Phil Us Up!
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December 20, 2013, 10:03 AM

Go tell it!


     I wonder how we would have done it. How would we have spread the news about a baby king being born? Today, we would use all kinds of social media to share that kind of information.  Well, 2013 years ago that wasn’t an option. So what would you do? I wonder who would have come up with the plan to send some messengers out into the fields to share the news with some shepherds. What a ridiculous idea! LOL (as we would say with social media). I wonder if there is a message there for us as to why God would choose shepherds.

     History tells us that the area around Jerusalem was very important in the production of lambs, lambs that were going to be used for sacrifices in the Temple. Once a year every Jewish family was going to go to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices in the Temple for their sins. And the animal of choice was a lamb. Most families didn’t bring a lamb from home they purchased one after they arrived in Jerusalem. These shepherds understood something we might not think about. They knew about sacrifice. Every lamb they helped birth would be taken to town someday, and used as a sin sacrifice. I think they understood how terrible sin was, with every lamb born. Very likely, they were not experts in the law, but they were experts on sacrifice. Maybe that’s what God had in mind sharing the news with simple shepherds first. The Lamb was here, and would someday be taken to town to be sacrificed for our sins.

After they get the news, something interesting occurs. There’s no discussion, just this statement. "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

No discussion, nothing about how it didn’t make sense, about the theological implications, just “Let’s go”. Another journey of faith recorded in God’s word begins, off to Bethlehem they go!  Think about that for a minute, they had to leave their sheep. They had to leave everything they had worked for to see this thing that had happened. With simple trusting faith they went. They were ready to hear what God had said. My prayer is we are like those simple shepherds, just ready to hear and listen to God. That’s the only way we will ever get the word out!  Have a great week! Philip

Luke 2:10-11

            But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

 

    




November 20, 2013, 1:30 PM

I found a great place to eat!


 

     When we find a good place to eat, one of the first things I do is to tell someone about it. Even better, is to take someone with me there to eat. Wonder why that is? I guess there is something in us that wants others to experience the same good we have. Those of us who were able to share soup, salad and desserts last night had a great time and some great food!

     In Luke’s account of the goings on in the first church, he tells us this in Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The word we translate here as “fellowship” can also be translated, communion or partnership. I think the idea Luke is trying to get across is these new believers had found a good place to eat! Both spiritual food and physical food, and it was so good, they wanted to share it with everyone else.

     There is a lesson here, sort of a self-check kind of lesson. When you are walking with God, you will want to be with God’s people. When you are not walking with God, you won’t want to be around God’s people. When it was as good as last Sunday night, well you want to share it with everyone. Food, fellowship, and God’s word! Fellowship is praying together, serving together, growing together, and ageing together. These are the fibers of good fellowship.

     Just a few verses later, Luke tells us some of the results of all that teaching, fellowship, eating and prayer. It was so good they shared it with everyone they could, and God added to their number daily!

 “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

     Hey! Did I tell you, I found a great place to eat! Come join us!

Have a great week! Philip




October 15, 2013, 9:19 AM

Belief-Faith


What are they, what’s the difference? I think if you ask most folks, what faith is, or what belief is, the answer will not be, well there's not much difference. The thing is they are so related, so close in meaning, many think they are the same. Different translations often use the two words interchangeably which is often confusing. So what is belief? Here is a good definition; a judgment or opinion in which a person is fully persuaded. Beliefs, simply stated, are things we are convinced of. Faith is something different. Faith includes our beliefs, but it is bigger than our beliefs, it requires action. If our beliefs do not move us to action, then there is no faith. James says it like this. “Faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity” (CEB) Do you see how belief and faith are interrelated? The difference is subtle but critical. When we believe the truth with enough confidence to act, we exercise our faith! Jesus says it doesn’t take much faith for stuff to happen even miraculous stuff! (Matt. 17:20) I often hear lots of religious talk about what someone believes. Here is what I observe. Religious talk desires something to happen—faith expects something to happen. Religious babble talks about prayer—faith spends time in prayer. Lots of Christians want lots of stuff from God—“faithers” anticipate provision and supply from God! Many of us live in a state of want, with no trust. Faithers live lives filled with action, expecting God to move mountains! Faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen. I spent way too much effort at times telling others what I believe instead of acting on what I believed, and watching God Move Mountains. God shows up when His people act in faith. Now you tell me, what’s the difference between belief and faith? Mountains that move! Have a great week. Philip




October 7, 2013, 10:04 AM

Finally!


     I read an article about great quarterbacks that never won the "big one". Players like Warren Moon, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly. My favorite was not on that particular list, his name is Elisha. His professional career kind of mirrored his college days. He always played on a team, well, that was just not very good. But that didn’t seem to matter to Elisha. He just kept on playing and setting all kinds of records. In the first, prime time nationally televised college game Elisha threw for 436 yards and ran for another 106. His team lost by one point. 33-32. Later someone asked him why he kept trying so hard and playing so well when it seems to rarely pay off with victory, “I just love the game, and always gave my best.”

     It’s easy to love the game when we are winning, when we are getting the recognition for success. In the years or the times in our lives when it appears we are not successful it’s tempting to take some time off. To maybe allow our spiritual fervor to drop off a little bit. God calls us to be steadfast in our spiritual fervor every day, especially on those days when it seems not to pay off with victory. Paul writes at the end of Ephesians, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

He encourages us to be strong in God’s mighty power, not our own, especially when it might look like a losing battle. Immediately following that admonition he calls on us to put on the whole armor of God. He would have told Elisha to put on a champions uniform every time you go out on the field!

     I wonder if I display the same passion every time out, even if it looks like there is no prospect of immediate reward? My prayer is for God to give me a passion and love for His Kingdom every day, especially on those days I wonder if I am on the winning team.

     It worked out pretty good for Peyton and Eli’s dad.  It probably will for us too. Have a great week.  

Philip

 




September 10, 2013, 9:32 AM

Quack Quack


   It’s a real, modern, “rags to riches” story. I admit at first I wasn’t tempted at all to start watching Duck Dynasty. I had no idea. Today if you see the preacher trying to get out of the building quickly on Wednesday nights I admit it’s because there is a new episode on, and I am hooked. Over 12 million of us hurried home to watch the start of the 4th season last month.

    If you haven’t seen it it’s a reality TV program about a family in Louisiana that makes and sells duck calls. The story began many years ago with the patriarch of the family Phil Robertson. Years ago, Phil kicked his wife, Kay and kids out of his house in a drunken rage. He was more interested in partying and hunting than parenting.  Sometime later he came to his senses and wanted to come home. Kay took him back under these conditions, he had to stop drinking and give up his rowdy friends. Life began to change for Phil Robertson. He did the things Kay insisted on, began Bible studies and was baptized into Christ at the age of 28.

     I enjoy the crazy stunts the family boys are always getting into as much as the next viewer. “Redneck” water parks and catching lizards with the Louisiana flour trap are really funny. Now that’s entertainment! For me the question is, why are the Robertson’s so wildly popular today? How popular? They are the most watched program on cable TV of ALL TIME.

     Here is my theory, and I hope it’s true. Every episode revolves around family. Every episode has a plot with everyday relationships and the tension those create. We all can relate because we all experience them! Whether its sibling, marital, or parental, these relationships play out on the screen, and the Robertson’s act surprisingly decent and respectful. I hope America has grown tired of the dysfunction that is part of nearly every TV program. Most of us don’t need to turn on the TV to see that played out; too often it’s happening in our own homes or at least down the street. The Robertson’s remind us we can solve our differences without yelling or worse. We don’t have to have a revolving door of relationships that wreck our lives. Phil Robertson and his family remind us that family indeed can work.

     I think what Phil would say, (and this Phil is saying) family works best when people follow God’s design for it. Faith in Jesus guides them, and should guide us. The traditional family WORKS! That goes against the liberal bias of today’s media, but the Robertson’s are making it work! The most valuable thing the Duck Commanders are selling is not duck calls, its family values rooted in faith! And that’s the fact…….Jack. Have a great week.

Redneck, Phil Sims


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