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September 18, 2019, 10:58 AM

Role Reversal


In the days of kings and kingdoms, when battles raged for lands and dominance, there weren’t methods of communication like what we have today. The victors would use various gruesome methods to display what would happen to anyone that might oppose them in the future. Sometimes it would be crucifixion, impaling, or hanging the bodies up at the city gates. Another way was to send the head of a conquered king or insurrectionist to the people he represented to signify utter defeat. We all have battles we face and sometimes it feels hopeless to even continue fighting. When the enemy seems to be gaining ground and winning at every turn it can cause a person’s heart to grow weary. But one thing can be said, it ain’t over yet. Paul said in 2Timothy 1:12 that he was willing to endure the hardships of this life without shame or despair because he knew the One in whom he had believed and was convinced that He is able to guard that which Paul had committed to Him. Paul reminded Timothy that regardless of how things may be playing out in the earthly realm, the victory had already been won in the heavenly realm. It can sometimes be very difficult to remember that when we are in the middle of being assaulted by the enemy and the schemes of darkness. But take heart. Think back to the story of David and Goliath. Not just the fact that the giant was slain by the little shepherd boy with a sling and a stone. Think of how David refused to be intimidated by the insults, size, training, weapons, or armor of Goliath. Remember that David declared the victory would be given him by the Lord, the God of angel armies. Recall that David told Goliath that he was going to cut off his head and all the world would know there is a God in Israel. Now stop just a second and think about that statement in 1Samuel 17:48 where David said he was going to cut off Goliath’s head. David had nothing but a sling and some stones. There was only one way he was going to decapitate the giant. But that’s exactly what happened, fast forward to verse 51. As David stands triumphant over the slain giant, He takes the very weapon the enemy had come against him with and cuts Goliath’s head off. The weapon of the enemy was now being used to emphasize God bringing victory for David. Hear this, the very weapon that the enemy is coming at you with to attack you, to keep you from victory in life, from living for Christ, or even making you think you’re not able to be saved, just might be the thing God is going to use to shame him with. If addiction is the enemy’s sword in your life, come to Christ and let God use that past to reach those caught in the same lies. If it’s a weapon of self-esteem or depression, God can break those chains and allow you to be the voice of hope someone needs to hear. There are so many examples that could be inserted at this point. Keep fighting in the strength of Lord and He just might use the weapon of the enemy to send a message of defeat to all the forces of darkness and victory to all who hope in Christ. The cross was turned from a symbol of death, shame, and fear to the banner of victory, life, and salvation in Jesus.

 

https://youtu.be/aJFhHf-NjRg




September 10, 2019, 11:48 AM

Waiting for Othniel


The last few years I have been fortunate to be able to take a group of pre-teen students to camp. One of my favorite things to do during free time is fishing in the pond. I enjoy fishing but seldom get the chance to do it. Since I don’t fish very often, I’m not that good at it. Not only do I not catch very many fish, I usually spend more time making a mess of the line than actually fishing. There was a time this past summer when we were fishing at camp that I somehow created what is known as a “bird’s nest” in the fishing line. Now, this wasn’t the first time I had done this but this time I was determined to fix it on my own. It was so hot that day and I was sweating profusely and swatting at mosquitos the size of half-dollars all while trying most unsuccessfully to untangle the mess I had created. Finally, after spending a good 30-45 minutes in my vain attempt, I called out to my friend Ronnie who is an avid fisherman. See, I was determined to not ask for help because I didn’t want anyone to know I had messed up and my pride said I could fix it on my own. As he approached me, he jokingly scolding me for making such a big mess and lovingly laughed at my ineptitude. So much for my pride. He showed me grace and took time away from his fishing to help me. To add to my shame and frustration, it took Ronnie all of about 37 seconds to fix what I had spent nearly an hour working on and had only seemed to make worse. Before he went back to fishing he told me next time to let him know so I wouldn’t have to spend so much time suffering with it.

I was reminded of that principle recently while studying in the Book of Judges. The Israelites had started well in the journey of conquering the Promised Land, but not long after Joshua died, the people began to drift away from the Lord. Judges 3:7 tells us that they had begun doing evil in the eyes of the Lord and turn to worship other gods. Because of their sin God sent an oppressor to punish them. Verse 8 says that the king of Aram Naharaim ruled over them for eight years. It was at this point the Israelites cried out to God and He sent them a deliverer, Othniel, to save them from this oppression.

I wondered, why the term of eight years? I thought of many scenarios that might be plausible, but in the end, one struck me in the heart. They didn’t cry out to God until after eight years. For whatever reason, they endured the consequences of their sin and broken relationship with God for eight years. This draws to my mind the prodigal son who, after a season of suffering because of poor choices, came to his senses and headed back toward his father. Too many times people try to fix things on their own or get caught up in worry about what other people may say. This causes them to forget about the grace of God that is waiting for the cry for help.

If this is you, simply stop right now and cry out to God for help. God uses circumstances to accomplish His purpose in the lives of people and sometimes that purpose is to drive them back to Him. Don’t keep trying to fix things on your own, you’ll only wind up making them worse. Confess your sin, repent, and cry out to God for your deliverer to come and set you free from the oppression of sin. Othniel set the people free for a period of 40 years, Jesus can set you free for eternity.

Robert

https://youtu.be/9JXl1czvh7g




September 3, 2019, 7:12 PM

Cleaning the clutter


In an attempt to declutter this tab, I have taken down all blogs over a year old.  Please contact me if you would like any of the blog entries that are no longer listed.  Also, there are extended versions of many of these entries that dig deeper into the Scriptures and include other real life events available upon request.  You can reach me at pastor.beallchapel@gmail.com.  Thank you for reading these blogs.




September 3, 2019, 7:05 PM

Identity Crisis


It seems like over the last few years our nation and society have entered into a severe identity crisis. To an extent, even the Church has struggled with this as well. I believe this has occurred in part because we have forgotten who we are. By forgotten I mean that we have willfully neglected the truth and put it out of our minds. A person who identifies as a different gender than how they were born has chosen to willfully forget the truth of how they were created. A nation that applauds and encourages sinful lifestyles while aggressively attacking Christian beliefs has turned its back on the Biblical principles it was founded upon. A Church that is more interested in creating an “experience” by attempting to make the Gospel fit with the theme of Spiderman or anything else that doesn’t place God at the center of our worship has, like the Israelites long ago, forgotten who He is and begun to chase after pleasing people rather than honoring God. The danger isn’t that the Church will completely turn away from God, but that it will try to incorporate just enough of the Gospel with aspects of secularism and will be left with nothing but a watered-down version of the truth. The remedy for this identity crisis is found in Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans begins by declaring who he is. I don’t mean that he tells them his name, he says that he is a slave to Christ. To Paul, being a follower of Christ wasn’t something he did when it was easy or convenient. He said, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus,” as a declaration of who he was, not what he did. Too many people see Christianity as something they do rather than who they are. Another common problem is that the submissive role of a being a slave to Christ is rejected due to a desire for self-notoriety. Paul informed the people of his name and his identity and that they were not one in the same.

Secondly, Paul informs his audience of his role in the ministry of the Gospel. Remember, Paul was a tentmaker by trade, but an Apostle by calling. Regardless of your vocation, as a Christian you have a calling on your life. A coach may be an evangelist, a nurse can be a minister, the retired person can be an intercessory prayer warrior. So often we forget that who we are isn’t predicated by what we do. A secular job may just be an opportunity for you to exercise the Spiritual gifts God has equipped you with in order to fulfill your calling.

Thirdly, Paul says he exercises his calling as an apostle for two main reasons. The first being to call people to obedience to God through faith in Jesus by declaring the Good News. The second, the crescendo of all that Paul did as a servant to Christ, that as an Apostle called by God to share the Gospel with the gentiles was that it would be done for the sake of Christ’s name and for His glory. He knew why he was doing what he was doing.

Paul had no identity crisis. He knew who he was and who he served, what he was created for, and why he was to do it. There are only two identities in this life, either you’re saved or not. If you’re saved, then you are equipped with Spiritual gifts to exercise in your calling regardless of your vocation. Finally, if you’re saved and living out your calling, you know it’s not for your glory, but for the glory of the Lord. If this process isn’t happening in your life then you might need to seek God and examine yourself as to why it isn’t. If you have never confessed your sin and placed your faith in Jesus Christ alone, that is where you need to start today.

Robert




August 27, 2019, 9:00 AM

Back-row Baptists


 

It has been a running joke as long as I can remember that in the Baptist church not only do people have their spot, but also, the back rows seem to be filled well more than those at the front of the sanctuary. Thus, the catchy little nickname. However, this is probably the same situation on most other churches regardless of denomination. It’s not just churches either, classrooms seem to have the same disproportion. It seems like nobody wants to get to close to the preacher or teacher. I know at my church people stay a couple of rows back because I, unfortunately, spit a little when I get excited while I’m preaching. The front row is justifiably known as the splash zone. Now, I know that’s not really the reason our front row serves the purpose of a lost and found better than a place for people to sit. I think it’s because people simply want to be comfortable. In school, the furthest I could get from the teacher, the better. I sure didn’t want to be called on to answer a question. I just wanted to come in, be seen and counted as present, listen to what the teacher said and go about my merry way. I am of the opinion it is the same way at church. People want to come in and be seen from a distance so someone will know they were there and not harass them about not coming. They want to simply sit and be a part of the congregation, and when it’s time, go home and live their best life now. I’m not trying to make introverts feel bad about how they are, I’m actually more of an introvert myself. The problem with this mentality and behavior is that it overflows into a person’s spiritual walk outside of the church. It’s like Peter warming himself by the fire as told by Mark in chapter 14:66-72 of his recording of the Gospel. Peter’s heart was passionate and his commitment to the Gospel is well recorded, but this moment in his walk found him choosing comfort over commitment. He was just close enough to Jesus to be aware of what was taking place, but not too close. He stayed back by the fire to warm himself. When he was rightfully accused being a Jesus follower, he vehemently denied it. He chose self-preservation over the risk of suffering the same outcome as Jesus. Now contrast that with the behavior of Joseph after the crucifixion of Christ. Mark 15:43 says that he went boldly to Pilate and requested the body of Jesus. The Greek word translated “boldly” implies that there was a great risk involved with Joseph’s actions, but he went before Pilate anyway. Because Jesus was condemned as an insurrectionist guilty of treason, anyone found to be an associate or accomplice would be at risk to suffer the same punishment. This didn’t seem to faze Joseph. The argument could be made that Joseph was a member of the council, why didn’t he speak on behalf of Jesus before? Or that the only reason he wanted the body of Christ was in order to adhere to Jewish law and customs. Either way, he took on a certain risk to make a bold statement amount his faith. Mark also tells us Joseph was a man who was waiting and watching, anxiously anticipating, the coming Kingdom of God through the Messiah. So the question left to be answered today is where are you in your faith walk? Are you staying just close enough to Jesus to be accounted as one of his followers but not too close as to have to suffer any hardships for it? Or are you willing to boldly follow Christ with every aspect of your life knowing full well that the reward far outweighs the risk? Is it time for you to move up from that back row in your spiritual walk?

Robert


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