Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Crazy World!

Texas gets hit by a category 5 hurricane.  Florida gets hit by a category 4 hurricane.  The Virgin Islands and Caribbean have seen wave after wave of catastrophic hurricanes.  Mexico City has a massive earthquake that kills hundreds.  Wildfires in the West.  North Korea threatening a nuclear strike on America.  What is going on in this crazy world?

There is no way to know for certain if these disasters are sent by God for judgement or allowed by God as part of the curse of this fallen world in which we live.  The question we have during such disasters is why?  The “why” question is easy if we look at scripture and see how sin has cursed this world in which we live.  The better question for us as believers is to ask, “what are we going to do about it?”  With such disasters comes the opportunity to love our neighbor as ourselves.  It is an opportunity to meet physical needs as well as meet their spiritual needs.  All things are not good, however, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). 

When disaster strikes, it is the responsibility of believers to respond.  We are called according to his purpose.  We are called to love God and love others.  There are a lot of hurting people in our nation right now.  There are people who have lost everything.  We need to show them the love of Christ.  We need to send money to Christian based disaster relief organizations who are trained and prepared to meet the physical needs.  We need to help bring peace to those who are questioning these horrible events.  We must point people to Jesus as our only hope.  Until Christ returns disasters like these will continue.  This fallen world is crazy!  What are we going to do about it?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Time to Remember

It is great to be able to take time and remember.  That is what this last weekend was for me.  It was a time to remember what God has done in my life on the small piece of God’s creation we call Falls Creek.  Falls Creek is part of some of my earliest memories.  My dad was a music and youth minister so I usually spent the week with him.  I remember following around older students to the Icee stands.  I remember my first years as a camper at children’s camp swimming in the ice-cold swimming pool and having morning devotions under the water tower overlooking the camp.  My first year as a camper for youth camp I was the only guy in our group.  That would have been more enjoyable a few years later.  My first year with McAlester First we went out in the streets well past curfew while it was pouring down rain.  We had just played games with shaving cream and were covered from head to toe.  We started singing “Singing in the Rain” as loud as we could.  This was 1990 and the security Nazis were still in full force.  The whole cabin was almost sent home and banned from returning over the incident.

Some of my great spiritual markers happened at Falls Creek.  It is where I learned how to listen to God.  It is the place I surrendered to ministry in 1991.  My first big event to plan as a minister was to take a group to Falls Creek.  I have helped more people surrender to Christ on the grounds of Falls Creek than anywhere else in America.  I have shed a lot of tears and heard a lot of confessions with numerous students through the years.  I would not be the same person today without those special times at Falls Creek.

The modern worship experience on Saturday night was exactly what I needed.  It was a time to praise God with all our heart.  The service Sunday night was a time of great reflection.  Having Bill Green lead “Saved, Saved” with Senator James Lankford on the timpani brought back the joy of some of my fondest moments in worship under the old tabernacle.  The place has changed considerably over the last twelve years.  The future is great as the camp is transformed into a year-round conference center.  But sometimes, it is good to just remember what God has done. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

September 10th

September 10th is a big day for us.  Starting that Sunday morning I will be starting a new sermon series entitled “Enough is Enough”.  It is a study through the book of Colossians.  There are times we do things on our own and forget that Jesus is enough.  The study will be a reminder that we must stop trying to live in our own power and in the pursuit other things to obtain meaning and significance.  We must stop the personal pursuit because Jesus is enough.  I encourage you to begin reading through the book of Colossians over the next few weeks.  If you begin now praying through the book you will be amazed at what God teaches you.  Colossians is packed full of theological truth.  It will be fun unwrapping these truths every week.

There is also another change happening on September 10th.  We are changing our Sunday evening schedule.  I am excited about being able to provide many more options for you during a shorter amount of time.  This will benefit many of our ministries without asking everyone for an impossible time commitment.  We will have corporate worship at 5:00.  This time will be a time of worship, Scripture reading and prayer.  At 5:30 we will split up into different small groups.  I will continue to teach every Sunday night through a book of the Bible like I have been on Sunday nights.  It is during this time our men and women’s ministry will also provide short term book studies as well as the time for worship choir and children’s choir rehearsals.  It is our hope that by streamlining these ministries that more people will find it possible to make the commitment to attend.  You will be learning more over the next couple of weeks on these small group options.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ready or Not!

In response to school starting this week I have two opposing positions going through my mind.  The first is, “didn’t we just get out of school for the summer?”  The second is, “why is this taking so long?  These kids need out of this house!”  Whether we are ready or not school starts this week.  That means all our programs in the church are starting back as well.  Remember, programs are how we minister as a church and programs do not run themselves.  It is through programs that we organize to be the body of Christ.  We must each find the best place for us to use our spiritual gifts.  As believers, we are most content when we combine what gives us joy with our abilities.  If you love being around children and have the gift of administration, then we need you in our children’s department helping organize one of our ministries.  If you love helping those in need and have the gift of showing grace, then we need you as part of our Grace Ministry Team.  There is a place for everyone in our church and we are incomplete until everyone finds their place of service within the body.  If you have any questions about how you can serve, please contact me or any of our Ministry Team Leaders and we can help.

Sunday night we are celebrating the end of summer and the beginning of the school year with an ice cream social at my house (6006 Douglas Ln).  I want to personally invite each of you to attend.  It is a great opportunity for us to fellowship together through food and games.  The volleyball net will be set up if anyone wants to pretend, like me, that we are 20 years younger.  For those less energetic, bring your lawn chair and find the shade in our backyard.  Watching the young kids on the swing set can be quite entertaining.  I believe that events like these enhance our intimacy and help us to be a strong body of believers.