From Got to Get

I atteneded part of the Mississippi Baptist Convention this week. The highlight for me was a testimony given by Sammy Gilbreath of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Dr. Gilbreath has a terminal heart condition and does not know how long he has to live. He is a living example of the One Month to Live concept. He said that he has learned to: celebrate the promise of life, value spiritual blessings over physical things, value a clear conscience, and value remembering. The most powerful thing he said was that he no longers says, "I've got to..." He now says, "I get to..."
I'd like to live with that kind of joy and gratitude.


I once heard Anne Lamott say that there are only three honest prayers - Wow! Thanks! and Help!

I began the day with a big Wow! I got to the office a little after 5:00 this morning to work on the appendices for my doctoral work at Truett. I needed to find a verse of scripture for a teaching outline I was going to include so I googled the the words in search of the reference. I memorized Ephesians 2:8-10 when I was a child. I've known the words and reference for years. I simply could not put them together. I chalked it up to getting up really early but I was sharp in many other ways. God was trying to teach me something.

The first site that my google search took me was a blog written in 2007 by Howard Sloan the pastor of St. Paul's Reformed Church in Bedford, PA. I've included a picture of Pastor Sloan for you. He began his blog post in the following way -

"A group from our church is heading to Biloxi, MS to do hurricane recovery work. We will leave February 17th and return February 24th. Please pray for us. This is the devotion that I have prepared to be delivered in Biloxi."

Many of you know that my doctoral concentration is missions and evangelism. My research work deals with the practice of hospitality during hurricane evacuations. I really think that God got involved with my googling this morning to remind me that He is still in charge of things. I think people refer to this as a wink from God. I don't know about that but I was affirmed by His simple act of kindness. This is going to be a good day!

Current Reading

I am currently reading Kerry and Chris Shook's - One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life. I am thinking about using this material in some of our SS classes and think it is great. I'm also reading a series of sermons by Paul Powell under the title "The Night Cometh." The theme is the same. We don't have forever - we best start living now.

Sin and Our Relationship with the Holy Spirit

I am preaching a message from James 1:26-27;2:12 this Sunday titled, "Talk and act..." The big idea of the message is that our speach and action reveals the true quality of our faith. We need to talk and act like people that are expecting to be inspected by Christ.

I wanted to use a quote from a Pentecostal minister named Bill Johnson in the sermon but will not have room for it Sunday. I share it here because I think it helps us see how our relationship with the Holy Spirit makes a practical difference in our lives. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do all that God wants us to do for others and strengthens us to resist temptation. Here is the quote:

"Around twenty-five years ago I heard someone mention that if we would learn what it meant to "not grieve" and "not quench" the Holy Spirit, we would know the secret of being full of the Spirit. While that may be overly simplistic, this individual tapped into two very important truths that deal directly with the "character vs. power" trap.
The command, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit" explains how our sin affects God. It causes Him grief. This command is character centered. Sin is defined in two ways: doing wrong things, and a failure to do right things: "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." Departing from the character of Christ in either of these ways brings grief to the Holy Spirit.
Continuing with this theme we hae the command, "Do not quench the Spirit." This mandate is focused on our need to follow His leading. To quench means to "stop the flow" of something. As the Holy Spirit is ready to bring salvation, healing, and deliverance, we are to flow with Him. Failure to do so hinders His efforts to bring us into the supernatural."
Copyright © Broken Steeple