Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oxen & Asses

I. Yoked Together

A. Deuteronomy 22:10 - "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together"

1. Oxen

a. Proverbs 14:14 - Oxen: Strength of yokable ministry

2. Asses

a. Job 39:5 - Asses: Stubbornness of undisciplined ministry

b. Exodus 13:13 - Unacceptable sacrifice

c. Genesis 16:12 (NIV) - Ishmael ... a wild donkey of a man.

B. Traditional Reasoning: Clean Verses Unclean Animals

* Truth! But not like you think

C. More Truth (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible)

1. When yoked together, asses try to bite oxen ... it's their nature!

2. Asses like to feed on poisonous weeds that produce toxic breath.

3. Oxen yoked together with asses tend to turn their heads away from the ass.

4. When the ox turns, his shoulders twist thereby putting his load on only one shoulder.

5. When the ox twists in the harness, the ass is loosed from the weight of the load.

6. An ass that is not pulling a load begins to wander in the harness and balks.

7. An ox left yoked with an ass, smelling the toxic breath will:

a. get sickly and weakened.

b. result in eventual death.

D. Conclusion: When yoked together with an ass, the ox will walk with his head turned so as to avoid getting bit and also to avoid having to put up with what is coming out of the ass's mouth. When the ox turns, he can only pull with half of his strength and puts a great stress on his body. Not only does the ox cut his strength over one half, but also releases the ass from pulling his share of the load. Now the ox is pulling the whole load with less than half of his strength, leaving the ass free to wander, bite, stop and graze, and eventually balk. So the ox that is yoked together with the ass is in for a tough time of pulling the whole load, while avoiding injury, putting great stress on himself and pulling a balking ass along with the whole weight of the load. He is also severely in danger of getting sickly and weak and even dying.

II. The Terrible Truth About Asses

A. Dumb Asses

1. 1 Timothy 1:12-13 - did it ignorantly

2. Luke 12:48 - knew it not...few stripes

B. Smart Asses

1. Luke 12:47 - knew it...many stripes

2. Proverbs 26:12 - more hope for a fool than for him

3. James 4:17 - To know to do good and do it not

III. Conclusion: "Don't Be An Ass!"

A. I'd Rather Be a Dumb Ox Than a Smart Ass!

1 Corinthians 4:10 - Fools for Christ's sake

B. The Ox:

1. may be slow moving

2. may be thick skinned

3. may be a little pushy at times

4. may be strong enough to hold his own in a fight

5. may eat a lot more than an ass

6. may even mess a lot more, but ...

7. will make a tried and true yokefellow

Monday, March 26, 2012

Frog Biscuits


“Never put off till tomorrow what you could do today.” Thomas Jefferson

Historical information leading up to Exodus 8 … The 2nd plague of 10 …

Exodus 8 NKJV

1 ¶ And the LORD spoke to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ’Thus says the LORD: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

In this passage of scriptures Pharaoh represents the devil but he also represents anything and everything which refuses to let the child of God go from its clutches … at times even including our own fleshly, sinful or selfish nature. Pharaoh just wants what he wants … that’s all … how can that be bad?

2 "But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all your territory with frogs.

3 "So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls.

4 "And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants."’"

Now evidently Pharaoh was not too afraid of Moses or the threat of frogs - he was not motivated to consider that perhaps he was in need of change.

5 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, "Say to Aaron, ’Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.’"

6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.

Now picture this:

· The Egyptians families, including Pharaoh and his servants had:

o stream frogs

o river frogs

o pond frogs

o land frogs

o abundantly!!!

· Frogs were in:

o Houses

o Bedrooms

o On their beds

o On their shoulders when they stood up

o On their backs and bellies when laid down

o In their ovens where they cooked their food

o They were in their kneading bowls where they mixed up their morning biscuits

· There were:

o Wet frogs

o Dried up frogs

o Slimy frogs

o Sticky frogs,

o Little ones,

o Big ones

o Fat ones

o Skinny ones

o Black ones

o Green ones

o Spotted ones

o Brown ones

There were so many frogs that you couldn’t shake a stick at them … well, the stick of Aaron, his rod of authority from God, is what brought them out to begin with.

It was a smelly, sticky, slimy, stinky mess. Can you imagine how it smelled with those stinky frogs in the ovens, in the beds, on people everywhere they went … And … how do you think those frog biscuits tasted???

As if it was not bad enough with the abundance of frogs in everything and on everyone and mixed in all they ate … just to show the devil’s stupidity and the stupidity of our own selfish nature… Pharaoh had his magicians conjure up some more frogs … duh!!!

7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.

Finally, Pharaoh had enough … we have all been to the place where we have had enough … Lord help us, just shoot up here amongst us … one of us has got to have some relief …

8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Entreat the

LORD that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD."

What is he saying? Pharaoh is saying, “Uncle!” ---

Just a word about “Uncle” and the principle of having been made to do something. You know – If the only reason you decide to do what you ought to is because someone or something is making you do it … when the pressure’s off – or you’re left to yourself – you will just revert to doing whatever your nature really wanted to do in the first place.

I’ve about come to the place where I have decided that I’m not going to make anyone do anything anymore – maybe except for the kids I’m raising - it almost never turns out any other way than it did with Moses … you just have to keep making them do what they ought to do over and over and over again and then when you turn around, they haven’t learned a thing.

What’s the answer to this dilemma? Personal Discipleship that leads to permanent change … that’s one reason we are turning our attention this year to creating discipleship opportunities for everyone in our Church. But disciples have to want to grow and make the choice to invest in their change.

Discipleship deals with the carnal appetites of man and our flesh-driven, selfish pursuits … Again, Pharaoh is both a picture of the devil and a type of man’s carnal nature … all he wants is just what he wants…

Pharaoh did not want to be a disciple of Moses … He liked how he was … and no doubt Moses knew Pharaoh better than Pharaoh knew himself

This is where Moses begins to expose the stupidity of the carnal man …

9 And Moses said to Pharaoh, "Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you, for your servants, and for your people, to destroy the frogs from you and your houses, that they may remain in the river only."

10 So Pharaoh said, "Tomorrow." …

“Just one more night with these frogs …”

We cannot change our tomorrows until we are willing to change ourselves today.

We will never do anything on any day that is not called today.

So often we too put off until tomorrow those things which we should do today. Just how bad does it have to get before we find the motivation to change to do what we know we ought to?

In Pharaoh’s world God did not let up on the pressure … What was God hoping to accomplish? - The deliverance of His children into a greater, happier, more productive and more prosperous future. All God had to do was to get His children out from under the control of those familiar patterns of life which were holding them captive.

God wants the same for us. God has a plan for our life … He will succeed … and we have a chance to participate. Our chance is called today!

Can I encourage you to pray with me right now to cast off the weight and that sin which does so easily beset you and refuse to be held captive any longer by those selfish pursuits and carnal appetites of mere human nature.

You know what you need … you have heard it before – no doubt many times … God has already spoken to you time and again … what will you do? This was not the first time God spoke to Pharaoh either –

However, Pharaoh refused to listen … God tried to get Pharaoh to let His children go before the incident with the frogs but …

Exodus 7

23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this.

Pharaoh had a habit of hearing God and then just going home and forgetting all about it.

… One more night with those frogs … just one more morning eating those frog biscuits …

Don’t grow so used to yourself that you don’t take today’s opportunities seriously … Don’t go home and forget what God is speaking right now … don’t be a “maybe tomorrow” person … let your heart be moved today.

Hebrews Chapter 3 & 4 say, “Today if you will hear His voice … do not harden your heart …” “… encourage one another daily while it is called today …” Hear His voice today!

Will you pray with me about your today?

What are you willing to let go of or be delivered from today?

Let’s pray and let God deal with our Pharaohs …

Saturday, March 17, 2012



Our Text For Today: 1 Chronicles, Chapter 11 – The events of 1 Chronicles 11 took place in about 1048BC when King David was 37 years old.

While you turn to our text for today, allow me to make a few statements and read a key verse of scripture to set the stage for this morning’s message, “Nevertheless”.

If we don’t believe in it, we can’t believe for it.

If we don’t believe in it, we won’t work for it.

Key Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (NKJV)

What a person believes will affect what they are willing to attempt.

Three Questions For Today

1. What Are We Believing?

2. What Are We Saying About What We Believe?

3. What Are We Doing About It?

This past Thursday morning I met with a group of men from our church at 5:40 a.m. for early morning prayer and bible time. Afterwards, as is normal each week, several of us went to IHOP for breakfast. When we finished eating and solving the world’s problems it was time for me to get home and pick up the family for a “Spring Break” mini-vacation day trip to Houston. My son-in-law who is currently serving in the US Army in Afghanistan just received a new assignment and is on orders to report to Seoul Korea no later than July 15th of this year.

Many of you know that while he has been deployed my daughter and their 5 children have been living with me and Brenda. Although we don’t like to see families separated you can imagine that we have certainly enjoyed this opportunity and benefited by getting to spend this time with our daughter and grandchildren.

Since they are on relatively short orders, still separated by a great distance, my daughter is left to get things in order for the move. Currently Jake, her husband, is not scheduled to arrive back into the US until the end of June. That does not give much time to sell cars, pack household goods at Fort Hood, arrange for storage, settle family affairs and prepare the family for a major culture change. Pray for them … I know they’ll do fine … but I do covet your prayers.

At any rate, this past week’s spring break time has been a bit busy and Thursday was the day we set aside to take the family to Houston for lunch at one of our favorite Korean Restaurants. Everyone was excited as it was their first point of introduction to their forthcoming adventure.

Well, wouldn’t you know it … just like the scriptures say: “We may ponder our path but it is the Lord who directs our steps.”

When I was leaving IHOP on Thursday morning, while standing and talking in the parking lot about to go home and get the family and leave for Houston, I encountered a young man, 28 years old, out of a job and down on his luck. When I first saw him walking across the parking lot I felt compassion on him. Me, him and another man from our church talked in the parking lot for a while, asking questions and giving him some encouragement.

We talked about Jesus, Church and his future but I knew in my heart that I could not just leave this young man in the parking lot without giving him some greater opportunity to begin a life change. I asked him to get into the car and come with me. The least I could do was spend a little more time with him in hopes to make some more lasting impact and connection.

In the car I continued considering what direction God wanted me to take with this young man. He had such a familiar story, common to so many young men and women - growing up in a broken home, drugs, alcohol, jail - disappointments, lies, broken promises and failed commitments to change - Family won’t let him back in and yet there is nowhere else to go. I’ve heard it all countless times before and yet each time it breaks my heart and moves me to hope again.

This young man needed more than 10 bucks and a God bless you … he needed a chance - a plan - a real opportunity to change.

Driving down the road I called Kyle Trahan, pastor of COTR South in Groves. It wasn’t too many years ago when Kyle was the young man who needed somebody to believe in him and give him another chance to change. When we got to COTR South Pastor Kyle was waiting on us. I told Kyle that I wanted him to share his testimony and pray for this young man which he did and it was powerful. Then I told the young man to show up this Sunday morning at COTR South for Sunday School at 9:30 and Church service at 10:30.

He asked if he could get a ride and Kyle told him that if he wanted to be there he could invent a way to be there. He said that when you wanted a ride to buy drugs or get alcohol you always made calls, talked to buddies, family, strangers and told them some story and found a way to get what you wanted … now if you really want to change you can call those same buddies, family, or get strangers to give you that same ride only this time it is to church and you don’t have to lie about it. I thought that was good advice.

I told the young man that I was not finished with him for the day and that I wanted him to go back to mid-county with me. We left and on the way I continued to minister to him. He opened up and shared a lot about his life. He knew our jail ministers by name and even mentioned that “Papa Rex” had prayed for him last August in the County Jail. I told him that Pastor Kyle was “Papa Rex’s” grandson and he had spent years praying for Kyle to experience a life change.

It was late but I didn’t want to leave him all by himself for the rest of the day so I called a man in our church who occasionally uses day laborers and ask him if he could pick this young man up and work him for the rest of the day. I told him that I was going to pay him a day’s wages - we argued about that for a while because he wanted to pay him himself - we couldn‘t agree so I finally dropped it.

It was close to noon and the young man was going to need to wait for about 45 minutes before he could be picked up so I arranged for him to wait at McDonalds inside Wal-Mart, gave him some money to eat on, went ahead and gave him a day’s wages, and had him call his sister to begin making amends. I told him that he needed to change his approach to being a giver instead of a taker. I told him to offer to buy his sister a few groceries to replace what he would eat if she allowed him to stay and buy them even if she did not let him stay.

He really liked the idea of blessing his sister since he said that was one of her complaints and needs. I heard him talking to her and she seemed to soften towards him. I prayed with him again and let him out at Wal-Mart to eat lunch and wait to be picked up. He was all smiles. I reminded him of church on Sunday and told him to meet me at my office on Monday morning at 9am if he wanted to take advantage of this chance to change. He said OK and I left.

When I got home we loaded up the car and took off for Houston. I only told them that I had been helping someone and that was, as it always has been, more than sufficient. When we were just about to cross the Old and Lost Rivers I got a phone call from my friend who had been looking all over Wal-Mart, McDonalds inside and in front of Wal-Mart, around the parking lot and in the restrooms for this young man … he was nowhere to be found. He told me that he and one of his day workers, the former chapel trustee from Jefferson County jail, would make one more sweep in efforts to find the young man before heading back to work. I thanked him and hoped that he was still waiting. But you know what … he was not! For whatever reason, and I’m sure there was one, there always is … the young man was nowhere to be found.

Now you’ve got to realize that this is not my first rodeo and not my first disappointment in helping someone and hoping that they would take the opportunity which I am willing to pay for to get out of their rut and begin a better life. Like I told him:

Every road leads somewhere – life is not rocket science – you know where you are headed … if you don’t want to go back to jail, don’t go down that road.

With all of the disappointments I have experienced in these matters, what makes me continue to help, continue to hope, and what will motivate me the next time? It’s all because of what I believe … and believe me … I believe God is not finished with this young man yet!

I was disappointed … Nevertheless!!!

Have you found 1 Chronicles 11 yet?

1 Chronicles 11 (NIV)

4 David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus). The Jebusites who lived there

5 said to David, "You will not get in here." Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.

* David did not believe about himself what the Jebusites believed about him - later the Jebusites changed their minds

* Paul evidently did not believe what others believed about him, in fact,

Acts 28:6 … they changed their minds and decided he was a god. (NLT)

* We are not limited by what others believe about us or by what the circumstances say should happen … but:

We are often limited by what we believe and do about God’s plan for life.

Things may not always work out the way I hope … but without hope I might quit working on some things which would have worked out if I had only kept working.

The things I choose to believe not only continue to give me hope but raise my hopes again and again to expect miracles. Certainly I have not batted a thousand - but the victories I have won and the miracles I have seen have been well worth every investment I have made in regards to my faith.


I imagine one day I will get to tell you the rest of the story about this young man and the miracle of change which took place in his life.

This week I am going to ask you to plan ahead and be ready to help someone else - expecting a miracle every time you pray.

What you believe will affect:

· What we are willing attempt

· What we are able to endure

· What we are empowered to overcome

And we can overcome even our own disappointments when we believe God.

What Are You Believing?

· What a person believes is defined by what they say

· What a person believes is confirmed by what they do

You may be disappointed in life but Nevertheless - Believe!