Now What?

Your husband tells you he is leaving you. He will move out tomorrow. Now what?
You get a call from your son’s girlfriend’s mother. The girlfriend is pregnant. Now what?
You are called into the boss’s office and told your company will be shutting down. You are being let go that very day. Now what?
We all come desperate places in life where it seems like we have arrived at a cliff with nothing but space beyond. We can’t go back and there seems no way forward. We are perplexed and baffled and worried and full of, “Now what? What do I do now? What can I do now?”
This Sunday we will celebrate Easter and the text is from Luke. There is a poignant verse there, a “Now What?” verse. Jesus has just died, the Centurion has declared Him God’s Son, there has been a mighty earthquake, darkness has covered the land and we read in 23:49, “And all His acquaintance, and the women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.” Now what? They had given up all to follow Him. He was their reason for living, the hope of their present and future. Now He was dead. Now what?
Easter makes the difference, answering that question with power, glory, and direction! When we are standing “afar off”, when we are “beholding those things”, those painful disruptions, those ruptures of our bliss and peace that have us crying out, ‘Now what?”, we find in Him what we need to resurrect our lives and to go on to the next best thing!
Be with us this Sunday and bring whatever your “Now what?” is to give to Him!


Shark Tank Theology

I am watching again, the A.D. Series that Mark Burnett and Roma Downey put out two years ago at Easter. It is very well done and the scenes of Pilate, Peter and Caiphas on the night of the resurrection are thrilling. I appreciate this Christian couple for bringing back to television, the Gospel stories and themes.
Mark uses his television shows to also convey Biblical truth. I just wrote a book, “The Shark Tank Theology: How The Tank Mirrors Life’s Journey”. It is available on this website or at any bookstore world wide. In it, I take out some of the major themes and Biblical truth Mark put in. Shark Tank the show has a world wide popularity. Through the show, people are introduced to something sorely lacking in the great majority of shows on television; a Biblical world view.
Take for example one such truth that I will speaking on Sunday morning at 11. You cannot make up your own standards of acceptance before a judge. This can be in any venue but we are looking at the show. Contestants frequently come in and offer to the savvy businessmen their own made up standards of why the Sharks should invest in them. Mark Cuban or Lori Grenier should accept them and let them into their world because they are so passionate about their business. They are very hard workers. They just know that their product will sell because so many people gave them business cards at a trade show.
The Sharks hit back and hit back hard! Hard work is nice but it is not a standard for a partnership. Passion is good but it does not make for a viable reason for a Shark to get involved. As you watch the shows week after week, you will find that the Sharks operate from sound, absolute, investment and business principles. Without these, you are not likely to get a deal.
The same is true for many people today on their plans for their presentation to God for His judgment. They may look at Christians and decide that they are as good as those Christians so if they can go to Heaven, so can they. That is not a standard of God. They may reason, I am not as bad as all those people I see on the news. I am a good person, I gave 5.00 to a poor person on a corner with a sign this morning, surely God will not send me to Hell. That is not a standard. You may love your wife and grandchildren. You may be the kindest person on the block. You may send a check to St. Jude’s every year. None of these are the standard.
Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” What will the standard of God be at that judgment? That is the key question and answer of it all. What will He accept? What standard will He judge by?
We find in the Bible, there is only one standard and it is His. No matter how we feel, no matter how sound a rationale we may construct in our minds, we will end up out of His presence, just as the contestants end up out of the Tank, when we try to make it up ourselves.
Join us Sunday morning at 11:00 for, “Your Presentation At Your Appointment”. Bring a friend.
And don’t forget! Easter is just weeks away, on the 16th.

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Style or Substance

As Stuart Briscoe looked out at the church landscape 10 years ago, he had the following to say in a Leadership Magazine interview.
“You need to understand that I am 75 years of age and have been active-and still am-in ministry for more than 55 years. Your emphasis is “the future of the church”, but my first question is,”Are we giving careful attention to the 2000 years of it’s history?” How did we get here? What did the “cloud of witnesses” do right? What are the non-negotiables that cannot and should not be changed? What is good in “old” as well as what is “novel” in innovation? G.K. Chesterton said, “Never remove a fence until you know why it was erected in the first place.” The future of the church needs to be explored in the light of what we do know about its future; the rest is speculation. What do we know? “I will build My church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
Although it may sound like it, I am not resistant to change and regard it necessary on occasion in a changing world. But I differentiate between “style” and “substance”. The former can change. The latter must not. “Has the church affected culture?” Take a trip around many parts of Europe and see if you can find a city without a cathedral or a village without a church, and take a look at the U.S. founding documents. The answer is obvious. But the big issue in both these instances is that those who built the cathedrals and those who wrote the founding documents were not seeking to be “relevant”; they were showing the relevance of an unchanging truth to those who needed to know it.
My concern about many attempts to be relevant to contemporary culture is that we seem to trade some of our uniqueness for acceptance, and in so doing barter some of our faithfulness for relevance. We don’t need to make truth relevant. We need to show and explain and apply it in all its Spirit-empowered relevance and see transformation happen.” Stuart Briscoe, minister at large, Elmbrook Church, Brookfield, Wisconsin.
I love the wisdom and truth of what he said. We want to be relevant, but more than that we want to be faithful. And we might want to look around today, ten years after he wrote those words, and ask ourselves, “What has our becoming relevant, cool, hip, and contemporary as a church achieved for us?” Churches are dying. The percentages of those trusting Christ, those attending church, those who believe in absolute truth, and those who call themselves Christian are all way, way down. We have not produced a generation of Super Spiritual Christians. Instead, we have the unholiness of over 90 percent of those men who do profess Christ saying they view pornography on the internet. In the words of Jim Cymbala in his book Spirit Rising,
“Some might say, “Yeah, but we’ve improved upon that New Testament style (there’s that word again) of Christianity.” If that’s true, I want to see the spiritual fruit our improvements have produced. People may have mocked those first, “unsophisticated” Christians, but thousands got saved in the first four chapters of Acts. The Word of God was treasured. The churches were filled with sacrificial love. A holy excitement pervaded the atmosphere. Have we really improved upon that?”
Of course we haven’t!
Be at Charity tomorrow at 11 am. I will be talking about a lot of these things as we continue in Hebrews 9. It will be all “substance”, “truth”, and hand the style! God bless you!

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Loving The Neighborhood

Tomorrow our church will meet at 10:00 am at a laundry near the church. Members bring rolls of quarters. Church will provide soap and tracts. We will pay for the customer’s washing and provide the soap. We will witness and be available for prayer.See you at 10 am members!

Amazon Bestseller

Last weekend my latest book, “Shark Tank Theology, soared to the top of Amazon’s book sales. Friday night, ABC ran the Shark Tank show, followed by a special show highlighting the show’s continuing success. The two hours sparked interest in all things “Shark”, and my book was blessed with a huge weekend.
I urge you to buy it and to get multiple copies for your friends. You will enjoy how Mark Burnett wove Biblical principles into the program and, how the book leads a person to faith in Jesus Christ. Most television viewers watch the show and it is a big hit world wide. The book will open their eyes to Jesus Christ right there where they are. They might not ever open a Bible. But when they watch that show and read the book, they will receive a powerful witness.You can order the book in any format from any major bookseller. Or, you may order it here, cheaper, using our pay pal feature. Pay eight dollars per copy which includes shipping and handling. Send me an email with your address and number of copies. Discounts are available for 10 or more copies. I look forward to hearing from you!

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40 Days of Lent

Baptist churches are not known to be big on observing the Catholic tradition of Lent. In fact, it still catches me by surprise sometimes. I was in downtown Tulsa this week to attend a PAC theater production. As we drove into the area I was surprised to find many streets blocked off and police cars everywhere. I knew Shen Yunwas big, but had not expected this much attention. It was not for the show, however. It was for a celebration of Marci Gras. The night before Lent begins, on Ash Wednesday, is a night to enjoy and celebrate, before you fast and pray and give up something sacrificially, to concentrate on the Cross and spiritual matters. Today, giving up cigarettes, or for foods with sugar, or alcohol, are all popular options. Some give up Facebook or television. You separate from these and turn to a spiritual discipline. I’m with any believer who desires a closer walk with the Lord. I’m for a forty day period of preparing myself for celebrating the Resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It might do us all good to humbly submit to such a season of focus on Him!
This Sunday we will have the focus of the Lord’s Supper. I will be asking you a question n the title of my message, “Are You A Big Godder, or, Are You A Little Godder?” Join us at 11 am as God brings His Word alive in our hearts. And, if you are giving up something for Lent, drop me a line and let me know at God bless you and remember, it is a great day, to have a great day!

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Welcome To February

Last Sunday we had two families with a total of 10 visitors between them! Loved having all the kids. I hard from one of the father’s this week. He was so pleased that his high school teen, a young man, loved it. He said, “I can’t believe my son enjoyed it so much. He wants to come back.” They have promised to come tomorrow. Tomorrow we begin February. It will be a “Super Sunday” for us, not because it is Super Bowl Sunday, but as we have the Lord’s Supper. We will finish up our goal setting and hopefully will have everyone back from colds and the flu. See you at 11:00 am! God bless you!