Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rain - Thank You

I am enjoying the rain that we have had the last few days. It has been refreshing to remember what "rain" really is. It has been so long since we have seem much here in San Antonio. The rain helps me to remember the power of God in this world

Job 5:9-10 says, "Who does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth and sends water on the fields". Job calls the giving of rain a great wonder of God.

I was reading today from a book by John Piper who gave some facts concerning rain. For us to get rain here in San Antonio we need water to come about 150 miles to San Antonio from the Gulf of Mexico. Have you ever given thought to how much water weighs? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of land here in the city of San Antonio that would be 27,878,400 cubic feet of water, which is 206,300,160 gallons, which is 1,650,501,280 pounds of water.

That is a lot of weight over our heads when we are sleeping at night. How did that much water get up in the sky? It got there by evaporation. What is evaporation? It means that the water stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. How does it come down? It comes down by condensation. What is condensation? The water starts to become water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That is small.

Also remember there is salt in the water? Our water comes from the Gulf of Mexico, so somehow we have to get the salt out so the water will not kill all of our trees, flowers, and grass. The sky picks up close to 2 billion pounds of water from the Gulf of Mexico, carries it about 150 miles (in the process removes the salt) and then later dumps it on our city.

Well, it doesn't dump it. If the sky dump close to 2 billion pounds of water on one square mile of our city - there would be nothing left - our homes, businesses, and churches would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the couple of billion pounds of water in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing our trees, flowers, and grass.

How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh a couple of billion pounds get heavy enough to fall? It's called coalescence. Coalescence means that the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up and get bigger, and when they are big enough, they fall.

Now there is even more to it than my mind can begin to understand. That is why I like Job's words about rain.

Job 5:9-10 Who does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth and sends water on the fields. Job calls the giving of rain a great wonder of God.

I agree with John Piper when he says, "I think I should be thankful, a lot more thankful than I am.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the rain this week!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sins of Sodom

One of the great privileges of my life is that I was born and raised in the United States of America. My father served in the Navy during the Korean War and I was raised by my family to honor those who faithfully served our country in the military. It has been my privilege for over 30 years to pastor men and women who have faithfully served our country through 3 wars.

Since the founding of our nation, over 1,317,000 men and women have given their lives for the United States of America. We lost most of those men and women in five wars (Civil War, WW I, WW II, Korean, and Vietnam - 1,241,640). Much blood has been shed in order for us to have the freedoms that we have as citizens of the United States of America.

This Memorial Day, 2009, I have been wondering how can I best show my appreciation for those who have faithfully given their lives so that I my live. I am reminded of a passage in Ezekiel where the people of Israel are in exile. They have lost their freedom, their homes and their families have been destroyed by the Babylonians and they are now in exile wondering how they lost it all.

The prophet Ezekiel tells them that they are guilty of the sins of Sodom. This would have been a shock to the Jews listening to Ezekiel. But what was more troubling was that Ezekiel told them they were worse than the citizens of Sodom. 

What were the chosen people of Israel guilty of that had led to their downfall and destruction? What were the sins of Sodom?

Ezekiel boldly proclaims that the people in both Israel and Sodom were guilty of three sins: arrogance, gluttony and careless ease (selfishness) (Ezekiel 16:49). The people of Israel and Sodom had become arrogant, fat, and lazy. When a nation reaches that point they are doomed to fall.

So, how do I best honor the men and women who have died for me and the people of the United States of America? I best honor those who have selflessly given their lives serving our country when I walk humbly with my God and with discipline live each day serving others.

Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

I pray you have a great Memorial Day with your family and friends!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Solitude for Jesus

Jesus had gone to the synagogue for worship on the Sabbath. During the time of worship a man who was demon possessed cried out during the time that Jesus was teaching. Jesus healed the man and the crowd in the synagogue was amazed. Something new was happening that they had never seen before in their lives. They wondered about this new teaching and began to spread the word about the Lord Jesus.

Jesus left the synagogue and went to the house of Simon and Andrew. Simon's mother-in-law was sick and Jesus heals her. As the day comes to an end, the crowds have found their way to Simon's house to find Jesus. In one day, everything has changed. The crowds know about Jesus and come seeking his help. They will never leave him alone again.

What Jesus does next speaks volumes to the need of our lives. Mark records in the first chapter of his gospel these words, "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed". (ESV)

He got up early and he left the crowds. We cannot always be with the crowds. In fact the strength of life is never found in the crowds. It is always found in the desolate place. It is in the desolate place that we can be still and know that He is God. It is in the desolate place that we can hear God speak and learn His ways. The desolate place is important. It's importance is best seen when we go back to the crowds. Our influence will be God's Word and not the influence of the crowds.

Where do you go to be still and know God? Where is your desolate place?

New Emphasis with my Blog

My two trips to Costa Rica has caused me to stop and reflect upon what is important in life. I have always known that our hope is to be built upon Jesus Christ and Him alone. It is a fact that we have all grown up with in our lives. My struggle as a pastor has always been a disconnect between people at church and then out in their everyday lives. At church they are so victorious and in life they seem overwhelmed by the problems of family, work, and the world.

I am beginning a new emphasis with my blog on knowing Jesus Christ. The passage that will set the tone for my blogging will be Psalms 46:10. The Psalmist says, "Be still, and know that I am God." (ESV).

I will be writing on the importance of stopping and reflecting upon the work of the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that all I write will be a help to you as you seek to know Jesus, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Construction Update

We are making progress slowly on our new buildings. The plumbers are working on the foundation of the three buildings. The site crew is working on the parking lot for the front of the church and the east side of the church. We are looking at about April for the project to be finished.

Also we were without internet access at the church for over a month. But as of Saturday, we have access again to email and internet.