Phil Us Up!
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October 28, 2014, 9:20 AM

Party In Parking Lot

     I think this is the most difficult day of the year for those of us who generally really love holidays. I am always glad, not when it gets here but when it’s over. This Friday is Halloween, and this Wednesday night we have our annual “trunk or treat”. I like our party in the parking lot. Fun times, but I am always a little uneasy with the actual day, Halloween.

     I pretty sure we all have heard or read the pagan history of Halloween. I am aware of the issues that leave godly, sincere people on both sides of the discussion. Let me be clear: people on each side have valid points—points we need to consider—and each person has a responsibility to follow his or her convictions on this issue. But we all have an equal responsibility to ensure that our convictions align with biblical truth. And we have a responsibility to treat everyone—even those with whom we disagree—with respect and understanding.

     I do know this—we should never worship the devil on this or any day. Honoring him is the root of all idolatry. That must be avoided at all costs. Some have said that trick or treating or having some Halloween activity is doing just that. I don’t see it that way. I enjoy the dressing up! To see the creativity and imagination used I believe is to use gifts God gives. Who would think of dressing up as a black eyed pea? That takes imagination and creativity! If you don’t know what I am talking about you should have been here last Sunday night!

     I look forward to the positive interaction with every single one of our children that attend Wednesday evening classes. This week will be the only time all year all of us, get to speak and encounter each and every single one of them! On top of that, we get to elbow our way into the same action Bob Earls and Woody Turnbow get every week, giving each one of them something sweet and fun.

    It can also be a great teaching moment for our kids. One of the greatest skills we can teach them is to discern what is real and what is not. Now that’s a lesson we should try to teach each and every Halloween.  

   I understand those who don’t want to participate. I also understand those who will refuse to give Satan any claim on that day. I just don’t believe he has that kind of power. This week every day is made by God and for God. I will honor HIM!  Have a great week! If you can, join us in the parking lot this Wednesday! 


October 6, 2014, 2:12 PM

Do over!

      I really do love this time of year. After a long hot summer, we don’t have to look for, we have cooler days! It’s my favorite time of the football season too. Everyone plays or very soon will play those games that really count! It doesn’t matter what your record is, everyone gets to start over. I have always enjoyed “do overs”. An opportunity to start over can be a real blessing.

     I often hear our God is a God of second chances. That is certainly true, but I believe we should think of our God as a God of “more chances”. That’s a good thing because I have messed up lots of times on my first and my second chance! One of the amazing characteristics of our God is his incredible patience with us. The Psalmist says it this way; but you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. The prophet Micah says; Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

     There is something that comes along with another chance, at least as far as God is concerned. It’s not just for my benefit, it’s for others too. God calls us to clothe ourselves with the same character traits He has. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

     He constantly gives us another chance, and calls us to do the same. In fact Jesus sternly warns those who choose not to forgive will not be forgiven.

   I am reminded of one other thing I must understand. The forgiven are called to a life of repentance. A “do over” means I am committed to doing better. That is exactly what Jesus asks us to do with our “do overs”.

       Remember in John 8 when some respected men brought to him a woman caught in the act. She was really needing a BIG “do over”. After they said they knew what should happen, Jesus says "Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." Did you see it? It’s right there! Right after the “do over” is the “do better”, he says leave your life of sin. DO BETTER!

   I am so thankful we serve a God that is generous with “do overs”! I hope I will understand the responsibility that always comes with them, DO BETTER! Have a great week! If you need some “do overs”, well, take ‘em and do better!


September 3, 2014, 2:00 PM

It's not the size of the dog.......

     I am glad September is here, for several reasons. I hope the end of hot weather is coming soon, I’m thankful school is started back. But most of all the sports of summer are winding down and fall sports are here! I get asked by someone every week; “Who’s going to win? The newspapers and sports TV folks and radio commentators will spend hours telling us who is going to win and why. Someone said once, “The battle isn’t always won by the strongest or fastest… but that’s the way to choose the winner.” Sure seems that way, doesn’t it? I grin and chuckle when it turns out the other way.

     When I read the Bible it seems more often than not to show me something else. You see Moses walking into the presence of a King, and all he has is a stick! You see Gideon going up against thousands and thousands with an army of three hundred! You see David going out to face a giant, all he has is a sling and some small rocks! It happens like that over and over again in God’s word!

     A famous coach once said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog!” Now I like that, but for us, in the biggest fight of our lives what we need is more God in us for the fight!

     The Bible’s main message is this: The winner is with God. God is bigger and stronger than anyone else. Paul writes in Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?” When  God says,  " my power is made perfect in weakness"… Paul concludes, “when I am weak, then I am strong”… you know what he’s talking about! Now that is a truth that will help me choose the winner!

An old song asks for a closer walk with God, and here is what I know, there is power when I walk with Jesus. There is power to be found in living close to God. Let’s sing together with the kids, I AM weak… but He is strong.

Have a great week!  


10-04-2014 at 8:04 PM
Marian Rowe
Iwas looking for a phone #,,,,but found a beautifu home page and a timley encouragement message.
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August 12, 2014, 9:54 AM

Every 1020 Seconds


     I am told every 17 minutes someone commits suicide in the USA. It’s the leading cause of death among those between 15 and 25 years old. I believe we can all agree, suicide is always a tragedy. One of the most disturbing statistics for me is this; it’s the 6th leading cause of death for those aged from 5 to 14. Our hearts simply ask why, and the answer never comes.

     I can’t help but think whatever the age, those who take their own life, believe their lives are not worth living. Despair, depression, hopelessness, self-hatred; these are the killers. The news last night and this morning is that Robin Williams fought a losing battle with depression.

     When I was a child growing up in rural America, it was an occasional question. Can suicide be forgiven? It always included discussions about mental health, repentance and the few incidents (six I think) of taking one’s life in the Bible.  I haven’t found where any of those six are condemned for taking their life. For those who ask the question about forgiveness, I think the burden is for those who would deny grace.  What sin cannot be washed away by the blood of Jesus? Taking one’s life is tragic, but not unforgiveable.

     Paul writes in Romans, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship? 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.

     I believe we as Christians should spend less time worrying about whether Christians who take their own lives are going to heaven, and worry more about how can we help people find the joy of living, especially in Christ! The most important thing for me is not the morality of suicide, but can I help those who struggle with the things that drive them to that tragic end. The question is not what’s going to happen to them in eternity, but can I help today? I know Jesus cares, and so should we.

I choose to LOVE LIFE this week.


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July 16, 2014, 9:16 AM

They laugh at us

The longer I live on God’s earth the more my perspective changes. I think that’s what’s supposed to happen. When your perspective changes, what you see changes. I am not nearly as distressed as I used to be when I see the world today in conflict with Christianity. It’s that way because their perspective is different. It used to bother me when the world made fun of “believers”. They did it and do it because of their perspective. Here is what Paul writes to the church in Corinth.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

It is remarkable how people with different perspectives can see the same thing in such opposite ways. The cross makes no sense if looked at through a worldly view. But….if looked at through believing eyes you get a totally different view.

   In Jesus’ day, the world knew the cross was for criminals, insurgents and the like. Those first believers saw something different, and it made a difference. Paul would go on to tell the brothers and sisters in Corinth that it actually pleases God to use the folly of what we preach to bring salvation to those who believe. His folly is wiser than man’s wisdom. The world says death; especially death on the cross is final. God says that Jesus’ death on the cross is the POWER OF GOD to save. What a huge difference perspective makes. The world says PROVE IT, God says believe it.

   The truth in all this is this, it turns the world upside down, the last become the first, the weak become the powerful, and the poor become the rich, and the world will never see it. The Jews of Jesus’ day knew that anything hung on a tree was a curse! Christians preached it and actually celebrated it!  Paul would say to the Galatians, “Jesus became a curse so that we might be redeemed!” If it were not so important, it would almost be funny.

     The world will only see things differently when their perspective changes.  Until that happens, they laugh, they think they understand and they call us foolish. From God’s perspective, the world’s wisdom is just folly.

     The world says strength is in numbers and power, and God has always used the weak and powerless to overcome. The world says the strong will conquer. God says Jesus has already conquered everything……even death…death on a cross.

And the world laughs.


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