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Showing posts from August, 2016

Wednesday - August 31, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study WEDNESDAY
BIBLE READING:James 4:1-12

When facing daily struggles against Satan, a common misconception among many Christians is that we should ignore him.  Isn't this simply ridiculous?  Would a policeman ignore a crime in progress? What if the Allies had ignored Hitler? I think you get the point! It is not the goal of good to ignore evil, no more than it is for light to avoid darkness. By ignoring our enemy, we allow them an opportunity to sneak up behind us and hit us when we least expect it. 

Nowhere in the Scriptures are we encouraged to avoid the devil. Instead, we are told to “resist him” (James 4.7). Ignoring and resisting are not the same! To "resist" means to withstand and to oppose. We must be on guard and aware of where our enemy is at all times. When he confronts us, “he will flee from you.” God never intended for us to be afraid or unaware of the devil and his plans. Instead, He cautions us to be aware and prepared. Peter writes, “Be …

Tuesday - August 30, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study TUESDAY
BIBLE READING:2 Samuel 23:8-17

As a child, I remember going to my great grandparent's house to help pick strawberries. Part of my job was to draw water from the well and carry everyone a drink to keep them hydrated. I can recall lowering the bucket deep, deep into the well, and drawing out the cold, refreshing, water. I never could figure out how that water could be so cold on such a hot day. I still don’t think I have ever had water as good and cold as I did from that old well. So I can sympathize with David as he hid from the Philistines in the cave of Adullam with his mighty men. It was there that he said, “Oh, that someone would five me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” (2 Samuel 23:15). Growing up, David probably drank from that well countless times, and now he was reminiscing about the thirst-quenching water that he so desperately desired. The problem was that about twenty miles away, the enemy was camped all aro…

Monday - August 29, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:1 Corinthians 13

Calm, cool and collected. These words bring about images of a child being comforted after a nightmare, a warm bubble bath, or maybe even a Kenny G album. Those are not the feelings you get when your two-year-old uses a Sharpie to draw you a picture on the fender of your white car...for the third time. Yet, these are exactly the kind of feelings we should strive to have toward those we love. 

In Paul’s lessons on love in 1 Corinthians 13, he reminds us “love is patient and kind” (13:4). That means even when those we love mess up for the “umpteenth” time, we should remain calm, cool, and collected, and react in a soft, understanding way. However, that usually proves to be very difficult. Instead, we often have more of a “three strikes and you’re out” philosophy. When someone continues to mess up or make the same mistakes over, and over, and over again, we are very quick to lose our temper and patience. I know, because I am gu…

Saturday - August 27, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study SATURDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 4:1-11

Recently I had a Bible study with a young woman who was trying to get her life back on track after several years of being unfaithful. She was having a hard time having any success, because every time she began to make some progress, something would happen and cause her to have a massive setback. She asked me why that seemed to be the case? My response was simple, it was the Devil!  I don’t mean that he was making her fall, but the moment she decided to get her house in order she became a threat to his plan. 

We mistakenly think that Satan works really hard on those people who we would classify as nonbelievers, but in my opinion, that’s incorrect. While someone is an unbeliever they aren’t a threat to the Devil, but when they believe his plans must adjust. For instance, why don’t we read anything about the teenage and young adult life of Jesus? Maybe it was because before His ministry, Jesus wasn’t a threat? Don’t misunderst…

Friday - August 26, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study FRIDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 27:32-56

I just finished watching the classic film “Back to the Future” with my sons.  The whole time I was watching them enjoy the film and the whole concept of “time travel,” the thought occurred to me, "What would I do if I could travel back in time?"  Would I go back and tell Nick Saban to not try for that last second field goal in the 2013 Iron Bowl? Maybe go back in school and try applying myself a little more in the classroom? Maybe I could go back and buy all of the Apple and Google stock I could?  All of these ideas sound great in the grand scheme of things, but they would have not made a significant change in my life.  You see, if Saban would have just went into overtime, the Tide may have still lost.  Applying myself in school might have caused me to make better grades and help me get a better job, but it would not change my love for what I do now.  The money of the stock, yeah…I would be rich, but I would find…

Thursday - August 25, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study THURSDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 15:1-20

Defiled. Even the word brings about feelings of something spoiled, ruined, contaminated or rotten.  The word means to pollute or profane. There is no way in which you can make the word sound pleasant or appealing because of its characterization.  Why would anyone want to be defiled or have something defiled?  That is why the Jews were very careful to observe all of the laws concerning being clean and not having their bodies defiled. 

That is why they were so quick to criticize the disciples for not washing their hands before they ate bread in Matthew 15:1. Jesus uses this opportunity to teach them a lesson about Law and tradition. “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person" (Matthew 15:11).  To us that seems backwards, and that is exactly His point. We place our emphasis on the physical, while Jesus wants us to focus on the spiritual. The real thin…

Wednesday - August 24, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study WEDNESDAY
BIBLE READING:2 Samuel 6:1-15

If you listened closely, you could have heard the rumblings in the crowd. Spectators shouted, “Did you see that? I can’t believe it! God just stuck him dead on the spot! This can’t be...he was only trying to help. Why would He do such a thing?” Second Samuel 6:5-8 tells about a day meant for celebration, instead turned tragic as Uzzah lay dead on the ground. All he was trying to do was steady the Ark of the Covenant to keep it from falling and being damaged, right? 

Sometimes what we don’t do is just as important as what we do. Uzzah was a priest, a direct descendant of Aaron himself. He had been trained in the ways of the priesthood and knew the protocol for caring for and transporting the Ark, or at least he should have known. The protocol for Ark transport is clear in Exodus 25:12-15 and Deuteronomy 10:8. It was to be carried by the priest on wooden poles. Why was Uzzah transporting the Ark of the Covenant – the repres…

Tuesday - August 23, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study TUESDAY
BIBLE READING:Hebrews 13:1-19

What would you do? You consider yourself a happily married man, but the waitress at the coffee shop you frequent is very attractive and very flirtatious.  Every day when you go in to pick up your lattĂ©, the two of you seem to strike up a conversation.  It started off as cordial small talk, like “How are you today?” or “What do think about this weather?” However, now it has progressed to some very provocative and very suggestive exchanges.  You know this is getting uncomfortable, yet you continue to stay longer and longer; talking more and more. To make things worse, the two of you seem to have some connection.  You play it off as innocent behavior until one night she asks you to have your daily coffee at her house. What do you do?

You go and enjoy yourselfYou go and leave if things get “too hot.”You brush her off and say “Maybe next time.”You find a new coffee shop.
Before you answer, envision your spouse in a similar situat…

Monday - August 22, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:John 1:43-51

Recently I had someone come up to me at a ball game and call me by name, ask me how my ministry was going, ask me how my family was doing, and recall details about my life that only someone who knows me would know; yet I had no knowledge of who that person was.  It was very frustrating knowing that someone knew who I was, yet I had no recollection of them.  Yet it wasn’t strange for Nathaniel in John 1.  In fact, it was inspiring. In the story, Phillip brings Nathaniel to Jesus to introduce them, yet for Jesus no introduction was needed.  “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit.” A confused Nathaniel asks, “How do you know me?”  An excited Jesus replies, “Before Phillip called you, when you were under the fig tree I saw you.”  Something Jesus said hit Nathaniel like a ton of bricks; this man knew him.  Could it have been that Nathaniel had hid himself under a fig tree to pray and within that prayer said someth…

Saturday - August 20, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study SATURDAY
BIBLE READING:1 Corinthians 10.14

MAIN IDEA: “Idols”

DISCUSSION:
When we read the Ten Commandments, we probably don't think too much about the one which states, "Thou Shalt have no other Gods before me."  After all, most of us worship the one true living God, not some Golden Calf or some other "graven image."  However, when we get to the heart of the matter, an idol is anything in which we put our trust.  It is any hobby, person, job, vacation, sport, or desire that we allow to interfere with our worship and obedience to God.  Much like the children of Israel, when things are going well for us, we have plenty of money, good health, and minimal troubles, we tend to rely less on God. We feel self-sufficient all the while forgetting that God is the source and reason for all of our good fortunes.  John 15:5 tells us that without Jesus, "we can do nothing."   Let us determine to give God the glory each day, and not just call…

Friday - August 19, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study FRIDAY
BIBLE READING:Psalms 37:4

MAIN IDEA: “Joy”

DISCUSSION
When you walk into Wal-Mart on Cloverdale Road, there is a good chance that you will be greeted by a pleasant, friendly gentleman who makes you feel very welcome. If you ask him how he is doing, he will usually respond "Blessed and then some," or "Blessed by the best." That is after he gives you a big warm smile and asks about your day.  I have often thought about his attitude. Recently, I asked him a question to which I was sure I knew the answer. I asked him to tell me why he was always so happy. His response was, "Because God is good, always!" That was the answer I expected.  

When someone chooses to trust in God and follow Jesus, he will naturally be happy.  While we don't always control what happens to us, we can control our response.  If we are in Jesus with a promise of eternal life, should we really ever be unhappy? Yes, we may hurt or suffer from the bad thin…

Thursday - August 18, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study THURSDAY
BIBLE READING:Mark 11:25

MAIN IDEA: “Out of Alignment”

DISCUSSION:
A while back I kept having trouble with my garage doors. Some days I would press the garage door opener and everything worked great. Other days, the opener would click and clack while a light flickered on and off. I figured out that something had hit the laser beams that point towards each other and had them out of alignment. When the beams are not properly aligned, I can push that button all I want and nothing is going to happen.

We often see that in our prayer lives. We pray ad we pray and sometimes nothing happens. There could be many reasons why nothing happens. But, one of the reasons could be that sin in our lives is keeping us separated from God. Withholding forgiveness is one of those reasons that could be hindering your prayer life. Sometimes it’s hard to forgive others, but confession and repentance are necessary to bring us back into the proper alignment with our Father. Once o…

Wednesday - August 17, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study WEDNESDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 18:12

MAIN IDEA: “One”

DISCUSSION:
Everyone has that drawer in their house.  You know the one - the “JUNK” drawer. It’s the place where things end up that don’t have a "place." The drawer can become pretty crowded too. So many useless things sharing space that it’s hard to find anything. Yet, when you need a certain mechanical pencil for your child to do their homework, you will search and search diligently, looking for that ONE pencil, as if it had great value.

As I listen to the news these days, I wonder if God sees this world as one big “JUNK” drawer. A place crowded with bad attitudes, selfishness, pride and many lost souls. But in the parable of the lost sheep, we are told how important it is to focus on finding the lost ONE. It’s worth the digging to bring home the ONE. As we walk through this life, make the extra efforts needed to find the lost ONES. It might get a little messy as you dig through the crowd, but it …

Tuesday - August 16, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study TUESDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 7:3-5

MAIN IDEA: “Good Ole Charlie Brown”

DISCUSSION:
Growing up I watched a lot of Charlie Brown. One thing I remember often was how many times he tried to kick the football only to have Lucy jerk the ball away at the last second, sending good ole Charlie Brown flying into the air and landing flat on his back. This happened over and over to our boy Charles. He kept doing the same thing, not making any changes, but expecting different results.

How often are we like Charlie Brown? We keep having problems in our relationships at work and at home because we make no efforts to change, yet we expect a different result? As we all know, change has to start with ourselves. Make an honest inventory of what you can do differently starting with what spiritual changes you can make. When we get our hearts in line with God, the other aspects of our lives will follow. Now if only Charlie Brown would at least get someone different to hold that footb…

Monday - August 15, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 12:33-37

MAIN IDEA: “Good Morning to You”

DISCUSSION:
Recently, my family and I were on vacation and visited a congregation in the area for Sunday morning worship. In the parking lot, you could see and hear the typical comments: “Hi, how are you?”,”Glad you are here,” etc. Teens and some adults had frowns on their faces as they made the early morning walk across the parking lot, that was no less than 125 degrees, or so it seemed. 

However, as we approached the front door of the auditorium, something was very different. There was a large middle aged man with an even larger BOOMING voice singing the same repeating words, with various inflections, creating an awesome sound. He sang, “Good morning to you, good morning to you, good morning, good morning, good morning to you!’
I looked around as people were nearing the door and the same grumpy faces turned upside down when they heard and saw the man singing. It was infectious! You couldn’t h…

Saturday - August 13, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study SATURDAY
BIBLE READING:Psalm 8:1-9

MAIN IDEA: “PRAISE PREPARATION”

DISCUSSION:
There are some famous people in this world that are known by just one name: Sting, Prince, Madonna, and even BeyoncĂ©.  Their fame is so far reaching that no matter where in the world you are, these names carry some type of weight.  Even in the Old Testament there are characters that we refer to only by one name, like Elijah, Noah, Moses and David. To some extent their fame is also known throughout the world. However, they are in no way, shape or form as “Majestic” as the name of God. That is the word that the Psalmist uses to describe the name of God. “Majestic” has many meanings; “wide or large; figuratively powerful; excellent, famous, gallant, glorious, goodly, lordly, mighty, might one, noble, principal, worthy.” Out of all the earth there is only one being that fit all of these qualities. That, my friend, is the God that we serve!  

APPLICATION:
Read the Psalm again and see what ot…

Friday - August 12, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study FRIDAY
BIBLE READING:2 Samuel 9

Now that David was king over Israel, he must have been reminiscing about all of the good times he had with his friend, Jonathan. “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1). When a new king would take the throne, his first order of business was usually to kill all of the family of the previous king so that no one could make a claim to the throne. David must have thought all of Saul's family was gone, until one servant brought up a man.

Ziba had taken one of the sons of Jonathan and fled from the palace. In the process of fleeing he dropped the young boy causing him to become lame (2 Samuel 4:4). His name was Mephibosheth. David has him brought immediately to him and has him eat at his table and promises to restore all of the land that Saul had possessed to him. He must have told him stories of how he and Jonathan had been friends and the promise he had ma…

Thursday - August 11, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study THURSDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 4:1-11

One of the most effective tools that Satan has within his tool box does not involve cursing God, worshiping Satan, or even getting us to do bad things. In fact, the most effective tool that the Devil has is distraction. He knows that any reasonable person can see that there is a God, and that He is coming back to the earth to judge us according to how we have handled ourselves while here. However, if he can distract us for just a moment, we might let our guard down, giving him an advantage. 

Satan tried this strategy on Jesus while He was fasting in the desert for forty days and nights. He knew if he could get Jesus to just get a little discombobulated, he might have a chance. So, Satan sought to distract Jesus by appealing to His physical side. “I bet you must be hungry?” he said. “I bet you could go and make these stones bread, couldn’t you?” Any one of us would have lost our focus and made us some bread, but Jesus did no…

Wednesday - August 10, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study WEDNESDAY
BIBLE READING:James 4:13-17

MAIN IDEA: “These are the Days of Our Lives”

DISCUSSION:
As a child growing up I must admit I watched a lot of television. Even today I can’t sleep late on Saturday because there is something in my DNA that says, “It’s time for Saturday morning cartoons."  During the week, I loved getting up early to watch those game shows like "Family Feud," "The Price is Right," and my favorite “Press Your Luck." In the afternoon, it was “Scooby Doo,” “The Flintstones,” “The Andy Griffin Show,” and “G-Force.” There was, however, a lull in my day from the hours of 11am till 3:00 in the afternoon. That is when the dreaded “Stories,” as my mother called them, were on. I despised soap operas! As I grew older, there was one of the “stories” that had gained popularity with the girls in my high-school. It was so popular it was simply referred to as “Days…” (Now, it is important to note that this was prior to the DVR.…

Tuesday - August 9, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study TUESDAY
BIBLE READING:Jeremiah 9:23-24

MAIN IDEA: “Your Best Friend”

DISCUSSION:
Everyone has a best friend! It may be your spouse, your coworker, someone at church or maybe it was someone you went to school with growing up. Regardless, we all have that someone that knows and understands us. Usually this process of becoming a “best friend” takes years to develop. It takes time for them to get to know you and for you to get to know them on that deep of a level. Although it may take years for that type of closeness to develop, it only took seconds for it to start. Usually it begins with a simple “Hello” or “How are you?” The longer you spend conversing with one another, the stronger those roots of friendship begin to become. 

Surprisingly, our relationship grows with God the same way. The more time we spend in conversation with Him, the more we get to know Him. The more we get to know Him, the more we love Him. With every moment we spend together, those roots of fr…

Monday - August 8, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:  Philippians 1:11

MAIN IDEA:  “OUT OF GAS?”

DISCUSSION:
I vividly recall the last event I conducted as Youth Minister.  I had carried a van load of teens to Evangelism University in Savannah, Tennessee.   We worshiped with the group that Sunday morning and had begun the ninety-minute drive back to Florence.  I faintly remember thinking early that morning that I had better gas the van up before we head home, but my mind was full of other things.  As I drove back I began to reminisce about all the kids that had been a part of our ministry over the years.  I remembered all the good that I had done, all of the kids that I had helped.  I had been very proud of all of my accomplishments and was excited to start my new ministry preaching.  As I was gazing out onto the long Savannah Highway contemplating all of the good that I had done, the van began to shimmy.  The steering wheel grew tight and the van went dead.  The kids woke up from their after…

Saturday - August 6, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study SATURDAY
BIBLE READING:Philippians 3:12-21

“Six Steps to Avoid Burnout”

Step 6: Look to Jesus

In order to protect against burnout, spiritually and otherwise, we must keep our eyes focused on the prize. We must keep the main thing, the main thing. As my father used to tell me, "You better keep your priorities straight." Hebrews 12:1-3 says, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in you souls." 

Prayer Requests

Friday - August 5, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study FRIDAY
BIBLE READING:Psalms 39

“Six Steps to Avoid Burnout”

Step 5: Enjoy the Little Things

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). We must take time to smell the roses. My grandmother would remind us numerous times that life could often times get too busy, that we needed to slow down and enjoy life for a while. As I’ve aged, I’ve seen the wisdom in her words. 

Application: Reflect on this past week. Did you take the time to see the “little things” or did you just see the “big picture”?

Prayer Requests

Thursday - August 4, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study THURSDAY
BIBLE READING:Matthew 11:25-30

“Six Steps to Avoid Burnout”

Step 4: Unload Your Burden

1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “ Therefore 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.” We must practice our faith. Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking our issues are too trivial for God to be concerned with, or maybe we puff out our chest inflating ourselves with pride, saying that we can handle these challenges on our own. We can handle these burdens...I am a man, I can solve these problems. To combat burnout we must allow God to lift our burdens. 

Prayer Requests

Wednesday - August 3, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study WEDNESDAY
BIBLE READING:2 Timothy 1:1-12

“Six Steps to Avoid Burnout”

Step 3: Fan Your Flame

We read in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." How often do you spend time in the Word? How much time do you spend in prayer? We must fan the flame in order to keep the flame burning bright.

Application: Set aside extra time this week to spend in God’s Word. 

Prayer Requests

Tuesday - August 2, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study TUESDAY
BIBLE READING:2 Corinthians 13:1-10

“Six Steps to Avoid Burnout”

Step 2: Examine Yourself

John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” When is the last time you were intentional with honestly assessing yourself? To honestly assess yourself, we must  know our strengths and weaknesses. We also need to identify opportunities for improvement and threats to being setback. In the business world, people develop a strong business strategy by making sure they've considered all of their business’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces in the marketplace. Let’s use the same concept to help strengthen us spiritually, personally, and professionally. 

Application: Make a list of you spiritual strengths and weaknesses.

Prayer Requests

Monday - August 1, 2016

Woodlawn Family Bible Study MONDAY
BIBLE READING:Hebrews 4:1-13

“Six Steps to Avoid Burnout”

Step 1: REST

If you are like me, you have to be intentional with resting. It feels like you’re wasting time when you’re not accomplishing something. I saw a t-shirt the other day that read, “I’m not Lazy. I just really enjoy doing nothing." I’m guessing I would never find any of you wearing that shirt. Let’s notice, though, that rest is necessary. 

First, In Genesis 2:2 after God finished creating the heavens and the earth, He rested. “By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.” I don’t think any of us would claim to be better than God. 

Second, we find in Mark 6:30-31 where Jesus instructed the apostles to rest. “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught." Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, “Come w…