<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Monett Community Church





Friday, January 27th, 2012

For the next several weeks I'll be posting summaries of my sermon notes for those who might miss a service. The series is on four Biblical concepts that help us to understand, experience, and express grace. Recommended reading: The Cross of Christ , by John Stott


• In 1 John 2:1-2 says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

• The word for “atoning” in the original language basically means “to appease an angry offended party” which is often translated “propitiation.”

• Why is God angry with our sin?

• i. It's an affront to His Character

• ii. It is a deviation of His Creation

• iii. It is an adulteration of His Covenant

• Hi s w rath is not an uncontrolled fury. It is controlled. It is not a moodiness that you don't know what He feels or why He feels that way. Because God is holy, unchanging, and just He always hates all sin all the time.

• As a result, man is alienated from God due to sin and God is alienated from man due to hi s w rath toward our sin.


• God could take out Hi s w rath on us, which i s w here it should be directed, but He doesn't. He loves us too much.

• God alone is the One who makes the propitiation.

• 1 John 4:10 - This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins.


• The propitiatory sacrifice was not a thing, but a person.

• i. 1 John 2:1 we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world

• ii. God did not offer someone else to appease His own anger toward the sins of humanity, but He offered Himself.

• Summary: It is God Himself who in holy wrath towards our sin needs to be propitiated, God Himself who in holy love undertook the propitiating, and God Himself who in the person of His Son died for the propitiation of our sins.” (Stott)


My Addiction

Friday, January 6th, 2012

I have a confession to make. For the sake of honesty and integrity I think that you should be aware of something. I have an addiction. I know that such a weaknesses is not what you want to hear from your pastor, but I can't expect you to be honest with me unless I am willing to be honest with you. While this is not easy to confess, maybe my opennes s w ill encourage the same self-awareness in you.

It would probably be best for me to start from the beginning. It didn't happen suddenly like the first splash of cold water from the morning's shower. It was more like the steeping that takes place when a tea bag is placed in warm water. The more I was around her the stronger the fragrance of her spirit intoxicated me. It didn't take long to realize that I was hopelessly addicted to her.

The first time I took Darla out I knew that I was a goner. The sweaty palms and slight dizziness should have signaled that she had a influence over me that couldn't be ignored. The strange thing was that not only was I powerless to avoid her, I had no desire to do so.

Scientists say that some people have a physical predisposition to certain addictions. I have a God-given spiritual predisposition to be addicted to Darla. She is more beautiful to me every day. When I'm not with her I feel that I'm about to break out in cold sweats and get the shakes. I don't think to well when I've been away from her. (Come to think of it, when I'm under the spell of her presence I don't think so clearly either. What can I say? I'm married to a hotty!)

Tomorrow will be our 23rd anniversary. I wish that I could say that they have been twenty-three years of perfection, but that would require me to have been perfect for all twenty-three of those years. I do know that I love this journey.

She is clearly the one God created me for. She makes me a better man, and is my compliment in all the areas that God intended. She is more than I had prayed for?in a wife, a mother to our children, my helpmate, and my friend for life. God has truly been gracious to me.

Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Giver her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:29-31


A Not So Silent Night

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

It is 6:07 pm , the cookies are in the oven, her hair is primped and with a quick retouch of lipstick her face will be done. If they can be in the van in 13 minutes they'll make it to school without getting one of those glares from the music teacher. ?I don't know where your other mitten is Matt. I didn't wear it, you did,? she calls from her the bathroom trying to be patient but direct. She wonders to herself why getting a family prepared for an elementary choir presentation isn't part of the winter Olympics.

She power-walks back to the living room and checks the wings on Darlene's angel outfit. Every time it's the same, the kids never tell her they need a special costume until the night before the presentation. She blows on the hot glue hoping that the third application will hold. As she burns her finger on the tip of the hot glue gun, she says under her breath, ?Even Mary didn't have this hard of a time on Christmas Eve.?

Tom walks into the living room, ?Does this tie go with this shirt?? Can't someone get ready on their own? ?Honey, there is no blue in your shirt or pants; that tie will never go. Try the one I set out on the bed for you, it'll go fine.? He hadn't seen the tie because he threw his coat on top of it when he came home. He heads back to the bedroom with the look of a scolded puppy. He always feels clueles s w hen it comes to matching clothes and wonders if women change the rules every other Thursday.

?Six minutes and counting!? she hollers as she lays the angel costume on the back of the couch so she won't forget it. First Darlene wanted to be Mary, then it was a camel, finally she ended up as an angel. She reminds herself to quiz Darlene on her lines in the van. ?Five minutes! If we're late Santa will never stop by here again.? For a moment she thinks how nice that would be. No shopping, no arguing over toys, no getting up at 4:26 on Christmas morning. For the first time she wishes that it wasn't the Christmas season. ?Four minutes!?

On the way to check on Matt's progress in finding the other mitten, she stops in the kitchen. Just another minute and the cookies for the reception will be perfect. She's got to learn to say ?No? more often.

The doorbell rings. ?Who would come at a time like this and how fast can I run them off,? she wonders. She peers through the peephole at 5 teenagers bundled to the hilt. As soon as she opens the door they begin singing, ?Silent Night.? She almost laughs out loud. What is silent about tonight? What is silent about any night for a mother, even Mary?

At the close of the first verse she starts to thank them, hoping they're through. The second verse isn't heard. She's too busy thinking of how to hurry them along, but her tactful smile is all the carolers need to encourage them to continue. During the third, she notices the effort these kids are putting into it. Their breaths frozen, cheeks reddened, and arms shivering in the winter air. No harmony, a few accidental key changes, and a monotone tenor, but it doesn't really matter.

For a moment she is reminded by the caroler's efforts that the only thing that does matter is the good news of the promised Savior and that it's not how you share it, as long as you do. For just a moment her night is silent. She doesn't hear the carolers, Matt complaining over a lost mitten, or a husband asking if he should wear the black or brown shoes. She experiences the heavenly peace that is only found in the Christ child.

The choir waves goodbye and wishes a Merry Christmas. She closes the door behind her and hollers, ?Wear the black shoes! You weren't born in a barn were you?? She rushes to the kitchen remembering that the cookies have been in too long. She groans as she pulls them out of the oven, each one burnt and smoking. ?To the car, NOW! We have to stop by the store to get some cookies.? It's not until they get to school that she remembers that the angel costume is still laying over the back of the couch.


Open House & Dedication

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I am pumped about this coming Sunday. I've been looking forward to getting to dedicate the new building and having an Open House for the community to check it all out. After the 11am service the Open House will include a cookout, live music from the worship band, and tours of the facility. As cool as all that is?here's the best part?we get to baptize 10 people!!!! Yep, that' s w hat it's really about...10 people are publicly expressing that they have personally surrendered their lives to God. Once again God is reminding us that it's not about the building, but the Kingdom.



Permanently Enabled

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Yesterday was an exceptionally hard day.  I finally gave in and decided to get a handicap tag for our vehicles after visiting someone in the hospital and being totally exhausted and relatively useless once I finally made it inside.  I got the paperwork done and took it to the DMV, and it was substantially harder on me than I had anticipated.  I think it was looking at that box marked "permanently disabled." 

After expressing my struggles to a dear Christian sister, she reminded me that my struggle is not permanent but temporal and that I am not disabled, but enabled. The definition of enabled is ?to provide with the means or opportunity; to make possible.? I was blessed to be reminded that while I may be temporarily inconvenienced, more importantly through Christ I am permanently enabled.


Go Cards!

Friday, October 21st, 2011

It's the World Series. You're walking up to the plate and your team is counting on you to help win the world championship. How would you handle the pressure? If you were able to be confident enough to handle that pressure, how would you keep from becoming proud when you heard 46,000 fans shouting your name after you drive in a run? I've never met him personally, and I can't vouch for where he stands with God, but Matt Holiday of the St. Louis Cardinals has chosen to deal with pressure and pride by tattooing "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Job 38:4? down the outside of his left arm. Not a bad reminder to put us in our place throughout the day, huh?




Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Thankfully the movie, Courageous, was locally held over for a 2nd week since my family didn't have an available night to see it last week. (OK, that sentence makes it sound like they held the movie over just for me...which of course they didn't.) We were thoroughly impressed and moved by it. It has an interesting storyline, but more importantly it has powerful life applications for both Christians and non-Christians. If you didn't get a chance to see it yet, I strongly recommend that you make the time to go. The 200 tickets you gave out as a church will impact the Kingdom more than we can measure. Thanks for supporting movies like it and for using it as a tool to reach people for Christ.

(I did find it interesting that on the ?Movies? app on my phone that 92% of the people liked the movie, but only 23% of the critics did...hmmmm)



A New Building & A New Chapter

Friday, September 30th, 2011

It's been 2 years since the fire and close to one year since we broke ground on the new building. This Sunday we will finally get to start having services in our church home. Yeah!!! It's been a long journey that has tested our faith, resolve, and unity. We are stronger for it, we have grown from it, and I personally believe we have honored God through it all.

While I am proud of you for how you've handled the journey, the good that comes through it and the ministry that results from the building are only due to God's graciousness and His Sovereign plan. Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.


Drawing 101

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

One of the first lessons of drawing is learning to represent perspective and dimension in your art work. In a drawing, the horizon is on the level of the eyes of the observer. The lines within the drawing that represent angles parallel to the viewers line of sight will connect at a vanishing point on the horizon, in the same way that the two rails of a railroad appear to merge in the distance. Images within the drawing should also appear smaller as their distance from the observer increases.

Life perspective is similar. We only have the capacity to understand our horizon, or future, from our own personal eye level; we don't tend to see things from God's. As the parallel lines within a drawing, God's plan does bring everything together at a connecting point on our horizon. Distance distorts the appearance of significance and size of life events.

Life is best viewed from God's line of sight, not ours. Only then will life take on proper perspective.


Life Lessons From a New Puppy

Friday, September 16th, 2011

We recently adopted a 12 week old Beagle mix puppy. Here are some insights he's taught me so far?

  1. The proverb should be?it's tough to teach a new dog old tricks.
  2. It doesn't matter if a puppy wants to play with the cat; the cat has to want to play as well.
  3. With both puppies and infants, when they sleep you should too.  It's the only chance you'll get.
  4. It's hard to stay in a bad mood when playing with a puppy.
  5. Just because a puppy like you does not mean he's a good judge of character.
  6. Cuteness will only take you so far, at some point you have to be potty trained.


Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

  With the 10 th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, I dug up this article I wrote 2 days after the attack.  (Sabrina was 5 and Mikayla was 8.)

I was not the only one who had grown uneasy at last night storms.  Sabrina and Mikayla each awoke from sleep by flashes and blasts of lightning and thunder.  Darla went to calm Mikayla while I was on Sabrina duty.  I climbed in bed next to her and could feel her quivering body even through her favorite blanket and four layers of stuffed animals.

          Learning from a cue from The Sound of Music. I started humming a few bars of, These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.   My humming was leaving something to be desired, but between thunderclaps Sabrina finally made out the song.  We started listing her favorite things and did our best to make them rhyme and fit the melody of the song.  I don't remember the exact wording we came up with but it had something to do with playing card games and me biffing her on the head.

No awards will be won from our arrangement, but it certainly did the trick.  After a few giggles and some silliness we were both calmed down for sleep.  I lay down next to her with my back against the wall.  I snuggled closely to her and her stuffed bunny, ?Rattle,? who has a bell in her head.  (The bunny, not the daughter.)  As I lay next to her and could hear her breathes slowing their pace, I found myself enveloped in a tremendous calm.

 In the wake of such a tragic week, I had forgotten what peaceful rest was like.  It took lightening, a scared child, and a silly song to bring it back.  I had come in to try to soothe her fears, and found mine soothed as well.  Perspective had been regained.  There's something about someone's loving presence that brings peace, even in the midst of tears, thunderstorms, and tragedy.

Let your steadfast love become my comfort.  Psalm 119:76


Cell Phones

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

          I was recently emailed a great thought? ?I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone? We carry it every where we go. We flipped through it throughout the day. We went home to get it if we forgot it. We recieved messages from the text. We couldn't live without it. We gave it to kids as gifts. We used it in case of emergency. One more thing, it would never be disconnected. Jesus has already paid the bill!?


Roots & Wings

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

          Tomorrow's the big day?we take Mikayla off to Southwest Baptist University .  I'm excited about that part, what I'm not excited about is coming home without her.  We knew before she was born that this was the moment we were preparing her for.  We've tried to give her roots, now it's time for her to try out her wings.  If your journey has you at a similar destination I don't have many words of wisdom, but we're stocked up on Kleenex.


False Security

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I love watching documentaries on the technology and raw power of the US military weaponry; tanks, submarines, ships, and especially airplanes.  I sleep a little better at night knowing that we are protected with such amazing machinery and highly trained soldi ers.  However I was reminded of how misguided that false sense of security is when today I read 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles."   As Martin Luther King Jr said, ? Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.?


Calculated Risks

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Following my most recent obsession with true adventure books, I have been reading Charles Lindbergh's, The Spirit of St. Louis , which chronicles his journey to be the first person to fly nonstop from New York to Paris by plane.  In it, he makes the statement, ??a certain amount of danger is essential to the quality of life.  I don't believe in taking foolish chances; but nothing can be accomplished without taking any chances at all.?  In Biblical and American history, I seem to be most drawn to people who took calculated risks.  My recent physical struggles have left me cautiously protecting what I treasure most resulting in a defensive posture toward life.  Yet, within my own soul I feel called to live a life that is an offensive attack on apathy and evil.  I hope those who follow behind us find us both faithful and fearless


Caring is a Measurable Resource

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

You've probably seen the T-shirt that says, ?I can only please one person a day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow doesn't look good either.?  For me it's not just people, but causes, and needs?there is so much that vies for our attention, time, and money that we don't have enough physical, emotional, and spiritual resources to go around.  I constantly feel distracted by good causes that interfere from my focus on the best one.  I can only care about so much each day.  When I spend my ability to care on things that are not what I should care about, I don't have the internal recourses to care about the things that I should. 


Three Great Quotes

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

"  It's been said that the reason dogs have so many friends is that they wag their tails rather than their tongues. (Unknown)

"  When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.  (Solomon, Proverbs 10:19)

"  The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.  ( Mark Twain )



Fleshing it Out

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

?What the world needs today is not a better definition of Christianity, but a better demonstration of Christianity.?  When I read this statement the question it invoked in me was, ?If the world's only understanding of Christianity was based on the life that I live, would it have any real clue who Jesus is?? 

          ?Dear Father, may my life be more about You and less about me, may I express your grace not my judgment, and may I be the salt that makes people thirst for Your living water.?


Wavering Loyalty

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

When Elijah accuses the Israelites of ?wavering? between their loyalty to God and Baal he used a word that means ?halted, limp, or motionless.?  Is it possible that when we don't see our faith moving us to produce fruit, maturity, and holiness that it is the result of wavering loyalty?  When our commitment to God fluctuates, it doesn't just cause our growth to lessen; it makes us motionless and stagnate.  If you look back over the last few weeks, if you don't see progress in your relationship with Christ, it quite possibly probably means you have ?wavering? loyalty.



A Day's Work

Friday, June 17th, 2011

As I continue to grow in my personal productivity I have felt the release of the uselessness I experienced during my illness and have been learning to appreciate the fulfillment of a days work.  In the second chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon affirms the importance of finding satisfaction in your efforts.  My prayer for you today is that in your work, whether household chores or the demands of your employment, that you will find challenge without burden, satisfaction without pride, and a sense of true productivity without monotony.  Whatever God has you put your hands to, may you find the true satisfaction of doing it ?as to the Lord.?



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In Deuteronomy, when God was defining for the Israelites what it meant to be the children of God, He told them 16 times to remember?remember the slavery they experienced before they became the people of God, remember the character of God as displayed in His collective acts of redemption, protection, and grace, and remember the plan God had for them to make them a Kingdom of priests and a Holy Nation.  With yesterday being Memorial Day, I used it to reflect on who we are as a nation.  It is not surprising that non-Christian's in our country have forgotten what God has done to protect us and provide for us.  What is tragic is that all too often we, as Christians, have forgotten too. 


Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Monday's edition of the Monett Times told the story of two events that will drastically define people's lives for years to come:  the graduation of Monett High Schools class of 2011, and the tornado that ripped through Joplin .  If there is anything certain it is that our lives, for good or bad, are in constant change.  The tornado was beyond anyone's ability to control while the graduation was the result of 13 years of hard work.  Whether proactive or reactive, our lives march forward.  While we celebrated one event, we mourned the other.  Both events require reflection and response.  We are not done investing in the lives of our graduates; they still need our love and support throughout their lives, and the devastation in Joplin will not subside once it no longer takes front billing on the national evening news.  One thing is certain; life will continue to move on.  My hope is that we will reach out to the people involved in both events for years to come with the same passion we feel today.


Friday, May 12th, 2011

?Give me an undivided heart,? was David's prayer in the 86th Psalm.  It is a prayer for personal unity through the singularity of his affections and aspirations.  Mine have sure been challenged lately.  At times I have fought to keep my inner peace as my heart has sought to pursue multiple desires.  Peace is only found in the unity of an undivided heart that seeks God's will and pleasure not merely above all else, but excluding all else.

In a similar fashion, adversity tends to either divide or unite people. Peace comes when God's people find the unity of an undivided heart.  Rather than each individual pursuing his or her own desire for the church family, we must as one body pursue the will and pleasure of God not above all else, but excluding all else.  When Jesus referred to us as sheep, He knew that without our full dependence upon Him, we will each tend to go our own separate way. 

As we each seek to more closely connect with God through our own individual observances of the Daniel Fast, my prayer is that God would more deeply unite us as a family by removing any individual affections or aspirations other than His will and pleasure.


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