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Lost and Found
Do you remember when you were a child and if you ever got separated or lost from your parents; how you were scared and frightened?
A parent has instant fear whenever they cannot find their child. When a child is lost and the parents cannot find them they are terrified.
When you’re lost, you cry out until you’re found. When you are found there is great rejoicing, happiness, and thankfulness.
Do you need to cry out unto the Lord until you are found?
Cry out to Jesus in prayer, call him.
When you’re lost you call out many times until you are found. Keep calling in prayer, and when you are found;
you will find the greatest gift on heaven and earth
– Jesus Christ.
John Newton when he wrote Amazing Grace thought he was going to be lost during a terrible storm at sea. Have you ever been lost? Have you ever lost your job or your home Do you have entrainments with family or friends; are un-forgiveness and anger keeping you separated from the ones you love? Have you ever lost a loved one who is still alive?
What will it take for you to reflect and to reevaluate your life? What is it going to take to bring you to God?
What is it going to take to bend your knees?
What will it take to surrender yourself your will to God?
Lighten your heavy load and burdens;
give your worries, your life to Christ.
I have been a
for over twenty years! Many people have said, “You must really love children!” I would always kind of nod and smile because the real answer was that I loved entertaining and making good money doing it. Only through God do I now truly love children. (I’ve always loved my children and grandchildren but now truly all children.) Think of what I was missing for over twenty years!!!
A child’s baptism is a tender moment where I really do take responsibility with the congregation and have great compassion for that child. When a child is baptized (or adult) you renounce sin and the entire congregation collectively responds the Affirmation of Faith: the Apostle’s Creed. There is the Thanksgiving Over the Water, The Act of Baptizing and Blessing, the Giving of the Baptismal Candle (To be lighted every year on your Baptism.) Then the congregation responds:
With joy and thanksgiving we welcome you into Christ’s Church; for we are all one in Christ. We promise to love, encourage, and support you, to share the good news of the gospel with you, and to help you know and follow Christ.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. I have seen this inscription on many things: coffee cups, plates, cards, and on calendars. I’m sure you have seen this writing many times yourself. These words before really didn’t mean much to me; it was kinda like the saying, “Have a Nice Day.” It sounds nice, but had no real impact on my life.
When I first started to go to church, I believed that everything was going to be all right from now on… WRONG!
Before I came to Christ I really was the wretch who was lost and blind from the hymn Amazing Grace. Now that I have found Christ I am not a wretch, I am a new creation. I am no longer lost. I am no longer blind. In faith I can see for miles, and miles, and miles.... After I came to Christ I have suffered: lost my business, bankruptcy, foreclosure on my home; yet even with my problems of today, there is no comparison as to how better off I am now with God. I could not have gone through these tribulations without God by my side!
When I think of how much Jesus suffered for me, nailed to a cross, and how He died for me, died for my sins, and forgave me of my sins; for me not to appreciate His sacrifice, His gift is unimaginable to me now! Each day is a gift… even the bad ones.
This is the day the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Now these words have meaning to me. Now every morning I wake up I say, “It’s God’s Day and it’s God’s Way!”
I actually now do rejoice in the new day and pray for strength and direction to live this day the way God wants for us to. I have HOPE. I still have problems, family entrainments. I have no idea how some of these problems will be resolved because for me they are too big, too impossible, they are my giant problems, my Goliaths. But my faith is in God; through Christ all things are possible.
Are you on the right path?
Taking the Right Path
There have been many stories written about taking the right path and the wrong path in life. The story is not original but this is my story.
Most of my life I was on a path, the only problem is that it was always the wrong path. One day I came to a crossroads in my life and turned to Christ and I finally started my journey on the right path. The path was sometimes winding and crooked. I often made mistakes and had lapses of going back to my former self. The journey was more like 2 steps forward – 1 step back, 2 steps forward – 1 step back. I was slow but steady. I was making progress! (I hope to someday finish the race; Acts 20:24).
Sometimes my faith was in the fast lane, passing obstacles like driving in the HOV lane on the freeway. Life can be hard; and usually the path is narrow, bumpy, and uphill all the way! Often you’re almost out of gas and in need of repair. You pray for strength and just keep going.
Depression is when you’re on the path but all of sudden without warning you stumble and fall. You are really hurt and cannot get up (not by yourself). You are alone, afraid, and can barely move. Because of prayer and faith you are still on the path, but you’re still not moving… no progress.
You still have faith; you pray to God for the strength to get back up again. You still have hope; you pray for God’s grace for forgiveness of your sins. For your broken heart you pray for the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with love. You finally realize your blessings, thank God for your blessings, and slowly get yourself up. You pray to God and thank Him for His love, forgiveness, and grace. Then you start your journey down the path again; you start doing the work God has planned for you.
BEFORE I FIRST CAME TO CHRIST I WAS EMPTY. At first the cup was knocked over and spilled out! Later when I first came to Christ my life was turned upside down; my perception went from “the cup is half empty” to “the cup is half full.” Empty to Half Full; this truly is a big change! But this is truly only half of the story. Faith is far more than being just an optimist!
Later again, with going to church, studying, reading, practicing my new found faith, volunteering, caring for others my Faith became stronger and deeper.
(I still have much more work to do – a lifetimes’ worth.)
Often Faith, Understanding, and Wisdom seem like something hidden behind a curtain. After more work, study, and worship the curtain would open and you would see and learn something new. But there was always something else hidden behind another curtain that was just a little fuzzy and hard to understand; something I just couldn’t make out… it was blurry and hidden.
Sometimes my Faith was like a door opening and Faith would come rushing in; and then another door would open, and then another door would open, and….
Sometimes my Faith can easily rush in faster than my ability to comprehend. Sometimes Faith, Love, and Compassion are so intense, that they are filling your heart and soul with more than you can contain. Love for God, Love for one another, Love is Over Flowing. Now I truly understand what “my cup runnith over” means from the 23rd Psalm.
There was a time when I thought it meant when it said; “My cup runnith over” was talking about an abundance of prosperity and money. (This was when I thought everything was about money.) I didn’t realize it was talking about Faith!
Sometimes Faith is fleeting. I know of times when something whatever it was had made a big impression on me, just for it to escape me later. I am not talking about forgetting! Sometimes Faith is just for a flash. Even if you just get a peek, just a glimpse, just for a fraction of a second; even if you don’t comprehend, understand, or even remember – a fraction of a second from God is very powerful.
Sometimes Faith is like being hit over the head – very difficult NOT to understand. But often Faith is like running into a brick wall and it doesn’t matter which direction you turn or go, you still run into the same brick wall.
Understanding the Gospel is very different from reading other books. You can’t just jump ahead and read the last chapter and understand the ending and what’s going to happen! The more you work at it; the more you will get out of it!
There was a man who spoke to God.
“God, to you a million years is just like a couple minutes.
To you God, a million dollars is like a penny.
Dear God, please may I have a million dollars?”
God answered, “Yes.
Just give me a couple of minutes.”
God answers our prayers but maybe not the way we want!
For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day just gone by....
When the cup is filled with poison;
it doesn’t matter if the cup is half empty or half full. J.S.
The Bible is all about God’s Love.
The Bible is basically commands us to do just 2 things:
“’Love the Lord your God with all of your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
this is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Everything you need to know...
You learned in Kindergarten.
Shepherds and the Angels
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord.
Luke 2:11 Or Messiah. "The Christ" (Greek) and "the Messiah"
Hebrew) both mean "the Anointed One"; also in verse 26.
As soon as Jesus is born we are told, “Do not be afraid.” This is a common theme repeated many times in the Bible. We are also told that Jesus is the “Good News,” that God is for ALL people, and that Jesus is the Savior.
Walking with God
Imagine instead of spending the time you spend worrying;
You spend that same amount of time
loving God and one another.
Imagine if you replaced worry with love!
Imagine replacing your selfish self-centered wants
for the needs of others.
This is what is possible through Jesus Christ.
Why worry when you can pray?
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life.”
· God is in control.
· God works in unexpected ways.
· God is molding me (all of us) into His image.
· God loves us just as we are (sinners),
but is not content to leave us like this.
· I often liked my plan for my life better than God’s plan. Going out of business, bankruptcy, foreclosure, family entrainments, and loosing my grand children were
NEVER IN MY PLAN!
· I do not look for adversity, BUT adversity does bring you closer to God. From everything I have gone through I have become closer to God. I am closer to God, but I will always desire a closer relationship with God. I never could have gone through these test and trials without God!!!
What Has Adversity Brought Me?
After losing my business I later realized that I could accept losing the business, and my home, but I could not accept losing my wife. I realized that I loved her more than my business or any possession. I realized how much time I had spent on work – and how little time on my wife. My priorities, choices, and time were all used on things of this world, things that perish; not on my wife, not on God’s work – Loving God and One Another.
· Love God with all my heart.
Love God with real passion, not with lukewarm faith,
not just going through the motions, or ceremony.
· Love God with all my soul.
Love God with honest sincere deep emotion.
· Love God with all my strength.
Strength means that it takes effort; you have to work at it.
· Love God with all my mind.
You have to think about it, study, and meditate on the Word. Pray.
· Love God with all my might, with all that I am, with every fiber of my body, with every beat of my heart, with every breath, I love God.
· Trust in God.
I find it easy to love God but “Trusting” is more difficult.
Faith is imperfect,
“I believe, please, help my disbelief!”
· Give myself completely to God.
Giving myself to God seems like a very small offering to God. I have done such a bad job of running my life; why not give myself to God and follow Christ? This should be an easy choice.
· That’s the “problem” - God gives us a choice and free will.
· Giving up my control of my life.
I believe that this is the hardest of all to do.
The Prayer of Saint Francis
make me an instrument of thy peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born
to eternal life
For me this is the basic “Meaning of Life.”
St. Francis of Assisi, lover of all creation, patron saint of animals and the environment, founded the Franciscan order.
This is a fantastic in-depth web page that is informative and very interesting. Includes stories about St. Francis and the animals:
Preaches to the Birds, St. Francis, Rabbits and Fish,
St. Francis and the Wolf.
Includes information on the Blessing of the Animals.
Depression & Despair
It seems impossible for a Christian to have depression because it just doesn’t make any sense! How many times does the Bible tell you that you are loved? How many times does the Bible say, “Do not be afraid?” Being a Christian and being depressed seem so incompatible!
· You don’t feel loved, but God loves you unconditionally and everlasting.
· You feel abandoned and alone, but God is always there.
· You hate yourself and find yourself worthless, but God values you. God even has the hairs on your head counted.
· You have sinned and cannot forgive yourself, but God will forgive you and will remember your sins no more.
· You are angry and mad, but God can quiet and calm your anger.
· You are angry and hate someone and cannot forgive them, or you cannot forgive yourself, but God will show you a way. God will give you “grace” to forgive, to comfort, and to heal your heart.
Oppression, Toil, Friendlessness And I declared that the dead,
who has already died,
are happier than the living,
who are still alive.
but better than both
is he who has not yet been,
who has not seen the evil
that is done under the sun.
I Love Rock n’ Roll. I Love Mexican Food. I Love Chocolate. I Love Football.
People love almost everything! Ask people, “Do you love God?” They stumble. (Even Believers, even me.) Many are too embarrassed to admit out loud that they love God. Don’t be afraid to say it.
If we find a great new restaurant, or something wonderful happens to us we tell all of our friends. We share the “Good News” (Gospels) with our friends and it is such good news we want to tell everyone… even strangers. We want to tell everyone about this great Gift of God; Jesus Christ! All YOU have to do is accept and take this great gift! It is exacerbating to a believer when they cannot give this great “Free Gift” away! Please Take It!
If you want to talk to the mayor, your senator, your congressman, the President of the United States it is next to impossible for most of us! Unimaginable!
If you want to talk to God, the creator of heaven and earth, all you have to do is pray. Solemn, diligent prayer gives you a voice to God. God listens and all prayers are answered; maybe not answered the way you want, but the way God wants. Prayer places you at the cusp of God, at the footstool of God. We cannot comprehend what a wonderful gift from God prayer is. We all need to work on a closer relationship with God.
Nothing Can Separate Me From God - Right?
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing can separate me from God! No mountain is too tall; no ocean is too wide or too deep. Nothing can come between me and my God. Nothing can keep me from worshipping God except:
· When I’m too tired.
· When I oversleep.
· When I have to work.
· When I go on vacation, fishing etc.
· When I worship Football.
The only thing that can separate you from God is yourself!
If you must blame someone; blame yourself.
“You are as close to God as you choose to be.”
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
You have to do things for the right reasons.
Are we fooling ourselves?
Part of me really wants to help others.
Part of me really wants a new car!
I keep telling myself that I am doing this for God’s glory and not for my glory. But I constantly keep questioning my own motives - is it really for God; or is it really for me! I really do not trust myself! Part of me only wants to do God’s work; but another part of me only views success with monetary wealth, not spiritual wealth. Writing this book is great - but it comes with responsibility!
Overseers & Deacons
He must not be a recent convert,
or he may be conceited and fall under the same judgment
as the devil.
1 Timothy 3:6
Success is not business.
Success is not excess.
Success is service.
Almighty and everlasting God,
In whom we live and move and have our being,
You created us for yourself,
So that our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.
Grant to us such piety of heart and strength of purpose
that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing your will,
and no weakness from doing it.
In your light may we see life clearly
and in your service find perfect freedom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen
Book of Worship 1965 Alt.
Anger is like a forest fire; it destroys everything and everyone in its’ path. Anger can strike suddenly, for no reason, just like lightening. Even after the fire is put out, the forest still smolders and burns. The forest is still in pain. The forest becomes barren and void of all life. The forest feels empty, forgotten, abandoned, and alone.
Love and forgiveness are like the gentle rains of blessings sent down from heaven, sent down from Gods’ steadfast everlasting love. With a desperate prayer to God, giving up your control to His will, for His direction, and intervention your prayer will be answered, and to your bewilderment and amazement you receive something far greater than you ever imagined or dreamed of.
With steady gentle rains of prayers to fill your heart with love, forgiveness, compassion, and understanding and with the warmth of the sun from a new day of hope and faith the grasses begin to grow. Slowly the grasses thrive, and the trees grow. Life returns to the forest. Eventually all of the scars of the forest fire are all gone... all is forgiven.
This is very cliché: I do not know a thing about ships or the ocean; just the troubled waters of my life. I come from a good line of ship builders. My grandparent’s generation lived through the Depression (Think of what the word “Depression” means today and what “Depression” meant in the 1930’s. Think of what they must have gone through). My parent’s generation lived through World War 2 (my father fought in WW2).
My grandparent’s and my parent’s ship were strong and weathered many storms. When my time came to be captain over the ship, I did a poor job as captain, a poor job as a husband, a poor job as a father, and today a poor job as a grandfather. My crew has mutinied and jumped overboard. The family is estranged and in turmoil.
I have navigated life’s stormy waters poorly. The ship or should I say my family has sunk to the bottom. The crew is divided and marooned on many solitary islands.
I am isolated in a lifeboat. A lifeboat called “Faith.” I am a speck in a huge ocean of dark, murky waters. My only hope of being Saved is in Jesus Christ. I pray desperately for my rescuer, my savior. I pray earnestly for the crew of the sunken ship. The crew is hopelessly lost. I pray that God will find them, and with His grace, He will gather them up, and bring them closer to His love.
I pray that God will bring this family and crew together to build a new ship called “Love & Forgiveness.” I pray that the ship can be salvaged and crew united and brought back together. I cannot imagine how this could ever actually happen. But everything is possible through Jesus Christ!
I am still in the lifeboat of “Faith.” I continue sending out my S.O.S. of a desperate prayer. I pray and wait for my only hope, for the Triune God to rescue and save me.
In the 1960’s Arlo Guthrie wrote a song, called, “Alice’s Restaurant” with the lyrics: “I don’t want a pickle. I just want to ride on my motor-cy-cle.” After repeating this verse a few times he admitted in the song, “I knew it wasn’t the best song I ever wrote.”
Jesus taught people often with parables. Well, I am about to write a parable and I readily admit, “It’s not the best parable ever written.”
My dog has fleas.
Sins are like fleas.
One night my dog was in bed with me and started scratching, because she had fleas. We had given the dog everything from a flea bath, a flea collar, and flea powder and here the poor dog was still scratching with fleas.
I started chasing the fleas from her nose to her tail. The dog’s thick fur made it most difficult. Trying to catch a flea on a dog is like finding a jumping needle in a haystack.
During this process some of the fleas would jump on my arms or legs. When a flea jumped on me it was easy to catch and to kill the flea. I kept petting the dog hoping that more of the fleas would jump on me so I could easily get rid of them.
My dog has fleas.
Sins are like fleas.
When you keep your sins to yourself they are hard to get rid of.
When you repent and ask for forgiveness and give your sins to Jesus, Jesus can easily take your sins and pain away and lift your heavy burden.
At church I met a nice young man named Michael. He has some type of speech impediment so he speaks slowly and sometimes is a little hard to understand. I also suffer from difficulty in speaking and can stammer and stutter. We all have handicaps; admit to them or not! Most of us speak with very little thought to what we’re saying or who we’re hurting.
We were in a study group and Michael would offer his opinion. Because it was comparatively hard for him to speak, he would think before he spoke. How many of us fluent speakers think before we speak? His thoughts were clear and concise. Michael spoke with conviction and was very ar-tic-u-late.
This impressed upon me that Michael because he thinks before he speaks, probably hasn’t hurt many people with quickly spoken harsh vindictive hurtful words.
I can think of many times, of words I wish I could take back. Words can hurt and cut like knives. Words do not leave bruises on the outside that shows; but words can leave scars on the inside, on a person’s soul, scars that hurt deep and are hard to forgive.
There is much one can learn from Michael.
If Michael has a handicap... it’s too bad we don’t all have it.
Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
You can’t go forward... If you’re always looking behind you!
We may have been victims of the of the past but we don’t have to be prisoners of the past. Chains of the past make us slaves to the past. We can break these chains of the past with forgiveness and love from the here and now, the present and the future.
It is hard to move forward if you’re always looking behind you at the past. If you’re not looking where you are going you are more apt to trip, stumble, and fall. Don’t let the past be an obstacle a stumbling block to your future!
Threads of love are much stronger
than chains of the past
and chains of no forgiveness.
At Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church
· Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, do you turn from the ways of sin and renounce evil and its power in the world?
· Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Lord and Savior, trusting in his grace and love?
· With God’s help, will you be Christ faithful disciple, obeying his Word and showing his love?
· With God’s help, will you be a faithful member of this congregation, share in its worship and ministry through your prayers and gifts, your study and service, and so fulfill your calling to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?
When a child is baptized or adult you renounce sin and the entire congregation collectively responds the Affirmation of Faith: The Apostle’s Creed. There is the Thanksgiving Over the Water, The Act of Baptizing and Blessing, the Giving of the Baptismal Candle (to be lighted every year on your Baptism.) Then the congregation responds: With joy and thanksgiving we welcome you into Christ’s Church; for we are all one is Christ. We promise to love, encourage, and support you, to share the good news of the gospel with you, and to help you know and follow Christ.
Baptism is the outward sign of an inward work of grace.
The Perfect Church
When I first joined PHPC Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, I thought I had joined the most perfect church that I could have found! This church fit me like a glove, a perfect fit. When I first moved, I was lost on where to go to church! PHPC was the only church that I have known! PHPC was much further away now. My visits to PHPC became more and more infrequent. I began to wither on the vine. I had become distant from the Body of Christ. I even visited another Presbyterian church in the area; it was much the same, but it didn’t feel just right. (This is not condescending or criticizing this church!)
Every day on my way to work I passed a small Methodist Church (Northgate United Methodist Church), it was even in walking distance from our new home. We had met some of the members while walking our dogs in the neighborhood. They were genuine and friendly and they asked us to give them a visit. On Halloween we participated with church members for a Halloween Tailgate Party giving candy and treats to the neighborhood children in the church parking lot.
My wife and I decided to visit NUMC the following Sunday. We were again warmly greeted and made to feel comfortable. That “good feeling” was back! I had found my way back home. The congregation was aglow, their faith was deep and their deeds proved it! I believe that the most important thing a church congregation is to be aware of visitors to their church; to genuinely offer them hospitality to make them comfortable and to encourage them to return.
Again, I was back, part of the flock, a member of the Body of Christ! Again my soul was restored. I was reenergized with new faith. Again, I had found the perfect church and again was very close to my home! The perfect church for you is closer to you than you realize!!!
Finding the Perfect Church
But in reality there is no such thing as the perfect church because all churches are full of imperfect human sinners. The best church is not the one with the tallest steeple. We should not have “steeple envy” if another church is larger or has a taller steeple.
A church without walls. A church without a steeple.
A church is so much more than just a building.
A holy church in God’s eyes is a church of two or more people.
God is not impressed by your wealth, nationality, race, your clothes, or the car you drive.
Finding the perfect church reminds me of the story, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Some of the churches I have visited were “too hard” and some of the churches were “too soft.” But if you keep searching you will find a church that is “just right.”
Opinion - Some churches to me were too ceremonial, too user unfriendly, they would be too complicated (in my opinion) to people NEW to the faith. Some churches were too contemporary and seemed to lack discipline.
Remember - These people do not need my approval! What is uncomfortable for me is may be their Ideal. God loves ALL people and God loves diversity in his people. They may worship differently from me but I do respect their traditions. We are all one in Jesus Christ!
If a church’s worship hasn’t changed anything
for two hundred years...
It is probably doing something wrong!
If a church’s worship doesn’t include anything
that was done two hundred years ago...
It is probably doing something wrong!
Even the perfect church isn’t supposed to make you feel perfect; because you are not! You are still a sinner even if you go to church. The perfect church should still make you a little uncomfortable, to look at yourself, to always reassess your faith, to push and to encourage you, and to challenge you to the “Deeper Waters” of faith.
Which is the Right Church For You?
· Which church is right for you is a very personal choice that only you can make.
· You may have to visit different churches until you find the one that is just right for you.
· The perfect church should still make you feel a little uncomfortable; the church should always be encouraging to test your faith into the deeper waters.
· Many local churches you can listen to at first on the radio.
· The perfect church is closer to you than you think!
The Perfect Facade
The church looks perfect with the steeple peering from the huge oak trees, the well-trimmed lawn, the building and sanctuary are beautiful inside and out.
The pews are filled with well-dressed handsome people. This looks like a scene from a Norman Rockwell picture. It looks idyllic, like a scene from Lake Woebegone where all of the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all of the children are above average.
This is just a facade. Actually the congregation is filled with sinners; even the pastors are not exempt. Everyone looks happy; no problems here; that is just the outer veneer.
The bulletin informs us of members who are in the hospital and of members and loved ones who have passed away. We sign letters of recuperation and of consolation. The “Grief Recovery” ministry has too many participants. There has been much bereavement, anguish, pain, and tears. This is not perfect!
The congregation looks well to do and very revere; nothing could be wrong here except that the “Career Connection” ministry is filled to capacity with people who are out of work or under employed.
We collect food for the hungry and contribute and serve at the Stew Pot for the homeless and clothing for shelters. There are ministries for grief, unemployment, drug addiction, alcoholism, child-care, education, divorce, and many more.
How is your veneer? Do you look good on the outside, but are you hurting on the inside? The pews are full of people… people in need… just like you; people in need of the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Forty Years in the Desert
For over 40 years straight I did not go to church. I have been married for over 30 years to one woman and my wife raised our two daughters while I was always at work. My wife would occasionally take our daughters to church, but I never went.
Years later, my daughters have families of their own, I still work all of the time, and my wife and I don’t seem to have much in common any more. I would argue often about nothing. My life seemed empty, I despise myself, I had a bad temper, I was hurting the people I love. I was constantly angry over the smallest things, and I was unhappy, sad, and miserable…. (You get the picture.)
I have always admired Coach Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys. Coach Landry was well respected as a professional football coach, but was respected more as a “Christian.” I was amazed at how well Coach Landry seemed to run his life. After watching the memorial service for Coach Landry, and after many testimonials of how he walked with God, I was convinced that I would have to try to go back to church to rid myself of the deep hurt and pain that was within myself.
Which church to go to! I often worked on Sundays and on the car radio I always had it on WRR 101.1 Radio. On Sundays I would often catch the 11:00 am broadcast of the Sunday sermon from PHPC Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church. I had heard sermons from the pastors Dr. Blair Monie and Reverend Elizabeth Boone McLean. The sermons on several occasions touched my heart and helped me to solve problems I was having. So, when it was time to choose a church to go to, I chose PHPC because I was familiar with the pastors from listening to them on the radio, and the church wasn’t very far from my home.
I originally planned to visit several churches to find one that I liked, but after my first visit I felt very comfortable and never did visit any other churches. After a few weeks of visiting I decided to join the church. There was a prerequisite “Inquirers Class.” There were questions on the Books of the Bible. At that time all I knew was Genesis was the first chapter, Revelation was the last chapter, and that there was an Old Testament and a New Testament, but I didn’t know much else.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus’ Triumphant Return was my triumphant return to church. I was baptized and became a member of PHPC.
Through Christ you are a new creation! Later my wife and I remarried in the chapel at PHPC for a 30th wedding Anniversary.
I am now an active member and volunteer (varies). This does not make me righteous or perfect. What I think would describe me well is:
God, forgive me for doing the evil I don’t want to do
and forgive me for not doing the good I want to do.
I believe that if you think you are righteous, you are NOT full of the Holy Spirit, but are full of something else!
“Self-righteous” Christians give Servants of God a bad name.
“Do not be so confident of your righteousness
and look down at others.”
“Everyday you must turn from sin and turn to God.”
God, forgive me for doing the evil I don’t want to do
and forgive me for not doing the good I want to do.