Spiritual Immaturity

December 5, 2015

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Scripture

“It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!”

~Exodus 14:2, NLT

Quote

Immaturity is a state of being not fully developed or grown; acting in a childish way; having or showing a lack of emotional maturity.

~Daniel Webster

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Three days prior to the scripture above, the Israelites had marched out of Egypt like and army, they were in columns and it took them hours to march down  the main street of Rameses with shouts of victory and fist raised in defiance. They were acting like a conquering army. Three days later they are petrified with fear: afraid to run or fight.

In their fear they lash out at Moses, the servant of God, with a barrage of questions, each accusing him of poor leadership.

  • Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness?
  • Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt?
  • What have you done to us?
  • Why did you make us leave Egypt?
  • Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt?

They conclude with this statement: We ask you to “Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!”

The marks of immaturity:

  1. Implication: somehow this was all Moses fault. He was to blame for everything. 
  2. Irresponsibility: not only did they blame Moses, they wanted him to fix the problem for them.
  3. Insecurity: they were eaten alive by fear. Afraid to die, afraid to fight, afraid of freedom and afraid to live by faith.

Although the LORD had freed them from Pharaoh, they continued to think like slaves. It took them 40 years to get this slave mentality out of their system. Although we have been saved, sometimes we think and act like sinners. It is hard to get the old ways out of our system. Don’t be too hard on the Israelites, we are a lot like them.

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  • Gary Garner has completed his first round of chemo but his blood levels are down and he cannot have company.  His counts are slow in rebuilding but this time it seems like slower than usual. He goes next Tuesday for PET scan and MRI. Pray for Gary.
  • David Wood has been trying to restart the INTERCESSORY PRAYER MINISTRY which I am for but keep forgetting to mention. There is a sign up sheet at the welcome center.
  • Golden Girls and Senior Adults Christmas today at Cracker Barrel in Hartselle. {9:30 am}
  • I have a new app on my Phone for the phone message: I didn’t think the first one went through yesterday because after an hour or so, I didn’t get a call but my phone was on silent. I am pretty sure I called you twice: sorry about that!
  • We have a couple of handicap ramps to build and I am out of commission but I think I can get Felton to lead the project. We will meet Sunday. One of them will be very simple. I have not measured for the second. He could use one or two helpers. Joe David will help and we could use one more.
  • Ray Edwards is better: the meds worked and I got a little bump from the steroids. Still can’t walk any distance but I am better. June drove me yesterday so I could visit the hospital. Buford Burgess had a bad night, didn’t not get to come home. Mrs. Roylean Lewis is very low, her family was with her yesterday. 

Gary, Keri and Kane

 

Sin and Insecurity

April 10, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees.

~Genesis 3:8, NLT

QUOTE

Sin is a perverse distortion of the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security, are rightly found only and completely in Him [Jesus].

~Augustine

my thoughts red

Fear or insecurity is at the root of all human problems. When Adam and Eve transgressed, their fall gave them a severe spiritual concussion. If left them dazed and unable to think clearly. Eve’s basic sin was that she distrusted God. She believed the devil’s lie instead of God’s word. The devil convinced Eve that the fruit would make them more like God but it did the opposite. Adam and Eve became more distrustful of God and each other. When they heard God coming, they hid in the trees. Insecurity produces distrust and distrust harms relationships.

The devil did not create fear but he certainly uses it to terrorize, torment and enslave. Satan’s real power is the ‘lie’ and he is very cunning in the use of propaganda. Jacob the patriarch lived in the despairing darkness of a lie for 20 years because he took the word of his lying sons for the truth. Jesus is the antidote: Jesus is the truth and the truth speaker. He said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Adam and Eve allowed their sin to drive them away from God and this is no solution to the sin problem. We can’t hide, cover or deny our sin and when we attempt to do either of the three, we make bad matters worse. The only remedy is to confess it to Jesus. There are three things  Jesus will take from you that no one else on earth wants. He will take your worries, your burdens and your sin. [Psalms 55:22, I Peter 5:7]

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  • Today we pray for FAMILIES. I have a cousin in Birmingham, 61 years young who will be celebrating the life and morning the departure of her husband. Her name is Lou Ann.
  • Communion this Sunday morning in the 10:15 worship service.
  • No Deacon’s meeting this week.
  • Commissioning Service for Haley Rae Garnett Sunday night at 6:00
  • GOLDEN GIRLS Saturday morning at Cracker Barrel at 9:30
  • I am planning {God willing} to make the Saturday morning meeting and Sunday morning. I will be there if I am able but I’m telling, the LORD can stop us in our tracks in a heartbeat.

The Unique Son of God

February 28, 2015

 

 

 

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SCRIPTURE

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

~John 1:29, NKJV

QUOTE

Our LORD {Jesus} came down from life to suffer death. The Bread of Life came down to hunger. The Living Water came down to thirst.

~Augustine

my thoughts red

Jesus never wrote a book; yet more books have been written about Him than any other figure in history. He never wrote a song but more songs have been written about Him than any figure in history. He never held an office or earned in degrees. He never travelled more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born. Jesus did none of the things we associate with success; He had no credentials but himself.  The only property he had on earth was his clothes. He was homeless for the last three years of his life. Isn’t it amazing twenty centuries have come and gone and today Jesus is the central figure of the human race.

All the actors who use His name in vain, all the judges who mandate evil by decree, all the politicians who feathered their own nest while betraying their constituents and all the presidents that have shamed the office with their immorality and betrayed their oath of office by violating the very constitution they swore to protect: all of them put together have not affected the life of mankind on earth as powerfully as that one solitary unique life.

To simply acknowledge Jesus as a great person, great prophet, or great leader is to insult Him. He is the unique Son of God. He is God incarnate; Son of God and Son of man. He came into this dark sin cursed world to give us a way out. O hallelujah, O what a Savior!

If the above does not fire you up: Listen to this…

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  • Today we pray for Students: Why don’t we pray for Kane and Kerri. I got Kerri’s age wrong, she is 20 and Kane is 15.
  • Deacon’s and Wives Sunday Morning at 9:00: we are going to focus on these children above. Don’t be late!
  • Posted a new top ten picking on Adam last night. Don Fields has been sending me some good poems and I posted those to.
  • I don’t know where she got her info but Big Mama says “More snow possible next week.” I going to quote Keith on this one, “Unbelievable!”

LCBS LESSON PREVIEW

PROMISED LIKE NO OTHER

Ice breaker–How do you decide whether a person is credible, someone you can trust?

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 53, NLT

[Note: The Jews have takes Isaiah 53 out of their synagogue readings and I don’t blame them. Isaiah wrote this 800 years before the crucifixion. I have take the liberty to insert Jesus name in place of some of the person pronouns just to give you a better grasp of this incredible prophecy]

Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed His powerful arm? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about Jesus appearance, nothing to attract us to him. Jesus was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. Jesus was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins! But Jesus was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. Jesus was beaten so we could be whole. Jesus was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Jesus the sins of us all. Jesus was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. Jesus was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open his mouth.Unjustly condemned, Jesus was led away. No one cared that He died without descendants, that His life was cut short in stream. But Jesus was struck down for the rebellion of my people. Jesus had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. 10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief. Yet when Jesus life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. Jesus will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When Jesus sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of Jesus experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. 12 I will give Jesus the honors of a victorious soldier, because He exposed himself to death. Jesus was counted among the rebels. Jesus bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

It hurts when we trust someone and they betray that trust by doing something hurtful. Like the little boy in the story, we all get egg on our face at one time or another. Jesus was totally secure in who He was and He never avoided rejection. He knew the Jewish leaders hated Him and yet He sat His face toward Jerusalem. Our goal should be to become more confident in who we are and less fearful of the acceptance of others. It is easier to talk about than to demonstrate.

Testimony

When I was in high school, our football coach made the same basic speech every day. “Guys, if you go out there and work hard today, we will be back in here in the showers in two and a half hours.” He said this everyday. We left the locker room around 3:15-3:30, according to how long he talked and we always came in at dark with was 7:00-7:30. You do the math, anyway you cut it, you are out there more than 2 and half hours. The great thing about fall was it got darker earlier. After a while we stop believing anything the man said. We did not hustle through drills because we knew that regardless, we were going to be there until dark.

I served a small church in Mississippi during my last year in Seminary. We had an alcoholic that the chairman of deacons had taken on as a project and he insisted that I get involved. Actually, his plan was to hand off and he did. It was the same old same old every few months. He would come boo-wooing to me and feeling sorry for himself. I tried being kind–didn’t work. I tried being firm–didn’t work. It reached a point where I was ready to throw my hands in the air. He would make promise after promise if I would only do so in so. I reached a point where I did not believe a word he said.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you call a person that is distrustful of everyone? [Cynical] Do we want to become such a person?
  2. One of the many things that makes Jesus unique is that He never breaks a promise. Have you ever broken a promise?
  3. Which causes us the most guilt and pain: to hurt another person by breaking a promise or to be hurt by another person breaking a promise to you?
  4. If we become cynical and we trust one, how can we build meaningful and lasting relationships?
  5. Unlike Jesus, we tend to avoid rejection. In your opinion, what is motivating us to avoid rejection?
  6. What are some of the things people do to avoid rejection?
  7. Do you agree that most of our fears are connected to the loss of something? What fear is related to rejection?
  8. What makes a promise believable?
  9. How is your relationship with Jesus different from all other relationships?
  10. How important is understanding and empathy in a relationship?
  11. Jesus literally bore our sorrows; He was crushed by our sin. He literally took our beating. How does this make you feel about Jesus personally?
  12. Knowing yourself and knowing human nature, do you really expect everyone to keep their promise?
  13. Jesus is the ultimate Promise Keeper. This is one of the things that make Him unique. How can we as Christians point our friends to Jesus? Why do we need to point others in His direction?

Inner Conflict

February 26, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.”

~Luke 10:30

QUOTE

Being created in the image of God, we are made to be known.

~J. A. Ackerman

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Jesus told the story of the Jewish man who was viciously attacked by a gang of bandits as he was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. We all know that thieves take money but in those days, they also took your clothes, all of them. So here is a man lying in his own blood, too weak to walk and he is buck naked. Being right there by the road side, it was impossible for people to pass without seeing him in his miserable condition. Within the heart of the hurting is a conflict: a part of us wants to be noticed but another part wants to hid. We are hurt and need help but we are also ashamed.  Deep down we want to be known but at the same time, we are afraid to be known. We are afraid that if people really know us, they would reject us. I have to be honest, with ordinary people, rejection is always possible. Some folks think this is why Facebook is so popular, rejected people get the opportunity to defriend someone else for a change.

Establishing and maintaining relationships can be tough but the place to begin is with Jesus. His love is unconditional. He does not love us on the basis of our merit; He loves us on the basis of His merit, character and choice. You can relax with Jesus, He already knows all about you and that includes the dark side. He will not reject you. He is so secure in who He is that He will allow you to reject Him but He doesn’t reject you. Potentially, He is the best Friend you can possibly have. Once you are firmly established in His grace, you will not feel the pressure to pretend before others.

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  • Today we pray for those facing TRIALS and I think we should pray for Kelvin, Tracey and Kerri. They have some hard decisions to make. Right now, they are leaning toward going back to Birmingham where Kerri had surgery previously.
  • Well, old Tornado chasing Dan Scatterfield got it right. I have to give the little man credit; he may know more about weather than I do after all. I don’t know who was most excited, Big Mama or Mandy. Hannah pretended to be dreading it and she stayed on the roads until dark slipping and sliding like Joe Fitzgerald. Snow is beautiful when it falls like it did yesterday but I am still ready for Spring. The snow want bother me if the power will stay on. I love electricity. Thank YOU Jesus for Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison.
  • As you may or may not know and possibly don’t care: I am on a diet. I had tuna fish made with Greek yogurt for lunch and did 11,628 steps which means I can have 1,970 Calories without gaining weight. I got home around 3:00 and June [who said she was never baking again] was baking homemade peanut butter cookies and oatmeal cookies with pecans. I inhaled two cookies before you could say Jack Robinson. As I work on the blog, my mind is on the cookies. If I make 100 more laps around the house, I can have one more cookie. As Scar said on the Lion King, “Life is not fair.” Big Mama is no help to a fat man. Now she is telling me that she is making snow cream tomorrow.
  • Below is Josie and Ty’s snow woman. She needs a tan!

Josi and Tybo's snow woman

Freedom

June 7, 2014

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SCRIPTURE

 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

~John 8:32, NLT

QUOTE

The Apostle Paul was put in prison but that did not make him a prisoner, not spiritually; he knew the truth!

~Bertolt Brecht

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What enslaves men? The answer is fear: you cannot enslave a man who is unafraid. The key to overcoming fear is to know the truth. I did not say “To hear the truth” but to know it. All deeply insecure people lie and I don’t mean little white lies: I mean they lie habitually and pathologically. They are convinced that their survival depends on their ability to deceive others. To them, a lie is a brick, a bar, a wall that they erect to protect themselves. It never dawns of them they are building a prison. The wall they built to protect enslaves. If they could only know the truth and tell it, the truth would set them free. For the deeply insecure, the greatest of all fears–“If the truth were known,” no one would love them and this is definitely a lie. Sadly, they are convinced this lie is the truth.

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  • GOLDEN GIRLS this morning: CB at 9:00 am.
  • FRONT PEW SHOWER Sunday for 61 year old man who lives in Presbyterian Towers. He needs hygiene products, towels, bath cloths, sheets, pillow cases and things for his kitchen. Penny Roy is the project leader. If you have questions, give Penny a Call. The items you donate do not have to be new.
  • My heart is filled with Thanksgiving and Praise for another great VBS/VBX. I commend our Division Leaders, Master Teachers, and all workers. One of the things I enjoy is getting to do VBS with my children and grandchildren. June and Holly work in the Nursery, Joe David and Lori work in VBX and Lara and Lexi are group leaders and help with joint worship. So all our GK’s are there except Seth.
  • We ask for some fed-back today and everything we got was very positive. LifeWay’s early bird kit cost more then the entire GO-FISH “Gotta Move” school. Saving money was a consideration. I had nothing to do with the selection: Mandy and Shohn studied curriculums for two weeks before making a decision. This was their choice. I did give my approval but also had my doubts. They deserve the credit. Darlene said the lesson material was the best ever and that comes from one of the top Children’s teachers in the State. The kids loved it. So bottom line, I am thankful.
  • Of course we have one more event and that is the program Sunday Night at 6:00: followed by picnic [hamburger and dogs].
  • We did have three professions of faith which is down but our over all numbers were down. We begin losing them big time at the 4th and 5th grade level. Last year, 4th grade was huge, this year is was half the number. Parents are not much help: they let the kids do what they please. It is sad when parents make their kids play ball and go to school but let them decide about church. I have to be honest, if my mother had let me do what I wanted, I would have been at the creek, not VBS. As it was my only other option was the cotton field but things have changed.

celebrate Jesus Son of God

SCRIPTURE

They shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid.

~Ezekiel 34:28

QUOTE

The saints in glory may be happier but no more secure than a true believer in this world.

~Loraine Boethner

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Security is more than locking doors or putting money is savings. True security is found only in Christ. Ultimately, Christ is going to take care of our every need plus rewards that we cannot begin to imagine. Security is not the absence of danger, suffering or adversity: it is the presence of Christ. Our security is not in heaven; Satan was once in heaven. Our security is not in a place but a person. It is not in our possessions but in our position, in Christ. It is not in what we have done but what Jesus did. If you are not in Christ; you are insecure.

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  • Kenny has a better day yesterday and they are going to try to send him home today. He is still very sick and needs our prayers. Kenny is blessed with a loving and supportive family. TYJ!
  • Men’s breakfast at 8:00, LCBS at 9:00, Worship Celebration at 10:15 and 6:00. Joe David is preaching the am sermon {God’s Sovereignty} and I will be preaching the pm {The Church}.
  • Another great Sunday School lesson on Hope. Today we feature the Prodigal’s Father. Really the story is about the Father who was very secure, wealthy, loving, merciful and kind.

celebrate Jesus Son of God

SCRIPTURE

Stop being afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Luke 12:7, Williams

QUOTE

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, In a believer’s ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, And drives away his fear.

~John Newton

THOUGHT

I think most of us would agree, our greatest problem is insecurity. We are afraid!   We are afraid of the truth being made known, afraid to die, afraid of being forgotten, afraid of being unloved; some worry that God will not provide. We have more insecurities than Carter has liver pills. Jesus mentions two unappreciated birds in Luke 12 and He uses them as illustrations to reassure us that we are loved and will be provided for. Sparrows are unattractive, practically worthless and many people hate them because they make a big mess and yet not one can fall to the ground without our heavenly Father noticing.  The ravens are also dirty birds. They hang out at land fills. Look at these two birds: do you want one in a cage in your den? If you are like me, you don’t want them hanging out in your back yard.  As worthless and filthy as these two birds are God cares for them. They will not go hungry and they are not forgotten. Jesus said, Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 

two ugly birds

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  • A little artic blast coming through the Tennessee Valley and my dear friends in central Mississippi told me that it was hitting them also. The good news is: it is supposed to be gone in 36 hours. The Bradfords are blooming and so are the Yellow Bells. I am ready for spring. Believe it our not, Big Mama and I have been eating tomato sandwiches for two weeks: the tomatoes came from Grand Bay, Alabama. They are hot-house tomatoes and they are delicious.
  • Another good supper last night. We have one more before Spring Break which is March 24-28. There will be no mid-week services during Spring Break.