Working on a Dream




Thursday, December 22, 2016

What is in the Gold Box?


Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family.
This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family's only roll of expensive wrapping paper.
As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.
Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, "This is for you, Daddy!"
As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.
But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. "Don't you know, young lady," he said harshly, "when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside the package!"
Image result for gold box
The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: "Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full."
The father was crushed.
He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.
-Author Unknown.
With Christmas right around the corner, it might be a little too easy to miss the incredible love that God has for you by looking in all the wrong places. The beauty of the season is not to be found in the shopping malls, or the TV sets.  Rather it is discovered when you can finally comprehend the absolute love of God, found wrapped in the manger. Like the father in the story that initially missed the moment of grace provided by his daughter, we can too overlook the moment that changed history if we do not see the baby in the manger.
Merry Christmas!
Rev. Anthony Kladitis

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Best Christmas


The Christmas party was over.

Several of the men were sitting at a table reminiscing about the Christmas days of their childhood. The conversation turned to the best Christmas of their lives. As they went around the table, they noticed one man hadn't said anything. They asked, "Come on.. Frank, What was your best Christmas?" Frank said, "The best Christmas I ever had was when I didn't even get a present." The others were surprised. They had to hear the story. Frank began to talk...
"I grew up in New York. It was the great depression and we were poor. My Mother had died when I was just eight years old. My Dad had a job but he only worked two or three days a week and that was considered good. We lived in a walk up and we just barely had enough food and clothes. I was a kid and didn't really notice."

"My Dad was a proud man. He had one suit. He would wear that suit to work. When he came home, he would take off the jacket and sit in his chair still wearing his shirt, tie and his vest. He had this big old pocket watch that had been given to him by my mother. He would sit in his chair, the chain from watch hanging out, connected to the fob in his vest buttonhole. That watch was his proudest possession. Sometimes, I would see him, just sitting there, looking at his precious watch. I bet he was thinking of my mother."
"One year, I was about twelve, chemistry sets were the big thing. They cost two dollars. That was big money but every kid wanted a chemistry set including me. I began to pester my Dad about it a month or so before Christmas. You know, I made all the same kid promises. I would be good. I would do my chores. I wouldn't ask for anything else again. My dad would just say, 'We'll see.."
"Three days before Christmas he took me to the carts. There was this area where all the small merchants keep their street carts. They would undersell the stores and you could get a good buy. He would take me to a cart and pick out some little toy. "Son, would like something like this?" I, of course, would tell him, 'No, I want a chemistry set.' We tramped to nearly every cart and him showing me some toy car or toy gun, and me refusing it. I never thought that he didn't have the money to buy a chemistry set. Finally, he said, we better go home and come back the next day."

"All the way home, I pouted and whined about the chemistry set. I repeated the promises. I said I didn't care if I never got another present. I had to have that chemistry set. I know now that my Dad felt guilty about being able to give me more. He probably thought he was a failure as a Father and I think he blamed himself for my mother's death. As we were walking up the stairs, he told me, that he would see what he could do about getting me the chemistry set. That night I couldn't even sleep. I could see myself inventing some new material. I could see the New York Times.. 'Boy wins Nobel Prize!"

"The next day after work, my Dad took me back to the carts. On the way, I remember, he bought a loaf of bread, he was carrying it under his arm. We came to first cart and he told me to pick out the set I wanted. They were all alike, but I went through them, like I was choosing a diamond. I found the right one and I almost yelled. 'This one..Dad!'"
"I can still see him, reaching into his pant's pocket, to get the money. As he pulled the two dollars out, one fluttered to the ground, he bent over to pick it up and as he did, the chain fell out of his vest. The chain swung back and forth. 'No watch.' In a flash, I realized that my Dad had sold his watch. He sold his most precious possession to buy me a chemistry set. He sold his watch, the last thing my mother had given him, to buy me a chemistry set."

"I grabbed his arms and I yelled, 'No.' I had never grabbed my Dad before and I certainly had never yelled at him. I can see him, looking at me, a strange look on his face. 'No, Dad, you don't have to buy me anything.' The tears were burning in my eyes. 'Dad, I know you love me.'
We walked away from the cart and I remember my Dad holding my hand all the way home."
Frank looked at the men. "You know, there isn't enough money in the world to buy that moment.
You see, at that moment, I knew that my Dad loved me more than anything in the world."
author unknown

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Stranger in YOUR House.

"The Stranger"

"A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example. Fran, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play 'big brother' and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors-- Mom taught me to love the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it.
But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening.
If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I: would often laugh or cry as I watched.
He was Iike a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. My brother and I were deeply impressed by John Wayne in particular.
The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn' t seem to mind-but sometimes Mom would quietly get up-- while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places-- go to her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.
You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house-- not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home - not even for cooking. But the stranger felt 1ike we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.
He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger,
As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.
More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents' den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name? 

We always just called him TV."
-Told by Keith Currie

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life
-Proverbs. 4:23

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Son!

The Son

A Story:

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier.
The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. 
A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.

He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.

The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears.
He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection On the platform sat the painting of the son.

The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?"

There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."
But the auctioneer persisted, "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"

Another voice shouted angrily, "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids! "But still the auctioneer continued, "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
"We have $10, who will bid $20?" "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters." "$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. 
"Going once, twice, SOLD for $10! 

A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the collection!" The auctioneer laid down his gavel, "I'm sorry, the auction is over."
"What about the paintings?"

"I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. 
Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"

God gave his Son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, "The Son, the Son, who'll take the Son?" Because you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything. 

*author unknown

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The yellow light

The light turned yellow, just in front of him.

He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection. The woman tailgating him was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, gesturing to the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the 'chrome-plated Christian fish emblem' on the trunk, so naturally ....

I assumed you had stolen the car."

Monday, October 31, 2016

Getting the Man right.

The following story is from the book:  "The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic" by Matthew Kelly.


Once upon a time there was a very successful business
owner. His company had faithfully served millions of customers
for many, many years. But lately, business had not been so good,
and his competitors were just waiting for him to fail. For weeks
and months, the man pondered the crisis, but the problems were
so complex, and solutions seemed nowhere to be found.
Everyone was wondering what would happen to this great
company, so finally the businessman announced that he was hosting
a dinner for all of his employees to unveil a plan that would
save the company and return it to its former glory. He wanted to
convey to them how important each person was to the future success
of the organization.

The morning of the dinner, he was sitting in his study at home
working on his speech, when his wife came in and asked if he
would mind watching their son for a few hours while she ran
some errands. He was about to say, “I really need to focus on finishing
my speech,” but something caught his tongue and he found
himself agreeing, reluctantly.

His wife had only been gone about ten minutes when there
was a knock on the study door, and there appeared his seven year-
old son. “Dad, I’m bored!” he exclaimed. The father spent
the next couple of hours trying to amuse his son while also trying
to finish his speech. Finally he realized that if he could not find
some way to entertain his child he was never going to get his
speech finished in time.

Picking up a magazine, he thumbed through the pages until
he came to a large, brightly colored map of the world. He ripped
the picture into dozens of pieces, and led his son into the living
room. Then, throwing the pieces all over the floor, he announced,
“Son, if you can put the map of the world back together I will
give you twenty dollars.”

The boy immediately began gathering the pieces. He was
keen to earn the extra money, as he needed just twenty more dollars
to buy a toy he had been saving for since his last birthday.
The father returned to his study, thinking he had just bought
himself a couple of hours to finish working on his speech, because
he knew his seven-year-old son had no idea what the map of the
world looked like.

But five minutes later, just as he was settling into his speech,
there was another knock on the study door. There stood the
young boy holding the completed map of the world.
The father said in amazement, “How did you finish it so
quickly?” The boy smiled and said, “You know, Dad, I had no
idea what the map of the world looked like, but as I was picking
up the pieces, I noticed that on the back there was a picture of
a man.” The father smiled, and the boy continued. “So, I put a
sheet of paper down, and I put the picture of the man together,
because I knew what the man looked like. I placed another sheet
of paper on top, then holding them tightly I turned them both
over.” He smiled again and exclaimed, “I figured, if I got the man
right, the world would be right.”

The man handed his son twenty dollars. “And you’ve given
me my speech for tonight.
If you get the man right, you get the world right.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Avoid Friendly Fire

I read about something interesting that happens at wartime called friendly fire. Friendly fire is when a soldier either purposely or accidentally shoots one of his fellow warriors. Sadly, this happens quite often on the battlefield.

One place this practice should not be taking place is inside the Church. In the book of Acts, Jesus told us to be His Witnesses in all the world, that is, to be His representatives (Acts 1:8). The mission He imparted on His followers is humbling and at times overwhelming. That is why it is so important to keep this mission in front of us at all times. It seems to me, that when Churches lose this mission, often times, they lose their way. This is generally when friendly fire takes place. When we start looking inward and stop looking outward.
Consider the most recent sporting event in which you attended. Who does all the yelling and screaming? The Fans!
The folks who are filling the seats, sitting comfortably, and watching ...
The players on the other hand, are busy. They are sweating, hurting, and engaged fully in the game. The players know they need their teammates to win and they support each other. In other words, no time for friendly fire when you are in the game.
Church, is it time that you wake up to your calling once again?
If we keep the main things the main things, a lot of our friendly fire will cease.  Let's face it, we have enough enemies already, we do not need to be fighting amongst ourselves.
If you agree, Share this post!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Satan has a plan

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.
In his opening address he said, "We can't keep Christians from going to church." "We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth." "We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their saviour." "Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken." 

"So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.." 

"This is what I want you to do," said the devil: "Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!" "How shall we do this?" his demons shouted. "Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered. "Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow." 

"Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles." "Keep them from spending time with their children." "As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!" "Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice." 

"Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive." To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly." "This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ." "Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers." "Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day." "Invade their driving moments with billboards." "Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.." 

"Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives..." "Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night." "Give them headaches too! " "If they don't give their husbands the love they need, they may begin to look elsewhere." "That will fragment their families quickly!" "Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas." 

"Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about his resurrection and power over sin and death." "Even in their recreation, let them be excessive." "Have them return from their recreation exhausted." "Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God's creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead." "Keep them busy, busy, busy!" "And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences. " "Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus." 

"Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause." "It will work!" "It will work!" It was quite a plan! The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there. 
Having little time for their God or their families. 
Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives. I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes? 

Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis.

You be the judge.
Does "BUSY" mean: 
B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?

Share it if you agree! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

I was dying ...

First I was dying to finish high school and start college
And then I was dying to finish college and start working
And then I was dying to marry and have children
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so they could go to school so I could go back to work
And then I was dying to retire

And now...

I am dying ... and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.


Make you think? Share this! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Poem: Father & Daughter

This humid Pennsylvania afternoon I laid my head to rest. 
My son Carmen, in his crib, lays sleeping so when he wakes, he will be his very best.

But something else.
Something more
Captured my attention on this lazy afternoon.
The compassion of a 3 year old, my daughter, was in full bloom.

I felt the touch of her small hands as I lay, 
And peaked with one eye so observe what I may.

Over to the corner to grab a warm, cozy, blanket she goes...
Covering dad, from his head down to his toes.

I sat still and watched her closely while hiding my face,
All the while inside of my chest sat a fluttering heart because of her grace.

There is something special about a father and his daughter, they say... 
It reminds us of a bit of heaven on earth, and that is what I experienced today.

Written for Isabella Grace.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Be like the Bee.

When it comes to what we do with the Bible, H. P. Parker gives this memorable story that points to the need for both knowing and applying Bible truth:
As I looked out into the garden one day, I saw three things:
First, I saw a butterfly. 
The butterfly was beautiful, and it would alight on a flower and then it would flutter to another flower and then to another, and only for a second or two it would sit and it would move on. It would touch as many lovely blossoms as it could, but derived absolutely no benefit from it. 
Then I watched a little longer out my window and there came a botanist. 
And the botanist had a big notebook under his arm and a great big magnifying glass. The botanist would lean over a certain flower and he would look for a long time and then he would write notes in his notebook. He was there for hours writing notes, closed them, stuck them under his arm, tucked his magnifying glass in his pocket and walked away. 
The third thing I noticed was a bee, just a little bee. 
But the bee would light on a flower and it would sink down deep into the flower and it would extract all the nectar and pollen that it could carry. It went in empty every time and came out full.
John MacArthur says, “Some Christians, like that butterfly, flit from Bible study to Bible study, from sermon to sermon, and from commentary to commentary, while gaining little more than a nice feeling and some good ideas. Others, like the botanist, study Scripture carefully and take copious notes. They gain much information but little truth. Others, like the bee, go to the Bible to be taught by God and to grow in knowledge of Him. Also like the bee, they never go away empty.”
Which is it for you?
Do you bounce around, fluttering from one thing to the next? Do you immerse yourself so much in study that you never lift your eyes up? Or are you the bee that drinks deeply; steadily, and then goes out spreading the joy of the Gospel?
If you are a bee, share this message! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Jesus Understands

Good morning, fellow Lepers

Joseph Damien was a nineteenth-century missionary who ministered to people with leprosy on the island of Molokai, Hawaii.

Those suffering grew to love him and revered the sacrificial life he lived out before them. 

One morning before Damien was to lead daily worship, he was pouring some hot water into a cup when the water swirled out and fell onto his bare foot. It took him a moment to realize that he had not felt any sensation. Gripped by the sudden fear of what this could mean, he poured more hot water on the same spot. Again, there was no feeling whatsoever. Damien immediately knew what had happened. 

As he walked to deliver his sermon, no one at first noticed the difference in his opening line. He normally began every sermon with, 'My fellow believers,' but this morning he began with... 'My fellow lepers.' 
                                                                               (Story told by Ravi Zacharias)

Damien could fully relate to the lepers because he became a leper. He knew personally the struggles that they faced. He could actually feel their pain. Let's think about Jesus for a moment. He was made like us and therefore understands the hurts we experience.  According to the book of Hebrews, we learn, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." 

I think I can speak for everyone in regards to our need for a Savior that identifies with our human struggles. Isn't it comforting to know that the frustrations we carry, the sorrows compounded in our hearts and even our failures can be understood by the God-Man, Jesus Christ?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mr. Destiny

Monday Morning Sermon Summary

Good day everyone!

This Sunday wrapped up our series on the first Psalm.  I opened the message reminiscing about one of my favorite movies when I was a kid, Mr. Destiny.  In the movie, Frank Burrows played by Jim Belushi had his total life altered one fateful baseball game when he struck out in the championship game during the bottom of the 9th.  With runners on base, he could have hit the ball, won the game, and then became a legend in that hometown.  This would have changed his destiny.

Like Frank Burrows we could change our destiny if we decide to do a few things.  The verses that I preached from this Sunday were:

V. 5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
V. 6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.
Image result for mr destiny
The first is to “know” God.  According to the Psalm, the, “Lord knows the way of the righteous.”  Let’s focus in on that word, “know” for a second.  In the Bible, the term “know” is often a term that brings a lot meaning.  It can mean:  Approves, or, has regard to” … Do you recall how the Bible describes Adam’s relationship with Eve in Genesis?  The Bible teaches that “Adam knew Eve.”  No need for a biology lesson here folks, the point is that they were intimate.  So when we read that, “the Lord knows the righteous” we have to understand that there is an intimate relationship established between them.  They share mutual affection.  This is a two-way street.  Step one:  get to know the Lord.

The second means to change your destiny is walking in the way of the Lord.  Notice that verse 6 uses the term, “way” twice.  The way or path one takes in life will reveal their lifestyle.  Jesus taught, Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.   See friends, at the end of the day there are only 2 destines available for you and I. You can either follow after the Lord or the lure of the world.  Jesus is clear that one road will be full while the other sparse.  The question is -what path are you currently on? 

If you circle back to verse 5 you will notice that the final destination of the wicked is bleak!  Standing in front of God will reveal whether you:   Know the Lord and have taken the narrow road.

As you read this you are like Frank Burrows standing at the plate in the bottom of the 9th, with men on base.  You have the opportunity to change your destiny!  May you thoughtfully and prayerfully consider doing so.

Monday, July 11, 2016

What are the the Habits of the Happy?

Monday Morning Sermon Summary!
This past Sunday I again preached on the first Psalm, this time focusing on verses 2 and 3. 
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”
I began the sermon by talking about people’s hobbies. Hobbies are things we usually do not get paid for; still we spend exorbitant amount of time, money, and energy on them. Why? It is because we love them. We lose ourselves in them, we lose track of time when engaging them. Our Psalm sheds light on the attitude of the happy man in terms of God’s Word. Notice that he “delights” in it.
His heart finds joy in it. He finds ways to spend time in God’s Word: Church, study, daily readings… This is not work for the blessed person, notice that it is a delight and NOT a duty! This is habit #1. Furthermore, we learn that after he delights -he meditates.This is the second habit.  He is not satisfied with a cursory reading of God’s Word, rather he spends his time dwelling on, chewing on if you will, the material that he reads. For the blessed person, they are more interested to have the Word get through them rather than them getting through the Word.  In fact, the Hebrew term for meditate is literally, “Hagah,” which means, “to moan.” Ever watch someone in deep thought? Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. You might hear them making that sound as they ponder what they are learning. This is the idea that the psalmist is presenting to us. What we find our delight in; we will spend our days thinking about. In short, our minds will follow our hearts. Now I have to be sure to make the point that the blessed man does not do all of this as an end to itself, no, he wants to know the Word of God so that he knows the God of the Word. This is his great aim. As it should be ours.
In the next verse, we have the beautiful picture of the person that delights in God portrayed as a fruitful tree that is planted by the water that will produce in its season. Several lessons are ready for us in this verse. The first is that the tree is not dead, it is growing. It is alive! In the same way, you and I should be growing in our faith. The next lesson is that this tree is giving in its season. We learn that the tree has fruit to give. It blesses others that walk by it by giving nourishment. Friend, do you bless others? Finally, the tree is grounded. It has roots that go deep in the ground to find the water. You can’t push over this tree -it is mammoth. 
The conclusion of the sermon had me sharing about the person in my life that encapsulated the blessed person talked about in Psalm 1. I spoke of my Italian grandmother, Nonnon. I reminisced of being a little boy and after I had slept overnight at her house I would often walk downstairs to find her at the dining room table reading her bible in Italian and watching her mouth the Scripture audibly. She was delighting and meditating on God’s Word. And if this world ever knew a person that was a spiritual Red-Wood, it was her.

Hope to see you Sunday!  

Monday, June 13, 2016

Walk. Stand. Sit.

Monday morning sermon summary! 

We kicked things off by discussing the difference between cat people and dog people; apparently our congregation is split right down the middle! 

Then, I called attention to Psalm 1, and we looked at how this Psalm splits the entire human race into two distinct groups:  the righteous and the wicked. 

The sermon focused on the first verse, where we read, 
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”

We spent some time discovering the rich meaning of the words and phrases starting with the term, “walk.”  To walk in this passage refers to a lifestyle; it is used in a way to describe a pattern in someone’s life.  In this case, the person is described as taking continual counsel from the wicked.  The first aspect we are to avoid is to take in continual unwise and ungodly counsel because garbage in is garbage out. We have to safeguard our minds!  
-Thoughts. Actions. Habits. Destiny.  
Our thoughts equal our actions.  Our actions equal our habits.  And our habits equal our destiny.  Friends I implore you to safeguard your mind!

The next step of regression is a stance with sinners.  Notice that at first you are occasionally taking counsel from the ungodly, now you are “standing” with them.  This is about being comfortable.  You have went from occasionally seeking unhealthy advice to being so comfortable that you are now in association with or abiding with those that you never thought you would find a likeminded spirit.

Finally, we find the person descending to a level where there is literally no distinction between the godly and ungodly.  The person has drank the poison and now is offering it to others!  They share the same worldview and outlook on life.  They have adopted the same outlook as the scoffer.  


This was Part 1 of our exploration of Psalm 1.  

Share it if you believe it! 
I hope to see you all next week as we open God’s Word again. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Why You Should Keep 1st Things 1st.

Good day friends!

I want to share something with you that I think you will enjoy.  It is my Monday Morning Sermon Summary!  Below is a summary of my sermon that was preached at Faith Presbyterian Church in Hermitage, Pa. 

I hope it blesses you.

This past Sunday we took a long hard look at why we should sweat the small stuff.  It is true that the small things indeed make up the BIG things!  It has been said that, “If you take care of the minutes, the hours will take care of themselves.”  Jesus taught this principle in Luke 16:10 when he said, “He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.” 

After establishing the point, I moved on to a leadership lesson called the, “Compass and the Clock” taught by the late Steven Covey.  The compass represents the BIG things, the things in your life that you value.  Aspects like: family, faith, friends, and career.  The clock represents the little things, how you live your actual life every day.  So if you want to be a happy person, you must first decide and then hold on dearly to the things you truly value.  Then, you must live in a way that is in alignment with that decision.  The reason why many are unhappy today is because their Compass and their Watch are out of whack.  There is not alignment with the BIG things (their values) and the small things (the way they actual live). 

During the sermon, I used an illustration with a young man that just graduated from high school.   I asked him to first fill a bowl with small rocks representing all the little things that fill our day:  text messages, emails, phone calls, TV shows, ETC.  Then, I asked him to try and add the large rocks in the bowl and he couldn’t.  The reason he could not is because the bowl was already filled with the little rocks!  This illustration powerfully shows why we must first decide on what we are going to really value in life, and then we must guard and protect those things.  If we start with the BIG rocks first, then we can order our lives around the things that matter the most. 

The text I used Sunday was from Luke 14. This is where Jesus is making the point that HE should be our BIGGEST rock of all.  In fact, His rock should be so BIG and so IMPORTANT, that in comparison to the other rocks; it should almost look like we hate them!  (Remember, Jesus was a great teacher and He knew how to make a point). 

In conclusion, this sermon was a real challenge for me.

Not just in the preparation, but a personal challenge to keep Jesus first in all things.  I hope it was for you too!