Phil Us Up!
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August 20, 2013, 3:36 PM

That was fast!

     Where did the summer go? Could it have gone by that fast? I guess the answers are, I don’t know and yes! On one hand it’s kind of sad, summer is over and its back to work for many of us. On the other hand it’s almost like New Year’s again! It’s a chance for a fresh start or a new beginning. I like “do overs” and starting school is a new beginning.

     The beginning of school also reminds me I will never stop learning. After elementary comes Jr. High, then High School. Most of us go on from there to more “school”. After all of that education I remember thinking, I was finally through, and I had arrived at my destination! I had to learn some more, in fact, learn that I never would STOP learning.

     Here is what Paul wrote to the church in Philippi; “I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal.”

     I like the idea Paul uses here when he says, “I am well on my way.” That’s maybe how I have to look at the start of another school year. I’m on my way! I’m not going to look back, I have a new start!  My eye is on the goal, where God wants me to go—to Jesus! One of the things Paul had to learn was to not look behind him, (he did have a shaky past) but to look forward. It’s my prayer all of us look to the new school year as an opportunity for a fresh start and a new beginning! Have a great week, and new school year! Onward!


July 25, 2013, 8:51 AM

Whats the point?

It seems to happen frequently. I hear an idea about something I believe I have figured out, it makes me think, and look from a new perspective. Sometimes it helps me understand things I already understand but in a new way. It happened again Sunday. John Foster said Sunday morning in our communion with God and each other, that the Bible was kind of an autobiography of God. The more I thought about that, the more I think I agree with it, and like it. Sometimes we think the point of our study and reading is to simply know more Bible. Maybe that’s not the way to look at it.

So what is the point of Bible study? I’d say it’s to know God. The scriptures tell God’s story and introduce us to Him. Knowing Him is the whole point of life.By "knowing Him" I don’t mean to say the Bible is just information, like you would know your school history text. Really "knowing" the God of the Bible means He will shape your very soul. He will recreate you in a new and exciting way!

I’m grieved by the culture I see frequently, where knowing the Bible is about being right, passing judgment, defending a position, memorizing data, supporting a political party, or one of many other imposter functions. I recall seeing a national newscast where a guy stood in a line of protestors at an abortion clinic. He was yelling while holding a sign with a huge Bible on it along with the words, "You're going to HELL, the Bible tells me so."  "Know God’s word in order to know God and He will bless you" would have been a much better pro-life message. John says “These things are written that you may believe and that by believing you might have life...”  Jesus says, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Micah says the LORD requires us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.

If knowing God's word doesn’t help you do that, what’s it for?

Have a great week!    Philip

July 1, 2013, 3:33 PM

God is Able

     It is already here! This Sunday we officially begin the 48th annual Praise Camp, Singing School! For many of us this year is special. The minister here in 1966 when Singing School started was T.J. Finley. Many questions about how it would work out were unanswered at the start of that first school 47 years ago. Here we are, still singing, still praising God. Brother Finley was quoted after that first year, “God willing, we’ll do it again next year.” I know this, God must have been willing!

     If you read the history of the school you get the idea no one really knew what to expect that first year. Would the church be able to continue, would the students keep on coming year after year? Well, today we know the answer to that question. God was not only willing, Our God is Able!

     What does the future hold for Haskell Praise Camp? Who knows? I know this; no one understands the impact this school has had for the past 47 years.  I know those attending will remember this week the rest of their lives. Friendships that will last for eternity are started here. Marriage relationships, even proposals have blossomed here at singing school. I know worship and praise for those here will never be the same. And I know this, Our God is Able!

     The theme song this year, Our God is Able fits this year’s version of singing school

God Is Able

He Will Never Fail

He Is Almighty God

Greater Than All We Seek

Greater Than All We Ask

He Has Done Great Things

Lifted Up He Defeated the Grave

Raised To Life Our God Is Able

In His Name We Overcome

For The Lord Our God Is Able!

    You are invited to our closing program July 12th at 6:30pm in the main auditorium.

     So many questions 47 years ago, and Brother Finley’s answer was always, “We can work it out.” With God’s hand, things have worked out for 48 years. This year when we sing “God is Able” I will think about so many of the things our God has done and is able to do. He will never fail; He is Almighty God, in His Name we overcome. For the Lord our God is able!

   Please say a prayer for T.J. Finley, he is at his home in Branson MO. receiving hospice care.

I love you all.



June 17, 2013, 11:51 AM

A Way of Life

     Some things about a road trip I really enjoy. To see and experience new places, to think about how different life would be living there. There is a place in north western New Mexico I have found to be very curious. It is out in the middle of nowhere off of highway 550. There appears to be only one dusty way in and out across a cattle guard. It’s not on any of my maps, but now I have now driven by it 4 times. If you do some research, and you will have to dig a little bit, you’ll discover Dzilth-na-o-dith-hle. It has the appearance, from the highway, of a closed community. Here is a picture of it. It’s the home of a Navajo charter school and health center. Johnny Henderson, who manages one of the dormitories, says “The Navajo don’t have a religion; we have a way of life.”

     It is difficult to find a Native American word for religion. The Navajo have a difficult time recognizing the division in our culture between the spiritual and the physical. Their religion is not a system of beliefs, in the way we usually think of religion. We have a tendency to compartmentalize our lives, spiritual here, physical here, makes it neat and tidy.

     I’m convinced there is a deep spiritual hunger in this country today. I believe most are not looking for a system of beliefs, but a way of life, a way that connects the physical, to the spiritual. When the world looks at us, much of the time they hear us speaking against this or that, and don’t see much living for anything. There seems to be a disconnect between our religion, and our way of living. It wasn’t like that in the beginning.

     Christianity started out, not just as a system of beliefs; but also a way of life. Christianity wasn’t just what they believed in; it was how they lived, it was who they were. It was first called “The Way”. To help early Christians follow “The Way”, they engaged in several things. Things we still do today, and others we don’t. Why do we, and did they, do these things? They understood and I hope we understand it takes practice to become who we want to be. Do you want to be a better Christian, grow in faith, give life meaning, and live the way God wants you to live? You have to train and practice.

     I have believed for many years that what happens during the two hours or so we are together can’t be the focus of our walk with God. It’s very important, but in the sense that it prepares us for us to walk “The Way” the rest of the week! It is my prayer each and every week we leave this place; we leave ready to do the work God has called us to do.

Have a great week!     Philip

“If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.” John 13:17


May 15, 2013, 3:07 PM

Do you have what it takes.......nope.

     There are times I wonder…….lots of times. You might think that the preacher always feels confident and sure about what he has to say. I often wonder to myself, do I have what it takes? Then I am reminded by the Apostle Paul what Jesus told him; "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." Many times we fall short of what God’s vision for us is because we conclude we don’t have what it takes. Or even worse, we find excuses lots of them. “I don’t have the financial resources, proper education, enough training, the right social standing or skills,” the list can go on and on. We are paralyzed by our own limitations and deficiencies.

     One of Satan’s most effective weapons against us is to fill our minds with what we don’t have, and all the ways we will surely fall short because we just don’t have what it takes! When I concentrate on what I don’t have its easy to forget God’s power in me is more than enough! God has a long history of using what little I may have, (and He even gave that to me) to accomplish His goals. When I hear……”Philip, you don’t have what it takes”, I’m going to agree, then realize, my greatest limitations is God’s greatest opportunity!

     When God asked Moses to lead His people out of Egypt he asked “What do you have” Moses answered “A staff”. What we would call a stick! When Jesus was going to feed thousands he asked the disciples, “What do you have?” A boy’s lunch was all they had. You see that kind of thing over and over again. THE QUESTION IS NOT, DO WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? Do we trust God to use our weakness so Christ power may rest on us! Our greatest weakness is God’s greatest strength!  Have a great week!     Philip


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