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Six More Weeks Till Spring

This winter has been one for the ages. It seems like as soon as we get dug out from one storm then we get hit with another. This past Groundhog’s Day many were ready to send Punxsutawney Phil to an early grave after the infamous groundhog saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter. I loved the picture posted later in the day of the groundhog holding a sign with the message, “I’m a rodent not a meteorologist.” While many were complaining about Phil’s gloomy prediction of six more weeks of winter I appreciated my friend’s perspective in saying, “Only six more weeks until spring.”

 Winter storm Maximus has just passed, storm Nika is making it’s way across the plains and storm O is taking shape in the Pacific there appears there is no hope this winter is going to end anytime soon. Like my friend, I look at the calendar and see there is only six mores until spring with warming temperatures, green grass and blooming flowers. Knowing spring is just around the corner will make it a little easier to endure these next few storms.

 Life at times can be much like this winter where it seems to go from one storm to the next. Some folks seem to live in the tornado alley of life. They endure one storm and start to get their life together and all of a sudden the warning sirens are going off again.

 As the calendar reminds us that spring is just around the corner the Bible reminds us, these life storms are going to pass as we have the HOPE of eternal glory. The hope we have is being in heaven with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

 God’s Word teaches us this hope is an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19). This hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5). For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

 Mike Ballard

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Using Life’s Greatest Resource

  

You do not have, because you do not ask God. James 4:2-3 (NIV)

 Minister Bob Russell wrote about a father who watched through the kitchen window as his small son attempted to lift a large stone out of his sandbox. The boy was frustrated as he wrestled with the heavy object because he just couldn’t get enough leverage to lift it over the side. Finally the boy gave up and sat down dejectedly on the edge of the sandbox with his head in his hands.

The father went outside and asked, “What’s wrong, Son? Can’t you lift that rock out?”

“No, sir,” the boy said, “I can’t do it.”

“Have you used all the strength that’s available to you?” the father asked.

“Yes, sir,” the boy replied.

“No, you haven’t,” the father said. “You haven’t asked me to help you.”

 I wonder how many of us can identify with that little boy when it comes to dealing with life’s difficulties? We try everything within our power to deal with the situation but we can’t quite muster up enough strength to remove the burden. We end up tired, frustrated and beaten to the point of giving up. The whole time we are grappling with our situation God is waiting for us to ask him for his help.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. James 5:13(NIV)

The next time you weighed down with a life problem remember you have a Father in heaven that is willing to lift that burden for you; all you have to do is pray.

NCAA Tourney and Being a Christian

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This is a great time of the year as 64 teams from across the nation are all vying for the chance to be crowned the National Champion of college basketball. At this point it doesn’t matter what their record was during the year, what conference they played in or the size of their school. Each team as a chance of winning the championship. The games are excitinig and fun to watch.

One of the great blessings of becoming a Christian is it is open to all! It does not matter if you are male or female, rich or poor, the color of your skin, past successes or failures because in Christ we are all given a fresh start we are all children of God. We will all win the prize of heaven.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-27

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1

Change Your Course

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)

As a ship approached the coast of New England, a heavy fog set in. The ship’s radar detected what appeared to be another vessel in its path, so the captain sent the following message: “Change your course 10 degrees port.”

Shortly they received a reply: “Change YOUR course 10 degree starboard.”

The captain became annoyed and said: “I am a Lt. Commander of the U.S. Navy. Change your course.”

This was the response: “I am a seaman 3rd class. Change your course.”

By now the captain was furious. His message read: “This is a battleship! Change your course.”

Moments later a message came across the wire that said: “This is a Lighthouse! Change Your Course!”

There are many of us are a little like the Lt. Commander and think we know what is best for our lives and continue to chart our own course while ignoring the pleas of those who are trying to keep us from danger.

Jesus is calling out to us to change our direction and to follow him. The bible calls this repentance. Repentance means to change your course and to follow Jesus.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19 (NIV)

That promise is still for us today if we start to follow Jesus instead of our own way. As the Proverb writer said our own course leads to death but Jesus promises us if we follow him he will lead us to our Heavenly Father.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” John 14:6-7 (NIV)

Change your course – follow Jesus!

 

Book Club: The Shack

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This year at Sylvan Nook we are starting a book club. We will be reading six different books. The first book is The Shack by William P. Young.  You can order the book online at www.christianbook.com or www.amazon.com

Here is a brief descripton from www.christianbook.com: “Mack” Philips took his three children on a family camping trip while his wife visited her sister. Just as they were about to leave the campsite, the two older kids decided to take a last canoe ride before heading home. As their canoe overturned, and Mack went to help them, his back was turned and the unspeakable happened. Mack’s youngest daughter,Missy, was abducted by a known child predator. After a massive search, evidence of Missy showed up at an abandoned cabin. Although they never found her body, everyone knew the worst had happened. For the next four years “a great sadness” fell over Mack and his family, until a note from God showed up in his mailbox. What happens next will move you to a greater understanding of God’s unfailing love for us all.”

Our group will meet the last week of February to discuss the book. Have you already read The Shack? Tell me what you think?

Up and Running

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Happy New Year! I am very excited about 2009 and it promises to be a great year.

I pleased to have my blog up and going again. It is my plan to post encouraging thoughts on a regular basis.

Keep Growing!

New Shepherds & More

This coming Sunday we are adding three new elders to our congregation. This will be a great day and I am looking forward to working with these new shepherds. I have been greatly blessed to work with godly men as my elders who are extremely supportive of my ministry and my family. I am thankful that I already have a good relationship with the new elders. It is going to be exciting to see the new freshness they bring to the leadership.

This coming year I am going to be preaching on Nehemiah, Grace, Ephesians and Job. It is going to be tremendous to do a in-depth study on each of these topics. I will be sure to post regularly the fruit of my studies.