How Can I Help?

When Wayne Hayer couldn’t find a babysitter for his 5-month old daughter Assata, he remembered a promise his Morehouse college professor had made him. Mathematics professor Nathan Alexander, at the Atlanta-based historically black college, had told the college senior he could take his daughter to class if he needed, but Hayer hadn’t intended to take him up on it. With no other choice, Hayer walked into class with his daughter strapped to his chest. Without bating an eye, Hayer’s professor looked up and said, “No problem, in fact I will even hold her so you can take better notes in class.” And he did! In fact, Alexander held Assata for the whole lecture and even stayed after class to answer students’ questions with the 5-month-old still strapped to his chest. (Read the Full Story Here)

What an amazing story! Bravo to Mr. Alexander for his willingness to help a student during a difficult time. It seems anymore that fewer and fewer people are willing to show such empathy and more than that, have a willingness to do something to help.

As Christians, we have been called upon to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). And we can do that in so many ways. It may be helping that struggling mom with the kids so that she too can hear the sermon. It may be offering to sit with a shut-in so that a caretaker can go to Bible Class or to worship. The point is are we looking for ways we can help others so that their burdens don’t hinder their spiritual growth? Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and ask yourself, what would I want someone to do for me (Cf. Matthew 7:12)?

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ…So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:2, 10)

Posted in Attitudes, Care and Concern, Christian Living, Compassion, Selflessness, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nothing Will Be Done

A Seattle Times columnist suffered a “smash-and-grab” break-in of his car in October, but was brushed off by the Seattle Police Department and told simply to go file an insurance claim. However, he and his energetic 14-year-old daughter located the perpetrators themselves by GPS and called for police help, only to be chastised by the dispatcher, warning that they could get hurt. Only when a local crime-fighting TV show adopted the case, along with the suburban Sammamish, Washington, police department, was the gang of thieves finally pursued and apprehended (resulting in charges for “hundreds” of smash-and-grab thefts). (Bonus: One alleged perpetrator was quoted as saying the thefts were undertaken “because we knew the police wouldn’t do anything.”) [Seattle Times, 10-31-2014, 11-7-2014]

Sadly we live in a time where law enforcement isn’t as respected as it once was. And unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer individuals who want to make a career of being a Police Officer. And with the lack of interest in the job, Police Departments are finding themselves spread thin due to the amount of cases they are inundated with. And when there are not enough people willing to do the job, crime increases!

Translate that to the church. The church is called to “make disciples” (Cf. Matthew 28:19), to teach the gospel to “every creature” (Cf. Mark 16:15). Yet sadly, the church isn’t growing like she should and each and every day there are sinners who get lost deeper and deeper in sin and yet it seems nothing is being done about it. And I realize that there are good works being done all over the world by a good number of brothers and sisters in Christ, but unfortunately there’s more “world” than Christians. I heard a statistic a few years ago that said if the percentage of known Christians in the world were to be solely responsible for taking the gospel to the entire world that each individual person would be responsible for a few million people each.

The Bible tells us that there will come a day when all of mankind will stand before the Lord in judgment (Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10). And we are told that on that day many will be eternally lost because they didn’t know God or obey the gospel (Cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff). That being the case, it is the responsibility of the church, the saved in Christ to take the gospel to the world and to make disciples who will make disciples (Cf. 2 Timothy 2:2). Knowing that there are souls in danger of being eternally lost, we must each one do our part. The devil wants us to do nothing and yet if we do nothing souls WILL BElost!

It’s time we get busy church; it’s time we each one acted as if lives depended on me; and it’s time we resolve to not let another soul be lost because nothing was being done. When we all do our part the church grows (Cf. Ephesians 4:16)and when then church is growing, fewer and fewer souls will be lost!

Posted in Evangelism, Judgment, Salvation, The Church, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

And Yet I Know It’s Coming!

This past week marked the 33rdanniversary of the tragic events of the Space Shuttle Challenger. On January 28, 1986, just moments after the shuttle’s launch, the Challenger exploded in the air, killing all of the astronauts that were onboard. It was a sad day in our nations history. I remember my 3rdgrade class watching the launch and how we watched with horror as the space shuttle exploded. And yet, while watching a clip of the launch again this week, even though I knew the explosion was coming, I was still in shock as I watched it explode.

Isn’t it funny how we can know something is going to happen, yet still be shocked when it does? Like turning the knob on a Jack-in-the-box. You know that eventually that little clown is gonna pop out, yet people still jump when it does.

The same is true regarding our spiritual lives. We know the Bible says, “it is appointed for man to die” (Hebrews 9:27) and that our lives are like “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:17);yet we are somehow shocked when someone close to us dies or when we find out our illness is terminal. We know the Bible says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:15) and that baptism saves us (1 Peter 3:21); yet people still refuse to be baptized. And the truth is, people will be shocked when judgment day comes and they miss out on heaven, even though they knew it was coming (Cf. Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 25:31-46).

No one knew that the Challenger would explode on January 28, 1986 just moments after its liftoff and the truth is, no one knows the day or the hour when their lives will be over or when the Lord will return (Cf. Mark 13:32ff). Yet the Bible says it will happen. Knowing that it’s going to happen the question is, will we be prepared when it does?

“Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8)

Posted in Baptism, Care and Concern, Christian Living, Day of Judgment, Death, Excuses, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Knowledge, Preperation, Procrastination, Salvation, Truth, Uncategorized, Warning | Leave a comment

Have They Seen Worse In You?

Around 7 a.m. on Jan. 6, at a McDonald’s in San Francisco, a man carried a dead raccoon into the restaurant and lay it on a table, then sat down with it. Restaurant patron Chris Brooks captured the spectacle on Facebook Live, recording as the man stood from his seat and walked around the restaurant, talking with people. Another man, wearing gloves, then picked the raccoon up by its tail and took it outside to a garbage can, trailing blood on the floor. Fox News reported San Francisco police responded to the restaurant and released the unidentified raccoon owner after speaking with him. McDonald’s closed the store immediately and reopened two hours later after sanitizing the dining room. One patron wrote on Twitter: “I’ve seen worse than a dead raccoon at that same McDonald’s.” [Fox News, 1/10/2019]

WOW! Can you imagine heading into a restaurant to eat dinner only to find a man with a dead animal sitting there? And worse, he doesn’t see anything wrong with it at all! (I’m not sure I want to know what “worse” things they have seen in that same restaurant) Yet, the truth is, we are probably all guilty of behavior that is at times unbecoming of us; behavior that we might not, in the moment, find appalling, but behavior that isn’t becoming of us all the same.

What have people seen in me? Have they seen me act in ways that aren’t aligned with the faith I profess? Has my behavior been abrasive? Have I done things that have hurt my influence? Worse, have I been guilty of behavior that makes people think less of Christ and His church? Behavior that causes others to want nothing to do with the Lord if that’s how his people act.

No matter who you are, there is always someone watching you. And the truth is you will influence someone towards heaven, or you’ll influence them towards hell. The question is…what kind of influence do you want to be? It’s surely something to think about and something worthy of spending some time working on.

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Posted in A Good Name, Attitudes, Behavior, Christian Living, Heaven, Hell, Influence, Self-Examination, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What? Me Overreact!

Alarmed neighbors in Perth, Australia, called police after hearing a child screaming and a man repeatedly shouting, “Why don’t you die?!” on Jan. 1, according to the Evening Standard. Multiple units of officers arrived at the property, only to learn that the unnamed man, an extreme arachnophobe, had been trying to kill a spider. His wife confirmed to police that her child had been screaming, and her husband apologized to police for the confusion. The spider didn’t survive. [Evening Standard, 1/2/2019]

It’s funny sometimes the way we react to certain things. I’ve seen women climb the walls over a mouse scurrying across the room and yes, even grown men who have come undone at the sight of a spider. And while we may get a kick out of folks reactions to harmless bugs and rodents, the truth is, sometimes we are guilty of overreacting to things that are a little more serious.

In Genesis 37, we read about Joseph. Joseph was one of the 12 sons of Jacob, whom his father loved very much; so much so that Jacob gave Joseph a special coat made of many colors to show his love for him. But Jacob’s love for Joseph made his other sons jealous. Unknown at the time, God was working through Joseph to reveal future events and in a series of dreams Joseph saw his brothers bowing before him; which only made his brothers hatred of Joseph grow stronger. So when an opportunity to teach Joseph a lesson came along his brothers took it. Initially they wanted to kill Joseph, but their older brother Reuben intervened and convinced them to throw him into a pit instead, hoping to rescue him later. But the other brothers conspired to sell Joseph and to make it look as if some wild animal had killed him. And over a coat and their father’s affection, these brothers overreacted and allowed their emotions to get the better of them. And while God was in the background working through all of this, the damage caused by their reaction was still done (Cf. Genesis 37:34-35).

The Bible often speaks of self-control. Self-control is the virtue of one who has mastery of his or her emotions. When one allows their emotions to run unchecked things get said and done that could have otherwise been prevented had we just shown a little more restraint. Overreacting to a spider is one thing, but overreacting out of jealousy or hatred or out of ignorance is another. In all things we are to show ourselves to be an example of Jesus (Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1; Titus 2:6-8); yet when we choose to overreact to something someone says or to something someone does we show just how unlike Jesus we really are.

Restraint doesn’t mean we are choosing not to stand up or speak up for truth, it simply means that out of love for others we choose to respond in a way that builds up rather than tear down (Ephesians 4:15). How we choose to react to others can mean the difference between someone following Jesus and someone being lost. May our speech and our actions always be “seasoned with salt” that we may know how to appropriately respond to others (Colossians 4:6) and may we never be guilty of overreacting to the point we cause someone to miss out on heaven.

Posted in Attitudes, Christian Living, Christian Walk, Influence, Jesus Christ, Overreaction, Restraint, Salvation, Self-Control, Self-Examination, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Will YOU Do With Today?

A New Year has dawned! With it plans have been made, resolutions set and the hope and expectation for better things is in the air. Yet not even a week into this New Year and I have already received word of 2 families who have unexpectedly lost loved ones. People who I’m sure had plans and expectations just like everyone else. And as my heart aches for these families, I cannot help but realize that I too am not promised tomorrow, none of us are; and so the question remains…What will YOU do with today?

In James 4:13-17, James talks about those who make plans for the future, who look to tomorrow as if tomorrow is a guarantee; and he says that we don’t know what will happen tomorrow and he compares our life to “…a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes…” And the point is clear: Today is all we have! In fact, James tells us that to boast about time we are not promised is arrogant and evil and he urges us to trust in the Lord, because that’s the right thing to do.

You see, God has said that at best all we can hope for in life is 70 years, perhaps even 80 (Cf. Psalm 90:10) yet even that is not a guarantee. The Bible tells us that King David would bury a child (Cf. 2 Samuel 12:15ff), we read of multiple men and women who would lose their lives, even Jesus only saw at most 33 years. No,the only assurance we have is today, so what will YOU do with it?

I believe Solomon has the best advice when he says, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). That is, while today is yours seek God. Turn to him before it’s too late. Don’t be like Felix (Acts 24:24-25) who waited for “another opportunity” to hear the gospel. Or, like Agrippa (Acts 26) who was “almost persuaded” to obey. Keep in mind that one-day we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) and answer for what we chose to do with the time we were given and the outcome of that day will depend on YOU. What will YOU do with today? Rest assured today is the day of salvation (Cf. 2 Corinthians 6:2), tomorrow may be too late!

Posted in Care and Concern, Christian Living, Christian Walk, Commitment, Day of Judgment, Faith, Goals, God, Jesus Christ, Judgment, New Year, Obedience, Procrastination, Time, Time Management, Today, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where Did It Go?

2019 is just a few days away and all I can do is wonder, what happened to 2018? It seems like yesterday we were starting the New Year and now it’s coming to a close with another year quickly approaching. It reminds me of my kids. I look at them and I wonder how they got so big. I mean, it seems like only yesterday we were bringing the boys home from the hospital and now I have two young men that will be 10 this next summer and a little girl that’s not so little anymore. And like 2018, I wonder, where did the time go?

I suppose we can ask that question of a great many things. Especially given the fact that we live in a culture where none of us seem to “have enough time” due to the busyness of life and yet we look back and we can’t figure out where the time went. So how do we change that? Obviously we only get 24 hours in a day and not a second more, so how do we use the time we are given without letting it slip away?

Let me suggest the following…

Set Priorities – Most people “don’t have enough time” and can’t figure out where the time went because they haven’t figured out what’s most important. We tend to place a great deal of importance on things that really don’t matter and we end up ignoring the things that do. Figure out what’s important and focus on those things.

Don’t Procrastinate– I have to say I’m guilty of this far more often than I care to admit. But the truth is we tend to think that if something isn’t done today that it can always get done tomorrow. Yet we haven’t been promised tomorrow (Cf. James 4:13-17). Your kids are only kids once, soak in the moment. Your soul should not be neglected, make sure you realize that “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2) tomorrow may be too late!

Be Diligent – Sadly we live in a time where hard work is a foreign concept. Yet a job well done will fill the soul with peace. There are no regrets when you look back and see that you “showed” up everyday and did the best you could do.

Time rolls on and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Therefore we must “make the best use of the time” (Ephesians 5:16) we have been given. See what’s most important and tend to those things first. Don’t put things off and make sure you “show” up. You can’t change what’s behind you, but you can make sure you don’t squander today!

Posted in Care and Concern, Challenges, Christian Living, Commitment, Diligence, Goals, New Year, Priorities, Procrastination, Self-Examination, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stepping Away To Step “In”

This week, Fox News reported that rap star Chance the Rapper (Aka, Chancelor Jonathan Bennett) is taking a sabbatical. The 25-year old rap-artist is temporarily stepping away from the limelight to spend more time studying the Bible. In a message to his fans, the artist said, “I’m going away to learn the Word of God which I am admittedly very unfamiliar with,” he continued. “I’ve been brought up by my family to know Christ but I haven’t taken it upon myself to really just take a couple days and read my bible.” (Read Full Article Here)

In a culture such as ours it’s refreshing to see someone with such a public platform as Chance to admit that they want to know more about the Bible. Even more refreshing is to see such a willingness to remove himself from all distractions in order to do so.

In the article, Chance goes on to say this, “We all quote scripture and tell each other what God likes and doesn’t like but how much time do we spend as followers of Jesus to really just read and KNOW his Word.” Adding, “I’m definitely guilty of not devoting time to it.”

How many of us would be willing to hit the pause button on whatever it is we have going on (i.e. work, career, school, etc…) in order to spend more time connected to God through his word? How many of us, like this young man here, are guilty of not devoting any time to God or his word? Perhaps it’s time we stepped away from what we believe to be important and step “in” to what truly is!

The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing and knowing God’s word (Cf. Romans 10:17) and that we are to be diligent in presenting ourselves to God (Cf. 2 Timothy 2:15). In fact, it is only through our study of the Bible that we can even know God and his will for our lives (Cf. 1 John 2:1-5; Psalm 119:104-105).

So let’s determine to step away from the distractions and let’s determine to make time for God’s word. You’ll be glad you did!

Posted in Bible Study, Christian Living, Commitment, Dedication, Faith, Focus, God, Jesus Christ, Knowledge, Priorities, Self-Examination, The Bible, Time Management, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some Things Will Never Change

Hasbro has determined that the buying hotels and houses aspect of Monopoly doesn’t much appeal to millennials, who “can’t afford it anyway.” So just in time for Christmas, the company has released a new version of its classic game, Monopoly for Millennials, in which players, whose game pieces include an emoji and a vintage camera, gather experiences rather than property. On the box, Rich Uncle Pennybags holds a takeout coffee and wears ear buds and a “participation” medal that reads, “If you had fun, you won!” USA Today reported the game’s experiences include “Thrift Shop” and “Farmers Market,” along with dining at a vegan bistro and attending a music festival. But make sure you Uber home: There is still a “Go to Jail” space on the board. [USA Today, 11/14/2018]

Times are very different than when I was a kid. I remember playing Monopoly for hours with my parents and trying to buy as much property as I could so I could build houses and hotels and make a fortune on the rent. Sadly, we live in a culture that wants to change everything, including the games we all used to play. And while I’m all for progress and change, not all change is for the better.

Thankfully God never changes. He “…is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). And not only does He never change, his word never changes either. Jesus would say in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” In other words, the Lord will never be unreliable and he will never change what he has said. Therefore, when Jesus says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16), you can rest assured that he means what he says and if you desire to be saved you will obey his words.

So many want to change the message of the gospel. They want to change the way of salvation and the words of Christ. In fact, some people believe that so long as you have participated in anything religious you’ll win and that eternal life in heaven will be assured. But God has a standard by which we are to live, a standard that will not change and a standard that we will be judged by (Cf. John 12:48). And if I have chosen to ignore that standard or worse, attempted to change that standard, then I will be held responsible when the Day of Judgment comes.

Change is inevitable. And I have certainly seen many changes in my life. But I’m thankful some things never change. And I’m thankful I serve an unchanging God!

Posted in Baptism, Change Agents, Day of Judgment, God, Jesus Christ, Salvation, The Bible, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just Because You Do, Doesn’t Mean It’s So

You may have seen recently where Emile Ratelband, a Dutch man from the Netherlands, has petitioned the court in Arnhem to have his age changed.  That’s right, he wants to change his age. The 69 year old told the court that he did not feel “comfortable” with his date of birth and wished to make himself 20 years younger stating that his “official age did not reflect his emotional state” and that “he was struggling to find both work and love” (Full Article Here).

We live in a time where man has once again shown just how depraved he is. We have women who wish to be men and men who wish to be women and others who wish gender could just be fluid. And now you have a man who instead of coming to terms with his natural age, wants to change it (as if a court notarized document can really change a man’s age). And the truth is, just because you try to make such a change, doesn’t mean you’ve changed anything.

In life there are things that we can change and there are things that we cannot. And sadly, people tend to be more focused and concerned about the things they cannot change so much so that they fail to consider the things they can. In Matthew 6Jesus spent some time addressing the things that mankind worries over. And he says in verse 27, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” You see, no amount of worrying over one’s years will result in added time. You will get the time you get. The focus shouldn’t be on how much more can I get; the focus should be what am I doing with the time I have been given?

Jesus advice…”Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). By putting God first and seeking after his ways we will find our focus less on self and more on Him. When we try to change ourselves to what we think we should be we might find that we are far from where God would have us to be. Therefore, instead of trying to focus on what we want, perhaps our focus should be on what God desires. It’s time we stopped being so self-absorbed and time we started listening to God, allowing him and his word to change us into something fitting for the Kingdom!

Posted in Christian Living, Focus, God, Kingdom, Priorities, Time, Time Management, Uncategorized | Leave a comment