August 2011

This is a long entry but I think you will enjoy it when you are preparing your sermons.

Repost: 20 Scripture Twisting Techniques Up front I will acknowledge that this is a copy and past article I grabbed from the website. Fighting for the FAith/Pirate Christian Radio is a podcast that takes the time to compare what people are saying in the name of God to the word of God. Its an excellent podcast, though I suggest that you come at with some pretty thick skin because it tends to be pretty forthright and unapologetic in its pursuit of proclaiming Bibli … Read More

via Youthguyerik's Blog

When we are met head on by our mistakes, it is sometimes impossible to pick up and resume “just like nothing happened,” especially when we must admit that we have hurt a dear friend.   Even though I deeply hurt a good friend some years back, she was determined to maintain me as a companion.  She went out of her way to see my side.  I was aware that she traveled an extra distance to help me be comfortable and to include me in family gatherings.

That’s grace and it isn’t cheap. It cost my friend a lot.  True grace always costs a price.  We shouldn’t be surprised that it’s the injured party who must not only satisfy the bill but fork over the tip. 

Extravagant mankind has waltzed into the most expensive restaurant in town and ordered the most lavish meal on the menu.  We’ve feasted on appetizers and indulged ourselves with dessert.  But we can’t pay the cashier because we are bankrupt.  We have no cash.  They won’t honor our checks.  Our credit cards have been revoked.  When we realize we can’t pay the bill, we don’t meekly ask for forgiveness.  We yell and make an ugly scene screaming how unfair life is.

No matter how verbal we become, the fact remains.  Someone must pay.  Jesus is our Savior Redeemer.  He is a gracious friend who wants to help and bail us out from our distress.  Making restitution for our thoughtless words and deeds was not easy.  It cost a monumental price.  His life.

I hate cheap grace.  But I shall be eternally grateful to a Savior who didn’t feel it was too hard a price to pay in order to buy me back.  I’m also thankful for my gracious friend who was willing to pay the price to buy back my friendship even though she was the injured party. 

I am equally grateful that 22 years ago the Lord introduced me to the mentally challenged community.  These men and women hold God’s love as a prize to be cherished, and never wasted.   That’s grace.

I hate cheap grace.

A wealthy farmer in a small town in South Carolina bought his son a new red BMW for his sixteenth birthday.  The boy took the car out one night, got drunk and totalled it.

The next day, this father took the errant son to the car dealer and purchased another BMW; but this time made him settle for a black one as punishment.  That’s cheap grace.

A young mother who knew that her daughter became hyper and obnoxious when she ate sugar and sugar products allowed herself to be coerced into buying the five-year old a candy bar because she started to scream in the store.  “I can’t stand to have her cry.  I just love her too much,” the mother told the cashier.  That’s cheap grace.

The Baptist Sunday school teacher proclaimed, “Now that we’ve been saved, we can do anything we want to do.”  That’s cheap grace.

Randy Stonehill, a contemporary songwriter penned,

You’ll be tempted, tried and tested.

There’ll be wars the devil wins,

But God’s love is not a license

To lie down in your sins.

He understands the human heart.

His mercy is complete.

But his grace is not intended

As a place to wipe your feet.

Too often the Church has said by our actions that God’s grace is no longer a valuable commodity but that is a lie.

Several years ago I hurt a close friend by saying some thoughtless remarks in front of others.  While I realized at the time she was wounded, I didn’t comprehend the extent of damage my words had done until several weeks later.  She was deeply hurt by the inappropriate words.  When the extent of the damage was drawn to my attention, I apologized and I tried to go back to make restitution but months had passed. I knew that the opinions of other people had been formed based on my faulty information.  A relationship which had taken 10 years to build was severely damaged by my careless tongue.

While we both resolved to begin again, things were different.  Friendship must be built on mutual trust. When that trust is broken, the two parties have to determine to repair the breach.  Is there an invisible guard up when I was around?  I had to admit that I would have a shield up, if I were she.  I had not valued her friendship enough to watch my tongue.

Knowing that I’ve injured her made me leery of making the same mistake again.  I was not the injured party; yet, I became acutely aware that I was the one who is hindering the openness of our past relationship. I was too careful out of concern for making the same mistake.  At times, I became defensive when it wasn’t necessary. 

She forgave me.  But it took me years to walk through the process of accepting her forgiveness and forgiving myself.

Our relationship with God is much the same.  While the foundation and building stones were mined solely from God’s unmerited favor, His grace, we aren’t given free reign to do as we choose.

There are consequences to each word and deed.  Seeds are sown.  Habits are formed. Cheap grace may exist in the worldly system where we dwell; but God’s grace is never cheap.   His only Son paid a great price for the grace so generously offered to us. 

I have found the mentally challenged community holds grace as a uniquely precious commodity much more precious than diamonds or jewels.  They may not be able to explain what grace is but they are able to embrace God’s grace hungrily, devouring God’s love in the same extravagant way that it is given.  That’s not cheap grace.

This isn’t video week but this is a great video.  Thanks to the folks who send me these gems.

Your Parents are Important In your Life

Ephesians 6:1

The third week in May 2004

Central Theme:  You are to learn to be friends with your parents.

Introduction–A choir member years ago told me that his mother was of the devil because she made him clean the bathroom when he dirtied it.  I told him to call her and apologize.  Have a member read Ephesians 6:1.

       I.     Jesus was a boy but he was God.

          A. His parents didn‘t understand or respect him.

          B. He was patient with them and he helped them to understand him.

      II.     You are in a bad position.  An adult but you live a home.

              A. Seeking independence; but you need special guidance in many things.

              B. Pulled by professionals to GROW UP; but your parents will have to fix any messes you make while learning hard lessons.

    III.     Talk to your parents.

              1.  Always side with them, even against your favorite paid companion.

              2.  You know they don’t know everything; but you also need wisdom to help them understand you.

                   A.      Richard Stimson said that when he became an adult he started talking with his dad and asked about the things that he didn’t understand.   

Conclusion      Parents are to be honored and loved.  We can work to help them understand us.

This is such an important concept.  Would you show this to your members?  Would they understand? Could it be used as part of your sermon or all of it?

“When do we close our  Special Gathering program?” ss a questions that is often asked, even among ourselves.  Because our members are medically fragile as well as mentally challenged, it is a question that needs to be asked.  There are several guidelines that we use:

  1. Has public transportation closed down?  In Brevard County, the SCAT lines close when the winds are 45 mph.  If the pubic transit systems have closed, we close. 
  2. If the winds are 45 mph, we close.
  3. If extreme weather is expected to hit the day of our program, we close.  We don’t usually close, if the electricity is off in many areas.  If the facility or church where we meet is open, then we will meet.
  4. If the facility where we meet is closed or we are requested to not meet, then we will close.  This, however, has never happened.

As you surmise, weather is the main determining factor of when we close.  We have never closed for a death.  Because, health and safety is our primary focus, we will close when it has been determined for one reason or another that our members will be in danger.

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