This is Us, #4: Sharing Our Gifts

When Paul said “Command those who are rich,” he wasn’t really talking about me…was he?

February 4, 2018, Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville, AL

James Jackson, Lead Pastor

Text: 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Click Here for PowerPoint: THIS IS US 4. Sharing Gifts

Click here for manuscript: THIS IS US 4. Sharing Gifts Manuscript

Stay on Target… Stay on Target

Right now I’m going through a daily devotional with several friends from church that is based on John Piper’s Life in the Spirit. It’s ten days of meditation on the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. This morning I was struck by this line from Piper:

God sends the Holy Spirit as a preserving seal to lock in our faith.

Pastors and teachers are always looking for fresh metaphors to help us understand the Holy Spirit. This sentence made me think of a new one:

When a fighter jet locks in on a target, the computer helps the pilot stay on target, no matter how many shots the enemy fires at him. If he gets off course, the targeting computer corrects him.

If you know me, you know I am a huge Star Wars fan. And if you’ve seen the original movie, you remember the scene of Luke making his final attack run on the Death Star. His targeting computer is locked in on the tiny exhaust port. He’s about to launch his photon torpedoes. Suddenly he hears the voice of Obi Wan in his head: Trust your feelings. So he switches to manual and lets the Force guide him.

It would be tempting to stop there and say, “See– that’s the Holy Spirit!” But there’s that troublesome line: Trust your feelings. And that’s the problem. Your feelings will get you in trouble. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things.”

I need to not do what Luke Skywalker did when he switched off his computer and trusted his feelings. My feelings can and will lead me astray. If (in this very random analogy) the Holy Spirit is my targeting computer, then I’m never gonna blow up the Death Star by switching to manual.

What Mean These Stones?

If you have more memories than dreams, you are looking in the wrong direction.

Sermon preached by Rev. Glenn Brock, January 21, 2018

Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville Alabama

Text: Joshua 4

Our church, Glynwood Baptist Church, was constituted on January 20, 1991. On January 21, 2018, we celebrated our 27th anniversary. We baptized five people. Diane Causey, one of our charter members, read the history of the church. And Mel Johnson, Director of Missions for the Autauga Baptist Association, led the opening prayer. Following the worship service, we shared lunch together as a church family. It was a great day!

 

Five G’s #2: Strengthened in Groups

In one day in the early church, three thousand people got saved. Now what?

Sermon preached January 14, 2018, Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville, AL

James Jackson, lead pastor

Text: Acts 2:42-47

Click here for PowerPoint:THIS IS US 2. Strengthened in Groups

Click here for sermon manuscript: THIS IS US 2. Strengthened in Groups Manuscript

Bonus links: Read Eric Geiger’s blog post on iGen:Who Are the iGeneration and What Does the Research Tell Us?

Also, I didn’t get to this in the sermon, but another really helpful article that I found while preparing for this sermon was this from the Washington Post:

Want Millenials Back in the Pews? Stop Trying to Make Church ‘Cool’

Five G’s #1: Saved By Grace

What can an obscure story about a guy with an unpronounceable name teach us about our standing in Christ? Everything.

Preached January 7, 2018

Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattiville, AL

James Jackson, Lead Pastor

Click here for PowerPoint: THIS IS US 1. Saved by Grace

Click here for manuscript: THIS IS US 1. Saved by Grace Manuscript

 

Book Review: A Column of Fire by Ken Follett

Challies Challenge Category: Novel

A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge, #3)A Column of Fire by Ken Follett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had high hopes for this one, because I loved Pillars of the Earth  and World Without End so much. But this one was just okay. Other reviews have pointed out how the scope of this one was harder to get into– rather than staying in Kingsbridge, or even with people who have a connection to Kingsbridge, this one went literally all over the world. Characters were introduced that had very little to do with the overall plot. And I agree with the reviewer who pointed out that in historical fiction, the made up characters should never have such a pivotal role in actual events. But when the fictional characters are the primary instigators in actual conspiracies, and other fictional characters are the primary heroes in foiling said conspiracies, then everything just gets muddy.

But here’s what I think left me cold on this one, in comparison to Pillars of the Earth and World Without End: no one built anything. In Pillars, Kingsbridge Cathedral became a character in and of itself. In World Without End, Carris’s quest to reform the way medicine was practiced was so compelling, and the hospital, and Merthin’s bridge, and the revolutions in engineering and philosophy that marked the end of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance (not to mention the Bubonic Plague) gave you a sense of history being told in microcosm.

Not so with Column of Fire. I thought Carlos and Ebrima’s iron-smelting forge was going to be that thing. Or maybe there was going to be a genius ship designer who would help turn the tide for the English in the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But no. None of that happened.

If you read Follet’s introduction to the anniversary edition of Pillars, you understand that the book came out of a fascination with the cathedral builders– how they wanted to start something they knew they would not live to complete, but would pass their skills to the next generation. He had visited these cathedrals that took decades to build, and imagined all the stories that could be told of the builders. As a result, Pillars felt like a work fueled by the fascination of its author. In disappointing contrast, “Column” feels like it was fueled by fans wanting more Kingsbridge stories. Not a bad motivation for an author, I guess, but it just didn’t seem like his heart was in it.

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