Do you often find yourself in situations where you are asking God to "get you out" instead of asking God, "What do you want me to get out of this?" The disciples were constantly watching Jesus do miracles. Every day was new. There were healings going on, the dead were rising, the blind were seeing, the deaf hearing, the cripples walking, storms were calmed. One day after another they saw Jesus doing these things and more in their midst.
Your effectiveness in ministry (and anyone who is "in Christ" has some) comes down to four basic elements:
Why are you attracted to Jesus? One author suggests that we are attracted to Jesus because He is the real deal.
Just a Thought: Going from a demonized state to deliverance, we see a terrible story with a happy ending. Well sort of. Luke takes us on a journey with Jesus to a place where we meet a man under the control of demons so much so that he has become wild, hopelessly and helplessly a prisoner of Satan's power. That is until he meets Jesus. We see here that even the one who is severely dominated by the demonic is not out of the reach of the delivering power of Jesus. When the man meets Jesus, Jesus cast the ...
Jesus. Jesus. You say it. Say it again. Say it out loud and repeat His name several times. The old Gaither song is right, there is just something about that name. "Master, Savior, like the springtime after the rain…" It is the name we call upon for salvation. It is the name we call upon for cleansing of sin. It is the name we call upon in times of fear. And it is the name we call upon to strengthen our faith. Jesus knows our deepest secrets, He knows our greatest struggles, He knows the things that shake our foundation ...
Decades had come and gone, and for Russ McElveen it seemed that there were important people in his family he would never see again. Then came the miracles of the past year or so that brought a son and two sisters back into his life. After 60 years he made contact with two of his sisters and after 45 years he was reconnect with a son. Have you ever thought that someone was gone from your life forever.
How's your heart?
What difference do you make to the Kingdom work God is doing around you? Some may feel they don't contribute much, but let's remember all the members of the body are essential for the body to function properly. Just because you don't preach or teach doesn't mean you're unimportant. If you are serving God, using your spirit given gifts and serving for the honor and glory of God, you are essential! When you consider the ministry of Jesus, it is easy to focus on those out in front such as Jesus and the disciples. But ...
"Dearly Beloved…" That's the way I started out my last wedding sermon. I know it's a little bit of a throwback. We don't call too many people "beloved" anymore, but I hope you know what I mean. Today, I want to think about why that's a perfect way to greet one another…"beloved".
What a prison self consciousness can be. When I think of those "would be" Christians if they could just find someone to express the love of God and acceptance to them. In Luke 7, we read the story of a self-righteous Pharisee who invites Jesus to dinner and an encounter with a prostitute. (Odd mix I know) but it is kind of like Christians in the world with judgmental spirits or worse how sinners are made to feel (if) or when they walk into the church building. You have heard people say, "Well if I went to church the ceiling ...
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"Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.'"
You have heard it said, "One of these days, your tongue is going to get you in trouble!"
"Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"
While Jesus was speaking to them, a ruler came and knelt in front of him, saying, "My daughter has just died. But come and place your hand on her, and she'll live."
"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me."
"Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don't you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don't belong to yourselves?"
Solomon's humble spirit and request of the Lord resulted in God making him great (2 Chronicles 1:1, 7-12) He stood high above all others and had no peers who could compare. However, while God (and his walk with God) made him great, something happened, something that took this great man down.
"So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.
Have you ever thought about how silly worship seems? And I could go through so many of the goofy seeming things that we do in the ritual of worship, but I just want to cut to the chase. Think about how crazy it seems that we give offerings. We go out of our way to get to church and then just give up significant proportions of our income...for free. Why? Why on earth would we go to church and take our time and give our money?
What do you do when the bottom falls out from beneath you? I don't know about you, but some people look up, others look around, and yet some jump up. By the end of Solomon's reign he was experiencing a great fall. He never does look up; he never does look around. In fact, he just keeps acting like this isn't really happening. But it did happen and it was Solomon's own fault. And at the risk of being brutally honest, most of the time, when it happens to us, it's our fault, too. Solomon ...
Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!
Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Did you remember? Did you do something big?
Today is a big day. It might not seem like anything special, but let me let you in on a secret. Today, God is working. Our text is the story of one of Jesus' first sermons, in his hometown of Nazareth. Imagine the scene Luke 4 paints: The people were excited having heard rumors that he had made a pretty big splash on the rabbi scene in Jerusalem, and now he was back home to teach. He is given the honor of reading the Scripture in synagogue. He takes the seat of the teacher and opens his mouth.
You may have heard that I announced my resignation at First Baptist this past Sunday. Paige, Emery Anna and I are moving to Birmingham, Ala., as I have been called to pastor Valleydale Church. While we are excited about this move, we are very sad to leave a Covington community that we love very much. All of that to say, this will be my last column for The Covington News.
If the mildew appears a second time, the priest will come and say, "This house is unclean. It's covered with mildew that can't be removed." Then he will have the house torn down and every bit of wood, stone, and plaster hauled off to an unclean place outside the town.