WAFJ Tribute

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

the well is deep

These words jumped off the page at me. Pause for a moment and read John 4. Did you see these 4 little words tucked in there. Even I, with no aspirations for preaching, recognize that there are some great sermons in John 4. Obviously the passage is a not-so-subtle metaphor.

"...the well is deep." It was a deep well regarding her sordid and sinful past. It must have been deep because of the guilt that crushed her spirit. Even deeper still, the reserve needed to cleanse the stains and perhaps relieve the embarrassment that haunted her. Then He responds with the deepest resources fathomable: "whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed...a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Whoa dude! That's a gusher, the mother load--not a trickle or babbling brook, but the raging, cleansing river of life!

Maybe for some of us today the well isn't deep because of unforgiven sin, but because of a burdensome load under which we think our knees are going to buckle--strained relationships, work, worry, finances, loneliness, calendar and scheduling craziness...you name it! The passage still rings true. His supply is refreshing, on time, and everlasting.

I go back to the Jami Smith song I used in a blog some time ago: "Your love is deep, Your love is high, Your love is long, Your love is wide." Be encouraged today and watch out for deep wells and raging rivers!

Pastor Mike

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Run with Perseverance

Our own Chaplain Marty Steisslinger, stationed at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, brought a powerful reminder to us Sunday about running the race with perseverance. (Read Hebrews 12:1-3 for his text) He used several examples of athletes that have endured or overcome hardships, even in the middle of the Olympics. He drew parallels to many great saints that have gone before us that are now part of the cloud of witnesses cheering us on, including Pastor Scott. Note the lyrics of the following Steve Green song, Find Us Faithful. Let it be the cry of our hearts.

We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road. And those who've gone before us line the way; cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary, their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace. Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run the race not only for the prize. But as those who've gone before us, let us leave to those behind us, the heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives. Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful. May the fire of our devotion light their way. May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe, and the lives we live inspire them to obey. Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful. After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone, and our children sift though all we've left behind; may the clues that they discover, and the memories they uncover, become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A New Beginning

Monday was a new beginning for me. I started my new job in Augusta. I now have a new routine, new focus, new direction, a new beginning.

This is the second new beginning or fresh start I have experienced. The first was at a Sunday morning service, when I knelt at an altar at our church in Pompano Beach, Florida and gave my heart to Jesus. God gave me a new beginning, a fresh start on that morning. He forgave me of my sins. "By His grace I am forgiven." At that time I had a new routine, a new focus, a new direction, a new beginning with God.

That new beginning as Jesus as my Lord still humbles me. I am so thankful for His amazing love for me and you, that He paid the price for us. I have always looked back at my decision, so many years ago to when I excepted Christ as my Savior as the best decision of my life. I have never once been sorry that I surrendered my heart to Him.

Like the song we practiced at choir tonight, some of the words say, "The Lord wants you to know there's healing in His name. I never could have made it this far without the Lord. Through sickness, through sorrow, through heartache and depression. I made it, there is healing in his name.

Where else are we given the opportunity for a second chance, a "do" over, to start a new? If you haven't made the decision to except God's free gift of His love - seek Jesus today. And if you know Christ as your Savior - thank Him for His unconditional love and saving grace.

Have a great week!

Love you ,


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mary's Agony

I have been reading The Crown and the Fire by N. T. Wright in my personal preparation for Easter. Today he discussed the agony Mary endured as the mother of Jesus. In her was the Messiah and the hope for Israel. Jesus was to be Israel's rescuer and victorious conqueror. He fulfilled, however, few of the Jews' expectations as Messiah. He associated with people of disrepute and confronted the scribes and Pharisees who were just trying to uphold the law. Now she finds herself at the foot of a cross watching her hopes and dreams and future of a nation being ridiculed, spit on, abused, and murdered. Surely, this was not the way it was intended to be.
The pain and agony, though, was not an indication that something had gone terribly wrong. "We are called to be the bearers of God-in-Christ to his world, pondering in our hearts the mysteries we do not yet understand, seeking him in and through our own sorrow, ready to search for our Lord wherever he may be found, whether discussing with the learned, partying with the riffraff, or dying with the outcasts" (Wright 1992, 16). So we continue to walk in obedience even when we do not understand.
I will close with the prayer written at the end of this section in the book:
“Almighty God, by the agony of Mary teach us to see your hand at work not only in our joy, but in our pain; not only in our victories, but in our defeats; not only in our strength, but in our weakness; not only in our hopes, but in our disappointments; not only in our lives, but in our deaths; that we may believe in your love revealed on Calvary, and believing, may know your peace which passes understanding: through Jesus Christ, your crucified Son, our Lord. Amen.”
(Wright, N. T., The Crown and the Fire, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, p. 16).
Pastor Gary

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mirror, Mirror...

Psalm 139 says "O LORD, you have searched me and you know me." (read the whole thing, it's a good one!) The past few weeks--months, really--have been a time of deep introspection for me, and perhaps all of us.

One of my favorite authors, Jill Carattini, tells the true story of Joyce Urch and her husband Eric that celebrated their golden anniversary in an amazing way. Joyce has been blind for 26 years from an illness. She recently suffered a serious heart attack and near kidney failure. After a remarkable recovery, she woke up able to see! Unbelievable! She looked up at her husband and said "Haven't you got old." He quickly said back to her, "Wait 'til you have a look in the mirror." Ouch!

Sometimes I think the Holy Spirit holds up a mirror in front of us and says "Have a look at what I'm seeing." Perhaps too often, I'm not pleased with what He's revealing to me. I call them adult spankings--we all get them sometimes whether it's the Lord, our boss, our spouse, or even our kids.

Later in the Psalm, it says "test me...see if there is any offensive way in me." Let it be so for me, even if it stings, O Lord, so that I'm a better man for You!

Pastor Mike

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cast Your Cares Upon Him

My busy day began by taking Harley (that's our dog, a black palm) to the vet. This has been a busy week for little Harley, earlier in the week he went to the "beauty parlor", (the groomers) and now the vet. This small precious animal is totally dependent on myself and Candi to provide all his needs. Shelter from the cold and heat, food and water for nourishment, companionship, and yes, the beauty palor and the vet to keep him clean and healthy.

Isn't that how God wants us to be with him? Totally dependent on Him for all our needs. For the last few weeks I have been trying to be strong and independent, but I have it all wrong. God wants me (us) to be totally dependent upon Him. For our every need, shelter, food, water, companionship and even the small simple things of our daily life that we take for granted.

Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." NIV. The Message Bible says that verse this way, "You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need."

And yes, I can testify to the truth of those words. This past month, I didn't really understand what my needs were, but God provided. As I face each day my God meets my needs and then some.

So what are you waiting for? Stop facing the day alone. The needs we face are not just the physical but the spiritual, relational, and emotional. "Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you." Face today with God!

Love you,