and true purity. What makes you active mentally, emotionally and spiritually? The answer to this may help you comprehend what makes you live. Your stimuli is a clue to whether or not you are alive and/or dead to the right things or not. Happy Easter.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Crucifixion Precedes Easter

The story of Easter is so thrilling. To think our Lord Jesus came back from the grip of death to proclaim eternal life forever more!
Before we celebrate Easter, we must look death in the face. Not just any death either. The death of Jesus was perhaps the most gruesome death know to man.

Crucifixion was a death by torture. Being stretched out on a rugged tree and nailed to it by your hands and feet is heinous at least. Such was the death of my Saviour. It was not the nails that killed our Lord, but He was asphixiated. He had to lift Himself on his feet to be able to breath. When He hung by His hands, the weight of His body would not allow Him to inhale. Slowly the carbon dioxide builds up in the blood stream.

At last a soldier came by and punctured the fluid sac that surrounds the heart. The Bible records that from that wound came forth blood and water. Such was the price of my salvation. The Lamb of God became the perfect remedy for sin. What a horrible death the Son of God submitted to in order to purchase those who would come to Him through faith.

Jesus, I thank you for your death. It was the ultimate ingredient for my salvation. Before their can be a resurrection, we must first go by the cross and remember the death of our Lord. Take some time to think about it, and to thank God for the plan of salvation. Jesus was willing to endure such hardship because He loves you so much. His blood took away all our sins!

God bless,


Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Basketball Days

Last week I did something I didn't think I would be doing at my age. I bought a brand new pair of Nike basketball shoes. The reason I bought them is because I have been playing in a church basketball league this winter. We will be wrapping up our season soon, but I have been having a blast with the guys who allowed the 'old guy' to play with them.

All my life I have loved basketball. I didn't play in high school because it was an 'evil, worldly, amusement'. I found it interesting that although my religion didn't allow us to play in school, it was fine to play on the playground, at youth camp, in the park, etc etc. So I took full advantage and played every chance I had. My dad bought a goal for me and put it at the end of a small patio in our backyard. He and my mother will never know how much fun I had and I owe them a lot of thanks. That little patio became 'barnhill arena' and I was the 'razorback team'. I mean in my mind I could be Sidney Moncrief, Marvin Delph, and Ron Brewer all at the same time. It was fun.

When I went to college, I played all the time. I was in top shape and often we ran eight to ten straight games of full court ball. I could jump and shoot back then. At 5' 11" I could dunk a volleyball and could dunk a basketball if someone 'ooped' it to me. Throughout my life I have enjoyed getting to play in various venues, with all types of people.

I cannot tell you how many pair of tennis shoes I have gone through. Let's just say many! I have always wondered when I would buy that last pair and when my playing days would be over. Having gone through a knee surgery and an ankle reconstruction, I figured it would have been before now. But guess what? I am blessed to still be playing.

My team-mates are great guys too. I owe them alot of thanks for letting me get out there with them and act like a teenager again. Let me introduce you to them....they are...Marvelous Matt Markle, Bradley Hangtime Hampton, Mitch MJ Hubbard, Mean Michael Garr, Alan Git-er-done Anderson, Billy Bad-boy Anderson, Allen 'Big Al', Josh Napster Napier, Jonathan Johnnnnny Branson,Tyrell Tatoo Shelly and yours truly. We have had a great time this season playing for NLT. Our record is about 500...meaning we have won as many as we lost. Considering this being our first go around, I think we did fine. There are some really good teams out there. I think on a good night we are capable of beating any of them.

This past week, with two of our guys out, we took on a good team. I felt good and even made about 13 points in the game. I think it must have been the shoes, or the fact that Trish was there to root for me. Anyway, when I took those new shoes off that night, I was grateful to still be having fun, and getting some exercise on the court. I don't know when I will unlace them for the last time, but for now, there is no end in sight. With a little luck, I'll buy a new pair next year when these are worn out.

I hope all my teammates know I appreciate being with them and I think they are all wonderful men. Good luck in the tourney guys.