Don't Be Deceived

We just had master illusionist Harris III visit our community to perform at school assemblies and an evening event for everyone.  His message to the students and adults was clear, "Don't be deceived!"  He reminded us of how we are bombarded with over 4000 messages a day via several avenues telling us we'll be happy and complete if we do this or wear that or drive their car or look this way.  His illusions were, as he told us, tricks of diverting your attention or tricks on your senses, and he was very good at it.  He was very honest that what he was doing were tricks and that he had no special powers and could not read minds.  Harris was skilled at his craft but he knew that there is an ultimate truth that sets us free.

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I recently watched a video of Ashton Kutchar's acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards.  It was somewhat of a surprise to see and hear that over the years he has learned that life is a gift.  It may have been his recent work on the movie about Steve Jobs life or maybe it's just who he has always been but afraid to share.  Whatever the reason, I believe that the advice he gave to those watching was good advice, but he left out one major component.  God was never mentioned, even though all that he said were principles that God has given us.  I'm not hating on Ashton, or Chris as he revealed was his name for 19 years of his life before acting became his new and full time profession.

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Lord, I Need You!

Matt Maher has a song out by the title "Lord, I Need You" that I really like.  There's a vimeo video with lyrics that we've shown during worship here too.  I love these songs that speak to the depths of our being.  It's part of how we're made I think.  Some music makes you want to dance, "Cray Button" by Family Force Five is fresh on my mind as well as the minds of some lucky middle school students who can show you a dance that goes with it.  Or maybe you've heard the popularity of Skillet who recently bridged the gap into the top of Billboards charts as they continue to gain popularity in the heavy metal section of music.  And then there's the pop sounds of Mandisa and Britt Nicole, and the Hip Hop and Rap of Lecrae and Toby Mac, and the southern soft rock of Third Day, Rhett Walker Band and MercyMe.  I guess I could go on and on about how different types of music influence us and help us through different times of life.

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God is Good All the Time

We hear this phrase a lot don't we?  God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!  You have heard me say it almost every Sunday, but I want to challenge you and me to think and 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, "8 God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  10 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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A miracle is a divine act by which God reveals himself to people.  The classical definition of miracle assumes that it is contrary to natural law, but this is not true.  Many of the miracles of the Bible, such as the wind that parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21), used nature rather than bypassed it.  Understanding this does not take away from the awesomeness of a miracle.  The timing and content of the process can be miraculous, even though the event may seem a part of nature.  The significance is God's presence and revelation.  God performed miracles not merely as a "wonders" to inspire awe but as a "signs" to draw people to himself.  (Illumina Bible Encyclopedia)

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Thanks for 20 Awesome Years

May 14th will mark 20 years that Denise and I have been married, and its hard to imagine what my life would have been without her.  I'm actually having to fight back tears right now as I write this.  I know that's hard for y'all to believe.  She has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, except for Jesus of course, but in her I see and hear Jesus!  I know how much I am loved because of her.  I would not have done anything that God has led me to do without Denise's wisdom, discernment and encouragement.  She has taught me to be a better husband, father, son, brother, papa and man over these 20 years and we have not just endured life together, we have enjoyed life together.  I can honestly say that I am more in love with her today than I was 20 plus years ago!  Thank you so much Denise for choosing me to be your husband!

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Bought with a Price

"For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.  And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.  It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.  God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.  Through Christ you have come to trust in God.  And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.  You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.  Love each other deeply with all your heart.  For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end.  Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God."  1 Peter 1:18-23

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