Christ’s Answer to Every Problem

I find myself thinking and praying for multiple friends today who are going through a hard time. One of the difficulties of being a pastor is to help people through difficult seasons of their life. Usually, there is no advice to give or anything to say that will really change the circumstances. At the same time, saying something like, “Just trust God,” seems so hollow and void of real compassion. And yet, is there any better answer to all of our problems than the answer that Christ gives? Jesus said to Paul and He says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you.

I always think of this passage in hard times. I hope it blesses those today who need to hear it again.

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

The focus here is on the power of God. There is …

  1. The Power of the Cross of Christ

1 Corinthians 1:18

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Resurrection of Christ

Philippians 3:10

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (NKJV)

Ephesians 1:19-20

19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Intercession of Christ

Romans 8:26-27

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (NKJV)

Romans 8:34

34It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Love of Christ

Romans 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:8

8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (NKJV)

  1. The Power of the Promises of God

2 Corinthians 1:20-21

20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (NKJV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You Church

I don’t tell our church often enough what an amazing people you are, and how thankful I am to be your pastor. No, we are not perfect. We sometimes stumble, fall, doof and say the wrong things. However, this weekend reminded me again what a great church you are.

First Baptist Church El Sinai in the town of Santa Catarina Masahuat, El Salvador

Your response to the Compassion Experience Weekend has been phenomenal. As I write on late Monday afternoon, we are 14 short of reaching our goal of sponsoring all of our assigned children from our church partner in El Salvador. I have no doubt that we will find sponsors for those remaining kids by next Sunday. This is incredible! I am thankful!

No doubt many of you were moved by the Compassion Experience exhibit. Others certainly were moved by the testimony in Sunday’s morning service. Others have been thinking for some while about doing something like this. But, I also know something else, which challenges me, checks me, humbles me, and quite frankly, scares me a little bit. For some of you, the biggest contributing factor for sponsoring a child is because I asked you. If that is you, please know that I am thankful and will never take that kind of response for granted. I will always be careful to lead us to do as God calls.

As we begin this new sponsorship journey, please be challenged that praying for your child is a most important component of this program.

Thank you again. Sunday was a great day!

A Bad Friday

By now you all know that another school shooting has happened—this time in Santa Fe, Texas. Closer to where I live, in the town of St. Martinville, LA, my wife’s hometown, several students died this morning in a car accident. Fun events for seniors, who were anticipating their last day, have been canceled. As I sat down to put some thoughts down, I got a news alert that a plane has crashed in Cuba.

Meanwhile, high school graduations in my area are happening all weekend.

Keenly aware that these graduating seniors aren’t reading my blog today or any day, if I could address every graduating senior, my words would go something like this.

Be Thankful. Life is fragile. Life is short. Life is far from perfect. The only way to live life to the fullest is to be thankful. Be thankful because you know you didn’t get to where you are by yourself. Be thankful for parents, teachers, coaches, ministry leaders, the military, police, first responders, doctors, dentists, nurses, and many others. Most of all, give thanks to God. I went to a high school sports awards program the other night put on by our local paper. I was thankful and impressed that most every student gave thanks to God.

Alex Haley, author of Roots kept a picture of a turtle sitting on a fence post near his desk. He said about the picture, “Anytime you see a turtle sitting on a fence post you know that the turtle did not get there without some help.”

Every single one of us is just like that—we did not get to where we are without a lot of help, including the help of God.

Keep Seeking Truth. This is probably not what high school seniors want to hear as they graduate, but “You are never finished learning.” We are always learning. We will face tests every day of our lives, and we better know truth to face these tests. My college roommate is a medical doctor. He studied hard as a college student, medical student, and resident. When he had finished all of his formal education and had begun his medical practice, I said something really stupid to him. “You must be so happy to know that you will never take another test again?”

I will never forget his answer. “I am studying harder than ever before. I take a test with every patient that I see, and if I fail that test, the result will be much worse than a failing grade.”

He’s right. Life is a test. School is just the preparation for us to take tests the rest of our lives. Today is a test. How do we process all that is happening in our world today? We must know truth.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. This gets us through these tough Fridays. Life is hard to explain. We better be armed with fundamental truth for the complexities of life.

This is not just for graduating seniors. This is for all of us.

God, help us. God, help Santa Fe, Texas. God, help St. Martinville, Louisiana. God help Cuba. There’s a lot of hurt in our world today.