Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Preach it, Brother!

I wonder how many people have to ask forgiveness for lying after they shake the preacher's hand after a sermon. "Great job Preacher" "Oh, brother that was awesome" "Good Word, Pastor" "Oh, my toes hurt this morning preacher"... well you get the idea.

One guy said one Sunday "Preacher, you sure used a lots of words today!"

I laugh sometimes (on the inside) when people's expressions and eyes and body language scream out something different from what they are saying.

Truth is not every sermon is going to move every person so a preacher can only pray hard, study long and think creatively... the real work comes from the Holy Spirit.

So, with all that said, it is really refreshing when people call or e-mail or show up a day or two or more after the sermon and say things like... "I couldn't shake what you said from my mind" or
"God really spoke to me Sunday and I want you to know that I have already ..." or, "Okay, preacher, here's what I have done since Sunday, can you give me some additional scripture or insight so that I can..."

When I get those kind of calls or comments the week following a sermon, I smile deep inside and thank God for allowing me to be a preacher. That has happened several times already this week and has blessed me greatly (no, it doesn't happen every week).

My sermon this past Sunday spoke to Doing your job, doing it now and doing it right. If God has laid an asignment on you (and he has) do it... do it now ... and do it right.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, The President of the United States of America!

Today is a historic day of which no one can deny. Barak Obama will be sworn in office in just a few minutes from my typing this blog. What an amazing reality for our nation when you need look just a few decades back to a time when this day seemed highly unlikely.
We celebrated, yesterday, Martin Luther King's birthday and were once again reminded of his great dream for the equality of man in our country. No more appropriate time then today for this inauguration to take place.
President-elect, in just a few minutes to be called President Obama, was not my choice for president and was in fact probably my last choice of all the serious candidates offered a year ago.
I have even been called a racist because I didn't support him or vote for him. That's like calling me a vegetarian if I don't like steak. His race had absolutely nothing to do with my choice or non-choice of him as our president. In fact if race was an issue for any white person, they would need only to consider that he was birthed by a white woman and raised by her and his white grandparents. However, that was not and is not an issue for me.
My problem is his liberalism, having been labeled as THE most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate and the fact that he had and has so very little experience. He had barely begun serving as a senator when he was beginning an all out campaign for the presidency. He is pro abortion even to the extent of partial birth abortion which I cannot understand for the life of me is not a murderous act punishable by the same consequences as killing someone 30 seconds after they are born as opposed to before they were born. I could list many other reasons that I could not support him with my vote and will not (unless there are some drastic changes in 4 years in his platform) in four years from now.
HOWEVER, he is my president now and will be for at least four years and I will stand by him as an American and I will fervently pray for him regularly. I Peter 2:13-17 is God's command to me as a Christian to pray for and honor my leader and that I will do to the best of my ability.

For the first time since Truman, I think, the sitting president will not have the benefit of regular counsel from Billy Graham as his health and age have closed that chapter. I truly hope that President Obama will solicit the counsel of Rick Warren or someone of his strong convictions.

Obama received, overwhelmingly, the voice of our nation on election day and deserves this position based on the will of the people. It is a wonderful story of the American dream. Congratulations Mr. President! My prayers are with you and your family.
May God continue to Bless America!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No winners in the courtroom

I spent the most part of my day yesterday sitting in a courtroom in Virginia Beach. It was the sentencing hearing for the young man who killed one of our church members last May when driving while intoxicated.
This was a very diificult experience. It would have been easier if he had been an arrogant jerk who wanted to blame his upbringing or being bullied in grade school or abused by a co-worker or something. But that was not the case.
This young man was obviously a decent guy who was liked by every body who knows him. He had a great support system but not one witness excused what he did and in fact each of them seemed quite surprised that this could happen with him. It was testified that he was a faithful and gifted employee and trusted friend, a good son, a servant who even the day before the accident attended his friend's wedding and then stayed to help his friend's mother clean up after the reception.
Truly, any anger that one might have had with the guy, began to melt away...well at least it did for me. My heart was crushed with his brokeness and remorse and his unsoothed devastation for the family of the deceased.
Even the judge was moved with emotion as he handed down the sentence...not a slap on the wrist but a response to the law and it's intended purpose in that he gave him five years and a month.
Handcuffs clicked on the young man's wrist behind his back as he was led out of the room. No one wins...no one!
I boldly announced downstairs to the family of the deceased that they had no choice but to forgive this young man as he pleaded for that and believed that they did in fact forgive him. Some in the family had and some had not.
As I was driving back to Moyock the terrible thought flooded my mind..."Would I be able to forgive someone if this happened to my family?" I guess I can't really say that for sure...but after sitting in that courtroom yesterday, I believe by God's grace I could do that. I do hope and pray I will never have to know the answer to that question.
A couple or three beers ...no problem... maybe not for some... but at least for one, it was exceeded speed, missed stop light, collision with an innocent person, death, heartache and five years...No, a lifetime in prison...or at least the equivalent.

Alcohol, is it ever a good idea? Ask Mr. Covington or Mr. or Mrs. Gardner.
I write this because I care!