Pastor Corner
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March 7, 2016, 4:36 PM

Pray for our missionaries...


This is the week of prayer for our North American missionaries.  Prayer is our first, not last, line of defense and offense.  This is especially true for those that we have yet to meet or those that we cannot meet due to distance.  I invite you to follow this link (http://anniearmstrong.com/missionaries-2016/) to learn more about our focus missionaries. Learn more so that you know how to pray.  Then, reach out and send an email of encouragement to each one as you have prayed for them.  Let them know that God is using them to reach folks, even more than they can possibly imagine.  "...encourage one antoher with these words..." (1 Thess. 4:18)

In Christ,

Bro. Grant




March 2, 2016, 12:18 PM

A national lament...


"Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, LORD, and grant us your salvation." Psalm 85:6-7 (NIV 2011)

In order to truly understand this scripture, please read psalm 85 in its entirety.  This psalm appears to be a national call for restoration but goes through stages of lament, repentance, and humility.  This psalm embodies how God's people felt after a national catastrophe.  We don't necessarily know what that catastrophe was, but most likely was post-exilic.  That being said, look again at the words of this psalm with fresh eyes, understanding that the nation was truly ready to focus on what was important and knew that God was the only one that could restore them to the place they desired.  It took them reaching the bottom before they finally realized their need for God and His restoration.

Now, I'm now implying that our nation has reached catastrophic level. However, I'm wondering to what extent will we have to go before we reach out to God as these people did?  Will we have to reach the absolute bottom before we finally ask God to "revive us?" Will we have to stray so far down the path to destruction that we can't get back?  I truly pray that this is not the case, but the only way to prevent this is to turn around now.  Imagine if we all began praying and living as God intended, even for a short period of time...imagine the change. Imagine the effect it would have on those around us.  Pray for restoration!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant




February 17, 2016, 4:52 PM

Connection between generations...


"...so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children." - Psalm 78:6

Some would read psalm 78 and be confused as to what the psalmist was trying to communicate.  Quite frankly, I may be wrong on this, but let me share something that I believe is at the heart of what the psalmist was speaking to the audience, and to us.  In a time when Israel could have not been more inconsistent (which was normal for them to be honest with you), the psalmist shared that it was time to be wise about what they knew about God...a call to wisdom about God and the history of Israel.  "Look into what we have been through and this will give you an indication of where we are headed." At a pivotal moment in this psalm, the audiene hears the words of verse 6; words encouraging the people of God to tell the next generation.  Teach them the laws of the prophets, the laws of Moses, the ways of God...before it is too late.  In other words, pass it down.

This type of teaching requires interaction between the generations.  This cannot be done through books or simply telling someone to do something.  There must be quality interaction. I saw a wonderful example of this today.  The 3rd Wednesday of every month I try my best to spend some time at the Heroes' Pantry. For those of you that don't know what this is, it is a ministry for our local veterans held at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Texarkana which provides boxes of food for those that have served our country.  In reality, it is so much more, but I really don't have time to tell you here.  Today, I witnessed a special treat when several students from the Hooks High School Student Council volunteered.  They didn't just show up to show up...they mingled with the veterans, they greeted them as they walked in the doors, they served food, they picked up plates/cups, they carried boxes to cars, they cleaned up after the event, they ministered to the veterans.  I was extremely proud of these young people for being part of this ministry.  They connected to a generation of people by spending time with folks...hands on!

This is the type of connection God wants us to make for the sake of the Gospel.  We can all make connections between generations.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant




February 5, 2016, 5:13 PM

Seek Him with all you have...


"All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side." - 2 Chronicles 15:15 (NIV 2011)

A time of renewal and rejoicing was evident as King Asa of Judah was bringing God's people back to where they needed to be...right with God.  They were rejoicing and were not ashamed to verbalize their commitment to God with all their heart.  It must have been a powerful scene.  Look closely at this verse as the people of Judah found God.  They "eagerly" sought God.  They put everything they had into finding the God of the universe and then He was found. I like how the NASB translates this part..."and He let them find Him."  With the NASB interpretation, it demonstrates just how much God truly is in control.  God was not about to reveal Himself until the people were in a right relationship with Him; not until they had come to understand who God was to them.  Then, and only then, was He going to reveal Himself.

Think about it...if you have or have had children, I know at some point you have played "hide and seek" with them.  You knew that there were places that you could hide that they could never find you, or at least not for a long time (ah, quiet time).  You might have hidden there and listened to your children call out, looking for you for a long time.  Then, you noticed that their voices changed.  They began to sound a little less confident and slightly more shaken.  Then, at some point, their voices were down right fearful.  They thought you were gone.  You knew it was time to come out of hiding and let them know that you were there...you could hear their voices all the time.  After they had sought you with all their heart, you came to their rescue.

Your Father is asking you to do the same...seek Him with all you have...He is there!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant




January 25, 2016, 12:11 PM

A heartbeat from exile...


"I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart." - Jeremiah 24:7 (NIV 2011)

The word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah, but look at when it was coming.  These words were coming at at time when the people of Jerusalem were being taken into exile (skilled workers and artisans, v.1).  Some had already been taken, including the officials.  This was not a good time in the life of Judah.  However, during this time, the words that Jeremiah was receiving from the Lord were those of reconciliation.  God was one day going to touch the very people that would not listen to His prophet.  He would place a heart that would be tuned into God Himself, and they would return.  God knew the path that was ahead, but He also had the ability to change the hearts of those that were going down those paths.  

As Jeremiah received those words, what do you suppose Jeremiah thought.  Remember, he knew the people were not listening, but he also knew what God was telling him.  Maybe, just maybe, he stopped and prayed that God would change their hearts right then so that the exile would not have to continue the way it was going.  Surely God had the power to change their hearts right then; surely He could cause them to listen right then. What a powerful prayer that would have been!

While we are not facing exile into a foreign land today, in a sense, we are facing exile from God.  How far do we have to go before we recognize that the things we do and say affect those around us and, more importantly, affect our relationship with God.  I wonder how many are in the process of being exiled from God for a period of time because they are not listening.  How many will have to go through a period of exile just so God can "give them a heart to know" Him? God has sent prophets, He has sent His son, He has sent His word, He has sent teachers and preachers that love us...what will it take to keep us from exile? Pray that this won't happen.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant


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