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September 17 / September 24

September 10, 2017 - Here To Help

I can almost not believe that as I write this, another hurricane is heading towards the United States. I just wrote about it 2 weeks ago. This one may be even more damaging (if that is possible) than "Harvey." Again, by the time you read this, "Irma" will have impacted somewhere upon the Southeastern coast. Many prayers are needed by God's people for our nation. Houstonians have been trying to recover and countless folks have been lending a hand to help, including so many CBC members and friends of our church. As I like to quip sometimes, "their mansions in heaven have gotten a lot bigger" by the selfless sacrifices they have made in serving and ministering to others. If you have been a part of the recovery teams, God bless you. The love of Jesus has been demonstrated through you. There will be an impact in the lives you touched.

I want to let CBC members and those connected to our church in some ways know that we are here to help you in any way we can. Our church wants to do that. The people of CBC are asking for ways to help. We have a coordinating task force of people who will send teams to help you clean up, bring supplies that you need, and to find resources and housing if needed. Our website has all the information needed for you to apply. Also, we will be collecting funds for this effort through offerings (Just write on the envelope "Harvey") and online giving. So many people outside of TX have contacted me to let me know they are collecting and sending funds for us to help. Our church has a lot of friends in the body of Christ. Praise God.

Hang in there and keep trusting the Lord. Look for opportunities where you can share the love of Jesus and the gospel message. People are always far more open to receive these during tough times. And let's begin to lift up those affected by "Irma" in our prayers now. Barb and I are praying for you every day. Know that God has his hands upon you and your family.

September 17, 2017 - Shine The Light

Many years ago I took a group of teens backpacking in the Catskill Mountains. It was late autumn and the temperature was near freezing. We hiked up to the top of one of the lower peaks and camped there without tents. It was a really dark and cold night and we all got into our sleeping bags and fell asleep. Sometime later, a teen woke me up and told me that he was really cold. His sleeping bag was not warm enough. So I gave him mine which was rated to well below freezing and I took his. Well, he was right; his bag was really not warm. I was really cold so I got up in the dark night, quickly gathered some wood, started a fire and stayed near it for the whole night. In the midst of a very dark and cold environment, that camp fire made all the difference.

These last 3 weeks have been really tough for our country. For many, it has been brutally tough with difficulties anticipated for many months ahead. As our nation, cities, communities and families struggle through this, times can seem really dark and even hopeless. But it is precisely in these moments that the gospel can become so real and so full of hope. The love of Jesus Christ and what he has done on the Cross are amazing things. The darker the moments, the brighter these realities will be. Now we don't really know why these awful events have happened. We simply know that they have and God allowed it. But we know as well that God loves us and as we embrace his love, trusting in his power to help us overcome, he will deliver us to a place of healing and victory. Isaiah 9:2 says, "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them." As I recalled the cold and darkness that surrounded me on that mountain top, I also remembered what a nice bright...and warm fire did to change everything. Let's go out there and shine the light of God's love for the folks struggling today in our nation.

It is good to worship with you today. In the midst of an abnormal situation, it is good to be able to worship with God's people. What a blessing it is.

September 24, 2017 - God's Plan For Us

It is Autumn 2017! Time really has flown by so quickly. We are already getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the church. With a very busy summer and the craziness of Hurricane Harvey, the days of this year are almost ending. I was reminded of the passage in Ecclesiastes 3 that begins with, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..." I wonder what activities are before us under heaven? Sure, the days will be busy and busier. The list of "to do's" will get longer. There will be people to see, things to do and places to go. Lots and lots of those. BUT... what is this time for us? What "thing" are we ready to be a part of? What "activity under heaven" must we involve ourselves? As we enter this door of life, perhaps it will be wise to consider it.

An illustration I have used before involved an 18th century nobleman who rushed out of a meeting and climbed on board a horse drawn carriage waiting outside, said to the driver, "let's go quickly, I need to get there fast." The driver whipped his horses and they went down the road in blazing speed. A few moments later, the nobleman asked, "Where are we going?" The driver responded, "I don't know, but I am getting there very fast!" Sometimes, that's how we live our lives. We are busily going about living it, but we really aren't sure why or for what reasons. The great thing is, God has a plan for us, all of us. This new season is not just another Autumn season. Really, it is not! God has a great purpose awaiting us and he is ready to reveal it, if we will go to him and seek his guidance. Here are 2 verses that say it all, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Prov. 3:5, 6) I believe the next few months will be wonderful times for us as individuals and us a church. So before you get all wrapped up in it, make sure you commit those moments to the Lord. This way, if the Lord tarries and we enter into 2018, you and I can look back and smile at how God has done great things.