I can only imagine

If you missed the Youth Trip to Alabama Adventure yesterday, you missed another powerful praise and worship time! Mercy Me performed what I believe is one of the best songs of all time: I can only imagine…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xwzItqYmII&feature=related

“Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine”

During the song Mercy Me takes us to the feet of Jesus. How will we react…, how will we behave when we meet Jesus face to face?

“I can only imagine 
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You”

I can’t wait until we can leave the worries of this world and join hands with one another, with the sole purpose in life: to worship our Lord and Savior. Too many times I get caught up in “life” and forget that my sole purpose in life, even here on earth, is to worship Him.

“I can only imagine” 

What will it be like? Let’s not wait to find out what it will be like to worship Him 24/7. Let’s give Him the glory in ALL that we do. Let’s praise and worship Him continuously. Hopefully you already attend church somewhere. If not, I invite you to come into your local church TODAY and praise God with the adoration He is worthy to receive. Glorify Him in all you do.

The Atheist and the Bear

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods. ‘What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!’, he said to himself. 

As he continued walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes. Turning to look, he saw a 7 foot grizzly charging towards him. 

He ran as fast as he could up the path. Looking over his shoulder he saw that the bear was closing in on him. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster. 

He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear raising his paw to take a swipe at him.

At that instant the atheist cried out: ‘Oh my God!…’

Time stopped;…the bear froze;…the forest was silent….

It was then that a bright light shone upon the man and a voice came out of the sky saying:

‘You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don’t exist and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you now as a believer?’

The atheist looked directly into the light and said: ‘It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now; but perhaps, could you make the BEAR a Christian?’

‘Very well, ‘said the voice. The light went out, and the sounds of the forest resumed….

And then the bear lowered his paw, bowed his head and spoke: ‘Lord, bless this food which I am about to receive, and for which I am truly thankful, Amen.’

Do you praise God?

Throughout the Bible, writers repeatedly mention the need to praise God. Earlier today as I compiled this evening’s Youth Lesson, I reflected back on my life.  At first I thought I did a pretty good job of praising God. However, as I continued to develop the lesson for the students, I realized that I have a lot of maturing to do in how and when I praise God.

Come back later as I finish this post, and I believe that you too, will admit that while we think we praise God, we really fall short of giving God the praise He deserves.

Tonight’s lesson is an interesting spin on the normal and ordinary thought process that we have, when we think about Praising God.

 

A Lesson on Praise:

Do you praise the Lord? If so, how? Write down some ways you praise the Lord. Seriously…, before continuing, just jot down a few ways that you “praise God.”

Throughout the Bible, we find passages of Scripture asserting the need to Praise the Lord. In Psalms, David highlights many reasons why we should Praise the Lord. In Psalms 146-150, we can even find a collection of Praise Psalms.

As I read through these passages (and there are many others throughout the Bible), I realized that a Christian should have “no restraint” when praising God. We are to sing, play instruments, and be thoroughly transparent in our sincere and continuous praise to God for ALL things.

Psalm 150:1-6
Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!

Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

To list the reasons why we should praise God would take pages upon pages of material. However, this blog is NOT intended to explain WHY we should praise God, the Bible clearly states why. This entry is to help others express their praise properly.

 

This past week I attended the Blaze – a student led ministry just starting in Tuscaloosa, AL. I was amazed at the enthusiasm and praise that students (teenagers) can express to God because of their love for Him. Then, unfortunately, I remembered the following anecdote:

A new pastor in Your City, USA, spent the first four days making personal visits to each of his prospective congregation inviting them to come to his inaugural services.

The following Sunday the church was all but empty. Accordingly, the pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone’s duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon. 

Morbidly curious, a large crowd turned out for the ‘funeral’ .

In front of the pulpit they saw a closed coffin which was covered in flowers. After the priest had delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church.

Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a ‘dead church’, all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each ‘mourner’ peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look. 

In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.

I wonder how many of us are members of this ‘Dead Church’…?

Why? Because “praise” includes being joyful, rejoicing, and glad in spirit. It should involve the “whole heart” of oneself. Nothing should restrain a person from properly praising God. Yet many people in church have a somber look on their face, why?

I understand that each person’s method of praise is different. The problem is that many of us feel uncomfortable praising God in our way. Or, we don’t know how to properly praise God, and feel like we need to fit in. We don’t want to offend anybody. Or, maybe we don’t want to feel embarrassed by what we do, or how we do it.

 

The Blaze is a great example of many young Christians that have removed restraints from their lives. They publicly display their praise and worship to God. So maybe you don’t want to jump up and down and hoot and holler for God like teenagers. That’s fine!…as long as you don’t let anyone else hinder your praise to God.

Even through all the techniques and methods of praising God, we must remember two remaining items. If you truly are thankful for what God is doing for you, have you really praised God?

 

1) Are you living your life for God in a way that is pleasing to Him?

2) Are you telling others what He has done for you?

Praise isn’t just about how or why or when, but about living your life for God. Matthew 5:16 and 1Peter 1:7 tell us that our lives should praise and honor and glorify God.
 

 

 

  • Don’t let anyone or anything hinder your worship and praise to the Lord. If somebody or something is holding you back from praising God, cut your ties from it/them.
  • b) Your life is a form of praise. Some of us have stayed quiet about our beliefs, never telling anyone that we are Christians. However, we should be proud of who we are and tell people we’re Christians and…how THEY TOO can have a life with Christ.
Let your praises sing to the Lord
Don’t let ANYTHING hinder your praise to our Lord and Savior.

 

If you like loud music, great worship, and unrestrained praise…Come to the Blaze on Monday nights this summer at 8pm on Bear Creak Cut-off Road.

The Blaze!

Wow! If you missed the Blaze last night, you missed an awesome 90+ minutes with God! The students really had the gym rocking last night with a great speaker and terrific music. If you’ve been to the “Basement” in Birmingham, you know what I mean.

 

This was the first night for the “Blaze” to come alive in Tuscaloosa, and God was in the house!

 

Every Monday night this summer at 8 pm at BG’s Cheer Spot off Bear-Creak Road!

 

Student led ministry based on Hebrews 12:29 “our God is a consuming fire.” Let the fire come alive inside you as we worship and praise God among 200+ students in our city!

Evil in the World

This topic is about Why God would allow evil in a world that He loves.

Instead of blogging per se, I propose instead to publish a paper I wrote for Seminary. Although this paper may discuss some deep theological discussions, I hope and pray you will take time to read the entire paper and appreciate the information contained in it. I believe it will help explain the apparent dilemma of God and Evil in the world.

I would also appreciate your commentary on this subject – submit a comment and let’s discuss it.

Excerpt from paper: “With the problem of evil comes an apparent dilemma: if God is sovereign and in control of everything, God is responsible for evil, therefore God is evil, and thus God is not the Christian God. However, as will be noted in this paper, this apparent problem is not difficult to explain or justify….”

Link to paper: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfr2db42_1h7jkkg6

Upcoming Youth Trips – change to AL Advent time

Reminder – Alabama Adventure Youth Trip this coming Saturday, June 20th for CHRISTIAN MUSIC DAY.  Meet at church at 11:15 AM on Saturday. We will return around 11:30 PM (park closes at 10 PM).

Bring Swim Suit, water shoes, and DRY clothes/shoes for trip home and evening concerts.

Reminder also that $75 is due for Big Oak Summer Mission Trip. July 12-16, total cost is $150 which includes meals, praise & music time, Speaker/Lessons, and 1 day pass to Point Mallard water park on Thursday. Make checks payable to Big Sandy Baptist.

God’s Will in your life

Do you pray for God’s Will? The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:10 states “Thy Will be done.”

 

What we find ourselves doing often is praying to know God’s Will for our life. I have even encouraged my students at church to pray to know God’s Will. However, as I re-examine Scripture, I must ask if we are truly following God’s direction for our life when we pray to know God’s Will. After all, God gives us His Will and direction in His Word (the Bible).

 

The problem I have is that many times I already “know” God’s Will, but I fail to follow it. Therefore, what I believe we should pray for is to do God’s Will. We all know right from wrong, but we sometimes fail to do right. We know we ought to glorify God in ALL that we do. And If we pray just to “know” God’s Will, our bodies are still weak, and we may fail to follow God’s Will. Therefore, I challenge all of us when we pray –  to pray for strength to do God’s Will, not just to know it.

 

Throughout the Bible, a recurring theme is to “glorify God.” Psalms 22:23, 50:15, 86:9, Luke 2:20, 5:25, 18:43, John 17:1, Acts 13:48, Romans 15:6, 1 Cor 6:20, 1 Peter 4:16, and Rev 15:4 all reference the need to glorify God. If you have any doubts about what God wants you to do, these passages clearly state that we are to glorify the Lord in ALL things. Pray now that what you may do today will glorify Him.

 

>> Lord, we are blessed to have the freedom to choose freely in America. We are free to study and read Your Holy Word. I ask that You continue to instruct us in all things so that what we do may glorify and honor You. I therefore ask and pray that you strengthen us to do Your Will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Fireproof…

This summer Big Sandy Baptist will be showing a great movie: Fireproof

If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it for couples and students alike! It will help you in your daily life and make you more aware of things hurting your life. But it also provides little ways to improve it, VERY WORTHWHILE!

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Worry from a Mom’s perspective (by Kimberly)

 Since reading James’ blog on Worry, I have wanted to write one of my own from a Mom’s perspective. Those of you who are moms please feel free to comment and/or add to this blog at any time.

According to the Encarta Dictionary installed in my Microsoft Word program, worry is defined in these ways: “1) to feel anxious about something unpleasant that may have happened or may happen, or make somebody do this, 2) to annoy somebody by making insistent demands or complaints, … 6) To touch, move, or interfere with something repeatedly.” I skipped 3-5 because they do not relate to my topic.

I have never been much of a worrier. I have always “rolled with the punches,” taken things with a “grain of salt,” and all those other ‘seize the day’ clichés. I read in my Bible a long time ago that God does not want us to worry – that worry is really a sin because it ultimately means that we do not rely on God to take care of us. When trouble would come up in my life, I was always able to “turn it over to God,” so to speak. That is, until that fateful day in August 2007 when I found out I was finally pregnant! James and I had wanted children for over 12 years and had been unable to have any of our own (a story for another time), until now. I had been “pregnant” twice before, with “false pregnancies” and after about a week my body would go back to normal – no pregnancy. So on that day in late August 2007, when the doctor told me I was pregnant, I kind of held my breath and said a little prayer of thanksgiving, followed by, “Lord, is this the real thing this time? Can I really be pregnant with a baby? Will I go full term? Will he/she be healthy?” and many other concerns that rolled through my mind in that instant. I couldn’t even allow myself to begin to get excited about the pregnancy until after we got past that first week…then the first month…then the first trimester. I worried constantly even though I was also praying constantly. My worry wasn’t really because I didn’t trust God to take care of me and the baby. My worry was about me doing something stupid and hurting one of us (another story for a later date).

My worry didn’t stop once he was born either. As I went into labor I worried about whether he was okay – was the umbilical cord out of the way, was he turned the right way, etc., even though I was having a C-section (I actually went into labor the day I was pre-scheduled for a C-section). Then I worried about the epidural, then the surgery itself, but then I heard the beautiful cries of a new born baby! The doctor held him up so I could see him over the sheet hanging in front of me and I got my first glimpse (literally) of my baby boy. No time to count toes or fingers or anything like that, before they whisked him off to get cleaned up. I had told James prior to the surgery that as soon as Wesley was born, I wanted him to be with Wesley at all times and leave me to the doctors’ care. So as I’m lying there, waiting for them to stitch me up, with tears of joy rolling into my ears, I allowed myself a break from worry. I could hear Wesley screaming so I knew his lungs were good; we had monitored his heart every week at the end of the pregnancy, so I knew his heart was strong. And I knew James was there with him. I relaxed…for a moment.

A couple of hours after recovery, they brought Wesley back to me. He was all clean and wrapped in a blanket with a little hat on to keep his head warm. Oh the blissful joy of a newborn! Then the nurse tells me that we are going to see if the baby will nurse. Okay! Time to worry again!

Wesley is now one year old and has been walking since he was 10 ½ months old. He’s into EVERYTHING! I am learning that “worry,” (applicable to all definitions) is a constant throughout my day. I am “anxious” about what might happen if he gets into that cabinet and pulls out that pot, and about him stepping over that toy and onto the next one causing him to trip and fall. I am worried by him sometimes when he wants to be held constantly throughout the day, or when he is fretful, or feels bad and I can’t do anything to make it better. I worry about whether I am a good mother because some days it seems that all I do is say “NO!” I get anxious because he is constantly “testing the waters” to see what he can get away with; touching things he knows he’s not suppose to touch, getting into cabinets and pulling out the bowls, pots, and pans, deliberately disobeying (and he does this even at a year old – I’m not exaggerating!) Then I worry that I am worrying him with all my worries!

Moms, don’t feel guilty about these worries. God made us this way, in a manner of speaking, because he gave us the “nurture” gene. We naturally want to hold and protect our children all the time. We hurt when they hurt, because we feel their pain. We are protective. The important thing to remember is that we are all GOD’S CHILDREN. As much as we love our children, God loves them even more and He will not let anything happen to them that is not in His glorious plan for their lives. They first belong to God, then to us. God has entrusted us with the daily care of our “babies” and we “worry” because we care. I’m told by my mom that even when your children are grown and moved away, you still worry about them. These worries do not mean we don’t trust God. I believe these worries are reminders to us to pray over our children for God to protect them when we can’t, and trust Him to do as we have asked. Remember John 16:23 and take it to heart as truth! Jesus tells us, “I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and He will grant your request because you use My name.” Then trust and believe that God WILL grant your request.

Moms, we can’t do it alone. God has entrusted us with these little angels, but He also wants us to trust him with our lives – even the little everyday nitpicky stuff that comes up – God is near to help. All we have to do is ask.