Come Unto Me… Matthew 11:28-30

Pastor's Pen“Come unto Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

These are some of my favorite verses in the Bible. These are red letter words of Jesus Himself and they are a beckoning of salvation and its results. Lets look closer and embrace these truths.


1. An INVITATION: “Come” this word is used several times in the last chapter of the Bible; “The Spirit and bride say “Come!”.

2. An INDIVIDUAL: “unto Me” the Lord Jesus calls us to Him.

3. An INVOLVEMENT: “all you” all means all but you have to respond.

4. An INIQUITY: “are weary and burdened” that is a load of sin.

5. An INTERCESSION: “I will give you rest” the mind, body and soul.

6. An INSTRUCTION: “take my yoke upon you and learn of Me”

7. An INTEGRITY: “I am gentle and humble in heart” I need that Lord!

8. An IMMORTALITY: “you will find rest for your souls.” Only He can do that. Our sin is immoral and immortal and only the God can remove it.

9. An IMPLICATION: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” when we connect with Him, things get better, lighter, brighter, longer and we are not alone. He implies we are yoked to God Himself.

-Br. Larry

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Grace… 1 Peter 5:5

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“God gives grace to the humble”

Grace is unmerited favor from God. It is a gift, free, cannot be earned or bought or bartered but it can be ignored.

It can be rejected by the recipient by various reasons of pride, self reliance, preoccupation and several other reasons.

That is why God gives grace to the humble; they see it and feel it and embraced it as worth when they understand their own unworthiness.

Grace is amazing! We are saved by grace and through faith, it is the GIFT of God so no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 plows through the human works doctrines and establishes the truth of Gods love for us.

Being humble is hard! It goes against the grain of our human nature and we fail more often than not.  “Pride goes before the fall”… the writer of Proverbs pens these words and warnings.

Listening, contrition, patience, loving, faith and believing all are expressions of humility and puts us in the direct path of Gods grace.


-Br. Larry with thoughts to begin the day.

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Resolutions 2017

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I will do ______and I won’t do _______anymore. Wish it were that simple, don’t you? Jesus said, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no!”. But here are a few suggestions for the normal list and of course, write it down.

 

1. Read the Bible through this year.
2. Study certain books and passages.
3. Spend some time with shut ins and sick people.
4. Develop a prayer life. A time, a place, a focus and a journal.
5. Share Jesus Christ with others. Pray for them first.
6. Laugh more often and smile.
7. Abstain from negativity and criticisms and gossip. Priority!
8. Ask God to reveal people to you who need encouragement.
9. Get healthy as you can. Exercise, eat right and read.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask God to bless you so you can bless others. We are not a plug but a conduit. Let it flow.
11. Look for Jesus return as you serve. This could be the year?
12. Children, youth and babies need our love. Don’t be a spectator but a participant now.

-Br. Larry

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The Other Side of Christmas

Pastor's PenWith all the joy and giving here at Christmas, there is a dark side which too many live in and have reached a pronounced bottom.

Depression, addiction, illness, aloneness, broken relationships, anger can all lead to despair. Despair is the final straw that is near breaking in that fragile person whose very life is almost without light or love.

Failure has been their companion. Hurt has been their bedfellow and their mind and heart have long since become numb to the helpful overtures of others.

The note is written, maybe? The news is silently received but perhaps not unexpected, a life is taken by their own hand. Suicide. That pain lurking in the corner in that face can be deadly for the person in despondency. The age, sexual gender or race has no bearing on it, any can succumb. God help them. Teach us how to reach them.

Prayer and love and kindness and encouragement are needed. Lord, equip us to reach with our hearts of light into the darkness of despair to minister Your love and deliverance.  This one disease…..is preventable.

The spike in suicide this time a year is in contrast to our joy.

Help us Lord! Help them.  Amen

-Br. Larry

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Memories Came Flooding Back

Pastor's PenI sat alone for a moment and opened
the brown filled sack;
The apple and orange and hard candy,
made the memories come back.
The one room school when I was a child,
had only one teacher who taught;
At Christmas the brown sack of goodies
was something each child got.
The wood stove in the corner of the room,
a coat rack and desks in a row;
The smell of the orange would fill the air
and ribbon candy was syrupy slow.
As a child I can remember the creme drops so sweet;
Those sticky orange slices and the mixed nuts we’d eat.
The lunch in a lard pail and the Kool-aid we would drink;
The outhouse in the playground corners,
Sometimes would stink!
We lived an adventure in the era of
of simple life gone by;
A plain brown sack full of goodies represents
where old memories still lie.

– Br. Larry Sparks 12-19-16
  from the early 50’s in Lincoln County.

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‘Twas the Morning of Men’s Breakfast

BCBC Men's Breakfast

‘Twas the morning of Men’s breakfast and all through the fellowship hall;
Lee was stirring the sausage gravy for us all.
The eggs were cracked and nestled in the pan, while Gary beat them;
We better pray for him.
When through the north door there came such a clatter,
We saw Raymond and Welton and asked,”What’s the matter?”
They opened their Bibles and said to take heed;
So Wes and Bob took a look and started to read.
Mickey and Trampis and Craig gave a look,
A biscuit in one hand and the ancient old Book!
Virgil began to pray and Jesse joined in,
Well that’s what you do as saved Christian men!
Br. Larry and Noah at the front of the line…..
Where is Lester and Russ? They’re never on time.
They all filled their plates and turned toward the tables;
With Eldon and Don and Trois all were able.
Danny and Dwayne passed the salt and Bill gave a nod,
Food tastes better when it’s blessed by God.
Andy and Jason were quick to clean up
But Paul and Jerry demanded one more cup!
I heard them exclaim as they drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all and now our pants are too tight!”

Men’s breakfast 8:30 tomorrow at Blackburn Chapel. No names have been changed because none of these are innocent but all forgiven. See ya tomorrow!

 

Pastor's Pen

-Br. Larry

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Sitting in His Class Today

Pastor's PenVickie and I ate lunch at a cafe in Perkins today. The practice is prayer before meals and always ask the server if we can pray for them about anything first.  We asked Randa and she walked away and started crying. In a few moments she was back and apologized but her 8 year old daughter was having surgery in Houston soon. We prayed and then ate the good meal. Left a generous tip and assured prayer for Jaycee.

People need the Lord and they need love also. So, today I am sitting in the Lords classroom again listening to His word and being obedient to His Spirit.

  1. Teach me to love like You Lord Jesus.
  2. Teach me to give out of love generously.
  3. Teach me Your humility in behavior today.
  4. Teach me patience as I wait on You and deal with others.
  5. Show me the true power of applied faith this day.
  6. Give me Your compassion so I might feel your heart when others hurt.
  7. Teach me to refrain from judgment of others and accept them.
  8. Teach me not to compromise with your word no matter how unpopular or the pressure of others.
  9. Hold my heart in prayer till I am released from the need.

Amen

-Br. Larry

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Don’t Let Shopping Steal Your Joy!

Pastor's PenWhile shopping for the Angel Tree gifts yesterday, I tried several stores to find footballs for the request.

My joy was tested first in the parking lot. I saw a parking place only 6 miles from the front door of the store but a “joy stealer” cut me off and spun in ahead of me.

I muttered “Amen”, but I was frustrated already. Inside the store I realized these aisles were not created for 300 pound shoppers and daytime was not a good time to stock shelves. I bought 7 items of which none were on my list.

I left the store and forgot where I parked. There it was sandwiched between two trucks full of hay. Achoo! I barely squeezed into my car. Midianites! I muttered.


My next trek was to Wal-Mart to get something. I would rather be forced to eat goat entrails than go to Wal-Mart during the holidays. I didn’t see one smiling face except one young man who said he was on weed.

By now my eye brows look like private stripes and my shoulders have dropped two inches. My Joy is melting and I thought I saw the Holy Spirit hit the exit sign, so I followed.


The Post Office was my next stop. What was I thinking? The line was long and everyone in line looked like Hell’s Angels or Terrorist. My phone finally gave me the address I needed and the kind lady took pity on me and help me find a box to ship with.

I was happier than a shepherd on Christmas Eve to get the mailing done. Now where did I park? Oh yeah! Between two Mail Trucks!


I tried one more store and after knocking over a display of candy canes, I decided this was a job for my wife. I am wimping out of here.

One more item needed. Cat food. Fancy Feast with gravy. Three stores were out of that! Apparently every cat in Shawnee is addicted to chicken gravy.

One more stop. Alleluia! Cat food found! 9 cans, that is nine lives and 9 stores today. I called my wife and demanded she order cat food on Amazon.com.


Now, head home except… I need gas. That little orange light just came on and again lines are long, smelling gas fumes was kind of nice.

But I made it home, drug the packages in, stared down the cat and a baloney sandwich never tasted so good.

So, how was your day? Bah humbug! or To God Be the Glory?

I am home!


-Br. Larry

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The Difficulty of Finding Your Place

Pastor's PenWe want to fit in but don’t always meld into the group. This adds stress, doubts and sometimes misplaced anger. Genetics have shaped us. Environment has molded us. Relationships have formed our views of others. The world or at least my world has affected my true personality. You know, all that is somewhat true. However, we must admit that our own choices have also made a great contribution to our inner make-up that reveals our outer views of self and others. No doubt, folk are pushed into a circle they never intended to enter due to drugs, failures, broken relationships and crisis of life. Guess what? You still have a choice to stay, leave, change, sit it down or pick it up. Choices. Decisions and selections of your making.


1. Be accepting of others fairly and completely.
2. Find a positive, loving and spiritual place and with caution move in.
3. Be willing to change your negatives and recognize whats wrong.
4. Quit judging others. Love people right where they are.
5. Be honest where you have failed and don’t try to defend it.
6. Let your smile, spirit, warmth and genuineness be your calling card.
7. Don’t dress for a particular group. Be yourself. There is only one you. Be who you want others to be around you.
8. Make wise and right decisions based on sound counsel and Gods word.
9. Remember, there is only one you on this planet. You don’t have to think like others. No one is more unique than a committed Christian.
10. Be patient with yourself and others. This is a journey, not a foot race to accomplish something.
11. Above all, look beyond yourself and others to God. Find your true self in Him. Jesus is the Friend who never leaves us.


*God sees your struggle. Struggle toward the good, not inside the bad. You are becoming more like yourself, everyday.


-Br. Larry

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The Pleasant Ghost of Christmas Past

Pastor's Pen

We love our pastor’s comments and poems, and we want to share then with you. It’s what we call “Larry’s Lines”. 

We would also like to encourage you to add your comments as well. Just scroll down to the end of the post.

We grew up in a different era of few but good choices in the nostalgic 1950’s. Christmas takes me back to the days of rural simplicity and 5 & Dime stores where good old USA products were peddled. So I remember:

1. Hard ribbon candy that would make you drool.
2. Chocolate covered creme drops that were so sweet.
3. “The Night Before Christmas” with it’s magic Santa belief.
4. Caroling with uninhibited Christmas carols sung to all listeners.
5. Christmas programs at school with a nativity and Silent Night at the close.
6. Aluminum icicles hanging from a cut cedar tree perched in a galvanized bucket.
7. Popcorn strung on thread from a small wooden spool.
8. A Franklin wood stove with cider steaming vapor off the top.
9. Christmas cards homemade at school with crayola & construction paper.
10. A nativity on the Court House lawn lit up bright.
11. Everyone saying “Merry Christmas” with a smile!
12. A Daisy BB gun and Betty Bows doll to hope for.
13. Going into town once a week or once a month. It was all lit up and so awesome before we ever used that word.
14. The brown sack with orange and apple and nuts and candy. The church gave them to everyone and Blackburn Chapel still does!!!


***Memories of good times in a simpler way of life.

– Br. Larry

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