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Birthday:

December 30


God Given Self-Control

As he admitted to a wrongdoing, the young man said, “I just couldn’t control myself.” Self-control is a difficult thing. It has to do with discipline, and discipline is hard. We live in an out-of-control society and If you don’t discipline yourself, someone else will control you. Thus the importance of self-control. It is similar to a muscle in that the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. The idea of self-control gains in importance when you realize that if a person can’t control…

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Bread that Returns to Bless

I spoke recently at a Men’s Breakfast for a nearby church. Present at that gathering was a man who had been a member of a neighboring church where I had served as Interim Pastor thirty-two years previously. Unfortunately, his wife was having memory issues, and it prompted him to share a story with me. A few days earlier he had been going through one of his wife’s purses in an attempt to help her find something, when his hand felt a cassette tape at the bottom of a purse. Removing the…

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Plagiarism or Research?

A lot has been written on social media recently about sermon plagiarizing – preaching someone else’s sermon, although one of my preaching professors told us if you preach another’s sermon it is called plagiarizing, but if you combine parts of several sermons, it is called research. My pastor-father used to say, “When better sermons are written, I’ll preach them.” Sometimes they were and sometimes he did. A friend began his Chapel sermon at Southwestern Seminary by saying, “If you like this…

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Preaching in Season and Out of Season

Yesterday was Father’s Day. In spite of having had skin cancer surgery on my forehead on the preceding Monday and having spent the week with swollen eyes and nose, using ice packs for ten minutes every hour, taking pain killers on a regular basis, and sleeping with my head elevated, I preached my morning sermon. It was not that the congregation especially needed my sermon, but it was that I needed to preach on Father’s Day. When I was fifteen years old, I was involved in a Saturday night…

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His Name Could Have Been Legion

Every time I passed by, he was there – in the cul-de-sac, near his house, seated in his walker/chair, across from the school, with his American flag flying, a smaller flag in his hand, waving. I often thought of stopping to visit with him, but it was COVID season and social distancing was being advised. So, I slowed down, lowed my window and saluted him and his flags. He always responded with a wave. One day, as I passed by, there was a fire truck and an ambulance in the cul-de-sac. I…

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Envision and Vision

The difference between envision and vision is that envision sees or imagines something within the mind, and vision sees something as if it was true. When I was young we had no TV, so I listened to The Lone Ranger and baseball’s Game of the Day on the radio. While I could not see the action, I could envision the scenes and events in my mind. In the long run, I think it helped me be a person of vision. Once you start seeing something in your mind, you start seeing how it can happen, then you…

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Discovered Joy

I was preaching in a church where I knew no one, not even members of the ministerial staff. No one had contacted me prior to the service to inquire as to my subject or scripture. It so happened that I was preaching on “The Fullness of Joy” from Psalm 16:11 - “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” To my shock, just prior to my sermon, a soloist sang, “Come, Ye Disconsolate.” That is a wonderful old hymn, with lyrics by Thomas Moore, with powerful lines like, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven…

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Interruptions and Initiatives

I once led a Bible Study entitled “A Day of Interruptions” from Mark 5. Jesus was interrupted by a haunted person – Legion – in Mark 5:1-20, He was interrupted by a hurting person – Jairus – in Mark 5:21-24. The Lord was interrupted by a hopeless person – a nameless woman – in Mark 5:25-34, and finally, He was interrupted by a helpless person – a nameless girl – in Mark 5:35-43. As if this was not enough, all four of these interruptions happened on the same day. So last week my schedule had…

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Always be Ready

I have a long-time friend and colleague who recently tested positive for COVID and pneumonia. He is currently hospitalized in the ICU area of a major hospital. When I talked with him, he shared with me that he told his Dr. that hundreds of people were praying for him. Then he asked the Dr. if he knew this Jesus, to whom people were praying? It reminded me of a day several years ago, when my wife was about to undergo a very complicated, and serious surgery. I explained to the Surgeon that as…

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Serve with Gladness

We sang a song last Sunday in the worship service that I had completely forgotten. It was a song from my youth, written in 1931 by B.B. McKinney, and based on Psalm 100:2, “Serve the Lord with gladness.” As we sang, I found myself wondering if there was any other way to serve the Lord. Could one serve the Lord with sadness? With anger? With indifference? With fear? I suppose so, but why would one want to do that? The kind of gladness that comes from serving the Lord, is greater than any…

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