Pastor Corner
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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

October 16, 2015, 6:26 PM

Love with urgency...

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:7-10

Scriptures like this are a reminder of how important the work is that God has given the church. It is also a reminder of its urgency.  Peter vocalizes that the end of all things are coming, therefore, be alert so that you may pray.  In doing this, love one another.  However, it’s not just a matter of loving one another, but doing so with deep love…the kind of love that only God can give, the kind that covers sin.  Peter is reminding his audience, and us, that loving one another provides one with the opportunity to minister in the name of God, showing grace…in various forms.

We have the ability to demonstrate God’s grace in various forms as we serve others with the love of God.  I know full well that we have the ability to do this.  The question is whether or not we have the urgency of which Peter is talking about.  Peter has no doubt that his audience has the talent to carry through with the task at hand, as do I with the current day church.  Peter’s encouragement is that it be done NOW and with WHATEVER gift God has given to each believer.

As we reach our little part of the world right here in Hooks, TX, I would encourage each person to listen to Peter’s words.  Have a sense of urgency…do this now.  Offer love and hospitality to one another with whatever gift you have.  Even this weekend, as FBC Hooks reaches into our community during a one day mission trip to Hooks; reach out to others as if there will never be another chance to touch those folks.  Act as if this will be the last time they will have to hear and/or see the Gospel.  Share the Gospel using “whatever gift you have received to serve others.”

Come join us at 8am on Saturday at FBC Hooks to reach into our community…it’s just one day!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

October 6, 2015, 10:51 AM

Be sure of what you give...

"But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay."  Psa. 40:17

What a beautiful psalm of humility!  The entire psalm is spoken from the point of view of one that is broken and desires to have God bring them up from the depths of life's challenges.  At the beginning of this psalm, David sees the Lord as the one that has brought him on to a firm place to stand even when everything around him was crumbling.  Because of that, he is able to trust the Lord and give Him everything he (David) had, even sacrifice, but God wanted David himself.  God wanted David more than the sacrifices, more than the offerings.  At the end of the psalm David proclaims that God is his deliverer...God is what he needs.

I will admit that I have a difficult time with psalms just like many other people.  However, this one struck me at the heart as we have been talking about relationships on Sunday mornings the last couple of weeks.  God desires us more than offerings and sacrifices.  Do we need to give, yes.  Without it, we are unable to do ministry.  However, we must first give ourselves to God fully...understand that He wants us more than anything.  If we truly understand that, then the "giving" becomes second nature and less of an effort or burden.  Give...YES!  However, make sure that you FIRST give YOURSELF!!!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant


September 23, 2015, 10:56 AM

Oh to be Epaphras...

"He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured." Colossians 4:12 (NIV 2011)

Paul was writing to the church of Colosse while in prison, encouraging the church as usual.  While writing, Paul mentions a few names in these verses, names of men that have been working alongside him in the name of Jesus.  One of the names he mentions is Epaphras. The importance of this man cannot be measured.  Paul states that he is a slave to Christ that has been "wrestling" in prayer for Paul's audience.  Therefore, Epaphras has taken prayer seriously, taking his requests to the Lord on their behalf.  Specifically, Epaphras has requested that Paul's audience remain firm in the will of God, becoming complete and completely assured in God.  Epaphras had been diligent to lift up the church of Colosse so that they would not waver in times of trial.

This morning, I had the opportunity to pray with students that took a stand for Christ at "See you at the Pole."  These students need our prayers to "stand firm in all the will of God."  It is easy when they are able to hold the hands of each other at the pole and see each other, holding each other accountable, feeling safe that all believe the same; especially when there is supervision to ensure all goes well.  Let us pray that they remain bold and "fully assured" by God that they are capable of standing firm at all times.  Encourage them to make good choices...all the time.  Most of all, let US wrestle in prayer for them to be able to do these things.  Let us be Epaphras!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant


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