Sunday, July 31, 2016

Praise, Worship, and Contemplation

Today I attended St. Mattress Cathedral while the Mrs. worshiped at Bedside Chapel.  Following this we both found ourselves refreshed.  If you cannot sleep at night, you have to sleep sometime.

To spend a few extra moments with Jesus on this Lord's Day, here are some observations by vanilla and his Beautiful Beloved Better Half.

 The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.  --Psalm 24:1

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

More about Aging

The mind says, "Yes, you can,"  and still ya
Hear your body say, "Do it and I'll kill ya."

"Listen to your body." --My physical therapist.


Young woman hurried around me to get to the door ahead of me.  She reached out, opened the door and with a smile indicated that I should enter ahead of her.  Young lady holds door for poor old man.

I am officially old now.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lydia's Hospitality

The Scripture lesson is Acts 16:11-15 in which is related the story of Lydia coming to Paul and bringing her family to be baptized.

"Imagine if you will, close your eyes if need be and picture a quiet, still pond.  Then throw a small stone into the  pond and watch the effect.  The ripples move out in every direction, moving across the pond until all the pond has been affected by the stone.

"The pond is the world.  The stone: each and every action you do every day which will affect someone."

The story of Lydia who appears in only seven verses of the Bible is important to us today.  Lydia was a businesswoman, a seller of purple, the head of her household.  She clearly possessed stature in her community.  She heard Paul's message and she was completely changed.  She recognized that she needed Jesus and she knew that her family needed Him, too.  She went to Paul to be baptized and presented her family to be baptized as well.

She worshiped God; she opened her heart, and something happened to Lydia.  Paul brought the message, but it was the Holy Spirit who softened her heart.

Lydia persuaded Paul and his entourage to come to her house. (v. 30).
This gathering represents the first church plant in Europe.  
*We may be gathered here today because of Lydia'a hospitality.*

Missionaries are really amazing people; missionaries and missions are often confused.  The mission field is the world, and our own neighborhood is part of that  world.
We are all called to be missionaries.
We are not just saved from the past, we are called to something, that is, to be witnesses for Christ, to tell others of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus died for me and for the world.  The mission field is all around us
Every broken life has potential.  Think of the ripple effect that your life has.  If you are not leading others to Christ you can't call yourself a Christian.  We are called to much more than comfort and ease.  We are not called to be comfortable.

*If you are not bearing fruit you are dying.*

We must share our story.  The Holy Spirit does the work; we just have to show up.

Three steps to sharing our story.

1.  Look for lost people.  Think Lydia's family.
2.  Pray for those lost people and tell them.
3.  Craft your story and share it often.

"I know God, He knows me, and I want to know Him more every day.

"That's my story.  What's your story?"

Pastor Joe Deckard
Sunday morning

Sunday, July 17, 2016

From Great to Good

Pastor Johnnie announced that this is the first in a series of sermons on "Hidden Character."

Today we study Barnabas; lesson is based on Acts 11:20-34.

Why was Barnabas considered "Good"?

Barnabas was a good man.  What does that mean? What does it mean to be "a good man"?

1.  Barnabas was good when it came to money.
     His first appearance in scripture is as a generous giver.  Generosity is a sign of goodness.

Barnabas was trustworthy in handling money for others.  How we handle possessions is a sign of goodness.  Good people have integrity.

2.  Barnabas was good in dealing with outsiders.  He sponsored the new convert, Saul, who would later be the Apostle Paul.  Saul tried to join the Christians but they were afraid of him, justifiably so, given Saul's history.  Barnabas witnessed in Saul's behalf.  He sponsored Paul, an outsider.  Barnabas took seriously the call to "Go, make disciples.:
Barnabas is called the Son of Consolation.

3.  Barnabas was patient with others.  Barnabas gave John Mark a second chance, and in opposition to Paul.

SO, DO YOU SEEK TO BE GOOD-- or would you rather be great?
Greatness has more to do with fame and worldly success.  Goodness has to do with moral excellence. 
Ordinary people can be good.
Even great people can be good. 

     Goodness can only be achieved through the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning
Too many people have the gift of discouragement.  
They are like vacuum cleaners.  They are really
loud, and they really, really suck.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sold Out to Mammon

Dear Grandson,

As you launch your career following your recent graduation from university, we wish you a long, happy and fulfilling life.

Counsel?  Of course, and I know you did not ask.  But here's the thing.  I have lived a long time and have observed many things, so please attend to this.

It is an admirable thing that you will launch yourself into the work force at a starting salary of 50k and money is the thing that will provide you with the wherewithal to keep body and soul together.  But many people I have known sold their time too cheaply.  I do not mean in terms of money, for I know a man who is sixty years old and has a salary of over 300k.  He has sold his time too cheaply.  Not because the salary is too small, but of what he gave up to achieve it.

He is a husband and a father of two children.  He possesses a fine residence on Snob Hill with four-car garage, and each bay home to a Mercedes model or a Land Rover.  My point is, he does not want for stuff.  What he does lack is a relationship with his children, and whatever he once had with his wife is long gone.  How did this happen?  He sold his time too cheaply,  In order to climb the corporate ladder to his current level, he sacrificed his family.   He never had time to play pitch-and-catch with the kids; he never had time to take the family on camping trips.  Oh, he did take them along from time to time when he was sent to an exotic place by his company, but he never spent any of that time with his family, either, unless you count the time sealed into the tube of an aircraft.

The man sold his time too cheaply, sold it for a high-powered salary and a semblance of power and influence.  Sold out, one might correctly say.
My advice?  If you have read this little account, ponder it and decide carefully what you are going to get in exchange for your time.

Grandpa Bob