Practice His Presence

"I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me."  Psalm 16:8

The Psalms are full of God's promise of presence.  He is constant and consistent with His power, provision, truth and grace.  We are, on the other hand, not as constant and consistent with our time and commitment toward Him.  I speak only for myself here because I know how my schedule can dictate my focus and how easily I can be distracted from God's presence with me.  Our world is one that is fast and we are a people who want everything now.  Drive thru is more of a norm than sit down dinners around a table.  Heads down looking at smart phones are more common than heads up looking, listening and speaking into each others' lives.  The climb toward success is more acclaimed than the path toward righteousness.  Our world is a very volatile and chaotic realm as Satan tries to disrupt our lives with worry, confusion, pride and distractions.

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God is Good, Period

"God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!"  We hear this phrase a lot, don't we?  You've heard me say it many times on Sundays, but today I want us to consider this, "Is my perception of God and His goodness based on my situations and circumstances?"

In Chip Ingram's book God: As He Longs for You to See Him, he states "What you think about God shapes your whole relationship with him.  In addition, what you believe God thinks about you determines how close you will grow toward Him."  So what is your perception of God?  Do you believe that He is for you?  Do you know that He knew you before you were ever born?  Do you know that He has made you for a purpose and that purpose is to do good?  Don't believe me?  Ephesians 2: 8-10 says, "God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."  So that clears that up doesn't it?

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Family

As we were going through our sermon series on idols and how to discern, expose and destroy them, one of the points made that stuck out to me was we, as believers and followers of the Way of Jesus, see, feel and do things differently than the rest of the world.  One of the analogies given by Tim Keller was that it's like you're at a party and you're having the best of times because you now see, feel, hear and know things that you hadn't seen, felt, heard or known before.  It's like you've been born all over again!  We are looking at a couple of weeks now of being in the family and expanding family ties as our youth embark on a couple of trips.

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A Mother's Love

May 14 has been Denise's and my anniversary for the past 21 years.  And it will continue to be our anniversary for the next however many years God gives us together.  This year on our anniversary we experienced another event that would remind us again of the precious life we've been given.  My Mother, Martha Ann Overton Wilson, passed from this life into the Life Eternal on May 14.  So this article is going to be one that takes a few different trails but will hopefully point us all to the goodness of God even in the midst of death.

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A Tribute to Our Seniors

May is always a busy month for those around our schools, be it teachers, students, parents or those connected in some other way.  It's a time when kids are counting down to summer.  Unfortunately for our schools, the summer break begins in June this year which shortens summer a bit.  But for a few students this will be the end of their journey that started way back in 1st grade, and we have the privilege of celebrating that major accomplishment with them!  Our four graduates, Leah Crawford, Madison Duncan, Hannah Littlepage and Ross Thomas, have had connections with this church as long or longer than they've been in school.  From VBS to Mission Trips and everything in between they've been a vital part of the life of our church, and we want to take a moment to tell them just how very proud of them we are and thankful for all the memories we've made together.

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First the Passion, Then the Celebration

Yes we're nearly there!  That day when we celebrate the risen Lord and His defeat of sin's power over us!  Leading up to the celebration, though, we sometimes lose sight of the brutality that our Savior endured for us.  At an annual gathering of area church youth groups we watch the "Passion of the Christ".  It's not a movie you sit down with a bowl of popcorn and watch for entertainment, but it is a movie that we feel should be watched over and over, especially around Easter due to the importance of its content.  As graphic as it may be, it likely depicts the most accurate account of Jesus' Passion.  It is very hard to watch, though; I agree.

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Affluenza

Yes, that is a new word that has yet to find its way into Webster’s dictionary, but is being used as a defense by some who find themselves beyond the realm of boundaries.  "Affluenza" is a term used for those that suffer from being extremely affluent, wealthy beyond just rich I guess, to the point of not following what we would call common sense guidelines.  If you haven’t heard of this yet then read about the defense team for a 16 year old who had killed four people and left two others seriously injured in Texas while driving drunk: Prior to sentencing, a psychologist called by the defense, Dr. G. Dick Miller,  testified that [Ethan] Couch's life could be salvaged with one to two years' treatment and no contact with his parents.  Miller said Couch's parents gave him "freedoms no young person should have.”  He called Couch a product of "affluenza”, where his family felt that wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences.  He said Couch got whatever he wanted.  As an example, Miller said Couch's parents gave no punishment after police ticketed the then 15-year-old when he was found in a parked pickup with a passed out, undressed, 14-year-old girl.  Miller also pointed out that Couch was allowed to drive at age 13.  He said the teen was emotionally flat and needed years of therapy.”

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