Pastor Thoughts From 2007 - 2008  
 

December 21, 2008

 

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

 

            Someone made the comment to me not long ago that for some reason this does not seem like Christmas.  I found myself agreeing with them.  But tell me, what is Christmas supposed to feel like?  Are we to be all giddy because of the gifts, food, and fellowship?

 

            Many are facing great pressure because of these challenging economic times; many are losing or have lost jobs and the bills are still due.  In my lifetime I don’t think I have ever witnessed such widespread economic unrest until now.  The challenges of life are real and many are wondering what they are going to do.

 

            But, during this Christmas season as with all pass Christmas seasons – the Scriptures speak loud and clear.  What the angel spoke to the shepherds then is relevant for our time as well – “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

 

            The Christ child was not born into a perfect world.  People were struggling.  There was political unrest, oppression; concerns abounded then as they do now.  But the message of Christmas is that Christ has come into the world, Christ the Savior.  God came in human form and in His coming help would be available to all.  The Scriptures speak loud and clear.  Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

 

            The Scriptures speak loud and clear.  Jesus warned – “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  When we keep our focus on the Christ, then Christmas will always be special to us.  Because of Jesus being born and our expressing faith in Him, we have the wonderful benefit of experiencing joy, peace, strength, hope, and love.  Not to leave out of course being reconciled into a right relationship with God by having our sins forgiven by His sacrificial death on the cross.

 

            The times we live in are very challenging and therefore are counter productive to feeling all giddy.  But the Scriptures speak loud and clear.  God has given us a gift through Jesus Christ.  Jesus is more than able to help us maneuver our way through these challenging times.  Our responsibility is to accept the gift (Jesus) that God has given to us.  When we walk in relationship with Him and are obedient students of His teachings, then we will celebrate every Christmas because of understanding what Christmas is all about.

 

Merry Christmas to all and may the blessings of God abound in your lives.

 
  A Thought From Pastor Bryson  
 

 

December 14, 2008

 

 

“And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him.  And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11 NKJV

 

            The verse above tells of wise men from the east who had travelled some distance to see the child born to be the Messiah.  When they found Him notice their reaction – they fell down in worship and then presented gifts to Him.

 

            The wise men had an understanding of the significance of this Child.  They were students of prophecy, and they believed.  While we have not been an eyewitness to Jesus, we do have the Scriptures that tell us of His life, His sacrificial death, and His resurrection.  We also have the indwelling Holy Spirit given to us to seal us until that great and notable day of His return.  Since we are also students and believers, what then should be our response to the Christ?

 

            Obviously we are to worship Him.  Worship has the meaning of adoration that extends beyond the usual day of worship.  Everyday we are to worship the Lord.  Everyday we are to bow in humble submission to Him as Lord.  Everyday our hearts are to be filled with love for our wonderful Savior.  If we worship Him everyday I am convinced it will make a difference in our mindset as we continue this journey of faith.

 

            Not only should our response be one of worship, we should also present a gift or gifts to Him.  The best gift we can give is ourselves.  We should voluntarily surrender ourselves to be used as His instruments in this present world.  There are those who need a helping hand, a smile, a word of encouragement, instruction and so much more.  In so doing we truly would be honoring Him who gave up so much for us.

 

God has given to us the best gift, what gift will we give Him in return?

 
  A Thought From Pastor Bryson  
 

 

November 23, 2008

 

            As we approach another day of “Thanksgiving” in this present economic climate we’re in, I imagine some are challenged when it comes to being thankful.  The news lately hasn’t been all that great:

 

·         Citibank to lay off 53,000 workers…

·         Unemployment rate is at an all time high…

·         Tennessee is facing an $800 million deficit; all departments are asked to reduce their budgets by an additional 10%, layoffs possible…

 

            But challenging times are nothing new.  Others before us have faced very difficult times and did not lose their way or allow a spirit of ingratitude to overtake them:

 

  • Joseph was falsely imprisoned for years but never lost faith in God (Genesis 50:20).
  • Job lost his children, his possessions, and his health, but held on to his faith in God (Job 1:20-22).
  • Habakkuk struggled with unanswered prayer, but still managed to proclaim his joy in the Lord (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
  • The apostles were persecuted, but always had a positive outlook (II Cor. 4:8-9).

 

What was it about them that enabled them to prevail in the midst of such difficult times?  I hold to the belief that it was their faith in God that saw them through and enabled them to keep looking up rather than down.  As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches us that the just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:2-4).

 

            As we approach another Thanksgiving Day in the midst of these challenging times we can simply be thankful for having faith.  Faith still works wonders.  Faith enables us to:

 

  • Sense God’s presence as we go through our trials (Psalms 46:1).
  • Experience His peace (Isaiah 26:3-4).
  • Draw strength from His unlimited treasure of strength (Isaiah 40:29-31).
  • Remember God always comes through (Psalm 37:25).

 

Yes, the times are challenging, but let us remember to give thanks to our God who

does not abandon us in the midst of our trials but is with us every step of the way.

 
     
 

November 16, 2008 November 16, 2008

 

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.  For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (I Corinthians 12:4-6, 12)

 

            One of the amazing things about the church is that it is made of up so many different types of people.  People who may have similarities but yet come from different backgrounds and life experiences.

 

            Some grew up in friendly families, while others may have had families who were just the opposite.  Some grew up in comfort while others struggled.  Some have feelings that been severely wounded in life while others have barely suffered a scratch.  But yet, because of common faith in Jesus as Lord – all of these different people with their different personalities and life experiences belong to the same church.  That’s part of the beauty of the church, that out of diversity comes unity.

 

            Of course this unity does not necessarily come easy.  With all of the diversity there is bound to be some “drama” every now and then.  But the drama, differing views, hurt feelings, must not keep us from failing to see God at work in our midst.  While we may be different, have different ways of doing things, and have varying abilities – we are bound together by the Spirit of God.  Each of us as believers have the Spirit of God living in us.  Whatever abilities we have we have as a result of the Spirit of God at work in us.

 

            The Spirit of God in us should help make for unity in spite of our differences.  Being that we are different and sometimes our differences can prove to be challenging, it would help if we did some of the following:

 

  • Practice the presence of Christ daily, imitate Him…
  • Pray for one another consistently…
  • Walk in love daily…
  • Be quick to apologize and or forgive…
  • Never forget that we are to be a witness for Jesus…
  • Always remember, God has given each of us varying abilities for the good of the church…
  • Always remember, we are on the same team, serving the same Lord…

 

We are all different and have varying abilities, but the Spirit of God indwells all who

profess Jesus as Lord.  As we walk together in unity, may the Spirit of God shine through our unity.

 

 
  A Thought From Pastor Bryson  
 

November 9, 2008

 

“…with God all things are possible.”

                                                                                                          (Matthew 19:26)

 

            On November 4th, 2008, history was made in the United States of America.  Barrack Obama, born of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya was elected as the 44th President of America.  Given this country’s history of slavery, segregation, the Civil Rights struggle, and continued resistance to change and pockets of racism that still exist, I never thought a Barack Obama would be elected as President of this country, at least not in my lifetime.

 

            Now that he is elected, the challenge to govern is his.  In his acceptance speech, President-elect Obama acknowledged that the challenges before the country are many and change will be difficult, but change will come.  From my perspective, his election to the highest office in the land is a witness to the fact that with God all things are possible.  That being the case, I believe the following because of God’s amazing abilities:

 

·         This country will cross party lines to work in a cooperative spirit to help bring positive change that is desperately needed.

 

·         Fiscal responsibility and financial healing will take place.

 

·         As a country, we will gain new respect from others in the world.

 

·         More focus will be placed on helping all Americans – regardless of race, creed, culture, or financial standing (rich, middle class, poor).

 

 

Of course, the election of Barak Obama to the office of President is no panacea for all

that ails America.  Our problems are many and no one man or political party can solve all the problems our country faces.  But with God all things are possible.  As a community of faith, we must keep our focus on God and what He is able to do through individuals and in the midst of seemingly impossible odds.

 

            As a community of faith, let us do our part in seeking to make a difference in the larger community.  Let us walk in love, showing compassion toward others.  Let us be good examples of what it is to be a responsible citizen, a responsible parent, a good employee or employer.  Let us as husbands love our wives and wives love your husbands.  As a community of faith, let us remember that Jesus instructs us to “let our lights shine.”

 

            The problems before us are many, but in Barack Obama being elected to the office of President of the United States, it only affirms that WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

 
  A Thought From Pastor Bryson  
 

November 2, 2008

 

“I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority…”

                                                                                                                            (I Timothy 2:1-2)

 

            In two more days our country will engage in the democratic process of electing a new leader for the next four years.  Campaigning for the office of President of the United States has been long, expensive, divisive and bitter.  But prayerfully come November 4th, all of it will come to an end and then will come the challenge of leading.

 

            Whoever is elected is going to need our prayers.  We live in a pluralistic society with many differences.  There is no way that any elected individual is going to have the favor of all people.  There are just too many complex issues in which people have varying views and solutions that will not suit everybody.  Even people who profess faith in Jesus as Lord don’t agree on some issues.

 

            But in spite of our differences, we can still pray for our leader/s.  Scripture mandates that we pray for all who are in authority.  Here are some of the things we can intercede for on their behalf:

 

  • We can pray for them to have wisdom…
  • We can pray for their protection…
  • We can pray for their health and that God will grant them strength for the journey…
  • We can pray for them to be open to all people – regardless of race, religion, or culture…
  • We can pray for their families…
  • We can pray for them to be people of integrity…
  • We can pray that a spirit of cooperation will prevail and that all parties can work together for the good of the country…
  • We can pray for their spiritual well-being.  Death is in store for them as well, and after death the judgment…

 

Whoever is elected is going to need our prayers.  Will we as believers petition the great

God of heaven on behalf of those elected to serve?  Of course we who profess faith need to keep in mind, that no one man or political party has the solution for what ails our country or the world for that matter.  All of us need to look to God and seek to walk in harmony with Him.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says it well:

 

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

 
A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

October 26, 2008

 

 

“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4 NKJV)

 

            The ending part of the above verse – “walk in newness of life” says much about our living on a day to day basis.  As those who profess faith in Jesus as Savior, our lives are to be a living witness of the change He has brought and is bringing to us.

 

            Our being changed doesn’t necessarily mean that we had to radically change the things we were doing.  A lot of individuals before coming to Christ were not engaged in any obvious signs of wild living.  But nevertheless, change still had to come.  This “newness of life” mentality is evident in some of the following ways:

 

  • Each day is viewed as a blessing from God and is filled with opportunity for us to witness His wondrous works and simply marvel at all the things that God is capable of doing.

 

  • On a daily basis we’re mindful of His amazing grace at work in our lives and understand that the same grace is available to others as well.

 

  • We’re mindful that we are to be His witnesses, daily.  Having that understanding we strive to be good witnesses.

 

  • Love, we’re engulfed by His love and rejoice that He loves us so, in spite of our shortcomings.  We in turn are to show love to others.

 

  • We come to understand that worship is more than a Sunday affair.  Throughout each day we will have several moments of worship.

 

  • We acknowledge our problems, but we also remember to acknowledge He who is greater than our problems, as a result, we are more at peace in the midst of our struggles.

 

  • We view things differently – it’s nice to have things but we realize that things aren’t all that important as they use to be.

 

  • With the passing of each day, we are that much closer to our eternal destiny.

 

Of course, there are many more ways in which this newness of life mentality is revealed

in our daily living.  You might want to make your own list.  Just remember, as followers of Jesus Christ, our lives are to reflect the change He has brought and is bringing.

 

What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

October 19, 2008

 

 

The Bible clearly teaches us that we are to show kindness to others (Romans 12:10).  A reading from the devotional booklet Our Daily Bread, Feb. 22, 2001 gives a good illustration relating to kindness:

 

King Abdullah, the ruler of Jordan since 1999, has been known to disguise himself and go out into public places.  His purpose is to talk with ordinary people and find out what they are thinking, and to check up on civil servants to see how they were treating his people.  He has visited hospitals and government offices to learn what kind of service they were giving.

 

The king got the idea while in New York.  He couldn’t leave his hotel without being mobbed, so he slipped out in disguise.  It worked, so he tried it at home.  He reported that once this practice was begun, civil servants and hospital employees started to treat everyone like kings.

 

When Jesus comes as King, He will judge the nations (Matthew 25:31-46).  He said the basis for that judgment will be how people treated Him when He was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick or imprisoned.  Those being judged will ask when they saw Him in these situations, and Jesus will say, “Inasmuch as you did to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me (v. 40).”

 

Because all people are created in God’s image, and because Jesus by His words and example taught us that He cares deeply how we treat others, we should treat all people with kindness and compassion…” – David C. Enger

 

As Jesus lovers, we can’t help but be kind.

 

October 12, 2008

 

 

            The current economic crisis we’re in is revealing a lot about the mindset of many.  Charges abound as to how we got in this mess.  Some say it is because deregulation had set in and no one was really watching Wall Street.  Others attribute it to greed of CEO’s and consumers.  Then again, others are saying it is the fault of government.  There is probably no one specific answer but a combination of those reasons just mentioned.

 

            It’s no wonder that Scripture cautions us about becoming caught up in things.  I John 2:15-17 states – “(15) Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. (17) And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

 

            Then there is a passage that warns us against being greedy and having this unhealthy desire for money and things.  James 6:6-10 teaches the following – “(6) Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

(9) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

 

            Obviously everyone is not guilty of being greedy and not being good stewards (managers) of what God has entrusted into our care, but nearly everyone is feeling the effects of this current global financial crisis.  What are we to do?  Again, Scripture is filled with passage after passage that will help guide us through life and the many challenges we will encounter.  Consider a few of my favorites:

 

  • Psalm 37:1-25
  • Psalm 46
  • Proverbs 3:5-10
  • Isaiah 26:3-4
  • Matthew 6:19-21, 25-34
  • Philippians 4:6-7

 

I’m convinced that with God’s help we will make it through global financial crisis.  But

our focus must be on God.  We have to be careful in not allowing our problems to overshadow our faith in God and what He is able to do.  Remember II Corinthians 5:7, “We walk by faith and not by sight.”  Or as Minister Farina Edwards said in our Bible Study last Tuesday, “Stop looking at the water (problems) and keep your focus on God.”

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

October 5, 2008

 

 

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 NKJV)

 

            One of the joys of being a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, is the assurance that at the end of our life’s journey, we will not face condemnation for the life we’ve lived.  Does this mean that we must have lived a perfect life?  The answer obviously is no because there is no one who can live a perfect life.

 

            The key to not being condemned is to be in Christ.  This means living a life that is in submission to His rule.  This means not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  The word walking does not mean moving our feet – it has to do with our behavior or conduct that is on display every day.

 

            The Bible is clear in telling us what walking according to the flesh looks like, one passage as an example is Galatians 5:19-21.  The Bible is also clear in telling us what walking according to the Spirit looks like, see Galatians 5:22-25 as an example. 

 

            Our faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection is to result in our being transformed (changed) as we make our journey from earth to glory.  This process of transformation (changing) involves our maturing in the faith.  In other words, when we first come to Christ we are like babies.  But over time we are to “grow up.”  If a baby grows up and does not know how to behave as an older person, he or she is considered to be immature or sick.  It’s no different in the Christian life.

 

            If we are not maturing in our Christian walk, if our behavior is not improving, our mindset is not changing there is a problem somewhere.  The Bible refers to this kind of Christian as being carnal.  The word carnal means to still be controlled by the flesh.  But as followers of Jesus we are to be controlled by the Spirit.  Romans 8:6 says a lot – “To be carnally mined is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  Romans 8:9 also says a lot – “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

 

            Again, the key is being in Christ, living a life that is in submission to His rule.  Because of His presence in our lives we are able to deal with our problems differently, relate to people differently, and live our lives in such a way that His presence cannot help but be made manifest as we live life everyday.  We’re not perfect but the Spirit in us will help keep us in check all for the glory of God.

 

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

September 28, 2008

 

 

            For several weeks now in our Tuesday evening Bible Study – we’ve been studying Anchors In The Storm written by Joe Stowell.  The premise of this study is that as we encounter difficulties (storms) in life, there are principles that we can hold on to as we go through the storm/s.

 

            A quote by the author from last week’s study – “When I’m in prayer, I’m often reminded of biblical principals that are relevant and true. His Word starts coming back to me and I’m reminded of passages and principals I need to apply.”  Note that he said His (God’s) Word starts coming back to him.  The only way God’s Word can come back to anyone is because they have invested time in the study of God’s Word.

 

            Today we are observing Christian Education Sunday.  As always, at the forefront of Christian Education is our involvement with the Word of God.  We are to be students of Scripture.  We are to meditate on Scripture and we should do this consistently.  As those who profess faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

            One of the deacons here is noted for quoting the words of Jesus as found in John 15:7 – “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  There are two key thoughts found in this verse – walking in an intimate relationship with Jesus and having His Word as a part of our lives.

 

            Over the years, I have become convinced that many people struggle in their spiritual journey because of their lack of involvement with the Lord and His Word.  Christian education seeks to help us develop and mature in our faith.  The foundations of what is taught is found in the Scriptures.  Psalm 119:105 says it well – “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light into my path.”  Through the Word of God, we benefit so much – guidance, strength, comfort, encouragement, healing, forgiveness, conviction and so much more.

 

            It is my prayer that as we continue our journey from earth to glory, we will hunger for the Word of God.  The study of it will do us well.  Consider Psalm 1:1-3, Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

 

Be a student of God’s Word and watch how your life will be enriched.

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

September 7, 2008

 

 

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)

 

            The above verses contain several words or phrases that are very helpful to our having a rich spiritual journey as a believer in Jesus Christ, that is if we understand them.

 

            Titus points out the following:

 

  • We have not done anything worthy of our being saved.  Our salvation comes as a result of God’s mercy toward us.  Verse 5 says – “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.”  Mercy of course means giving us what we don’t deserve.  Salvation is never earned; it is a gift to us in spite of…

 

  • We are saved (verse 5).  To be saved means that we have been rescued, salvaged from a terrible fate.  The Bible clearly teaches that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life… (Romans 6:23).  We have been saved, rescued from spiritual ruin, eternal punishment and have been given the gift of eternal life.  It’s so good to be saved!!!

 

  • We are new beings through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (verse 5).  We have been cleansed of our sins.  This cleansing has taken place through His Word and the shedding of His blood. It is no wonder we sing the song – What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus.  As a result of being cleansed, saved – the Holy Spirit works in us and through us helping us all the while in being a new being in the Lord.

 

  • The Holy Spirit has been given to us in abundance (verse 6).  The word abundance means to overflow, more than enough.  Because of our faith in Jesus and His work – we have an overflowing, never-ending presence of His Spirit within us.  His Spirit equips us, strengthens us, guides us – continually, as we live our lives in surrender to Him.

 

As if that were not enough, according to verse 7 we also have been justified (acquitted

of any wrong doing) and we are now heirs (something wonderfully good is waiting for us).  If we understand this, what a rich spiritual life is ours as we make our journey from earth to glory. 

 

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus…



A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

August 31, 2008

 

 

Does It Represent You?

(Source – Moments for Pastors by Robert Strand)

 

            In a particular church they had experienced such growth it demanded that they enlarge their facilities. It represented quite a step of faith. After much planning, praying, and working together, they decided on a new church building. It would be adequate for their expanded ministry. It was an exciting moment as together they came to the moment to begin raising funds for this multi-million dollar project.

 

The pastor and church board made their projections, along with their appeal to the congregation to share in this need by sacrificial giving. Everyone was challenged to be a part of this expansion project.

 

After the service was over a lady came to the pastor personally and handed him a check for $50, asking at the same time if her gift was satisfactory. The pastor immediately replied, “If it represents you.” There was a moment or two of soul-searching and she asked to have the check returned to her. She left with it.

 

            A day or two later she returned to make an appointment to see the pastor. This time she handed the pastor her check for $5,000 and again asked the same question, “Is my gift satisfactory?”

 

            The pastor gave the same answer as before, “If it represents you.” As before, the truth seemed to be sinking deep into her mind. After some moments of quiet hesitation she took back the check and left. Now the pastor was beginning to get a bit worried. Perhaps he had been too bold and had offended her. He also wondered if she would ever return.

 

            About tow weeks later there was a phone call at the church office asking for another appointment with the pastor. It was the same woman. As before, she came with a check in hand and a big smile on her face. This time the check was for $50,000. As she placed it in the pastor’s hand she said, “After earnest prayerful thought, I have come to the conclusion that this gift does represent me, and I am most happy to give it to the church for our new project.”

 

            Money and giving are always touchy subjects to many people. Why? Do we have guilt in this area of our Christian living? Are we too selfish about the material things in our living? Giving and living are two things that go together in the Christian lifestyle. The Bible talks about sacrificial giving as well as cheerful giving. Just another question: Will your giving this week really represent you?

 

Give not from the top of your purse, but from the bottom of your heart.

                                                                                                                       David McConaughy

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

August 10, 2008

 

 

Some Things That Help Us To Live Better

(Source – Give Us This Day by Leroy Brownlow)

 

“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”

                                                                                                                                      Psalms 92:12

 

  • Reading the Bible has a cleansing effect.  “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).  It is the mirror of the soul and lets us see ourselves as we are, which is the first condition for any improvement.

 

  • Prayer is the bulwark against evil.  “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).  More things have been wrought by prayer than the world knows.

 

  • The ability to see ones faults is helpful.  “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).  No wonder some people have difficulty making improvement – they can’t see their faults, only the fault of others.

 

  • Helping others lifts us higher.  The doer is actually blessed more than the recipient.  “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  Lending a helping hand gives a feeling of usefulness and importance.  It will enhance your self-image which will encourage you to be a better person.  Some people are too down on themselves ever to lift themselves up.

 

  • Wholesome associates bring out our better side.  “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (I Corinthians 5:6).  In the presence of some people it is easy to be good…

 

  • Reflecting on the brevity of life is sobering.  “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow” (James 4:14).  Whatever stature you wish to attain, start working on it now.  For hours and flowers soon fade away.
A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

July 28, 2008

 

 

 

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day…”

                                                                                                             (Revelation 1:10)

 

            The verse above was spoken by the apostle John.  John had been banished to the island of Patmos for being a witness for Jesus ChristThe Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible describes Patmos as being only about ten miles long and six miles wide.  It was an isolated, barren, and rocky island with hills rising to about one thousand feet.

 

            But yet in spite of John being banished to an isolated island that was rocky and barren, the apostle John proclaims that he was “in the Spirit” on the Lord’s Day.  His conditions were less than ideal.  He was being punished for being a witness for Jesus and yet in spite of his circumstances, he manages to be “in the Spirit.”

 

            To be “in the Spirit” certainly implies closeness to God and an attitude of worship.  Even in his isolated state – John was being used by the Lord to reveal events as it relates to the end times.  But the fact that he was “in the Spirit” still amazes me.  John obviously loved the Lord.  John obviously believed the teachings of the Lord and his life was a living testimony to the presence of God even though he was living under adverse circumstances.  But in spite of his adverse circumstances, he was “in the Spirit.”

 

            Note that on this barren and isolated island, John did not have a crowd to cheer him on, there were no drums, organ, piano or any other musical instrument at his disposal.  He had served the Lord faithfully and his reward was to be banished to an island?  But still, he was “in the Spirit” on the Lord’s Day.

 

            John obviously realized the awesomeness of God and no adversity could take that away from him.  John also must have kept his focus razor sharp.  He was an apostle, one called by God to a specific task and he was aware of the dangers involved.  He remembered that Jesus was crucified; but he also remembered that Jesus rose from the dead and had ascended to heaven. He also remembered that before ascending to heaven Jesus had given them specific instructions (Matthew 28:19-20).

 

            I am convinced that the Lord would also have us to be “in the Spirit” on the Lord’s Day.  We gather to worship and praise Him.  We gather to pray to Him and give thanks for “all” He has done for us since our last gathering.  We gather to celebrate Him as Lord and Savior.  Surely, if John who was stranded on a barren and isolated island could be “in the Spirit” on the Lord’s Day, can’t we also considering just how blessed we are?

 

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise…

                                                                                                                                (Psalm 100:4)

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

July 21, 2008

 

The Anchor Holds

(Taken from – Give Us This Day / by Leroy Brownlow)

 

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”

                                                                                                                                  Hebrews 6:19

 

            In carrying out the symbol given in this Scripture we can say that life is a voyage.  Even the very best people find the voyage of life a little tumultuous at times.  The anchor is very essential to a safe journey.  There are at least two threatening sources of peril:

 

1)      The danger of drifting.  It is much easier to float with the wind and the tide than to go against it.  This is the peril that carries many people into the worst conditions of life.  They permit themselves to drift.

 

2)      The storms that strike.  There are the pressures of temptations.  Secular anxieties.  Physical infirmities.  Family afflictions.  Spiritual conflicts.  All beat down upon us with a mighty wrath, and can wreck us unless we have a mighty anchor that holds.

 

The only anchor that will not snap or budge in the tempest is hope.  It is sure and

steadfast.  It steadies the soul.  Those who are anchored to God can confidently face the tides and storms of this world.  Let us remember that having an anchor does not preclude storms, but rather protects us in storms.

 

            Every strain fixes the anchor deeper.  It holds even in the hour of death.  This was exemplified by a dying sailor.  He was near the end.  A friend said, “Well, mate, how is it with you now?”  The dying man with poise and assurance replied, “The anchor holds.”

 

            May all of us be able to say in both life and death, “The anchor holds.” 

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

July 13, 2008

Bulletin Thought

 

 

A Thought from Pastor Bryson,

 

            We’re constantly seeing advertisements that guarantee blessings of one sort or another. Usually these advertisements require some financial investment or risk of some sort (read the fine print). But there is a plan that if followed will guarantee living in a condition of being blessed, being found in the favor of God.  It is not a plan that requires any scheming or trickery.  It does not even involve risk.  Who would not want to buy into a plan that guarantees being blessed?

 

            The Psalmist informs us of such a plan.  Note what he says (119:1-3 /Amplified Version):

 

1.      “BLESSED, HAPPY, fortunate [to be envied] are the undefiled – the upright, truly sincere and blameless – in the way [of the revealed will of God]; who walk – that is, order their conduct and conversation – in [the whole of God’s revealed will] the law of the LORD.

2.       Blessed, happy, fortunate [to be envied] are they who keep His testimonies, and who seek, inquire for and of Him and crave Him with the whole heart.

3.      Yes, they do no unrighteousness – no willful wandering from His precepts, they walk in His ways.

 

The plan as described by the Psalmist basically involves three things –

(1) Live right before God and man, verses 1 and 3. 

(2) Obey the precepts or laws of God (teachings of God’s Word), verses1-3. 

(3) Seek God with all your heart, verse 2.  The end result is that one will live in a condition of being blessed.

 

            Does this promise, assurance of being blessed means the absence of trials?  Absolutely not!  But it does involve some of the following:

 

  • Having the understanding that we are never alone on this journey of life.  God is always with us.
  • Being that He is always with us – His strength is available to us 24/7.
  • There will be an inner state of contentment, regardless of our outward circumstances.
  • Every need we have will be met.
  • Hope, not hopelessness, will always be ours.
  • Unconditional love will be an everyday experience.

 

Some may challenge the notion of buying into this plan.  They may say – “I knew there was a catch to it.  Who can live up to such expectations?”  There really is no catch.  All it takes is for us to have a willing heart to receive what God has for us.  Remember, Jesus said – “I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). 

 

If you’re willing to take the risk and seek blessings from other sources that give no guarantee, why not try God’s plan that guarantees blessings.

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

July 6, 2008

Bulletin Thought

 

 

A Thought from Pastor Bryson,

 

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Titus 3:5-6 NKJV)

 

            As we gather on another Sunday in which we will serve communion, I can think of a number of reasons as to why our hearts should be overflowing with joy and gratitude concerning our salvation.

 

            First of all – Titus 3:5-6 is clear in stating that our salvation did not come because of any work that we had done ourselves.  Our salvation came as a result of the mercy of God toward us.  There is no work that we can do that will earn us salvation.  That is a truth that is pointed out in other passages as well (Ephesians 2:8-10).  God has displayed mercy (undeserved favor) toward every soul.  As a result of His mercy and our faith in His work – we are saved.  We are saved from the wrath of God; we are saved from being eternally lost.  Our eternal destiny is sure – heaven will be our final destination. Hallelujah!

 

            Second – Titus 3:5-6 is clear in pointing out that our being saved has resulted in our spirits being renewed or reborn.  Salvation is a spiritual work.  Change happens in our hearts and that change is manifested in our outward actions.  Physically we look the same, but our actions, our living becomes different.  Note that I used the word “becomes.”  As we walk with Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, study and apply His teachings, fellowship with other believers and commune with God through prayer – transformation takes place in our lives.  Truly we will be able to say – “The things I use to do I don’t do anymore.”  The Holy Spirit has worked and is working in us that results in our becoming a new creation in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17).  Hallelujah!

 

Third – Titus 3:5-6 is clear in pointing out that God was not stingy concerning the Holy Spirit.  He was given to us abundantly through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Abundantly has the meaning of more than enough, plenty of.  God did not give us a “pinch” of His Spirit; He gave us His Spirit in abundance.  In other words, we can be certain that we have all we need through Him to live the Christian life.  That’s what II Peter 1:2-3 implies – “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”  Perhaps another way of saying it is that whatever we need to live the Christian life is at our disposal through a growing knowledge of the Lord.  A growing knowledge comes as we study and apply the teaching of Scripture.

 

            All of us who profess Christ as Savior should rejoice in that we are saved, that our lives are different, and that our future is bright.  I’m going to borrow a saying from a saint now gone home to be with the Lord (Mama Gilbert) – “I’m on my way to heaven and I’m enjoying the trip.” Hallelujah!

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
 
June 29, 2008



The following is an excerpt from an informational booklet published by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation as part of an ongoing public education partnership with Viacom on HIV/AIDS: “It has been more than two decades since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since then, more than 60 million people worldwide have become infected, including 20 million who have already died. The majority of those newly infected today – both in this country and abroad – are under the age of 25. If current trends persists, by 2020 AIDS could claim up to 100 million lives worldwide, putting it on track to be the worst epidemic in human history…Today, AIDS is the leading cause of death among African Americans between the ages of 25 and 44…”


The Metro Public Health Department of Nashville/Davidson County recently sent a letter out to area pastors/churches encouraging support and participation in National HIV Testing Day which is being observed today. A part of that letter said this – “In 2006, 49% of all HIV/AIDS cases were in the black community, and the disease rate for black women was 20 times higher than their white counterparts.” Obviously, the HIV/AIDS crisis is one of many challenges facing the African American community today. I hold the conviction that the church has a key role to play in the spiritual, social, and physical health of our communities. While we are not able to address every situation, we must be careful not to become paralyzed by the many challenges facing us and do nothing but wishful thinking. We here at Mt. Nebo are blessed to have individuals who are able and willing to help in this fight against HIV/AIDS.


The HIV/AIDS Coalition Ministry consists of individuals who have sacrificed time and energy to be trained and certified by the state of Tennessee to administer testing for the HIV/AIDS virus. This is a disease that has the capability of affecting anyone – it is not “a gay or drug abuser” disease. HIV is spread through an exchange of certain bodily fluids – blood, semen, and vaginal secretions. The sad thing is that there are many who are infected and don’t know it, they end up passing it on to others…hence, the reason it is so important to be tested.

There are those who perhaps would question the involvement of the church in such an issue, but we must remember, Jesus ministered not only to the soul, but to the whole man, Matthew 25:34-45.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

June 15, 2008

 

 

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name…”

                                                                                                                     Matthew 6:9

                                                                                                                                       

 

            Today we observe and celebrate another Father’s Day.  We take a moment to applaud those men who are fulfilling the role of fatherhood.  Father’s traditionally are considered to be those who have “fathered” a child.  But we know that there are many men who may not be biological fathers but are father’s nevertheless.

 

            A father’s primary role is to provide for the needs of his family.  Providing for needs of family involves far more than just simply putting bread on the table or seeing that enough money is present to pay the bills.  A father’s responsibility includes “some” of the following:

 

  • Nurturing…
  • Loving…
  • Guiding…
  • Teaching…
  • Providing discipline…
  • Setting an example…
  • Listening…
  • Playfulness…
  • Sacrificing…

 

Of course we live in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people, even father’s fall

short on fulfilling their responsibilities.  All the more reason to acknowledge our heavenly Father.  He never falls short.

 

            Our heavenly Father meets all the responsibilities listed above and then some.  Our heavenly Father has brought us thus far and provided for our inner most needs and stands ready today to help us in  whatever we may be facing.  If your earthly father has fallen short, please don’t forget your heavenly Father who does indeed provide for our needs.

 

Happy Father’s Day!

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
June 1, 2008


“Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Genesis 18:13-14 NKJV) It would help us to familiarize ourselves with the story of Abraham and Sarah. At the age of 75, God instructed Abraham to leave his home and go to a land that He would show him (Genesis 12:1-9). God promised Abraham that He would give him a son to be his heir (Genesis 15:1-6). Some twenty five years later, God would keep His promise, but Sarah doubted because of advancing age (Genesis 18:13-14).


But God proved His ability by enabling Abraham and Sarah to have a son, in spite of their old age (Genesis 21:1-6). A question was put forth to Sarah that is also beneficial for us as we live n these challenging times – “Is anything too hard for God?” By all accounts, it would seem as though Sarah had a reason to doubt due to her age. But, we must not overlook the promise that God had made – Abraham would have a son that would be his heir. We must not forget that God keeps His promises. As we continue our journey of faith today, we would do well to reflect over the question posed to Sarah – Is anything too hard for God? If our answer is no as it should be, then consider the following: * God is able to see us through financially as we experience a downturn in the market. *


God is able to provide for all our needs as prices increase pertaining to the basic things of life. * God is able to keep us from being overcome by anxiety and worry if we keep our trust in Him. * God is able to help us be good stewards of what He blesses us with. * God is able to bless us above and beyond measure in spite of the way things are today. The bottom line is “NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR GOD” simply because He’s God. If we trust Him, He will see us through. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV)


A Thought From Pastor Bryson
May 25, 2008 




II Peter 1:2-4 NKJV states:



2. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
3. as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.
4. by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you my be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lusts.



The above verses are packed with spiritual vitamins for the soul, that if we adhere to will truly bless us spiritually and enable us to thrive in the midst of these challenging times in which we live. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the word “knowledge” used in verses 2 and 3 means, “bringing one to be better acquainted with something known previously.” Simply put it has to do with discernment and understanding.

When we have knowledge as it relates to God, grace and peace will be multiplied in our lives. Not only that, we will realize that we have access to divine power as it relates to life and godliness. In my simple way of thinking – as we grow in our relationship with God, we will be equipped with everything we need to live the kind of life that brings glory to God as we make our journey from earth to glory. It is not stated that we will not encounter challenges or difficulties, but it is stated that His grace and peace will be “multiplied” in our lives. The word multiplied means more will be added. What is the more that will be added? The answer is His grace and peace. Living in such a relationship with God will enable us not to be overcome by anxiety or undue worry as it relates to whatever we may face in life.


Our knowledge of God should be such that it is able to sustain us when challenges do come. Our knowledge of God helps us to be mindful that He has given us “exceedingly GREAT and PRECIOUS promises (verse 4). Knowledge of course is gained through reading, studying/meditating, praying about and discussing God’s Word. What is your knowledge as it relates to God? Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God…



A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

May 25, 2008

 

 

            II Peter 1:2-4 NKJV states:

 

  2. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

3.  as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.

4.  by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you my be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lusts.

The above verses are packed with spiritual vitamins for the soul, that if we adhere to will

truly bless us spiritually and enable us to thrive in the midst of these challenging times in which we live.

 

            According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the word “knowledge” used in verses 2 and 3 means, “bringing one to be better acquainted with something known previously.”  Simply put it has to do with discernment and understanding.  When we have knowledge as it relates to God, grace and peace will be multiplied in our lives.  Not only that, we will realize that we have access to divine power as it relates to life and godliness.

 

            In my simple way of thinking – as we grow in our relationship with God, we will be equipped with everything we need to live the kind of life that brings glory to God as we make our journey from earth to glory.  It is not stated that we will not encounter challenges or difficulties, but it is stated that His grace and peace will be “multiplied” in our lives.  The word multiplied means more will be added.  What is the more that will be added? The answer is His grace and peace.

 

            Living in such a relationship with God will enable us not to be overcome by anxiety or undue worry as it relates to whatever we may face in life.  Our knowledge of God should be such that it is able to sustain us when challenges do come.  Our knowledge of God helps us to be mindful that He has given us “exceedingly GREAT and PRECIOUS promises (verse 4).  Knowledge of course is gained through reading, studying/meditating, praying about and discussing God’s Word. 

 

What is your knowledge as it relates to God?

 

Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,

By the living word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God…

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

Influence of Godly Moms

(Source – Our Daily Bread / May 13, 2007)

 

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

                                                                                                                     Proverbs 31:28

 

Many people have been richly blessed by what they learned at their mother’s knee.  Consider John and Charles Wesley.  Their names would probably never have lighted on the pages of history if it hadn’t been for their godly mother who taught them that the law of love and Christian witness was to be their daily guide.

 

Susannah Wesley, who gave birth to 19 children, spent one hour in prayer each day praying for them.  In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters with him or her.  No wonder John and Charles were used of God to bring blessing around the world.

 

Here are a few rules she followed in training her children: Subdue self-will in a child and work together with God.  Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak.  Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely.  To prevent lying, punish no fault that is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unchecked.  Commend and reward good behavior.  Strictly observe all promises made to your child.

 

Let us honor our godly mothers today, not only with words of praise for them but with lives that reflect the impact of their holy influence! – Henry G. Bosch

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

May 4, 2008

 

 

“…humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6-7 / NKJV)

 

            The quotations below are taken from the local paper – The Tennessean:

 

·         “How deep is the economic abyss?” (Friday – April 18, 2008 ).

·         “Rising property taxes compound housing woes.” (Saturday – April 26, 2008 ).

·         “Economy grows by only 0.6 percent in first quarter.” (Wednesday – April 30, 2008 ).

 

The above is just a sample of the economic woes we are currently dealing with.  People are worried understandably so, jobs are at stakes, and many are fearful for what the future holds considering our present state of affairs.

 

            But in the midst of these challenging times we are to be governed by our faith, not fear or worry.  Our faith is in God and what He has done for us, what He is doing for us now, and for what He will yet do for us as we continue our journey through life.

 

            While there are many passages that speak to us, I am focusing on what the book of James says to Christians who were experiencing difficult times.  What was said to them is applicable for us in this present time.  There are four things I want to highlight:

 

 

1   We are to humble ourselves.  That means we never come to the point in life where we get beside ourselves or fail to recognize our need for God.
2       God is mighty.  We need to remind ourselves that God is strong and there is no problem that is too great for Him
3             We are to cast all of our care on God.  It is futile for us to try and bear our burdens alone.  God invites us to bring them to Him.
4      God cares for us.  God loves us.  God loves us so much that He provides for our needs.  Surely we remember how God has come through for us time after time.  He loves us.
  

Don’t let the challenges of today lead us to forget the divine ability that is in our God.  He

is more than able to see us through.  He is more than able to provide for our needs.  Feed your faith through His Word and walk in that vibrant relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.  Remember, Jesus proclaimed – “I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 ).  Even in times like these…

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

April 20, 2008
 

            This is only the fourth month of the year 2008, and already
this year I have personally been involved in at least 9 funerals, one
of them being my brother.  As a church family, we have acknowledged the
homegoing of five of our members, three of those came within a month's
time. I know of one family alone that has had to deal with five deaths
of their family members over the last month in various parts of the
country.  Someone may be wondering what is going on?



            When put into perspective, our recent experiences with
death pales in comparison with what is going on in other places.  In Iraq
for example, a car bomb may kill 60-100 people in one blast.  In Africa,
civil strife takes an untold number of victims.  Death is everywhere
and it happens everyday.  But whether the deaths are few in number or
many - each death is significant.



            What can we learn from "our" recent experiences with death?
  The lessons are clear and simple:



* All of us have a limited amount of time in which to live in "this"
life (Ps. 90:10-12).
* Death can come suddenly without any apparent warning (James 4:13-14).

* Having life insurance is important, but it is just as important to
have "assurance" (John 3:16; 11:25-26).
* We're not to live our lives in fear of death or with morbid thoughts
about it, but rather our lives are to be characterized by the hope that
is ours through Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:3-5).
* Living in harmony with others is vital - once they're gone it's too
late to apologize or make up...



Contrary to what some may be thinking, we're not under a dark cloud or
out of favor with

God.  It's just life being life.  Ecclesiastes says it well - "To
everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time
to be born and time to die" (3:1ff).



            A preacher once made this statement in his sermon and it is
so true - "Yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory
note, but today is ready cash - make the most of it!"

So as we continue our journey, may we strive to make the most of each
day realizing that tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

April 6, 2008

 

 

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.  And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.  And there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:5-8 NKJV)

 

            The ending phrase of the above passage really caught my attention – “And there was great joy in that city.”  The joy of course resulted from the work that was being done by Philip.  He preached Christ unto them and did many miracles – people were cleansed of unclean spirits and healing took place.

 

            Our communities are full of churches that have the message of Christ but are our communities full of joy?  What mighty works are being done in our communities by “churches” that result in joy rather than lament because of adverse circumstances?  There are two very basic lessons churches can learn from Acts 8:5-8:

 

  1. Preach Christ.  The responsibility of the church is to keep Christ before people.  We are to tell them of His wonderful ability to transform lives, to save from sin.  To be sure a lot of preaching/teaching is taking place, but if people are not being pointed to the Lord we’re falling short in our responsibility.  I know that we live in a pluralistic society but we are still to preach Christ.  Scripture states – “There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NKJV)

 

  1. Do good works.  The multitude saw the “miracles” which Peter did – unclean spirits were driven out and people were healed.  There are a lot of unclean spirits in our communities – clean spirits do not sell drugs, commit robberies or murder, or seek to inflict harm on others.  There is a lot of healing that needs to take place.  People are scarred from bad experiences, sick from the spirit of anger, unforgiveness, and envy to name a few.  But if we do the work that God would have us do – be loving toward others, minister to needs around us, I’m convinced that “healing” will take place as the Spirit touches the lives of others through the work we do in the name of Jesus.

 

The early disciples/followers of Jesus were noted for being “consistent” in their witness. 

We also need to be consistent in our “witness” for the Lord.  As we preach Christ and do good works consistently – joy will come to our communities.

 

Reach out and touch a soul that is hungry; Reach out and touch a spirit in despair; Reach out and touch a life torn and dirty, A man who is lonely…let the smile of God touch through you.

 

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

March 30, 2008

 

If He Had Known

 

But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

                               Matthew 12:7

 

            There is the enchanting story of two cowboys who were visiting in Colorado.  While they were out walking, a bull spotted them and gave chase.  After setting new track records one of them ran up a tree.  The other one ran into a cave.  But just as quickly he ran back out.  The bull made a lunge and he sprang back into the cave.  This darting in and shooting out continued several times.

 

            Finally the man in the tree yelled, “You nitwit, why don’t you stay in there?  If you’ll stay in there, after a while the bull will go away.”

 

            The in-an-out-of-the-cave man frantically shouted, “What you don’t know is – there’s a bear in this cave.”

 

            What we don’t know often gets us in trouble.

 

            Not until we have walked in the other fellow’s shoes are we fully prepared to criticize his sensitive step – it just might be the shoes are too tight or there are holes in the soles.

 

            We wouldn’t have condemned the nodding man at church of a lack of interest, if we had only known he had been up most of two nights with a sick wife.

 

            If the teacher had known the child’s transient parents had moved him from school to school every few weeks, she would not have prejudged him as a slow learner.

 

            As the Scripture says, “If ye had known…ye would not have condemned.”

 

(Source – Give Us This Day – A Devotional Guide for Daily Living by Leroy Brownlow)

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

 

March 23, 2008

 

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it happened as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.  Then as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!” (Luke 23:1-6 NKJV)

 

            The women who went to the tomb obviously were quite perplexed in not finding the body of Jesus.  We can only imagine their facial expressions as they encountered the two men at the tomb who questioned their reason for being there.  The men asked them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!” Further reading of the above passage in Luke reveals to us that the women were reminded of what Jesus had said to them, then they remembered.

 

            The resurrection of Jesus from the tomb gave birth to renewed faith and hope.  The church was born and the gospel was preached as the followers of Jesus were empowered by the Holy Spirit to share the message about Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).  Try for a moment to see yourself in that setting and hear what was being spread abroad – “He is risen.  Jesus is alive.  The tomb is empty.  Our Savior lives!”

 

            The resurrection of Jesus is central to our faith.  If Jesus had not risen then all that we believe concerning Him would be in vain.  But He is alive and because He is alive our faith concerning Him is of great value (1 Cor. 15:12-20).  As the risen Savior impacted the lives of those early followers, He still impacts our lives today.  Because He lives:

 

  • We know that we have eternal life, John 20:29-31.
  • Our faith is not in vain, 1 Cor. 15:14.
  • He is ever present with us, Matthew 28:20b.
  • We can live in hope, John 14:1-3.

 

On this Resurrection Sunday, may you find renewed strength to continue your journey

through this life, realizing that Jesus is alive!

 

Life is worth the living just because He lives.

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
 
March 16, 2008 


      And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:8, 9 / NKJV)

     This Sunday Christians around the world will observe Palm Sunday. It is in observance of Jesus making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. With shouts of adoration and praise many in the crowd placed clothes in the road and some cut down branches and laid them before Him. The crowds were excited for they thought Jesus was their king coming to deliver them from Roman rule. However, Jesus did not enter riding a warrior’s horse but a donkey, a sign of His humility. This was also done as fulfillment of prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). Palm Sunday also would begin Jesus’ week of Passion in which He would be betrayed, arrested, put on trial and ultimately be crucified. Once the crowd saw that Jesus was not their warrior king, they soon turned on Him. Their shouts of adoration and praise turned to shouts filled with venom.

     Shortly thereafter they were shouting “Crucify Him!” Obviously as we observe Palm Sunday we have the advantage of having the printed word. Jesus was crucified and buried. But the good news is that the grave could not hold Him and as a result of His victory over death, we also have victory. Our sins have been forgiven, we are made right with God, and we have the assurance of eternal life. We ought to shout Halleluiah! Thank You Jesus!

     As we live out our lives today reflecting on the meaning of Palm Sunday, I would hope that we as “believers” would respond in the following ways:

* With gratitude – Jesus, our Savior willingly submitted Himself to a horrifying week of humiliation, torture and ultimately death that our sins might be forgiven.

* With passion for Him – We should not be lukewarm when it comes to Jesus. We should be madly in love with Him and striving to grow more in love with Him for all that He means to us.

* With commitment – Jesus did not shy away from the cross. He could have called a legion of angels to save Him, but He did not. He committed Himself to the Father’s will out of His love for us. What is our commitment saying about our love for Him?


* With excitement about our faith – We have been and are being delivered from shackles that bind us; we are saved and have a seat in the kingdom; Victory belongs to us through our Savior Jesus Christ.

What is there not to shout about? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want no rocks crying out for me.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
March 10, 2008



     “Is anyone among you suffering, let him pray…the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:13, 16 NKJV) The book of James is a very practical book that primarily deals with living the Christian life rather than theorizing about it. He urges his readers to enact solutions that would surely have some impact in their lives and note that his solutions are both spiritual and practical. For those who are going through some problem or problems, rather than sit around and complain – James simply says –“Pray.” He goes on to say – “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” In verse 17 of James 5, he gives the example of Elijah who prayed that it would not rain and for three years and six months there was no rain. But note, he was a righteous man.

     There are many “Christians” today who are wrestling/suffering with something in their lives. There are congregations who are going through some issue or storm. The solution today is no different than it was during the time of James. We must pray and we must pray often. I am convinced that there are several keys to our prayers being effective: · We must be about righteous living. God calls for us to live transformed lives before Him and the world.

     Afterall, we professed to be saved and sanctified. · We must pray according to His will. Our concern should be getting what we want but rather that God’s will is reflected in our living. I know He said He would give us the desires of our hearts, but our desires never overrule His will for our lives. · We must pray in faith. James 1:6-7 states clearly that if we do not pray in faith, don’t expect our prayers to be answered. · We must pray unceasingly. This simply means that we will develop a mindset of prayer so that anywhere, anytime, and in any situation we will pray.

     Of course we realize that all prayers do not have to be audible. We are to be living witnesses of the power of prayer. If we pray and pray often, we will be more than able to live victoriously in this world filled with so many problems. If we pray and pray often, we will avoid being the cause of so many problems.

He who prays as he ought, will endeavor to live as he prays. John Owen

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
March 2, 2008 


“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35 NKJV) There is no question that Jesus made prayer an integral part of His life. He was accustomed to rising early, seeking a place where He could be alone, and then He would devote Himself to prayer. Not only did He pray early in the morning, He was also known for praying all night long (Luke 6:12). I am convinced that Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane enabled Him to endure the agony of His betrayal by the disciples, His humiliation before the soldiers, and His agonizing crucifixion. He was “prayed up.” If prayer was important in the life of Jesus, it should also be important in the life of His followers today.

In following the example set by Jesus, we should rise early and pray before we begin our day. We should seek to be alone thereby enabling us to avoid distractions. We should pray and pray often. We may also find the need to continue in prayer all night long, depending on the situation before us. I am convinced that if we are “prayed up,” we can better face our trials. We should view prayer as being important for a number of reasons: Prayer will provide moral, physical, and spiritual strength… Prayer will provide comfort… Prayer will provide communion with God… Prayer becomes an outlet for feelings that words cannot express… Prayer will provide wisdom and guidance…

If we diligently practice the discipline of prayer we will see a difference in the quality of our spiritual lives. If we are “prayed” up as individuals and as His church, we can be more effective in seeking to do His will. Remember, prayer was important to Jesus. It should also be important to us. What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sons and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do no carry everything to God in prayer
A Thought From Pastor Bryson
 February 24, 2008 



“And let us not grow weary while doing good…” Galatians 6:9 (NKJV) As we are observing and celebrating another Black History month, we would do well to reflect on the “stamina” of those who came before us. Those who came before us endured the harshness of slavery and the stifling effects of segregation. They survived through deplorable conditions that many in our day and time probably could not. In spite of their many obstacles, they persevered and we are reaping the benefits. No doubt they grew weary, but they did not give up. What about us today? We are facing the social, moral, and spiritual issues of these times. But do we have what it takes to persevere? Do we have the “stamina” to keep going on when it seems as though the gains are little or nothing?

I am of the opinion that we are dealing with some entrenched issues in our communities, our families, and yes, even in our churches. Things that are entrenched are not easily moved. It took some time for things to get that way and it’s going to take time for things to change. The key is to not give up, don’t throw in the towel. Those who came before us professed a faith in God and believed that He would “enable them to overcome.” It was their faith that propelled them through being thrown in jail, being physically and verbally abused, it was their faith that saw them through atrocities too numerous to mention. But they did not grow weary to the point of giving up. As a people of faith we should take to heart the teaching of Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Those who came before us must have had in their soul the idea of “one day things are gong to be better.” It was this seed of hope, this idea of reaping in due season that kept them going. Their “stamina” was their witness of their belief – “in due season we’ll reap if we do not lose heart.” The challenges before us are many, but just as it required “stamina” for those who came before us – it still requires “stamina” for those of us who live in this present time. We must not lose hope, we must not quit, but we must persevere. I believe someone once said – “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” May God grant us the stamina to not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we’ll reap if we faint not. Walk together children, don’t you get weary, there’s a great camp meeting in the promised land.
A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

February 10, 2008

 

 

            As we go through life we learn from others.  Recently, one of our dear members shared with me the thought below after someone else had shared it with her.  I now share it with you with the hope that it will enable you to live life more successfully.

 

******************************************************************************

The Garbage Truck

 

            How often do you let other people change your mood?  Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day?  Unless you’re the Terminator, for an instant you’re probably set back on your heels.

 

            However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly she/he can get back her/his focus on what’s important. Five years ago I learned this lesson in the back of a taxicab in Indianapolis.  Here’s what happened:

 

            I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport.  We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!  The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.  My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy.  And, I mean, he was really friendly.

 

            So I asked, ‘Why did you just do that?  This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!’  This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.”  He explained that many people are like garbage trucks.  They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.  As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you.  Don’t take it personally.  Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.  Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, on the streets.

 

            The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.  Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets.  So…love the people who treat you right.  Pray for the ones who don’t.  Keep moving forward. Only make sure you are going in the right direction.

 

            May the peace of our Lord and Savior be with you today and as always, Keep a sweet, sweet spirit in your heart and above all, keep the faith…

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
                                                                January 20, 2008 

      A lot has been said lately as it relates to problems concerning the youth of today. Many ideas have been put forth as to what can be done to stem the violence plaguing youth. I am a firm believer that family plays a vital role in the development of young people, principles from the word of God are also vitally important in helping individuals grow up to be “healthy” adults.

     Recently, I came across a reading that was written a long time ago for the benefit of young people. I share it now with the hopes that those who read it today will be able to take something good from it:

                          Ten Commandments For Teenagers

1. Stop and think before you drink.

2. Don’t let your parents down; they brought you up.

3. Be humble enough to obey. You will be giving orders yourself someday.

4. At the first temptation, turn away from unclean thinking.

5. Don’t show off when driving…

6. Date those who would make a good mate.

7. Go to church faithfully. The Creator gave us the week; give Him back at least an hour.

8. Choose your companions carefully. You are what they are.

9. Avoid following the crowd. Be an engine, not a caboose.

10. Best of all, keep the original Ten Commandments

(Source – Church Bulletin Bits # 1, George W. Knight, Compiler)

     I also add this verse taken from Psalm 119:9 (Living Bible Translation) – “How can a young man stay pure? By reading Your Word and following its rules.”

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
January 13, 2008

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NIV) The Lord has blessed us to travel 13 days into the New Year. There may be those who are still trying to figure out how they can “get it straight in 08.” They’re wondering how they can do better spiritually, financially, and relationally as it relates to others. All of us should have a desire to live improved lives. God has given us the answer in His Word.

In the sixth chapter of Micah, there were those who struggled with some of the same concerns as we do today. What could they possibly do to get on the good side of God. The Lord let them know that it was not in their ritual practices that their lives would improve, but rather, their lives would improve as they applied the principles God set before them (Micah 6:1-8). The principles were not complex or tricky. The principles involved following three clear and concise directives:

1. Do justly. Simply put – do the right thing. Doing the right thing involved living right before God and doing right toward others. Treat others as you yourself would want to be treated.

2. Love mercy. God has acted compassionately toward us more than we can count. He wants us to show compassion toward others. We need to be more forgiving and patient toward others.

3. Walk humbly before God. May we never forget that we are but dust and limited in our understanding and knowledge. We need God, God doesn’t need us.

Part of being humble also involves our recognizing the fact that we need each other. Not one of us knows it all or has all the gifts. But if we work together – acknowledging God who is over all of us, just think of how much we could accomplish.

If we apply the above principles to our own lives, I’m convinced that we’ll prosper in every aspect of our living. Obeying the principles found in God’s Word will never lose its value.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
January 6, 2008



“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 NKJV) Our being here today is a witness to the fact that by the grace of God we have made it to a brand New Year. I consider a New Year to be a new beginning.

     As we begin our journey through the year 2008 – it would benefit all of us if we “feared” God. Not fear Him in the sense of being afraid of Him as if he were a bully. But fear Him in the sense of having reverence or respect for Him. Afterall, He is God. God says in His word – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Having fear of the Lord or reverence for Him has several implications for our lives: * We will acknowledge Him daily… * We will walk humbly before Him daily… * We will meditate on His word daily… * Not only will we meditate on His word, we’ll be doers of His word… *


     Through daily prayer, we will talk to Him and listen to Him… * We will strive to serve Him faithfully… Of course many more things can be added to the list. But if we do “fear” Him, I cannot help but believe that this year will be one of spiritual maturity, recognizing and experiencing more of God’s blessings as we continue our journey of faith. God also says in His word – “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” To despise or reject wisdom will only lead to our downfall. It will make for a difficult time in striving to live life.


    All of us will face our share of challenges as we go throughout the year, but for the fool (one who despises wisdom and instruction), those challenges will be that much more difficult. The New Year is before us, let us walk (live) fearing God and enjoy the benefits…

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
December 30, 2007 



“Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name…And forget not all His benefits.” (Psalm 103:1-2)

This is day number 364 of the year 2007. God has brought us throughout the entire year. Three hundred and sixty-four days we have traveled. That amounts to a whole lot of hours, minutes, and seconds that God has given to us.

     Each of us I’m sure have had varying experiences on our journey through this year. There are those of us who have had to deal with financial issues, job issues, relationship issues, health issues, and even faith issues. But in spite of everything, God has brought us through. Just as there are those of us who have had to face varying issues, there are also those of us who have also had more than our share of blessings. God has blessed us with abundant health, recovered health. God has blessed us with material needs – we have more than enough. God has blessed us with true friends. God has blessed us with our share of joy, peace, hope, strength, love, forgiveness, and mercy. God has blessed us with comfort in the midst of our hurts. God has blessed us with victory…

As we gather on this 364th day of the year 2007 I would hope that we would be like the Psalmist who says – “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me…and forget not all His benefits.” I pray that we remember and reflect on what God has done for us throughout this year. It is only by His grace and mercy that any of us have made it this far.


Truthfully speaking, we have not been as faithful as we should have been or could have been. We have not prayed as often as should have or could have. We have fallen short in so many areas. But in spite of ourselves, the goodness and love of God has been with us all year long. God has brought us to this 364th day of the year 2007. As we worship Him on this last Sunday of the year 2007, let us do so with hearts filled with gratitude for all the things God has done for us this year. God is good and is worthy of all our praise. Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me… Thank You Lord for the journey…


A Thought From Pastor Bryson
November 25, 2007

Bulletin Thought 


Well, the Lord has blessed us to participate in another Thanksgiving Day. Now people are gearing up for another Christmas season. A season that should instill within us a fresh hope. A season in which we reflect on the birth of Christ, the Savior of the world. Hope is certainly something that is needed for the times in which we live. It is having this hope that keeps us moving forward, anticipating what is yet to come.

But there are so many people who seem to have lost hope. The problems of life and the need for immediate gratification have dampened, if not snuffed out this idea of hope. But hope does abound if we would but keep God at the center of our lives. Romans 15:4 (NKJV) states – “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” The Scriptures, the Bible plays an important role in our being able to maintain hope. It tells us of the struggles of others and their ability to persevere through their faith in God.

The Bible is clear in telling us that life for them was a struggle, but yet they held on because of their faith, their hope (Hebrews 11:30-40). Jesus clearly states concerning Himself (John 10:10) – “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” This “abundant” living has nothing to do with how much stuff we may have.

This “abundant” living comes as a result of our relationship with Jesus as Lord. To know Him as Savior will result in our being filled with hope. So as we approach another Christmas season – I pray that your attention will be drawn to the Christ who invites those who are struggling with life to trust Him – “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 / NKJV). As you turn to Him, may you be filled with hope for life now, and the life to come. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His word…

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
November 18, 2007

Bulletin Thought 

In Matthew 15:1-20 there is a great lesson on what causes a person to be defiled before God. The Scribes and Pharisees criticized the disciples of Jesus because they were eating without having washed their hands. Jesus in turn criticizes them for being hypocritical (verses 1-9). The important lesson Jesus wanted His disciples to learn from this was the significance of having a heart right with God. Peter wanted Jesus to explain further what He meant.

Let’s pick up their conversation beginning at verse 15 (NKJV): 15. Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16. So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17. Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated. 18. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Obviously there is a lesson for us to learn as well – the importance of guarding our hearts. The condition of our hearts will show through our actions and even the words we speak. It becomes all the more important then that we govern ourselves according to God’s word and that we encourage one another along the way.

Someone penned the following words: “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” O Lord, grant to us the mindset of the Psalmist who said, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
November 11, 2007

Bulletin Thought

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 What would be your reaction if a powerful figure were to come to you and say – “I know that you have many concerns and worries, but don’t worry, I’m here to help you. You’ll never have bear these burdens alone?” I would just imagine there would be a sigh of relief in realizing that help would always be available. In reality, the Lord is saying this to us constantly. His word teaches us that we are not alone in life, He is standing by to help us, His resources are available to us to help us deal with our problems and concerns. The Lord invites us to bring our troubles to Him and He reassures us of His love and care for us. Yet in spite of all that He says in His word, many are still “overwhelmed” by life. I don’t want to be guilty of always pointing out problems but never offering any solutions, so I suggest the following to help overcome “anxious” living: Reflect over your life and recall other times of anxiety – who brought you through? Keep things in perspective – is it really as bad as you think it is? Examine your relationship with God – is He really LORD in your life? Prayerfully read the scriptures, study the scriptures, meditate over what you’ve read, and apply the principles found in scripture – God’s word has and is sustaining many… PRAY without ceasing – it’s amazing what talking and “listening” to God will do for us. If we do these things “consistently”, God will work in our lives and instead of being overcome by anxieties, we’ll be living witnesses of what God is able to do. Others will be helped and God will be glorified. I’m a living witness that it works for me. Overheard In an Orchard Said the Robin to the Sparrow: “I should really like to know Why these anxious human beings Rush about and worry so?” Said the Sparrow to the Robin: “Friend, I think that it must be That they have no heavenly Father Such as cares for you and me.” Elizabeth Cheney
A Thought From Pastor Bryson
November 4, 2007


Bulletin Thought 


“And whatever you do – no matter what it is – in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17 Amplified Version) As a people who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, we have every reason to live our lives with hearts filled with gratitude. The Bible teaches us that faith in Jesus saves us from our sins. We are forgiven and can live in right relationship with God. Not only that, as a result of our faith in Jesus, there are “countless” blessings that are ours to enjoy daily, not to mention the wonderful future that awaits us. It only makes sense to think that if we recognize who Jesus is and realize what He has done and is doing for us – our response would be to honor Him in everything we do. Of course one way to honor Him is to recognize that on our own, we can do nothing. We are totally dependent on His power and wisdom to help us in all that we strive to do.

It is only in His name: · That we can serve as ministers/servants in His church… · That we can honor Him by giving tithes and offerings… · That we can keep the faith in the midst of challenges… · That we can be good witnesses in a harsh and uncaring society… · That we can love one another and be forgiving as He has taught us… For us to do anything in His name carries the implication that we must keep our focus on Christ and not on ourselves. As Jesus was enduring the agony of the crucifixion His focus was not on Himself, but on those He was dying for. He “suffered” for you and for me. He “died” for you and for me. Thank God He “rose” for you and for me. We are to be “eternally” grateful for having such a loving Savior. We are to live our lives in praise to Him who is worthy beyond words. Having said that, may our dependence on Him lead us to serve Him wholeheartedly regardless of adversities we may face.

May our gratitude to Him lead us to always strive to do our best for His glory and His church, always remembering the suffering He endured for us. May our life of praise always cause us to keep Him at the center as we remember it is not about us, but it’s all about Him. Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise, For it was grace that bought my liberty; I do not know why He came to love me so, He looked beyond my fault and saw my need. I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary, To view the cross where Jesus died for me; How marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul, He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.


A Thought From Pastor Bryson
October 21, 2007


Bulletin Thought

“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:9/NKJV) A great many of us have looked on in shock and horror at the violence that several teen-age boys have been involved in. It’s not just limited to Nashville, but across the country – young boys from age 14 and up are involved in violent acts. But in Nashville alone according to a recent report – “14 juveniles have been charged in 10 of Nashville’s 51 killings” (The Tennessean / 10-15-07). Many of course are voicing their opinions as to what needs to be done, all of the suggestions that I have read have some validity. But could it be that the answer to what ails us is not as complex as we’re making it out to be? The Psalmist puts forth a question – “How shall a young man cleanse his way (live a pure life)?” The answer he gives is a very simple one – “By taking heed according to Your (God’s) word.” By no means do I intend to downplay the deplorable state we’re in by giving what seems to be such a simple answer. But the truth of the matter is we have drifted so far from what God intended for us.

Consider the following for example: Parents are to provide instruction and discipline for their children – not try to be their friends. We’re not to become so caught up with the things of this world that we live beyond our means and are challenged to make ends meet. Christians are to reflect the Lord in their lives rather than have that reflection of Him blurred by being overcome with worldly values and denominational strife. These are just a few of many examples that can be given. But our drifting off course is not new to our day and time. Any student of scripture will find that any time people drift away from living according to God’s principles, the results will be disastrous. Just a reading of chapters 29 and 30 in Deuteronomy reveals that to us. If all the multitude of churches located in our communities were to put into practice the teachings of Jesus, just think what a difference could be made. If “all” believers were to practice what Jesus taught, the impact we would have would be phenomenal. While the challenges are many, we can still maintain hope for the simple reason that God is still God and His word is still relevant for our time.

Let us all strive to do our part to have a positive impact on our youth and society as a whole, then we will really make a difference. “If my people which are called by name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven…” (II Chronicles 7:14)

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
October 14, 2007

Bulletin Thought


“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3) Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for us is to live in this present world with hearts that are not troubled. It seems as though trouble is all around us. Neighborhoods are not safe, groceries and other goods needed by the average citizen are increasing in prices, healthcare continues to skyrocket – yes, it seems as though trouble is all around us. But yet Jesus says to those who profess faith in Him – “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God believe also in me.” He then gives the reason why we should not be troubled – He’s going away to prepare a place for us and one day He will come again and then we will be with Him in our heavenly home.

     A criticism that at one time was leveled against Christians was that we were so heavenly minded we were no earthly good. That criticism is only valid if all we do as believers is talk about heaven while failing to do good works while we’re here on earth. But the truth of the matter is that this world is not our home. The Bible teaches that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), that we are strangers and pilgrims here on earth (I Peter 2:11-12). But while we’re passing through this world to our “home,” we should strive to fulfill Matthew 5:13-16. But until we get home, we cannot help but acknowledge that this present world has its share of problems. Yet the words of Jesus are clear – “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God believe also in me.” Since we profess faith in Him as Lord, let us keep Him as our focus in the midst of this troubled world. Obviously the Lord knew that our journey would not be an easy one, that’s why He calls us to always trust Him. 

Until Jesus returns there are some basic things we can do to not be overcome by the troubles of this world:

We can nurture our spirits through His Word – Philippians 4:6-8, 11-13. · We can encourage each other while on this journey – Hebrews 10:23-25. · We can pray – II Thessalonians 5:17. ·
We can live with a vibrant hope of His return and our deliverance from this present world – John 14:1-3; II Corinthians 4:16-18.

Yes, it’s challenging right now, but Jesus comforts us – “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me…I go to prepare a place for you…” When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well with my soul…


A Thought From Pastor Bryson
October 7, 2007

Bulletin Thought


“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7 A wonderful truth that we have as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ is that one day we have a great inheritance in store for us. An outstanding feature of the book of Revelation is that Jesus will return to establish His eternal reign and all of those who have placed their faith in Him will be a part of His peaceful Kingdom to come.

But Jesus warns us that the journey into the peaceful Kingdom to come will not necessarily be an easy one. There is that phrase that keeps occurring in Revelation – “To him that overcometh.” Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible gives this definition of the word overcometh – “To subdue, overcome, conquer, prevail, get the victory.” The word overcometh obviously implies struggle or conflict. If there were no struggle or conflict involved in the faith journey the Lord would never have used the words – “To him that overcometh.” But yet, it’s there – “To him that overcometh I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of paradise.” But note, to get to paradise – we’ve got to overcome.

Jesus of course has eliminated one big obstacle – our sin. The Bible teaches us that by the shedding of His blood on Calvary, we’ve been cleansed of our sins and we’re in right standing with God (Romans 5:9-11). But Revelation still says “to him that overcometh.” As believers in Jesus Christ, we should always remember that we’re living in a fallen world and our obstacles are many – spiritual warfare, sickness, financial hardships, personality conflicts, doubt, fear – there are many things that assail us on this journey of faith. But we need not become discouraged and give up – remember, “To him that overcometh” there is a great reward in store. We can be thankful that our “overcoming” is something that is not solely dependent on our own efforts.

We have the rich and powerful Word of God at our disposal, prayer, the indwelling Holy Spirit, our faith in the risen and living Savior, and we have other brothers and sisters in the Lord to encourage us. Whatever you’re going through, be encouraged and remember – “To him that overcometh” there is a great reward in store, but you’ve got to overcome… “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded…” (Romans 8:35-39)

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

September 30, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

“…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

 

            In looking at the life of Jesus and Matthew 25, it is obvious that Jesus was concerned about serving others, especially those who were less fortunate.  To those who respond in a positive way to the sick, the hungry, those in need of clothing or hospitality, and those in prison, Jesus will gladly welcome them into the kingdom.  But for those who do not respond in a positive way – there is a place of punishment waiting for them (Matthew 25:31-46). 

 

            The Bible teaches us that we do not perform “good works” or serve others just so that we can make it into the kingdom, but rather, we perform good works or serve others because we have been created unto good works by our relationship with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10).  The Bible teaches us that we are to be zealous or eager to do good works (Titus 2:14).

 

            As a church, we are approaching another season of Room In The Inn ministry.  From November until March – the time in which the temperature drops to freezing or below – churches across the city will open their doors for the homeless to come in and find warmth, hot meals, fellowship, and shelter for the night.

 

For several years we have participated in this ministry and countless number of individuals have been served and blessed by such a ministry.  But it is made possible by ministry groups, families, and individuals volunteering to serve as hosts on the weekends that we participate.  THANK YOU for your willingness to bless others through what you do.

 

In the near future an appeal will be going forth for volunteers to step forth and again serve as hosts.  It is my prayer that the love of Christ in us and our concern for others will once again lead us to have more than enough volunteers to serve others who are in need.

 

What Jesus said to His followers then He says to us today – “Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, Ye have done it unto Me.”(Matthew 25:34-40)

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
September 23, 2007

Bulletin Thought


“…but be thou an example of the believers…” I Timothy 4:12 There is an old saying that says – “Teach by example.” How many of us as believers really take to heart that saying? In I Timothy 4th chapter, Paul is encouraging Timothy to be an example of a believer. Timothy was a young man serving the church in Ephesus, although he was surrounded by older people, Paul encouraged Timothy that in spite of his youth, he could still be a good example of a believer. In verse 12, Paul encouraged Timothy to be an example of the believers in word, conversation (conduct or behavior), in charity (love), in spirit, in faith, and in purity. It is good for all believers to strive to be examples in those areas. As a church we are recognizing Christian Education Sunday. The chosen theme is “Teach Them.” All of us need to recognize our responsibility to teach and I’m not talking about in a classroom setting. Those of us who profess Christ are to be teachers in the laboratory of life. For us, everyday becomes a teaching experience. Consider the following questions to be a take home exam for you to reflect on: What are we teaching when we are not in the presence of other Christians? What are we teaching when faced with disappointment? What are we teaching concerning honesty, forgiveness, patience? What are we teaching concerning being loving and respectful of others, even when their opinions are different from our own? What are we teaching concerning how we manage money? What are we teaching concerning time management? What are we teaching concerning commitment? Of course there are other questions for us to consider. As believers we are to be growing in our relationship with the Lord and this will certainly show up in how we live our lives. The Lord has given us everything we need to pass the test – His written Word packed with promises and His Holy Spirit who indwells us and helps us to be all we can possibly be in Christ. We can be thankful that none of us will be doing the grading of how we’re teaching others. But, at the end, we will all stand before the Lord Himself and answer for the life we have lived and the lessons taught or not taught. With the time we have left, let us strive to be good teachers by being a good example to others concerning being a follower of Christ. By your example, what are you teaching?
A Thought From Pastor Bryson
     September 16, 2007

Bulletin Thought



“Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer.  The devil will throw some of you into prison and put you to the test. You will be persecuted for ten days. Remain faithful even when facing death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10 / New Living Translation) In the above verse, the Lord speaks to the angel or minister of the church in Smyrna. That particular church is going through a difficult time as a result of being persecuted. The Lord warns them that even more difficult days lie ahead as some of them will be thrown into prison and suffer even more. He encourages them to remain faithful even when facing death and they will be rewarded with a crown of life. What captures me about that verse is that the Lord wants them to remain faithful even when facing death. The word faithful has to do with being trustworthy or loyal. The Lord is asking them to remain faithful, trustworthy, or loyal even if it cost them their lives. The reward of course is the glory that is to come in the eternal kingdom. Of course this leads me to ask the question – does not the Lord want us to remain faithful, trustworthy, and loyal today as well? One would think that given the fact that we’re not facing the life-threatening situations that early believers faced, being faithful or loyal would be a cinch. But speaking realistically, churches are challenged when it comes to members being faithful. There will always be the “faithful few,” those members who will remain faithful to the Lord and to His church regardless. But churches need more members who are willing to stay faithful until the end. An older deacon now resting with the Lord would remind me from time to time – “God did not call you to be successful, but to be faithful.” I’m convinced that as the Lord wanted the church at Smyrna to be faithful even if it cost them their lives, He wants no less from us today. What then can we do to be faithful, trustworthy, and loyal? I can think of at least three answers: 1. We must always remember that what we do we do for the Lord, not for self or anybody else. 2. We must remember that He bought us by the shedding of His blood. We belong to Him now and as we are His, we follow His example. Jesus never quit. 3. We must keep in mind that we are engaged in spiritual warfare and the enemy wants us not to be faithful. The enemy wants us to drop out, quit – then he gets the glory and not God. What the Lord said to the church in Smyrna applies to us as well – “Be thou faithful even when facing death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Halleluiah! Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid? Your heart does the Spirit control? You can only be blest and have peace and sweet rest As you yield Him your body and soul.
A Thought From Pastor Bryson
September 9, 2007


Bulletin Thought


A Thought From Pastor Bryson,


     “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35 / NKJV) The life of Jesus was characterized by strength, conviction, focus, and love. I am of the persuasion that one of the things that helped Him live as such was His practice of praying. From reading of Scripture, we discover that Jesus prayed often. If we are to emulate Jesus in living a life characterized by strength, conviction, focus, and love – then we must also pray and we must pray often. In his book The Discipline of Prayer, Richard Foster makes the following statements – “Prayer catapults us onto the frontier of the spiritual life. Of all the Spiritual Disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father… To pray is to change.
   
       Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives…All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of their lives.” In Mark 1:35 Jesus did at least two things that would be helpful to us as we seek to pray. One, He got up early. Getting up early gave Him the opportunity to be in quietness before God. He would not be distracted by noise or the busyness of the day. It was also a good way to start His day off. Of course there are those who readily admit “not to being morning people.” It is not a crime not to be a morning person, but it is important to learn the value of quiet time in prayer. The second thing Jesus did that would be helpful to us as we seek to pray – He went to a solitary place. No one was around to distract Him in His praying. He was alone with God. If we spent more time alone with God, I cannot help but believe that we would be blessed. As He was alone He prayed. His focus was on praying not catching up on some incomplete task, but praying. As a result of His prayer life – it was instrumental in helping Jesus to weather the controversies that surrounded Him in His last days and successfully complete what God sent Him to do.

     The bottom line – Jesus prayed often and so should we. Prayer is one avenue through which we can find the strength to live our lives victoriously in spite of the difficulties we may encounter on our faith journey. What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do carry everything to God in prayer!

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
 

September 2, 2007


Bulletin Thought

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson,

 

 

 I Peter 1:3-6 is a passage that “always” blesses my soul. The New Kings James Version reads it this way: 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 4. to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5. who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials… All of the above verses are rich and packed with nutrients for our souls. But notice how I have underlined and highlighted the first part of verse 5. The New Living Translation reads the first part of verse 5 this way – “And God, in His mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting Him.” The Amplified version – “Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God’s power through (your) faith…” Christians of that day and time were experiencing times of trials because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Peter encourages them by reminding them of the power and vibrant hope that is theirs through faith in the risen Savior. But notice how he tells them that they are being “kept” by God’s power through faith. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible speaks of the word “kept” in this way – “It is a military term meaning to keep by guarding, to keep under guard as with a garrison…It is used of the security of the Christian until the end; and of the sense of that security that is his when he puts all his matters into the hands of God (Phil. 4:7)…the idea is not merely that of protection, but of inward garrisoning as by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:23)…” Simply put, as we travel through life today encountering various trials, we have the assurance that God is with us. We have the assurance that God will see us through. We have the assurance of His protection – our souls are secure in Him. But note that the verse says we are kept by the power of God through faith. When we come to the realization that we are “kept” children of God, our souls will rejoice in spite of the difficulty confronting us. Oh to be kept by Jesus, kept by His power divine. Kept thro’ toils and trials, kept by His hand in mine.

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

 

June 3, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson,

 

            The Bible is clear in telling us that we are to be evangelistic (Matthew 28:19-20).  We are to share the wonderful news that forgiveness of sins can be had through Jesus Christ.  As a result of living in relationship with Him as Savior, we also will be reconciled to God and have the assurance of eternal life.

 

            While the Bible clearly teaches us to be evangelistic, we as believers may differ on what methods may be employed in reaching out to others.  I’m a firm believer that not only can we share the gospel through being very intentional in our witnessing – sharing gospel tracts and or the plan of salvation, we can also attract people to Christ by how we live our lives.

 

            Colossians 3:12-15 is one of many passages that helps us in this area.  Consider this passage (New Living Translation):

 

12. Since God chose you to be holy whom He loves, you must clothe yourself with tenderhearted

      mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

13. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you.

      Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

14. And the most important piece of clothing you can wear is love.  Love is what binds us all

      together in perfect harmony.

15. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body

      you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.

 

            If those who do not know Christ as Savior see those of us who profess faith in Him living out our faith, I cannot help but think they would be attracted to those qualities of mercy, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness, love, peace and gratitude.  These qualities become part of us as we “daily” surrender ourselves to Jesus as Lord and diligently study and apply the teaching of

Scripture to our lives.

 

            Lifestyle evangelism is one that way that all of us who profess Christ can witness.  May God enable us to witness well for His glory, and in so doing, may others come to know the wonderful Savior, Jesus is His name.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

 

May 20, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson,

 

We live in such a busy time.  It is not uncommon to find people trying to do multiple tasks all at the same time.  I even find myself checking phone messages and trying to write them down while working on the computer; some though would probably laugh at what I call busy compared to what they do.  Why do we try to do some much at one time?

 

Do we not realize that we can be so busy that we run the risk of not hearing the Lord speak to us?  There is no question that God does not want us to be “slackers.”  But at the same time God does not want us to be so busy that we fail to connect with Him.  It was not uncommon for Jesus to withdraw for a time of solitude. If Jesus saw the need for “being still” shouldn’t we?

 

Psalms 23:2-3 is one of several passages that can minister to us in these busy times if we would but take the time to read and reflect.  The Psalmist says – “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul…”  Three thoughts come to mind when I reflect over what the Psalmist is saying:

 

·         In being still, God grants us rest.  Many a person is worn and weary simply from overdoing it.  What’s the harm in stopping to rest for awhile?  Often what we think has to be done right away can really wait until a more opportune time.

 

·         In being still, God gives us guidance.  The Psalmist said “He leadeth me.”  In order for us to discern God leading us it requires a time of listening.  It is hard to hear in the midst of a lot of noise and keeping a hectic pace.  We do need to slow down, stop and listen for His guidance, then follow.

 

·         In being still, God restores us or refreshes us.  There have been times when I have been almost overwhelmed by things to do.  But when I take a break and relax I find that I’m able to refocus and put things in proper perspective, then do what needs to be done with joy rather than a sour spirit.

 

Let us be careful not to be so busy that we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed and miss

God in the process.  One song writer said it well – Hush! Hush! My soul be calm and still. Come blessed Savior enter in…

 


A Thought From Pastor Bryson

April 15, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson,

 

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4 NKJV)

 

            Last Sunday countless number of churches celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. What do we do now that Resurrection Sunday has passed? Do we go back to business as usual or do we live with a vibrant hope?

 

            Unfortunately, some will go back to business as usual. Their lives will be characterized by professing a faith in Jesus, but their existence or journey will be marked by “barely making it.” Joy will be something that is longed for but not realized. Peace will be something that they hope to experience in life beyond the grave, and hope, well hope will be almost non-existent.

 

            The realities of life will overcome the thought that “He lives.” The problems of life will tend to block out the blessings that come from being in vital union with Him through faith. If we are to live in vital union with the resurrected Christ, faith is absolutely necessary. This journey we’re on is a faith journey. One of the means by which our faith is strengthened is through the Scriptures.

 

            The Scriptures were written for our benefit that we would experience patience, comfort, and hope. If we are to reap the benefits that come from the Scriptures, we must become students of Scripture. Scripture teaches us that after Jesus rose from the grave, He eventually ascended to heaven but we have the promise of His return (John 14:1-3). Scripture teaches us that until He returns we have been given the Holy Spirit to abide with us and help as we make our journey through life (Romans 8:26-28).

 

            Now that “Resurrection Sunday” has passed, we can still celebrate the risen Christ and live in vital union with Him. We can experience patience, comfort and be filled with hope as we anticipate that day when He will return or we go to be with Him after this life is over. But we must understand that God has left us the written word for our benefit – study it, meditate over it, and apply the principles found therein.

 

            Resurrection Sunday has passed, but I’m convinced that through the Scriptures, our lives can still be radiant as we experience patience, comfort, and hope. Remember Romans 15:4 (Amplified)“For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast and cherish hope.”

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson
Things Could Be Worse

(Source – Devotional Book – Give Us This Day by Leroy Brownlow)

02-18-07

“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.” (Acts 17:22)

 

            Paul and 275 others (276 total) were caught in the midst of a tempest at sea.  There was neither sun nor stars for many days.  The situation was so desperate, in an effort to lighten the ship they cast out the tackling and the wheat into the sea.  For fourteen days they fasted.  The ship was wrecked, but all the passengers and crews were saved.  The calamity was severe and frightening, but it could have been worse – there could have been no survivors.

            Nearly every reverse, mishap or disaster could be worse.

            An old story is very illustrative: A doctor called a man and said, “I have the reports on your tests.  I wish you would come to the office.  I would like to talk to you.”  In thirty minutes the patient was there.  The doctor said, “I have bad news and worse news.  The bad news is you’re going to live only twenty-four hours.”  The patient interrupted, “Doctor, that’s terrible.  That’s awful.  Only twenty-four hours to live.  What could be worse than that?”  The doctor replied, “I tried to call you yesterday.”

            May God give us the grace to see that our trials, backsets, failures and disasters could be worse, and to be thankful that we are as well off as we are.

            Life could be worse.  So, instead of sighing over how hard circumstances are, take a look around and see the blessings that bloom on every hand.  A new day shall dawn and its daylight hours shall let you see that things are so different from what you saw in the midnight hours.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

February 11, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)

 

            Peter and John made a great impression on the religious leaders because of the boldness they displayed when standing before the religious leaders defending their teaching and work for the Lord. The religious leaders were impressed in that they viewed them as men who had no formal training or education in matters relating to religion. The religious leaders marveled, but they understood that these men had been with Jesus.

 

            While we are not to be concerned with impressing people, we should be concerned about what impression we are making on people.  Sounds contradictory?  Let me explain – some folk try to impress people hoping that they will be liked, be accepted by, or find favor with the people they’re trying to impress.  If you’re not careful you can end up not being you trying to impress others, if not that you’re bound to experience frustration trying to impress others. 

 

            On the other hand as a Christian (follower of Christ) we should be concerned about the impression we make on others.  Our behavior will go a long way in being instrumental in drawing others to Jesus or driving them away from Him.  As followers of Jesus what impression are we making on others:

 

·         With the words we speak?

·         With our attitudes?

·         With our behavior in difficult situations?

·         With our everyday living?

 

When people come to the understanding that we “know” Jesus, will they be impressed?

One thing is clear, the lives of Peter and John had been transformed as a result of their relationship with Jesus. So should it be with us. Again I ask the question – As followers of Jesus, what impression are we making on others?

 

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

February 4, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

 

“Then Jesus said unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

 

            In recent times there was a popular slogan in the form of a question used by many believers – “What would Jesus do?” As I understand it the purpose of the slogan was for us to consider our actions in light of what we believed Jesus would do when faced with a particular situation.

 

            Well, have you ever wondered what would Jesus say?  What would Jesus say concerning the state of affairs involving the church today? What would Jesus say concerning the mindset of believers today? In the early church the cross and crucifixion were central components of the faith. The apostle Paul was one of many who loved the Lord dearly, once he said – “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ… (Galatians 6:14).” 

 

            What would Jesus say about what we glory in today? I’m hearing less emphasis placed on the cross, crucifixion, and self-denial – but more talk on prosperity and things dealing with self. But Jesus was clear in His teachings, if those who would follow Him were not willing to deny self and take up their cross and follow Him, they were not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38). I certainly don’t want to be one pointing fingers so I have to ask myself – what would Jesus say about my role as His follower?

 

            An anonymous writer penned the following words, may they help us not lose sight of the cross of Christ:

 

God Counted Crosses

 

I counted dollars while God counted crosses.

                                          I counted gains while He counted losses.

                                          I counted my worth by the things gained in store.

                                          But He sized me up by the scars that I bore.

                                          I coveted honors and sought for degrees;

                                          He wept as He counted the hours on my knees.

                                          And I never knew til one day at a grave,

                                          How vain are these things that we spend life to save.

 

            We would do well to remember the words of a preacher from long ago (Charles Haddon Spurgeon) who said – “There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.”

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

January 28, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

 

            Someone recently shared the following reading with me and I now share it with you in the hopes that you will be blessed:

 

Anyway

 

From Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa hung a copy of this poem on a wall of the

Orphanage she founded in Calcutta .  Its source is unknown.

 

People are often unreasonable,

Illogical and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

 

If you are kind,

People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

 

If you are successful,

You will win some false friends

And some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

People may cheat you:

Be honest and frank anyway.

 

What you spend years building,

Someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

 

If you find serenity and happiness,

They may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

 

The good you do today,

People will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

 

Give the world the best you have,

And it may be never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

 

You see, in the final analysis

It is between you and God;

It is never between you and them anyway.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

January 21, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth…”

                                                       Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NKJV)

 

            In the last chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher encourages the young people to remember God while they are young, for challenging days relating to age are ahead.  Of course in reality, young people are living in the midst of some challenging times now.  What can be done to help them have a relationship with God that will help them to keep God as a part of their daily journey?  A few things come to mind:

 

bullet We who are older need to be good models of what it means to walk in a relationship with God.  It is not enough to go through the motions of being “spiritual,” they must see us actively engaged in our faith.  In other words, do we remain spiritual at home behind closed doors and in our daily living?

 

bullet We who are older must not forget that we were once young.  Growing older does not mean we can no longer laugh or have fun.  When young people see us or interact with us, do they see the fun factor of being a Christian?  In other words, let us share laughter with children and youth.  I believe they would enjoy the Christian journey more.

 

bullet We who are older need to be willing to share leadership with youth and young adults.  Churches “unknowingly” are guilty of stifling the development and passion of youth and young adult when no seat is made for them at the table of decision making and planning.  Who knows better the needs of youth and young adult than youth and young adults?

 

bullet We who are older and youth and young adults must remain in dialogue with one another.  Prayerfully there is wisdom in growing older and we must be willing to share that wisdom.  But in order for wisdom to be shared, there must be those who are willing to receive it.  In like manner, youth and young adults can also teach us new and better ways of doing things.  But if we’re not talking and “listening” to one another, how will we ever know?

 

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes encourages the youth to remember God while they are

young, but I’m convinced that adults play an integral role in that happening.  May we all remember what an awesome God we serve and that He is able to de exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20). 

 

May we as a church, be a blessing to our young people more than a hindrance.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

January 14, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

 

“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways.”

                                                        Psalm 128:1

 

            If we’re not careful, the commercials we see on television and in newspapers will have us confused as to how we can really live a blessed life.  According to these sources, if we use a certain brand or product, drive a certain car, drink a certain beverage, or wear certain clothing – we can really have it going on in our lives.  This is the logic of the world while in reality, there are many who strive to do these things and still end up lacking joy and contentment.

 

            But according to Scripture, everyone is blessed who fears the Lord and walk in His ways.  Exactly what does this mean?  To fear the Lord does not mean the same thing as being afraid or frightened as if facing some formidable problem.  To fear the Lord means to have respect for Him, to be in awe of Him for who He is.  To walk in His ways means to abide by His teachings as found in Scripture.

 

            Does this mean that everyone who does this will always be happy and carefree?  Certainly not.  We are not immune from the problems of life, but living in a personal relationship with God will make a world of difference as to how we respond to the many situations we will face in life.  The word blessed refers to being happy, having joy, and or being in favor with God.

Those who fear God and strive to walk in His way are blessed in the sense that:

 

bullet We know we don’t have to bear our burdens alone.
bullet We know that if we commit our way/plans to Him, He will be with us every step of the way.
bullet We know that the source of our joy and contentment does not come from what we have, but rather from being in relationship with Him.
bullet We know that “everyday” we have the assurance of His presence with us as we make our journey.
bullet We know and experience the sufficiency of His grace.
bullet We know that our eternal destiny is secure – beyond life as we know it we have a bright future.

 

To live the good life, the blessed life – one does not have to be head over heels in debt

trying to get stuff to be happy.  All one needs to do is fear God and walk in His ways and then watch the blessings keep coming.

 

The journey through 2007 will be much better if we fear Him and walk in His ways.

A Thought From Pastor Bryson

January 7, 2007

Bulletin Thought

 

 

“So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

                                                            Psalm 90:12

 

            By the grace of God we have been given the opportunity, the blessing of starting a brand New Year.  What this year holds for each of us remains a mystery.  But let us prayerfully enter the journey with great expectations of what the Lord has in store for us.

 

            Surely, from our journey through 2006 we have learned some things.  Let us take what we have learned from our past experiences and use them for our good this year.  A writer named Leroy Brownlow has some wisdom tips that will help anyone have a blessed year.  They are as follows:

 

·         Learn to forget. Bury the miseries of the dead past. Let them stay buried. If God forgets, why shouldn’t you?..One of the secrets of success and happiness is letting go that which absorbs our energies and hinders our progress.

 

·         Make your conscience a source of peace and joy. Conscience is the voice of approval or condemnation in the soul. Do what you believe is right (and pleasing to God) and the voice will approve and give you an appreciation of self.

 

·         Cultivate contentment. Every discontented person is unhappy. Furthermore, it decreases his or her level of efficiency. Many people are unhappy because they spend their time looking at other people and thinking how happy they could be…Blessed is the person who can say, “I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

 

·         Be helpful. To be happy we must be helpful. Happiness cannot be obtained without giving it away. When you lift another’s burden, you lighten your own.

 

·         Be trustful. …If God can control the universe, He can help us and will – not always as we wish but always in our eventual welfare.

 

As we make our journey through this New Year, may God grant us the ability to walk in wisdom. Having wisdom helps us to realize that our days are numbered.  That being the case, strive to make the most of each day God grants

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