Message from Pastor Simons

April 4, 2020
Dear Friends:

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 :
charliesimons@sbcglobal.net.

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