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Following Jesus Isn’t for Wimps

By Reginald Smith, Tuesday, February 13, 2018 in TODAY

Scripture Reading — Luke 12:1-3

Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. — Luke 12:1

Jesus used an ordinary baking ingredient (yeast) to picture the power of sin in people’s lives. It was Passover, and thousands of Jews were traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate this great feast commemorating their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. As part of their preparation for this event, people removed all of the yeast from their homes (see Exodus 12:14-20).

Jesus knew how to use current events to make a point. With people paying so much attention to yeast, he pointed out that the sin of hypocrisy could be just as penetrating as yeast in bread, working its way to affect every inch of life.

In this way Jesus warned his disciples against being hypocrites in their service to God. Discipleship was and is serious business. There is no such thing as being “on the fringe” or neutral. We can easily find ourselves not living our real identity in the one true Savior.

True discipleship will involve suffering and self-denial. Choosing to do the will of God becomes more important than rejection or popularity. Discipleship means making people a priority rather than rituals and traditions. Loving your enemies pleases Jesus more than loving only your friends and family. Following Jesus means caring for the needy rather than giving priority to the rich, influential, and powerful. Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow him if we would truly be his disciples. Can we do that?

Prayer

Dear Jesus, help us to truly be your disciples. Please take hypocrisy out of our lives so that we may follow your ways. Amen.

Do you belong?

Do you feel like you belong? Do you fit in with a special group? Are you lonely? Are you a part of a family? Do you join in with the conversations that go on around you? Do you ever feel rejected by others? In order to feel that you belong, do you need to be told that you are loved? Or appreciated? Or needed? Or important? If you don’t feel like you belong, is there anything you can do to change that? Can you spot a person around you that doesn’t feel like they belong? If you do detect such a person, have you ever asked them if it were true? Do you care if someone feels that way? Have you ever reached out to such a person? How would you reach out to include this person? Can you feel their pain or loneliness? Please think about all this and share with me your thoughts.

Joe

CRISES PRESENTS GREAT…

Crisis presents great opportunities to change things for the better. Our present National crisis with the terrorist attacks and the looming war with world terrorist’s organizations is a good example of this. We have already heard about better relations between races, Hollywood committed to provide more patriotic wholesome movies, little children saving money for families of firefighters instead of themselves, high government officials praying to God to bless America instead of political parties and much more. Crises are great opportunities to change things for the better.

We can apply this truth to our own personal lives. Our present peril is an opportunity right now to: Begin treating all people with more kindness. Make it a habit to tell people you love them while they are still here. Commit to faithfulness in church attendance, Bible study and prayer. Move toward a less materialistic lifestyle. Seek a closer, more intimate relationship with God. Become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Take up my cross, deny myself and follow Jesus.

Dear Father, please transform me into the image of Jesus.
Joe

The power of motivating words

A story is told about a little girl named Mary who was born with a cleft palate. Mary had to bear the jokes and stares of cruel children who teased her non-stop about her misshaped lip, crooked nose, and garbled speech. With all the teasing, Mary grew up hating the fact that she was “different”. She was convinced that no one, outside her family, could ever love her…until she entered Mrs. Leonard’s class.

Mrs. Leonard had a warm smile, a round face, and shiny brown hair. While everyone in her class liked her, Mary came to love Mrs. Leonard. In the 1950’s, it was common for teachers to give their children an annual hearing test. However, in Mary’s case, in addition to her cleft palate, she was barely able to hear out of one ear. Determined not to let the other children have another “difference” to point out, she would cheat on the test each year. The “whisper test” was given by having a child walk to the classroom door, turn sideways, close one ear with a finger, and then repeat something which the teacher whispered. Mary turned her bad ear towards her teacher and pretended to cover her good ear. She knew that teachers would often say things like “The sky is blue,” or “What color are your shoes?” But not on that day, Surely, God put seven words in Mrs. Leonard’s mouth that changed Mary’s life forever. When the “Whisper test” came, Mary heard the words: “I wish you were my little girl.”

In the same way sometimes the words from a father can powerfully set the course of a life. Words from God can pull us out of the pits of fear, despair and shame. God is whispering in your ear right now. “I wish you were my child.”

Joe

Holiday Service schedule 2017

Holiday Service Schedule – Sunday, December 24, (Christmas Eve) – We will have regular 9 AM Bible Study and 10 AM Worship. We will not have PM service that day.

Sunday, December 31, (New Year’s Eve) – We will have regular 9 AM Bible Study and 10 AM Worship. Our evening service will be a short devotional, beginning at 7:30 PM, followed by a New Year’s Eve get together. You are asked to bring finger foods, drinks and games.

Words

I have often been accused of being picky with words and I plead guilty as charged. I learned this from Jesus. Four examples come to mind. One is when a Metro Council person asked me how she should introduce me when she was going to ask me to lead a prayer before a community meeting. She asked if I should be called “Reverend McKinney” and I replied “I would prefer to be called ’Joe’”. There is a dear sister in Christ who often calls me “Pastor Joe” and I have repeatedly reminded her that I am not “Pastor Joe” but I am Joe who “pastors” or “shepherds” the flock. Years ago when I taught the Bible at the School of the Bible in Recife, Brasil, I had a young teenage student named Wellington who, when he had a question would always say “’Professor’, what does this verse mean?”. I continually replied, “Please do not call me ‘Professor’ because Jesus said in Matthew 23 ‘The scribes and Pharisees love being called rabbi by others but you are not to be called rabbi. For you have one teacher and you are all brothers.’” Jesus taught against the use of religious titles and I thank God that the Joelton church practices what Jesus preached (usually but not perfectly). I wish I had the courage, when someone telephones asking to speak to the pastor, Jean and Darlene would answer simply “Yes! You may, He will always listen!” I don’t want to come across as a smart aleck. I just want us to practice what Jesus taught. This is referring to our present activity of recognizing more elders and deacons, of course. We will not be giving titles of honor to more people. We are actually just recognizing some men who are caring for and serving the church. This does not require or involve a title or even being recognized, necessarily. If you are caring for people, keep on doing what you are doing. If you are serving others, keep on serving. If you are not caring for or serving others, then start. “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15, 16

Joe 

Blitzin’ Angels

CHRISTMAS BLITZ and ANGEL TREE – Names should have been submitted to the office. If you want to help by purchasing food items please pick up a list of items needed on the welcome center table in the rear lobby. Usually we deliver on Christmas Eve morning, but, since Christmas Eve is on Sunday, we will be delivering on Saturday, December 23rd. We will meet at the building at 9:30 AM to deliver the food boxes and angel gifts.

Ashamed?

Would you be ashamed to stand up for the playing of our National anthem? Would you be ashamed to confess that you believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ? Would you be ashamed to publicly confess that you love your spouse and your family? In the last few weeks we have celebrated Thanksgiving Day and Veteran’s Day. When I see on TV the pictures of wounded veterans who have lost arms and legs to roadside explosives, I feel sad for the sacrifices our military folks have made to preserve our freedom in this country and protect us from evil doers. Of all those who have sacrificed themselves for us, none are greater than Jesus Christ. He paid it all that we might live. Let us be thankful and confess our gratitude to Him who died to save us. Ask God to forgive us and give us strength to stand up for Jesus. Stand up for Jesus. He deserves our gratitude.

Joe

Are you thinking about throwing in the towel?

Are you thinking about throwing in the towel? Don’t do it! Pick it back up and look for somebody’s feet to wash! What made you consider quitting anyway? Was it because somebody said: it’s cancer or You’re fired or it’s twins or I don’t want you anymore or There’s nothing more we can do or I’ve had a wreck or We’ve been broken into!

Sure, things happen that may be out of your control and these may change everything. They may be out of your control but there is nothing that we can’t turn over to our Creator. You may have made mistakes but you have also been blessed by God more than you deserve and for that reason you are going to pick up that towel and look for somebody to serve. Say it clearly and boldly to Jesus, to yourself and to everybody else: I am a servant of the Lord and will continue to be one unto the end. Now how can I help you?

Don’t think that you can’t serve others while you yourself need help. Much to the contrary. On the very days that the disciples disappointed Jesus with their selfishness, the Sanhedrin plotted to kill him, Judas betrayed him for silver coins, Peter denied him with swearing and the crowds shouted in the streets We don’t want him give us Barrabas! Those were the days that Jesus took up a towel to wash dirty feet. So can we.

We can do all things who through Jesus who strengthens us.

Joe

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