Friday, April 17, 2009

Let's Race!!!

Kylee and I finished her AWANA GRAND PRIX car this morning for the Grand Prix on this next Wednesday. She glued the top on, painted the body pink and top white, helped sand it, and even sprayed the final finish coat. We had fun together (ok, i had the most fun). Hope she wins, but who cares. We had fun doing something together.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gone Fishing

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” — John 21:3

A pastor who spent a fruitless day fishing picked out three fat fish at the supermarket. “Before you wrap them,” he said to the store manager,” toss them to me, one by one. That way I’ll be able to tell my people I caught them and I’ll be speaking the truth.”

Have you ever been stressed out to the point of giving up? One of the best places to get away from the daily grind is going fishing. You may have your own place to unwind but how many times have you wanted to leave your problems behind, get away from it all, and hang a “gone fishing” sign on your door?

Well, that exactly what one of the disciples did. Don’t believe me? After Jesus resurrected, His disciples waited in Galilee for further instructions. Peter must have been anxious and decided to return to his former profession: fishing. He actually convinced the other disciples to go with him. Maybe they were worried. Maybe they were wondering. Whatever the case, Peter was ready to hang up his prayer shawl and pick up his fishing nets.
We find this story in John 21. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. (John 21:3–4)

There is nothing worse than going fishing all day and catching nothing. Maybe this was not a bad thing though. At the end of the fishing day, Peter realized what a waste his life was without Jesus. He probably remembered how empty his life was before he met the Man who changed his life forever. Life without Jesus was futile. There was no direction or blessing.

You can aim at your goals. You can work hard in business, work hard at everything you hold dear, and still your dreams may not be fulfilled because you did not have the Lord direct your life. You did not invite Him to bless your plan or, more importantly, direct you in your plans.

So often we will think, “It’s my life and my future and my career and my family and my money.” We forget that we belong to God. We need to remember—it’s God’s life.

While they were out fishing, Jesus appeared to them, but did not reveal His identity. He called to them from the shore and asked if they had caught anything. After answering no, the disciples were told by Jesus to cast their nets to the other side and when they did, they could not lift all the fish. Amazing! Jesus directed the fish into their nets.
Peter instantly recognized His master and jumped out of the boat (sound familiar) and beat all the other disciples to shore. Peter realized how foolish he was by waiting on fish instead of waiting on His Master. He leaped into action to be with His Lord. Peter was so excited that when the other disciples came ashore, he leaped aboard and dragged all 153 fish to shore by himself!

Jesus then reinstated Peter to the ministry. He told Peter to shepherd and feed his sheep - the church. Just a few days later, Peter preached and 3,000 souls were saved and baptized. Talk about fulfilling your calling!

Don’t give up on what God has called you to do. Jesus is so gracious and loving. He wants to guide and direct your steps. Did you know that? God has a custom-designed plan just for your life. He wants you to get out of the plans you think are best for your life and leap into His.

Keep that in mind as you think about your future. Say, “Lord, what do You want me to do? I don’t want to go fishing and pull up empty nets. I want You to direct me. I want You to guide me.”

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Passion Experience

Tonight was the last presentation of our Easter production at church - The Passion Experience. Approximately 7,000 people attended with our largest crowd tonight - 1,800+. Sadly, we had to turn away about 100 cars because we had no more seats or standing room available. That won't happen next year with more seating and production times. People still parked along the interstate and stood on top of their cars to watch. Nearly 50 decisions were made for Christ (that we know of...these are the ones came for counseling afterwards). Lots more hands went up for salvation than came forward for counseling.

Praise God for sending His Son Jesus to die for us - to be our substitute. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. If Jesus had not been Resurrected, our preaching and presentation would have been foolishness and our faith useless. But thanks be to God for giving us the victory through Christ Jesus our Lord! Lord, keep us humble as we serve You and present Your perfect Gospel. Let God get all the glory and let His Church increase as souls are saved and disciples are made!

Thanks to all the cast, crew and servants who made this possible! May God bless you for all you did for the Lord and His Church.

Join us for our weekend Easter services - Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 10am.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dove's Cross

This picture was taken the first night of our Passion Play. It is a picture at the end of the production when Jesus comes out of the tomb. The angels are at the top of the screen with their hands up. Doves were released and when they flew up, they crossed each other. The exposure and speed produced a cross from the dove's flight path. Pretty cool!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Resurrection Brings Relationship

Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. . . .
— Mark 16:9

After Jesus resurrected, He remained on this earth for another 40 days before He went back to Heaven. Who do you think he appeared to first after His resurrection? You may think His disciples, but of all the people Jesus could have appeared to first after His resurrection, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. In that culture, the Jews considered the testimony of a woman of almost no regard. In fact, some of the rabbis falsely taught that it was better for the words of the Law to be burned than to be delivered by a woman. Yet Jesus chose a woman to be the first one to know of His resurrection.

Women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. Mary had courage that many of the men did not have when Jesus was crucified. The disciples fled and only some watched from a distance during his crucifixion. She stood by Him through it all. In fact, the Bible tells us that after He was crucified, Mary "observed where He was laid" (Mark 15:47). She watched as they took His crucified body from the cross and wrapped it and placed it in a tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. And while the guards were deciding to post a soldier by that tomb, she spent an entire night there all alone, before the guards were there . . . even before the disciples arrived.

The issue here is not that a woman was first and not a man. Getting hung up on the gender issue would cause you to miss the entire point. The main point was her love was rewarded. God said, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). God rewards the person who diligently seeks after Him. Those who will take time in their day to seek the Lord will find Him and be rewarded. Those who will take time to read His Word will find Him and be rewarded. Those who will take time to wait upon Him will have His truths revealed to them.

Easter is not just a story of history. It is a story of reality. Historically, Jesus died and resurrected, but the reality of it reaches far beyond historical facts. Jesus opened up a new relationship for us through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. No longer must we go through a high priest to seek atonement for our sin, because Jesus became the final sacrifice for our sins. And He has given us free access to God the Father, to whom we can come in times of need.

Do you know God as your Father? Or does He seem like some distant force? If that is the case, I have good news for you: God is not some mere force or distant power somewhere in the universe. He is personal, He is caring, and He loves you. And that is why He sent His Son to die on the cross in our place.¬

The Bible says in Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. If you desire a relationship with God, simply repent of your sin, believe in your heart, and confess Jesus as Lord. That will begin a relationship with Jesus, giving you a brand new spirit. The next step is to get involved in a local church and grow in your relationship with Him. If you need to talk with someone about giving your life to Christ, give me a call at our church office (870.247.3300) or simply email me at

Thursday, April 2, 2009

When Life Seems Unfair

When Life Seems Unfair

Psalm 73 (The Message)

Does life ever seem unfair? Maybe you have been extremely faithful to God and you are still going through a difficult time in life. Have you ever wondered why others prosper and you seem to struggle? Maybe life seems unfair. Well, just remember, “fair” is a place where you ride the ferris wheel and eat cotton candy.

Sometimes, life is not fair. But remember this: God is not fair as the world defines fair. Remember, though, who God is. He is merciful (Psalm 69:16). He is gracious (Ephesians 2:8). He is righteous and just (Psalm 89:14). God is love (1 John 4:8).

Psalm 73 starts out with the statement “no doubt about it, God is good.” You have to remember and rest in the fact that God is good. When you forget God is good, you will start to entertain thoughts and emotions that question His goodness. The Bible says repeatedly that God is good. In fact, 119:68 says “you are good and you do good.” God rises to show you compassion. He has a heart to do good and sent His Son to die for us. You must settle the issue in your heart that God is good. If not, every time something bad happens or someone else fairs better than you, you’ll question His goodness. He is not out to get you like others sometimes do. He is not trying to withhold goodness or cheat you.

The Psalmist said he almost missed God’s goodness because he was looking the other way, looking at people (verse 2-3). Instead of looking to God in his trouble, he was comparing his situation with others. He was trying to figure out things that were above him. As he starts looking at wicked people, he thinks they are on “easy street”. He says they are arrogant, pampered, overfed, full of hot air, loudmouths that disturb the peace. He can’t understand why they seem blessed and at ease while he is struggling.

He begins to wonder why God won’t intervene. Why does God continue to let these people who don’t serve Him prosper? He was so wrapped up in focusing on others and his own selfishness that he says, “is God out to lunch? Nobody’s tending the store.” He says the wicked get by with everything (verse 12). In verse 13 he said, “I was stupid to play by the rules. A long run of bad luck, a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.” He was at the point of giving up because it seemed that the wicked were better off. “Why bother?” was his motto. Maybe you are saying, “Why do I continue to do what God says and what is right? After all, it doesn’t seem like I’m getting ahead.”

Look at what happens in verse 15. This changed his life. He took his eyes off his problems and others and focused them where they needed to be – on God. He begins to realize how selfish and foolish he has been by comparing his life with others. He had been looking at the world’s standards of success. Verse 17 says that when he entered the presence of God, he saw the whole picture. In verse 21, he realized he was consumed by envy and bitterness.

In verse 23-28, he says, “I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me. You're all I want in heaven! You're all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful. Look! Those who left you are falling apart! Deserters, they'll never be heard from again. But I'm in the very presence of God—oh, how refreshing it is! I've made Lord God my home. God, I'm telling the world what you do!”

Have you missed the goodness of God because you have been comparing your lifestyle and circumstances with others? Are you full of envy and bitterness toward others because it seems they are blessed more than you? Does God seem distant and “out to lunch”? He is not. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Remember to “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Stop determining success by looking at others. Look to Jesus. All you have to do is “draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).