Text: Psalm 84:10
July is here and boy, is it hot right slap dab in the middle of a Mississippi summer. In July it seems everybody and his brother goes on vacation somewhere. Last week I met a couple of cyclists from New York who were biking across the nation. They came through Mississippi for the sole purpose of visiting the birthplace of Elvis. Can you imagine pedaling twelve days to find these hundred-plus degree temperatures and that little tiny house? They thought our accents were funny and asked did we call bananas “nanners.” I said, “What’s a banana?” The young lady cyclist response was, “For real?” I said, “No, we can say banana, they make us learn that before we can graduate from the sixth grade.” She laughed and asked did Elvis really eat fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I told her he never did at my house. Ok, for real now. July is not national banana month but is national hotdog, blueberry, bake bean, ice cream, and horseradish month. Sounds like a meal. Elvis would be proud. As I think of dead rock n’ roll singers and people riding bikes hundreds of miles in these temperatures to come to see the birthplace, I ask myself this question, “For real?’ And the answer I came up with is, “Yes.” People (including Christians) go out of their way to see what they want to see, and even to eat what they want to eat. It’s sad that we as Christians don’t have as much passion about the things of God. I heard someone say just this week, “It’s too hot to get out and go to church in the summer.” My response: “For real?” God went out of His way for us; we should do the same for Him. For real.
Home Field Advantage
Text: Isaiah 54:17
To get home after a long day at work is something to look forward to. Even if there is no rest, but more work to be done – just to be in your own home is a relief. Many who were working Tuesday night missed watching the All-Star game. I was at work, missing being home, but not the game so much. As a matter of fact, I knew nothing about it until a co-worker who is an avid Cubs baseball fan mentioned it. His favorite team wasn’t playing, but he still was interested in the game. He explained this game determines which league has home-field advantage in the upcoming World Series. I may not know baseball, but I do understand the concept of home-field advantage. In all sports, there are always more fans rooting for the home team than those visiting. Cheering fans encourage the players to work harder to win and just being home is nice. As we go to work and back home every day there is a victory of some type everyone hopes to win. Whether we understand every single detail of the process of life we do know that there are always those who are competing against us and hoping to see us fail and not achieve victory. As Christians, we realize this world is not our home. However, with Christ on our side, we always have the advantage over the opposition. We make mistakes, we lose battles, but we know in the end victory is ours if we remain faithful to the One in whom we have believed. Be a team player this week. Encourage someone. Cheer them on. Even if you don’t understand their battle, you do understand the importance of having support from someone close to home.
Carless not Clueless
Text: Matthew 6:33
Did you know that 90% of Americans own a car? Most of you probably don’t find that at all surprising. But when we look at the one in seven Americans who the Census Bureau says lived in poverty last year; and find that 75% of this 46.2 million Americans (classified as poor) own a car, and of this 31 % have two or more – it is kind of shocking. Poor is not at all what it once was, is it? Not only are the poor driving to and from their homes that have on average two and three bedrooms and one and a half baths, but more than half say their children also enjoy luxuries such as flat-screen TVs, X Boxes, and Play Stations. It sounds like poor is now the new middle class, doesn’t it? If the “poor” took the time to see how some live in other countries, they would truly appreciate their blessings and realize they do not live in poverty. As Americans, we have all become a little clueless about real poverty. This week as I found myself without a car of my own to go where I wanted to go when I wanted to go; I knew I should have been much more appreciative of the car that now sits with its hood raised at my house as if it is saying, “please fix me.” I am happy to report that so far I have gotten to and from everywhere I needed to go. It is different having to depend on someone else to carry me there, but it makes me so much more appreciative of my blessings. I may be careless, but I am not clueless about the fact that God is my Provider. Let me tell you, He is the one who truly carries us through good times and bad. And also remember, no matter what anyone may classify you as, as a child of the Father, you are rich enjoying the privilege of living in the luxuries of His love, grace, mercy, and peace.
Walk This Way
Text: I Thessalonians 4:1
Walking is s a skill most of us mastered early on in life. As with all the skills that we learn, practice is crucial in mastering the task of walking. Most first carefully attempt tiny steps, not giant ones. However, no matter how carefully planned, or how tiny the step, first steps can and often do result in a fall. First falls are a little surprising. Babies just don’t see falls coming, because they have not fallen before. Thankfully they usually find someone near who is supporting them, lending a helping hand, and ready to cheer them on to “walk this way.” The shock soon subsides and the baby gets up quickly to try yet another step. The fallen seem to bravely rise to the occasion and boldly carry on until they have successfully reached their goal. As adults, we don’t have to think and plan every step we take. The skill learned long ago just comes naturally as we walk this way every day. What about learning to walk as a Christian? This is a skill that does require mastery even for adults. When we take the very first step toward Christ, He is waiting with outstretched hands to guide us. Even when we fall, He is there to help lift us up and allow us to begin again until we reach the goal that He has set before us. As we strive to make sure the way we walk is pleasing to God with every single step every day, we grow bolder and stronger for the cause of Christ. Learning to walk Jesus’ way is a wonderful journey