From the Pastor
Pastor Mike Burns
903.567.2072 (Ext. 3002)
The story of the feeding of the 5,000 is told multiple times throughout the gospels and it has 3 success lessons for life. Here is Lesson #1:
The feeding of the 5,000 shows us that there could be another way when you don’t see one, start with what you have, and don’t waste anything, use everything.
There Could Be Another Way When You Don’t See One
The first lesson is there could be another way when you don’t see one. Many times in life we encounter what appears to be roadblocks. Usually, when we are met with them, we tend to give up, turn around thinking that we can’t get through. In the story of the feeding of the 5,000, it shows that just because something seems impossible, doesn’t mean it is. Look at what the disciples thought when it was concluded that the people needed food.
“…This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food” (Matthew 14:15 NIV).
Philip said “…It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7 NIV).
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” (Matthew 14:17 NIV).
Each statement proved that the disciples could only see limited ways of dealing with feeding the crowd. Jesus, on the other hand, knew of another way that they couldn’t see. In fact, in speaking about why Jesus asked: “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”, the next verse explains “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do” (John 6:6 NIV). And as you know, he delivered.
In life, many things appear to be impossible at the onset, but turn out to be possible. At one point no one thought it would be possible to go to the moon, run a 4-minute mile, or any of the great accomplishments made by humans throughout history. But although originally thought to be impossible it became possible after someone searched for a way.
When you’re faced with a challenge and can’t see a way through, remember there may be a way that you don’t see. As Matthew 7:7 states “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (NIV). You’ll be surprised by the answers you’ll find if only you believe there is a way instead of simply giving up.
Published on Tuesday, September 5, 2023 @ 7:51 AM CDT
From the sermon, It’s All About the Heart: “The Blessed Life Series.” (8-20-2023)
Being Generous Really Does Make You Happier (Time Magazine)
Generosity Makes You Happier (Medical News Today)
It Pays to be Generous (The Ascent)
Be Generous, Do for Others: You’ll Be Happier (HeartMath Institute)
Want to Feel Happier? Science Says Trying Being More Generous.(WBUR)
Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness (Science Magazine)
A Neural Link Between Generosity and Happiness (2017 Scientific Study)
The Science of Generosity (UC Berkeley)
The Joy of Generosity (John Templeton Foundation)
Published on Wednesday, August 23, 2023 @ 8:37 AM CDT
There comes a time when you will have to stop thinking about it, talking about it, dreaming about, researching it, or planning for it, and actually step out and do something about it.
There is rarely a perfect moment, there is only a "faith" window. You are going to have to take the plunge and go for it. Unless you step out, you will never find out if it is really God or just a good idea.
Don’t freak out that you will miss God. It is harder to get out of the will of God than you think. If your heart is right, God can easily redirect your steps and get you back on course. It is much harder for him to guide you when you are not moving than it is for him to steer you while you are.
Stop procrastinating, get going, and trust God to order your steps as you go. The adventure is worth the risk.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” - Hebrews 11:6
Published on Wednesday, August 9, 2023 @ 9:29 AM CDT
A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
Only a Fool NEVER Shuts Up!
You do not have to say everything right now. There is a time to hold back speech to yourself – and there is a time to talk and tell all. Wise men know what to do before speaking and when to speak, but fools spill everything without preparation or thought.
Fools talk a lot. They cannot keep their mouths shut. Any little thought, no matter how frivolous, no matter how unstudied, no matter how inappropriate, has to come rushing out. But a wise man speaks carefully. He does not speak hastily, or without study, or offer opinions as truth. He rules his mouth to choose wise words and wait for the right timing.
A talker is a fool. If he talks arrogantly, hastily, or loudly, he has confirmed his folly even more. A fool loves the sound of his own voice, and he thinks others should love it also. He thinks he has wisdom to share, and he thinks others are blessed to hear him. So he gets angry when he is eventually isolated due to his ignorant and obnoxious speech.
Solomon said there is a time for everything: “A time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Eccl 3:7). But knowing the right time requires discretion and prudence, two branches of wisdom the fool has never considered. As long as he has air to breathe (and a full belly helps), he will vent his pea-sized brain through his lips (Pr 30:22; Eccl 10:12-14).
If a fool could keep his mouth shut, he would be thought wise (Pr 17:27-28). But he cannot do it, for he has never held back words in his life: he has no will nor power to do so. He must pour out foolish ideas in the hope of satisfying his agitated conceit, but it will never happen; when he runs out of things to say, he keeps talking anyway (Pr 15:2).
There is nothing virtuous about being “outspoken.” It is merely another word for a fool! It would be much better to keep those words in and let them dissolve in the bile of your liver and go into the draught. It would be much better to ask the Lord to set a watch before your mouth and to keep the door of your lips (Ps 141:3). Do not speak out!
Many things – idle words, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, backbiting, talebearing, and slander – should not be spoken (Pr 10:18; 11:13; 25:23; Matt 12:36; Eph 5:3-5). And many words raise the probability of sin (Pr 10:19; Eccl 5:3). How much damage and pain could have been avoided by reducing your words (Pr 12:18)? Therefore, the fewer, and more carefully chosen, and more slowly spoken, are your words, the better (Jas 1:19).
A fool’s wrath is quickly known, for he cannot keep his angry words in (Pr 12:16). A fool pours out unstudied nonsense, and worse yet, his personal opinions; but a righteous man studies before answering anything (Pr 12:23; 13:16; 15:28). A fool shows his folly and shame by answering a matter even before hearing it fully presented (Pr 18:13). He cannot rule his spirit, and thus proves himself a failure and loser among men (Pr 16:32; 25:28).
Wise men restrain their speech (Pr 17:27-28). They study before answering (Pr 15:28). They are slow to speak (Jas 1:19). They choose their words carefully and wait for the right time to say them (Pr 15:23; 24:26; 25:11). Discretion and prudence are the guardians of wisdom – they restrain words and actions until you grasp a situation clearly and can wisely choose a godly response (Pr 12:23; 13:16; 14:8; 16:21; 19:11; 22:3).
Wise men keep words in “till afterwards”! After what? After they let passion dissipate and can speak prudently (Pr 19:11; Jas 1:19). After they apply Scripture to the situation and find the godly, charitable response (Ps 119:11; I Cor 13:4-7). After they have studied for an answer with the certain words of truth (Pr 15:28; 22:17-21). After they have sanctified the Lord God in their hearts (I Pet 3:15). After they have heard a matter in its entirety, and someone has sincerely asked for their response (Pr 18:13; 25:6-7).
Samson uttered all his heart, and it cost him greatly; he could not resist the provocation of Delilah to open up and spill the beans (Judges 16:17). Yet Abigail, a beautiful woman of good understanding, waited for the right time to give her husband some bad news (I Sam 25:36). The Lord told Samuel to answer Saul only part of his mind (I Sam 16:1-3), and when in court, Paul declared only part of his relationship to the Pharisees (Acts 23:6).
Christians, to be wise and avoid folly, are to be circumspect in their conduct – inspecting all the circumstances in every direction (Eph 5:15). Their words are to be predominantly gracious, with only a seasoning of salt, and the purpose is always to be edifying (Eph 4:29; Col 4:6). Can you keep from uttering all your mind today? Can you wait until you have the right words and the right opportunity to say them?
May God bless you.
Published on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 @ 4:07 PM CDT