Saved By Grace

Saved By Grace
Born-Again

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Perspectives



Perspectives

 

 

Sometimes I need to take a deep breath and slowly exhale. Little things can grow into full-blown catastrophes if I allow them to. Here is a short story that I’ve heard several times and Tuesday morning, Joyce Meyer used it as part of her teaching. I really don’t think I will insert a joke with this, because if viewed from the right perspective, it is actually pretty funny. This is a story about a daughter writing to her mother and father after her first three months of college.

 

 

Dear Mother and Dad:

It has been three months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing and I am very sorry for my thoughtlessness in not having written before. I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down. You are not to read any further unless you are sitting down, okay.

Well then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire shortly after my arrival are pretty well healed by now. I only spent two weeks in the hospital and now I can see almost normally and only get those headaches once a day.

Fortunately, the fire in the dormitory and my jump was witnessed by an attendant at the gas station near the dorm, and he was the one who called the Fire Dept. and the ambulance. He also visited me at the hospital and since I had nowhere to live because of the burnt out dormitory, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. It's really a basement room, but it's kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married. We haven't set the exact date yet.

I know you will welcome him into the family with open arms. He is kind and although not well educated, he is ambitious.  He is of a different religion than ours, I know that your oft-expressed tolerance will not permit you to be offended by his radical religious beliefs.

Now that I have brought you up to date, I want to tell you there was no dormitory fire; I did not have a concussion or a skull fracture; I was not in the hospital; I am not engaged, however, I am getting a D in sociology and an F in science; and I wanted you to see these marks in proper perspective.

Your loving daughter

 I thought this was pretty funny and a good lesson in learning which battles need to be fought and which ones need just a little attention.

Much love, Dennis

 

 

Much love, Dennis

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Healthy

I've had some health issues lately and have not posted on my blog. Things are much better now and I hope to get back in the saddle again soon.

Much love, Dennis

Sunday, November 9, 2014

PC = BS


 
It frustrates me to see what our Constitutional Freedom of Speech has become in the name of Politically Correctness. Our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. It does not say that we can be limited in what we say because it might offend someone. I know that we have laws concerning libel and slander. I'm sure that there are instances where libel and slander are used and those that use them should be held accountable for lies spoken or written. In today's world we find that our "Freedom of Speech Right" has many more teeth than it should have. The latest story that has bothered me is listed below. Am I the only one who believes that getting your feelings hurt is not a legal matter?

 I'm having trouble with my computer, Try this link to view the video.
 http://youtu.be/xTmp119b878

Much love , Dennis



 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tithing in Today's World

My pastor, Rich Redinger spoke about tithing today. I believe, as he does, that thithing still applies to us even though the New Testament does not use the word as it was in the Old Testament. This reminded me of a story that I read and it is said to be true.

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one-hundred thousand, and one- hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six-hundred thousand dollars to the Church.
  He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, "This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six-hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!"
The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, "What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?" "No," said the minister. "I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!" 
It's easy to see where this man's heart was.

I believe that you can include several things into what we call "tithing". Of course money, volunteering time in direct service to others in the name of God, charity with your possessions, performing normally monetary services and doing it free of charge.
I think that this is partially explained in this New Testament Scripture.
1st Timothy 6:17-21
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.


20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
Much Love, Dennis

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Funny Football

Saturday was a rough day for Oklahoma's 2 major college football teams. I like to see them both win and on the occasions that they play each other I normally have a favorite. OSU forgot to tell their offense what time the game started. They struggled all day with their offense and were only able to score with 3 field goals.


The OU Sooners didn't play terrible, most of the time. However they had their moments of "DUH".  The field-goal kicker could've tied the game in the 4th quarter, but the PAT was blocked. The Sooners had an opportunity to take the lead with 3:53 left in the game. The kicker, arguably the best in the big 12 missed a 19 yard field-goal that would have given OU a 2 point lead. It's a tough loss, but it is college football. It's not the end of the world. I looked at twitter on Sunday and found out that there are many people who are blaming the kicker. I understand that some people are going to be Monday morning quarterbacks, but resorting to using Twitter to convey death threats is just despicable. I now have noticed that some of the comments on twitter have been removed. It would be nice to know who removed them and their reasoning for doing it.
Much Love, Dennis

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Public Speaking



There was an old country preacher who had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought along the line of choosing a profession. Like many young men, then and now, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do- and he didn't seem overly concerned about it. 

One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. What he did was, he went into the boy's room and placed on his study table these three objects: a Bible, a silver dollar, and a bottle of whiskey.



"Now then," the old preacher said to himself, "I'll just hide behind the door here, and when my son comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which of these three objects he picks up. If he picks up the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be o.k. too. But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a drunkard - a no-good drunkard and Lord, what a shame that would be."

The old man was anxious as he waited, and soon he heard his son's footsteps as he came in the house whistling and headed back to his room. He deposited his books on the bed, as a matter of routine, and as he turned around to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table.

With a curious set in his eye, he walked over to inspect them. What he finally did was, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink...
"Lord have mercy," the old man whispered, "He's going to be a politician!"

I have friends who are politicians and I hope they don't think this is directed at anyone in particular.

I am beginning to feel very comfortable speaking in public, sharing my faith and explaining my circumstances. There are occasions when my voice will become very weak and I really don't understand why. Fortunately, I have never had a problem on the occasions where I publicly share. A couple of times at our weekly FCA meetings, my voice has diminished. That is not too much of a problem because I am in a secondary leadership position. Linda is the sponsor and the primary leader.
I recently spoke at an event sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It was a collaboration of several FCA groups from different towns and it was also open to the public. The day before I was to speak, my voice began to deteriorate. I prayed that I would be able to be understood and just before I was introduced, my friend Max prayed over me, asking for my message to be heard and understood.
As I began to speak, my voice was not any better. I can normally stringing together 4-6 words before taking a breath. That night for most of the time 2 words were all I could put together. I had to cut short much of what I had planned on saying.
I really felt like I had let down the Lord, the people in attendance and those who are part of the group that I help with in Fairview. When Cheri and I returned home, I told her that I was very disappointed in myself.
I'm very thankful to have a wife who listens to God. She reminded me that as Christians we have an enemy, Satan.
 John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that you may have life, and have it to the full

I was actually allowing Satan to steal my joy and it was my decision whether or not to accept my attempt at speaking as a success or a failure. I had spent many hours composing and revising what I had planned for that evening. I did my best and that is what God was expecting me to do.
It was kind of like I was standing at the edge of a tall building, getting ready to jump into a huge pity party. I thank God for my wife and her advice in this situation. There was no pity party that night or any time since then. I did my best and I am counting on God to handle the things that I could not do that evening. I am going through the valley, but I'm not setting up camp and staying in the valley. I continuing my journey on through.
Much love, Dennis

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fellowship of Christian Athletes


I had the opportunity to listen to a young man this week, Dillon Zimmerman. He graduated from Fairview High School in 2005. He is now a pastor at the Sojourn Church in Enid. I've known him since he was in Junior/High School. He has always been a quiet, unassuming and polite individual. Dillon excelled in all of his sports endeavors and was an excellent student.

I had played pickup basketball many times with him. Pickup basketball is sometimes used as an opportunity to talk trash with your opponents. I can't remember a time that Dillon took advantage of that opportunity. I think it was something that he learned from his parents.


The Fairview chapter of the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes (FCA) sponsored an event where I was able to listen to someone who had been molded and used by God to Pastor a church. He was no longer the quiet young man that I remembered, but someone who was on fire for God. He still had that humble spirit, and competitive fire in his eyes but now there was a more focused vision in those eyes. I know that in the future I will be hearing more from Dillon and his family and by more I mean good things. You can find more information about Dillon and the church he pastors at
http://sojournenid.org/index.php
Much love, Dennis

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Wife, I think I'll keep her.


Several years ago my dad enclosed our patio creating a 13' x 28' room with many large windows looking out over our backyard. That is why I get to watch the birds and squirrels do their thing. The room started out with nice wicker furniture and my computer desk in the corner so that I can sit at the computer and still see outside. Over the last 2 years, my "Man Cave" has evolved into a "Man Corner". We now have a retro 70s room. This room has my grandmother's stereo cabinet that plays 8 tracks, AM/FM radio, and records. It will do 45s, 78s, 33 1/3s, and 16s. I
I wasn't even aware that there was a 16 revolution record. My grandmother is very meticulous and this unit looks and plays like it was brand-new. I did some checking and it was manufactured in 1968.
Cheri has retro couch and coffee table along with a old dinette set with 4 very old wooden chairs.
There is a dial type telephone and many other retro items.
I assumed that my computer and desk were going to be safe from Cheri's obsession. I assumed wrong. I now have a lime green box that holds my charging cords, docking station, and external hard drive.
It is nice having that spiderweb of cords hidden but I was hoping for something different. Oh well, I guess I can live with a new computer in a 70s motif.
Much love, Dennis

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Vacation

Cheri was on vacation this past week. We made several daily road trips so that we would always be back home in the evening. Our destinations included Watonga, Clinton, Enid, Oklahoma City and Dell City. We went to a Route 66 car museum in Clinton, antique stores, antique malls, and we also found time to check out some antique shops.
There were plans to make it to Elk City to check out another car museum. We had to bypass Elk City because of a couple of unscheduled stops. I think they were shops selling vintage items, I'm not certain because I was feeling a little woozy due to sensory overload. :-)

Actually, we had a enjoyable week. While in Oklahoma City Cheri wanted to stop at Garden Ridge. Just inside the front door three young ladies that we go to church with came up to me to say Hi. It's nice to see friends in places many miles from home. The aisles were wide and most places were easily accessible for me, however
    ["I am an excellent driver"]. (Movie reference)
We didn't stay very long but Cheri did find a picture frame that she liked.
While she was in line waiting to be checked out I drove near the exit. From behind me I could hear a little boy crying very loud. I turned to get a better view and saw a young boy probably about 6 years old and his mother who was dragging him towards the doors. He was still crying and I could now see that he was pointing at me. Before they made it through the automatic doors he exclaimed 3 times "BUT HE SCARED ME"  al the while using his other hand to point at me.

I normally have pretty thick skin when it comes to people staring or assuming that I can't hear when they speak about me. For some reason this time really got to me. I've never seen anyone that was truly afraid of me. When we got to the van, I ask Cheri if she had heard the little boy crying. She had, but it's not unusual for young kids to act up in public. I told her the story and that it was really troubling to me. My wife is very good about helping me to put things in their proper perspective.
She said that God has a plan for my life and that Satan would like to steal the Joy that is in me. I knew she was right and that I am responsible for who and what determines my attitude. Right then I decided to "Get over It". It wasn't an instantaneous process, but after sleeping on it, I am over it and it is just another funny circumstance for me to blog about. :-)
Much love, Dennis

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ATTEMPTED HUMOR


    I thought it was time for a post containing only "attempted humor".  Here are some clever church signs.

  
    Free Trip to heaven. Details Inside!
    Try our Sundays. They are better than Baskin-Robbins 
    Searching for a new look? Have your faith lifted here!  
     
      
     
      
      Come in and pray today. Beat the Christmas rush! 
      Sign broken. Message inside this Sunday. 
      Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of this world. 
      
       Under same management for over 2000 years 
       
      
       
       Reputation is what people think about you. Character is what people know you are 
       Don't give up. Moses was once a basket case! 
      Come early for a good Back seat 
      Seven days without prayer makes one weak 
      No Jesus - no peace, Know Jesus - know peace! 
      Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due.


Here are some church bulletin bloopers

      1) Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children. 
      2) The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church. 
      4) Evening massage - 6 p.m. 
      5) The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning. 
      6) The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession. 
      7) Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door. 
      8) Ushers will eat latecomers. 
      9) The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment. 
      10) For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs. 
      11) The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience. 
      12) The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy." 
      13) During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit. 
      14) Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience." 
      15) Due to the Rector's illness, Wednesday's healing services will be discontinued until further notice.


Here are some clever church signs and newspaper listings

     To make it possible for everyone to attend church this Sunday, we are going to have a special "No Excuse Sunday": 
       
      Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, "Sunday is my only day to sleep in." 
       
      There will be a special section with lounge chairs for those who feel that our pews are too hard. 
       
      Eye drops will be available for those with tired eyes from watching TV late Saturday night. 
       
      We will have steel helmets for those who say, "The roof would cave in if I ever came to church." 
       
      Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold, and fans for those who say it is too hot. 
       
      Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present. 
       
      
       
      We will distribute "Stamp Out Stewardship" buttons for those that feel the church is always asking for money. 
       
      One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature. 
       
      Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who plan to be sick on Sunday. 



       
      The sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who never have seen the church without them. 
       
      We will provide hearing aids for those who can't hear the preacher and cotton wool for those who think he's too loud

Much love, Dennis

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Tragedy of 9/11



I'm sure everyone knows that today is the anniversary of the attack by terrorists on US soil. Those old enough to remember probably can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they 1st heard about this tragic event. When I heard the 1st tower had been struck by a passenger plane I was alarmed because of the tragedy that I presumed was unplanned and just a bad situation. A few minutes later when it was announced that the 2nd tower had been hit by another plane, my heart sank. Just like most people, I understood that this was an attack against Americans on American soil.


Today was our FCA meeting. All of the students knew about the tragedy at the twin towers but none of them were old enough to understand the implications of the event. I think that the oldest one of our group was 6 at that time.
I personally felt vulnerable and insecure after finding out that there were also 2 other planned attacks. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the Pentagon. 

 The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, targeted Washington, D.C. but crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers.

 The images and video that consumed television brought about a sense of insecurity to most Americans. Churches all over the nation suddenly were receiving people who had never or rarely been attending. It is sad that some people ignore the value of a relationship with Jesus until they are in the middle of a tumultuous situation. The phrase "There are no atheists in foxholes" seems to be appropriate here. There are some people who believe that they will live their lives however they desire until they are in a situation that they can't handle on their own. They then are ready to seek God.  I suppose that may work out for a few people, but I am not willing to gamble like that with my eternity in the balance.
Much love, Dennis

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fun with numbers



Can you tell the number of the parking spot occupied by the car?
Scroll down for the answer











Have you given up yet?












It's in number 87




















Much love, Dennis

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Delusions from a Hospital Bed

I am very thankful for the love expressed to my wife, daughter, and family, especially during the 1st 5 months after my accident. This Scripture means a lot to me today.
1 Corinthians 13
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 In place of a joke, I'm posting some of the wild things that I thought I was experiencing during the 1st 3 months after my accident.


My mother-in-law and I were discussing something and I recalled one of those "nightmares". She suggested that I write some of them down so that others may understand what someone under heavy sedation may be experiencing.
My 1st "memory" post accident was waking up in a room full of hospital beds. I sat up in bed and announced that I was ready for some coffee. A nurse came close to my bed and said; what do you think this is, a restaurant. 

I remember talking to my dad and he was wearing a monocle, yes a monocle. We were underneath a very large billboard along the side of a highway. 
Next we were on a small cruise ship. The vessel was full of people in distress, just like me. Evidently the purpose was to find 2 people who were healthy enough to receive treatment for their injuries. I was one of the 2 that was chosen. They then moved me into a house with 6-8 other critically injured people. We were in bunk beds that were in the corners of a large room. I watched as a doctor began to work on a young lady who was in the bunk above me. After a minute or 2 the doctor left and the young lady's arm fell over the edge of the bed. I knew for certain that he had done something to take her life. I spoke to Cheri and told her the doctor was a very bad man. I think that I may have caused that man to be transferred to a different patient.
I smelled a very strong odor of new fiberglass and resin. On the wall hanging like a picture was a very large Scarab cigarette boat that was cut in half lengthways.
I have many more memories that occurred in the 1st 3 months of my 5 month stay. I may post a few more at some other time.



Much love, Dennis

Sunday, August 24, 2014

terrorist



                            The Woman of His Dreams         


A young man called his mother and announced excitedly that he had just met the woman of his dreams. Now what should he do?
      
      His mother had an idea: "Why don't you send her flowers, and on the card invite her to your place for a home-cooked meal?"
      
      He thought this was a great strategy and arranged a date for a week later. His mother called the day after the big date to see how things had gone.

      
      "The evening was a disaster," he moaned.
      
      "Why, didn't she come over?" asked his mother.
      
      "Oh, she came over, but she refused to cook."
 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Jokes are good way to relieve stress. There are many passages in the Bible concerning anguish, stress, anxiety and many other types of worrying.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Anyone with a TV or computer can see what is happening around the world as well as here in the United States. It seems that chaos is the rule of the day. There are people being imprisoned, tortured and murdered because of their Christian beliefs.  I know that we are told to expect this, but it is still very disheartening to hear about it. I used to feel like I was insulated from evil people who would take my life just because of my Christian faith. Today everyone is vulnerable to the terrorist who think that they are doing good by cleansing the world of those who doesn’t believe exactly as they do.
I'm anxiously awaiting the day when there will be Heaven on earth.

Much love, Dennis


Monday, August 11, 2014

The Three Amigos


This weekend was definitely entertaining. We had two of Cheri's aunts stay with us from Friday until Sunday morning. They were there to visit with my mother-in-law, Darla who lives with us. The sunroom, where my computer is set up, was my hideaway. Having 3 women who grew up together and sitting together in our kitchen was a lot like this.



Saturday afternoon Cheri and I went for a drive down to Canton Lake. We had the 3 amigos in the back seat. I don't think that I said more than 2 or 3 words the whole trip. There really was no need or opportunity for me to speak :-)  Many times Cheri and I would just look at each other and smile. I just don't understand how 3 women could carry on 3 different conversations simultaneously, maybe it's just the difference between men and women.
 I'm pretty sure that I heard some stories more than once. For many years Cheri's side of the family camped here 2 or 3 times a year. I heard tales from back in the day that probably were edited somewhat because Cheri and I didn't need to hear the details. Evidently these 3 women (all in their 70s) were not Nuns earlier in their life. LOL 
Here is a picture from a "watering hole" that they were very familiar with.I'm getting very close to the TMI line.

I think back to this weekend and just smile. Oh what fun these 3 had "Back in the Day".
Much love, Dennis

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ronnie Cue

Ronnie, Max, and I rode dirt bikes together starting around 1981-1982, it's been so long that I can't even be certain of the date.
left to right, Ronnie Cue, Brett Cue, Dennis Boyer, Max Carlisle
This is about my good friend Ronnie Cue. Here is a blog about Ronnie written by his pastor Wade Burleson. Pastor Burlison did a great job letting us know how special it is when you become a Christian.



"I'm Just a Kindergarten Christian Who Doesn't Know Any Better But to Do What God Says"

Last night I experienced a measure of real revival in my life by observing a man who was converted to faith in Jesus Christ at our Paul Young Weekend last April 5-6, 2009. The man's name is Ronnie Cue. He followed Jesus in believer's baptism on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009. Ronnie's son, Brett Cue, is a professional motocross racer. Brett, too, along with his mother Jeris, and his two sisters have also recently come to faith in Christ. Just like dad Ronnie, all the Cue family have recently professed their faith in Christ through believer's baptism. None of the Cue family, especially Ronnie, have had any religious or church experiences throughout their lives. Emmanuel is the first church they have ever attended.

Two years ago Ronnie was sued by his neighbor. Ronnie lives north of town, out in the country, and he had built a race track for his son Brett and Brett's friends to race their motorcycles in training for professional motorcycle races. Ronnie's neighbor, the one that sued him, is a world renowned sculptor and artist. According to the sculptor and his wife, the poweful motorcycles interrupted the artist's ability to concentrate during his work. Ironically, I had led the sculptor to faith in Christ in his studio just a little over a year ago, and at the time, though I did not know Ronnie Cue, the sculptor and his wife told me of the lawsuit over the racetrack. I could tell the issue was a very traumatic one for the artist and his wife - who themselves had just begun attending Emmanuel. The little country community in which both families live is tightknit, and other neighbors were choosing sides. It was just in the last two months both the defendents and the plaintiffs in this lawsuit had become members of our church.

Last Friday the lawsuit was finally heard in court. Contrary to some, I do not believe it is unlawful or unbiblical for judges to determine civil matters among Christians. There are times when judges are absolutely necessary for a variety of reasons. Regardless of whether or not you agree, the fact of the matter is this particular lawsuit had become part of these two families' lives long before any of them came to faith in Christ or involved at Emmanuel.

New Christians and the Word of God

Last Sunday morning we continued our study through I John and we came to I John 4:7-12, probably one of the greatest passages in Scripture on the love of God. The message, entitled "The Practical Implications of 'God Is Love,'" followed the text, with only a few illustrations from me that helped illuminate application that I derived from the text. I sought to show that when we love others we are giving evidence of being born of God. To be "born of God" is what the Apostle John calls ‘the new birth’ or to be ‘born again’ (John 3:3). When we love people, we are demonstrating that we have been born into God's family, that God is our Father. Clearly put, love in our hearts for our fellow man is a little like the “divine gene," for God is love. When He gives birth to His children, He gives His kids the ability to love as He, by His nature, loves us. As Henry Scougal wrote in his classic work The Life of God in the Soul of Man:

“True religion is essentially an inward, free, self-moving principle of divine life.”

This life of God, according to the Apostle John, is manifested in our love for others. Christianity is not mere formalism, nor is it simply mental assent, or even a methodical discipline in areas of morality - the essence of true Christianity is that you and I really care about the people of this world. The Apostle puts it clearly in the text: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (I John 4:8).

The model that John gives that illustrates God's kind of love is Jesus Himself. In I John 4:9-10 we read probably the greatest statement regarding the love of God in all of Scripture. The emphasis is on what God did for us. “In this is love” – God showed, God sent, God came, God propitiated. The Greek word hilasmos is translated propitiation. It was used by the pagans to 'appease and render favorable the gods.’ Of course, we cannot propitiate (appease) God - ever. The Creator God cannot be appeased by our gold or silver, or the works and labor of our hands, but the good news is that God loved us and did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He came to live under the righteous law, fulfilling it in every jot and tittle, possessing a perfect righteousness. Jesus Christ died under the law for us a sinnner's death, substituting His life for ours, and in this God the Father is "propitiated." God remained just while justifying the ungodly in the gift of His Son. God gave us this gift. He sent Christ for us, He delivered Christ for us, He provided Christ for us - in this love is demonstrated.

When you and I love others like God loves us, people see God. There is a verse right at the end of I John 4:7-12 that seems out of place at first glance. John says, “No one has ever seen God.” (v.12). Why does John say this? Because John is emphasizing God is invisible, but since the immortal, invisible, infinite transcendent God abides within each of us and we demonstrate God's kind of love to others, people see God in us. There is some very real truth in the song, "You're the only Jesus some will ever see."

That was last Sunday's message. It is my policy to ignore both criticism and praise when it comes to messages I preach. I consider that if I am faithful to the text, then it is not my message, but God's, and some will like it and some will not. But one thing I know is this: God's word is powerful and transforms lives.

Ronnie Cue heard it. Yesterday morning after our Men's Discipleship Ronnie wished to speak to me. He said that he wished to "lay aside the lawsuit." I was puzzled and said, "But Ronnie, you were the one sued." He said he knew that. He had also been told that the judge would most likely rule in his favor in twenty days, since the race track was on his own private property (over a half mile away from his neighbor), and personal property laws are very strong in Oklahoma on behalf of the owner. Yet, Ronnie explained, he wanted to go to his neighbor's studio and express his love for them and tell them that he wanted to do what was best for them, even if that meant removing the racetrack he has spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours building - not to mention thousands of dollars defending himself in a lawsuit.

I asked him why he wished to do this. He simply said that the Word of God had convicted him last Sunday that he should lay aside his rights and do something to display his love for his neighbors, in the same manner Jesus displayed His love for him. He said that his neighbors and their lives were more important than his own, or his son's, comfort and convenience.

The Meeting Tonight

Tonight, I went with Ronnie Cue to visit with his neighbors. He is not a man of many words, but he simply and clearly told his neighbors he loved them and he was sorry his racetrack had caused them so much discomfort and pain. He said that he wanted them to know he would remove the track, look for land to build another one, and wished that they could be friends in spite of all that had occurred.

The plaintiffs in the suit had already told me their attorneys had told them that the judge would rule in Ronnie's favor. Yet here was Ronnie, offering to lay down his rights for their sake. The wife of the artist wept. The artist, a man of few words himself, expressed his gratitude and then we all gathered around for prayer. Upon leaving, among the hugs, plans were being made for the two families to get together. All this after two very difficult, painful and expensive years of a lawsuit that had left tons of hurt feelings on both sides.

My, my, my.

As I was driving Ronnie back to his house I asked him how he felt. He looked at me quietly for a moment and then said, "I feel great. You know, as I listened to all the guys discuss the Bible this morning, most everything went right over my head. Those guys have been Christians for so long and know so much. What I know is what happened tonight. This is real. I'm just a kindergarten Christian who doesn't know any better than to do what God says, and God told me through your message last Sunday that I was to do this."

It could be our Masters Degree pastors and Ph.D theologians in the Southern Baptist Convention could learn a great deal from Ronnie Que, a kindergarten Christian. What would happen if Southwestern had done something similar for Sheri Klouda? What if FBC Jacksonville were to do something similar for Tom Rich? What if the Missouri Baptists were to do something similar to Ronnie Cue?

It could be what hinders us from loving others is our own haughtiness and pride about what we know in terms of our doctrine, and a corresponding lack of listening to God speak to us through the simplicity of His commands.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God" (I John 4:7).

In His Grace,


Wade


Much Love, Dennis

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Creation and evolution

I've been doing some research concerning creation and evolution. According to commonly accepted scientific methods, both of them are still theories. I was going to present both sides and give people an opportunity to check out what I found.

I have decided, after some discussion, that I couldn't present both sides equally because I am fervently a believer in God's Creation and that the theory of evolution is hogwash. Now that I have that covered, how about some entertainment.

One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the orangutan was reading two books - the Bible and Darwin's The Origin of Species. In surprise he asked the ape, "Why are you reading both those books"?
"Well," said the orangutan, "I just wanted to know if I was my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother."


One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.
      
      The scientist walked up to God and said, "God, we've decided that we no longer need you. We're to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don't you just go on and get lost."
      
      God listened very patiently and kindly to the man. After the scientist was done talking, God said, "Very well, how about this?
      
      Let's say we have a man-making contest." To which the scientist replied, "Okay, great!"
      
      But God added, "Now, we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam."
      
      The scientist said, "Sure, no problem" and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.
      
      God looked at him and said, "No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!"




Much Love, Dennis

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Prayer by Cody Anderson

I had planed for a blog post about evolution vs. creation today, but I ran across something that grabbed my heart.
I won't spend much time explaining what this is, because it explains itself. 
Cody Anderson has been serving as the senior pastor at Faith Center Fellowship in Meno, Oklahoma for 12 years. This is a prayer that can be found on his Facebook page.

Cody Anderson
"Let's Pray America:
Dear Heavenly Father..................may we learn to celebrate with those who are being blessed and weep with those who are going through difficult times.................discerning what true friendship is all about................and we pray for the families of the Malaysian Airliner that was shot down
.............we ask that You comfort the family members during these hours of anguish and heartbreak................and we pray this morning for those who are going to the border today to take food and other essentials to the children who are crossing our borders................showing mercy.............at the same time we pray for justice along our borders................knowing when the fence is down bad things can happen to us a nation.
..............we need Your help today Lord.............recognizing there is trouble on every hand in our country as well as those countries that we have committed to defend...........including the nation of Israel who is defending herself as Hamas continues their strikes against the land that we as Christians call The Holy Land.
............we ask that You send warring angels to encamp about that nation to defend her against the aggression of her enemies and Your enemies............remembering Your covenant with Abraham............and may we as Americans understand that You will bless those who bless Israel..............may we not forget lest we lose the favor of You Almighty God..............and we pray for the churches in Ukraine as they face major aggression.................we also pray for our Christian friends in Russia who are beginning to encounter persecution they experienced under the former communist regime...................and we pray this morning for pastors who are preparing to minister tomorrow in churches all across America.
..............and we pray that Christians will not overlook the incredible privilege that we have by going to Your house tomorrow to worship You without fear or intimidation..............and we thank You Lord for the coming revival in America.................with young adults coming out of obscurity to preach Your gospel.................no names that will shake this nation with a message of hope and salvation....................may the rain of Your Holy Spirit flood this land today...............in Jesus name we pray.................amen."

Much Love, Dennis