Pastor Corner
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November 27, 2015, 7:56 PM

Are we giving Him our leftovers...

I don't know about you, but I am stuffed.  I knew it was going to be this way before it ever started.  Even as the day of Thanksgiving progressed, it got worse.  I knew I shouldn't eat, but I did it anyway.  Yip, I admit it...gluttony is a problem for me during this time.  Something I really need to work on...anyone else?

As I was thinking about this often overlooked sin, I began to take it just a little deeper. I don't know if I was just looking to justify my sin or truly looking for God in everything as I instruct everyone else to do in their lives, but going deeper none the less. The food we had at our house was delicious when it was initially placed on the table.  The aroma of each and every food was pleasing.  The experience of eating together made the food taste that much better. It wasn't just the food, but the experience of eating "together."  While I ate the leftovers later that day and again twice today, I realized that I was thinking of the experience again; not just the food, but the experience of having the family together.

So, here is the thought.  I know that we are instructed to give God our first fruits.  There is no arguement.  The Bible is clear.  However, the Bible is also clear to give Him everything we have.  He wants our minds, our souls, our bodies, and our strength.  In other words, He wants our leftovers also.  Every time, in every situation, give your leftovers to God as well.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

November 16, 2015, 11:51 PM

Even now, praise...

"Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord." - Psalm 117 (NIV)

This last Sunday I briefly mentioned psalms 117, 118, and 119; the shortest psalm, the middle of the Bible, and the longest psalm respectively. This was not the point of the sermon so this was mentioned in passing.  As I sat down to write today, I was reminded of that simple passing comment.  I wonder how often Psalm 117 gets overlooked simply because it is the shortest psalm.  After all, how much could we possibly get from such a short psalm? Quite a bit actually...

Look at the words of this gem.  ALL nations (peoples) should praise the Lord.  No one is immune from this.  How appropriate is this for the times that we are in?  Just look at the events of just this past week.  Isn't this a time when ALL nations should come to the throne of an Almighty God to praise Him?  Some may disagree, saying that tragedy is no time to "praise"God.  I would say it is the perfect time.  We are to praise God that we have someone to turn to, even in times of trouble...especially in times of trouble.  In fact, this psalm reminds us that His love is faithful and that He endures forever.  This means that He endures even in times like these.  

Please take this "tiny" psalm as a HUGE reminder of how great our God is and that He is still in control; even when everything around us appears out of hand.  Just as this psalm begins and ends with "praise the Lord," so should our days begin and end with "PRAISE."

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

November 11, 2015, 8:58 AM

Love of veterans...

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." 1John 3:16 (NIV 2011)

The words in this passage of Scripture are so simple but often overlooked.  In fact, I don't believe that it is any coincidence that the message in this verse fits so perfectly with the gospel message of John 3:16.  Not that either one is more important than the other, but I tend to lean toward the 1 John passage a bit only because there is a sense that we MUST do something with this message of love.  We cannot keep it to ourselves.  However, I have to say that this is something that is taught throughout Scripture.  It just happens that God has placed it succinctly here for us.  

Another appeal of this verse is the clear definition of love.  Point blank...the only reason we know what love is in this world is because of what Christ has done.  He defined the very word by sacrificing His life for each and every one of us.  Because of this "act" we know what love means.  We know that love is more than words.  We know that love is more than feelings. We know that love requires action.

Today, as we celebrate our veterans, I would like us to see them through the definition of God's word. God's word states that love was defined when Christ laid down His life.  Many of our veterans were willing (many did) to lay down their lives for us...action of love.  I know that not all veterans are Christians, but they were willing to lay down their lives for us anyway.  We can let them know how much we appreciate that incredible act AND remind them that Jesus, the one that laid down His life, loves them too.  We MUST do something with message of love that is given to us, why not this group of men and women?

Thank our veterans!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

October 30, 2015, 9:51 AM

Shoulder to shoulder...

“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder." - Zeph. 3:9 (NIV 2011)

Following the judgment of Judah and gentiles, Zephaniah the prophet wrote of time when God would turn people back to Himself.  These people would have purified lips, call upon the name of the Lord, and stand shoulder to shoulder.  While the judgment was not a pleasant time, the result would be a closer relationship with God and each other.  The remnant would speak a language that glorified God.  Not since the days prior to the towel of Babel did all the people speak the same "language."  Zephaniah was, in essence, letting his audience know that God would restore the "language" of unison praise.  

Secondly, the remnant would, in one accord, call upon the name of the Lord.  There would be no descension.  Again, this points to a unified body looking unto the Lord, praising His holy name and no one else.  Finally, Zephaniah uses the picture of standing shoulder to shoulder, literally, "one shoulder." There was to be unity in this remnant although they had been scattered for a time.  

Churches today have the opportunity to follow the guidance of these scriptures.  I understand that we are not Israel and that we have not been scattered by war in terms of what is mentioned in Zephaniah's days.  However, churches of today have been scattered by humans placing their desires above God's desires, by failing to work together as the "church."  I am so pleased that we have a group of pastors that believe otherwise.  They understand the importance of calling upon the name of the Lord with purified lips and standing shoulder to shoulder.  They believe that we are here to work together for the sake of Christ.  Please pray for our churches in Hooks...every one of them.  Pray for the pastors that lead these churches.  Pray that God will give these pastors wisdom, strength, and passion for what they do.  

For those of you that Facebook, follow this link to the Hooks Ministry Alliance.  This page will identify upcoming events at churches in Hooks, TX.  You will also see a list of all the churches in Hooks for which you can pray.

In Christ, 

Bro. Grant

October 23, 2015, 11:19 AM

Anything but foolish...

"Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions." - Proverbs 18:2 (NIV 2011)

I like Proverbs because they cut right to the chase.  Usually, the wisdom of this type of scripture is easy to find and there is no mistaking what is meant...this is the case for the above proverb.  Unfortunately, when it's this clear, there really is no reason for misinterpretation or failing to follow the advice presented.  Another great characteristic of many proverbs is that the advice given can be used "daily."  It's not to be used in just some cases or something that can be tucked away for a future event, but it can be used regularly, as is the case with Proverbs 18:2.

On a daily basis, we encounter folks (ourselves included) who love to air their opinions.  There is nothing wrong with opinions.  In fact, I'm glad that others have opinions, as life would be dull if everyone believed exactly as I did.  After all, what would there be to discuss...nothing, because we would already know what the other person is thinking.  Therefore, this proverb is not speaking against having our own opinion, but something deeper.

The issue at hand is holding our opinion higher or more important that someone else's.  Please let me be very clear, I'm talking about "opinions" and not "biblical truths."  When we get to the point of finding "delight in airing" our own opinion, we are boasting and forming an answer without even listening to what the other person is saying.  We are not trying to understand the other person, we are simply waiting for an opportunity to speak and get our proverbial two cents into the conversation.  We aren't asking questions to make sure that we understand the situation.  We are rushing to conclusions.  According to Solomon, this is foolish.  

Someone that tries to understand will listen.  That person will respond in conversation to the words that are said, not the the thoughts that are preconceived.  If we are to have fulfilled relationships with one another (i.e. spouses, friends, co-workers, associates, etc.), we must respond to the words that are said in conversation, ask questions, learn things, and then we can understand...which is anything but foolish.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

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