Thanks to all of you who asked the last few days about Liz’s mom. This is a hard season for her.
Dementia is a cruel diagnosis. Mary has this from time to time. This week Liz was reminding Mary about her son Elliott and the new women in his life. Her mom was delighted to know of this. Then she asked Liz who she was dating. She reminded her Mom that she was married to me. “ Oh yes, that’s right,” Mary said. “ You married the best of them all.” Happy she remembered that!
You learn to smile in the midst of difficulty. Jesus gives joy in the valley. When you find yourself locked in Doubting Castle do not forget the Promise Key in your chest pocket. Keep the promises of God close to your heart and they will unlock the doors of doubt.
Monday through Thursday this week I wrestled with a kidney stone. Third in my life. Glad I passed it at 2:58 PM.
A friend sent me an email which made me think. He asked what I would have thought if a Sand Mountain prophet had told me in the 1970’s I would one day pass a stone and then announce it on Twitter and Facebook for all to know. And then I would receive numerous responses telling me about their kidney stone experiences.
What a world we live in! Social media is a powerful thing. Not as powerful as a kidney stone, but pretty strong. To think of the power in a mobile device today is amazing. It can be used for good or evil. Be careful.
I did have a lady on the Mountain tell me when I announced my call to preach that God had told her years ago I would do this. She said the Lord told her not to tell me until I made it public. What a powerful voice that was to me. And all without a mobile device!
GOD is where the true power is!
Today in America we awaken to the second term of President Obama. Washington DC was alive yesterday with the inauguration festivities. Today it is off and running.
When the President was elected, he had a very liberal voting record as a senator. America knew what he stood for. Our country no doubt has moved to the progressive left.
Many things have factored into this move. A new generation educated in liberal universities now are moving into leadership roles at home and work, in entertainment and the government. However, there is one other place we must face this new liberalism. That is in the church.
There is a broad segment of the American church is very left leaning. For example, listen to the inaugural benediction. And many people have left the church altogether. So, if you find yourself on the other side of the ideological movement in America, what should you do?
1. Pray. And begin for the President and others in authority.
2. Be involved. Have a voice and support those with whom you share the same values
and Biblical principles.
3. Keep the Gospel light burning in your church.
4. Be involved in social justice. Care for others and show it.
5. Raise a godly family. New leaders will come from the next generation.
6. Talk with a liberal and make a friend. You will enjoy this!
7. Don’t be mean and post factless dribble on Facebook and Twitter.
8. Believe God for and work prayerfully for a spiritual awakening in the US.
This is the answer.
The Manti Te’o story is bizarre. A Heisman finalist football player is either duped by a hoax or is in on it. A lie was concocted and Te’o finds himself in the middle of an embarrassing scenario. It is almost unbelievable. Jokes from the football world abound. What can be learned?
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” ~ Presidential Oath of Office
The inauguration of the United States President is an event of patriotism, honor and prestige. January 20 at noon is the established date and time. This year, because it falls on Sunday, the swearing in will take place on the Monday the 21st. Regardless of our political party, we can celebrate the freedom to elect and choose our nation’s leader.
As Barack Obama begins his second term let’s remember to lift him and his family
up in prayer. Ask God to give him wisdom and focus. To surround him with wise counsel
and godly advisors. To have clarity and courage when our nation is in crisis. To protect his family. To always act with integrity. And to have a heart which seeks God.
Gun rights and gun control is currently a hot topic in America. The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution is a mere twenty-seven words. It is straight forward. I do not see how it cannot be understood.
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
The second amendment is not about hunting. It has nothing to do with how many shells it takes to kill a deer. The amendment is about We The People being able to defend ourselves when needed.
The Founders saw the fear of arms being in the hands of the government alone and the people having no power to defend themselves if need be. They did not want the right of the people to bear arms to be infringed.
Now, the issue of permits, mental health, and who can own what is a great dialogue to have. However, when the government infringes on the rights of the people, we are headed down a road that is very dangerous in the long run.
Several people have asked for the questions and answers I shared Sunday evening. These came from James Merritt’s book, God, I’ve Got a Question. I was preaching about creation and how God gives us purpose in life. Here are the questions I used:
Where did I come from? I came from the heart and mind of an omnipotent, omniscient God who has a plan for my life.
Who am I? I am the highest of all God’s creation, put here by a God who desires to have a personal relationship with me.
Why am I here? I am here to know that God, to love that God, to serve that God, and to fulfill His plan for my life.
How should I live? I should live according to the commandments He has given me in His word, so that I can fulfill His will for my life.
What is my destiny? A life of faithfulness here and an eternity spent in the presence of the One who made me for His glory awaits me if I have a personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
It happened to me again this week. Not that this comes my way very often but I do hear it.
“All they care about at Olive is money.”
This week they put my name in it. All that Pastor Traylor cares about is money! That was the charge that came to me. There is some truth to this accusation.
Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” You can give and not have your heart right with God. However, you cannot be right with God and be stingy! I like to see people give. It helps the giver and the ministry. So I do not apologize for challenging people to give.
As we begin a new year I encourage you to get on the right road in giving. Begin with your tithe and see where else God leads you. Here are some ways you can give on a consistent basis at Olive (and I encourage others churches to make these avenues available if you have not).
1. You can use your weekly envelope that comes in the mail from Olive. Drop in the offering plate or give in your connection group.You can give online at www.olivebaptist.org/giving
2. Use your bank’s website to arrange for a check to be automatically sent to Olive on your timetable. Huey Pearson’s father was the first Olive member to do this years ago. When he asked me about it I didn’t even know how to answer the question. Clyde was a man ahead of the times!
3. If you pay bills on line you can send a payment to Olive. I use this one when I am out of town.
4. You can always use the US Mail. Our address is OBC, 1836 Olive Rd, Pensacola, FL.
It is more blessed to give than receive. Your money is far from all I am interested in. Thanks for investing in eternity!
We had our first staff meeting of the year at Olive this morning. I borrowed a team building exercise from a friend. Each person wrote down 4 words and a thought about each one in the context of ministry at Olive.
The four words were DREAM, HOPE, FEAR and PRIORITY. Think about your life and 2013. What are your dreams, hopes, fears and priorities? These are some good things to think on as you plan the coming year.