12.05.2011

Baxley Plays Angry Birds

Even our 10 Year Old Lab/Beagle Mix Baxley likes to play Angry Birds
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12.04.2011

Another Day

You never know what a day will bring when serving in ministry. This morning and afternoon I had the privilege of joining seven other local church youth pastors and their groups in reaching out to families within Greenville Village. It was so cool to see our students serving and trying new things (Like cooking hamburgers on the grill.)  As always God shows me that He provides the right amount of adult workers and students for what we need at each event. When we returned back to the church the kids simply wanted to relax for awhile and just enjoy each other's company in the youth center. Those moments are really what I treasure. When I see kids from the youth group truly want to spend time with each other it is a confirmation of what God is doing here. It seems I can't meet and serve enough with these kids because they are growing so fast. Sometimes I wonder if our students and their families know how much Donna and I truly love them. They are not people we go to church with, they are our lives. I've often said that God did not see to bless us with children, but He has given us many parents to partner with as we come along side and walk with them in this journey called the "teenage years".


After coming home and crashing for a few hours, it was time to get going again by preparing for some great friends to come over for the annual watching of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation". We have seen both children in this family go through our student ministry and become strong in their faith. Their parents and I have logged many miles together during mission trips and retreats. This is a benefit of staying in one place for an extended period of time. (We are finishing up our 10th year at PVBC).  Before going to bed I asked the Lord to ease my mind before drifting off to sleep. He directed me to this passage. Romans 8:31-37New Living Translation (NLT) 

  • 31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us."
Since God gave His ALL to save me, He will continue to do His All to protect me. Over the years there have been many who have judged me on the way I do ministry (good and bad).  I am grateful at the end of the day that He is the ultimate authority. His approval is what I seek, not that of men. The only thing that can separate me from God love is me.  When I shift attention on what I do not have or what I perceive God is NOT doing, I lose that sweet fellowship with Him due to my self-absorption. Tonight as I drift off to sleep, my prayer is for Him to continue to hold me close. I have bigger dreams, but I must trust His pace and timing. To run ahead of God would only make me tired.  Tonight I am resting in Him.  Let's see what tomorrow holds.

9.08.2011

$1,000 Bill Exchange Crowdbreaker

$1000 Bill Exchange
For this game you need to make your own money on your computer (be sure it's clearly phony or it might be a federal offense). Give each person 10 of the bills. They are to try to win as many as possible from their peers by challenging them one on one doing one of three things:


Thumb wrestling
Rock, paper, scissors
Flipping a coin


Rules:
You must accept any challenge
Sudden death, no two out of three
Challenger has to have a coin and is "heads" on the coin toss.

8.27.2011

Ten Apps That Got Me Through Hurricane Irene

We are now on the back end of Hurricane Irene. The wind and rain continue to assault our neighborhood but Donna and I are very grateful that we made it through safely. Our prayer was "Lord please keep us and others safe during this Hurricane or give us the strength to handle whatever happens." One of the ways I prepared for the storm was:
  • A) To make sure my phone (DroidX) stayed fully charged as long as I had power.  Also, my car charger was ready in our truck just in case.
  • B) I downloaded some good apps to help track the storm. These apps are found in the Android Market Place.  (Most of these apps are available for the IOS platform as well)
Here is a list the apps that got me through the night.
  • 1) Droidlight - Yes I did have regular flashlights available but if I needed something fast I knew my phone would be with me. With one touch my phone becomes a bright LED flashlight (Turns on the Camera Flash)
  • 2) TweetDark - This app combines my Twitter and Facebook feeds. I can follow and post both platforms with this app. There was actually a lot of good information being posted in cyberspace. I was able to keep up with friends status updates and make sure @JimCantore was not in Wilmington. (Omen of a Bad Storm)
  • 3) TuneIn Radio - An app that streams radio stations. This was my high tech version of a battery powered radio. It had all the local stations plus a feed from the Wilmington Emergency Services.
  • 4) Scanner Radio - This is scanner that allows users to listen to fire, police, ems and weather streams for locations across the country including New Hanover County. This came in very hand when Irene first began her assault on Wilmington. It reminded me of when I had my old Fire Radio. The only problem was that the feeds would go up and down and were inconsistent.
  • 5) Facebook - This gave me a more detailed Facebook only of what my friends were doing. Also, it helped when I was bored too.
  • 6) Hurricane Software - This app did a great job of showing me exactly where Irene was at and did a really good job of giving an estimate of how she was progressing. 
  • 7) The Weather Channel - This is a given. What a great resource for up to the minute changes.
  • 8) WECT First Alert Weather: Local Weather that specifically covers the Wilmington Viewing area. They also have a life radar feed.
  • 9) Handcent SMS - This is a text messaging app that adds more features to the stock texting app like group sending and themes. Text messages take a lot less data than a voice call which means you have a better chance of getting the message out and not taxing the carrier's service.
  • 10) Bible - Last but certainly not least, You Version's Bible App has become a tremendous resources. While you can't read a Bible in the dark, you can read from a phone screen. In times of trouble and being anxious, His word always assures me. 
That's how we made it through the night. How about you did you rely on any tech to keep you plugged into what was happening around you during Irene? Leave a comment and let me know.

8.14.2011

I took a few days in August to unlug and catch up with some old friends. It came together at the last minute and I was thankful for the break. God has really placed some awesome people in my life that I love dearly.  I am very grateful.


Pictured: John Kennerly, Jamie Parler, James Strickland. Hope to catch Chris Roberts next time so we can have a "Walking Tall" reunion tour :)

7.31.2011

Exhausted but Grateful

For the past month our student ministry has been blessed in so many ways. After two mission trips and a middle school camp I have seen God work in the lives of many including myself. I look forward to what is next. Right now I am traveling home with our College ministry from a week in Richmond, VA.  I can't wait to see my wife Donna and wrestle with our Dog Baxley. After some rest I will continue to have the joy of seeing God working. Gotta go for now we are making a stop.


7.11.2011

Jesus Wept

JESUS WEPT

July 17, 2011
Pine Valley Baptist Church
Rev. James Strickland - Mniister of Students



Our "human-ness" makes us "human"! Flawed and Imperfect! In Need of A Forgiver and Leader. Jesus' human-ness allows us to relate to God in a way that is like no other. God created a perfect world for us to live in called Eden. Sin entered the world and has separated us from God ever since.

7.04.2011

Arrival at MFUGE



Today was a whirlwind of driving, deadlines, sign ups, details, logistics and ministry. Beginning at 9 AM we gathered in the parking lot to embark on this adventure called MFUGE. This is a week long mission trip in Charleston, SC where kids do a variety of jobs to minister to the community. I am so thankful for their hearts. No one complained when the AC went out on the bus, they have conducted themselves with respect for themselves, us and the church and went to bed hungry. God holds some special blessing for them this week, I just know it. Our days will start at 6am and often end by midnight. Please, Pray for God to first work in our hearts that it may spill out to those we are connected with.


Matthew 22:37-39 New Living Translation (NLT)
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.


Final Thoughts For The Day:

  1. Thank you God for getting us here safely.
  2. It's really cool to be staying in the same dorms I stayed in as a student here at Charleston Southern University.
  3. The MFUGE Staff was extremely courteous and helpful.
  4. The Worship Team will do a great job of leading us to God's Throne
  5. Tomorrow is a new day to love God more and love other's more.

6.25.2011

God Is In The Midst of Crazy

Just sat down for a few minutes to enjoy a little lunch to build up my power for the Walmart trip. This is my first post using my Motorola Droid X and Blogger App. Donna and I had an amazing night with some friends when we went to see one of our youth Robyn Blanton in the production of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" in Greenfield Lake's Amphitheatre.  It was GREAT and we all felt a little more cultured LOL. This morning I had the opportunity to help the Gaskill's with Sanctuary VBS decorations. I was so appreciative of the help Sam, Fenner and Chris offered.  It really looks nice. I then put some final touches on our 5th and 6th grade room and was surprised at the creativity of Luke Ball. I am looking forward to seeing God speak through him. Oh I forgot about the washing machine leak at our house that we had to deal with in the middle of all this. Thankfully God led us to an honest plummer. If u ever need one I have a great reference.


If you are still reading this please know I am only reflecting on the goodness of God not my works or lack thereof. As I sat eating my Arby's sandwich I heard two guys talk about their party lifestyle. I prayed for them because I remember the emptiness in my life during those days. Don't get me wrong. I still party John 10:10 style. Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy but I have come that they may have life to the full." As a believer I experience the full life. The peaks are higher and the valley's lower but thankfully I am not traversing them alone. Are you having a crazy day? Know that everything that is thrown at you is to pull your dependence away from yourself and to Christ. That is the magnetism of the cross..  Jesus keeps us grounded in the crazy.


6.23.2011

What If Tomorrow Never Comes?

I am so thankful for the opportunity to have have the Bible. I know it sounds like a "preachy" thing to say but I mean it from the bottom of my heart. It often reads "me" rather than me reading "it". Just this morning God has reminded me that frustration occurs when I look to much toward the future rather than living in today. There are many passages in the Bible that speak to the danger of looking too far ahead. I am reminded of when Moses was in the wilderness and God was providing for them each day by sending Manna to eat. God told them to only get the Manna they needed for that day except for the Sabbath. When they tested God and tried to store leftovers for the next day it would spoil Exodus 16:19. Here are some other passages that help me when I become too much of a "forward" thinker.
  • Proverbs 27:1 Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.
  • Matthew 6:24-25 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?
  • James 4:13-15 13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
What if tomorrow never comes? 
No one is promised tomorrow.  Some may see that as being a negative thing, but I see it as a positive (even though it can be frustrating). If tomorrow never comes, have I missed the blessing of living today? At times, the answer would painfully be no. There is a difference between looking forward to future events and letting them consume us. (Vacations, new employment opportunities, new school experiences etc.)

I am reminded of an Adam Sandler movie called "Click". Adam Sandler's character went to a Bed, Bath and Beyond where he met the always creepy Christopher Walken.  In the back room of the store where the "beyond" items were displayed, there was a magical remote that could fast forward time but not rewind.  In the moment it seemed like  a great thing.  He could fast forward through fights with his wife, uncomfortable work situations, his dog taking too long to use the bathroom, etc.  This was all good until he gets to the end of his life and realizes those things he fast forwarded through were actually the things that made his life so rich.

My prayer this morning is that if tomorrow never comes, may I be expectant and hopeful in what I encounter today.  Enjoy the "manna" God  has given for me today and know that He will give me what I need tomorrow.  This is easier said than done, but that's why I am making this a prayer.  May I treasure the fact that God in His infinite love and wisdom 'unfolds" my life daily rather than "laying it out' in a big picture.  The big picture plan increases my desire to depend on myself rather than daily depending on God.  If tomorrow never comes, I am confident that God is working in me today.

Dear God,

Thank you for the ways you have blessed me today.  You are the one and only True God.  Mountains tremble in your presence. Oceans roar at the wave of your hands. You are God and I am not. Forgive me where I have fallen short of your will for my life in my daily choices. Help me to see you in every encounter and give me your insight as I interact with those you place in my path. Thank you for the loved ones and friends you have placed in my life for today. May I cherish them and not take them for granted. May the job you have placed me in bring glory to You and to me the sense of knowing you are pleased. May my heart not grow weary or walk not become faint as I leave my tomorrow to you and be obedient in the today.

Love,
James

5.04.2011

When Mother's Attack

Nate Stratman is a phenomonal Student Pastor and communicator that I have had the pleasure of serving with during his time in Wilmington, NC. He has given me permission to repost his blog post entitled "When Mother's Attack". Confrontation is never pleasant but as John Maxwell has said, "Confrontation is Win/Win when looked at through the lens of what God is trying to accomplish through it."  Student pastors would be wise to heed the lesson presented in this post.  Remember people (Parent's and Church Members) are NOT the enemy, the devil is. Pray through conflict as experience God's lesson on the other side of it.  Two Bible passages come to mind:


Genesis 32:22-32 Jacob wrestles with and angel "God"
  • But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
James 1:12 The Key is Endurance
  • God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Thank you Nate for sharing your scars for others to learn from!!


During my very first week as a full-time youth minister, my inaugural youth committee meeting was in a shark tank and I didn’t know it. The elder who formed this team of sharks (mothers) had a specific strategy. He wanted to keep several parents on the inside or in the know instead of leaving them on the outside where they could cause more harm. In short, this optimistic youth minister who had 3 great skit ideas, a guitar and a couple talks about Zacchaeus left that meeting in tears and I remember talking to my dad about quitting after 1 week. I got an earful about how things were and how they should be when I was looking for a “we can’t wait to work with you and drop off pecan pies on your porch” type of meeting.


Why Mothers Attack- There have been a few times in the outdoors when I’ve seen a black bear and my eyes begin to frantically look for cubs. Why? Mother bears are so protective that they don’t even think twice about going medieval on anyone who threatens their cubs. All kidding aside, when a mother feels like her child is being taken, ignored or even harmed by the church, she will let you know in a host of ways. The most common reactions are taking the child out of your ministry, trash talking the ministry and the minister to a host of families, coming into your office for a “come-to-Jesus” or worst of all…nothing.


During the Attack- I am a sensitive fellow, so attacks have never been my favorite (By the way, I have had only a few major run-ins over the years that have taught me much. For the most part, sharks are my friends.) Nowadays I try to look past the drama and the tantrum to understand the heart of that mother. What is she really trying to say? For the most part, moms want their kids to be loved, invested in and cared for. I’ve also learned that striking back during the attack is deadly. Again, listen to the heart behind the rant and make your response to that mother happen over a long period of time, don’t fix it in one meeting. Simply make sure the mother feels heard.


Avoiding Sharks- Avoiding parents is never healthy, even the difficult ones. I actually used to run away from certain moms on Sunday mornings.! One thing I have learned more and more is that our calling to students is as much of a calling to their parents. In many cases parents can act “sharky” because they could use some encouragement and when a parent is praised, witch hunts seem to be called off.


While this is the not so fun side of Christian community, it is community. For youth workers I will go one step further by saying; if we have never heard the concern or hurt from a mother, then we are standing too far away.

4.22.2011

A Homecoming of Sorts - Day 2

The House That Built Me
Today was much more emotional than I expected.  It has been over 23 years since I returned to Chesterfield. I have come to the realization that I had "discounted" much of my experiences while living in Chesterfield in making me what I have become.  As I walked through the yard of our old house, I was moved to know that ALL of it has played a part in what I am today.  I kept hearing the song "House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert in my head.  It was much more emotional than I had anticipated. I will write more as I process it, but for now just know I am so grateful for my parent's who have sacrificed for me, the friends that played with me and the community and time I grew up in.  I also visited the Elementary and Middle Schools I attended as well as see my Dad's old place of employment. It has been an AWESOME day.

4.21.2011

A Homecoming of Sorts - Day 1

Over the next few days I am embarking on a road trip to my childhood home (Chesterfield, Va). One of the biggest reasons for taking this trip is seeing Daryl Turlington. He was in the 6th grade when I started as Minister of Students at PVBC 10 years ago. Donna and I have had to privilege of seeing him grow into a man after God's heart. I always said during his time at UNC-Chapel Hill that I would go see him but it never worked out with either of our schedules. Well now that he has graduated and is working at VCU in Richmond, I thought this is the time. Donna and I also have the blessing of bringing some great friends with us (The Hollidays) who also have invested much time and love into Daryl and many other students. I am praying for a few specific things for this trip to accomplish but I'll keep those close to my chest for now.


Secondly, I am looking forward to tomorrow because I am going to see the house and neighborhood I was raised in for the first 12 years of my life. I haven't been "Home" in a looooooong time. If you have ever moved as a teen you know how "akward" it is to return over the years to see old friends. One thing becomes painfully obvious. Over time we all change. Anyway, I can't wait to share a little of my life story with my wife who has never been to see my "humble beginnings".


Finally, some good friends of ours from our time at First North are at Colonial Heights Baptist church and I hope to see them, even if it is just for a moment. We shall see :) Either way, I am blessed with a great family, friends, ministry and most importantly a God that loves me in spite of my faults. This should be an interesting journey.


If you want to read more about how I got to this point, check out this old blog post http://www.jamesbstrickland.com/2009/06/why-i-am-here.html

4.04.2011

A Case of The Mondays?

Has anyone ever asked you ON a Monday if you had a "Case of the Mondays." Case meaning like it is an epidemic or something. Yes, Monday's are hard especially if we make the weekend all about us. After having "our" time, it's back to giving our time to other people. This is one reason I am grateful for church and worship. It reminds me that really I am on "His" time and that those moments spent in worship will give me the break and encouragement needed to break through the "Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, etc.)

If you attended church Sunday, think back to one thing that God told you or comforted you with. Meditate on it and thank Him for it. If you did not attend services somewhere, just know there are churches on every corner that are seeking to share God's love and strength with you. Check out Psalm 84:1-4

1 How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 2 I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near Your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! 4 What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing Your praises. (NLT)

Do we have to go to church to be saved? No, salvation is not about our works but His grace. However, the writer of this psalm wanted a change of location. A chance to get out of his everyday surroundings to meet God inside his dwelling place. We can meet God anywhere, at any time. But we find encouragement in the people, prayers, music, and sermons we share every Sunday. These people are not "perfect" but going through the process of being more like Christ. I pray you find a church that preaches God's Word the Bible and offers you the retreat this psalmist wrote about.

3.10.2011

Nugget For Today

When placed in the middle of a tough situation, excuse yourself and introduce Christ.

Through Is Not The Same as For

While watching the video testimony of Darrel Waltrip at iamsecond.com something struck me (Not Literally).  He mentioned the famous Philippians 4:13 Verse, "For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."  I have claimed the verse, preached it, taught it, and even sung it (His Strength Is Perfect - Steven Curtis Chapman).  The cool thing about the Bible is that you can hear a verse a million and one times and it affects you in different ways.  Here's what struck me (Again Not Literally).  The word "through" is a big word in that verse.  If you are in ministry either as a pastor, leader, teacher or faithful attender you will resonate with this.


The trap of those of us who are active in church and ministry tend to replace the word "through" with "for" or "in spite of". Too often we think God is impressed with what we do for Him in the church. The bible calls those things we DO for "our" sake as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Trust me, God searches our hearts and knows the motives behind what we do for Him (Proverbs 16:2). Serving God is important, but if we allow sin and selfishness into our motives and try to attempt them "for" or "in spite of" God we bypass His UNLIMITED power. We substitute it with our own LIMITED power. Experience His strength today by letting His power flow "through" you.  Be open to what God may have for you to do that is outside of your proverbial "box". May we let go of self and trust God to do not what WE imagine but what HE has for us.




1.06.2011

Have You Ever Needed A Do Over?

Everyone uses New Years as a time to reflect on what went wrong in the previous year and to make promises or “Resolutions” on what we will do in the current year. The following is a list of some New Year’s Teen Resolutions:

  • Be A Better Person
  • Eat Less Sugar
  • Loose Weight
  • Don’t Swear
  • Save Money
  • Get a day planner and use it

We have all had those moments in our lives where we would like to have a do over. For example, while speaking to the youth group Ali asked why I was wearing two different shoes. I had worn them all day. I certainly needed a do over.
Wore the wrong shoes all say without realizing it. #doover
Have you ever had a time in your life where either by the things you or someone you know did really messed things up for awhile? Maybe its a failed test, missed homework, fight with a loved one, lost job, lack of money, etc. It’s amazing that we have hills and valleys in life where at one moment we are on top if the world and at other times in the depths of despair. One of the first examples of a “Do Over” is found in Genesis 6 in the account of Noah and the Flood. From the time Adam and Eve were created until the time of the flood, culture had grown so evil that God needed a do over. Let us look and see how that Do Over helps us today.


1) THE GOOD LIFE IS NEVER GUARANTEED (Genesis 1-3)
Hopefully, no one thinks being a teenager today is as pleasant as a bunch of students from different groups randomly breaking out to sing Madonna songs that they have never heard before.  We would like to think that life will be great all the time, but we learn that hard times produce far greater insight, strength and dependence upon God in our lives.  God went to great lengths to create a perfect life for us as seen in creation.

  • Genesis 1:31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
  • Genesis 2:25 They were naked and felt no SHAME.
    • It's important to note here that we cannot understand this concept as fallen man.  Everything was perfect. Adam and Eve walked and fellowshipped directly with God.  Know that before the fall they felt no shame being in each other's presence or God.  Not until the fall did we begin our life long process of hiding who we really are from God and others.
  • Genesis 3:1 Adam and Eve begin to question God (Just like us).
    • While we may not have a serpent talking to us in a tree, Satan is still just as ruthless.  He hides in our music collection, movies, new reports, websites, magazines, news, Facebook, Myspace, etc. telling us that God really does not mean what He says that the Bible is outdated and error filled.  That God doesn't really hold us to any standard.  The same lie from the serpent in the garden just communicated in a different way.

Let's say I was baking a cake that calls for 6 eggs. 1 of the 6 eggs is rotten and smells bad. But, I don’t have any more eggs so i put it in the mix. Would you want to eat it? No, It’s been tainted and may cause you to get sick. God had made the perfect cake (The Garden of Eden without sin). Adam and Eve were living the good life. Fellowship with God and each other with no shame. There was no hiding from God. Sin (The Bad Egg) enters and spoils God’s creation. No more Good Life.
In Genesis: 3:21 God shows his love for Adam and Eve, even in the midst of their disobedience he made clothing for them. They were still punished and there were still consequences but God’s love still protected them.


2) GOD’S PUNISHMENT AND LOVE GO HAND IN HAND (Genesis 6:5-8)
The world had gone wrong. Their thinking, devotion, worship of idols had gone awry. The creation God had called very Good in Genesis 1:31 was now the creation God regretted ever creating. It is important to note that GOD DID NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, HIS HEART WAS BREAKING.

  • 1 Samuel 15:29 - And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!”

Disappointment and regret are emotions that we feel just like God does.  We all have said things in moments of anguish to our friends, parents, coworkers, etc that come from a place of deep hurt.  Even as hurt as God was He still offered hope. GOD ALWAYS OFFERS HOPE IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS

  • Genesis 6:8 - But Noah Found Favor with The Lord (Also see Joshua, Lot, Daniel, Jonah,& David)

3) GOD REWARDS FAITHFULNESS (Genesis 6:9)
It is important to note that righteous (right living) and blameless do not equal perfection. Noah loved and obeyed God with his whole heart. For a lifetime he walked step by step in faith as a living example to his generation. THE BALANCE ACT: Like Noah, we live in a world filled with evil. Are we influencing others or being influenced by them?

  • Genesis 7:6 - God’s First Do-Over (Water - The Flood)

My friend Mull always gets a kick out of my two pronged approach to fixing electronics. He brought a laptop to me that had a defective screen.  It would not come on.  I tried these two steps and it worked.

  • A - Reboot & Restart (If that doesn't work, go to step B)
  • B - Take The Battery Out then repeat step A

Just like in the illustration of the cake and laptop, there glitch (impurity) called “sin” in the world. This bad egg is in everything we do. (Romans 3:23)


4) GOD GIVES US DO-OVERS

  • CONFESS 1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
    • Confession is not a one time experience.  Yes, we must confess (Take Ownership) of our sins and realize that Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice for those sins by paying their debt with His blood.  God loves us so much that just like making clothes for Adam and Eve, He provides a way for us to have fellowship with Him through the sacrifice of His son. But, we must continue to live in a state of confession by continually going before God and admit how we have failed so He can restore us.  Just like Jesus did for Peter (see John 21).
  • REPENT Luke 13:3 you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.
    • Whether we have been a Christian for 10 minutes or 10 years we must confess and TURN AWAY from our sins and Turn To Christ when we fall short.
  • TRANSFORM Romans 12:1-2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
    • Thanks be to God for giving us Do Overs.  He wants us to be more tomorrow than we are today.  He knows what we are capable of and where we will fall short.
Do not feel like God is finished with you.  If you are a Christian and striving to live a life for God's glory, please know that He notices, just like He did with Noah.  You may be on the edge of something great.  Do not focus on what you were but who you are and whose you are.  For Christians our life is not our own.  We were bought with a price. (See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  We were made to have fellowship with Him and life for Him.  One day we will be in a new Eden.  For those who have never accepted Jesus Christ as their Forgiver and Leader their do overs are doomed by the biases of this sinful world and the ultimate user Satan himself to an eternity separated from God.  Some will continue to fight God calling and others will accept the free gift and get the Ultimate Do Over.  They become a "New Creation" There is none better. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17)