Thursday, November 29, 2007

In The Beginning God Created The Heaven's And The Earth

The Bibe tells us in Genesis that in that "In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Gen. 1:1. And from then on we see that God was active in creating the earth. Notice especially verse 4-5. "God saw that the light was good and he seperated the light from darkenesss. God called the light "day," adand the darkness he called "night." And there was evening and there was morning- the first day." You have people arguing that it was a 24 hour day. It must be 24 hours. But, let us look at 2 Peter But do not forget this one things, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
Could it be that this day is a thousand years instead of 24 hour day?

Then you have the order in which God created things after he created day. He created the Waters and sky. vs 6-8.
Then land and seas. vs 9-10.
Then vegetation: seed-bearing planets- trees order of different trees and plants and veggatations.11-13.
Then stars, moon. 14-19.
Then waters teems with living creatures (fish) and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky. vs 20-23.
Then the land produced living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." 24-25
Then man.

I am just saying if you look at the order of creation and take the day as a thousand years could it be that we evoloved over time? Yet God created us? Or God was involved in it?

What do you think about the creatioin stories of Gen 1 & 2? Do they conflict each other?
What does that say about creation and us believing in the theory of evolution? Or theo-evolution?

Does it matter? Is it a salvation issue? Is someone going to go to hell for believing in the theory of evelution or theo-evolution, the Big Bang? How many Christians do you think believe in evolution or Theo-evolution? Do we understand that evolution is just a theory thought in science classes? Why do Christians get so caught up in this discussion and debate? Do they not understand that it is just a theory?Do those who believe against the "Big Bang" or "Evolution" think that science is evil or an attack against Chrsitian views? Do you see evolution as just a theory? What do you believe?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

Monday, November 26, 2007

People Who Are Easly Offended

As a minister, one will find those who are easily offended. You might preach a sermon on love and someone might say "All you preach is love, love, love. What about judgement, wrath, hell?"

And you might preach a sermon on hell and someone might say, "All you do is preach on hell, we need more sermons on love, and grace."

Or you might even dare to change the order of worship. You might have 3 songs instead of 2, a communion talk, then communion, prayer, song for communion, sermon, invitation, invitation song, scripture reading instead of prayer. You have someone who is offended because it wasn't the way they are use to doing it.

In the everyday, we also find those who are easily offended. Many times people are offended that we didn't wave when we meet them while driving or that we didn't shake their hand, or that we said something taken in entirely the wrong way.

There are always people who wear their hearts on their sleeve and those who don't like us just because they don't like us. There are also those odd few who "dare" us not to offend them until we are just walking on egg shells around them.

The questions I have are should we jump though hoops for those who are easily offended? Should the squeaky wheel get the grease? Should the loudest voice run the church? Is it the way it usually works? Should it be the way it works? Why? or why not? Have you seen it in your church? Have you seen the elders manipulated by those who were easily offended? When change takes place should we tell the congregation when and why? Would it help? Is it those who are easily offended that are holding the church back from what God wants and desires for his church to grow?

Share your thoughts.
What do you think?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Family Traditions

I think it is great to have a family. Family traditions make the family closer as a unit. We put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. We listened to Christmas songs and enjoyed decorating it together. We watched Christmas movies together and will watch them over the holiday season.

We enjoy snuggling on the couch and watching a good Christmas movie: "It's A Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th St." (The Original version), "White Christmas", "A Christmas Story", "The Polar Express", "Frosty The Snowman", and many others. (I still think and tell my wife that "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie, but somehow she doesn't buy it).

I have traditions- fun, happy, traditions that we do such as dad sitting at the head of the table, having the "kids" table, watching the parades, the football games, the taking turns in unwrapping gifts or opening gifts the night before. Traditions -traditions that we pass down -traditions that we hold on to because we love them -traditions that make us who we are as a family. I don't think they are bad. They are not set in stone.

A few years a go, we drew names to who would get presents for my aunts and uncles Christmas gathering instead of buying everyone presents. The change was good. It helped people on money. It help people on knowing who they were going to buy for in advance. But, the change also caused a little bit of a problem. Some of the family members were new to the family and it's hard to know their tastes, likes and wants. So, we learn that change can be good and bad. But, it became a great tradition that we kept and became a part of who we are as a family.

What family traditions do you have during the holidays? How do they help you become a closer family? How can changing a tradition help and hurt? In what ways? Have you had experiences with changing traditions? How can we apply this to the Church? How is tradition good? How can change help and hurt and does that change sometimes itself then become a tradition? Is the church a family where you worship? How? What traditions make it so? What does your church do to make it feel like a family?

What do you think?
Share you thoughts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What are you thankful?

I am thankful for where I am today. God has brough me from a wheel chair to walking on my own. I am able to pick up my children. I am able to play with them. I am able to hug my wife today as she made my birthday cake which is on Thanksgiving this year. I have much to be thankful for: a loving and supportive wife who means the world to me; three beautiful boys whom I love more than anything.

I am so thankful for a wonderful congration who is loving and is more like a family than a church. The church, when I became sick, set up a medical fund to take care me. The members brought food over to my family. The church took care of preaching while I was unable to do so. When I was out of the hospital, they allowed me to preach from my wheeel chair. The congregation has been patient with me as I continue to heal and recover. I am so very thankful and blessed to be at the church were I am ministering. Thank you God for the Church in Rocksprings.

I am thankful for the doctor that I have; he has been a blessing in researching GBS and prescribing the right medications. The medications he has given me has relieved me of the pain I have been having. Thank you for Dr. Mehendale who was there in the beginning and Dr. Price who is there for me now and is so generous and doing his best for my care.

I am most of all thankful for my new and improved relationship with God. He has given me a second chance at life. He has given me a new outlook on life and Christianity. Thank you God.

What are you thankfu?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It Has Been A Year Today

It has been a year today since I went to the hospital with GBS. I thought it was just a pulled muscle in my back. I remember the falling and being unable to get up at home and my wife taking me to the hospital and the series of tests that they did in the ER in Kerrville.

I went in about 10:00 a.m. My wife had a test in a class that she missed because she was with me holding my hand and comforting me. I remember an ER Neurologist came in the room and tested my reflexes in my legs. Nothing. She then sat down in a chair in the corner of the room. My wife was in a chair on the other side of the room and on was on the table and the Dr. said, "I have some bad news to tell you I think you have MS. I think you're too old to have MD so you most likely have MS. We can't be sure because of your past of having GBS when you were 5 but it is highly unlikely you can get GBS twice. I think it is MS."

It was like time stood still. My stomach dropped. I asked, "Is there any cure for MS?"
"No," was the reply. "It is fatal." We are going to put you into ICU over the weekend and do more tests because you did have GBS when you were 5 just to make sure it isn't GBS again."

My wife got on the phone and immeditately called family and I threw up. I prayed to God asking him for help. It was the longest weekend in my life. Waiting to find out the unknown. Was it MD, MS, or GBS?

I was so depressed over the weekend thinking the worst. I had several spinal taps to determine whether or not it was GBS. The first spinal tap showed the protein level to be 65- elevated, but not high enough to be GBS. So over the weekend we still had wait, which seemed like eternity.

On Monday the next spinal tap found out spinal protein level showed that it was GBS. I stayed in ICU over 14 1/2 days. They started IVIG treatments right away. I had serveral side effects at night from the IVIG which were migraines. I kept thinking in my mind though, "I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength." I couldn't move from my waist down and my arms were very weak as well. In order to move me, they had to use a lift. Physical therapy would come in and work on my muscles two hours a day when they did. I would think to myself, "I can do all thing through Christ who gives me strength." On one night it was so bad with pain. I remember screaming, "What are you sticking in my leg!" "The nurse said, 200 mg of demerol." I screamed, "Stop the pain God oh God stop it! Please God! Stop the Pain!" Another nurse on another side of the bed said, "We're trying sweetie!"

After that night, I totally surrendered my life completely over to God. I thought I had already done that. When I say completely, I mean: my life, family, ministry, every aspect of my life. Complete surrending to His perfect will.

I then moved from ICU to the 7th floor where I did physical therapy and occupational therapy for about a month. I remember with every workout, with every new challenge, and the first thing that I wrote down on paper in occupational therapy was, "I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13. I had nurses praying for me. As I was released from the hospital I went outpatient therapy for 6 months and went from a wheel chair from to a cane.

I am blessed to be at the church I am at because during the time the set up a medical fund because I have no medical insurance. The medical fund if you would like to donate to it is:

Kinney Mabry Medical Fund
People State Bank
Rocksprings Texas, 78880

The church also had men who were willing to come and preach while I was in the hospital and not able to preach. The church also allowed me to preach in my wheel chair even if my sermons weren't but 5-10 minutes in length. God has blessed my life over this past year. I am gaining more strength. I still have good days and bad days. I still have pain but it is getting better. I am now able to teach class on Sunday, preach on Sunday morning and Sunday night. I have gone from a wheel chair to walking on my own. God is good.

I ask that if you would like to donate to the medical fund do so or make a difference by keeping my family and I in your prayers. Thank you so much for all that you have done over this past year.

I am going to continue to grow in my relationship with God and Jesus Christ. I want to follow His will instead of my own. I want to love God more and more everyday and strive to be a better minister, husband and father. Most of all, I always want to be thankful for what he has done and continues to do in my life.

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Center of Christianity is Love

I love the prayer of Jesus in John 17, especially the last part of the prayer as he prays for us striving to be one as He is one.
I believe that when it boils down to it, Christianity is all about love. The center of Christianity is love. As Christians we are to love. God is love. It is all about love.

Listen to these wonderful passages:
John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
John 13:34" A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command."
Mark 12:28-31 "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is most important?' 'The most important one, is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord O God, The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.'"

Paul's letters stress the importance of love.
Romans 12:9-10 says, "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."
1Cor. 13: 1-8;13, "If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, alwas perseveres. Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

So even the things we do if we have not love it means nothing!

Love is the first fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.

Paul prays to God that the church in Ephesus might grasp how wide, long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that they may be filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God, in Ephesians 3:19. In Col. 3, as Christians we clothe ourselves with various virtures and in verse 14 we read, "And over all the virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity."

John tells us in 1 John:
3:11, "This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another."
3:13-15, "Do not be suprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death" I don't know about you but I want to live!, so we need to love. "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." Wow, Oh, no, so we need to be on our guard about love.
4:7-12, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who love has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live though Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one anther, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. "
4:16b.-18, "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him." There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
5:13, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."


So, I obey Christ out of love.
It is a love relationship that I strive to have with God.

What do you think? Is Christianity about love? Is it about a love relationship with God? When it boils down to it, are our motives driven by love, fear, or other emotions? Has the church missed the point of love being the center of Christianity? Has it been about works? Has the Church of Christ focus been on other things than love? Do you think the Church of Christ in the future will be known for their love? In what way can we be known by our love within the brotherhood? Outside the brotherhood? How can we make a difference?

Is it important to achieve a balance between love and hell in the pulpit? Should grace and love be preached more than hell and the judgment? What is it that makes a Christian- fear of hell or love of God and are the two actually the same thing? If so, why?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Joel Osteen "Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day" Part 2

I do like it that in the introduction right off Joel states, "I must warn you: Practicing the seven keys within this book could be a potentially life-changing process! And while I can't guarantee that you will become rich or famous, I can assure you that if you follow this plan, you will live a more fulfilled life." I agree with the statement if you follow the keys with the Bible.

Joel mentions on pg. 4 "God never performs His greatest feasts in your yesterdays."
I agree and disagree with this statement. You look at Moses he lead the people out of Egypt yet he did not get to enter the promise land. David defeats Goliath, has a wonderful relationship with God; yet later in life lives out the consequences of the sin with Bathsheba in having a son die and not being able to build the temple. I could go on and on. Joel writes on pg. 4 "I've discovered that God likes to outdo Himself. He wants to show His favor in your life in greater ways today than He did yesterday. He wants you to be more blessed tomorrow than you are today. He intends you for you to have a greater impact on the world than you have had."
I can also understand what he is saying as what God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you "declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Joel on page 34-35 writes, "Do you understand? You come from a bloodline of champions. You are not ordinary; you are a Thoroughbred. It doesn't matter what your present condition looks like ; you need to know that inside you flows the blood of a winner. ON the inside of you are the seeds of greatness. Take a better look at your bloodline. One the inside of you is the champion after champion. You are the seed of Almighty God. The Scripture says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb, the Word of our testimony, and the willingness to lay down our lives. Because of what God has done, every one of us is a thoroughbred."
I don't know about you but I don't like being compared to a horse. I know I am a conquer though Christ. I know I do all things through Christ who gives me Strength. I just don't like the bloodline terminology and being compared to a racing horse. I am soldier for Christ. I more than conqueror. (Romans8:37) He does go on to say that we are sons of the Living God. Amen. I totally agree. I believe the bloodline that he is talking about is supernatural and more powerful that we can ever believe or ever imagine (Eph 6:10-ff).

Joel says on page 136 "You have something to offer that nobody else can give." I totally agree. I think that each and every one off us can make a difference in life. Each one off us has a calling that God wants us to do a talent that God has given to us. A job. A person that we can help. A door that God has opened if we will look for it.

On pg. 140 Joel writes, "When you believe the best in people, you help to bring the best out in them." I believe this is true. Jesus did this with those he associated. The sinners. Tax collectors. Etc. Did he not?

Joel writes on 145, "If you will make some body's, God will make yours." I believe this is just another way of saying, "do to others as you would have them do unto you."

Me personally, I liked it.
Over reading this book I believe that Christians should read this book for what it is-a self-help book for their Christian life. It would be a good read with Bible by your side. If you are looking for something deep, something theological, then you need to read something else may I suggest:
"A Gathared People:Revisioning the Assembly as Transforming Encounter" by John Mark Hicks, John Melton, & Bobby Valentine; or "Kingdom Come" by John Mark Hicks & Bobby Valentine.

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Joel Osteen "Becoming A Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day" Part 1

When people hear the name Joel Osteen they motivational speaker, preacher, televangelist, writer, mega church pastor, and countless other things. Their are many ministers who are jealous of his successes. Others don't like his style of preaching because he doesn't use much scripture or mention, sin or hell. Yet others see his style as a new age preacher with a positive message.

If you have never heard of Joel Osteen he is an author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Your Best Life Now. Joel Osteen is the pastor of a new generation. Called by many "America's new voice of hope," Joel has been recognized as the most influential Christian in America by Church Report magazine and one of the 10 Most Fascinating People by Barbara Walters. Joel Osteen reaches a huge audience in the United States and across the globe. Tens of millions of people in more than a hundred nations are inspired through his weekly television broadcast worldwide, his New York Times best selling books, his sold-out international speaking tours and his weekly pod top-ten podcasts. Joel and his wife Victoria, are the Pastors of America's largest Church - Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. You can visit his website at It will take you also to Lakewood Church in Houston.

I love the way Joel Osteen preaches very positive and upbeat. He delivers very encouraging messages to believers to live their lives in a positive way make a difference for the kingdom by the way they look at life and share their faith with those around them. When I come home from Sunday's I turn on turn on the television at 10:00 p.m. and feast upon his encouraging words. Yes, he doesn't talk much about sin, hell, quote scripture left and right like others may. He has a different approach and style. He has a different gift. I remember listening to him while in the hospital and being brought to tears through his words as I was so encouraged to keep on fighting and holding on to God's strength and hope.

I bought his first book, "Your Best Life Now" and thought it was a great book for improving your life.

The new book by Osteen, "Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day"

As I critique his book I look at it with an open mind and hope you do as well.
I will share with you things I agree and disagree with and would like your discussion as well.

In the introduction Joel says, "What does it mean to be a better you? First, you understand that God wants you to become all that He created you to be. Second, it is imperative that you realize that God will do His part, but you must do your part as well." I agree with this statement so many Christians sit back and wait for God to act in their lives and bless their lives without any effort. We must do are part (now not in the sense of legalistic view how ever, but as James 2:26, says "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead). To become a better you, you must:
1. Keep pressing forward ( I agree with this statement because it is found in Philippians 3:12-ff & Hebrews 12:1-3.)
2. Be positive towards yourself (I agree with this statement we need to remember that we were created in the image of God Genesis 1:26).
3. Develop better relationships (I agree with this point because it is based on 1 Corinthians 15:33 Bad company corrupts good character.")
4. Form better habits (As Christians we are to change the way we live and change our habits.
5. Embrace the place where you are ( I don't know if I agree with this one or not. I know God loves me right where I am. Nothing can separate me from the love that is in Christ Jesus according to Romans 8, but I am still thinking on this point).
6.Develop your inner life. (As far as Christians Paul says in Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, life by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." As a Christian perspective I would disagree with this point of develop your inner life).
7. Stay passionate about life (As far as Christians go we need to stay passionate about he Christian life.).

In The first Chapter on page 3 and 4, then I will end the discussion for today here with this thought for discussion. Osteen states, "He's a progressive God, and He wants every generation to be increasing in happiness, success and significance. No matter where we are in life, God has more in store. He never wants us to quit growing. We should always be reaching for new heights in our abilities, in our spiritual walk, in our finances, careers, and personal relationships. We all have areas where we come up higher. We may have achieved a certain level of success, but there are always new challenges, other mountains to climb. There are new dreams and goals that we can pursue."

What does this say about contentment? Is it okay to be content where you are in life? Do you think Joel is right? Do you think God wants us to keep growing in our faith? What about our finances, careers, and personal relationships? Is God a progressive God? For those that have read this book what did you think? Was it a help? Was it a blessing? Has Joel Osteen been a blessing to your life? Is it easy for ministers to be jealous of others successes such as Joels and Lakewood Church? Has anyone ever been to Lakewood Church what did you think? What did you think of the introduction and critique so far?

Part 2 to come soon.

What do you think?
Share your Thoughts?