Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanks Living

(My notes from FBC Ruston. Message by Dr. Craig)

Psalm 100
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his[a]; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

It All Depends On The BIG TWO Being Right

1. Your Heart
v. 3 ... know that the Lord is God
"Know" by experience
Is my "spiritual center" right? Do I know God through Jesus Christ, personally?

2. A Right Frame of Mind

5 things the text asks us to hold to...

a) God created you -- v 3, "It is he who made us"

b) We Belong To Him Uniquely -- v. 3 "we are His people, the sheep of his pasture"
John 2:2 "He is the atoning sacrifice for the whole world..."

c) God is wonderfully Good -- v. 5 "The Lord is good..."

d) God is wonderfully loving

e) "his love endures forever" v. 5

3. When These Two Things Are Right ...

a) enthusiastic worship follows
vs. 1 -- "shout for joy"
v 2, 4 -- "worship with gladness; enter with praise"

b. Joyful service follows
v. 2 "Serve the Lord with gladness" ... a right heard and head affects your behavior; real worship always leads to real service.
People who are gracious are more healthy than those who aren't, studies show. They are more entertaining, more giving, more likeable, more satisfied...

Gratitude keys on the head and the heart

Sunday, November 27, 2011

To Tree Or Not To Tree: The Answer's Easy!

(From today's Times and News-Star)

The fall has been a dream for those of us who love all things arbor. The autumn color this year is as good as I can recall.

Last week on a spin east, the north Mississippi woods were on fire. Oranges and reds and yellows of maple, sweetgum and oak. The bronze and auburn and purple mix alone was enough to drop a jaw.


Now and then I drive through new subdivisions and sometimes entire towns with no or precious few trees.

That hurts me.

These treeless tundra are grateful, I suppose, whenever ice storms pass and no limbs fall on power lines. But otherwise, what’s a landscape without a tree? Might as well be a car port.

To tree, or not to tree, that is the question. And the answer is an easy one: you’ve got to tree.

There was (and still is) a giant sweetgum in the front yard of the house I used to live in, and some years it would really strut it’s stuff and other years it would be only spectacular. Some sort of off-season chemistry in the weather – the rain or drought or temperature or hours of sunlight – makes the difference in just how high Mother Nature turns the volume up in the fall. This spring and summer, the elements combined for a just-right autumn picture show.

To paraphrase a branch of the military, “Tree all that you can tree.”

I knew I was getting older when I started to A) look forward to visiting my parents, just to sit around and talk about nothing in particular, B) buy new underwear way before I needed them, and C) anticipate the leaves changing in late September. Funny how that works…

There are several people I can talk arbor with, but one of my heroes in the leaf game is my friend Kathie, whose last name I can’t tell you because that would be indiscreet. (Rowell. Kathie Rowell. Editor of The Times Living section.) Kathie brought me along with tender care when I first began to show an interest in admiring and caring for things that grew from the ground. My questions changed from “Is this edible?” to “When should I plant?”

One of the very reasons Kathie and Brian bought their house was because of the dogwoods in the yard. “It was fall,” she said, “and I was smitten.”

“The dogwoods struggled with the drought and are more brown this year than the deep red they usually turn,” she said in filing her annual color report for me; “this year the best in my yard has been the silverbell, which turns golden yellow.”

Kathie and I are front-row fans of the ginkgo. Their little fan-shaped leaves turn as yellow as I can imagine a leaf being. By themselves or in bunches (a gaggle of ginkgos?, a pride?, a herd?), the ginkgo tree is a stud among literal studs. I have seen them from Athens to Oxford, and when they turn on the juice, it’s always like I’m seeing them for the first time.

“I love the way the leaves are all on the tree one day and the next they all fall at the same time, carpeting the ground with yellow,” Kathie said.

The golden hickory. The undervalued but dependable crepe myrtle, which is always trying to do something to add to the game. The maple, a glowing red in my back yard and now nearly naked but man, what a show.

Got tree?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Authentic For God

(My notes from FBC Ruston, guest Dennis Swanberg from West Monroe is the speaker)

John 11-12 (The Death and Resurrection of Lazarus)

You don't have to be 'odd for God.' Just be you, your BEST you. That's when you are most real, and authentic.
You're only as free as your captor ... In Christ you are free indeed.

This is a story of Mary and Martha and Lazarus, siblings who lived together. They were 'real.'

* They loved each other. Love your siblings

*People know who you love .. everyone knew Jesus loved Lazarus, and it's stated often in this text. Today's generation doesn't listen much -- they grew up surrounded by 'visuals.' But they do WATCH. They watch you. And know who and what you love.

* vs. 4 -- Even if we know something is happening that will glorify God, we might still have trouble with it, understanding it. So did Mary and Martha, concerning the death of their brother and Jesus' 'delay' in coming

* When God says you're dead, you're dead

* It's OK for real people to misunderstand each other (v 13-14)

* Is there anyone you would die for? v 16

* v 21 .. It is OK to be 'put out' with God -- as you love and believe Him.

* Before he goes to the cross, Jesus goes to Bethany to be with close friends. It is OK to have close friends -- you can't be 'close friends' with everybody.

* v 45 -- Many people believed because of Lazarus, even though he speaks not a word in the Bible. He was still a testimony...


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christians On Fire

(My notes from FBC Ruston, Dr. Craig presiding, deacon ordination service...)

Acts 6-8

When We Are On Fire In The Right Ways...

1. We Bless Our Church
v 6: 1-7
First disciples were...
Solutions -- in every organization are the clueless, passionless, spinless, godless ... and then there are the Christ-likeness folk who say, "What can we do to make things bettter?"
Success v. 7 "So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith."

* How am I helping my church grow?

2. We Have A Widespread Positive Influence
v 8-11 -- Stephen's influence
v 7:54 -- Stephen is the first Christian martyr, killed as Jesus stands in Heaven in Stephen's honor.

3. We Bless Our World
v 8:4 -- Philip, the deacon and likely the first foreign missionary (not Philip the apostle), spreads the gospel to Samaria ... and to Ethopia (8:27-40)


Monday, November 21, 2011

In His Presence: 7

(My notes from FBC Ruston, message by Dr. Craig)

2 Chr 5-7

When We Really Honor God, He Will Show Up

It's 980 BC. Solomon finishes the temple his dad, David, began. In today's dollars, it would cost about $20 billion.
They honored God, and He showed up ( 5: 7, 13-14)

How Do We Honor God?

1. By Putting Him in the Right Place
* Do we put God only where He fits? ... in church, in connection groups, in Bible study? ... He wants to be the centerpiece

2. When We Do Things His Way
God doesn't loan out his power and glory; He gives it when we do things by His standards

3. When We Praise Him (5: 13-14; 6: 3-4)
Remember the story of the lepers in Luke 17 -- God enjoys praise
(Note Solomon's prayer in Chapter 6)

*** When We Honor God, What Will Happen?
* God Will Do Some Dramatic Things (Read Chapter 7, what happened after Solomon's prayer)

* Our schedules/lives will get different
5:14 " and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God. "

7:1-3 "1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying,
“He is good; his love endures forever.”


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Over The River And Through The 'Hood, Complaining Away We Go

(From today's TIMES and NEWS-STAR)

With the Pilgrims held up as our example, we learned early to “be grateful.”

As they dragged us to various in-laws’ in assorted neighborhoods for turkey and pumpkin pie and secondhand smoke, our parents reminded us that at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 (give or take), the settlers of the New World had it much tougher than we do. They had to eat outside. They didn’t have potatoes over here yet. The yeast rolls didn’t rise. William Bradford forgot to pick up a Marie Callender’s Apple Crumb Cobbler at the store, and the cable went out halfway though the Detroit Lions-Chicago Cardinals football game.

“And they didn’t even complain,” our parents said.

“Bet they got drunk then,” I said.

“No they most certainly did not!”

The Pilgrims really WERE tough; I would have complained if there’d been no potatoes. Loud and clear. They could have heard me back over in England.

But to hear our parents testify, no one 40 years ago ever complained about anything, especially on Thanksgiving. When you are spoiled like I am, that is setting the bar sort of high. But hey, I’m old school too and really not much of a complainer – as long as everything goes right. That’s just me!

This week, complaining is a given. This week is about the pre-Thanksgiving misgivings about “where we’re going for Thanksgiving.” Do you know where you’re going yet? Or what you’re bringing? Or the order in which you’re going to whomever’s house when? Are we all on the same page?

It can be dicey.

“Are we going to grandmama’s?”

“Not this year. But we’re not sure. We might.”

“When will we know?”

“I don’t know. Who are you, Dan Rather? We’ll know when we hear from everybody and decide.”

“It’s Tuesday.”

“Then good! Since Thanksgiving is on Thursday, as it usually is, that means we don’t have to know yet.”

“We’re cutting it close.”

“I’ll show you what cutting it close is, mister!”

“I was just asking…”

“Well just quit just asking, mister man. Your grandmother might meet us at Big Aunty’s. We might go there.”

“Not to Big Aunty’s! Big Aunty can’t cook, momma. Big Aunty won’t have nothing even done until supper. We’ll starve.”

“She most certainly will have and you most certainly will not starve. I’ll make you a pimento cheese to hold you over. We might just all bring different things.”

“What do you mean, ‘we all?’ Who all is coming?”

“Aunt Jean will bring the macaroni and cheese and we’ll bring the bean casserole and…”

“Momma that means Uncle Lester is coming. He’s a professional smoker. We’ll all smell like something burnt. They’ll be ashes in the macroni.”

“No there will not!”

“There was last year.”

“You’ll think last year if you don’t shut up! Now I mean it!”

“Can we just stay home and make hamburgers?”

“NO! We can be thankful and not complain about gummy rice and ashes in the food and jello with nuts in it and getting your picture taken. And if I hear one word, ONE MORE WORD....”

Precious memories. And Happy Thanksgiving; I hope you get where you’re going.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Vision Accomplished: 8

(From my notes at FBC Ruston, message by Dr. Craig)

2 Samuel 6: 14-16
Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.

* Worship should always happen when we are in the presence of God.

1. When You Really Love and Worship God As David Does Here, You Will Be Misunderstood
* David's wife didn't like that David humbled himself and removed his crown and royal robes and put on priests' robes

2. When We Really Worship, It Leads To Being Right With God and Others
* Worship is about what happens inward; it changes who we are and how we act
* Parts of sacrificed animals were shared among the people as fellowship, loving each other
* "Noise doesn't mean anything. A hen lays an egg and cackles like she's laid an asteroid."

3. It's OK To Really Express Your Love To And For God
* David is dancing as an expression of his love for God, the presence of God "coming home" to Jerusallem.
* "Most churches start at 11 o'clock sharp and end at 12 o'clock dull"
* God's presence should excite us more than it does
* Start expressing your love for God...


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In The Presence: 6

(From my notes at FBC Ruston, Dr. Chris presiding...)

2 Samuel:6: 1-12(NIV)

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

1 David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. 2 He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.
6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.

8 Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.

9 David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the LORD to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.

12 Now King David was told, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jer. 29:13


1. Is Awesome v 1-2, 5
* Live in the transforming reality of always being in the presence

2. When He Is Not Appreciated Properly, There Will Be Problems v. 3-8
* Remember that these problems with the ark happen among God's people, not among unbelievers -- subtle disobedience
* Just one loose string messes up the sound of the whole fiddle

3. When He Is Appreciated Properly, Blessings Abound v. 9-11
* Obed-Edom is likely a Levite priest...Regardless of his position, he and his household were blessed in the ark's presence (v. 11)...
* He did nothing to receive the blessing, while the people celebrating and praising in verse 5 were punished in the ark's presence ... Why? Because God wasn't in it. God does not bless disobedience; He blesses a pure heart, which Obed-Edom must have had.
* We live in a culture of DO and neglect what we're to BE
* Works never substitute for who you are.

Psalm 37:4 -- "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart..."
Ps 46:10 -- 'Be still and know..."

Eugene Peterson (pastor and author) suggest two commands:
1. Come and behold the works of God
2. Be still -- become award there is more to life than our desires

* "Nothing good ever happened in a stampede..." Baron von "Somebody" said that!

John 15:4 "Remain in me..."
ABIDE is about being, not about doing

4. Let's Long For God And His Blessings v. 12
* David, with a good kind of jealousy, wanted what Obed-Edom had -- and brought the ark to Jerusalem properly, and rejoiced
* Have we gotten used to living without the power, like you get used to living without electricity after a while.
* Illus: a lady during a storm lost her power and went ten years without it. Her neighbors FINALLY noticed, and wanted to help her get it turned back on. She'd gotten used to no hot meals, no fire, no hot water. "I guess I'd gotten used to living without the power..."


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Either Keep Your Sense or Follow The 'Lonestar'

(Reprinted from today's Times and News-Star)

Wonder how Lewis and Clark could leave Missouri with nothing more than a compass and a toothbrush and find Oregon nearly 200 years ago, while I can’t find the new restaurant I ate at last night?

This would make a good Andy Rooney moment, God rest the popular and now departed newsman’s irritable and entertaining soul. “It’s really sort of fascinating, don’t you think,” I hear him saying, “the sense of direction some people have and others don’t? Those who have it can find Deluth by the stars. In the daytime. The ones who don’t can’t find the Esso station on the corner of their own neighborhood. I just hate those kinds of people. They’re stupid.

“And didja ever notice how I don’t trim my eyebrows? Why is that? I just hate that. Maybe I’ve lost my sense of direction and can’t find the scissors.”

I don’t like complainers in general but I did like him. We need a Designated Complainer. Every family has one. Even the American family. I’ll miss him. Wish we could find another one like him. Meanwhile…

You know how the robbers blindfold the guy when they’re taking him for a ride? They would not have to do that to me. I couldn’t fall out of a boat and find water.

Back in the day, I had a sense of direction. I grew up where there weren’t many signs. You had to “know.” You didn’t know that not knowing was even an option. My direction sense is now confined to back home only.

We moved to the big town and I got used to signs and I lost what sense of direction I had. I could probably go back and find it – if I had a sense of direction. I think it’s one of those things that you can’t find once you lose it. Like virginity. Well, maybe not quite like that. Maybe nothing like that. Maybe losing your sense of direction is more like breaking a $100 bill: once you do, it’s hard to understand where it went when it’s gone.

My good friend Chief has a device in his new truck he mistakenly calls “Lonestar,” and he hits a button and a nice lady gets him all the way from where the lives to wherever he wants to go. And tells him when he’s there. “Take the Waco Exit. Proceed in the left lane. Turn right in 500 yards…in 300 yards…in 100 yards,” and on like that.

Lewis and Clark had Sacagawea. We have GPS.

I do not know at this point if we have GPS back home in the Carolina Piedmont country. During my most recent visit four years ago, we did not have cell phone service. I know this because 10 miles from the house I called to let them know I was almost there, and I might as well have been holding a Dixie cup with a string coming out of it. GPS back home would go something like this:

“Well, you mean from HERE? OK. Well, go about a mile, mile and a half, and what you’ll come to is a red barn. Used to be red. I remember when we helped build that barn. Anyway, take a right and pass Peabug’s place and you’ll come to where the Clark boy got in that wreck on his two-wheeler motorbike thing and broke his leg. Good boy. Limps a bit. I believe it’s there that you take a left…,” and on like that.

It’s wise not to lose your sense of direction back home.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vision Accomplished: 7

(My notes from FBC Ruston...)

Nehemiah 6-10

1. Accomplish The Things God Wants You To Do
6:15 -- "...the wall was completed in 52 days" (after having been down for more than 140 years)

2. Be A Great Disciple And Make Great Disciples
Matt 28, The Great Commissioin -- a disciple is a convert, then a leader, a pupil and a follower

How to be a great disciple
a) The Word
8:1-3 People hear words and read it... v. 13-14 "they found written in the Word..." they did not know before, so it was impossible for them to help others, as it's impossible for us to help others without knowing, studying his Word. Get into the Word and let the Word get into you.

b) Worship
8:16 -- "the bowed and worshipped..." Worship is surrender to God...it is having an encourter with God that's life-changing...

c) Confession and Repentance
9:13 -- "(Israelites) confessed..then worshipped..." We should live in a state of confession and repentance

d) A Different Life
"Real worship and real Bible study always leads to real change..."

As They Became Disciples, It Changed These Areas
i) Changed Their Families
Neh 10:30 3“We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons."

ii) Changed Their Worklife
10:31 "When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts."

iii) Affected Their Billfolds
10:35, 37, 39 ... Gave their first fruits to God..."we will not neglect God..."

Illustration: A philosopher, scientist and simple man trapped in a cove and drowning with sheer rock cliffs around them.. What appeared to be a rope dropped for them from the top of the cliff...
The philosopher said, "This might be an illusion..." He didn't grab it, and drowned.
The scientist described the rope exactly but didn't grab it. Seeya!
The simple man said, "This might be a rope or it might be a python's tail, but it's the only hope i have."
At some point, you gotta grab the rope. You've got to grab God's hand, or drown.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Strike Up The Band!, For New Times' Sake

(From today's Times in Shreveport and News-Star in Monroe.)

The tradition-rich Haynesville and Homer football teams are in the playoffs again this year, but the atmosphere will lack a familiar ring.

No marching bands.

Hear that? They’re not playing our song.

Small-town high school marching bands are going the way of the Notre Dam box, the wishbone formation, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. Anybody around here play the baritone sax?

Student apathy is to blame, perhaps? Parents who don’t see the point? The lack of a leader? Maybe it’s human nature: few of us miss a good thing until it’s gone.

Whatever the cause, the result is no band. Claiborne Academy lost its band more than a decade ago. Then Haynesville. And this year, the Homer Pelicans have played football but not the snare, tuba or clarinet.

They tried. Last year’s Homer Band had 15 members, and most of those were from the junior high. Even though the band director came out of retirement to work part-time, well, you can’t get blood out of a turnip or a high school marching band out of less than two dozen students.

So officially, the Homer Pelicans Marching Band is on break.

“It’s not totally eliminated,” said parish superintendent Dr. Janice Williams. “It’s suspended until student interest picks up. If we had student involvement, we’d have a band. It the students want a band, they can have a band.”

A petition circulated briefly in August once word got out that the band had, at least for now, disbanded. Williams has heard no more about it though, and the deafness was never more evident than during September’s reprisal of the storied Homer-Haynesville football series.

“Not a band to be seen,” she said. “They played music on the P.A., but band spirit is a lot different than just music.”


In August I’d read with dismay a letter to the editor in “The Guardian-Journal,” my very favorite Claiborne Parish newspaper.

“When you consider that probably 40 percent of the student body participated in the band programs in the ’50s and ’60s,” wrote Bobby Johnson, Homer High Class of 1965, “there must have been something special happening.”

And there was. The band, 130 members strong, even went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans back then, the biggest outfit in the whole parade. They broke into two groups and came home with first and second places, two trophies, and double the prize money.

“We’d march from Homer High down Dutchtown Road to where it intersects with Clear Lake – that’s got to be more than three miles ’round trip,” said Dr. Charlie Roberts, president and CEO of the LSU Alumni Association today, but a Homer High grad, music teacher and band director back in the day. “Kids want to talk and play and horse around, but it’s hard to do that when you’re marching and blowing a horn. They loved the exercise though. And we were good.”

As you’d build a football team, Roberts recruited, getting to know the kids when they were in elementary school. He formed a club of dedicated band parents who fund-raised to reward the band with leather jackets.

“It takes more than money,” said Roberts, who knows about modern distractions; his three grandchildren aren’t band folk. “But I believe you could still build it back. It’ll take somebody special who’s willing to start with nothing.”

Then it could really be something…

“For those of us who experienced it, enjoyed and learned from it,” Johnson wrote in August, “we can only hope that it will come again.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In The Presence: 5

2 Samuel 6: 1-9

Uzzah dies after touching the ark, which represented God's presence


God is a Loving Father and our Holy Master, a balance...

* David acted in moving the ark before asking God; nowhere in the text is it recorded that he prayer or asked anyone for direction or accountability
* We quench the spirit when we act before getting His guidance

Exodus 25 has instructions to carry the ark; very involved instructions.
David's men were well-intentioned, doing a 'good' thing, but ... God's work must be done God's way to have God's blessing; God IS in the details.

* They KNEW not to touch the ark
* Sin almost always begins with a carelessness and a casualness
* Is my behavior toward church, toward connections groups, etc., casual?



Against Uzzah, an immediate death penalty.
Other places in scripture where judgment is swift:
Lev 10 -- Aaron's sons devoured by fire
Josh 7 -- The sin of Achan
Acts 5 -- Ananias and Sapphira
1 Cor 11 -- Paul's account of those who have approached the Lord's Supper with casualness and are now 'weak and sick or have fallen asleep (died)'...

* We accept subpar as par because of our steady casualness


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Doc Bailey And An FCA Update

* FCA Founders Award Banquet is Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 6:30 at the Bossier Civic Center. Go to nwlafca.org for more information about the event and about tickets. Matt Stover (pictured), Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Famer and a place kicker for 20 years in the NFL, will be the featured speaker. Stover won Super Bowl rings with both Baltimore and Indianapolis. Stover will also be the featured speaker Monday night, Nov. 7, at the Ruston FCA Banquet.

*Former fullback and dentist (not at the same time!) Doc Bailey began FCA in North Louisiana 50 years ago. Sunday night on KTBS, Rick Rowe profiled Doc; you can see it by going to ktbs.com, typing "Promise of Hope" into the search box, then clicking on the Promise of Hope for Oct. 30. Wonderful story on a wonderful gentleman.

* Thank you to all who played and donated this past Thursday at the Dr. Jack Witte Memorial Golf Day for FCA at East Ridge Country Club. Think about playing in it next year! Write me if you need more info.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vision Accomplished: 6

Neh 6

How did Nehemiah -- and how do we -- survive life's skunk attacks?

1. INTROSPECTION: Am I dong what's right?
6: 1-8 ... opponents tried to distract Nehemiah with accusations and lies; Nehemiah did not begin to doubt himself ultimately (v8) -- "No such things as you say are being done...

* We won't be challenged UNTIL we decide to become a wall builder

Nehemiah recognizes a false prophet who lies to him ... Because he is "prayed up," he can discern skunk attacks.

Satan wants to get you off course -- Nehemiah kept focus... "I am dong a great work, I cannot come down..."

Nehemiah had the right people in his life for love, support and encouragement

Am I willing to do what God wants?

*Most of us stop at halfway (ILLUS: Three little boys asked a man who was raking if they could rake his yard. The man said, "But boys, I'm halfway through." And one of the boys said, "We know, but halfway is when people usually stop.")

* See things to victory, with God's help

* "If it is of God and God is in it, it's always, always, always too soon to quit."