Monday, May 31, 2010

Serving Your Adversary

Read John 13:1-15

Our pastor, Nathan Lorick, preached his first sermon in a series called “Unmasking Christianity”. One point was “Jesus is the servant”. The proof text was John 13:1-15 where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. This occurred before the Passover and Jesus knew His time to die on the cross was at hand. Verse 3 says that Judas would betray Jesus and Jesus knew it. Following the last supper, Jesus prepared to wash the feet of each of his followers. He did this to demonstrate that they were to serve one another. Jesus said, "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”

As Nathan preached, my mind raced in multiple directions. Jesus showed us that we are to serve. Why am I not serving more? Jesus assumed a lowly posture when he washed the apostles’ feet. Why am I too proud to abase myself? And the most condemning revelation, Jesus knew Judas would soon betray him, yet He washed his feet too! What was that about? What is He teaching us? Does He expect me to serve those who are against me?

My nature moves me to ignore and avoid my adversary. My flesh screams for me to answer with rude speech and actions. But our Lord Jesus not only instructs, but demonstrates, that we are to love and serve those who would betray us. Why? In this story, showing love to the enemy did not change Judas. However, I believe that Jesus showed great strength of character through His incredible actions. This was a very peculiar thing to me. We are, after all, called to be a “peculiar people” I suppose!

How can you demonstrate the love of Christ to one who is obviously against you? Ask God to show you what you can do. You may not change that person, but you will become more Christ-like and I believe God will be honored.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Favorite Choral Anthems

This is a current list of my favorite choral anthems.  I am posting this for the worship leaders.  I will add to this list when I discover more worthy selections.  Please add your top recommendations so other worship pastors can benefit too!


Title: Changed

Author: Paula Stefanovich

Arranger: Richard Kingsmore

Publisher: Lillenas Music

Title: Days of Elijah

Author: Robin Mark

Arranger: Richard Kingsmore

Publisher: Integrity Music

Title: Jerusalem

Author: Paula Stefanovich

Arranger: Camp Kirkland

Publisher: Prism Music

Title: Jesus to the World

Author: Mike Harland

Arranger: Richard Kingsmore

Publisher: Lifeway Music

Title: No More Night (From the Easter musical, Written In Red)

Author: Walt Harrah

Arranger: Robert Sterling, Camp Kirkland, Gary Rhodes & Russell Mauldin

Publisher: Word Music

Title: Revelation Song (from the collection Glorious Day)

Author: Jennie Lee Riddle

Arranger: Travis Cottrell

Publisher: Benson Music

Title: Thou, Oh Lord

Author: Lisa Ireland

Arranger: Bradley Knight

Publisher: Prism Music

Title: You Are Good

Author: Israel Houghton

Arranger: Lari Goss

Publisher: Word Music

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Be silent...wait expectantly

Today I meditated on the first half of psalm 37:7

"Be silent before the LORD and wait expectantly for Him."

Have you ever attempted a dialogue with a person who spoke incessantly?  My  Grandpa Mooney would have responded to such person with a statement similar to the following.

"Would you hush?  I can't get in a word edge wise!"

"Wait silently before the LORD"  ...Maybe it's time to hush and allow the LORD to get in a word edge wise.  A few words of wisdom from Him are more beneficial to us than a thousand of our words.  We need to listen.

"Wait expectantly for Him"...We must expect God to actually do something when we pray.  A friend once told me that he once saw a photo of a group of farmers who gathered at the town square to pray for God to send rain to end a difficult drought.  He said, "You know, Eric.  Not one of them had an umbrella!"  Do we really expect God to answer our prayers?  If we only had the faith of a mustard seed!

"Father, I'm waiting for you.  Help me to remember to keep my mouth shut and expect to hear from You."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Under Construction

First Baptist Church Malakoff is an incredible church in which to serve. The people here are hungry for God's Word, obedient to the call, active in service, and follow the leadership team God has given them. One of these leaders is our Children's minister, Allison. One member who was caught the vision is Jim, who heads up our bus ministry. The bus ministry began through our block party emphasis and has resulted in incredible numerical growth in our children's department. This is a photo of land being cleared to make room for our new building for children's ministry. Unfortunately, there was a large oak tree and other obstacles in the center of our plans. We had no choice but to remove them so that we could make room for our new building.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, "For I know the plans that I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Just as our church had plans for the use of the land adjacent to our sanctuary, God has a plan for my life. And just as the field has trees, brush, and rocks that must be removed to be used for the purpose we have for it, my life has areas that must be cleared to be used by God for his purposes to be accomplished.

O God, remove all things that stand in the way of having your plan accomplished in my life! Strip away the vines that I have allowed to grow and uproot the biggest oak trees first! I know that this will look ugly and be painful at first, but I desire to be used by You to the fullest measure! You are the Master Designer and Architect of my life. From heaven's view, I can see that I am a field of potential for your service. I am field and only a field, Lord. So rake me, and remove all of the high places of pride. Have Your way in me, Sovereign Lord!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Fall

It seems that man has had a fear of snakes since that day in the garden when serpent deceived Adam and Eve.  I had no choice but to sent this little devil to snaky heaven.  I am not a fan of snakes.  This one was destined to meet a terrible fate whether or not he was venomous.  This happens to be a dangerous copperhead, so good riddance to you.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

God is omnipresent, part 2

While Kim was at a wedding shower, I chose to sacrifice my Sunday afternoon siesta. Instead I took my sons to the city park. Evan skated at the new skate park and Ethan I went on a nature hike through a wooded meadow. These are great opportunities to let God speak through His creation.

Did you know that God is into minimalist creation. Here is a photo I took with my Motorola Droid. It is a cluster of wild onion flowers. We were about to step on these tiny masterpiece, but instead opted to stoop down for a better look. Isn't it amazing that I was about to overlook such a masterpiece. Look at the incredible detail God went to in designing these beautiful weeds.

Then I saw some huff puffs. Oh, you know what huff puffs are don't you? That's the term my mother used for dandelion seeds. The symmetry is just fantastic. Why Walt Disney ingenious creativity could not have devised this thing!

I told Ethan to huff and puff and when he did, myriad seeds to flight. I told Ethan that God gave these seeds a natural parachute so that the seeds can spread all over the neighbor's yards. SSSHHHHH! Don't tell them we did this. And don't tell me that God doesn't care about details in nature.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

God is omnipresent

One of the theological truths of God is that he is everywhere at all times or that He's omnipresent.  In the coming weeks, I'll share photos and scriptures that support that truth.

All I had to do today was look out my front door.  Here is a beautiful amaryllis in our flower bed.