Being the Light or Blocking the Light? Jesus used an interesting phrase to describe himself in John 8:12. He said, “I am the light of the world…” Of course, the physical light of our world is the sun. At another time he called his followers “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Understanding that the source of our light comes from Jesus we could say that we are like the moon. We reflect the light of Jesus. Unfortunately, when followers of Jesus follow our own agendas we can actually eclipse the Light of the World. This happens way too often.
Never stop talking together. Never stop growing together. Every bride and groom has their own ideas of what marriage will be like and how they will live as a couple. Part of my responsibility as their pastor is to ensure that they are communicating about the most important things from the beginning. Like a farmer who tends to the ground before planting his seeds, couples need to pull up the rocks, weeds and trash of their past to make room for the new plants and roots that they are about to plant.
Not all relationships are created equal. This should be a freeing statement. Such an understanding could act as a pressure release valve for many people. “Why so much pressure?” you ask. To put it simply, expectations create pressure in a relationship. Each person brings their own hopes and assumptions that could ultimately strengthen or destroy the association. When those assumptions are fulfilled the joy is hard to match. At the same time, unmet expectations can be disappointing at best and devastatingly debilitating at worst.
What if I told you that a few minutes a month could save you thousands of dollars in a year? Would you believe me? Are you interested in finding out if I’m telling the truth or not? If you are, click to read.
$1,000,000.00 – that is a lot of money. My smile expands with each zero. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have that much money? Would you buy a new car, go on that dream vacation or buy a new house? Why not all three? What would you do with the money? Would you give some of it away or keep it all for yourself? It’s worth taking time to ponder the questionâ€”what would you do with a million dollars?â€”not just as a fun exercise but because you will have $1,000,000.00 pass through your hands during your lifetime.
Christmas, in many ways, is the end of a journey. You have probably been planning this day for months. Lists have been meticulously created and each item checked off. Cards, carefully printed and dutifully mailed, have reached their destinations spreading joy with flash-framed smiles and hand-curled words of love. Plane tickets have been reserved. Automobile gas tanks have been filled. And guest rooms have been prepared. Grocery store shelves have been emptied; their contents masterfully combined to make delectable treats and succulent meals. All for Christmas.
Merry Christmas Eve! It feels like it’s only been 366 days since I last said that. That’s not true, is it? No, the math is right. 2016 is leap year so there has been 366 days since I last said, “Merry Christmas Eve!” The feeling was not right. It doesn’t “feel” like it has been that long since I said it. In fact, in “feels” like Christmas just happened a few months ago and now its back. “You’re slow as Christmas,” was a put down when I was younger. But now it seems like a compliment.
Take a look at the picture again. Imagine with me that the truck really was coming in your lane. What thoughts would go through your mind? It’s a big truck. It weighs around 32,000 pounds (16 tons) empty, and your car weighs around 4,400 pounds (2.2 tons) or less. This is not going to end well if something doesn’t change.
Have you ever looked at your life or circumstances and thought, “Wow, I didn’t deserve that!” Good or bad. I didn’t deserve that reaction for something so minor or I didn’t deserve to be treated so good after treating them so badly. Well I have felt that way more than once in my life.
Every time we open our mouths to speak, we make a choice. We choose to either speak life or deathâ€”to lift up or tear downâ€”those to whom we speak. Unfortunately, we do not always make this decision consciously. Many times our words explode from between our lips like Luke Skywalker escaping the Death Star leaving devastation in their wake. We use phrases like, “I just speak my mind. I don’t have a filter.” Or, my favorite, “Well…I’m not gonna lie! I speak the truth in love, and sometimes love hurts.” Other times we feel guilty and say, “I don’t know why I said that. I didn’t mean it.” when we hurt someone with our words. It’s hard to deny that words matter. They have power. Sticks and stones can definitely break bones but words can break spirits.
Today’s blog was written by Ted Johnson. Last Monday, I celebrated my 68th birthday. Everyone of those 68 years have been blessed. Not because Iâ€™ve been worthy of it but because of two main reasons.
First, no man or woman is self-made as some like to think. We are all products of bits and pieces from outside of ourselves. The word says to never think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Romans 12:3). In other words, lean not unto our own understanding but in all things trust the Lord (Proverbs 3:5). Once we establish that we need to depend on someone bigger than us, we begin to walk in a good direction.
Have you ever had an impossible task? I know you’ve probably had some difficult tasks before like 20 page term papers or a quickly approaching deadline for expense reports. Even though you probably felt overwhelmed you knew that if you buckled down you could get it done. Those are challenges. What I’m talking about is an impossible task. One where no matter what you do or how buckled down you are you just can’t do it. It is simply impossible. Has God, himself, ever been the One to tell you to do the impossible? If you said yes to that question, you are not the first person of whom He has asked the impossible.
It’s hard to predict the weather. The longer you live in a particular place, though, it gets easier. Not necessarily predicting the day-by-day forecast; rather, you gain a general understanding of the weather patterns. For instance, I know that it can get fairly cold in Savannah, Georgia. I also know that when it does get cold, it will probably get really hot the next day. Truthfully, tracking the four seasons is merely an educational exercise in South Georgia. We only experience two, arguably three, of them for any length of time.
No one likes a liar, especially when a liar can be close to you, like in your head. We hear so many lies that its can be hard to tell at times what the truth really is. It is amazing how often God is speaking truth to us if we would just take the time to listen or just believe Him at His Word.
Our daughter and I participated in a week long mission trip in La Ceiba, Honduras during the summer of 2014. We were both excited about the trip. The small team that we were a part of prepared for months before we headed down there. It was my second trip out of the United States and her first.
I have a rare condition. It’s not life threatening and doctors say it doesn’t shorten my life expectancy; though, for about a year, between 2010 and 2011, I wasn’t so sure. My chest hurt a lot, almost every day. I couldn’t sleep because I would wake up vomitting. Fevers were common because I was exhausted. The disturbing thing was that when I went to the doctor, I was told that I had sinus drainage with infection. This happened several times. I explained that I hadn’t slept more than three hours a night in over six months, but they insisted it was just drainage. Jennifer and I were very discouraged.
Have you ever seen a Secret Service agent on tv? They stand around trying to look inconspicuous while talking into their sleeves and a listening to the not so iconspicuous white curly fry hanging from their ear. Most of the time they silently surround POTUS—that’s the “President of the United States” in Secret Service speak—however, when their finger touches the dangling fry and their brow furrows, watch out because the are about to snap into action.
Lets keep it simple today. I will not spin a tale or paint a word picture, though, it is tempting to do with a subject like “Love.” No, I’ll resist and just give it to you straight. Here is what love is and isn’t:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” â€” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
I watched “Creed” last night. Yeah, I’m a sucker for a Rocky Balboa movie even when he isn’t the main character. The main character was Adonis Johnson, Apollo Creeds son. Creed was the heavy weight champion of the world who became Rocky’s best friend and trainer. Creed was killed in the ring before Adonis was born to his mistress.
Repentance. It’s a big ugly word. If I am honest, I really don’t like it very much. To repent means to admit that I was wrongâ€”not, I made a mistake. I was wrong. It’s like shooting an arrow through my eye just to type those words. I’m not big on being wrong. I’m really not big on the idea of admitting when I’m wrong. After all, we are all humans, right? What’s the point in stating the obvious: I’m not perfect. I’m going to do stupid things. I’m going to say stupid things. Let’s just accept it and move on. No futher admissions needed.
It’s a word that most, if not all, of us have heard. It’s been called amazing and wonderful. Parents have even named their children after it. It’s something that can be given and received, but never taken. Simple and complex are words that fit comfortably in any converstation concerning it. It covers. It restores. It humbles but never humiliates. It strengthens. It gives life.
I like sports talk shows. Well, I should be more specific. Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN radio is my favorite. Mike Greenberg, the consummate nerd who distinguishes Robin as his favorite “superhero,” and Mike Golic, former NFL player, spend four hours every weekday morning discussingâ€”sometimes arguing in jest aboutâ€”sports. Each segment is full of opinions, speculation and vain attempts to predict the future. But it is very entertaining.
We have some good friends who live in the middle of a pecan orchard. Rows of pecan trees expand out from both sides of their home creating a tunnel of shade perfect for children to play in or an improtu picnic. In their backyard is tens of acres of cotton. It is beautiful to see the snow-capped plants swaying gently in the breeze as the sun descends seemingly into pillowy comfort. It is truly picturesque and peaceful.
Recently my family and I went a wedding. The bride and groom had a Bible with wide blank margins opened as you walked into the reception. A chalkboard sign read something like: “Please highlight your favorite verse and sign your name beside it for the happy couple…” My first thought was, “Wow! What an amazing idea.” My second thought was, “Wow! Do I have a favorite Bible verse?” I felt so much pressureâ€”especially since I pastor a churchâ€”to pick an appropriate verse. What wisdom dripping nugget would I bestow upon the happy couple whom, I was convinced, would assiduously devour the yellow-marked pages of this divine text on their wedding night?
Today’s post was written by W. Daniel Smith, DMin. What do you suppose the first thing most people think of as Christmas approaches? For kids, thatâ€™s an easy answer, presentsâ€¦ Probably for most adults the answerâ€™s the same. It wasnâ€™t until I became an adult that I began to realize the greatest gift that we can receive is the blessing we get as we give of ourselves.
40 Days of Prayer: Day 20 Today’s blog was written by 15 year old Madison Johnson.
Have you ever had to wait for something? No, I don’t mean when the hostess told you it would be a forty-five minute wait to be seated over an hour and a half ago. I mean, have you ever waited for something BIG to happen? Something life-changing. I mean, your bags are packed and the tickets are paid for, but the train won’t come. Anxiously, you pace back and forth double, triple, quadruple checking your ticket to make sure you have the correct information but still there is no rumble on the tracks.
Today’s blog was written by Stephanie Casey. How Big is Your Mask? Mine? Well, I have several I tend to put on. Depends on what day and what outfit I am wearing!! Iâ€™m not talking about an actual, physical mask. I am talking about the mask we all tend to carry with us from day to day.
Today’s blog was written by Katie Hadden. Busy-ness and business are words that are often seen as synonyms in todayâ€™s fast paced life. If we are busy, that must mean we are productive in our business dealings, whether family life, social life, or career. However, there are many scriptures that remind us even in our fast-paced days that there is a need for things to slow down and focus on Godâ€™s sovereignty.
Today’s blog was written by Stephanie Casey. What does it mean to Completely Surrender? I have been asking this question myself for the past 6 months. Surrender looks different for many.
Today’s blog was written by Stephanie Casey. Did you know that on average, a person at rest takes about 16 breaths per minute. This means we breathe about 960 breaths an hour, 23,040 breaths a day, 8,409,600 a year, unless we get a lot of exercise. The person who lives to 80 will take about 672,768,000 breaths in a lifetime. I would say breath is a pretty vital part of our every day lives.
Today’s blog was written by Katie Hadden. Scripture Reference: Ephesians 2:8-10 Recently I came across a quote that stated, â€œWe want to be made whole without having to be broken.â€
Today’s blog was written by W. Daniel Smith, DMin. It is part one of a series on Jesus’ Prayer from John 17.
â€œJesus Prays for Himselfâ€
The story is told of a preacher who was shaking hands at the door of the church after his Sunday morning sermon. One outspoken member of the congregation thanked the pastor for both messages. â€œBut I only preached once this morning,â€ he gently corrected. â€œWell, pastor, I meant the one you preached and the one you prayed.â€
Today’s blog was written by Brenda Johnson. After many years of employment, 34 to be exact, my husband came home one evening and told me he would like to change careers. I took a deep breath and agreed it was time. However, no one is really comfortable rocking their “security boat”. We committed to two weeks of prayer without further discussion on the matter.
Today’s blog was written by Ted Johnson. It is number seven of a seven part series on the Lord’s Prayer. â€˜And do not Lead Us into Temptationâ€™. . .we know that God does not tempt Man. He will test us to prove our Love for Him and to strengthen us in our Christian walk.
Today’s blog was written by Ted Johnson. It is part six of a seven part series on the Lord’s Prayer. â€˜And Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors…â€
Happy Thanksgiving! An estimated 46,000,000 turkeys will be eaten today. Just in case you are not good with all the zeros, that is 46 million turkeys. That’s a lot of birds! Why turkeys?
Today’s blog was written by Ted Johnson. It is part four of seven in a series on the Lord’s Prayer. â€˜Give Us This Day Our Daily Breadâ€™ recognizes the fact that our sustenance comes from
Today’s blog was written by Ted Johnson. It is part four of seven in a series on the Lord’s Prayer.
â€˜Your Kingdom Comeâ€™
Today’s blog was written by Ted Johnson. It is part three of a seven part series on the Lord’s Prayer. When we first receive Jesus as our Savior, once again because of background circumstances, we may be unable to truly humble ourselves before Him. God is patient, loving, kind, and long suffering. He always accepts us as we are (just as He did even before we gave our hearts to Christ). Though He accepts and loves anyway, His love wonâ€™t allow Him to stay away from endeavoring to improve us. He wants for us the very best out of life here and our future life in Heaven.
Today’s blog was written by Ted Johnson. It is the second part of seven posts on the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father in Heaven…” Each of us has an earthly father that played a part in us being birthed on this earth. We each also have God as our Creator who caused our earthly birth to be possible.
Today’s blog was written by Ted Johnson. It is the first part of seven posts on the Lord’s Prayer. The Lordâ€™s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13) Jesus gave an example prayer that shows all the elements of a properly presented prayer to Our Heavenly Father. It is designed and intended to be a â€˜jump startâ€™ prayer to help us in beginning a consistent and effective life of communicating with our God – our Heavenly Father.
Today’s blog was written by Richard Burkhalter. Enjoy! PRAYER- The thought of it can bring a little fear, some anxiety and even a lack of understanding to people. We hear Pastors, moms, grandmothers, and friends say â€œYou just need to pray.” But what is it all about?
40 Days of Prayer Day 2: God is not limited. Time does not effect Him. Death cannot threaten Him. Money is not a stress factor for Him. Oxygen is not necessary for His existence. He needs no education because He is all knowing. Nothing limits God. We, in contrast, are limited.
Thank you for taking the 40 Days of Prayer Challenge with Hydrate Church. I know that you will be blessed by the time you spend praying by yourself and with your family. As we get started let’s set some ground rules. While there isn’t really a right or wrong way to pray, Jesus did tell us some things not to do.
Hydrate is announcing a 40 day prayer initiative that will begin Wednesday, November 16. We are calling all friends of Hydrate to pray each day as individuals and as families. Every day at 12:01 am Hydrate will release a blog post on prayer.
That’s right. It’s seldom talked about but when the Spirit of God fell on the original believers in Acts 2, they left the upper room. 3,000 people couldn’t fin in the upper room. The 3,000 were in the streets and the 120 went out to them. When the Spirit fell they had to go out preaching and sharing the good news.