July 5, 2020 THE SUNDAY SERMON
Focal Passage: Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”
Maybe the first question to ask is, “Is the God of our nation the Lord?”
I firmly believe that God is a God of love but He is also a God of judgment. Most of what we go through is caused by our obedience or our disobedience to God’s laws. As you and I face the crisis of Covid-19, internal chaos, rampant immorality, and the list goes on, God gives us instruction in His Word of how to act and what we should do.
While in college I majored in history. I took 12 hours of Revolutionary history. I was mesmerized by the study of our early history. There is no doubt that our founding fathers believed in the Providence of God. That God set our nation at that place, at that time to carry out His destiny for our nation. Yesterday we celebrated our nation’s birthday. But again another question, “Are we different now than when this nation began?” Look at these statements that come from David Barton:
There are 384,000 churches in America. The senior pastors of these churches were asked 6 questions:
* Is the Bible accurate in its teachings?
* Did Jesus live a sinless life?
* Does God get involved in the world today?
* If you pray, will He answer your prayers?
* Can you earn your way to heaven?
* Is heaven a gift of Grace?
Of all of the pastors who responded to these questions, 72% said that they would answer “NO” to some or all of these questions.
That tells us that 28% of churches believe conservative theologically.
Next question: Does the Bible deal with everyday concerns: education, sexuality immigration, racial tension and the likes? 91-97 % of the pastors answered “Yes”.
Then they were asked: “Have you preached about any of these personal questions? 90% said “No”
The reason given was that every day questions became too political. They were covered too much in the news. Anything relevant they don’t want to talk about.
So, the next question: “Why would a young person want to go to a church like that?
Barton saw that only 2.8% of churches deal with issues that are in the Bible and in the news.
All of this to say, there is much we can do. It is time for preachers to quit feeding the people milk and get them some meat. It is time that people start wanting meat and quit being content with milk.
Is our nation a nation whose God is the Lord? Maybe it’s time we quit blaming everything on the government and start taking responsibility as God’s children. How?
* Read His Word daily
* Pray without ceasing
* Fellowship with other believers
* Listen as the Holy Spirit speaks
* Be obedient
Being a follower is tough, but the end result is like Paul said, “To live is gain and to die is Christ.”
God bless us on this special holiday. God bless America on this special birthday. We’re not gonna be perfect but our God is a God of second and third and fourth and…..chances. Why? Because He loves you. “Go and produce fruit.”
God bless, Charlie
June 28, 2020
Most of you receiving this message already know that we will not being meeting together for this week and next. That may change. My prayer for you is to be safe and make good decisions. We will get through this with God’s help.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Matthew dealt with greed. His was a dog-eat-dog world and he had the job that would get him just what he wanted. The Roman Empire had hired him and he took the title tax collector very serious. He might have read the words of Solomon that said, “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” (Proverbs 23:4) But his world was all about Matthew.
Over the past few weeks I have watched while in the name of protest rioting and looting have broken out in our country. Those who go in for one purpose come out of jewelry stores and businesses with what they want. Greed and sin lifts its mighty hand.
Our world has changed. We live in a time like most of us have never experienced. Maybe for us it is not a time of greed but it has become a time of TRUST. For Matthew it changed when Jesus came to him and said, “Follow Me!!!!” Scripture tells us that Matthew packed up his tax booth and did just what Jesus told him to do….He followed. This was not a casual interaction. In a single moment, Matthew’s need for “what he wanted” changed to what the Master wanted. All of the trust-in-yourself nonsense vaporized when he looked into the eyes of the One making the command.
When we do that our “want to’s” change. No longer did Matthew have the greed desire, now he had a desire to be obedient. I believe that during this time of Virus, God wants us to follow like we never have before.
I wish I always knew exactly what God has planned. I wish I knew why people get sick. I wish I knew why people turn from being God’s children to being wild animals. I wish I knew why….. Well, God tells us why. He tells us that we are sinners and that the only way to have our sins forgiven is through Jesus. The old song, “What the world needs now is love sweet love” is only partially right. What the world needs now is Jesus.
Our prayers and His grace are what is going to save us.
Spend more time in His Word.
Lift up your petitions and give thanks continually to a God that loves you.
Tell others what God has done for you.
Support and build up His Church.
Matthew went away a different person. So can we when “We trust in the Lord with all our heart.” Whatever is before you, just put it in God’s hands, “He’ll make your paths straight” (He’ll take care of it)
God bless you Old Rock and have a great Sunday. Charlie
May 24, 2020
Dear Old Rock…..
Good Sunday morning. Pray all is well with you and your family.
I want you to know that we will be meeting this next Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 11 am. This will be our first meeting in about two months and prayerfully you are ready to get back together. We still need to be cautious. We will separate ourselves in the sanctuary and practice safe distancing. It will be tempting to want to hug and handshake but please be careful. Anyway, We are going to meet. If you are ill or feel threatened please stay at home. God understands patience. Hope to see ya on the 31st.
Today’s Sermon; Psalm 23
We have lived in a different world for the last couple of months. Staying at home, washing hands, standing our distance. For most, if not all of us, it has been a difficult time. Prayers for ourselves and our family have been lifted. Prayers for the less fortunate and those who have contacted the virus have been given to the Father.
Where do we find comfort? No better place than the Psalms. Immediate assurance and profound insight into our needs. There is no better place in God’s Psalms than the 23rd Psalm.
Drink in the stillness and linger as long as you can in the presence of the Loving Shepherd. When David writes this Psalm he is up in age. He has lived most of his life. He has faced his demons and he has slain his giants. I envision David sitting on the side of a hill and overlooking a flock of sheep. He turns his eyes toward heaven and laments this proclamation to his loving Father.
The Psalm: 119 words
A proclamation to his Father, not a prayer.
V. 1-3….These verses are written just for us. It starts with David assuring us that the Lord IS our Shepherd. Not WAS or WILL BE, but IS, right now. Too often God seems to be so distant but David wants us to know He is right here with us. Right now. These verses also describe the Lord as a Shepherd. He watches over us. He sees our every move and knows every beat of our heart.
V. 3….”He restores our soul”. David has come back from wandering. We have all wandered. Some of us more than others, but it is part of our nature. David assures us that no matter where we’ve been God can restore our soul.
In verses 4-6 we see three attributes of God.
1. His Presence….”…for you are with me.” (v 4) God is with us. He is there to protect us (“Your rod”) and “to rescue” (“Your staff”). With the staff the shepherd would ward off predators and with the rod he would rescue them from danger. We can know about Jesus but that relationship needs to be personal. John Wesley said, “The best of all is that He is with us.”
2. Verse 5…His Peace…..”a table”. The word to us in Texas translates “mesa”. Where David tended sheep there were lands that had poison grass and wandering vipers (snakes). But God has prepared a table for us where His healing takes place. Our heads are anointed with “oil”. This is the Holy Spirit who is there to protect and cure.
Verse 6.. “surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” These are God’s two sheep dogs. Goodness and Mercy are right there with us, not fear and guilt.
3. Verse 6…His Promise……”and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” God has prepared a place for us. In John 14 Jesus speaks of “His Father’s House.” For the believer , death is not the end but just the beginning. Isn’t it good to know that our “rent” has been paid and we will live with Him forever.
If you are feeling stress or anxiety. If you are overcome with depression, just let God have it. He assures us in this Psalm that He is our Shepherd. We are His sheep and He will take care of us. Look up….Smile…and count your blessings.
Hope to see ya next week. Bless you all. Charlie
May 17, 2020
Good morning Old Rock…..I miss seeing you guys and worshiping with you all together. Pray all is well with you and you family and your friends. I would like for us to consider staying apart at worship at least until the first of June. On May 31 we have the Lord’s Supper planned and that may be a good time to congregate…..But we’ll just have to see.
Continue to be prayerful for our members. Kendall, Cindy, George, Robby and I’m sure there are others.
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27)
The scene is the road to Emmaus (about seven miles from Jerusalem). It is following the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus. Two men are walking to Emmaus and Jesus joins them. They walk and talk and don’t even know He’s there. “What are you two talking about?”,He says. They look at Him with questions on their faces and say, “Are you the only one who doesn’t know what’s happened?” They fill Jesus in and finally Jesus begins to speak. He says the verse written above. He tells them about Scripture. Scripture was important enough for Jesus to use it as His mainstay. Here was the emphasis to His ministry and His explanation as to who He is. It was His authority.
Where is your authority? When things are tough and things are grey, where do you go to find the answer?
People generally go to one of five places during times of crisis.’
1. Escapism…They deny it. They refuse to allow reality to run its course.
2. Cynicism…They let the crisis control them. They grow dark within themselves.
3. Humanism…They listen to someone else rather than listening to God.
4. Spiritualism…They turn to mystics or mediums. They put their trust in some other person or in someone’s book.
None of these provide a sense of relief or satisfaction. None of these are acceptable as a “final authority”.
5. God’s Word.
So the question is….What is your final authority? Now I know asking you that question immediately solicits a response and being a believer it’s easy to say, “The Bible”. Well, that’s the right answer but if you are like your pastor that may not always be what we do. There is no other reliable authority than God’s word. It provides the shelter we need in the storms of our lives.
READ: Luke 24:32.
“They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us.'”
“Scriptures” is a translation of the word graphe, that which has been written. These writing are sacred. God didn’t simply think His message, He gave it to us in written form.
Here are five things about God’s Word:
1. God’s Word is truth. READ: John 17:14-17. “God’s Word is the truth”.
That’s what the Book is about. That’s why this Book gives us constant and needed support. Truth is from God. Isn’t it good to know and to believe that when conflict comes we can know the truth. In John 14 Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Truth will cause us to see things other than opinion. John 8:32 says, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
There are many truths in life but there is only one truth that will set you free, the truth of Jesus Christ found in God’s Word.
2. God’s Book is God’s Voice….READ: I Thessalonians 2:13.
God’s Word is God’s voice talking to us.
When Jesus returns and is speaking to us, He will be speaking God’s Word. His message will be exactly what God’s Word says. We will have His opinion, His counsel, His desires, His commands, His warnings, and His very heart. We will have truth, a sure foundation, and His power that releases new life and shows God’s grace. BUT we don’t have to wait for His return to have these things, we can have them now. This is how we grow in faith and in commitment.
3. God’s Word will endure…READ: I Peter 1:22-25.
There are only two eternal things on earth today….people and God’s Word. Everything else will burn up. God’s Word will endure.
4. God’s Word is inspired….
When God gave writers His Word they were written through three means:
A. Revelation….God gave them His truth.
B, Inspiration….This occured when writers received and recorded God’s truth.
C. Illumination….That’s when we read and apply the truth.
Of these three only illumination still occurs. I have listened to preachers say, “God has given me a new prophecy”. Well, that’s wrong. There are no new prophecies. Everything is right there in the Book. In Revelation we are told not to add or delete anything from His Word.
READ: 2 Timothy 3:14-16 and 2 Peter 1:20-21
5. God’s Word will hold you up.
We have the presentation of dependable, authoritative, and inspired Voice of God.
God breathed His message to human writers who, without losing their own style and personality, wrote His truth under His control.
In Scripture there is no error in the original text.
We ask, “Can we rely on it?” Our answer needs to be, “Absolutely”.
The Word of God is the simple truth that will hold us together in the most complex situations
NOW….Dig into it….Lean on it.
What color should your Bible be? It should be READ.
Have a great week….Say your prayers and be safe. Wash your hands, stay six feet apart, and read His Word.
Bless you all…..Charlie….
May 10, 2020
Dear Church Family:
“The eunuch said, ‘ See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized ?’ Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.'” (Acts 8:36-37)
Focal Passage: Acts 8: 4-40
Good morning Church family. Pray everyone is doing well. There are a few in our congregation we need to be prayerful for: Kendall is home from the hospital and Marion tells me he is doing well. Continue to pray for Cindy and Robby. I’m sure there are others that I don’t know about. Pray for God’s creation as the virus continues and pray for first responders, doctors, nurses, and those doing research to calm this threat Each of you be safe. I believe we’ll stay apart for at least two more weeks. Then we’ll discuss when we should get back together.
This morning I want us to look at a situation in the life of Philip. Philip was one of the Twelve and took on the title “the Evangelist”. Following the conversion of the Samaritan woman, Jesus sent Philip to Samaria. He had something for Philip to do. (READ: Acts 8:5-7). Philip went there to preach and preach he did. The people in Samaria heard and saw the miracles that Philip did and heeded what went on. There was revival in Samaria. Scripture tells us conversions took place and both men and women were baptized. A bias was broken down that had existed for years. This prejudice against the Samaritans was done away with and they were accepted into God’s Kingdom. Philip illustrates the Biblical method of evangelism . Philip was a Christian who was on fire for the Lord. He had been summoned to go to a place where Jews just didn’t go and here he spread the good news about Jesus Christ.
Philip’s approach to evangelism was neither vague or rude or mute.. We are to share the love of God through Jesus with those around us. Here are guidelines that Philip followed:
First, Be sensitive to God’s leading. In Samaria Philip was in the midst of God’s presence. People were being changed and lives were being saved, not by Philip’s preaching but by God’s revival. Then God called him out into the middle of the wasteland (8:26) and Philip had the sensitivity to go where God led. You see, when we are led to witness we don’t just show up. We go where God tells us to go. Often, we don’t get a verbal roadmap when we approach someone, but we are there and they are there because God has planned it that way. The Spirit of God will move us when the time is right.
Second, Philip was available. He left immediately. . Availability is the twin to sensitivity. You can’t have one without the other. Where was he going? Philip didn’t know for sure, but God did. God was sending His evangelist to meet with an Ethiopian official at the precise moment to meet that man’s greatest need.
Third, Philip was proactive. At the Spirit’s leading he took the initiative and ran up to the man’s chariot, not knowing exactly what he’d find. And here was a guy reading aloud from Isaiah 53. God knows exactly what He’s doing.
Fourth, Philip was tactful. When Philip found the official he didn’t start the conversation with a lot of theological questions. But he did ask him one question, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (8:30) Then the man answered, ” How can…unless someone explains it to me?” Philip didn’t answer, “I thought you’d never ask”; he simply waited for the invitation and then came up to him and explained the good news.
Fifth, Philip was explicit and exact in his message. He told the man about Jesus, plain and simple. He simply presented the story of Who Jesus is to a man who was hungry to learn.
Sixth, Philip was decisive. Look at what happens. “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water.” (8:36) The eunuch, who was religious, saw water and thought to himself, “That’s what I need , I need to be baptized.” Philip saw the sincerity of the man’s commitment, ordered the chariot to stop and baptized him right on the spot.
The Lord is in the business of bringing people to Him by means of human mouths, hands and lives….imperfect though we are…in order to introduce lost people to the One we serve. The Bible is the most exciting Book you’ll ever hold in your hands….it is the most relevant, beautiful message that humanity could ever hear. It is filled with the Power and the Truth. Our missionary vision can be as exciting to us as it was to Philip.
As Jesus ascended into heaven these were His words:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
You and I have the work of Christ to do and that is to tell others.
Blessings to all of you…..Charlie
May 2, 2020
NOTE: Things seem to be getting better and I’m sure that by the grace of God all will be well soon. I just want to let you know that I think we need to discontinue services on Sunday for just a little while longer. This decision is two-fold. One, the age of our congregation puts each of us at a disadvantage. I do not want to jeopardize anyone’s health by congregating. I would rather we be safe than sorry. I hope you understand this and my prayer is for us to gather soon. Secondly, I will continue to stay in contact and send out these Sunday sermons. Many times in times of conflict it only helps to draw us closer to the Lord. Bible study, prayer and commitment bring us closer to Him and to each other. Be assured if there is anything I can do, please let me know.
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.”
Sometimes in the times of trouble, prayer is hard to come by. We just don’t feel like praying but we want to be assured that God is close and we want to speak to Him. When those times come try the old standby….count your many blessings, name them one by one.
It’s amazing how this can help to ease our minds and take us away from our worries and self concerns when you just start naming your blessings and naming them out loud. Telling God what you are thankful for. Right away our focus shifts from “us” to “Him”. We see His graciousness and His love for each of His children.
LOOK UP….thank You Lord…
for Your sovereignty and Your control over everything.
for Your holy character in spite of our sinfulness.
for You Word that gives us direction.
for Your Grace that removes our guilt.
LOOK AROUND….thank You Lord….
for our wonderful country.
for our families that are close.
for the opportunity to help others.
for a place to call home, for clothes to wear and for food to eat.
LOOK WITHIN….thank You Lord….
for eyes that can see the beauty of Your creation.
for minds that are curious, creative and competent.
for great memories and for accomplishments of the present.
for dreams that have not come true and afflictions that humble us.
for a sense of humor that brings healing and hope.
God is worthy of our highest praise and our thankfulness. To Him goes all the glory.
Take time today to thank Him for Who He is. Thank Him for how you have been blessed, even in difficult times. God loves to hear His children say “Thank You.” .
Have a great Lord’s Day . Stay safe and say your prayers. Charlie
April 25, 2020
Dear Old Rock….
I must tell you that it seems quite strange to be writing you a sermon rather than delivering one verbally. But we are still a people of worship and this brief display of Scripture is very important. Not necessarily what I say but that we continue to come before Him and worship Him with our hearts.
Hopefully, in a few weeks we will all be back together in God’s House at Old Rock. Look forward to that day.
God, do You have something for me to do?
Focal Passage: Matthew 28:16-20
As we venture through this journey that confronts us today, we can’t lose sight of what lies ahead. Someday this will all be over. Maybe in a few months or maybe even longer. Whenever it occurs, during this time, God has something for us to do.
Our lives belong not to us but to the One who died to give us freedom from sin and from death. ALong with our freedom from sin and death, He purchased our availability and usefulness to Him as tools for His ministry. We rob Him of what He has planned when we do not fulfill His marching orders.
Throughout the Book of Matthew, Matthew gives us specifics for our conduct and this equips us for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. In the last verses of Matthew, Jesus commissions His disciples and He commissions each of us. We will become true disciples of the Messiah, effectively reproducing other disciples, if we abide with Him and live out what we learn from Him.
Matthew 28:16-20…..” Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘ All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and low I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'”
Soon after His resurrection, Jesus instructs His disciples to go to a mountain in Galilee. There He speaks. Finally, the words He uttered in the Upper Room are again expressed. He told them He was leaving. He told them He would leave them and ‘Intercessor”. And now He says it’s time for Him to go. BUT there is still something for those to do and something for us to do. He gives them a commission.. Something to be done until He returns.
In the Book of Matthew we have been given justification for His authority. “It has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Jesus wants us to know that His authority has been given to those who believe. We have God’s authority . We are His children and we “will do works that He does and even greater.” As you and I strive to do the Commission we need to understand that God has given His power.
What are we to do?
1. Go and make disciples.. God has charged us with the responsibility of making disciples. Before that is the word “Go”. We are to be active in our witnessing. It is through experience I can tell you that not many people will clamour at your doorstep to know about Jesus. We need to go and share God’s Word with a struggling and lost world. Tell others what God has done in your life.
2. Baptizing them….During the time of Jesus, baptism was done immediately following conversion. Once a person accepted Christ through faith they were baptized. We have moved away from the immediacy of baptism but still it is an essential part of our walk. Baptism does not produce salvation but it is a step to take to strengthen your faith and to proclaim to others the change that has taken place through your relationship with Christ. Jesus said that we are to be baptized in the name of the Fathe, Son and Holy Spirit”, The use of this singular name is a clear indication listing the three persons of the Trinity….One God, three distinct persons. Through our efforts to tell others about Jesus we will see an increase in the number of baptisms.
3. Teach….The principle of teaching completes the series of three means by which we fulfill the Great Commission. Through teaching we build up those who are believers. As Matthew writes his Gospel , he is showing us what to teach. .The teachings found in Matthew do not exhaust all the teachings of Jesus but it does give us a strong foundation.
Learn and teach His Word
Love one another
Tell others about the saving Grace of God.
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
At the conclusion of the Commission Jesus tells them, “I am with you always.”
Today, as you read these words and study them, be assured that Christ is with you. No matter what you may be going through He is as close as your next breathe. Have a great Sunday. Pray that the Lord will speak to you through His Word. Pray that God will use you in a great way, as you go through your life now and as you prepare for what lies ahead.
God bless you Old Rock. Love to all. Charlie
April 18, 2020
Good morning Old Rock….I miss you and pray all is well.
The message this morning will be easy. The first thing I want each of us to do is to get our spirit right with God’s Spirit. Pray and ask the Lord for a peaceful time of worship. A time to slow your heart down and relax. Relax because you can know that He is close.
These past four weeks, now going on five, have been different than anything I have ever experienced. We can read about and some have experienced trials, Influenza, WW II , The Great Depression, financial disaster, food lines, and the list goes on, but I’ve never experienced churches having to shut their doors to witness disease. As a young man I never thought I’d miss going to church. As a young boy I had a drug problem….my mom and dad drugged me to church every time the doors were open. I really don’t remember ever missing five weeks of church until I got to college. That’s the time in my life when I knew everything and church just wasn’t important. But now I miss it when I don’t go. I’ll bet (maybe preachers shouldn’t bet, but anyway), you do also.
The Virus will be defeated . There will be a time, hopefully soon, when we’ll all be back in our pews, the ladies will sing, Rusty will give us the info we need, and God will be praised. Wouldn’t it be great when we get back that Old Rock is packed. God will change many hearts during this time and we just need to be receptive. Think about that….pray about that.
As we navigate these times, it’s easy to look at what is happening in two extremes. One extreme is the “Chicken Little” who runs around saying, “The sky is falling…the sky is falling.” That’s called panic.
The other extreme is “Pollyanna”, who says, “Oh, nothing bad is going to happen. It’s all good.” That’s called ignorance.
Sometimes the world is just hard for us to live in. There’s cancer and death. There’s sadness. Sometimes we pray for things, and our prayers are not going to be answered the way we want.
But somewhere between Chicken Little and Pollyanna there are honest, sober Christian disciples of Christ who don’t give up when problems show themselves. We all struggle with our faith during hard times. BUT we look into the heavens and make a commitment contingent on the presence of Christ. When we stay the path, the journey is a lot smoother.
On Sunday morning read these verses of Scripture. Read them to yourself, your mate, and even your family and then contemplate what God is saying to you.
“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
“God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (I Corinthians 14:33)
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
“Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)
Bless you my friends. May you have a great and confident Sunday. Believe….Pray….Be at PEACE.
April 4, 2020
The Virus has certainly caused changes in our world and in our personal lives. For the next few weeks, hopefully, the weekly Dayspring letter and the weekly sermon to Old Rock Baptist Church will be combined in mailing. I hope that each of you will read and allow the Lord to lead you in this short epistle. Enjoy…and listen as God speaks.
Over the next week, I will be sending out a Dayspring each day. We will look at the final week of Jesus’ earthly life, as we prepare for Easter Sunday. This is the most important week in human history, culminated with the most important event that God ever planned.
April 9, 1865….Appomattox Court House
It didn’t seem like Palm Sunday. Robert E. Lee sat at a table in Wilbur McLean’s parlor in the Court House at Appomattox, Virginia. Uniform pressed, boots shined and dressed in the attire fitting a general. He laid his sword on the table and took off his scarf. He waited. No General Grant. He was to meet with the Union general and the surrender was to take place. Lee waited. Finally, he heard the gallop of the Union horses and Ulysses Grant rode into the meeting.
Grant was disheveled. Boots muddy and pants wet from the 17 mile ride. Grant entered and shook hands with Lee. Pleasantries were exchanged and the meeting began. It still didn’t seem like Palm Sunday. No one was in church. They had business to do, ordered by the President, and Grant followed his instructions.
Grant was gracious, not condemning or brutal. The war of the states was finally over. Terms were signed. The Confederates would stack their arms and back away. It broke Lee’s heart. They tipped their hats to one another and Lee mounted Traveler and rode off.
Little did they know that within a few days President Lincoln would be dead.
Palm Sunday….1850 years earlier.
FOCAL PASSAGES: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:29-38, and John 12:12-15
“Say to the Daughters of Zion, ‘See, your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” (Isaiah 62:11)
The scene changes. It’s 19 centuries earlier.
For most of us, we come around on Easter ad Christmas. Church is for special occasions and these are two we don’t want to miss. During our days we respect Scripture and try to do the morally right thing, but church? “I just don’t seem to have time.” When it comes to living a “Kingdom Life”, that’s just not my thing. Some in our world just don’t understand.
Here’s what Scripture says:
“Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them,’We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. On the third day He will rise again.’ The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what He was talking about.” (Luke 18:31-34)
To these disciples the sign on the door read “CLosed”. They had left everything to follow Him…businesses, family and comfort. For three years they had waited…waited for Him to ride in on a white horse and do away with the Romans. But now, a donkey? That’s no way for a King to act. They didn’t want to follow Him to death, they wanted to follow Him to His Kingdom. The Kingdom they thought they should have. “They didn’t understand.”
Jesus knew what was ahead of Him. He saw the detest in His own follower’s hearts. He mounted the small donkey and began His descent from the Mount of Olives to the city of Jerusalem. Feet dragging the ground. Dust being stirred from the ride on this colt. Palm branches and cloaks being spread ahead. And then the shouts of “Hosanna”. In the Aramaic this means, “Save us now.” More than likely the shouts of Hosanna from these hundreds would be the same ones that only days later would yell “Crucify Him….Crucify Him.!!!”
There is an interesting verse in Luke 19:41. It says that as Jesus entered Jerusalem, He stopped the donkey, looked at the city and “He wept”. He looked at the city just like He looks at us. It crosses His mind that so many just don’t understand. For those of us who have given our lives to Christ, not just to know Him but to follow Him, there is a smile and His heart is full of joy. But for those who the ole devil has deceived, there are tears. One of the most prominent characteristics of Jesus is His compassion. He is not only compassionate because He cares, He is compassionate because He loves
A wise man once said, “You can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats those who can do nothing for him.” ,
Jesus cares about you but moreso, He loves you.
Little did they know that within a few days Jesus would be dead. But, unlike Lincoln, little did they know that three days later He would be alive….He will defeat death. His tomb is empty.
These days are not easy for any of us. The life, death and resurrection of Christ gives all of hope. I’ve said it before, “My house is getting smaller, but my God isn’t.” Last week I wrote, “This too shall pass.” I had a lady write to me and tell me that’s what they told her when she had a kidney stone. Well, the Virus will pass but God won’t.
What can we do?
PRAY….Pray for God to look over us and our loved ones and friends. Pray for God’s world. The agony is being spread everywhere. There are those without food, jobs,health, or a hand to hold.
Read….Read God’s Word. Rely on Scripture to give you the answers you seek. But moreso, believe God to show His grace and mercy and love in an abundance.
Grow….This is a time for us to grow. A time to quit moaning and blaming and get closer to God. If anything, we have time for isolation, to be alone with Him. Time to fill our tanks and prepare for the days ahead when this is all over. God has given us doctors and nurses and scientists and responders, and good Samaritans, and friends and family. All of these will bring this to an end along with God’s intervention. “Believe on Him with all your heart….’
Can God end this Virus?….You bet He can and He will. During the interim, what will we learn?
That He is a God of compassion and love. “He will never leave us or forsake us.”
He is risen!!! He is risen, indeed!!!!
Have a great week….I’m told this will be the hardest week so far. Have faith, look up, and smile. Charlie
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Remember that God is in control of this whole situation. I want you all to know you are in my prayers and if there is anything I can pray for or do for you and your family and friends just let me know. My phone # is 210-215-1883.
Secondly, We will not be having services until we are assured by our local and national government that it is in the best interest of everyone concerned. My daddy used to say, “Better safe than sorry.” As assured as I am that God will protect each of us, I am also sure that He wants us to use good sense. It doesn’t look like we’ll be having Easter Services together, BUT we can still have them individually and as a family. I will be sending out a message each Sunday that we don’t meet and I will also send out a special Easter message. If you have internet and would like to have these they will come by email. Leave me your email address at :
Continue to pray for God’s blessings on His creation, our nation, community and our families and friends. It looks like washing hands, staying a safe distance from each other, and most of all prayer will cure this evil. READ: II Chronicles 7:14. God tells us what to do and then He tells us what He’ll do.
God bless you all. Pastor Charlie
Saturday March 28, 2020
Dear Old Rock Flock:
We are into three weeks of no church at the Church House. But we can still have church. So I want you to spend some time reading over the message I have prepared for you. As is our custom at Old Rock, tomorrow is our fifth Sunday of the month and is our opportunity to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Take time to read John 13 to prepare your soul for the message.
“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that His time had come.” (John 13:1)
Jesus and His disciples had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. This is probably the third time they have spent time to take this meal together. He sends Peter and John into the city to find the room that God had selected, where they would meet. The table was set, the lamb was roasting on the fire, the herbs and bread and wine were ready.
The thirteen of them lounged on the floor like a modern day teenager watching TV. The table was short and the meal was ready to be consumed. 24 eyes stared at the Lord. He spoke. He told them He was going to leave and then He got up. Walked to the front door and put a towel around His waist. Then He approached each man. He washed their feet. Peter, John, Thaddeus, and the others, even Judas. The Servant took His place and washed their feet. Then, with 24 eyes staring at Him He spoke again.
He looked at the table and told them that one of them would betray Him. “Is it I?” came the response from each set of lips. Jesus knew the one and so did Judas.
He took the bread and said, “The one who dips this with me is the one who will betray Me.” Judas hung his head and left. Then Jesus looked at the other eleven. “I’m going to be leaving you”. They were stunned. This was not the first time they had heard these words, but now it seemed inevitable….He really was leaving. Then He took the bread: “This is My body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” Then He took the cup and said, “This is My blood which has been shed for you.” They ate and they drank and they left.
The Supper brings life to reality, not just for these disciples but for each of us. Jesus makes two requests: “take and eat and drink” and “Do this in remembrance of Me.” As hard as the times are for us during this virus, Jesus wants us to remember Him. The One who hung the stars in place is also the One who will never leave us or forsake us. His body was broken. His blood was shed, just for us. Tomorrow morning get out the saltines and some juice. Sit and pray and remember Jesus and how much He loves you.
It was December. Texas Tech had just played Nebraska in the Texas Bowl. I was with some cousins and we had all gone to the game. The game ended and we headed back to the motel room. There on a table in one of the rooms were some saltine crackers and some grape juice. The eight of us read scripture, prayed and took the Supper.
You don’t have to be in a Church House to take the Supper. You don’t have to be an ordained minister to administer the Supper. You can be right where you’ll be in the morning. Bow your head and thank God for the salvation He has given you. Do that and give Him heart-felt thanks for saving you.
Scripture says that after Jesus and the disciples took the meal, they left and sang a song. Wouldn’t you love to know what they sang?
Maybe something like this”
“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
May you go in the Grace and Peace of Jesus. Remember the One who walked with them and talked with them, the One who stayed with them and prayed with them is the same Jesus Who will walk and talk and stay and pray with each one of you.
God bless you all. Charlie
Saturday, March 22, 2020
Dear Old Rock Family…
Over the next few weeks I am going to send out a short devotional to you as a Church Family on Saturday nights. I hope your time together on Sunday morning can be uplifted by a look at my short “sermon”. On Sunday morning:
Spend some time together. Get your hearts in the spirit of worship.
Pray for each other and for those you hold near.
Pray for our world, our country, our state and our community.
Pray for those who need so much more than we do.
Children without food.
Families with financial problems.
Those who have contacted the virus.
And whatever is on your hearts.
Find a hymn to sing. Sing together and lift up your voices. For some of us, singing is a struggle, but God hears our hearts not just our voices.
Find a time to worship Him. God is in charge. He knows exactly what is going on. He even knows the outcome and like He said that first week; “It is good.”
Let me give you some verses to meditate on tomorrow morning:
“Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.” (Exodus 23:20) God knows the future better than we know the present. His will will never lead us where His GRACE cannot sustain.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26) God is our Father and loves us as His children, no matter what we are going through.
“For me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:28) In these days if we cannot be near each other, we can always be near out Lord.
“Whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24). Note that those who believe have eternal life. This is not just a promise for the future but a reality for the present. That’s why Jesus could say, “Everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:26)
Focal Bible Study:
Matthew 14:22-36…..Jesus shows us, just like He did Peter, what to do when the storms come.
We’ve got to keep our eyes on Jesus.
God’s blessings to all of you. If there are others for whom you have an email address and feel that this is one way they can worship during these difficult times, send me there email address and I’ll send the “sermon” to them.
I pray we’ll be together very soon. Keep praying, have faith and expect hope.
May you go in the grace and peace of Jesus. Remember the One who stayed with them and prayed with them , the One who walked with them and talked with them, is the same Jesus who will stay and pray and walk and talk with us. Bless ys, Charlie