Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jesus, Our Firm Foundation

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great. —Luke 6:47–49

I recently cut several trees down in my backyard in hopes of preparing a place for my girls to play. I began to saw the stumps close to the ground so they could be ground into woodchips.

As I began to saw the largest tree stump, which was about two and a half feet in diameter, I noticed something different from the other stumps. It was hollow inside. It only took a couple of minutes to saw through it and I realized there was only about a two inch wall of wood around the outside of the stump. The rest of the stump had been eaten by bugs and turned into sawdust.

I’m glad I cut that tree down. The largest tree in my yard, which was very close to my house, was being held up by a weak stump. A strong wind could have come through and knocked it down – right on my house!
That made me think of a Bible verse in Luke 6. Jesus was preaching to several people about trusting in Him as their firm foundation in life. He mentioned two types of builders: one who built his house on solid rock and one who didn’t use any foundation. The builder who used a strong foundation outlasted the storm and flood and his house was saved. The builder who neglected to use a foundation lost everything.
Why have a firm foundation? Foundations are the supporting structure of the house. The foundation of a house must be stable and well built for the rest of the house to be safe and steady. The foundation of a roadway must be carefully prepared so that the road will not crack, crumble and fall apart. The foundation of a tree must be solid to support the weight of the entire tree.
Likewise, a person must have a firm foundation on which to construct his life. In order for you to outlast the storms and floods of this life, your foundation for living must be built on solid bedrock of Jesus Christ. Salvation through Christ is the start of your Christian building. Jesus is the solid bedrock that you are going to build your house on.
What has been your foundation in life? Money, work, possessions, other people? While those are good, they will never give you the strong, bedrock support like Jesus can. It doesn’t matter how much you decorate your house. If your foundation isn’t strong, it will fall apart.
There’s an old song that says: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ Name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
I encourage you to trust Jesus as you Savior and build your life on Him – the true Solid Rock and Firm Foundation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

God is up to something

A lot has happened since the last post. God is really up to some great things in my life. I turned 30! My youngest daughter Abby turned 1 and took a couple of steps this past week.

We had several kids compete in the AWANA quiz bowl and they did extremely well. Our Saturday night elementary Kids Church has been growing to about 50 each saturday night and our Sunday AM kids church is at about 55-60. AWANA is growing steady with about 100 each Wed night. We've scheduled several more baptisms of kids who have recently given their lives to the Lord.

I've had the honor of writing several articles for the Saturday Pine Bluff Commercial in the church section. Several times over the last couple of weeks while I've been out running erands, I've had a few people say thanks for the encouragement. I'm glad God can use me to lift Him up. I pray its not about me but a tool to bring others closer to Him.

I've been hard at work getting the advertisement materials done for the Easter Experience Outdoor Passion Play. Posters for store windows, invite cards, 10,000 mailout postcards, newspaper ads, banners, and even some arrangements for television interviews closer to the event. I finished editing the passion play soundtrack today. In about 50 minutes, there are 13 scenes from the Last Supper to the Ressurection. It is really going to be an awesome demonstration and experience of Christ's redemptive sacrifice on the cross. Over 100 people are busy, busy, busy building sets, sewing costumes, acting and all kinds of behind the scenes activities. We're planning on 1,000 poeple each night. I pray we reach 5,000+ people with the Gospel of Christ this Easter.

Our Life Group is going really well. We are reaching out to 3 new couples and one of them came to group last time. The other two are susposed to come next time.

I've had several opportunities this past week through phone calls and meetings to see more people grow in Christ. The victories have been great - tough to walk through - but great. Thanks God for using me.

I love the ministry. Its hard work, but well worth it. Its great to see people growing each day closer to the Lord. I never want to quit pastoring. I can't imagine why anyone would! Sure there are tough times, hart trials, and seemingly impossible situations in life - but we serve a faithful God. He always comes through. Pastoring is about people. People need to transform into the image of Jesus and that takes a lifetime. If you are a pastor or someone in minsitry thinking about quitting because its too hard, remember: Jesus is Lord of all situations, even yours. He can give you the strength to endure. You are not a victim, you are a victor. I pray you'll walk worthy of the high call on your life and fix your eyes on Jesus instead of your circumstances. Hang in there and watch God work through you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Finishing What We Start

"You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?"
—Galatians 5:7

While in college, I practiced a few times with the soccer team. I was never part of the team. I simply enjoyed the exercise and spending time with friends.

One day the soccer coach said we were running seven miles on the track. I thought to myself, “no big deal”. I started out well, as did the other guys, but began to struggle during the fourth mile. My soccer friends soon passed me and finished the seven mile course. I admit, reluctantly, that I dropped out around mile six.

Let’s say we were in a race. I was in the lead by a great margin the whole race, but dropped out during the last lap. Eventually, you finished the race. I clearly was faster than you, but you won the race because you did not give up – you finished the race.

In the same way, there are people who started off with a great burst of energy as they followed the Lord. Maybe you were one of those people. Maybe you came to Christ when you were younger, but have not been living for Him as an adult. Or perhaps you trusted in the Lord more recently. How you were running a year ago, or even a month ago, is no longer significant. Its how you are running right now that matters. Are you keeping up the pace? Are you growing stronger as a Christian? Have you given up because of tough times or an offense? Are you going to make it across the finish line? You can make it if you want to.

A lot of people start a lot of things, but never finish them. Jesus wants you to experience a lifetime of growing in Him, not just a short season. God does not want you to give up on Him because tough times or discouragement may come. After all, He will never give up on you (Hebrews 13:5).

There will be times as you live the Christian life when it will be hard. You will have to hold on to God's Word and the promise that He will complete the work He has begun in your life (Philippians 1:6). But will you make the effort to cross the finish line?

Jesus and others are cheering for you to finish the race – to grow in your relationship with Christ over a lifetime. But you must run the race, one step at a time. Get your eyes off the situation that caused you to drop out. Fix your eyes on Jesus. There is a finish line ahead and victory in store. The Bible says that we will receive a harvest of blessing if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9). Don’t just start out well – finish well. I pray God will give you the endurance to get back in the race and experience, once again, Christ’s rich plans for your life.