Monday, November 21, 2011

2 Oreo Desserts + 74 Cookies = Anniversary Meeting

This past weekend was my church's Anniversary Meeting.  We invited Elder Gary Harvey from Arkansas to preach to us.  It was an AMAZING weekend.  The Spirit of the Lord was with us, and I felt truly revived by Sunday afternoon.  The preaching was greatly blessed, and the fellowship...well, there are not words to describe it.  My soul is knit with these people, and I love each of them dearly.

Friday night my parents housed at least 10 people, myself included.  We stayed up laughing and talking, and then awoke early Saturday morning to be at the meeting house at 10:00.  The song service was rich, filled with praise to our Savior.  Elder Sam Bryant of Vestavia PBC in Birmingham, AL, preached first, instructing us to "awake, thou that sleepest."  He reminded us that the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  And, he's smart - he doesn't prey on the strong; he'll go after the weak and sleeping sheep.  He shared a story that goes like this:
A young Indian boy, before becoming a Brave, was required to solo climb a cold mountain.  When he finally reached the top, he found a rattlesnake.  The rattlesnake said, "Please, take me down to the bottom of this mountain.  It's cold up here!"  The young Indian boy replied, "You're a rattlesnake.  You'll bite me!"  The snake, in defense, said, "I promise, if you'll take me down this mountain, I will not bite you."  So, the young Indian boy picked up the snake and took him down the mountain.  As soon as he reached the bottom, the rattlesnake snapped, and bit him!  The young boy, in sorrow, cried, "You promised you wouldn't bite me!"  And the snake answered, "You Knew what I was when you picked me up."
Bro. Sam made the point that we often know exactly what troubles await us the moment we pick them up (drugs, porn, etc.), and choose to ignore them.  That is why Peter tells us to "be sober" and "be vigilant".  1 Peter 5:8

Elder Gary Harvey followed Bro. Sam, and preached the remainder of the morning service, as well as the afternoon service.  His subject matter was "Human Suffering".  He said there are a lot of CRAZY ideas in the world, one of them being that "a loving God would not allow all the suffering in this world".  Human suffering is NOT inconsistent with a loving God.  Much suffering is the result of our own sin.  Some suffering is for our own growth and maturity.  He gave at least 5 Biblical examples of this.  I'll give you two: sheep and oxen.  Sheep are dumb.  They like to wander from the fold and are easily led astray.  Guess who God's children are compared to in the Bible?  Yep, sheep.  Sometimes, a shepherd will actually break a stubborn sheep's leg, to keep it from continually wandering from the other sheep.  He does this to protect the sheep from wolves and lions.  (See the parallel?)  One more example...oxen.  An ox is actually just a male calf who was castrated at birth (suffering, no?), and whose sole purpose is to work.  He is trained to work by an older ox, and once he is completely trained, his sole joy is his work.  His natural drive is taken away, that he may fulfill another purpose to the utmost.  God's children are also compared to oxen.  Fascinating, huh?

Saturday night we enjoyed another sweet evening of fellowship with the saints.  And Sunday morning, Bro. Gary preached for us again, this time on the topic, "There is Still Much Land to Be Possessed".

Sermons have been uploaded to our church website:  I encourage each of you to download and listen when you time.  Below are a few pics from the weekend:

Oreo Dessert!  (In-Progress at time of photo) 

74 Chocolate-Chip Cookies (all devoured by Saturday night)

Group shot!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Great Weekend

Please excuse me if this post seems scattered.  I have lots of things on my mind.  Friday I seemed to experience a variety of emotion.  I found myself thinking of all the veterans who have selflessly served our country and defended our freedoms - friends and family in their twenties and thirties, as well as the ninety-three year old deacon in our church who can remember vivid details of his World War II service in the Pacific.  I am so thankful for each and every one of them.  Happy Veterans Day.

Bro. Charles G. Kitchens and me

I also found myself overwhelmed by the Total Depravity of man.  Friends and I at work discussed the scandal at Penn State, and it is utterly despicable and disheartening.  We should all be in prayer for the victims and their families during this tough time.  I can only look to the Righteous God we serve during times as these.

Then, Friday night, my mom and I went to see October Baby at the movie theater.  I highly recommend this movie to everyone.  It is an amazing story of the gift of life and the power of forgiveness.  At 18, the protagonist, Hannah, discovers that she was adopted as a baby after a failed abortion attempt.  You will be moved as she makes her journey.  The showing in Birmingham was a limited release.  Hopefully, it will hit theaters everywhere in the spring.  Pray that funds are raised to distribute this film throughout the USA.  Many of the scenes were filmed in Birmingham and other locations in Alabama.  In fact, several friends are sitting in the scene at the theater.

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful fall day in Alabama.  I assisted my mother and brother-in-law to rid our yard of leaves.  The end result was a Great Wall of Leaves that resembled a fortress for the outer boundaries.  Where is a Four-Year Old to jump in the pile when you need him/her?

And today, I heard the beginning to an amazing series of sermons by my pastor.  It is titled "The Importance of Godly Parenting".  I was convicted, encouraged, and inspired.  I can't wait for the rest.  Check them out at  

Yes, it has been a wonderful weekend.