Well, the subject of gun control has been a hot topic for a number of months here in the United States. Some people are 100% for keeping their 2nd Amendment right in tact, while others say that guns kill people. Pistols, rifles, shotguns, and assault rifles are all very strong weapons and they can really pack a punch. There is another weapon out there with some serious power. This weapon has been sent around the globe, and it most definitely can be found in most homes here in America. It is easy enough for a child to use and more powerful enough to turn a community inside out. Even our government is afraid of this weapon, and they are doing anything they can to stop the spread of this powerful, life changing weapon. This weapon helps with defense against the enemy. It is be used recreationally with friends and family. This powerful weapon can also take a full grown man to his knees in a split second. The unique quality of this weapon is that while it helps kill the old man it brings life to the new man. So what is it? Where do I get one? How do I use it? The fact is you probably already have one. It's known as the Bible or the Sword of the Spirit. Hebrews 4:12 says, "The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.." God's word is powerful enough to change lives, heal wounds, and guide our steps. Our society wants to delete its words and silence its message, so Christians I am sounding the alarm. Here is the battle cry, "Fight for your right to bear arms." Jesus died so that His message could bring life, and we have the power within us to change lives with this powerful message of hope. Owning a Bible is a privilege and a right here in the United States that was given to us by our founding fathers. We should never take that for granted. We should exercise our rights and "use it (the Bible) before we lose it."
I guess I should start off by saying, "I'm sorry." It has been way too long since my last blog. I don't know about you, but I like to eat. I eat out of necessity and sometimes out of want. Because I live in a
gluten-free home I love eating real bread when I can. Bicsuits, cornbread, or maybe even a donut. Have you ever tried to abstain from eating for a day? For a skinny preacher like me that could be a death wish!! When you go a day without eating or maybe you just miss one meal you feel tired, unmotivated, and sometimes sick. Food is needed to help our bodies have energy and food helps us receive the vitamins and nutrients we need to survive. Jesus spoke a lot about food. He said that "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." He also said, "Give us this day our daily bread." So what is Jesus talking about when He references bread? Biscuits from Cracker Barrell, toast from Old Crow BBQ, or donuts from Krispy Kreme? He is talking about His Word, THE B.I.B.L.E., The Good Book,The Scriptures. It is known as the Bread of Life!! So if we go a day without it we are spiritually tired, spiritaully unmotivated, and sometimes spiritually sick. Most professing Christians try gorging themselves on Sunday morning with the Word hoping that it will keep them full all week long, but it doesn't. I want to encourage you to partake of the Word on a Daily basis!! It will keep you full, help you focus on ministry, and give your the energy to ward off the devil.
Hey Everyone, I am truly sorry that it has been so long since my last blog post. I am going to work on doing a weekly update from now on. About a year ago I received an email with a story about a man who was desperate for God to work in his life. There was a huge rock in his yard and God told him to go and push against the rock. Everyday the man would wake up early to go out in the yard and he would push against the rock with all his might. He pushed and he pushed and he pushed to no avail. It just seem that God wasn't doing anything. Over time the man became frustrated with God and he just stopped trying. One day went by without trying, then the next day, and soon months went by without the man ever doing what God had called him to do. Sometimes when God tells us to do something like pray, serve, worship, or obey we want to see results from God immediately. His ways are not always our ways and His answers sometimes aren't what we were wanting to hear. Prayer is a lost art in our nation. Public prayer was just a given at sporting events, school functions, and family gatherings. Unfortunately we have forgotten the importance of prayer in our lives. Next time that you pray about something and you just don't seem to be getting through to God, remember to PUSH!! Pray Until Something Happens.... The man who had been pushing against the rock finally realized that out of his obedience to God over the years he had grown stronger. He learned to persevere through his struggles and he found out that God will never leave you or forsake you. When life doesn't seem to make sense just remember to PUSH.
James 5:16 "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."
In the movie Facing the Giants there is a scene where coach Grant Taylor is challenged by a friend to prepare his fields (the football team) to receive the rain (blessings from the Lord). Growing up in Lake County has made me appreciate water because I have always lived on a lake. When we have plenty of rain the lakes are full, grass is green, and things seem to have more life. It's obvious that we are in a severe drought right now and we are in desperate need of rain. Our lake has receded out about 30 yards from the end of our dock. Even though there is no water around our dock we decided to have the decking replaced. Some would say why waste the time and money to do that when the dock is on dry land and the water isn't even close. We like to say that we are "preparing for rain". Our nation is in a spiritual drought. The signs of the times and the effects of our sinful society are seen everywhere. So what do we do? Just give up because the battle is to big and mountain is to tall to climb? I think we need to prepare for rain or maybe I should say prepare for REIGN, God's REIGN over our nation once again. God has showered His blessings on America for hundreds of years and now is the time that we prepare our fields to receive His much needed REIGN!!! What are you doing to prepare your fields to receive the rain that God wants to send your way?
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Psalm 33:12
One of the very first books of the bible that I really studied in and out was the very first book of the Bible, Genesis. In this book, the story of Joseph takes you on a journey of the good life, hatred, fraud, slavery, lies, imprisonment, and then ends with Joseph having power over his brothers who betrayed him. He had the chance to legally let them have it, so what did he do? Genesis 50:20 says, "And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good..." This passage of scripture brings me to our most recent controversy in America..Marriage and Chick-fil-A!!!! Who'd a thunk it? A Christian man makes a few statements about his support for biblical marriage between a man and a woman then the media and the liberal world get ahold of it and all hell breaks lose. Mayors from well known cities speak out in opposition to this Christian owned company, boycotts are scheduled, and hate speech is thrown out. Dan Cathy's comments go from showing support of biblical marriage to being "anti-gay, a bigot, a hater, and he discriminates." The media and social networks cause a whirlwind of discussion and millions across this land are not only talking about marriage, but they are also talking about free speech. It seemed as if the devil was getting his way and that he had the upperhand. Once again Christians would be silenced and the homosexual agenda would add another feather to their hat. In the words of a college football sports announcer Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friends." People of faith and lovers of the 1st Amendment and fried chicken from all walks of life made a decision on August 1st to let their voices be heard and their bellies be filled. Literally millions across our land were unified on this one issue, on this one day, and at this one place. There is strength in numbers and it was evident across America that the majoirty believes in free speech, biblical marriage, and fried chicken. Let this be a testimony to us all that we can make a difference if we join together and we can see what the devil plans for bad turn into "world record" setting days for Chick-fil-a and a historic moment in the life of Americans who have been pushed to far. Don't mess with my Jesus, my family, or my fried chicken. And all God's people said, God Bless Chick-fil-A!!
Chickens, Chickens, Chickens… I never knew that I could learn so much from having chickens. I guess it was over a year ago the Braswell family decided to get some chickens. 4 turned into 10, 10 turned into 21, 21 turned into 50, and 50 turned into 75. We had a few casualites along the way because of old age, hawks, the neighbors dog, a bobcat, and a fox. Things have settled down and we are now at a healthly 47 hens in the coop. I have learned what a "pecking order" means. I have learned the term "fly this chicken coop". I also know a lot about my childhood handwriting "chicken scratch". Chickens aren’t just farm animals. They are just like you and me. They love to be fed regularly. They like their house to be clean and bug free (except they eat their bugs) and they are constantly working on their relationships. Some chickens get along while others are always pecking at each other. Do you know anyone like this? Who is it in your life that ruffles your feathers? We all have somebody like that. I knew a pastor that once said, "If it wasn't for people I could serve the Lord." He was talking about those few "roosters" in the hen house that always want to start a fight or run the show. God says that it is easy to love those who love us, but we are called to love our enemies, so in the name of chickens everywhere,
“As for me and my coop, we will serve the Lord." What about you?
I preached a sermon on Sunday entitled, "Born Again Birthday" and it has generated a lot of discussion. The Bible says that we must be born again. I had 2 birthday's this past week. June 3rd I turned 22 years old and on June 8th I turned 33 years old. Sounds a bit fishy, huh? Let me clarify. On June 8th, 1979 I was born for the first time in Waterman Hospital in Eustis, FL. This of course was my physical birth, but on June 3rd, 1990 at the Radisson Hotel in Orlando, FL I was born again. That was the day that I gave my life to the Lord. I remember the sweat on my hands when that preacher gave the invitation and I remember fighting the decision to go forward, but thankfully I went down there that night and gave my life to Christ. So what's all the talk about with this message? We all remember details and specifics from different moments in life; first kiss, getting your driver's license, catching a huge bass, etc. What about your salvation? Do you remember the place, the time, the date? Salvation is the single most important day in our lives as a Christian and many people don't claim to remember a thing about it. I have already had one person call in today because he said all I have known in my life was church, but I never knew Jesus. He gave his life to the Lord today and June 11th, 2012 he will never forget. What about you? Do you know? I want to encourage you to post a comment about your salvation experience. Where, When, What??? If you aren't sure a just give me shout and we can talk about it.
I have preached about 15 sermons since I've been here at FBC Umatilla that some would say were a bit "political" even though the subject matter for the sermon came straight from God's Word. This Sunday I preached one of those sermons. Some of the topics in this week's message were the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of human life. The liberal world would say, "that preacher was on his soapbox speaking against homosexuality and abortion" when actually I was speaking in support of natural marriage that God created (between a man and woman) and the protection of human life. I had a great response from our church after this Sunday's message, but some who were even in support said "man are you brave". What does that mean? Should we be afraid to speak the truth that God has set before us? The Bible says, "If God is for us, who is against us." Romans 8:31 Have you ever wondered when biblical matters turned into political controversy. I can give you the answer. It happened when we chose to go against God and His Word. Many people in our world say that Christians are intolerant and narrow minded, but the fact is our society is becoming intolerant to Christians. I do not claim to be a political person and I am not planning on running for President as of yet, but I will say that "we the people of the United States" better start honoring God pretty quick before we lose it all. The Bible is THE TRUTH and it is our guidebook for living in every area of life, even "political" issues or should I say Biblical issues. I don't want to be known as a political man. I want to be known as a Biblical man. Where do you stand?
Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.."
Most of you that know me understand that I don't claim to be very intellectual. My "deep thinking" normally comes from everyday life. I have a worped way of taking just about anything in life and turning it into a spiritual illustration, so here goes nothing... We started raising laying hens last year and I have come to realize that chickens are amazing creatures. A laying hen will spend all day working towards one thing, producing a healthy egg. The way they eat, the time they rest, and the way they cool their bodies in the hot Florida sun is all for one reason. Everything they do is intentional. They need to remain healthy so that they can produce an egg each day. A chicken must have all the right ingedients from food, water, rest, and exercise to create a healthy egg. What about us? What do we do in life to be an egg-cellent Christian? God has us here for one reason and that is to glorify Him. The way we eat (...give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11), the way we act (..be imitators of God, as beloved children. Ephesians 5:1), the way we speak (..Let your speech always be with grace.. Colossians 4:6), and the way we rest (..Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28) all effect our ability to honor and glorify God with good works. I hope and pray that everything I do is centered around honoring God with my life so that I can be an EGG-CELLENT Christian.
I attempted another vegetable garden this year and for whatever reason I have been overrun with weeds and bugs. This is the first time in 3 years that this problem has seriously affected the growth of my plants.
You know our lives are very similar. We can go through life each day just going through the motions, but the weeds of this world slowly strangle us and take away our ability to grow. The Bible says,“let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us.”Hebrews 12:1 Let today be the day that you let God spray some Round Up on those problem areas of your life so that you can grow to maturity as a Christian.