Amazing Grace: Opinions & Options

This Friday (23rd) the movie, "Amazing Grace" premiers all over the nation.  It is a story of one's man driving passion to eradicate slavery in the British Empire.  The story is a journey of struggle and ultimately victory.  We will have a few clips about the movie during the assembly on Sunday (25th).  

When Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech to the 14th Indiana Regiment in 1865, he said, in part:  "Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."  Nine years earlier, during his annual message to Congress, Lincoln asserted:  "In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom for the free - honorable alkie in what we give and waht we preserve."  In a Birmingham jail in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote:  "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."  

Looking forward to our study on Sunday!  Jim

God's Surprising Power Over My Failure

This will be the fifth and final installment in study series from Psalms.  We've talked about God's surprising power over my disappointment, confusion, hurt, and fear.  Failure seems to be the toughest because we usually bring this on ourselves.  

We will tell the story of a man who was held responsibile for a mistake that took nine lives and cost the government tens of millions of dollars.  It cost him his career, and nearly his sanity.  What was his turning point?  How did he find resolution to his failure?  What role did his faith and His God play?  We will look at his life through the lens of Psalm 13.  His testimony is powerful!  

Thank you for your response to this series.  If God can address our struggles with disappointment, confusion, hurt, fear, and failure, we can our way to a trust that produces amazing peace.

See you on Sunday!

A Champion's Charge

Are you ready for the Super Bowl this coming Sunday?  Evidently, the whole world will be tuning in.  

A few interesting facts:  
- Over 150,000,000 Americans will be tuning in.  
- Nine of the top 10 shows ever watched by us were Super Bowls!  
8% will tune in just to view the ads  -  ads that will cost $73,333 per second!  
- The Bears and Colts will do battle for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, a sterling silver prize that costs the league $25,000.  
- The football game will be only 60 minutes, but there will be at least 30 minutes of commercials interrupting the game.   
- Take out food sales skyrocket for the game as well as antacid sales which rise 20% for Sunday and Monday.  
- And evidently, many need time to heal because there is a 6% increase of illness on Monday following the game.

With all this in mind, my message this Sunday is, "A Champion's Charge."  We will talk about the champion within all of us, and how three championship principles help us reach the goal of victory.  

See you on Super Sunday!


God's Surprising Power Over My Fear

We're in week four of our series.  On Sunday we will look at a Harris Poll of what Americans are afraid of.  We are fearful creatures and a very fear-filled culture.  Each day we're reminded of the losses of terrorism, but did you know more people die each year from water than all the explosions of terrorism? After 911, travel in the airwaves decreased, but did you know fatalities from automobile accidents went up.  Why?  Simple.  We are 27 times more likely to die in a car accident than in an air disaster.  When passengers stopped flying and started riding, fatalities rose.  What does the Bible have to say about fear?  We'll study this on Sunday with a special look at Psalm 46.  Looking foward to our time in the Word and our worship.


God's Surprising Power Over My Hurt

We're half-way through our study, God's Surprising Power with this Sunday's message, "Over My Hurt.” Imagine a world where everyone loved and cared, told no lies, a world where there was never any betrayal or dishonesty. We can only imagine that kind of world because truth is, we live in enemy territory where spirits are gashed daily. At some time we all get hurt.

This Sunday, Lord willing, we will be looking at Psalm 55. At some point in David's tenure as king he was betrayed by a close friend. David was no weakling, but this crushed him. What can we learn from David's hurt and his response? Take some time this week and read Psalm 55. Ask God to open your heart to the truths of this text. Invite a friend. Share a CD. God has surprising power for those who trust Him.

See you on Sunday!


How People Will Remember You

Rubel Shelley
from "Fax of Life"
January 8, 2007

The death of Gerald R. Ford was not the lead story on the newscast I happened to catch on the Sunday closest to the event. It came third, behind reports of the death of a tyrant-murderer and a rock singer. In retrospect, that seems appropriate to the “accidental president” who got very little respect while in office and who was vilified mercilessly for pardoning his predecessor.

I am no historian and do not propose to evaluate the brief time President Ford served as our nation's leader. I am not a political commentator and have no thought of defending or attacking his pragmatic approach to government. But his passing has made me aware of the things people remember about one another.

Yes, there were print and television pieces about Gerald Ford that chronicled his involvement in the Nixon pardon, a crisis over the U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez, and the Helsinki Accords. There were passing references to an oil shortage and the inflation crisis. But all the coverage I saw wound up focusing on his fundamental decency, his disdain for what one person referred to as the “arrogance of power,” and his devotion to his wife.

You won't always be where you are today. Whether you are a school teacher, bank president, or top-level executive with a major corporation, you will pass the torch to someone else before long. If you are a truck driver, factory worker, or department store clerk, you won't do it without end. Lawyer, doctor, journalist, entertainer, athlete – nobody fills any role forever.

When you move, retire, or die from whatever you are doing today, people will remember you more for who you were than for what you did.

Ford projected a sense of sincerity and decency. “Truth is the glue that holds government together,” he said just before taking office, “not only government but civilization itself. An adopted child, he said his mother and adoptive father had three rules for him and his three half-brothers: tell the truth, work hard, and come to dinner on time. Comedians mocked him as a buffoon for a fall he took coming off a plane, but Ford didn't put their names on a hit list. He even made a joke of it himself. “I am a Ford,” he quipped, “not a Lincoln.”

He and his wife, Betty, appear to have loved each other devotedly. They held hands and even kissed in public – unthinkable until then for an American president. They broke another White House precedent by continuing to sleep in the same bed. They spoke kindly to each other and respectfully of each other. Betty's cancer and chemical addictions were transformed by a husband and wife team into opportunities for helping thousands of others with similar problems.

When all is said and done with your life and career, people are going to remember your character, the way you treated people, and your loyalty to your family more than your work. Wouldn't it be wise to think about those things now?

Maybe that's why the Bible says: “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1).


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