Staff Devotions

 

Pastor’s Desk November 11th

Scripture Passage:  “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.”  Nehemiah 4:6
 
Dear Friends,
 
     There are some Scriptures that seem to appear in my devotionals more often than others.  That is because they speak directly to my heart and the situations I am presently dealing with.  I love to preach through the book of Nehemiah because it is a practical guide and manual on rebuilding a church.  The same steps Nehemiah incorporated in rebuilding the wall are the same steps churches use when rebuilding.  The same obstacles Nehemiah faced and adversities he had to overcome are the same one’s the modern church faces on a day to day basis.  They may look a little different on the surface and may be identified in a different manner, but they consist of the same traits.  Even when a church is strong and void of major splits, there is wall work that needs to be done to keep the foundation strong and the perimeter wall intact.  If repairs are not made and foundations strengthened, it is just a matter of time until the whole structure collapses.   Sometimes it is good to remodel what is in existence to keep it fresh and attractive.  A church is just like a home.  There is always something that needs to be done and projects to be completed.
 

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Pastor’s Desk November 4th

Scripture Passage:  “For Ezra had prepared in his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statues and judgments.”   Ezra 7:10
 
Dear Friends,
 
     I believe God always has men and women in place to lead his people back to Him.  In the dark time of Babylonian captivity Ezra and Nehemiah found favor with the King of Persia, Artaxerxes. The king gave Nehemiah permission to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls.  He even funded the project.  Ezra was commissioned by the king to return to Jerusalem and restore order among the people of the new community.  The king gave Ezra civil as well as religious authority.  He also provided the funds to furnish the temple, which had been rebuilt by the returned captives.  Ezra was a talented scribe and priest who was an expert in the first five books of the Bible. Most scholars believe he probably had a photogenic mind and had the entire Pentateuch memorized. Ezra had prepared himself and purposed in his heart to accomplish three directives as he lived out his daily life.  1.  To seek, know, and understand the Law of God.  2.  To be obedient to the law and each of its precepts.  In our language he wanted to be a doer of the law and not just a hearer.  3.  He wanted to be a good steward of the talent God had given him and teach others in Israel God’s statues and judgments.  All this he committed to perform “according to the good hand of his God upon him.”  Ezra 7:9    Let us look at these three directives and see how they should be our goals as well.

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Pastor’s Desk October 28th

Scripture Passage:  “Not that I speak in respect of want:  for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am; therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”      Philippians 4:11-13
 
Dear Friends,
“In your patience possess ye your souls.”  Luke 21:19   Truer words have never been spoken.
 

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Pastor’s Desk October 21st

Scripture Passage:  “I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious also are your thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them.”   Psalms 139:14-17
 
Dear Friends,
 
     There are many people that I come in contact with that question the value and importance of their lives.  They are self- depreciating with low self- esteem and an overwhelming sense of unworthiness.  They live in a constant state of depression fueled by feelings of inferiority.  The question is: “Who told you that you were not worth anything?”  “Who told you that you should never have been born?”  Was it a parent, sibling, or teacher?  Was it a bully on the playground or a spoiled diva who thinks more of themselves than they ought to?  The only one who has the right to make that call is your creator and He would never say such a thing.  He made you in His image and created you with a purpose in mind.  You are not like everyone else because God made you unique and beautiful in your own right.  Our value and worth come from God and it is time we stopped listening to the lies of the devil and started listening to the praise of our creator.  You are somebody because God does not make junk.
 

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Pastor’s Desk October 14th

Scripture Passage:  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Having had a whirlwind of activity the past few weeks, it is good to be sitting at my desk catching up on unfinished task and looking forward to new adventures. The princess is married, her mother got her trip to the beach, and I got some much needed rest.  It seems that Patty and I live in a constant state of activity and the church migrates from one big event to the other.  As I look at my week’s calendar I realize I have something every night this week including a wedding on Saturday. I do not intentionally plan things this way it just seems to happen on a consistent basis.  We have our associational meeting next week and Judgment Day Drama the following week for three nights.  It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity that we miss the main focus – lifting up Jesus.  If we fail to do that, all that we have accomplished only amounts to busy work and a lot of noise.  If we lift Jesus up in all we do, then men, women, boys and girls, are drawn to the saving grace of Christ and the church grows in numbers and strength.  The church vision statement is simple.  We lift up Jesus that sinners might be saved and saints might be made disciples.
 

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Pastor’s Desk September 30th

Scripture Passage:  “The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”  Psalms 18:46
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Every day that I live produces new opportunities and challenges.  Some are filled with mundane task that are part of everyday life and ministry, while others are exhilarating and filled with emotional highs and lows.  Some days I feel up to the task.  Other days take a concerted effort to put one foot in front of the other.  There are days that my study time is like mining gems in a tropical setting.  The thoughts and nuggets of truth just keep coming to the surface.  Yesterday was like dredging a dry river bed.  I sifted through a ton of Scripture (it was all good) but I could only find minute traces of the treasure I was looking for.  This morning I went back to examine what I found yesterday and discovered it was part of the “mother lode.”  Let us put this gem under the microscope and see what we have.
 

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Pastor’s Desk September 23rd

Scripture Passage:  “And you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”   Ephesians 6:4
 
Dear Friends,
 
    “When children are small they step on your toes, when they grow up they step on your heart.”  The last of the Carr children is getting married and leaving home.  Patty and I will experience what we have not known for thirty five years – being alone. Some people call it the empty nest syndrome while others call it freedom.  We just call it the next phase in our lives and to tell the truth we are looking forward to it.
 
    Emily was eight years old when we came to Fairview.  She had just been saved a couple of months before in VBS at Shepard’s Chapel. Emily has always loved music and adventure so a new church was right up her alley.  She has never been shy nor met a stranger so it took no time at all for her to adjust.  Emily’s new friends ranged in age from two to one hundred.  She always had someplace to go, someone to take her out to eat, and everyone bought her presents.  It is a wonder she is not more spoiled than she it.
 
    When Emily was very young she would go to music rehearsals with her sister Beth.  Beth is eleven years older than Emily.  She would sit behind the director during the rehearsal of “Into the Woods,” and correct the actors and musicians when they missed their part.  Mr. Nelson laughed and said he did not need an assistant when he had Emily.  By the time of the performance Emily had memorized the lines and songs of the entire production.
 
    Patrick is eight years older than Emily.  Patrick played ball with her and rode her on his golf cart.  He was her protector and later chauffeur.  When we had to be out of town, he was her babysitter.   Once he and Mandi married, Emily would rather spend the night with them than to stay with one of her friends.  There has always been a special bond between the two of them and now music is the common denominator that keeps their relationship strong.
 
    Enter stage left – Brandon Zortman.  Brandon and Emily met each other in their youth group at church.  Emily secretly had a crush on him during high school.  After high school they went out a couple of times, but decided to concentrate on college instead of dating.  He was at Bryon College and Emily was at Carson Newman.  Fast forward three and one half years.  Brandon made an appointment to see me at my office.  He came in and closed the door behind him.  He sat down and politely asked permission to date my daughter.  The rest is history and as of October 6
th the future also.
 
    My young daughter has grown up into a beautiful woman.  She is talented, an excellent teacher, and a fiercely independent woman.  She and Z love the Lord and desire to serve Him faithfully.  What more can a daddy ask for?  God bless Z and Emily and their life together.
 
In Christ,
 
Pastor Johnny


Pastor’s Desk September 16th

Scripture Passage: “Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you.”  Exodus 20:12
 
Dear Friends,
 
     I have been blessed with wonderful parents.  I never understood all the sacrifices they made for my siblings and me until I married and had children of my own.  They were good providers and protectors and raised us in an environment of responsibility and respect.  Love of God and family was the foundation upon which everything else was laid.  Looking back I realize how tough it must have been to raise three children in tough economic times and social unrest.  We never knew anything was going on because our home was a place of peace and security.  Momma and Daddy loved each other and us so it made for a wonderful environment to grow up in.
 

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Pastor’s Desk September 9th

Scripture Passage:  “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  Acts 2:44-47
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Most people would agree that we know how “to do” church.  We have multi-million dollar facilities, padded pews and chairs, and high quality lighting and sound equipment.  We have curriculum’s and teaching material that have been professionally prepared and even DVD’s to go along with them.  Our buildings are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer.  Our grounds and facilities are beautiful and aesthetically appealing.  We have budgets and bushes, toilets and showers.  We have kitchens to cook in and gymnasiums to play in.  We have choirs and praise teams, music and musicians and even well- ordered services with beginning and ending times. Everything is designed with comfort and convenience in mind.  The early church had none of these and they saw five thousand people come to faith in Christ at one service.
 

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Pastor’s Desk September 2nd

Scripture Passage: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”   Psalms 37:4
 
Dear Friends,
 
     What do you delight in?  I mean what brings you immeasurable joy?  What puts a smile on your face and song in your heart?  What is the one thing that becomes the topic of your conversation without any prodding or prompting?  That is what you delight in.
 

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