Thanking Those Who Lit You Up  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

It is not a pleasant experience to get into your shower to find out that your hot water heater is not working. I have experienced such a thing. Usually, because the pilot light has gone out. However, once the pilot light has been re-lit, the hot water heater can warm up the water to a shower-taking temperature. It is such a relief to feel the heated water, once again!

People that have had their "pilot light" put out and have turned cold are usually not pleasant to be around. They have lost their "spark" and do not have much ambition. However, once you have that light re-lit by someone, you greatly appreciate what they did for you. That brings us to this week's quote...

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~ Albert Schweitzer
Have you had your light go out lately? In the past? Whenever it was, who was it that helped to re-light your fire? Was it someone you know or not? Someone you hear on the radio? A movie you watched? Someone in your family?

Regardless, why not thank them for helping you through your time in a "valley"? Even if it is someone you have never met, try to find a way to say "thank you" for what they did to help relight the fire within you? They would greatly appreciate it, no matter who they are!

Reach out and "thank" someone!

Reaching Out...Share/Bookmark

Come to the Cross  

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As there are many benefits to working for the US Postal Service, one of the drawbacks, for those that are carriers, are back problems. My brother-in-law is one such person. He has had back problems for a while now and continues to work for the Postal Service. Carrying the mailbag for a good amount of the work day would create fatigue at the end of each day. It is probably a huge relief to come in from the day and set your bags down. However, you have to turn around and do it all again tomorrow!

Yesterday, we looked at the idea of coming to the cross. When we come to the cross we need to lay our burdens/worries/anxieties down and leave them there. It doesn't matter what our past is like, there is always room for one more. As we look back on this lesson, here are some applications to choose from...

  1. Give it up! Each of us have concerns on our plate. You may have started out today with a list "a mile long" of things that you have to get done or are thinking about. Did it make you look forward to the day? Some of the things that are on your list may not be things you can control. Those are areas that we definitely must leave at the Cross for Jesus to take care of. Don't be like the mail carrier and pick it up the next day...leave it at the Cross!
  2. After a long time of carrying something we get thirsty. After you've laid your cares/burdens/anxieties down at the Cross, you will need a "break". At this break you can drink...the water of life. As a way to aid in not trying to pick up your baggage again, you need to be in prayer with Him. This will occupy that time that you previously would have used to "carry the baggage". Find something, if not prayer, to occupy your time that helps you spend that time with Him - listen to music, read a book, etc.
  3. unLimited Openings! I've had times when I was trying to find a place to eat, just to pull up to one that was very full. The waiting time was over 20 minutes, sometimes an hour. Some of those I waited at, while others I passed by to find another restaurant. That same concept may be what is keeping you from going to the Cross. You think that you are just a number and there isn't room. Friends, that just isn't so. There is UNlimited openings at the Cross...so don't delay...GO!!!
The Cross is a place of rest...where Jesus takes on our sins and burdens, so we don't have to. This week, enjoy rest as you take things and dump them off at the Cross! Enjoy a "lighter" week!

Taking Several Trips to the Cross...Share/Bookmark

I Give Up!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

Most of us have said the words "I give up". You had a task to perform and it became impossible to finish. You worked and worked but couldn't come to a solution. However, you could have been just around the corner of solving the problem or doing something great. But you never will know because you gave up.

It is not simply continuing on that is the real issue, but rather backing up, evaluating the situation and solving the problem. This brings us to this week's quote...

The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those, which fail. ~ Napoleon Hill
There is nothing wrong with coming up with a wrong answer, as long as, it is not your final answer. This week I was working on my bathroom. I was trying to get the handles off of the shower faucet. I took the set screws out and then expected the handle to just pop off. However, they didn't just pop off. After talking with two different men experienced in the field of "repair", I thought I knew what I needed to do. I tried...nothing going. Finally, they broke free, after a bit of hammering on them. I had to try to do something different than I had been for the plan to work!

I see this as a problem with life as a Christian. We try evangelizing, but no results. We try a time or two more (if you're lucky), still no results. How likely are you to continue on? Probably not very much. Don't think of evangelizing as a "bible study", but rather think of it as any time/way you share Jesus. I challenge you to continue on - but trying different approaches.

Whatever your endeavors, be persistent and evaluate what you did and see how the next one can be even better.

Backing up and looking at where I've been to improve the future...AND working on not "giving up"~Share/Bookmark

A New Found...House - Acts 2:46  

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Have I been to your house? If I had I would have seen belongings of yours that were close to you, that describe you, that show what type of person you are. If I haven't and we have met, then I have only seen a very small portion of what reflects who you are.

If you have been to my house you would see things that reflect who I am. You would know what teams I root for and what memorabilia I have that show I like those teams. You may also find out what types of food I prefer. These, among other things, can only be known when you come into my home.

The early church met together in homes. There are a variety of possibilities as to why they did, regardless, we know they did. I think that they grew stronger as a group because they did meet in homes. This is what we looked at yesterday as we looked at Acts 2:46. Here are some applications to choose from to use this week...

  1. When was the last time you had someone over to your house for a social reason? What about a group of people? Whether you have a hobby, like to watch sports, play games, enjoy good food, etc., make it a point to get together with someone, in your home, once a month.
  2. Bonds strengthen. Visiting with people in a home environment produces a feeling of comfort and you become closer to that person or group of people. When you visit ask about a person's interest, family, or their past. Trust is greater in a home.
  3. Practice Impromptu Invites. Occasionally, invite someone over to your house after an event or on a spur of the moment. It may create a very meaningful memory!
  4. Bring in Outsiders. How will your friends/family/neighbors ever get to know your church family if they never go to assembly with you? When you have a gathering made up of church people, invite a few others from outside your church. It may surprise you what friendships evolve through these events.
The early church gained so much from meeting like this . May God give you opportunities to have people into your home as so you can strengthen your friendships!

Welcoming Into My House...Share/Bookmark

Tomorrow...Where Your Thoughts Take You  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

Each day we take steps in the journey of life. We often find ourselves at crossroads and have to make a decision. Some decisions have greater effects on our lives than others do. Where we have come has a lot to do with the decisions that we have made in life...If/where we went to school, if/who we married, what job we take, where we live, buy vs. rent, friends we've made, etc.

Where have you come in life? Where have you gone? How have your decisions affected you? Life tends to be a series of choices and you choose based on your thoughts about each choice. This brings us to this week's quote...

You are today where your thoughts have brought you; 

you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.
~ James Allen
Maybe your life has been a storybook...the "happily ever after" type of life. However, most would probably think that wouldn't be the way you describe your life. Some choice along the way could have made it better. You may have a good life and are very content, and that is good. Regardless, the future is still the future and you have the potential to make it whatever you can.

Your tomorrow is based on the choices you make today, reflecting on the thoughts about those choices. Make your tomorrow better than today!

May your thoughts take you to an entirely better place than you have ever been!

Anticipating the future...Share/Bookmark

A New Found...Distribution - Acts 2:45  

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We all need things. For optimal living, we need food, water, air, and rest every day. For as long as man has been on this earth, we have needed things.

Those in the "early church" were no different. However, some were without their needs. What did they do? Those with things gave to those without. A great example for us...giving of what we have to those who do not have. Yesterday, we continued with our look at the "early church" and looked at the concept of "distributing to those who have needs". Here are a few applications to choose from to use this week...

  1. What is your definition of "poor"? Is a different view from a biblical perspective? The bible does describe "poor" in other ways. Take some time to look up the idea of poor...here are some helps from BibleGateway.com... "poor" a keyword search and "poor" a topical index search (click on either one to go to that particular one).
  2. Give something away this week. Does someone ask you for something - give it to them. Maybe surprise someone with a "gift" you give them. You could give something as small as a smile or compliment. Something bigger as buying lunch or buying a present. Or, even something bigger than that...you fill in that blank. Just give something of yours away.
  3. Share your "story" with someone - how you became a child of God.
  4. Give yourself to God. You have talents and abilities that are not just "yours" but they are God's that He is letting you use while you're here. Use what He has given you to His glory!
  5. Look out for those who are "poor" - those who don't necessarily need money, clothes, etc., but for those who need Jesus!
We need (no pun intended) to reprogram our minds to think of needs as more than material. Needs are anything that someone is lacking. So many are lacking a relationship with Jesus - even Christians, sometimes.

Have a great week of open opportunities to share with others!

Looking for opportunities...Share/Bookmark

Tough Loss  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

Saturday's game was not what I had envisioned. I was expecting a victory by the Sooners, but it wasn't in the cards this year.

Oh, well, it was a well fought game...and they didn't fall too far in the rankings...still time for them to get back to the championship game!

Rooting them on...Share/Bookmark

GO SOONERS!!!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,


It is that time of the year! This weekend is one of the biggest games in the Oklahoma and Texas schedules. What an exciting game...OU #1 versus UT #5...Of course, if you know me at all...GO SOONERS!...all the way!Share/Bookmark

Things People Don't Forget  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , ,

Emotion is a feeling that tends to go deep in your memory and go there very quickly. Think about it, when was the last time that you felt hurt? You can probably recall it very easily. What are some of your favorite holiday/birthday memories? You can also recall those very easily. This concept leads us into this week's quote...

People will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.
~ Maya Angelou
You may not recall everything that happened in times that you felt good or bad, but you will remember how you felt.

Emotions are important to memory. As a minister, the times that people remember what I taught or preached on are usually because I triggered some type of emotion that helped their memory. They will forget the words I said and if I did something new, but if I can make them feel a certain, purposeful way, they will have a lower chance of forgetting.

After realizing that emotions affect how we feel, apply this to how you make others feel when you interact with them. Did you lift them up, leave them where they were at, or knock them down?

Emotions can run very deep into the memory. May you make an effort to make them feel wanted, valued, and important. Because that is what they will not forget.

Working on how I make them feel...Share/Bookmark

A New Found...Togetherness - Acts 2:44  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

Family reunions are times that tend to bring people from all different places and backgrounds to a common spot. These times are filled with catching up with loved ones, seeing how people have changed, and enjoying good food.

As a church, we are a family. I like to think about the opportunities that we have to get together, both formally and informally, as "family reunions". These are times that we get to catch up with each other, see if people are different than the last time we saw them, and, sometimes, enjoy good food. Each week I look forward to seeing the "family" and catching up with their lives, while sharing a bit of my life with them.

As we've been examining the "early church", from Acts chapter two, we've seen how their actions created a great growth pattern. This is a challenge for us see the principle and see what we can do to help the church of today grow. Here are a few applications to choose from...

  1. As electronic devices become "in sync" with each other, to make sure they both have the same information, how do you "sync up" with your Christian brother or sister? Or, do you even attempt to do that with others? Do you pick out your "favorites" and neglect the others? If you do fall into that last category, try to pick out someone new each week to talk to that doesn't sit by you or not someone you normally visit with.
  2. There is strength in numbers. One snowflake has no chance of surviving when it lands on your skin, as it will melt quickly. However, several put together can freeze your skin. You up against Satan/temptation/evil are going to have a very difficult task at winning. However, take God along, you're a majority. In addition to that, have a good group of brethren helping you through a struggle/difficult time, and you have a strong resource group to pull from.
  3. A healthy church is striving to get from one place to the next. Pray that your church and its leadership can be unified so that it will have success in making it to its goal.
  4. Who sits by themselves in your church? Who sits by themselves at lunch/breaks or goes to lunch/breaks on their own? Look for those people to see how you can get to know them - it may be the day when they needed that attention you give them the most.
The overwhelming majority of people like to have friends. Friends create a place of comfort and warmth. A place you can go to in times of trouble. A person you can call in the middle of the night. They are important and they are what the church should be made up of.

If you are struggling with something, I don't want you to be "alone" and I will be willing to pray for you if you e-mail me at ichthus_man@hotmail.com. You can be as open or discreet as you choose.

May God be with you as you enjoy the "togetherness" that is one of the ingredients of the "early church" that helped launch its growth.

Looking forward to the next "family reunion"...Share/Bookmark

Envision Your Bridge  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

It is fourth and goal with one second left on the clock and you are on the two yard line. A field goal isn’t enough to secure the win. This is the biggest game of your life, how do you respond?

You are informed that guests are coming over for dinner and it is five 0’clock. You have dinner planned out for your family, but you don’t have enough for eight more people. These are some of the most important dinner guests you’ve had over in a long time, how do you respond?

Whether it is a game situation or a life situation, being able to look ahead and know how you’d respond to a “bridge” you will come to is important. That brings us to this week’s quote…

"We are told never to cross a bridge until we come to it, but this world is owned by men who have 'crossed bridges' in their imagination far ahead of the crowd." ~ Anonymous

Not all bridges are emergency situations but all bridges represent an opportunity to cross. Some bridges a wide and sturdy, easy to cross. Where others are small and rickety, more difficult to cross.

Life is much the same way. Some opportunities are clear and easily understood, making it easy to decide. Where other decisions are unclear and difficult to understand, making it difficult to decide.

Changes that have taken place in this world have been by people who are visionary. People who wanted something different and were able to see it before they arrived at the “bridge”. What do you want to see changed? What do you foresee as “bridges” you may need to cross in order to create the change? Start planning ahead and looking forward to what you will find on the other side!

Imagining my bridge…Share/Bookmark

Being Fed...  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

This last Sunday was a rare occasion for me. As a minister, I am usually the one doing the talking, aka the feeding. A minister’s call is to provide spiritual food for his audience, and I greatly this part of my job! However, like any profession that gives themselves to others, a time of refueling is always needed.

My family had the privilege of attending an assembly as, basically, a guest. It was a very moving experience. The assembly was first and there was obvious life that resonated throughout the room. It was a fun atmosphere that didn’t seem to have noticeable restrictions. At one point, during some announcements, a man started tossing postcards like Frisbees, toward the audience, all the while saying “Pass these out to your friends”. This was a fun and attention-grabbing way of getting these outreach event postcards in the hands of the people. Even this was a way of being fed…with a sense of spiritual fun.

The singing, sermon, and bible class all gave me the spiritual food I needed that day to leave with an excitement and fervor to enter my week with a skip in my step. I hope you had a similar experience wherever you were able to worship!

Appreciated being fed…Share/Bookmark