Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dressing for the 21st Century

It is our routine to take brunch after church on Sunday.

Sitting in the restaurant awaiting the order I commented to the Missus that I can cut the younger set some slack, they don't know any better, but what is it with old guys sitting at table with hats on?  (There were three in our section.)

To this day I remove my hat when I enter a building.  (Exception: a shopping mall or a box store.)  The idea of eating with the hat on boggles the mind.  (Okay, we have a couple guys wear their hats in church-- maybe they have some sort of religious conviction, I don't know.)

Anyway, as we were leaving after the repast, I stopped by a table where were seated three couples of whom I am acquainted with four of the people.  Passed a couple of pleasantries, turned to leave, when the old guy I did not know said to me, "You've a bit of nerve, wearing a tie in public."

Do you believe this?  I didn't, either, for a moment  A glance around the room told me that indeed mine was the only tie in sight.  Recovering, I said, "I'm an old guy; I can get away with it."

(And flashing back to the morning worship service, I believe I was the only guy with a tie in church, too.  Am I out of line here?  Or just out of step? )

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Peace to the Chaos

Scripture lesson: Luke 2:8-20

Mankind fell by disobedience in the Garden of Eden.  Fellowship with God was broken.

To effect reconciliation requires that one of the parties to the broken relationship must take the first step.  Man could not, was incapable of taking that step. 

God took the first step.  He initiated a plan for reconciliation.

1.  Christ is the giver and provider of peace, the only One who can bring peace so that we are made children of God.
     Through Christ alone there is a peace which is not merely absence of chaos, but peace amidst the chaos.

2,  Our role is to be vessels through which peace is transmitted to the world, even as Mary was the vessel through which Jesus came into the world, bringing peace.
     Peace fell on the chaos through the obedience of Mary to the Heavenly Father.
     Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers.  (Matthew 5:9)

Are we known more for our hatred than for who we love?

His invitation to peace is offered to anyone.
 Some serious questions to ask yourself.
1. Is there distance between you and your Heavenly Father?

2.  Is there someone you feel bitterness or anger toward?

3.  Is there a relationship that needs mending?

4.  Is there a people group against whom you hold judgment?

5.  Is it possible that you have withheld peace for someone?

Offering peace to the world: How well are we doing?

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hope for the Hopeless

Scripture readings: Luke 1:57-80, 3:1-20

Advent causes us to

1.  step back and remember
     a) the person of Jesus Christ;
     b) the people who surrounded Jesus, the culture that all had a part in the story;
     c) the place: the manger, the scene, the birth in complete humility;
(The Sunday School teacher asked why Jesus was born in a stable, such lowly circumstances.  Little Girl replied, "God did not want his son to be spoiled.")

2,  examine the present time in light of what we know about those times-- religious and political conflict, division, turmoil, traditions falling apart; hopelessness amid which John was born

John glared into the face of hopelessness, the culture, bringing a message of a New Day, (Chapter 3), a message of hope, a different message even than the religious of the day preached.

It is the same message we need today--
something that stands in major contrast
to what we are hearing. 
3.  calls us to look ahead; must not get hung up in tradition, losing sight of the message for now and the future.

We stand on the cusp of something great
  that is about to happen.

Jesus is coming soon!

It is a different message.  It actually brings hope.  Our time needs Jesus Christ, but it needs the message of John.  It is just as relevant today as it was in John's day.

John walked into the room and flipped on the light!

"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." --Joel 2:32a  Hallelujah!

The message of hope to all who are in Christ Jesus, the message of hope to the world. There is a great day coming!

Produce fruit in keeping with your repentance.  (John 3)


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Not Making This Up

Read a published article which contained this sentence:
They were ahead of the curb. . . 

Visualize that, if you will.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

First Things First

The final message in the series "Enough" is based on words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter six.  Jesus here begins with a discussion of worship, the elements of which are giving to the needy, prayer, and fasting.  In verses nineteen to twenty-one we read
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  (NIV)
Pursuit of earthly treasures sets up idols in our hearts and lives.
We will never find fulfillment in treasures of this world.

Materialism is backed by misconceptions:
     1.  Having more things will make me happy.
     2.  Having more things will make life easier.
     3.  Having more things will make me more secure.
               Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Materialism is the desire to gain what I do not need at the cost of what I do not have.

v. 25: Do not worry.
     40% of what we worry about never happens; 30% is about the past and cannot be changed; 10% is about health about which worry only exacerbates our problems.
Worry is useless, unhealthy for your soul.
Worry is a symptom of lack of faith.
Worry is what happens when you think you know best.
Worry is characteristic of one who does not know God.

WE ARE GOD'S CHILDREN.  He is a good Father; He knows what we need before we ask!  God is our provider.
vv.  34,35:  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Philippians 4:19:   And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
 Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

SEC, pffft

Class, Julie Peoples.  But then  no doubt she was just the messenger.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Generous Life

The scripture lesson is from chapter six of Paul's first letter to Timothy.

Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

We allow money to corrupt our minds by stealing our peace.

Generosity is not just giving paper but it is giving of yourself in whatever situation a need exists. 
Pastor Amanda Blair
Sunday morning

Saturday, November 18, 2017

For What It's Worth

Old math teachers never die, they just cease to be a factor.

And they have bigger problems than that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Happiness is a kicked football

Image result for charlie brown football
"Happiness isn't funny."  --Charles Schulz, when asked why he did not let Charlie Brown kick the football.  "It would make us happy, but happiness isn't funny."

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Dealing with Debt

or, Clean-up on Aisle Five

American families are over their heads in debt.  For example, even those with the lowest net worth (zero or negative) have an average of $10,000 indebtedness.

When will we have enough?

We go into debt, perhaps, to get the kids the "things we never had as a child."  Perhaps debt is the result of impulse buying, or believing that our "wants" are "needs."
Later, the only thing we have to show for it is a stack of bills.

*Debt is not a sin.
*Debt is not a salvation issue.
*God's Word is relevant and practical to our lives.

Whether debt is for a good reason or for a bad decision, the weight of it is the same.

 *Debt enslaves us.  The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.  --Proverbs 22:7 (NIV)

*Debt must be repaid.  Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you. --Proverbs 22:26,27

*Debt costs more than you borrow.    For who, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Luke 14:28

*Debt assumes upon a future.    Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  --James 4:14

 Debt is an easy path to a harder tomorrow.  --Ron Blue

Now we turn to the scripture, II Kings 4:1-7 in which the recently widowed woman is facing the payment of her late husbands debt and has not wherewithal to pay it.  She cries out to Elisha and he responds with two questions.
1.  How can I help?   This is the miracle question.
2.  What do you have?  Check your inventory.

Jesus wants to work at the heart level.
Perhaps it is the case that debt is not the basic problem.
Maybe it is a result of lack of contentment. The need is a sense of gratitude, gratefulness and thanksgiving for what one has.
Maybe the issue is pride.  The need is humility.  It is not necessary to appear have more than the neighbor.
Perhaps the issue is  lack of freedom.  The need is breaking the bondage of a vice or addiction.

Debt may just be a symptom of a problem of the heart.
Once the woman in the story took a step of faith, God began to deal with the problem.  And so it will be for us.
1.  Take inventory.
2.  Set a budget.

Tell your money where to go instead of allowing money to speak for you.


WORK HARD.  God designed us to enjoy work.
If you want God to bless you, get off your backside and do something.


Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning