See Reason to Give Thanks?  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

Growing up, one of the biggest deficits I saw in prayers from people was the lack of being thankful.  There was plenty of asking for God to be with situations that people were going through.  Asking God to be with the preacher and/or the others in the roles of the assembly. But there just wasn’t a lot of being thankful.

Maybe I am on an extreme, but somewhere during preaching school I started being more thankful in my prayers. I like to start out with that to show how grateful to God I am for the various things in my life.  I have also started my son, now 2 1/2, with prayers that are almost entirely thanksgiving.

With those thoughts, that brings us to this week’s quote…

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength.  Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living.  If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.  ~ Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief
I firmly believe that being thankful changes our perspective on God and our life.  Without much expectation mentioned in prayers we can focus on being appreciative of what He has given us.  This is another reason that I have initiated having a “praise prayer” at the beginning of our assembly times.  Some follow it a bit better than others, but the intention is to simply praise God for some things He’s done…with us, as a church and as individuals.

Take some time to have regular “praise prayers” in your life or start out with being more thankful.  Bottom line is that we need to find a reason to give thanks!Share/Bookmark

Sunday, I had the chance to hear instead of speak.  It doesn’t happen very often due to my profession being a minister.  

The guest speaker spoke on “family”.  This is a subject that I really think is an incentive for people who are looking for Jesus.  However, relationships are what women tend to be wanting to be involved in.  Think about it, relationships involve closeness, talking, sharing of feelings, and that is pretty much the opposite of what men are attracted to, especially those who are not WANTING church.

Are you one of those guys or is your significant other one of those guys?  A church offers “small groups” and that is, again, the opposite of what you are looking for in church.  That is about “talking” or “getting close”.  The males reading this, specifically those from 14-50 (give or take) may not care about those issues that involve “being a family”.  These types of guys are generally looking to be “islands”.  They are willing to help out on projects, but do not want to be involved in ongoing “getting to know each other” activities. Men tend to want to act like ostriches by burying our head in the sand and not talking about issues.

The problem is, we all have issues.  The other problem is that we are not cut out to handle all the issues that life hands us.  Whether we like it or not, as men, we want help, but are too prideful to ask for it.

We may not need “friends” but we men want other men to grunt with, share beverages with, high-five, exchange “did you see that [dunk…catch…flip…crash…etc.]”, or complain to.
Sometime, somewhere, life is going to hand us, men, a blow that is too big to handle.  Death, disease, bankruptcy, infidelity, addiction, etc. What do you do?  That is where you need someone to turn to.  Have trust issues?  The “family” may be the only people you can trust…family are those that do not turn their backs on you.

Family isn’t about talking, but about having those who you can be masculine around and still know that they have your back.

“Family” may not be the best “manly” word.  Brotherhood, team, fraternity, or lodge may seem more “manly”.  However, it is all the same, in essence.

What the church offers has all the components of those other “manly” words, but they do not offer the opportunity for heaven.

Sometime, somewhere you, as a man, are going to be interested in what “family” can do for you…I will be waiting for that time to show you how “manly” Christianity can be!Share/Bookmark

Christmas in July  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

Our local Christian radio station is getting ready to have a “Christmas in July” event in a couple of days, on July 25th.  I’ve been hearing about it on the radio.  I read about it in their weekly newsletter.  They are going to be playing Christmas music all day on the 25th, along with giving prizes (aka presents) the week leading up to this event.

The tradition of Christmas, for all who are reading this, has always been December 25th.  This traditional date is so comfortable to us that we do not even tend to think much about the fact that the actual date of Jesus’ birth is not recorded.  We simply use December 25th as a standard date to celebrate His birth.

Besides gift-giving, Christmas is a time of remembering Jesus.  Why not remind people of Him in July?  Why limit ourselves to “thinking” about Him just the weeks following Thanksgiving, leading up to Christmas?

What is at least one thing you like about Jesus?  Maybe you’re one who really doesn’t like anything about Him.  Maybe He’s let you down, in your opinion, too many times.  Maybe He didn’t answer your prayer, allow you to have a job, protect your child, heal an ill person, or a number of other reasons.

It can be really easy to forget about Jesus the way we think about Him during the holiday season.  We see His name in a lot of places.  His name is in print all over.  One cannot go through the Christmas season without hearing phrases like “Jesus is the reason for the season” or “keep Christ in Christmas”.

If you’re like me, it is quite possible to not remember something very well when you don’t have it on the forefront of your mind.  I can forget to do something within five-minutes if I get sidetracked.  So, to seriously think about something just one short time during a three hundred sixty-five day year, is not keeping it on the forefront. 

 

Many of you may go to a church, so you remember Jesus weekly.  However, as we remember Him differently around Christmas, may we use the 25th day of the month of July to remember the blessings that He has “given” us as a “present” to be able to live forever.

So, as you listen to the sound of holiday music being played in a couple of days, may you be encouraged and lifted up to appreciate the “gift of grace” and praise Him!  Keep in mind this July 25th, that, Jesus is the reason for this season, too!

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Opportunities Everywhere  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

For more than a week this area has been running rampant with roof repair salespeople.  This sudden increase was due to the tennis ball sized hail that we received.  Obviously, as a result, roofs will be greatly affected. Therefore, I’ve had at least three people stop by my door just hoping for the opportunity to make some money.

Because of the short-lived storm, these salespeople, all from out of town, saw opportunities everywhere they turned.  This brings us to this week’s quote…

An enthusiastic heart sees opportunity everywhere.  ~ Joe Simmons, aka “Rev Run

These people are enthusiastic about making some money.  They have definite incentives.  However, don’t Christians also have a very similar incentive?  Getting to heaven and taking as many with them as possible.  Looking around and seeing the “fields” that are “white” for harvest is something many Christians tend to miss.

Why? We aren’t looking. If we do try to look we’re often trying the hard approach, the “quick sale” approach.  We aren’t trying the “sow seed and let God work” approach.

If you are at all excited about your faith, this is a wake up to see the opportunities that are all around you.  Ways for you to be there for someone, even when they do not realize they need to be a part of your faith.

Faith is catchy, make it enthusiastic and see the opportunities that are everywhere you look…don’t forget to do the looking!

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Go Ahead and Jump  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , ,

I still hear the words being sung from Van Halen’s “Jump” when I read through those words.  However, it pertains to the Devil asking Jesus to test His Father by jumping off of a very high point with the plan that Jesus would have been saved and not injured.

Sometimes the phrase is used “the Devil made me do it.”  Imagine how well that excuse would have gone over if Jesus would have went ahead and jumped.  Sounds pretty lame coming from the mouth of our Savior, doesn’t it?  He had just as much ability as the Christian does today…the Spirit.

Sunday, we reflected on the second of Jesus’ temptations in Matthew 4.  This one being about putting God to the test.  Here are some applications to choose from to use this week…

  1. Misjudging the Height ~ Sometimes when we are looking to do something we may not fully understand what it will actually entail.  It may be tempting to us to jump, but we may need to evaluate in case we’re expecting God to just take care of us “just because” He’s God.
  2. Looks Can Be Deceiving ~ The heat on the distant roadway gives that “water” look to it.  This can be similar to how life can mislead us.  People come in, jobs come available, or deals are offered, all sounding good at first, but it may actually not be good.  The benefit of the doubt part of the argument is that it may not all be totally evil or premeditated.  Someone may come into your life that is completely good, but in the end it may corrupt you just through the chemistry of your relationship.  The job may be offered that does pay, but you didn’t know gas prices were going to jump so high that the pay doesn’t really cover your expenses.

We think that life is going to be all good.  We think God will take care of us regardless of the situation we put ourselves in to.  If those are your thoughts, you need to rethink life.  Both of those thoughts are misleading.  Life can be good and God will take care of us.  However, there are areas in which we cannot expect God to take care of us when we put ourselves in reckless situations.

Do not test Him!
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Shower Ideas  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , ,

The shower…a place to bathe, but for some, it is also a place to sort out thoughts, come up with new ideas, sing, or pray.  One spends anywhere from around 5-15 minutes in the shower.  You have a lot of time to be engaged in one of those activities.

What goes on with you while you’re in the shower?  That brings us to this week’s quote…

Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea.  It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference.  ~ Nolan Bushnell
I know that I have been in the shower and have come up with several thoughts/ideas.  Sometimes those ideas definitely have disappeared, along with the water droplets.  (Maybe someone needs to invent “waterproof post-it notes” so that all the ideas one comes up with can be put down)

When it comes to ideas I have a tendency to forget them unless I write them down.  My mind seems to go continually, therefore I need to be reminded.  That has been one of the great things of the computer and it sends you a reminder if you set it up on your calendar.

Life is too short to not attempt the ideas that come to our minds.  Don’t let your ideas evaporate with the water…make sure those ideas are stick around longer to see if they could be the next “big” idea!Share/Bookmark

Being Fed by God  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

All babies are powerless and most require the aid of an older being for their nourishment.  It doesn’t matter if it an animal or a human.  At the same time, even though we may become adults, we still require to have some help from a higher power.  When we think we’re “independent” of any help from that other being (God) then we are in trouble.  We are no longer humble, but rather prideful.  Remember, “Pride comes before destruction!” (Proverbs 16:18a)

Sunday, we discussed the first temptation of Jesus recorded in Matthew.  In this temptation, Jesus has just completed a 40-day quest in the wilderness in which he also fasted.  He is most likely looking forward to sustenance.  Though, maybe, by that point, it isn’t that important – just food for thought.  We may be able to feed much of our needs by our own hands, however there is a great need that only He can provide.  This may be one of the reasons that Jesus challenges the Devil by saying what He does from Deuteronomy 8:3.  Here are some applications to choose from to use this week…

  1. Favorite Food ~ We all have some sort of food or a restaurant that we just love.  If we could go out __ times a week, we’d go there the most.  We just love the food, maybe even the atmosphere, etc.  What would happen if that were the only place to go?  There was no other variety, just what was on their menu.  You cannot live on that place alone…you need something greater…you need God!
  2. Be a Food Chemist ~ Don’t dismiss this if you hate science or chemistry.  This topic came to mind as a food chemist tries to find ways to make food taste better with different combinations.  Imagine the knowledge to add a little more of this or a little less of that or adding a completely random flavor to something and make it taste good.  Who would have thought that honey added to peanuts, with salt, would taste so good?  Use this concept to dig deeper into the food of the Word of God to make it taste different and better to your palate!  Another way is to be open to what is presented by others.
  3. Don’t Let It Become Moldy ~ Items like cheese are susceptible to becoming moldy if left unused for a long period of time.  They are no longer useful.  Not literally, but do not let the Word of God sit around your life so long that it no longer becomes useful to you…refresh, renew, and revive yourself to appeal your taste buds to its enjoyable taste! *Keep in mind the Word is available in more than the printed form…music, electronic, & oral.
We cannot survive on one thing, no matter how much we like it or how hungry we are.  Keep in mind that we need the spiritual nourishment that only He can provide.

Looking forward to the “mystery meat” that God so richly provides to nourish me!Share/Bookmark

Making the Iron Hot  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , ,

A couple of weeks ago I was using a hexagon-shaped screwdriver bit to try to remove screws from a bed.  The bit had been used before and it was also a “cheapy”.  Nevertheless, the bit was now rounded on the edges at the depth which I needed to effectively unscrew the bolt.  Running out of options and being frustrated with the situation, I went out to the garage and decided to grind down the bit so that it would get to the place where the edges weren’t rounded and it could be effective in completing my mission.
 
Grinding down caused friction, which caused the device to be hot.  I could see it in the medal as the temperature was increasing. Logically, I didn’t touch it and it also wasn’t hot at all until I put it against the grinding wheel for a few moments.
It doesn’t take much for the metal to become hot…that brings us to this week’s quote…

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.  ~ William B. Sprague
Life can tend to cause us to be safe in things.  We tend not to want to ruffle feathers or walk out to the edge.  We tend to think that we cannot do something due till ___ happens.

That screwdriver bit was not hot before I put it against the grinding wheel.  Your dreams, aspirations, or problems are not going to change until you “make it hot by striking”.  What do you have going on in your mind that is waiting to be struck?

Don’t wait…make it hot by striking!!!Share/Bookmark

Proclaiming Freedom  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer

“From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee…” are some of the words by one of my all-time favorite patriotic song about America.  If asked to describe this country in one word, one of the top answers would probably be freedom.  It is such an important part of our nation and our lifestyle.  Sometimes it can be abused, but for the most part, it is very well utilized.

Sunday, we looked at a challenge for us to “proclaim freedom” as we celebrated Independence Day in sermon form.  Here are some applications to choose from to use this week…

  1. Appreciate Freedom ~ As an American you have been given so many freedoms.  Your life is almost lost in freedom.  I see those countries where gunfire tears a town apart and cannot fathom living like that. Try to not take “the freedoms you’re given in this country for granted!
  2. Initiate Freedom ~ Some churches have a message on their sign, building, or bulletin that read’s something like “Come Join Us” or “Come Grow With Us”.  That is all well and good, but it seems like we have missed the “go” part of the Great Commission, or the “I am sending you” part of Acts 26:18.  Let us not wait for them to be interested in us…let’s be interested in them!!!
  3. Practice Freedom ~ As you have a lot of freedom to do things, start practicing it through talking to people about your faith.  Learn to proclaim your spiritual freedom in various situations.  Use the power of social media and texting, as well as one-to-one communication to get the Word out there!

Freedom is celebrated each year at this time.  Thank goodness we have our Savior that allows us to have many freedoms!

Proclaiming freedom!

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