5 Things in Week 5 of 2013

1. The Next Level of commitment is usually intimidating.  We get content with our walk with Christ, what we are doing and where we are.  Then when He calls us to something more, something higher, something of greater intensity, we become hesitant.  Sometimes people will actually step back instead of stepping up, feeling guilt about not taking the challenge they will suddenly fall further back in their walk.  The Next Level is before you.  What will you do?

2. I’m looking forward to this next month.  There is so much going on in February at Spring Creek and it’s all good stuff.  We start with the Chili Bowl this Saturday, keep it going with the AWANA Gran Prix on the 17th and all month we are working toward Go Texan Day the first weekend of March.  These are huge opportunities that I encourage you to join.  Nothing is more fun than a relaxing day of flag football followed by some great homemade chili.

3. One of my Directv receivers is not working.  It happens to be the one in the den, the one most watched.  We can still watch recorded programs on that DVR, but it has pretty much lost satellite reception and loses the other DVR’s is you’re watching a show on one of them.  So I called Directv Saturday to set up an appointment to have it fixed.  This morning I got a call from a computer at Directv asking me if I wanted to keep the appointment or change it.  I said “Keep.”  It said, “Okay, how about we change it to Thursday.”  I said, “No, I want to keep it on Wednesday.”  It said, “We can’t schedule it for Wednesday, I can only schedule it for Thursday.”  I pressed “0” and said, “Are there any humans working there?”  Frustrating is the word I think.  In the end I was able to keep it on Wednesday.  It was 20 minutes wasted by a computer who called me.  At the end of the conversation the guy said, “Thanks for calling Directv.”  I didn’t call Directv!

4. I’ve still got my 2012 calendar on the wall in my office.  Why hasn’t Julie been in to change it?  She is the one who always updates it to the proper month, now I’m on the wrong year and January is almost over.  Julie, help!

5. This week my oldest turns 21.  Wow!  That’s crazy.  I can’t believe it has been 21 years since that first time we met.  She was so tiny and so beautiful.  Julie and I have been so blessed by this beautiful daughter and we are so proud of the young woman she has become.  It is profoundly humbling to see your daughter grow into a young lady who is so smart and so committed to Christ and so much fun to be around.  I love to sit and talk with her and hear what’s happening around her.  Holley, I am well pleased.  🙂

5 Things in Week 4 of 2013

1. We had a great time this weekend with DNow and Sunday worship and activities.  Julie and I had a great time with the 10 boys at our house this weekend.  They were a pleasure to be around and I liked having the sounds of grunts in the home.  🙂  Sunday was also really enjoyable.  I thought Mike and the guys did a wonderful job of leading us in worship.  I also enjoyed our deacons meeting together Sunday afternoon and our preparation for the AWANA Gran Prix Sunday night.  Can’t wait for February 17th and the Gran Prix.

2. Julie and the girls were in Austin Sunday evening watching “The Lion King” on the musical stage.  Julie said it was a very good production and they had a great time together for this long weekend.  It’s probably my favorite animated movie.  Probably because of the one line late in the movie when the vision of Musfasa appears to young Simba and says, “You are more than you have become.”  What a great line!  Isn’t it true of most of us who know the Savior?  We have been redeemed by the Savior, infilled by the Spirit and called by the God of the universe, and yet we so often live small lives.  “We are more than we have become.”

3. Lots of activities coming up in the life of Spring Creek Baptist Church over the next several weeks, beginning with the annual Chili Bowl the Saturday before the Super Bowl.  Also in February is the AWANA Gran Prix.  It’ll be on Sunday night, February 17th.  We will suspend our Intersection classes on that night as we all celebrate together the fast a”car”mplishments of our AWANA kids.  And then March starts off the first Sunday with Go Texan Day.  These are all great opportunities to invite friends and neighbors to join us for a good time.

4. The Good Friday Play is returning.  For the past several years we have joined with Spring Baptist and True Vine Missionary Baptist in a cooperative worship experience on Good Friday.  I’ve decided this year to go back to what had become a tradition in our church, the Good Friday Play.  We will have practices on Sunday afternoons beginning February 3rd and the performance will be on Good Friday, March 29th.  I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy the talents of several of those in our church who know how to ham it up a bit.  More info will be coming soon.

5. This is the opening paragraph of an editorial written by a friend of mine, Kelly Boggs: “A New Jersey school board terminated a longtime substitute teacher on Jan. 15 because he shared a Bible verse in the course of a conversation with a student. After sharing the verse, the teacher offered the student a New Testament, which the student accepted.”
I believe we are in grave danger as a nation when we begin to act with impunity toward the people of God when the people of God are doing nothing more than living our their faith.  This is a dangerous position for any nation to be in and our nation most certainly should not expect to be exempt from the same judgments that have befallen other nations in world history who have been so overtly antagonistic to the gospel.  Read the rest of the article here.

5 Things in Week 3 of 2013

1. I am Baptist, so it follows that baptism is a big deal.  Sunday I preached from Matthew 3 about John the Baptist and his baptism of Jesus.  The three main points were: 1) Baptism authenticated the ministry of John the Baptist and the identity of Jesus Christ, 2) Baptism identified Christ with us and identifies us with Christ and the church, and 3) Baptism is and act of obedience for us.

2. Both my girls, Holley and Courtney, start new semesters today, UNT and UT respectively.  The farther they go you begin to realize that they have so much less to complete.  I’m very proud of them both.  They work hard, study hard and both manage to be involved in Baptist Student Ministries and have lots of fun.  College life is a great time of life.  I don’t miss it, but I sure did enjoy it.

3. I read today that some think our kids are not in school long enough during the year.  Specifically, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, thinks we should lengthen the winter break and shorten the summer break.  That makes perfect sense because we all know that we would rather have lots of free time when it is too cold outside to enjoy the weather and less free time in the the sunny summer.  The complaint is that kids forget a lot of stuff over the summer so the break should be shorter.  I’m thinking if they can’t remember it over the summer then maybe it’s because they didn’t really learn it.  And, what happens to us when we graduate?  How do we function without the government continually telling us what to know and “educating” us?  I’m sure all my teacher friends, including my lovely wife, would just love to have year round school.  😉

4. Just started reading the last of my Christmas gift books, “Killing Kennedy” by Bill O’Reilly.  I loved “Killing Lincoln” and this one is off to a great start.  Other books completed already are: “The Racketeer” by John Grisham (5 stars) and “The Truth That Makes Them Free: A Collection of Essays” edited by Donald G. Davis, Jr. (4 stars).

5. Happy Birthday shout out to my much older brother, James Mantooth.  It’s nice to know someone who looks older, is older and acts much younger than I.  God bless you James.  :)))

Repentance is Hard – Matthew 3:1-12

I’m always looking for new things to be able to post so here is a partial outline of the message I preached yesterday.  I used to preach without notes, but I decided when I began using my iPad to preach that I would start using notes.  In part that is in recognition that I won’t always have the memory of youth, in part to be able preach well from notes allowing me to access more messages at will if the opportunity necessitates it.

My notes aren’t exhaustive, I don’t manuscript my messages.  Some is shorthand for me, sometimes I have a statement I want to make clear.  So here it is:

John the Baptist was an odd character
Cousin of Jesus
Lived in the deser
Ate desert food
Dressed funny
First prophet in Israel in 400 years

1. His message was simple – Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near
Repentance is not mere regret and remorse.
These are stops along the way – ILLUS: going to Dallas and stop and Buccee’s and Braham’s in Ennis

2. Repentance means changing the way we think

2.1 Forsake foolish thinking, crazy, madness
Read Proverbs – see how the fool thinks: Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 10:8; Proverbs 10:23; Proverbs 14:7-9

2.2 Embrace the wisdom of salvation
Change your mind, your opinions, your purposes, your inclinations
Admit that many of your thoughts were wrong, foolish

Children – embrace the wisdom of your parents.  They are right 95% of the time and you don’t have the wisdom to discern the other 5%.

In the confrontation John has with the Jewish religious leaders he exhorts them to “produce fruit consistent with repentance.” V. 8
The Pharisees had Religion, but not Repentance – It is a dangerous game we play when we act as pagans while calling ourselves Christians.

3. Repentance means changing the way we act

3.1 Forsake sinful actions that lead to misery, death, hell
Favorite speaker used to say – you’ve tried your way and it’s not working, why don’t you try things God’s way

3.2 Embrace God’s way
Admit that my actions have been wrong and they must change
John puts forth the act of baptism as the first act of repentance.
Because our repentance can only be evidenced by actions, we begin with baptism
John’s baptism of repentance gains added meaning when he baptizes Jesus – (next week’s message)

4. Confession and Pride

4.1 Confession isn’t mere apology
Agree with God that my actions were sinful
Agree that sin is wrong
Agree that my sin is MY sin – Own it – Cannot keep blaming God, my family, bad influences, my upbringing, my personality
Turn from my sin – Repentance

4.2 Set aside my Pride
I must embrace the anguish deep in my soul understanding that I have prepared myself for hell, not heaven, I have ruined my soul, and that my sins are not only against myself but also against God.

5 Predictions for 2013 – Happy New Year!

1. Congress and the President will argue about who has fixed our economy.  Both will take credit for the good and blame the other for the bad and neither will actually do anything to make it better.  Spending cuts will not actually happen this year, through they may pass some, they will only take effect in years to come and will be forgotten or changed by future budgets.

2. Jerry Jones will take all the credit for a “great draft class” that will get the Cowboys back on top.  Of course, it won’t, but everybody is a champion in August.  The Texans will have a major shakeup in personnel to try to remedy the faults found late in the season.  They will start next season by winning seven of their first eight games and all anybody will talk about is how they failed at the end of this season.

3. The new Star Trek movie will be the breakout hit of the summer.  It will set records for ticket sales and many trekkies will hate it, calling it a poor representation of the series.  Some will find fault with the science of it, forgetting that it’s a fictional movie about the future.

4. With the Mayan prediction out of the way, Americans will fall into a false sense of security about our own future.  There will be at least two specials on mainstream television about how doomsday predictions never come true, because they haven’t yet.  These will seek to convince viewers that Biblical predictions about the end times are just as false as Mayan predictions.  Why is it that we get so worked up about predictions by those who have rarely been right and yet have no regard for Biblical prophecies that have never been wrong?

5. Of this I am certain, there will be events this year in each person’s life that could never have been predicted.  The reaction to these events will be based on the person’s faith preparations made now, while not in crisis.  Some will become great testimonies to the goodness and faithfulness of God, who is always prepared and always knows.  Some will bring Him glory as He shows Himself though the perseverance and fortitude of His followers.  God will accomplish His purposes this year.  I am determined to be part of His work this year and to see Him work through my life.

May 2013 be a happy and blessed year for us all!