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Monday, June 23, 2014

The Heart of a Deacon

 http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=622141214380
We ordained Randy Kobza as one of our deacons yesterday. 
Here are a few pictures...


 We need to pray for Randy and his family, that they would continue to stay in Gods will, and that God would also continue to lead, guide, and bless this family!


Visit our Facebook page for announcements in our church, and links to our sermons are there as well.
https://www.facebook.com/hbaptistchurch?ref=hl

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Swimming with My Father

(Forgive my rambling this morning) I am sitting at the dinning room table of my parents home this morning.  I had the privilege of growing up in the same house my entire life.  My Mother still lives in that home today.  I awoke early this morning and longed to go spend some time with my heavenly Father.  After some time trying to find sugar for my cup of coffee and checking on some other things that I need to fix for my Mother I decided to sit at her dinning room table.

This gave me room to spread out a little bit.  This also happens to be the place my Father spent time working on many things.  I am sitting in the chair that he always sat in.  So, as I bowed my head and closed my eyes and prayed unto the Lord this morning, as I turned my heart and my attention to my Heavenly Father for this new day, my heart is filled with memories of my earthly Father.

Oh how I miss him!  How thankful I am for the memories I have of my Dad.  Today, I will likely be involved in repairing things around the house for Mom.  Everywhere I go and in everything I do, I will be confronted with the memory of my Dad.  He was a central leading figure in this home.  He had particular ideas about how things ought to be done and how the home would or would not be cared for.  The air conditioning does not seem to be working well. I don't think the filters have been changed. My Father would not be happy with that :).

My Father was not a spiritual man.  He did not talk much about faith.  I don't understand that. I can not imagine living without Christ being the central foundation of life.  I can not imagine facing the challenges of life 'on my own'.  The Lord has been such an ever-present source of comfort, strength and wisdom for me.  I am thankful that I have become so dependent upon Him.  Some might accuse me of using the Lord as a crutch!  I would gladly respond ... guilty as charged.  But He is far more than my crutch. I do not just lean upon Him ... I rest completely IN Him.  He is not the support upon which I put weight.  He is the pool in which I swim!

So, faith is not something my father and I shared much in common. It was not something we could "fellowship" over.  How important is the Lord to you each moment of the day?  How much do you fellowship with others over the reality of your Saviour? Parents, do you share in common with your children the most important One in your life?  Do they recognize what is most important in your life?  Is Christ Jesus your all in all?

My parents have a swimming pool. We grew up swimming almost every day.  When I would go swimming I would change clothes and I would get a towel.  We would swim ALL day if my parents would let us.  We would swim into the night!  We loved being IN that water!  I loved 'being wet'!  But, I did not like being there all alone.  I would invite others to come join me. We would 'fellowship' over swimming ... we would share it in common!  If you were anywhere near our house, you could tell if we were swimming. We were usually loud.  We were having the time of our lives.

The worse thing about swimming was having to quit ... get out ... and get dry!  My father had some rules about not coming into the house all soaking wet after swimming.  We were expected to dry off or enter through the basement and change clothes quickly.  I would hang my swimming clothes in the shower.  And often, I would betting back in before they would even dry.  I can remember putting those wet clothes back on!  The only that made that uncomfortable experience worth it was ... I was going swimming again!

Let us all go swimming today!  And remember, you do not need to get out.  You do not need to dry off.  You can stay in the water (of Jesus) as a way of life.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ignorance & Arrogance (An Old and Repeated Theme)

This is a theme which the Lord brings to me from time to time to remind me what I am and what we as humans tend to be.  In actuality we know so very little that we don't even know what we don't know.  Yet, our tendency is to think that we DO know.  But beyond the ignorance there is a frightful arrogance.  We think we know so much.  We tend to be so sure of ourselves.  We make judgements and conclusion based upon what we see, hear, touch and taste.  We do not know, what we do not know, and are quite sure about what we do know, so ... we form conclusions and are quite sure.  We will even claim that others are wrong ... and be SURE of it! Yet all the while, often, we do not have a clue!

All the while, we know that we are right.  We claim that we are right and we put down and reject all other views.  Yes ... this is arrogance! It never seems to occur to us that others may have a valid view or that others might have information or experience we know nothing of. This often builds into a critical spirit through which we look down on others and criticize others.

All of this is nothing more than human pride which is a part of our fallen state.  And, it is never more clear and more ugly than when it comes to sin.  We magnify the sin of others and minimize our own sin.  We life ourselves up and put others low.  We become puffed up with self righteousness never noticing that the meek and humble attributes which Christ exalted and manifested are no where to be seen in us.

The Lord reminds me of this because I need it.  I need to be ever mindful of who and what I truly am in the eyes of God.  I need to AGREE with him, about ME.  Thus, I can rest in Him, rely on Him and walk through Him.

Now here is the sticky wicket ... the only thing we can be sure of ... is the Word of God. We know that it is truth!  But even in that ,we must be careful about our observations, interpretations and applications.  Unfortunately, some take what I am saying to draw a conclusion that we can never be sure of anything. But in reality, they really do not believe that.  No, they like it when we can not be sure of God's truth because then we are not accountable to it. But, they remain sure of themselves and many of their own opinions, etc. Yes, we can be sure of the Word of God.  But, this never negates humility, meekness, selflessness and sacrificial love.

Phil. 2:3 says it well, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."   You see, this verse makes it clear that the reason why we have strife, the reason we do things for vainglory is because we do NOT see others, or esteem them, as better than ourselves.  No, we see ourselves as better.  So, this justifies us and gives us the right to have strife, to fight, to have conflict, to not pursue unity and reconciliation.  This gives us the right to exalt ourselves and lift ourselves up and put others down.

Oh God, forgive us!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Be Sure to Obey - Don't Be Fooled

Moses in Exodus chapter 4 is being sent of God to do the great work of freeing his people from the bondage of Egypt.  Moses is struggling deeply with his faith.  God give him miraculous sings to ensure his struggling servant that the God of heaven is with him and will make the way (vs. 1-4). Moses still struggles and says he cannot speak well enough (vs. 8).  God gives him Aaron and assures Moses that He himself, God, will be with him.  So Moses finally returns to Egypt in vs. 20.

But in verses 21-26 we see something very interesting.  I am no sure of all that is happening here but this is clear, Moses had not circumcised his son yet. Moses had disobeyed God in one of the most serious and greatest covenants God had ever made with man.

What strikes me about this is that Moses was hearing from God and getting leadings from God and seeing the miracles of God, yet he was in disobedience!  God was angry!

Often times when I am hearing from God and seeing God move, I tend to rest in the fact that things are right with God. Oh how crucial it is for me, for all of us, to remember our nature and our make-up.  It is so important to know that we are prone to wonder and given to sin.  We must keep the identifying of sin and confessing / repenting of it, as priorities in our lives.  Many a man has fallen deep into destructive sin while being soothed by the fact that "God is working and blessing".

After Moses got right with God, with the help of his dear wife and his friend Aaron, THEN he and the people of Israel believed and worshipped!  And after that Moses was ready to go and obey God and deal with Pharaoh.

Our GREATEST strength is power of HOLINESS!



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Science is Awesome!

The great debate last night between Bill Nye and Ken Ham got me thinking and praying about this whole issue of science, origins and the Scriptures. This subject both thrills me and breaks my heart.  Creation science has always been a love of mine and I absolutely believe that ALL creation clearly does declare the Glory of God.

As some of you might know, my collegiate training was in evolutionary biology.  I LOVE science! I have always enjoyed and loved science.  It astounds me that so many in our world see such a conflict between science and faith.  Where there is a conflict, I find it comes from two fundamental points.

First, our terms.  The educational system in our culture today, to include the popular scientific community, has defined the terms which are used and dictates how these terms will be used.  But the second point is really the foundational one.  There is, and always has been, a hatred for the concept of God.  Because if we accept God we must accept who He is, what He is, and all He has done and said.  So because of that, my second point is one of presuppositions.  You see, all schools of thoughts have an idea of our origin.  And, these ideas, influence everything we think.  But most importantly, they influence the way we interpret scientific date and observation.

For example, the old age of the earth is the presupposition of the secularists.  And yes, a younger earth is indeed the presupposition of the Biblical scientists.

But by and large, because of the power of the secular scientific community, they are able to present their presuppositions or theories with NO scientific data at all.  While, the creation scientists are held to a higher standard.  They must use data to back their claims.  And frankly, this is how it should be!

Let me give you one example, Bill Nye began with the presupposition that the reason why showing that Creation Science is not a viable scientific view is because IF we believe this we as a nation will cease to produce good technology because our view of natural science will be wrong.  Now, at face value that seems a very weak argument at best.

Then Ken Ham clearly proved that our view of origin not only does not do this but then gave all manner of examples of current and past world-renowned scientists and creators who are responsible for some of the worlds greatest technology.  Yet, I believe Bill Nye is still not convinced.

The Biblical believer must hold to TRUTH rather than imagination.  The bottom line is what is often missed in this whole discussion.  The past, much of which can not be tested in the laboratory does require faith.  All views of origins require some degree of this. Creationists believe we MUST push to know and understand our origin in order to properly interpret the present.  Secularists are fine with not knowing the past and simply imposing what they see in the present upon their view of the past.

A right view of science greatly increases of love for, and worship of, Almighty God.  Please, do not avoid science but rather pursue it ... for His glory!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Putting God in a Box

As I continue reading through Genesis, I see the wonderful and fascinating stories of father's "blessing" their children and roles and positions of the first born as well as the rest.  We see in the Old Testament, and in the Hebrew culture a real priority and honor given to the first born (for example read Geneses 49:3)  This is not a man-made custom for God certain honors this as well.

We as humans tend to love clear cut rules.  They help us know where we stand.  Even when we do not want to follow them we often are comforted by knowing at least what they are and what is expected.  Yet, from the beginning our Great God has shown us over and over again that He is not subject to rules, for He is the rule maker!

Occasionally in the Scriptures, for example, God chose to bless the younger over the older. This always caused problems ... not for God but for his people. You see, we tend to put God in a box ... even if it is His own box.  We cannot and must not do that.  God is GOD!  He is supreme and He is sovereign!  He is not subject to our rules, ideas and agendas.

So mark it down dear ones.  Principles are helpful and guidelines are wonderful but walking by faith always comes down to communion with our Lord and seeking and knowing His will for us.  Thank God for the Book!  But we must remember that He is not "a" book.  He is the LIVING Word and He extends even beyond the written Word.

The good news is that if we 'seek' ... we will 'find'!  If we 'knock' He will 'open', etc.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Getting Our Soul Under Control

My hat is off to my dear friend and fellow servant, Pastor Dexter Taylor for communicating some wonderful truth yesterday to our church family.  The point he made that spoke so loudly to my heart is from Psalm 131.

In this Psalm of 'degree' or 'ascent', which the children of Israel sang as they walked up to Jerusalem to worship, David uses a fascinating term.  He speaks of 'quieting himself' and then clarifies what he means by this by describing this quieting as being like 'a child that is weaned of his mother'.

This term speaks of a child who is old enough and mature enough to no longer be controlled by his appetite.  You know what a child is like who is not yet weaned.  They live and breathe by the demands of their stomach.  Their stomach being comforted and their hunger being met is the most important thing to their life.

A child who is weaned, has moved beyond that.  Being 'freed' from this driving appetite enables one to focus on many more things.  And, this term speaks of a level of 'self' control (or in the spiritual sense ... 'Spirit control') that means we control our desires rather than living under the bondage of their control.

In this Psalm, in verse 2, David even speaks of our "soul" being under control.  The soul, being the mind, the emotions and the will, being put under the control of the Holy Spirit, or God's will, is such an essential key to the victorious Christian life.  Obviously, it is easy to see how having all the aspects of our soul being under God's control has an enormous impact on how we live.

A central theme to this Psalm is "humility." This is aspect of the message of this Psalm is far less obvious, in my view.  Humility is basically set in contrast to having your self, or soul, under control.  Now, there is much which can be said here and a wonderful study which reveals these truths, but in other words, those who are not humble are not under control and those who are not under control are not humble.  Think about it.  This is really quite simple.  We naturally are self oriented people. We all struggle with pride.  The 'old man' is a selfish man.  We think, feel and desire in a self-focussed manner.  Much like the baby who needs to be weaned in order to be set free from the desires of their flesh, we must be set free from self-centered thinking, emotions and desires in order to be set FREE to do all Christ has for us.

So very simply, the crucified life is the key to humility and freedom!