Thursday Thoughts | August 31, 2017

 

I receive email devotionals from numerous sources on a daily basis and sometimes there are ones that really impact my day.  Such is a devotional that I read from Dr. Jack Graham regarding the priorities in our lives.  He included in his thoughts a true story of a man from Russia coming for his first visit to the United States for business.  Some of the men that he was working with wanted to take him to a professional football game to show him some American culture and experience a football game.  He saw the large crowd, the massive stadium and passion of the fans.  After the game, one of his business associates put his arm around him and said, “ What did you think of the game?”  The man paused for a moment and said, 
“I have never seen such first rate enthusiasm wasted on a second rate cause.” 
 
If you know me, you know that the NFL season is my favorite of all the sports genres.  It always has been and probably always will be (by the way, the NFL season starts 
September 7th
).  I love watching the game and can easily get caught up in it and before i realize it, I have spent the last 3 hours on the couch.  Then, after that game is over, I can watch a couple of other games that night and 2 others throughout the week. In all, I could easily watch 15 + hours of football per week for the 16 weeks of the regular season without giving it much thought!    At this point you might be thinking that I am going to tell you to stop watching as much football (or any other sport) as you do!  Actually, that is not my intent. I am still going to watch football and probably be disappointed with the Colts this year, but I am still going to watch because I love it.  
 
My real intent is to talk about the words from the Russian regarding the “first rate enthusiasm on a second rate cause” and what that implication means to me.  I am all for us having a enthusiasm for sports as it is completely biblical to have fun in this life!  I am all for us enjoying the abundant life that Christ gives us.  However, I am oftentimes frustrated with myself that I find more satisfaction with the things of this world rather than with the One who created this world.  I realize that I can easily give my first rate attention to second rate causes and over look the real reason that I am here for.  Are you like that?  If so, why do we do that?  There might be several reasons for this, but I want to give you one that I think is true in my life, maybe it fits yours as well. I that I can overlook how much better the “
taste of God’s goodness” is than anything that this life has to offer.  David wrote in Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the Lord is good:…
”  When we experience God’s goodness and can see it in our lives, it is one of the greatest feelings that you will ever have and you want more of it!  Nothing in this earth can compare to it!  The question is, are you putting too much emphasis on second rate causes or are you focused on the first rate cause of growing closer to the Lord?  
 
  • Football and other sports are not bad things!  Watch it and have fun!  
  • Your show, whatever that is, may or may not be a bad thing!  If it isn’t, watch it and have fun!
  • Being close to your friends and family is a great thing!  Continue to do that!
  • Tasting and seeing the goodness of God in your life is the best thing!  Do that and experience real joy and everything else is just icing on the cake.
 
So how do we taste and see that God is good?  I hope to answer that this Sunday, see you there! Read  
Psalm 34
 to see what I am going to preach out of.


Thursday Thoughts | August 24, 2017

 

I have always been intrigued by the Book of Esther and the amazing account of how God used her to save His people.  I am sure that you remember the account of what took place, but let me set up the scene in your mind.  A king over a very large territory threw a party for his friends and at the same time his wife, the queen, threw a party for her friends.  After 7 days of partying the king wanted to show off his beautiful queen to his friends and commanded that she come to his party to be on display…she refused!  The king was very angry and removed the queen from her position and set out to search for the next queen.  In a similar fashion of our beauty pageants today, the king had young ladies from all the provinces of his kingdom audition to be the next queen, whether they wanted to or not.  Esther, a Jew, was picked!  Just because Esther was now the queen it didn’t mean that everything was going great!  Remember, she was pulled from her family and the life that she knew!  She only saw the king when he wanted to and had little to no relationship with him.  She was put in a position and place that she didn’t understand and on top of all that Haman, a top leader in the king’s cabinet, wanted to kill all of her people.  You probably remember the rest of the account but let me finish it anyway.  Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, saved the king from an assassination attack and the king eventually honored him at the disgust of Haman.  Esther revealed Haman’s plot to kill the Jews to the king and he had Haman hung on the same gallows that he created for the Jews.  The result, God’s people were saved! (please read the 10 chapters of Esther when you can for the full account)
 
You might remember the pivotal part of this account.  It was where Mordecai told Esther that she was going to have to go to the king and reveal the plot of Haman to destroy the Jews.  It was apparent that there was no other way that they would be saved, but there was a problem.  To go in front of the king without being called was an act punishable by death!  Sounds pretty intense doesn’t it!  Esther had a decision to make.  She had to decide if taking a chance with her life to save the lives of many was the thing to do.  In her fear and indecision, Mordecai said the famous words to her found in 
Esther 4:14“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy fathers house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
 
That thought, “…for such a time as this?” is what I think about our current national and international situations that we find ourselves in and how important it is that we equip ourselves to speak for Christ.  I think that it no accident that we are in the era of human history that we are in.  It is no accident of where we are working or living.  There are no accidents with God!  However, I do think that we often wonder why things happen like they do?  We can ask what’s the purpose of it all?  We can ask why? Why? Why? 
I can’t tell you the exact answer to the “why?” questions that we can have, but I can tell you that it is no accident.  I can tell you that God has allowed you to be Indy for such a time as this!  Remember, as believers, God has given us everything that we need to live a victorious Christian life!  He has given us salvation, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and a fellowship of believers that all work together to equip us.  
 
But what are we supposed to do with what God has given us?  We need to share it!  It is easy to take the gift that God has given us and never share it, in fact that is often what our insecurity wants us to do.  But let me remind you that you were put here for a purpose!  For such a time as this!  Don’t retreat!  Don’t give in!  Speak up!  Stand firm in your faith!  Continue to send missionaries to other countries to do the work of Christ that we can’t do! Love and lead your families!  Teach your kids the Word of God! Love as Christ has loved!  Sacrifice!
 
God has put you in this time and in this place for such a time as this – embrace it!!!


Thursday Thoughts | August 17, 2017

 

I was looking at different church websites that Seth Grandidge sent to me as we are always looking for ways to improve what we are doing here at church…including our website.  (By the way, If you haven’t seen our website lately please check it out at indianapolisbaptisttemple.com.  Seth has been working on this and I think it looks great, but we are only about 1/2 way completed on the remodeling of this website. I believe that once it is done you will really like it and find it easy to get information on church events and general information about our church.)  While looking at the website of a large local church I thought I would listen to the sermon brought by their pastor this past Sunday.  In his message, he said a phrase that really stood out to me regarding the importance of church membership.  He said, “We need a regular rhythm of people speaking into our lives!”  I agree!  The point is that we have a need to be around others who are following the Lord and who will share their lives with us as well. 

This pastor’s thought goes very well with what we are talking about this Sunday during our annual emphasis on small groups.  There is a great importance in attending a small group, just as there is importance of attending the large group settings of Sunday mornings.  What is important about large and small groups?  Let me give you these reasons: 

1. Hebrews 10:24-25says many things in just two verses about being together in a church community.  The wording of these verses suggest that Paul wasn’t giving suggestions about being in fellowship, but commands!

  • “Consider one another…” – Others need our influence and we need theirs
  • “to provoke to love and good works…” – we need that regular rhythm mentioned above to help provoke us to good works.
  • Not forsaking the assembly of ourselves together…” – Come together as a church community as much as possible. It’s always good to be with the family of God!
  • And so much the more as you see the day approaching.” – As we get closer to the coming of the Lord Jesus, we need to come together more.

    2. Ephesians 4:11-16
    says that God set different offices in the church and gave people different gifts for these purposes:
  • “for the perfecting of the saints” – to make mature believers
  • for the work of the ministry” – one person can’t do it all themselves, we need others help
  • for the edifying of the body of Christ” – 1 person can edify, but it is so much better when we work together on this
  • Working and being together will help us be unified in the faith!
  • Working and being together helps us to grow in Christ likeness
  • Working and being together helps us to be strong in the faith

    3. Psalm 133says that it good to dwell together in unity!

There are more reasons why its good to be in church and more specifically to be in a small group, but I will just stick with those passages for now.  If you aren’t in a small group, please join one this Sunday.  If you think that you are ready to lead a small group, please see Pastor Dzula and he will give you all the necessary information to get started.  See you Sunday