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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

Words

THE BEST WORDS are helpful words. They bring forth wisdom (Proverbs 10:31). They promote instruction (Proverbs 16:23). Words of wisdom, and knowledge, and instruction, and good counsel and sound advice are exactly the opposite of words of foolishness, and folly, deceitful flattery, slander and gossip, arguing and strife, profanity and vulgarity, bragging and boasting, talking too much, lying and exaggeration and perversity, and ignorance. A pretty good rule of thumb to follow is to ask ourselves this question before we speak. Are the words I’m about to say going to be helpful to somebody else?

Good words are going to be few. Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

Helpful words are going to be calm words. Sometimes people speak with very inflammatory types of language. And maybe they speak with a lot of volume that displays anger, bitterness, and tempers begin to flare, and people say things that really they wish they hadn’t said once things cool down, and the writer of Proverbs, the wise man Solomon said, “Words at their best are words that are calm.” Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Words at their best are encouraging words. Proverbs 12:25, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 25:11, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Those are encouraging words you see.

There are enough discouraging words in the world. There are enough people who are trying to tear others down, what folks really need is encouragement. Mark Twain said, “I can live up to two weeks on a compliment.” Let’s try to polish and hone that skill of encouraging and helping others with our good words.

How do we learn to speak encouraging words instead of discouraging words? Jesus said that a person speaks out of the abundance of his heart so the first step is to pray, “Create in me a pure heart O God, Let me be like You in all my ways.”

Proverbs, chapter 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Joe

Persevere

There was a time in Israel’s history when they were surrounded by nations who wanted to destroy them and it seemed that they might succeed. Israel cried out to Jehovah: “O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God. See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.” The Psalmist listed the nations who formed an alliance to exterminate Israel: “Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Byblos, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre, and even Assyria joined them.” Ten nations, none of which you will see on a modern day map. Which nation can be found? Only the name Israel! (Psalm 82:17). Why would we ever imagine that God does not hear when His people go to Him in prayer? Let all the nations know that you, whose name is the LORD — that you alone are the Most High over all the earth. Let us also know that “the effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much” (James 5:16).

Let us persevere in prayer,

Joe

If we love…

If we love someone, we will surely want to motivate them to do and be the best they can. We will look for the good that is within them and build on top of that. People who like others and who believe that they have good intentions seem to inspire others to do their very best. On the contrary, people who are always seeking the worst in others will find it. Here is an example: In a certain school, a test was given at year end to every student and, at the beginning of the following year, the teachers were given a list of names of those who had the highest scores. At the end of that year, the children on the list of the best scores had increased their grades considerably. Actually, the names on the list of the best had been chosen at random. The only thing that had changed was the attitude of the teachers who treated those children as if they were the best students. The lesson was that to motivate people to do their best, we need to expect the best of them. Jesus did that to Simon when he gave him the name Peter before he became strong. He called Zacchaeus and Matthew to be apostles when they were still tax-collectors. He called the sinful woman in John 8 to a pure life on the day she had been caught in adultery.

Let us seek the best in each other and motivate them to do and be their very best. This includes our children, our spouses and our brethren.

Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Joe

Church Picnic 2017 – Canceled!

Hi Everyone. Because of the expected rain all day on Sunday we will NOT be going to Montgomery Bell State Park.  INSTEAD you are asked to bring your food to the building and stay after the morning assembly for a potluck and play games at the building.

Possible God

If nothing changes, invent.

When it does change, try to understand.

If life gets difficult, face it,

And when things get easy, give thanks.

If sorrow surrounds you, rejoice

When you become happy, share it with others,

And when the sorrow begins again, believe in God’s promises.

Believe that you can do all things.

All things are possible.

All things are possible by love and by the faith you have in God.

 

“Lord please bless us and keep us”

Joe

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