Yogi Bera played baseball for the New York Yankees from 1946-1963. Although a great catcher, he is probably most well-known for his famous sayings—Yogisms—as I have heard some describe his words. The famous line, “It ain’t over till it’s over” is a Yogism. One of my favorite Yogisms is “You can observe a lot just by watching.” I tell people some time that I am a professional observer of life. As a pastor, I observe life and then apply the Bible to that life I observe.
I have just returned from travelling to Washington, D.C. with my oldest son on a special father/son trip. Airports, subways, and big cities are always ripe places to observe life. For example, we saw three street preachers yelling at each other. If anybody else was listening to them, it was only to observe how foolish they all looked. If any of the three held the truth as their belief, no one could have known with all the yelling.
I then saw the facebook post of a friend who told of her miserable experience with a lady who was part of her ski group. The lady was rude and obnoxious the whole day. Later on, my friend found out that the lady was a fairly well-known and popular women’s ministry speaker from Australia. That reminded me of my experience twenty or so years ago observing in a restaurant a well-known local evangelist getting so upset with the rest of the members of his eating party (his family, I observed) that he left the table to sit in his car while the others finished their meal. We were all the better off for it.
All of this, makes me think? If I am a people watcher, others are too. So, what are they observing when they see me?
I had a deacon in my first church that always requested singing, “Let Others See Jesus in You.” That’s what I want.
Don’t miss our Mid-Week gathering tonight (Wednesday). We will join as one tonight in the Sanctuary to watch our children’s music ministry present the premier of a Christmas musical titled “Fact or Fiction.”
We are in a season of giving to North American Missions with the Annie Armstrong North American Missions Offering. If you are a regular giver in our church, you have received a special envelope in March’s packet to give to this offering. There are also some envelopes in the pews for this offering. This offering supports Southern Baptist missionaries called and appointed to intentionally evangelize and plant churches in North America on behalf of Southern Baptist churches. Part of the money that is being returned to us to help pay our new Hispanic pastor’s salary comes from the North American Mission Board.
In addition to this offering, we have teams returning from a College Missions Event on the beach called Beach Reach and another team returning from India. In addition, we have another team leaving Friday to go to Alaska to work with an organization called Alaska Missions. We are blessed to have so many opportunities to partner with others for the Gospel.
At the end of the month, Saturday, March 29th, we all have an opportunity with our local missions day that we call “First Baptist Loves Lafayette” Day. Sign-ups are beginning for this community missions day.
Since I am preaching Sunday on the power of the Word of God, I want to give us a tangible opportunity to show our belief in the power of the Word of God. Usually, we receive an annual offering for the Gideons International. We did not do this at all in 2013, so I wanted to make up for that Sunday. For those of you not altogether familiar with this ministry, the Gideons are a group of lay persons committed to the ministry of the distribution of Bibles. At the conclusion of the service Sunday, you will have the opportunity to give an offering for the purpose of distributing Bibles across the world.
And, finally, don’t forget that Sunday is Spring Forward Day! Set those clocks up one hour ahead. Who knows, maybe Spring will arrive too!
Last week at the funeral of Mr. Wayne Young, the father of our church member, Rebecca Bell, something was said by his pastor that I haven’t been able to forget. It was a wonderful service in a lot of ways. I left there thinking that if a stranger walked off the street, he would have barely been able to recognize that it was a funeral. As a Christian’s funeral should reflect, it was joyful and hopeful, and centered on the promises of God’s Word. At the end, his pastor made the comment, “How can you have a funeral like this one?” I thought it was such a great question.
It was a great line because the service illustrated the assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation makes a difference in the way that we view death. Yes, grief is still there, but it is a grief with a God-perspective. That’s why the Apostle Paul said this:
“We do not want you to be uninformed brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Do you see what Paul said? He acknowledged that we would grieve, but our grieving would be different. Our grieving is with hope.