Paying Attention…or Not

As I was out running errands today I pulled up to a red light along side an 18-wheeler. I glanced up at the cab as I came to a stop beside it and noticed the driver look down at me. I was listening to a CD that had just “cycled” around to the beginning and decided to change it while at the stop light. As I fished out the CD I wanted to listen to I noticed the truck roll forward slightly and stop. I continued to eject and then insert the CDs, not paying any attention really to any thing else. The semi-truck then revved up it’s engine and began to take off, so I did the same thing. But after moving about a car-length I realized the light was still red! I stopped quickly and glanced in my mirror to see the chucking driver: He has noticed I was not paying attention and waited on the opposite light and turn signal to turn green and then, when there was no oncoming traffic, acted like he was going through the light to kind of goad me out into an embarrassing but not dangerous situation.

After shaking off the ignorant thing I’d just done I thought how this reminds me of what the devil will do to us. We are most generally on the look out for, of aware of, the “roaring lion who seeks who he may destroy”. But it’s the laughing hyena, or more Scripturally correct the “wolf in sheeps clothing”, that can slip by us. Make no mistake, our’s is a cunning enemy and he will fly right under the radar, in a most unexpected manner, to make his attacks. We, therefore, have to always be vigilant in our walk in this life. Drawing close to our Lord, feasting on His Word, and being in regular fellowship with His children are the best way to do that. And the best defense against the overt and covert attacks we face.

Keep It Real

I really enjoyed this piece and wanted to share it.

Keep it Real

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 KJV)

“I remember years ago the popular song “Come Just as You Are” was played during altar calls every Sunday at my church. Every time I heard that song, a sense of relief would wash over me. I always wished this song was performed early in the service. For years I felt as though I had to “dress up” for church. I don’t simply mean my clothing, (the minimum requirement for my church was a three-piece suit-and when you’re fourteen years old that’s kind of tough!) but also my spiritual life. I had made mistakes throughout the week. I couldn’t let God see that, especially not in His house. So I would sit there, squirming uncomfortably, trying to put on a pure and holy face so I could look super spiritual for all the good Christians in their long dresses and suits and ties. Thinking back, I realize there were so many times during worship that I missed God-not because He wasn’t there, but because I wasn’t being real. I struggled for the longest time with the idea that Christ would want me. I didn’t understand the full measure of the sacrifice He made for me at the Cross. I thought that if I was honest with Him about my shortcomings, He would be disappointed or upset with me. The sad thing is that all He really wanted was my confession and repentance-not my pleated pants or my smug holy face. This week, don’t play church. Don’t hide, and don’t fake it. Be honest and confess your sins to Him. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ loved us and died for us. When confronted with that reality, no matter where we find ourselves, we cannot help but worship!

-Andrew Strickland Worship Leader, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale”

What Stirs You?

When Jesus was asked about His relationship with God, He replied that He was indeed the Son of God. This seemingly simple answer sent the crowd into a frenzy and eventually created a firestorm that eventually led to Jesus’ crucifixion. “He stirs up people by his teaching,” the leaders said. Stirs them up? What happens in your heart when you read or hear these words? Are you stirred up? It seems wherever Jesus went, He stirred things up-either anger and resentment, or unparalleled devotion and loyalty. Jesus said in Revelation 3:15, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other.” What is your worship like? Are stirred up? I hope worship creates great adoration and awe in you-that as you consider all that Jesus has done for you, including the cross, it brings you to tears and to your knees. Don’t let your worship become lukewarm, and if it has, go for a walk on the beach, a hike in the woods, or some other activity that gets you alone with God and His creation. As you spend time with Him, you will be refreshed and renewed.

Let the Son of God stir you up.

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV)

But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” (Hebrews 1:6 NKJV)
-Pastor Clay Hecocks Worship Pastor Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale

Heard at Wal Mart

Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind.

Today I had a few errands to run, including a trip to Wal Mart. To my pleasant surprise, shortly after entering the store I ran into three members of my church family. We had a very pleasant little conversation that included each of us making mention of our choir leader. For you that don’t know him, Bro. Buddy Merritt is one of the kindest, humblest folks I know and his love for our Lord just, well, radiates about him.

Anyway, the four of us agreed that more than once Buddy has stood and spoken almost verbatim what was on our own heart during his testamony. One of us even joked that it was kind of amazing how that could be; and that we ought to be more apt to get up and say what God has put on our heart as soon as He does so!

After leaving the store, on my way home in my truck I was thinking about our conversation and those thoughts led me to this conclusion: We are all different in how we express our love and our praise for God. But for four different people, five including Bro. Buddy, to get the same praise-filled thoughts, at times simultaneously, demonstrates that, even in our different ways and with our different “styles” of expression, we are truly in one mind and of one accord. Yes, I may say it differently than you, you may have more emotion than I, but we are still worshipping Him Who is worthy in “Spirit and truth”, just as He desires us to.

Merry Christmas

Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

As we prepare to exchange gifts over the next 24 or so hours with our loved ones I begin to think about what these gifts mean to us, or me personally. Of all the gifts that I receive the most precious ones are the quality time I get with my family. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the “stuff” but nothing can replace the time and memories both made and recounted.

I am also reminded of the wonderful promises God has made to us in His Word. Pondering in today’s verse, particularly at thus time of year, makes it so much more real and vivid just how great His love for His children really is. I am so grateful to Him for each gift, each blessing He has bestowed. But I’m especially thankful for the saving grace He has given me through and by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Amp’d Up and Ready to Go!

In a little while I’ll be leaving out for a local event (Amp’d for Christ).  It is a two-day event with praise and worship music, preaching, and much more, all aimed at the 30-ish and under crowd.  I am blessed to be a small part of this event; I’ll be manning an outreach table, witnessing and giving away tracts.  I have some 1500 neat (not your “ordinary” tract-stuff) tracts and would be ecstatic if I were to give them all out.  This is the first year for this event, with the hopes of it being an annual one.

Please remember this event and the outreach table in your prayers.  I know God will use it, us, and the materials as He sees fit.  But the intercession of the saints can only help the increase He will see.

Casting Our Bread

Psalm 24:3-5
3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Sunday night we were blessed to have The Godsmen with us to provide praise and worship music. They did a fantastic job, too, by the way. Their first song was one I really like and you may be familiar with, I believe it’s called Bread Upon the Water. The song speaks of casting our bread upon the water, helping our brothers by sowing a good deed that will come back home to us, which got me to thinking about our attitude of service and worship.

I wonder how many good works or deeds are done with the expectation of receiving back for our service? While I believe that we are often blessed for doing things that pleasing and obedient to our Lord, I don’t think that the thought of what we might reap ought to be any type of motivation for our deed. Scripture teaches that God judges our heart’s intent. If He looked at the intent behind a service and saw that we were motivated by self how do think He would feel? Rather if the motivating factor were obedience and love, won’t The Father be well pleased?