Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Year Already!

I don't know about anyone else, but 2006 has ended before I even realized it. They say this happens more and more the older we get. You know - time flies! Anyhow, ready or not, the new year is now upon us. Where did the year go?

The Bible speaks to us about time in Psalms 75:2 God distinctly says: "I choose the appointed time". I love what Psalms 102:13 says: God will "have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come." I feel like 2007 is the year for the favor of God to be shown on His church. Of course, the church is not perfect and she never will be while we are here on earth. We as the church have lots of work to do to get us to the point where God's favor will shine on the church once again. However, this can be accomplished if the church will realize that now is the time for the church to step up and be what God has called us to be.

Many churches have gotten so inwardly focused they can not discern the time. They don't seem to realize (or they don't care) that people all around them need the Lord. People are hurting, hungry and need encouragement and the church seems to have disconnected herself from the communities we are in. God help us to be the church you have called us to be! Help us to realize that our harvest fields are ready to be harvested.

You may be asking yourself why I am making such a big deal about this. The truth is the Holy Spirit has touched my heart and given me a burden to see the church be the church. So as 2007 begins, let us all remind ourselves to be the church God wants us to be. It is my firm conviction that if the church begins to be more community focused and becomes more active in our communities, we will see the favor of God poured out onto the church like never before. God help us to see this world through your eyes!

Remember Freedom Only Comes through Jesus Christ!

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Message of Christmas

The message of Christmas is one of love, peace and joy. It is one of my favorite times of the year! It is a time when people begin to concentrate more on their family and reflect upon the blessing of family. The one word I use to describe Christmas is Love.

The savior of the world was delivered to humanity in an old barn among farm creatures. The King of Kings the Son of God was born in a barn! The incarnate God, the God who spoke this universe into existence, the God who loves you and me so much was born in the most destitute of places. We can not help but ask why? There is only one explanation and it is love. God loved us so much that He sent His most precious gift to humanity wrapped in swaddling clothes among farm animals simply out of love.

We all know how much of a fuss people make over babies. Everyone wants to look at the baby and make funny faces and talk about how cute they are. I have often wondered as people looked at the baby Jesus if they realized the face they were gazing upon was the face of the Savior of humanity. Did they realize that this cute, innocent, sweet baby would save the world from their sins? This reminds me of the Christmas song, "Mary Did You Know". One line from the lyrics says, "Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God!" Imagine every kiss by Mary and Joseph was on the face of God.

So as we all gather for our Christmas celebrations, let us not forget that the true meaning of Christmas is love. The love God gave to humanity in a stable among farm animals wrapped in swaddling clothes. Have a Merry Christmas for Jesus is truly the reason for the season!

Remember freedom only comes through Jesus Christ!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Washing of the Saints Feet - Repost

I posted the following on my old blog spot. It made such an impact on me I wanted to re post it here in hopes of getting some feedback.

The “washing of the saints’ feet is one of the three ordinances that we the Church of God practice. The practice of the “washing of the saints’ feet can be traced back to the Feast of Passover. Just before Jesus was to be crucified on the cross, He instituted the Lord’s Supper and the “washing of the saints’ feet” (Matt 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-26 and John 13:1-20).
To begin this particular discussion we must first discuss two terms - ordinances and sacraments. These two terms can be used interchangeably and are a way in which we can visibly testify of the transforming work of Jesus in our lives. Understand that neither the Lord’s Supper or the “washing of the saints’ feet” are required for salvation, they are outward signs that we have received the gift of salvation.

Now, lets go back to the subject of the washing of the saints’ feet. We have all probably read the Scriptural accounts of servants who have washed the dust or muddy feet of a guest. However, when Jesus Christ washed the disciples feet it had a much deeper significance. By washing His disciples feet, Jesus was teaching His disciples of the great spiritual need of people.
French Arrington in his book, “Exploring the Declaration of Faith” notes, “foot washing is a holy ordinance that has deep significance in our relationship with Christ and in our relationship with each other.” He explains, “footwashing points to the cleansing power of the sacrificial death of our Lord. Footwashing summons believers to humble service to God and others.” These two powerful points explain the importance of practicing the ordinance of washing the saints’ feet.

One may be wondering what has triggered this post in the first place. I felt that after our Sunday morning service it would be good to discuss this particular ordinance of the church. My role as shepherd of the Freedom Life congregation is to be a servant to the people of God. In my opinion, there is no better picture of a servant than that of Jesus Christ God in the flesh washing the feet of His disciples. This signifies that He was there to serve others.

With all of that being said, let me personally reflect on the service Sunday (November 12) - specifically the foot washing portion. It was a very moving and emotional experience for me as I washed the feet of the saints of God who have pioneered the Church of God in Oklahoma. As I washed the feet of a retired minister, I was reminded of the scripture that says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of of him who brings good news…” (Isaiah 52:7). I was overwhelmed as I washed this precious saints feet and began to think about the many miles those feet had traveled preaching this glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. I began to wonder how many miles those feet had traveled walking up and down the aisles of churches over the years. How many hospital visits they had made? How many baby dedications had been done? How many cemeteries they had been to? I was overwhelmed as I thought about this precious saint of God.

As I washed the feet of the teenager, I could not help but think that in my hand were the feet that would pick up the mantle of Pentecost and carry it to another generation of believers. I prayed that God would protect these young people as they find there way in the world. When I washed the feet of the child, I just prayed that God would keep his anointing and protection over our children as they go to school and mature in Christ.

When I washed the feet of the young adult, I thought about the importance of young adults being involved in the church and accepting their responsibility to be the backbone of the church. I began to think about how we as young adults get so caught up in providing for family that we forget about service to the Kingdom. We often get so busy providing that we do not take the time to be priests in our homes and fathers to our children.

Finally, I would like to say that I was truly moved as the ladies washed the feet of my wife. She is my backbone in ministry and without her I would be incomplete. She is my help-mate and many times her work goes unnoticed. So thank you for your love for our entire family. Thank you God for my wife, family and church family as we have have dedicated ourselves to serving you.

You will never know how much it meant as many of you washed my feet as well. It was one of the most humbling experiences that I have ever had in my ministerial career. I truly appreciate the love and care that Freedom Life has for your pastoral family. My prayer is that God will continue to pour out His blessings on us as we all labor for Him!

Remember, Freedom only comes through Jesus Christ!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

New Blog

This is an attempt to try to make our blogging a better experience. So, I have tried to make this easier for you to make comments and for me to enter my blogs. So feel free to comment and let's see how this new one works.

Blogging is the new craze in the cyberworld. In my humble opinion, blogging is nothing more than journaling on the computer. I myself have not been blogging for very long, but I have started to enjoy it. Of course, I enjoy writing. Remember to post your comments and let me know what you think of this new program.

To post on this blog, simply click on comments and follow the directions. Your comments will not appear immediately. I have set the posts to come to me first to view as a safety precaution. Lets have fun blogging.