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Calming of the Tempest

[author's note: This was an older posting that I meant to post and noticed that it never actually posted so I'm posting it today - July 30, 2008.]

Yesterday the Lord impressed upon me to change my original sermon from finishing up the final three points of a two-part (six point) sermon I began the week before. So instead of talking on the subject of having our body under control; I felt a tugging on my heart to share with my people something the Lord had been dealing with me on a personal level. I preached a sermon with the same title as this post, "Calming of the Tempest" taken from Mark 4:35-41; while this is a common story told to children in Sunday School it holds so much truth, scolding and encouragement and even more once we peel back the layers of this story. But more than that this message was personal because I had been struggling with an occasional discouragement and disappointment and I found myself much like the the same boat with Jesus and knowing that He is capable of doing something but not having the faith to trust Him to do that something and not having the faith that He cared enough to do something. My three points were simple.


Here is Rembrandt's Storm depicting this voyage of Christ and His disciples.

The first point is obvious but do you realize that even in the most devastating tornado there are warnings and signs if we are aware and watching. People that live in the states that make up the "Tornado Alley" are often able to respond to the storm by seeing some of the signs of impending danger. Now it may not stop the devastation of property or even injury. But a little bit of warning may save a life and much heartache.

We can understand the second point that a storm can toss a ship about so much that it loses it direction and the sailors struggle to stay on course is second to the need to stay afloat. And we can understand that in this particular story from the Bible the disciples got their eyes off of who was in the boat with them and failed to trust in God. Have you considered that the Scripture says that there were others in smaller boats out on the water with them. These other boats must have suffered even more from the rolling sea and powerful winds, but the disciples lost direction from within the boat but those outside their boat some going through more suffering than they. Isn't this like us so often? We get caught up in our 'issues and problems' that we care little about others around us. Sadly, in both this story form the Bible and in everyday life many around us aren't in the "safety of the boat with Jesus". I'm glad Jesus was concerned about them though because He calmed the winds and the waves for all who were going through the storm!

The third point is easy to comprehend because we all have had something in our lives that has just devastated us...that has paralyzed us. The disciples were similarly paralyzed going through this particular storm, but thanks be to Jesus who calmed the storm and calmed them. The journey still needed to be completed and the disciples still needed to get the boat to shore but Jesus had calmed the winds and the waves so that they could get 'back to the task'...God is so good!

Are you going through a storm? Is something troubling you and causing you to lose focus? Has some recent news or situation paralyzed...devastated your life? Well, my friend, Jesus wants to calm the storm, but first understand that Jesus really wants to calm you in spite of the storm. He offers a 'peace that passeth all understanding'...this is a peace that cannot be explained by man's opinions or the circumstances of the storm. Jesus has made a way to escape the worst of the storms and all it takes is faith! Put your faith in Jesus!

A Pastor's Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

In spite of everything, I thank You for calling me to this work, and I praise Your name for success amid failure, conversions among the hardened, and a few kind words from my friends to offset the gossip of my critics. Save me from obsessing over my foes or from thinking I'm a martyr because of low approval ratings. Don't just keep me faithful; make me joyful. Relieve my anxieties, increase my confidence, and use me despite myself. Keep me from leaving this work a minute too early, or from staying a day too long. In all I do, help me work heartily as unto You, offering the work of my hands and heart as a sweet savour humbly rendered. Anoint me with Your blessings, though delayed or unseen, for You have promised that my labor in You is not in vain, and I am taking You at Your Word.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Happy Fathers' Day!!

Labels: ,
A Dad is a person
who is loving and kind,
And often he knows
what you have on your mind.
He's someone who listens,
suggests, and defends.
A dad can be one
of your very best friends!
He's proud of your triumphs,
but when things go wrong,
A dad can be patient
and helpful and strong
In all that you do,
a dad's love plays a part.
There's always a place for him
deep in your heart.
And each year that passes,
you're even more glad,
More grateful and proud
just to call him your dad!
Thank you, Dad...
for listening and caring,
for giving and sharing,
but, especially, for just being you!

I Love You Dad!

Unlocking Happiness...


"Life is like a combination lock; your job is to find the right numbers, in the right order, so you can have anything you want." - Brian Tracy (Renown Businessman, Influential Speaker, and Knowledgeable Author)

Well, this is totally false...and definitely true.

It is totally false in the fact that this highlights humanism, man's control of his own destiny. The idea that man can just keep trying for the right 'combination' of things to achieve success and obtain lasting happiness is preposterous; because without God mankind can never truly know happiness.

Now on the other hand, it is definitely true in the fact that only through the right combination of things can one obtain true success and happiness.
Joshua 1:7-9 tells us, "Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
We can know success and happiness when we combine the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (which only comes by salvation), obedience to the commands of Christ, and an attitude that strives to please and honor God!

See so Mr. Tracy is right...and wrong! But what about you? Are you combining the things of God to be happy? Or are you trying to combine the stuff of this world to be happy? My friend, please leave a comment requesting more info or email me at the link above and I would love to share more with you!

Music in Worship.

What is music to be in the church today? What role does the song-service have in today's church? Why does it matter what kind of music is conducted, played, and sung in church? Why does today's contemporary crowd refer to their music service as worship to the point that they have 'worship bands,' 'praise groups,' etc?
H. W. Beecher said, "Thanksgiving, a consciousness of the goodness and glory of God, the soul's joy in God - how seldom do you find an utterance of this in prayers of the sanctuary. There is a provision, even in our churches, for the excitation and expression of praise. It is the song-service of the church. But the first and most fatal difficulty in this is that we have no religious music; or, rather, that the music of the church is for the sake of music, and not for the sake of praise. It expresses the aesthetic or art-feeling about praise - not heart-feeling. It is aimed at a wholly different thing from that which music was designed to be in the sanctuary. In the household, music aims at a domestic feeling. A mother's lullaby is sung in the family. No one would expect a mother to sit by the side of the cradle and attempt to sing Handel's "Messiah," or to execute the difficult passage of an opera. Something sweet - a simple carol - is the mother's song. The child knows it, and feels it. It is aimed at a domestic effect. In songs of patriotism that express and excite that feeling the music becomes subordinate. The most patriotic tunes in vogue have no merit as tunes, but they possess a subtle element that stirs up a patriotic feeling in the heart, and it therefore answers the end of music. Multitudes of tunes in the church of God are hewn out of symphonies, and oratories, and operas. They are music as operas, and oratories, and symphonies, but they are trash in God's house. In many cases the better a tune is, the worse it is in the service of the sanctuary. For the office of music in Divine service is praising."

In looking at Psalm 150 we see that the psalmist encourages us to praise the Lord in the first verse with "Praise ye the Lord" and then builds upon the first verse with a frenzy that changes the request to a command in the final verse with "Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord." But as Beecher says a large majority of our music is not 'praise worthy' and Mr. Beecher a preacher during our nation's Civil War obviously has not experienced today's Contemporary Christian Music which would make comments from him even sharper than the complaint against music of his generation.
R. Tuck said, "All kinds of instruments may be used in praise. Only sentiment ever puts limitations on the instruments that may be used for Divine worship. Sentiment imagines some kinds to be more solemn and reverent than others. Curiously, those which some regard as specially solemn, e.g. the organ, are wholly repudiated by others (the Scotch). No instrument is in itself unsuitable. The kind of use man makes of it, and the kind of associations man causes to gather round it, may make an instrument unsuitable. In this matter the good sense of Christian people must decide."

Makes you wonder what he would have thought if had lived in our century instead of the 19th. Music today has lead more churches down the slippery slope of compromise that history tends to show is followed soon by a change in separation, in acceptance of the world's practice, and ultimately in a change of doctrine. Be on guard for your music in your church. It should not be dry and routine but a time truly meant to praise the Lord as the psalmist inspires with voices and instruments; though it should always be a time of focus on God not man's talents or abilities. Keep singing and praising God!

[Editor's note: This is from my studies in Psalm 150.]