Old Time Religion

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Potluck religious stew

Someone once told me we’ll be able to pick out the Baptists when we get to heaven. They’ll be the ones the covered dishes. Eating has always been a hallmark for us church folks. We love to eat and gather around the dinner table.

The trouble is, it seems to me the church is guilty of treating church like a pot luck supper.  More and more we’re ignoring God’s banquet table and cooking up our own “kitchen religion”.  The church would rather eat whatever tastes good than feast on God’s Word.  The church would rather roast a bunch of rules and regulations than feast on the Bread of Life. The church would rather gorge on opulence than taste obedience.

“I’ve made myself available
    to those who haven’t bothered to ask.
I’m here, ready to be found
    by those who haven’t bothered to look.
I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’
    to a nation that ignored me.
I reached out day after day
    to a people who turned their backs on me,
People who make wrong turns,
    who insist on doing things their own way.
They get on my nerves,
    are rude to my face day after day,
Make up their own kitchen religion,
    a potluck religious stew.
Isaiah 65:1-3 MSG

What’s your social intelligence quotient?

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Have you ever considered . . .?

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I don’t want to be a Christian

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A still small voice

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What is the value of an Olympics Medal?

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How many times can you recall saying . . .?

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Go ahead! Take God for granted

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12 things that happen to you when you get older. Or: the “Dirty Dozen”

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What we’re entitled to

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Seven rights of every Christian

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God’s scoreboard

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Gay reader responds to FHG “No way to treat a gay waitress” post

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Roll Tide

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Why is “Reconciled” in the past tense in the Bible?

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Was God’s creation perfect?

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What’s the signature drink of the South have to do with Jesus?

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Time to exercise. No excuses.

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Soul-sweetening speech

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Be there. Just be there.

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The law makes us think we’re hot stuff

As long as we believe that the law has something to do with righteousness we will exalt ourselves on a bad day and sink into depression on a good day – why?

Because the law was designed to show us our Need For Christ and that’s why “Christ is the end of the law for all who believe!” So on a bad day you manage to think you successfully kept the law which causes you to exalt yourself. On a good day you fail at keeping the law and so you become depressed which is what needs to happen for you to understand that All Righteousness is already Freely Given to All who believe!

What holds everything together?

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A young man with the right answers

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What’s “correct” about “politics”?

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Introducing my kindness tab

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When kindness shows up, blessings always follow

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How to argue with an atheist

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Is that the truth?

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What happens when a teacher doesn’t like to hear the truth?

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5 things you can do to become religious

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Why do “they” go to church?

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He brought his Bible to church and they thought he was strange

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What is it worth?

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Do you know another word for “never-ending supply”?

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If You Die Tomorrow

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Burden Bearing

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

The Bible places a high priority on how we treat each other and work together.  Paul instructs us to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2).  Burden bearing blesses both parties.  Here are some current examples:

Rhemy Elsey is in the fifth grade in Peoria, Illinois.  He is deaf.  A group of his classmates have given up their recess time so they can learn sign language to better communicate with him.

The kids meet in the library every Wednesday at lunch to be taught by Rhemy’s interpreter, Tammy Arvin.  She explained that often deaf children feel isolated with adult interpreters who follow them around all day.  “So it’s wonderful to see him have interactions with students that are one-on-one.”  When Rhemy realized how much his classmates cared for him by learning to sign with him, he said, “It’s like they want to be like me.”

Landen Palatino was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.  He is a nine-year old from Springfield, Massachusetts.  Landen’s buddy, Brady Kahle, empathized and wanted to help his friend.  He has decided to sell his beloved baseball card collection to help pay for Landen’s treatment.  He has been collecting baseball memorabilia since he was three years old.  He has now earned more than $7,000 from his sales to help Landen.  He is even going to part with his prized signed ball by Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. to help his friend.  Brady’s mom, Tina, says it is really incredible what Brady has done.  Most adults wouldn’t do that.

Two Pennsylvania middle schoolers, Andrew Mindy and Casandra Stewart, had to sit out their school’s music classes because each has only one hand.  But now they can play along with other students thanks to a 3-D printer and a talented ninth-grader, Nicholas Brown.  Nicholas spent the past year designing two custom prosthetic hands:  A right hand guitar strummer for Casandra, and a left-hand drumstick gripper for Andrew.

Nicholas has made it possible for Andrew and Casandra to participate in music class.  What we cannot do by ourselves, we can join with somebody else and make beautiful music!

Even the corporate world is emphasizing empathy as a means to improve management, retain employees and influence design decisions.  The Wall Street Journal reports that about 20 percent of U.S. employers now offer some empathy training.

At Ford Motor Company, newly hired design engineers don weighted “empathy bellies” to simulate the experience of being pregnant.  This training has led to ergonomic tweaks in the company’s vehicles.  People will be safer, but those new empathy skills have also been a boost to the bottom line.  The top ten businesses on the 2015 Global Empathy Index, which examines factors like how well companies treat workers and communicate with customers, generated 50 percent more income per employee than the 10 lowest ranked firms!

How quickly are we willing to go to those in need?

Martin Aircraft has spent the last 35 years trying to develop a personalized jetpack which can carry one passenger weighing up to 265 pounds more than 3,000 feet in the air.  It’s gasoline powered and can take off and land vertically, “meaning rooftops, gardens and parking lots are all viable launch pads.”  It will go on sale in 2017, and isn’t being marketed as an “expensive toy” but as a device for first responders.  The idea is that it can quickly get to people in need, even in tight, hard to reach spaces.

Burden bearers already have spiritual jet packs provided by God to get to people in need quickly!

John Ed’s blog posts appear in For His Glory each week.

Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

***Listen to John Ed Mathison’s one-minute daily devotional on Facebook.   You can go directly to his personal page at https://www.facebook.com/johned.mathison/ and click “PLAY” on the audio YouTube in order to listen.  Or you can go to his ministry page at  https://www.facebook.com/JohnEdMathisonLeadershipMinistries/

Why didn’t God just write a “To-do” list for us to follow?

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Do humans get a pass on sin?

Is it okay for people to sin just because they’re human? What do you think?

How many times have we heard people who get caught committing sin announce, “I’m only human.” Why yes, we are. All of us are “humans”. We’re mortal. Politicians claim membership as humans with a flair of confidence after they’ve been caught in sin. Admitting they’re “human” seems to justify all manner of transgressions, to them anyway.

Paul reminds us in Romans 3:23 all (all us humans) have sinned and fall sort of the glory of God.

But does admitting we’re human when we sin give us a pass? Does our human condition make it okay? Where’s the remorse? Where’s the repentance? Where’s the accountability? Does being human justify sinning? Can we justify our sins by simply admitting we’re human?

We can be justified, but not by anything we say or do.  We are justified by the precious blood of Jesus on the cross. His priceless blood supplies the only justification for our sins. Not anything from or by us. It is only Jesus and his blood on the cross that justifies the sins of us humans who have a personal relationship with Him.

Let’s replace, “I’m only human” with “It is against You, and You only, that I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so You are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. from Psalm 51.

When is the last time you really blew it?

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Let go (of what?) and let God Response

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A General who served us

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Twenty-two years ago in Montgomery, a decorated brigadier general retired from the Air Force after 30 years of distinguished service.  He was encouraged by city leaders to helpjohn ed serve as leader of the Montgomery Area Food Bank (MAFB).  General Parke Hinman felt a calling to help people in need.  He wasn’t looking for employment, but he wanted the rest of his life to make a difference.  He accepted the challenge and went on to serve the MAFB for 22 years!  I attended his retirement in July.

Parke Hinman and his wife Cookie were active members at Frazer on two different occasions during his assignments at Maxwell AFB.  Parke became a good friend through our mutual interest in athletics.  He was the first person to letter in football, basketball, baseball and track at the United States Air Force Academy.  He is also one of only two people who ever had a perfect score on the original Air Force Academy and West Point physical fitness testing!

Parke attended a high school in Washington State that required ROTC.  He chose Air Force ROTC because “his mother said he looked good in blue.”  He initially got a basketball scholarship to Washington State University.  But in his freshman year, the coach took back the scholarship because he said “he wasn’t good enough to play.”  That was the wrong thing to tell Parke!

He applied to the Air Force Academy, received a congressional nomination and was accepted.  He gave leadership to the football team that had a tremendous record.  He was the most valuable player on the basketball team which went to the NCAA tournament.  He set track records that lasted for years.  He didn’t quit when his first college coach told him he wasn’t good enough.  He knew God had something better in store for him.

I wouldn’t think that an Air Force General with 30 years’ service would really fit the role of being a servant leader in a mission like the food bank that serves so many people in need.  I was certainly wrong about that!  He had a fruitful ministry at the MAFB.  I am sure he gave a lot of orders as an Air Force General, but in a service ministry like MAFB, you have to put up with a lot of unjust criticism and not many thank you’s by folks whom you are serving.  Leaders know how to do that.  Parke is a leader!

When Parke assumed leadership at the MAFB, they were dispensing about 4 million pounds of food a year.  In 2015, the Food Bank dispensed over 23 million pounds of food!  When he started, they had 9 employees – today they have 31.  The Food Bank services 37 counties in Alabama – that’s over 50% of the counties!  Compared to food banks in other parts of the country, MAFB has less employees who dispense more food!

Parke and his wife Cookie have been married 52 years.  He is a great leader and a man of deep Christian commitment.  His son described Parke as “a person with 50 years of selfless service; a godly man, a coach, a mentor, a man of unequivocal integrity who is caring, compassionate, leads by example, and is a role model.”

His employees gave glowing reports about his leadership.  They presented him with a nice embossed plaque.  They composed the content of the plaque, which says in part, “You’ve always been the person who was encouraging us to look forward, leading with humility, honesty and courage, challenging us all to do better.  You have transformed us, and we are more than we ever dreamed we could be.  You have made a lasting impact on both your food bank family and the people we serve.”  Wow, that is coming from the folks who worked for him!

Thanks to a leader who has served the people of Alabama so well.  This should be a call to each of us as to where God is calling us to serve.  Parke followed One of higher and greater rank who said “I didn’t come to be served, but to serve” (Matt. 20:28).  God is not interested in our rank, but in our willingness to go where He calls us.  Thanks, Parke and Cookie, for answering that call!
John Ed’s blog posts appear in For His Glory each week.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

Saved or Deceived?

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Let go (of what?) and let God

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Wolves inside us

An old Cherokee chief said to his grandson, “My son, there are two wolves inside all of us that battle all the time.

One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, envy, greed, resentment, inferiority, fear, ego, disappointment, doubt and fear,” the chief said.  “The other is good.  It is joy, love peace, hope, kindness, empathy, patience, compassion, gentleness and truth.”

His grandson thought for a moment in silence.  Then he asked, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

Religion or relationship

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Mr. Smith Has Left The Building

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Some encouraging words

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Charlton Heston and the 23rd Psalm

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