Phil Us Up!
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November 10, 2016, 9:14 AM

Veterans Day


 

   We are humbled to honor our veterans this Friday, November 11, 2016. The first Veterans Day was set to remember end of the First World War and later, the Second. It is not without significance that it occurs every year on the 11th day of the 11th month, on the 11th hour. That’s when arms were laid down. In 1919 President Wilson said…”To us in America, the reflections of this day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

    I am so thankful for all those gave to serve our country, I am most thankful for the victory their sacrifice paid for. In this world and in the spiritual world Victory is always costly. It is proper to remember that. I also love President Wilson’s idea that it gives an “opportunity to show sympathy with peace and justice.”

    So this Veterans Day, I will honor those who gave of themselves for the freedom of our country, but then I will deliberately think about the great opportunity their sacrifice has given me. With great gifts, comes great responsibility. 

    Paul writes, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery Now if what the American GI did for me is such a magnificent blessing, (and it is), how much more magnificent is the blessing, and responsibility given to me by Jesus Christ? I don’t know about you but maybe I need to spend more time and effort in working on my response to the wonderful blessings God has given! That is not an uncommon theme in God’s word. From the very beginning of God’s interaction with humans, we are always blessed to BE A BLESSING. Jesus teaches it this way. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.  

    To all the veterans who served our great country, we thank you so very much and it is my prayer we accept the responsibility that comes with freedom.

     There is an old hymn, Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. I hope we accept the blessing and opportunity. 




October 27, 2016, 9:26 AM

Missions, Why?


     This Sunday night, October 30, we host the area wide meeting! I hope and pray we all can be here to share some of the mission efforts we are all engaged in. I ask for us all to make a special effort to be here at 5:30 for singing and praise!

    From the very beginning of the Christian faith, we have been called to missions. Jesus, in his final instructions to the remaining eleven disciples, (some of them who were still not too sure) said go into the world and make disciples. Now I like those kinds of simple, direct instructions, given by one who has all authority.  I also believe the worst reason for doing mission work is to simply fulfill a responsibility created by a command. We share the good news about our God and Savior because of our devotion to Him and our love for each other.

    The greatest missionary that ever lived, I believe was Paul. He was motivated by two things, his love for God, because of what Jesus had done for him and his love for people. Now Paul did receive more precise instructions, both negative and positive. Jesus prevented him from going some places and gave instructions in a dream to go!  During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Acts 16:9

    Every couple of years the area wide churches gather together, not only to worship but also to share some of the different missions each one is engaged in. I love the diversity in missions demonstrated by the different churches. 

   It is beneficial for us to see other church families and how they are sharing the gospel both locally and globally. So this Sunday night as we sing and fellowship with brothers and sisters, some who I know and others I have never met, I think about the answer to this question. Why do Christians share Jesus Christ with other people? I hope the answer is because we value God’s love, we know the incredible encouragement of being part of God’s family. The privilege of being part of God’s plan humbles and awes us. The most selfish thing I could ever do is to not share Jesus Christ with anyone. The prayer for my local, area, worldwide brothers and sisters is that we share our resources, our blessings and our opportunities in order to share the most important thing we all have, our Saviour. May the joy in our salvation grow, and our hearts filled to overflow with Him.

Philip




August 31, 2016, 3:38 PM

Go...Go...Go


     All summer I have been more diligent in my exercise. I try to ride my bike, after daylight, at least 5 times a week. If you are out early you just might see me. I know that’s why I have enjoyed the cooler weather during these last dog-days of August. I try to change up my route every so often, to keep from getting in a rut. Currently I am riding out west of town on 380. One day last week I was headed back to town and heard all kinds of hollering, Go Philip, Go Philip. I looked up and it was Ryan and Kenley Cox on their way to school, with the window down cheering me on! Let me say by that time in my ride I really needed the encouragement! As I turned north to head home, I thought about how we all depend on encouragement.

     The writer of Hebrews tells us to urge each other on in our faith walk. It comes with the idea of exhorting each other on our path of faith. I love the picture the author paints in chapter 12:1.  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

     Well, just who are these “witnesses” and how do they surround us? In chapter 11 we are told that the Old Testament believers were looking forward to the coming Messiah. At the end of chapter 11 he says those believers had faith in God to guide and direct them, but God had something better planned for us. Then he begins chapter 12 with a reference to these faithful men and women who paved the way. What the Old Testament believers looked forward to in faith—the Messiah—we look back to, seeing the fulfillment of all the prophecies about His first coming.

     We are surrounded by the saints of the past in a unique way. It’s not that the faithful who have gone before us are simply spectators to the race we run. It’s a picture for us to see, and it means we ought to act as if they are there, cheering us on to the same victory in the life of faith that they experienced! We are inspired by their cheers! Their past lives of faith encourage us to live that way, too. I love the way the author uses the word cloud. It tells me there are millions and millions of believers who have gone before us, each encouraging us to live a life of faith!

     Thanks Kenley and Ryan.

Now this week….GO GO GO.

Philip




August 16, 2016, 1:28 PM

Come On Down


     Have you ever started out doing something you thought was going to be easy and it just doesn’t turn out that way. It happens to me a lot, I think because I don’t fully understand it even a little bit until I am into it up to my elbows! In Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi he gives them a simply stated directive, “Have the same mind set and attitude Jesus has.”  He then quotes what most scholars believe is one of the first Christian hymns. It was not sung like the hymns we sing, it was probably read or chanted like a psalm. Paul uses it as a teaching tool a concise way of sharing who Jesus Christ is and what the gospel is all about.

     Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death—death on a cross. So God raised him to the highest place. God made his name greater than every other name so that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus— everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and bring glory to God the Father.

     Jesus He held as high a place as one can hold. And He let go of it. Not only to become a human, but a slave. He didn’t come to earth with the status of a king or emperor. When I think about that, having the mind of Christ becomes much more difficult for me to do. In a world where so many are fighting to move up the ladder we might bring glory to God for moving down the ladder for the sake of someone else. Come on down! I hope I’ll see you on the way down the ladder!       Philip

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July 7, 2016, 9:25 AM

Running or Walking?


     If you are going to be successful at anything, we all know there is going to be some risk. That's why those of us who need to lose weight are told, “Consult a physician before starting an exercise program”.  That’s why most of us encourage our children or friends to seek some counseling before making a life changing decision such as a commitment to marry. It doesn’t matter what it is, investing in the stock market, starting a business, leaving one job for another one – everything we do has some element of risk! I knowI don’t want to live in a world where everyday outcomes were guaranteed. We have to understand the concept of risk and reward…..but, some people confuse a simple, healthy sense of challenge with the foolish tendency to tempt fate, I mean I don’t need to just do things to see what happens!

     In the next couple of weeks you will hear or see a good example of some folks that I think get those two things mixed up. The running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain will take place over the next few days. It is run daily at 8 am from July 7th through the 14th.  This spectacle has been held for hundreds of years and is broadcast on live TV in Spain. People from all over the world will “run with the bulls”.

     In one person's opinion, running through narrow streets to escape the charge of a half-dozen remarkably powerful and extremely unhappy bulls crosses the line of taking risks or seeking adventure. It's something very different from courage or bravery. I think it’s better called, flirting with disaster.

     If there is risk in exercising to lose weight to improve cardiac function, then smoking, overeating or drinking to excess is flirting with disaster. If danger lurks in the uncertain twists and turns of life in so many things we often try to mitigate the risk, to do things like this, I believe is to invite heartache. If sacrifice or even persecution is involved in the life-pilgrimage that is faith, as is promised by Jesus, you can imagine the risk for those who navigate this life without Him.

     So here is some advice I need. Don't live to your fears. Yes, there is always the possibility things won't work out. There are dangers ranging from potholes, (especially in Haskell) to cliffs on every highway of life. But the alternative to fear is not false courage at the bottom of a bottle or arrogance in making decisions. It is bold resolve rooted in humble faith.

     In your own life calculations, it might help to ask if the option you see is taking a risk or flirting with disaster, walking by faith or running with bulls. One is legitimate and holy; the other stands to leave you gored and bleeding.

 


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