Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For Mercy's Sake

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5: 7)

A young boy was sent to the corner store by his mother to buy a loaf of bread. He was gone much longer than it should have taken him. When he finally returned his mother asked, “Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick about you.” “Well,” he answered, “There was a little boy with a broken bike who was crying. So I stopped to help him.” “I didn’t know you knew anything about fixing bikes,” his mother said. “I don’t,” he replied. “I just stayed there and cried with him.”

This fifth beatitude forces us to ask a very difficult question. The pressing question of the hour and of this beatitude is "Are we merciful?" Perhaps there's no greater virtue that provides genuine salvation and conversion other than mercy.

It is one thing to quote this verse; it is another thing to practice what it says. It is one thing to preach about mercy; it is another thing to practice it. How does the subject of mercy apply to your life? How do you treat your wife, family, waitress, boss, co-workers, etc? The world will tell us to look out for number 1: Self, but the Lord tells us to look out for number 2: Others.

The Greek word Jesus employs comes from a Hebrew word meaning "the ability to get right inside another person's skin so as to feel with his feelings." Mercy identifies with the miserable in their misery. Mercy is the spirit of kindness. It is a propensity to pity.

Mercy is sometimes defined as sympathy. Sympathy means experiencing things together with other people; to suffer with them, literally going through what they're going through. This type of virtue Jesus is talking about here is that it looks for the opportunity to suffer and to hurt with others.

You may ask “Why is it so important that I extend mercy to others?” Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). God is the author of mercy and because I have received his grace, it makes me merciful as well. If I am not merciful, there is only one explanation. I've never understood the mercy and grace of God.

Let me give a practical suggestion as to how you can show mercy today.

Walk out of your house, open your eyes, and look! Just through the normal pattern of your life keep your eyes open. Be sensitive to the needs of others as you look out for #2 instead of #1. This beatitude forces us to look inside ourselves. It forces us to ask some hard questions.

· Am I gentle and compassionate, or hard-nosed toward the hurting, or those who have hurt me?

· Am I sensitive to the needs of those around me?

· Am I oblivious and preoccupied with my own little world?

· Do I care about the lost?

· Who am I sitting down and crying with today?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Taming the Tongue

Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18: 21)

“Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Names Will Never Hurt Me.” I am sure you’ve said or heard that little children’s rhyme. Is there any truth to it? There are countless lives that have been scarred by the choice morsels that have fallen from the lips of other people. Kids at school call children names that leave permanent scars. People never hear words of encouragement at home, or maybe even at church, and it causes low self-esteem and a feeling of isolation. Maybe the rhyme would be better stated: Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but they can soon be mended. Names and Words have hurt my feelings, and the damage never ended!!

Words do hurt, and the pain can linger for years. This verse from Proverbs hits home to every one of us. It is a verse that relates to everyone. None of us can say we do not have anything to learn in the realm of tongue management. I want you to allow God’s Word to teach and convict today. If someone paid you ten cents for every kind word you said about people, and collected five cents for every unkind word, would you be rich or poor?

The power of speech is one of the greatest powers God has given us. With the tongue, man can praise God, pray, preach the Word, and lead the lost to Christ. What a privilege! Yet with that same tongue he can tell lies that could ruin a man’s reputation or break a person’s heart.

Remember these truths as you pray today:

· What you say and what you don’t say are both important.

· Before you speak, ask, “Is what I want to say true?” “Is it necessary?” “Is it kind?”

· It takes a child two years to learn to talk--it takes a man all his life to learn how to keep his mouth shut.


Monday, October 4, 2010


Reading: Romans 12: 6-8, I Cor. 12:8-1, and 1 Peter 4:10-11


Write down the spiritual gift/gifts God has given you.

Are you exercising the gifts God has given you?

How is God glorified when we use our gifts and abilities?


Reading: John 13:1-17


According to John 13:1, Jesus knows the sins we have committed and will commit. Still, he loves us.

How do you respond to that kind of love?

Are you willing to follow Christ’s example of serving?

Who is God calling you to serve today?


Reading: Romans 10: 14-15


According to v. 14, what must be added to our good example in order for the what and the how of the gospel to be shared?

Is God calling you to take a part in making his message known in your community?


· God has begun a mission in us that’s larger than life! (Phil. 1:6; Eph. 2:10)

· God will build HIS church HIS way! (Matthew 16:18)

· God will join us in the difficult days! (Daniel 3:25)

· God has more in store for us than we know. (Jer. 29:11-13)

· God wants us to stand firm, be courageous, and not back down from what He has called us to do! (1 Cor. 16:13)

· God did not call us because of our greatness but because of HIS greatness! (II Cor. 4:1)

· God has guaranteed us victory. (Romans 8:31-39)


The support of our 2020 Vision Plan was overwhelming. I am amped up (and I have not had an energy drink) this morning as I think about the components of our 10-year plan. Over the next decade our efforts will focus on:

· Reaching the students of Jacksonville State University

· Implementing our Growth Track

o Loving God

o Growing Together

o Serving Others

· Adopting an Unreached People Group

· Develop a Great Commission Budget

To get the full details on each of these components, you need to go to the web site and listen to the “2020 Vision” messages, and if you were not in any of our three services yesterday I hope you will pick up a commitment card and join the rest of your church family on what promises to be the journey of a lifetime. We know in the months ahead we are going to have to step out in crazy, insane obedience even before we know how God might pull it off! But, that’s what makes the faith journey so much fun.


Welcome to the church family:

Megan Mohon

AWANA – Let me tell you what the Lord is doing in AWANA and where you are desperately needed. One of the reasons we purchased our bus was to pick-up children that need the love of Christ. The great news is every Wednesday night we bring in about 25 kids that desperately need our love and care. These are kids in great need. It reminds me of our ministry to the “Lenca” Indians of Honduras. These kids are right here in our backyard! They need AWANA in a major way! And AWANA NEEDS YOU!

We need at least 25 more volunteers with 15 of those being MEN. We need volunteers who can help in the fellowship hall at 5:00 PM when the children arrive and we provide them with a meal. Many of the kids we pick up are very hungry when they arrive. So, we need table hostesses to help us feed them prior to the start of AWANA. We need men that will love on these kids and help them discover Christ through the scriptures. Some of these kids may not have a dad at home and need to know that there are men who can teach boys how to be men.

In short, we need more help as AWANA grows. This is an opportunity for you to serve others in a big way. This is an opportunity for us to fulfill the Great Commission right here at home. This is an opportunity for you to invest your life in little ones who desperately need you. Why? BECAUSE KIDS MATTER TO GOD!!!

World Hunger-We are asking our church family to bring one or more canned good items for the JCOC next Sunday, October 10, to emphasis the need to step up and help feed hungry children here and around the world.