Kellie, Isabella, Isaiah, and Pastor Chris

Monday, October 31, 2011

Daily Word October 31, 2011

First, let me take a minute to thank all of your for your continued prayers and support!  We have been so blessed by the many prayers offered on our behalf over the past week and we are so thankful for all that you do.

"And they said to one another, 'Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.'  So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah."
Jonah 1:7

Don't you know old Jonah knew exactly who the lot was about to fall upon?!  He like the prodigal, could no longer sit around and blame everyone else.  He needed to look into the mirror and see who was to blame and if he was unwilling, God would hold the mirror right up in front of him.  It wasn't God's fault that he was on a boat to Tarshish.  It wasn't the Ninevite's fault that he wasn't in Nineveh.  It was his own wandering heart that had brought him to the middle of the sea. 
Beloved, we often times want to look around and blame everyone else for the problems we experience.  I know I do!  It's the easy thing to do. To look around and to see everyone shortcomings isn't hard or brave.  The courageous thing to do is to look inwardly and discover our own sin.  Yet, if we are unwilling, just as God showed Jonah who was to blame through a superstitious game, God will hold the mirror in front of us and show us the culprit.  So today, I will look in the mirror and if I'm in a boat headed to Tarshish, I'll know who is to blame.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Daily Word October 24, 2011

Jonah 1:1
"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai..."

In just a few short words, we learn that Jonah was a child of promise.  His name means "dove" and so often in the Bible, God's messengers are called, pictured, or told to be like doves.  Second, it says that his father was "Amittai" - faithfulness.  So he is called a messenger who was the son of faithfulness - Jonah had the right mommy and daddy.  Third, the "word of the Lord" came to him - he knew how to hear God's voice.  He had been given the unique and special privilege to be a prophet of God.  He would hear directly from God and then give that message to a people.  There is also an interesting tradition about Jonah.  There is a tradition that Jonah was the son of the widow of Zeraphath who was raised from the dead in 1 Kings 17.  If that is true, which we really have no way to prove, then Jonah had experienced the power of God very personally in his own life.

So here is Jonah, full of promise.  Yet as we read through the pages of his story, we see not the man of faith we expect.  Instead, we see one who is running from "the presence of the Lord", one who is filled with nationalistic pride that doesn't want Nineveh to repent, and one who is "hot under the collar."  How did he go so wrong?  While we don't have all of the answers to that question, I believe the story of Jonah is a lesson to us all about the fact that no one is "above" disobedience.  Even the stars fall, even the moon can be covered by the clouds.  No one is ever so spiritual, that they cannot be headed to Tarshish.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daily Word October 19, 2011

"I have sinned against heaven and before you."

After the prodigal came to the guilty party - himself - he now had to confess that sin.  He promises himself that he will tell his father that he had sinned from "heaven to earth" or "against heaven and before you."  Either interpretation leads us to the same truth, his sin had ramifications beyond the earthly realm.  His sin had eternal effects.  But confession - it was a step in the right direction.

Beloved, it is easy for most to realize who is at fault, the difficulty is coming to the point where you are willing to admit it.  But God blesses brokeness.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Daily Word October 18, 2011

Luke 15:17
"When he came to himself..."

You can imagine this teenage boy was acting like...well, a teenage boy.  He was wallowing in the hog slop pretending that it was everyone else's fault that he was in the position he was.  He blamed mother nature for the famine, his brother for his attitude, his dad for being a bad manager of his inherritance, the casino for cheating him, and the list goes on.  But then all of a sudden, as he blamed the entire courtroom, the only person left in the room was the person staring him back in the mirror.  I imagine (the key is that I imagine), he was feeding the hogs and he stopped to get a drink from the stream.  He saw his reflection in the water and he "came to himself."  He realized that the only person to blame for being in this position was himself.

Beloved, it is easy for us to blame everything and everyone for our circumstances.  The truth is that we are our own worst enemies.  If we are in the pig pen, it is probably not someone else's fault...its probably my own doing.  But this is the point of repentance - we are empty of ourselves and recognize the responsibility that rests on our own shoulders.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week of October 9-15

I will begin a revival this Sunday and will be out of the office until Thursday.  Therefore, my blog will be down next week.  Please pray that God will move in the hearts of the church in Jackson, Mo - Shawnee Hlls Baptist Church.  Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Daily Word October 4, 2011

The Value of A Pig

Acts 15:13-14
"Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.  And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need."

So this son, who has laid his plans and cashed in his property, continues to make bad decision after bad decision.  It was shameful to plot and scheme what he would do with his inheritance, it was indescribable to make the request to his father the way that he did, but now he has really gone off the deep end.  Here he is a Jewish teenager and he decides living at home is no longer the best idea, so he leaves home and goes into a distant country.  Watch the transition - He was in the wrong frame of mind, with the wrong attitude yesterday.  Today he is now in the wrong place.  Then he squandered his property in reckless living - he essentially gave it away, he got nothing from it.  But notice the transition that comes next, "When he had spent everything, a sever famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need."  Almost as though it were a providential famine, when he had no resources of his own, he learned he needed to be dependent upon another.  This is the lesson he is learning. 

But here is our truth for today - the famine did not bring him into need, it only showed him the point of his need.  What has God brought into your life recently to show you the point of your need?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Daily Word October 3, 2011

The Value of a Pig?
Luke 15:11-16
"And he siad, 'There was a man who had two sons.  And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.'  And he divided his property between them.  Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.  And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.  And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.'"

It is a familiar story no doubt, but not for the reasons perhaps you may be thinking.  It is a familiar story from the standpoint that almost all of us, if not all of us, have at one point or another represented this young man.  Foolish and arrogant, he makes a shameful request before his father.  He requests that his dad not only give him his inheritance before his time, but also, in reality, that his dad allow him to live his life however he chose.  In other words, this rutty young man is filled with arrogance and pride, he decides it is time to stop taking orders, no one is going to tell him what to do, he is his own boss.  It is interesting, that upon receiving the property, it says, "Not many days later..." - it implies that the young man had it all planned out.

Ever been there before?  Planning out the moves - "If I was in charge, I would...I know how to run my life better than...I can run this company better than my boss..."  There we often are, filling ourselves with pride and self-ambition, we are about to head down the road of the prodigal son.  Today, let's stop - we haven't gone to far.  There's time to turn around...