Right Side Of History

Proverbs 14:26 teaches, “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.” When Solomon writes of “fear of the Lord” he means an awe and respect for God. We find ourselves in many circumstances of life asking, “What am I supposed to do? How am I going to handle this? What am I supposed to say?” Proverbs 14:26 teaches us that when we fear God there is a strong confidence. God is holy and righteous. When we walk in a close relationship with God through faith in Jesus, we develop a Christlike righteousness in our lives. We are able to see, think, speak and respond in life with a righteousness that reflects that of God. This should cause us to have a strong confidence.

IMG_0091-1.JPG

My wife and I have four children … a daughter and three sons. My boys love to hang out with their dad. And their dad loves to hang out with them. Wherever I go and whatever I do, my boys want to go and do with me. Proverbs 14:26 teaches that as I walk closely with the Lord I can have confidence in what I am doing AND my children will have a safe place to grow up.

There are two lessons that jump out in my mind from Proverbs 14:26. First, there really is such a thing as a generational curse. The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:7, “… for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” James Dobson once stated, “What parents do in moderation our children will do in excess.” Wouldn’t it seem prudent to make sure that we are sowing for a godly heritage and legacy in our children?

Second, right is always right. Right may not always be easy to do, but right is always right to do. This may be the single most important character lesson we can model for our children. Righteousness is not determined by my being a good person according to my easy standards for good. Rather, righteousness is determined by my living out the truth of the Bible through surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Let me give you two names to consider. First, Judas Iscariot. Judas was one of the twelve men Jesus called to be his closest group of disciples. Judas wound up caving to the pressure of fortunes and he was the man who betrayed Jesus and turned him in to the Roman soldiers the night before Jesus was crucified. Judas then went out and hung himself. Judas’ legacy in history is that he was a traitor. As a matter of fact, in the Bible when the name Judas is mentioned in reference to someone other than Judas Isacriot, it always puts in parenthesis “not Iscariot”.

Second, William Wilberforce. Wiberforce was an English politician who was responsible for leading the charge to abolish slavery in England. He paid a great price with his health, friendships, finances and reputation. But truth and righteousness prevailed and slavery was abolished in England in 1833. Remember, right may not always be easy, but right is always right.

Two men. Two lives. Two different legacies. One on the wrong side of history because he walked in unrighteousness. One on the right side of history because he walked in righteousness.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Own Worst Enemy

Forgiveness is the promise never to bring up again the hurt caused us by another person … not to them, not to God, not to ourselves and not to anyone else. Forgiveness is a choice that we must make. We are only responsible for ourselves, so we must make the right choice. We have been learning about the subject of forgiveness at Centennial Baptist Church on Sunday’s in our teaching series, “No Longer Bound: Living in the Freedom of Forgiveness.” You can find the audio and sermon notes for the lessons at http://centennial-baptist-church.twenty28cms.co/no-longer-bound.

But what do you do when the person you need to forgive is yourself? Have you ever said, “I can’t believe I did that.” Or, “I can’t believe I just said that.” Have you ever felt ashamed of yourself? Ever wished you could retrieve a word, sentence or conversation? Anything in your past haunt you? Ever done something you wish you had not done?

The struggle against self-forgiveness is a symptom of a deeper heart issue, not the cause. This struggle is based upon possibly ignorance of the truth or an unwillingness to see one’s self as God sees us. There is a tension between two realities that is true for all believers: We are fallen and desperately in need of grace; we are deeply loved and accepted by God. Failure to embrace both realities, on a heart level, can cause a person to miss the joy of being forgiven by God and cleansed by His grace.

We will never find hope, joy, meaning and significance in life as long as we look for it apart from God’s forgiveness, love and acceptance. Our pride causes us to think that we must do enough good to salve our guilty conscience. The truth is that we can never do enough good to cleanse our sin or its consequences. Only God’s grace can restore a life. 1John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

It does not matter what you have done, what you have not done or where you come from. God’s grace is sufficient to cleanse, heal and restore. I want to invite you to join me and my friends at Centennial Baptist Church this Sunday, May 18 as we learn about how to deal with the enemy of ourselves when it comes to forgiveness. I can’t wait to see you this weekend.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

No Longer Bound

New teaching series at Centennial Baptist Church beginning Sunday, April 27.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fresh Start

Spring is my favorite season of the year. While each season has its distinctive traits, Spring is my favorite because everything is coming back to life as the flowers and trees bloom and the grass turns green. Psalm 19:1, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” As a kid I loved to play baseball. Spring was the season for baseball and Opening Day of the Little League baseball season was one of the best days of the year.

The new life that Spring brings to the flowers and trees coincides with the celebration of Easter and the new life that Jesus Christ provides to all who will trust Him as their Savior and Lord.

Bottom line … Springtime is a wonderful time not only for newness in the blooms on the trees, but for newness in our lives. I enjoy playing golf. I am not very good, but I enjoy the game. I believe in mulligans. A mulligan is basically a do over. If you hit a bad shot you can take a mulligan – a do over. Have you ever wanted a do over in life? In your relationships with your family or friends? How about a do over in relationship with God?

The message of Easter is that God provides us with the opportunity to start a new life filled with hope, joy and peace between us and God as well as between us and others. This new life is experienced through a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. 2Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

It has been said that a person can live four weeks without food, four days without water and four minutes without air. But a person cannot live one second without hope. The message of Easter is that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and He rose from the dead to secure the victory for our salvation. This means that we have certain hope of being able to enjoy the new life that God provides through faith in Jesus.

We all have areas of life in which we would like a new start. This new start cannot be accomplished by trying harder to do better. After all, this is what we have already tried that has left us tired and longing for a new start. So, let’s try a radical new approach. The Bible teaches that this new life we so badly want and need is available to us. It is available to us by faith in Jesus Christ.

This Sunday, April 20 is Easter. This season of the year is a time for new beginnings. I want to encourage you to make plans now to be at church this Sunday for Easter worship and to respond in faith to God. I would love for you and your family to join me and my family at Centennial Baptist Church for Easter. Centennial Baptist Church will have two worship services this Sunday (8:30am and 10:30am). There will be a free breakfast in between the worship services at 9:30am(RSVP with your # to 706.557.2120). You can come for worship at 8:30am and stay for breakfast before spending the day with your family. Or you can come for breakfast at 9:30am and stay for worship before spending the day with your family. Whichever way, just do not miss the opportunity for a fresh start!

http://centennial-baptist-church.twenty28cms.co/easter-sunday

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Easter – April 20, 2014

http://www.centennialbaptist.org

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Community Connection

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines community as “a group of people who live in the same area.” You could also say that a community is a group of neighbors. When I was a kid growing up in Elberton, we had neighbors that were more like family. Our backyards connected to form one big backyard that we all shared. We would start out the day at one neighbor’s house playing, have lunch at the next neighbor’s house and wind up going to the Dairy Queen after dinner with another neighbor’s family.

I’m not sure if life really used to be more simple or slower pace, but I do know that as I have graduated to adulthood life sure seems busier. The danger is that we can lose a sense of community and never know our neighbors.

There are several key ingredients in a community of neighbors such as families, schools, hospitals, stores, civic clubs and the church. While each component of the community has a vital role, the church has the unique ability to provide a point of connection for everyone. Jesus taught in Matthew 22:37-38 that the essence of the Christian faith is to “’Love the Lord your God with all your heat, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” In these two commandments we see the vertical relationship between us and God and the horizontal relationship between us and our neighbors. When you bring the two together, the horizontal and the vertical are pictured in the cross of Christ (+).The need for the love and gospel of Jesus Christ is our point of commonality as a community.

Centennial Baptist Church is privileged to be a church in our community. We want to get to know our neighbors as much as possible and serve our neighbors in any way possible. I would like to personally invite all our neighbors to come for a free community-building event this Saturday, April 5 at 11:00am at the recreation field at Centennial Baptist on Brownwood Road. There will be a free hot dog lunch, egg hunt and door prizes. But more than that will be an opportunity for us as a community of neighbors to get to spend some time together having fun! Invite your friends and family and let’s join together as a community of neighbors. I look forward to seeing you Saturday.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Turtle On A Fencepost

20140317-110959.jpg

How can you tell if a person needs encouragement? If they are breathing.
One of the greatest gifts God has given us is the ability to encourage others. We all need to know that someone believes in us. We all need someone to encourage us. Equally, we all need to be that source of encouragement and kindness.

Hope is the strongest motivation for persevering. Hope reminds us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hope encourages our hearts and minds to stay strong and focused even in the midst of life’s darkest days and challenging circumstances.

In his book The Fruitful Life, author Jerry Bridges wrote, “Kindness is a sincere desire for the happiness of others; goodness is the activity calculated to advance that happiness. Kindness is the inner disposition, created by the Holy Spirit, that causes us to be sensitive to the needs of others, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Goodness is kindness in action – words and deeds” (p 117). Jesus taught in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Mercy is compassion in action. Mercy is not only recognizing a need, but taking action to meet it.

If a person wants a friend, he must be a friend. Jesus taught us that we are to be a friend to anyone. I realize that it is not possible to be close friends with everyone, but that does not negate the need to be friendly to everyone. God has planted each of us in our own contexts of family, vocation and community. God has given each of us a stewardship of influence with those person with whom we come into contact. So, how do we exhibit friendliness to everyone, regardless of who they are? Bridges wrote, “All of us have the opportunity to administer the kind or encouraging word –to do the little, perhaps unseen, deed that makes life more pleasant for someone else. Accept the cost of good deeds in time, thought, and effort. But remember that opportunities for doing good are not interruptions in God’s plan for us but are part of that plan. We always have time to do what God wants us to do” (p 127).

Remember, if you ever see a turtle on a fencepost, he did not get there by himself. We all need a little encouragement from time to time. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized