Pastor's Thoughts

January 16, 2017​

A computer is only as smart as the one programming it.  I have heard that saying for many years.  The fact that when you pull up my blog page and it shows the last entry is Aug 16 tells you that I have done something wrong multiple times.  Why?  Because I have posted thoughts since the 16th of Aug.  It would seem I have forgotten how to post and save to this blog.  It would also suggest, as the opening line says, I am not real smart when it comes to blogs and posting my thoughts.  Now you may say, be thinking, that since you are reading these thoughts I must have done something right, finally.  You would be right!  What did I do you may ask?  I reread the instructions for how to post to my blog.  Unless we do something consistently then it is easy for us to forget how to do something.  I have changed a car starter and water pump many times in my life.  I use to be able to do it from memory.  However, if I were to attempt that today I would have to google a video and remind myself on how to do it, and if it was a new car the video would say give up and take it to a dealer. 

Most of us don’t have photographic memories and are not able to remember everything we see and read.  So, we have to read the instructions again, we have to remember how to do something, we have to have a refresher course on computers and programs.  That doesn’t make us stupid, it makes us human.  That is why when someone tells me they have read the Bible once I wonder if maybe they need to read it again.  When someone says, they read it occasionally I wonder if maybe it is not time to read it more often.  The Bible is the instruction manual for Christians on how to live, witness, reach out and allow God to use us to help change other people.  It is an instruction manual that, unless you have a photographic memory, you need to read often and brush up on the details. 

It is a book that will speak to you in different ways each time.  When you read it your life situation has changed, you age has changed, your home life may have changed, your children are older, you are older and you may have discovered new gifts in God.  In short there are new verses and stories that will speak to you.  Unless you are reading it each day you may never discover the changes, the message, the words God wants to speak to you. 

Like any instruction manual it may not always be easy to understand but it is always right.  Unlike other instruction manuals you don’t build your life on Christ once and forget it.  You are adding to your relationship every day.  Therefore, you need to read the instruction manual every day to be the best builder you can be.  

August 16, 2016

Can't we all just get along?  Sound Familiar?

As you know you cannot turn on the news or even the T.V. without hearing about the Olympics or the Presidential race.  Both of which are full of controversy.  With the Olympics it is all about who is and is not doping.  Should an athlete be allowed to participate if they have ever been found guilty of doping and what to do about countries where the whole country sponsors doping. 

Presidential politics are no better.  They are all about who is cheating, lying and/or being deceitful.  Who has the best policy has become lost in asking who is the biggest nutcase.  Yes, I know while you are reading this you have already decided who the biggest nut case is.  That is ok, that is your right as an American citizen.  I think they are both nuts and I don’t really trust either of them.  I also have the right to say what I feel.    

So what does all this have in common?  Win at all cost!  That is the attitude in too many things today.  It is no longer about sportsmanship; it is about winning.  It is not about who is the better Candidate it is about who belongs to the same party as me.  Say what you need to say, do what you need to do, just get elected.  There is no longer any respect for opponents, political or sports, there is only winning.  We don’t even call them opponents any more, we call them enemies.  This is on open display every time an athlete, other than Brazilian, walks out on any stage in Rio.  The fans begin booing if the athlete is not from Brazil.  It is on open display as the two presidential candidates, and the current president, constantly take cheap shots at each another. 

Yes, I am discussed with both of these events.  Yes, I have already had more than enough of the Olympics and the Presidential race.  But as long as people continue to see each other as enemies, as long as we talk at each other instead of too each other, as long as we are more focused on winning at all cost nothing will get better.  It is really a shame.  I use to love the Olympics.  I use to be involved and watched politics closely.  Now I just wish both of them would be over and done with and go away. Now I just wish the church and God’s people could find a way to once again love and respect each other, no matter what party you belong to or what football team you love.  

Robert​

7-5-2016

Soon our youth will be leaving on the yearly beach retreat.  It is 3 days in Panama City Fl.  I know you are thinking it is all swimming, shopping and playing.  Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of that.  However, there is also some of the most spiritual worship and devotion services I have ever been part of.  It is amazing to watch these young people get very serious about their relationships with God.  I know God will do great things. 

It reminds me of how God can use anything to His good will.  Granted the beach is not where you would expect someone to go to find God.  But let me tell you many youths have found God at the Retreat.  Kenley, my daughter, was baptized in the ocean just two years ago as was another youth who gave her life to Christ while at the retreat.  

It is not the place that matters but rather what is in the heart and soul.  Yes, many people find God in a church rather than other places.  But why a church?  Because it is usually the only time we sit still long enough for God to speak and us listen.  But when you start reading the Bible and meditating on God and His word it does not matter where you are at, God can do awesome things in your life.  I just wish more people knew how awesome God is and how much He wants, no desires, to be in all parts of our lives. 

How can people not know Him? How can people not love Jesus Christ and serve Him?  I just don’t get it.  How can someone turn down the most awesome and amazing gift ever offered. 

God inspire me to find new ways to reach the lost and spread Your love.  God I say this not because it is what is expected of a pastor and child of God but because I really want you to USE ME dear Lord to help others discover your great love.  AMEN

Robert

6-10-2016

The Church and Planned Parenthood

Annual Conference has come and gone for another year.  Most everything that came up was easy and settled with little or no discussion.  However, there were a couple of difficult issues. 

There was a petition put forth to send a letter to all Alabama Senators and legislators, both State and Federal, from the North Alabama Conference requesting all federal funds for planned parenthood be stopped and that money be directed to places that serve a prolife stance rather than prochoice.  After much discussion we did what we always do, we tabled it so it can be better studied by a committee and bring a recommendation back to Annual Conference.  There are those who say we were scared to take a stand so we kicked the can down the road.  Others said the church must be prolife and by tabling and studying this we are allowing innocent children to die every day.  Others said even one abortion is a stain on the soul of America and must not be tolerated.  I will hold my thoughts on abortion until the last part of this letter.

But there was one lady who spoke neither for nor against the resolution but sought to speak to the body of Christ gathered there.  She reminded us for every action there is a reaction.  In this discussion she felt we were failing to consider the most important reactions of the church stance on abortion. 

Here are my thoughts on the reactions of calling for an end to abortion on demand. 

If we, the church, are going to insist that women not have abortions then we must be prepared to help them.  The woman will have to take 6-8 weeks off from her job. Her bills will still have to be paid, there will be medical care to provide for her and the child as well.  Young mothers will have to have babysitters so they can finish high school or college so they can get a job that will support them and their child.  Even if they get married the young men will need help with the family to care for the child while he, and hopefully his wife, get an education. 

Of course there is always the better choice of abstinence.  However, someone must teach this to our youth.  Unfortunately, most parents are not teaching their youth about sex, and the consequences of it, at home.  Someone must begin teaching young men to abstain until marriage rather than trying to be “studs”.  They must be taught sex is not about conquest but love and respect for self and for women.  Men must teach young men to respect women and stop saying “that’s just what boys do”.  Fathers must teach responsibility and respect for women to these young men.  They must be taught: no means no and getting them drunk or passed out is not an acceptable time for having sex with someone. 

Mothers must teach their daughters to respect themselves and their bodies.  They must be taught they are of value and that value is not depended upon their bodies.  They must be taught drinking until you pass out or taking drugs that make you unconscious are dangerous things to do and show no self-control or respect for yourself. 

Who is going to teach this to our children when those responsible for them fail in their duties?  I know I do not want the school teaching it.  Their answer is to hand out condoms to whomever wants them with no education, counseling or forethought.  That leaves the church and faith based organizations to be there to provide this for our children and youth.  Do you want your church teaching sex ed.  I do!  If it is not going to be taught at home, I think this is the best place to teach it. In the case of many homes the church is still the best place to teach it.  Only here will it be taught as a gift from God to be expressed in love and respect.  Only here will it be taught through scripture rather than a textbook that speaks nothing of love and respect but rather focuses only on how to prevent becoming pregnant.  In the church sex is taught hand in hand with self-respect, respect for the opposite sex, self-control, and love for God. 

I am pro-life.  I think abortion is wrong.  But I also know life is messy.  I know things happen to women that are horrible and can lead to unwanted pregnancies.  I also know people sin and make mistakes.  I know it takes two to make a baby so this falls on both the man and the woman.  We must quit putting all the blame on the woman and letting the man off as if he did nothing wrong. I am not going to call a woman a murderer nor will I encourage her to compound one mistake by making another horrible mistake.  She is still a child of God and has great spiritual value to her Father in heaven.  I know she will not be condemned to hell forever because she may have chosen an abortion.  I know God still loves her and he is a God of grace and forgiveness.  I know she can be forgiven.  I also know abortion leaves scars on a woman that only God can heal. 

But I stand by the fact that the church should call for an end to any public funds being used for abortion.  We should demand public funds no longer be used in the support of any organization who offers abortion as a means of birth control.  We must not support any organization where their leaders sit over dinner and talk about the buying and selling of fetal tissue as if it was just another product. 

But I also know if we are going to call for an end of funding any such organizations as those listed above then we, as Christians, must be willing to step up, put our money, time and efforts, where our indignation is and offer the community the help that will be needed as a result of such actions.   

Yes, there is a reaction for every action.  Is the church ready for this reaction?  If not, then now is the time to prepare.  

​5-20-2016

To those who would call me a bigot, racist, misogynistic, small minded, mean, cold hearted, cruel and unchristian this entry is just for you. 

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.  I can find nothing in the Bible to justify homosexual unions.  I believe if you are a man you use the men’s restroom and vice-versa.  No I don’t plan on standing at the door checking people’s “equipment” that is just as perverted, but often you can just look and know that is a man in drag. I believe God loves them just like everyone else and is praying someone will help them see the light and turn from their sins.  God has never desired His church to promote or tolerate intentional sin.  Much the same way He hopes all of us will turn from our sins and love Him. 

I believe there is only one way to Heaven and that is through Jesus Christ.  I believe all other religions risk their souls if they do not repent and proclaim Jesus Christ as their savior. I believe Muslims are serving the wrong God and risk their souls each day.  I have read the Koran and it is a violent book.  Before you hit the roof and say so is the Bible: Not all of it.  The Old Testament is but we, as Christians, live by the New Testament.  It is full of grace, mercy and love.  It is the words and teachings of Jesus.  Yes, It is the definitive source of life, morality and ethics for all of us.  I believe most denominations will be in Heaven.  I don’t think it will be only Methodist.  I believe Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ and Church of God and many others will be there.  Yes, I know they don’t believe the same thing about me but that is not my problem.  They can explain to God on Judgement Day why they tried to limit His amazing grace.  Yes, I believe there will be a day of judgement.  I believe the word of God belongs in schools and our children were much better off when they started their school day with a prayer.  I use masculine pronouns to describe God, yes I call God: He.  Jesus called God, Father and He, and that is “all I have to say on that matter”.  I believe life is sacred and begins at conception.  I believe a man and woman should work for a living and not keep looking for a handout from the government.  Yes, that means I am a capitalist and NOT a socialist. 

Let me end with this: I know America is a great country and I am proud to be a Christian, American and a United Methodist.  Even with all that is going on and the horrendous actions of the government over the last several years I know America is still a great place to live and would want to live nowhere else on earth. 

Yes, I am sure after reading this there are many who would/will call me a bigot, racist, misogynistic, small minded, mean, cold hearted, cruel and unchristian.  What breaks my heart is many of those calling names are also “Christian” and United Methodist.  But that is ok, I don’t insist on everyone seeing it my way.  I can disagree with you and not call you names or be ugly.  I can even end by saying:  God bless you. 

Are you able to do the same for those with whom you do not agree? 

Robert

5-18-2016

Good afternoon, Let me just warn you ahead of time: if you are not United Methodist you are most likely not going to agree with what you are about to read.  But I am, first and foremost, a Christian and I choose to worship and serve Jesus in the United Methodist church.  Therefore, I do agree with much of our doctrine and proud to share my thoughts on two points of doctrine.  

This past Sunday we had the wonderful pleasure of doing an infant baptism.  Molly Grace was baptized i​nto the body of Christ and her parents made a covenant with God to raise her in a Christian home.  This past Sunday was also Pentecost Sunday.  That is the Sunday the church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to the disciples of Jesus.  With the Holy Comforter comes the grace of God.  How wonderful it was to baptize Molly Grace on the same Sunday we celebrate the coming of Grace to the world.  As she is born into the grace of God so all of us are born into the grace of God.  Christ came before we even knew who He was.  He died before we ever heard of Him.  He arose from the grave before we were even born.  Hence the reason we, United Methodist, baptize and offer communion to babies.  I don't understand how someone can say you must be a believer to be baptized or you must know Christ to receive communion?  Didn't Christ share the Last Supper with the Disciples, died for us and He offered us the Comforter and grace before we were born.  It appears to me that Christ offered Himself up without precondition.  So why do we insist on putting preconditions on His grace?  His grace is free and there for all.  Now before someone freaks out and says: "you must believe before you can be saved!"  you right, you do.  But grace precedes salvation.  Baptism and communion are about grace not Salvation.  In Matthew 28 baptism comes first and then it says "teach them all that I have commanded".  When Jesus shared the Last Supper with the Disciples they still thought He was a physical King.  They had no clue that Jesus was a Savior of the spirit and not the body.  Right before they shared the meal Peter rebuked Jesus because Jesus said: I must "suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and ... be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Robert