Preaching by Mike
Feb. 8, 2022
He Was Hated...
He was hated because he spoke against the status quo.
He was hated because he spoke against the intellectual elites.
He was hated because he worked hard regardless of what day of the week it was.
He was hated because he had compassion for the weak.
He was hated because his opinions and remarks were not mainstream.
He was hated because he stood up against taking advantage of the poor.
He was hated because of his dedication to God.
He was hated because he didn't just talk about the evils of the world, he did something against those evils.
He was hated because of his dining habits.
He was hated for who he associated himself with.
He was hated for standing up against those who claimed an unofficial authority over you.
He was hated for putting others ahead of himself.
He was hated for encouraging people to stretch beyond the here and now, and look to the future.
He endured these attacks of hatred virtually on a daily basis for a period of over three years. Yet, he endured unto the end.
There are times when someone is remembered for why they were loved, but there are times when they are remembered for why they were hated. Hate is a very strong and destructive emotion. Love is also a very strong emotion, however the end result is most often for the betterment of the one who is loving.
Why so much hatred for one individual? Could the reasons I have mentioned also be considered attributes rather than stains? It is all in your perspective.
The question now arises: About whom was I speaking? Some would say I was speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ. Which is true, yet not entirely. There is another who is hated for the same reasons. After some careful consideration, could you not relate this list to former President Donald Trump? He has lived through all of them, so why not?
Aren't we as Christians to become Christlike? As we say in the South, you gotta take the grease with the gravy. What is perceived as an attribute by some is considered a stain by others.
I'll just call them "gravy stains" and wear them with honor to the fact that I have dined well.
Respectfully and humbly submitted,
Dec. 18, 2021
Sometimes we encounter subtle adversities that we weren't prepared to answer properly. There is a fellow that follows my service at Andover who brings a Catholic service for the devouts in residence, many of whom attend the service I administer.
He is usually there early enough to catch the latter moments of my sermon as he listens just outside the Chapel. As we were exiting last Sunday, he attempted to glorify me and the ministry that the Lord has given me. He asked if I saved anyone today. I told him I have never saved anyone, that belongs to only Jesus Christ.
He related my ministry to that of John the Baptist and his call for preachers. I reiterated that I will take no glory for myself and that all glory belongs to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. He appeared to be unable to grasp what I was telling him.
As I was headed to my next ministry, a quote from John the Baptist occurred to me: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) It is not now, nor has it ever been about me. It is 100% about Jesus Christ.
Religious people have difficulty with this concept. Since they have busied themselves attempting to please God, they believe they have "bragging rights" for their dedication. The Word of God is clear that no one has boasting rights either here or in eternity.
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 4:12) Context is extremely important with this verse. The verses before and after make it clear that everything has been done for us by God through Jesus Christ. So, what is the proper response to this accounting?
Lord, I have nothing. I have nothing but You, for You have done it all to glorify Yourself. May God have ALL glory, honor and praise.
Sep. 19, 2021
The Lord drops illustrations right in our lap, if we just have the unscaled eyes to see them.
Thursday, I knew the press helper on the Speedmaster (press) had no money & no lunch for the evening. So, even though I had brought my lunch, I made a quick run to Sam's Club and scored a pizza for him and the other guys.
Friday as I was carrying a carton of envelopes to shipping, I noticed some clown had left a pallet with a carton of paper on it right in the aisle. Since I was going to return with a skid of envelopes, I asked the press helper if he could move that pallet out of the aisle for me.
His response? "I didn't put it there," and sat in a chair and played on his phone.
Yes, it annoyed me. So I moved it on my return trip.
Then I got to thinking. Is he not like many Christians today. It isn't like I could or would take the pizza back, but a little demonstration of appreciation would have been in order. It was a small request, was it too much to ask?
God through Jesus Christ, has given us eternal life, and will never take it back. Is it too much to ask to even mention his Name or perform some small act of kindness to demonstrate our love for what He has done for us?
When the opportunity comes along, just do it ... for Him.
May. 13, 2021
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King was so right about this. Observe the benefit of character over the color of skin. Is there anything an individual can do about the color of their skin? Absolutely not. What about the content of their character, is that adjustable? Absolutely.
I remember years ago the Saint Louis Cardinals trading Garry Templeton for San Diego Padres' Ozzie Smith. Both were great shortstops, but which got the better deal? Some say San Diego because Templeton had a better batting average. I argue the opposite. Templeton had a bad attitude and picked fights with the players, fans and staff. Smith was a breath of fresh air! His positive attitude, enthusiasm, and being a team player had an enormous positve effect on the Cardinals.
Recently Tim Tebow was signed to the Jaguars, not as quarterback, but as a tight end. Colin Kaepernick has yet to be signed anywhere. Why is this? Content of character. Tebow has a positive influence where ever he goes. With Kaepernick there is nothing but grief.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Brandon Burlsworth who was a walk on for the Arkansas Razorback football team. Hard work, excellence in academics, and positive attitude not only earned him a scholarship, but the love of his fans, players and staff. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and had a phenomenal effect on the team. He never played a game as he was tragically killed in an automobile accident.
I have pointed out the positive content of character of three athletes, but what do they have in common? All three of them are and were solid, born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the basis of empirical evidence, a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the most positive character building process that could ever come upon any human being. I could not find any faith affiliation for Templeton so that doesn't speak well of atheism. Kaepernick is a Muslim, so that doesn't speak well of Islam.
The positive, wholesome and good content of character is found in Jesus Christ and all you have to do to get in on it is to BELIEVE.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.