Spark Some Laughter In Your Life

Spark Some Laughter In Your Life

Susan Sparks is a breast cancer survivor.  A nurse where she was tested for cancer told her that the Lord would take care of her. Susan reacted with sarcasm, “I think the Lord should have started a little earlier in taking care—like a couple of years ago when these cells started growing!” When the nurse put her arm around Susan and once again assured her that the Lord would take care of her, Susan rolled her eyes and said, “He has never had breast cancer, so I seriously doubt that he has any idea of how to ‘take care’ of this!” In her book, “Laugh Your Way to Grace,” Susan is refreshingly transparent about the anger she felt when she first learned of this devastating news. Anyone diagnosed with cancer or any disease can understand her pain and anger.  But Susan soon learned that her path to healing wasn’t found in her anger.  She began to rise above her pain and transcend her grief through the power of humor. She remembers drinking out of a coffee mug that said: “My Oncologist Can Beat Up Your Oncologist,” and she had a magnet on the refrigerator that said, “Cancer—it’s not just an astrological sign anymore.”  I think the saying would have been funnier if it had ended with these words: “it’s just an ass.” Soon humor became the sieve that allowed her to see, hear, and bear the truth. I saw a video of a parent trying to feed a baby, but the baby wasn’t having the food from the jar. So the parent dangled an ice cream cone in front of the...
The Bible is Our Roadmap for Life

The Bible is Our Roadmap for Life

The Bible is Our Roadmap for Life March 3, 2019 Luke 24:13-27 All of us need help when we are traveling to find our way. These days, most of us just take out our phone, we speak in the address, and Siri directs us to our destination, one turn at a time. Many of you are old enough to remember when we used one of these (folding map). Chances are good if you under the age of 35, you may have never used a map like this and you never will. Years ago, if we didn’t have a map like this, when we traveled out of town and out of state on vacations, we used to stop and ask directions from strangers. Either that, or we stayed lost a lot because it’s impossible to always know where you are going unless of course, you are a man. Men always know where we are going.  If you don’t believe that, just ask a man if he is lost and he will tell you that he knows exactly where he is. And the women just roll their eyes. O.K, as a man, I will admit that I’ve been lost more than once and it would have helped if I had consulted with a map – or listened to my wife. Confession is good for the soul. If we were all honest, we would say that we have all been lost.  If we were all honest, we would all confess that when we are confused about life, about the direction we are to go, too many of us have turned down several...
Are You a Disciple of Jesus?

Are You a Disciple of Jesus?

February 24, 2019 Are You a Disciple of Jesus? Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Peter 2:4-8 I have been with a lot of people and their families through the dying process.  I have discovered that most families believe that their loved one has moved from this life into a life of comfort, a life beyond this one that is better to a place we refer to as heaven. In fact, very few people believe or even entertain the idea that their loved one might have slipped away into eternal torment, a place we call hell. Recently, a professor at a Baptist college in Missouri was fired because he did not fully embrace the concept of hell as a place of eternal punishment.  Instead, the professor said that more New Testament passages describe hell as destruction rather than eternal punishment. Part of our problem as Baptists is that we spend too time arguing about things like whether hell is a place of destruction or a place of eternal punishment, that we forget the more important issue, that far too many people don’t believe that we can end up in either kind of situation. A lot of people have a difficult time coming to terms with the grace of God and accepting the grace of God and never do, which is necessary for salvation. The irony is that when a loved one dies, even those that may not have accepted God’s grace in their own lives want to claim the grace of God for others. Do you hear what I’m saying? We seem to want to claim God’s grace and the gift of heaven...

We Worship a Personal God

We Worship a Personal God Isaiah 43:3-13 The Message Bible Matthew 14:22-32 Most people have been up close and personal with at least one famous person in their life.  I have shaken the hands of two U.S. Presidents, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. I met Mohammed Ali and got his autograph. The longtime manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers Tommy Lasorda once told me that I wrote some of the nicest words anybody ever wrote about him in an article published in “The Moultrie Observer.”  He was kind enough to autograph a copy for me. Professional baseball player Jeff Francoeur was in a wedding that I was the officiant of in Moultrie, Georgia. Just because I met these famous people and can tell you who they are when I see their pictures or images on television, doesn’t mean I know them personally. To some people, God seems like a celebrity they have heard about, but they can’t say they actually know personally.  If you ask them if they think God knows them, you might get a wide range of responses. What about you? When you go to church, read the Bible or live each day, does God seems far away from what you are dealing with: the stress, the financial burdens, marital issues, blended family issues, teenage drama, boyfriend and girlfriend problems, health issues, identity struggles, family challenges, or lingering temptations? Do you wonder – “How does God even know I exist among 7 billion people?” If you ever feel like this, then the people that the writer of Second Isaiah wrote to were very much like you.   These people had been exiled...
What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

February 10 What’s In a Name? Exodus 3:1-15 “In the beginning God,” and so the Bible begins with these four words. With these four words, we learn that the Hebrews accepted the existence of God. There is no debate. With these words, there is no questioning whether God is real.  Even though this writer accepts that God is real, it does not mean that he entirely understands God.  There is no claim to that. God was not always looked to direct the lives of the people.  The Bible tells the truth about our relationship with God. Adam and Eve never questioned God’s existence. They just rebelled against God. Rebelling against God remains the fundamental problem of most people. Most people, when pressed, will still acknowledge the existence of God.  While we cannot prove the existence of God, to not acknowledge the existence of God leaves more questions unanswered than answered. If there is no God, the universe, and everything in it, is all here by chance.  The probabilities of all of us and everything in this world being here by chance is so high that we get into the miracle zone. We ARE here because of a miracle but how can you have a miracle without a God? How can matter be derived from nothing without a God? Since that’s not possible, most people will still acknowledge the existence of God, but many are still not sure what role God plays in their lives or in the world. If there is one thing the scientific community will agree on is that there was a beginning. There isn’t a credible...