Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wind, Gears, Work and Grace

As most of you know about 15 months ago I started riding a bike for exercise and in hopes of dropping some weight and getting in shape. As of today I have ridden some 4,780 miles.

As I was riding this morning the wind was blowing at about 18 mph. If you are a fellow cyclist then you know that riding against the wind is not that fun. However, if you live in the Texas Panhandle then it is a given and a part of the great life that we enjoy around these parts.

This past December I invested, that's the way I justified it to my wife at least, I invested in a recumbent trike. Now for those who might not be familiar with a recumbent, it is a bike or trike (3 wheels) that you lay down on somewhat (think of sitting in a recliner). The recumbent was an early Christmas gift as well as a graduation gift for completing my second Master's. The logic behind getting a recumbent was that it would be more areo-dynamic against the wind. Which to a degree has proven true.

Well, this morning the power was out in the metropolis of White Deer. With the power out that meant the garage door could not be opened. So, I decided to ride the 29"er this morning, and again remember that there was an 18 mph wind this morning. Well, riding South to North was GREAT...but then, riding North to South, well, no so great, especially when encountering hills.

So, I gritted my teeth, took a big breath geared down and rode on. As I was riding this morning something came to mind that is a good comparison in life.
In life we face the wind on many days, for example, difficulties, people who try us, bills going unpaid, job insecurity, family issues and other things. On other days we ride with the wind, things are going great every body is getting along, the job is going good...So, how do we navigate such days?

On the days where things are going good, Thank God that things are good...and on the days that things are not going so good, Thank God for His faithfulness and that He is our shelter against the wind. One of the keys to riding against the wind is proper knowledge of how to use the gears on your bike. When you are riding uphill against the wind go to the "small" gears, when riding with the wind use the "big" gears, it makes all the difference in the world!

So, today what gears are you going to use? If you are having a difficult day, thank God for everything, even the small things, if things are going good, Thank God for how "big" He is in your life.

Let God's Spirit blow in your life today and thank God for the difficulty, for without trials we would not know the wondrous reaches of His grace...
Till Then...Bro. Alan

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Friend Indeed...

Well, as I said yesterday, it's been a loooong time since I blogged. Part of the reason has to do with finishing up a second Master's degree (this one in Counseling). Now with three degrees; A Bachelors in Music, a Master's in Christian Ministry and a Master's in Counseling I feel even more inadequate than ever to be able to blog.

I guess it's true what someone once said that the more you learn the more you realize what you don't know. Anyway...

This Sunday we are celebrating "Friend Sunday" This is a time that we are encouraged to invite friends and acquaintances to join in our community of faith and draw near to God as we draw near to each other. As I was having my quiet time this morning I read in Proverbs 27:9 "Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel."(NIV)

Friends are an important part of our lives. God created us for relationships and friends are part of that purpose. We need friends! But sometimes in our world it's difficult to make "real" friendships. We struggle with issues of trust and vulnerability because many of us have suffered some form of betrayal in the past from a supposed trusted friend.

In Proverbs 27:5-6 it states, "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." (NIV) Garrett comments about these verses, "A true friend gives time and attention (v. 5) but is not always flattering (v. 6). In addition to a common catchword, both verses concern the nature of genuine friendship. Verse 5 especially points to the need for communication and interaction among people; few things are worse than being ignored, and the studied avoidance of honest contact destroys any relationship...One must distinguish between salutary rebukes that spring from honest love and hollow displays of affection where no true love exists. The two verse together advise that in any relationship, an open exchange of honest and caring communications is essential."

Let's strive to be true friends with those whom God has placed in our path...Be a Friend today and everyday...Invite a Friend to come be a part of the Family @ First this Sunday...See You then! Bro. Alan

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Haven't blogged in a LOOOOOONG Time...Look for more updates shortly.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Work and Worship

Today we are discussing Mary and Martha. Martha was busy preparing a meal for Jesus and His disciples whom Martha had invited for supper. Meanwhile, as the guest arrived, Martha was busy in the kitchen while Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His teachings. The longer Mary sat and worshiped and Martha worked in the kitchen the more upset Martha became. Martha finally reached the "boiling point" along with all the pots on the stove, and came into the room with an explosive, bitter, pitiful attitude. Martha marched over to Jesus and tattled on Mary. "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
Can't you just see Martha standing there in the middle of the room with a tea towel thrown over her shoulder, sweat from the heat in the kitchen pouring down her face and a smudge of flour on her cheeks as she points her finger in Mary's face? Martha was expecting Jesus to take her side, she was expecting the Savior to reprimand Mary and tell her to get up and go and help. This, however is not what happened. Jesus says to Martha, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
What things are you worried about today? Are you consumed with worry and busyness, or are you prepared to sit at the feet of the Master today and worship?...Till then, Bro. Alan

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rest and relaxation

Well we made it to Ruidoso! We plan on staying for a few days here with the family and the in-laws. I plan on using this time for some study and sermon preparation and of course some R&R! Tonight Graham, Lilly and I went fishing at the lake and I was the only one that caught anything...ha, the old man has still got it...Graham and I plan on getting an early start on the fishing in the morning and then reading and relaxing in the afternoon while the ladies go and drain the bank account at the shops in town...
This Sunday we are talking about Mary and Martha, so this should be a good exercise on letting go of the daily drain and spending some time focusing on worship and praise to the Father...I hope I have a "Mary" week...till then...Bro. Alan

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Lord's Day

So often we hear, or at least used to hear, of Sunday referred to as "The Lord's Day." This was to be because this was the day that is dedicated to the worship, fellowship, and service to the Lord. As I was praying and thinking this morning about "the Lord's Day," the thought occurred to me that, "yes, this is the Lord's Day, the day set aside for the Body of Christ to gather together and corporately worship and fellowship together, but should not every day be the Lord's Day?" After all everyday we are to serve Him, everyday we are to commune with Him, everyday we are to strive for Him to live through us...So as we celebrate this "Lord's Day," let us be reminded that everyday is to be lived for the glory and honor of the Lord...
May GOD be glorified in our worship today...until next time...Bro. Alan

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Here We Go Again

Well, it's been a while hasn't it? Busy is just the "tip of the Ice-Berg" to describe what has been going on lately. I just finished a Master's at Wayland and am about to begin another at the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute in August. It "should" only take until November of 2011 to finish this Master's and then I'll see if the Lord is still leading to pursue PhD. work.
This Summer has been eventful. Maegan has been home and we are getting ready to move her back to College Station at the end of July. Graham is involved in Summer workouts and Lilly is, well, Lilly. She has really been growing and maturing this Summer and I am so proud of her.
Gail has been quilting like a mad woman and enjoying every minute of it and I have still been in shock and awe at how good God is in bringing us to WD. We will have completed our 6th year here in October. The church and the people of this community bless us daily and it is such a privilege to be their pastor.
We are going to get some R&R next week as we take the family to Ruidoso and join Gail's parents there for a few days of relaxing, fishing, and some rest. We are so grateful to Anne and Findley for making their "mountain home" available for us to use and enjoy.
I'll try to make some more post in the days to come...God is Good!