Tornadoes, Shooting Sprees, Crazy Dictators, and Other Flaming Arrows

Ephesians 6:16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

The news is always crazy, but this week it has seemed more than usual. It hit home for me when large portions and outlying areas of my hometown of Canton were destroyed by EF3 tornadoes. It also seems that every time I have seen the news recently there has been another random shooter rampage, or a knife wielding person stabbing students at random, terrorist attacks, and to top it all off that psycho in North Korea is getting more and more adamant about war with the U.S.A.

One of the things tornadoes, active shooters, terrorists, and crazy dictators all have in common is their unpredictable and uncontrollable randomness. With all the “intelligence” we have about our enemies and about severe weather, these things mentioned above still take us by total surprise.

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I was born an Auburn Tiger fan. My dad graduated from Auburn, so it was inherited. The Auburn – Alabama rivalry is the biggest and most intense rivalry in all of college sports. However, in the spring of 2011 those differences and strong dislikes were laid aside in the spirit of something much more important. In April of 2011 the state of Alabama was ravaged by one of the most deadly tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. The city of Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama was nearly destroyed by a mile-wide F5 tornado, leaving many dead, including some University of Alabama students.

Showing up unannounced in the aftermath was about 70 Auburn football players (Not wearing Auburn blue & orange by the way) ready to help with cleanup anyway they could. An outpouring of help from the Auburn faculty, fans and alumni quickly followed, and suddenly these 2 intensely polarized groups were 1, just Americans. These rivals were unified Americans who had a common goal of rebuilding lives and rebuilding their state.

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Your Concept of Time

There are many things that differentiate followers of Christ from unbelievers. (morality, faith, concept of truth, origin of life, purpose of life, & other world views)

Many of these differences can boil down to one concept in particular, and that is our concept of time.

1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

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A New Year of Wonder

With the close of a year, we should pause to reflect on what God has done. Too often we are so rushed from one activity to another and one season to another that we can easily forget to realize what God has done and to thank Him.

Being a church of vulnerable humans in a broken world, some of us will look back at 2016 as the worst year, while some will look at it as the best year, leaving the rest of us somewhere in between. Regardless of our experiences, we can all find things to praise and thank God for regarding 2016. Additionally, we can look to 2017 with hopeful anticipation and optimism…

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They Left Everything…

Of the different Gospel accounts of Jesus calling His initial disciples, Luke’s account is the most intriguing to me.

Luke 5:1-11 “One day Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee. The people crowded around him as they listened to God’s word. 2 Jesus saw two boats on the shore. The fishermen had stepped out of them and were washing their nets. 3 So Jesus got into the boat that belonged to Simon and asked him to push off a little from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowd from the boat. 4 When he finished speaking, he told Simon, “Take the boat into deep water, and lower your nets to catch some fish.” 5Simon answered, “Teacher, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I’ll lower the nets.” 6 After the men had done this, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. Their partners came and filled both boats until the boats nearly sank. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he knelt in front of Jesus and said, “Leave me, Lord! I’m a sinful person!” 9Simon and everyone who was with him were amazed to see the large number of fish they had caught. 10 James and John, who were Zebedee’s sons and Simon’s partners, were also amazed. Jesus told Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will catch people instead of fish.” 11 Simon and his partners brought the boats to shore, left everything, and followed Jesus.”

So many different sermons could be launched from this text, such as trusting Jesus; casting off fear; reaching the lost; being obedient; pursuing discipleship; our abundant life in Christ; and the list goes on… What jumps off of the page to me is that the disciples, “left everything, and followed Jesus”. Think about this for a minute: Jesus defies the fishermen’s doubtful expectations by having them cast their nets on the other side of the boat. The miraculous result is so overwhelming they cannot handle the catch by themselves, so they call for help. Hey, there’s another sermon: “When God pours out so many blessings that you need help”! Both boats almost sink due to the size of this miraculous catch!

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on the journeybaby dedication

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McKinney at Cardinal
101 Cardinal Drive
Denton, TX 76209
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