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May 14 / May 21 / May 28

May 7, 2017 - Joy From the Inside

As I am writing this, our beloved Houston Rockets just lost badly to the hated rival San Antonio Spurs. You would think that a horrible death happened if you just listened to the morning radio shows. It is just a game, but Houstonians are very serious about their sport teams. Now the interesting thing is, just a couple of days earlier, the reversal became true. After a blowout victory, you would think that no bad things could ever happen in this city. Circumstances changed, and it's amazing how the emotions of people changed with them. And it isn't just with sports, it is pretty common with any and everything in life. Our emotions can be pretty volatile, and often are determined by the circumstances of our experiences. So we can be elated because something really nice happened, or we can be grouchy because something unpleasant happened. Unfortunately, way too many unpleasant things happen because that's just life. Psalm 90:10 tells us, "Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow..." Yikes! If life is dictated by our circumstances, then life is going to be pretty sad and difficult.

We have been going through the book of Philippians the last few months. I must confess I have been surprised to see that it will take 18 weeks to finish a tiny book encompassing only 4 chapters. It just says how rich and profound those words are in that letter. Again and again, this one thought jumps out at us from God's word, "joy does not depend on circumstances." That means regardless of how tough life may be, we can live through it with wonderful joy in our hearts. It can overflow into every aspect of our lives, infecting our family, our friends and our world. In fact, the more difficult our circumstances, the more powerful the joy of the Lord will be. Just look back into your life and be reminded of the people whom you have met that are joyful... I guarantee you that it never has anything to do with their circumstances. Their joy came from the inside out. It came from the Spirit of God. So I hope the Rockets will play on, but they will not affect my joy regardless.

May 14, 2017 - Thank You Mothers

Happy Mother's day! When it comes to observance, there is no other day that is as important for the folks in our nation as today. Of course we celebrate Christmas and Easter as the most important events in the history of humanity, when the almighty God gave us the most precious gift of all, Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. Apart from those days of recognition and celebration, I think none other rivals this one for a 24 hour period. Sure we can think of the crazy travels for Thanksgiving Day, or the massive crowds for New Year, or even the fireworks on Independence Day... but there is no comparison when we try to book a restaurant on the afternoon of Mother's Day. That's a good thing! It means that people are making efforts to honor their moms. And they deserve it so much. Consider their sacrifices, their efforts, their patience, and their infinite love for us. Who else could have been that caring for us? I don't think a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, and an expensive dinner are enough... but they are nice. Thank you moms for all you are and all you do. The world could not have survived without you.

That's me with my mom on Mother's Day some time ago. I miss her a lot. Today Barbara and I are spending Mother's Day in New York with our son and granddaughters... for the first time in a long time. We miss you all and will be keeping you in our prayers. If you are like us and your mom has already gone on to be with the Lord, take a moment to thank God for her, and then tell your children and grandchildren how precious and special she was to you. Memories can be beautiful when you recall them.

God bless you moms. May today be a phenomenal day of blessings for you. You are special. I hope you have a great time worshipping at CBC today. God is here to minister to your life, regardless of where you are. He loves you and has a wonderful plan for you. If you are here for the first time, welcome! We hope you have been blessed. If you are looking for a church family, CBC would love to have you.

May 21, 2017 - To Serve and Protect

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week it falls in as Police week. So this week our nation took time to honor the almost 800,000 police officers who protect the people of the United States. These are the good people who run towards danger while the rest of us try to run from them. They are the "thin blue line" that allows us to worship, to work, to shop, to care for our families, and essentially to live in peace. Without them, life could not be what it is today. But these sacrifices take a toll. Each day as these officers dress for their assignments and leave home for their shifts, their families can never know for sure how that day can end. Such is the nature of their sacrifices. Barb and I understand since our son serves as a sergeant in the New York City Police department. He made enough trips to hospitals, had injury leaves, experienced the trauma of friends and colleagues killed in their patrol car in his precinct was given dangerous undercover assignments and assorted other events that made our prayer lives much more intense. Overall we are so proud of him for what he chose to do, to serve and protect. Likewise, we are so proud of each and every police officer in our midst and those that are a part of the CBC family. John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Police officers are willing to do so for total strangers. You deserve our recognitions and we honor you with pride. Thank you for your service and we will keep you in our prayers. God bless you.

May 28, 2017 - Thank You For Freedom

Memorials are very special. They represent some of the most important events of our lives. Sometime they have physical symbols to remind us, sometime they reside only in our memories. Tomorrow our nation celebrates our national Memorial Day. It is a day set aside for the folks who made the ultimate sacrifice; they died while serving in our country's armed forces. More than 1.2 million soldiers have died while still serving in the military of the United States. In so many ways, they sacrificed so the people in this country can live in freedom and peace. It is the nature of the human condition because of sin that it takes a lot of efforts to be able to live in peace and safety. History tells us that great walls and barriers often have to be erected, armies established, and weapons made in order for people to simply survive. The world is nothing like the Garden of Eden and no amount of pretending can get us back to it. There is danger on multiple fronts, but we can be thankful to the brave men and women who gave of themselves so that we all can have some semblance of peace. To all the families who lost someone while serving our nation, "Thank You for your sacrifices." We will keep this as a special memorial in our hearts.

As you celebrate tomorrow with BBQ's, some time off, or a trip to the countryside, take a moment to thank God for allowing you to live in this great country. Often we take for granted too many things Americans have while most of the world can only dream about. It is not going to last forever, but for now take time to thank God for freedom to worship in a church, to believe in God, to have Bibles to read, to freely share the gospel, to pray and to be called a Christian. In many other places in this world, those things can get you thrown in jail... or worse. Yes, again we can thank the folks who we are remembering on this Memorial Day.