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July 25, 2017, 12:00 AM

SCATTERED STRANGERS


 

 

Have you ever felt as though the bottom has dropped out of life and you have nothing to stand on? Probably included in those thoughts is a sense of confusion. “This isn’t fair!” “Where is God?” “Have I done something to deserve this?” “I simply can’t go on like this!” These are just a few of the thoughts that scream at us and demand answers and explanation. However, so many times there simply isn’t any human explanation.

Simon Peter wrote to people in this kind of predicament. In fact, he calls them “scattered strangers” (1Peter 1:1). They were God’s people who were facing overwhelming persecution and adversity. What they were going through did not make sense. They lost property, homes, jobs, and many even lost their lives. It was all because they were Christians and dared live in a way that gave honor to Christ. Christ had not yet returned and discouragement would easily have been a companion in the dark days of pain and heartache.

They were scattered and they were also strangers. There is an old song that says, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.” This was the focus of Simon Peter’s message. The Christians were hurting, struggling, and they desperately needed hope. Simon wrote to remind them that while they suffered they weren’t home yet. They were travelling through. This world was not their final destination. Through the Spirit, Peter lifted their eyes above their circumstances so they could focus on the Savior. They had a living hope and the foundation of that hope was the Person, Jesus Christ. He had not abandoned them. He was present with them in every heartache. There wasn’t a tear that He did not know about. There wasn’t a broken heart that He did not feel. What’s more is that their suffering was not some meaningless experience but God had purpose in their pain that their human minds could not fully grasp. Strangers, yes, but not abandoned, not forsaken, nor forgotten!

Maybe your heart is also broken, shattered, and the road ahead seems dark, bleak, and lonely. As a child of God, you are not alone. You are not forsaken nor forgotten. Your tears are seen by the Lord and the ache in your heart is felt in the depths of His heart. The hope we have in Him is not dead religion, rituals, rules, and regulations. It is based on relationship and our Father will never leave us or forsake us. He will use your broken heart and your confusing circumstances. He will mold you, shape you, and through those difficult fiery trials He will polish you so that your life will deepen and reflect our Lord.

We, too, may be scattered strangers. However, in the depths of painful times, Jesus walks with us and, so often, carries us when our strength is gone. Lift up your eyes and focus on the Savior rather than the circumstances.

Larry




November 2, 2016, 7:36 PM

Impossible Times


Impossible times come to all of us. These are times when circumstances are such that we don’t have a clue as to how to continue on. Situations that are impossible can come from different areas of life. There are times of illness. Times of financial struggles often overwhelm us. Relationship issues also rise up to cause our hearts to grieve and bleed.

When we face impossible times our voices often become hoarse from crying out to God. The waterfall of tears that we shed seem bitter and never ending. There is also the sense of isolation, loneliness and we wonder why God doesn’t hear and answer.

The Hebrews faced an impossible situation when they left Egyptian slavery. God had led them to a place where, to human logic, they were in great danger. The Red Sea was in front of them and they could hear the thunder of the horses and chariots of Pharaoh as the Egyptians pursued them. They could not turn to either side and they certainly could not go ahead; humanly that is. They cried out in fear and lashed out in anger at Moses, God’s man.

While the Hebrews faced an impossible time, to God all things are possible. He had the Hebrews exactly where He wanted them. They were helpless in themselves but God was getting ready to demonstrate His power and glory in a special way. He rolled back the Red Sea and dried up the sea bed where His children could walk across to safely. He then brought judgment on the Egyptians and destroyed them.

In our impossible times we too are helpless. It is when we are helpless that God intervenes and rolls back the sea of adversity. He opens the way and He does so in ways that we could never even dream of. He loves us. He has not lost us. He knows exactly where we are and He still has the power to overcome the impossible.

At Buckner we have been studying on Sunday’s of God’s work in delivering the Hebrews. These are the ways in which we have looked at their journey and have applied the principles of the Word to our own lives: Pressing On in Impossible Times, Hope in Impossible Times, Standing Firm in Impossible Times, and Deliverance in Impossible Times. As the Scriptures teach, nothing is too hard for God.

 




June 11, 2016, 1:17 PM

RECOVERING


I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet (right) for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart…. (Philippians 1:3–7 KJV)

 

Mary and I want to thank all of you for your prayers and encouragement over the past several weeks. Your prayers have made a huge difference. Many of you have encouraged us by telling us that you pray that our unexpected time away from you would be a time of healing and rest. Your checking on us by calls, visits, and texts have been blessings. We deeply miss all of you and hope to see you soon.

I was told that my heart attack was the result of stress. One of my physicians was very plain with me and said that the heart attack was a warning and that I need to reduce my stress level. He gave suggestions as to how to do this but I did not like what I heard. Both of my physicians have talked to me about the stress level of pastoring. To reduce my stress means that I will have to make changes in the way I pastor.

I know some of you are anxious that you have not seen us lately. Some of you have even wondered why we have not been in service with you. It certainly hasn’t been because we haven’t wanted to be. We think of you and pray for you every day. While I have made good progress physically and am growing stronger, I am following the guidance of my physician to lessen stress in order to make a full recovery so that I can be used as God wills. I know me. I know my pastor’s heart. I could not be with you without wanting to hear your troubles, burdens, and heartaches. I could not be with you, even just sitting in worship, without mentally and emotionally getting involved in the needs and struggles of the church. As much as I care for you and want to be with you, my physical heart needs rest from that right now. Just knowing your anxiety about our absence increases my blood pressure. I still have healing to do.

However, we will see you soon. I am in cardiac rehab and I am depending on the work of the Holy Spirit to strengthen me for the Lord’s work. We will see you soon. Right now I could not stand in the pulpit to deliver a message. Many days are filled with chronic fatigue. However, if I can improve in strength through the Lord, I hope I can be back in the pulpit the first Sunday in August. It will depend on many factors but this is my goal. My rehab will take about two months.

Please understand that everything will be all right. God is in control and what is happening is part of His plan. He has purpose in all of this. Somehow we will all be better and deeper for going through this. I will tell you more about that when I preach the first Sunday in August.

I appreciate Bruce, Gary, and Seth for stepping in and faithfully delivering God’s Word. God has certainly blessed the church with these powerful men of God.

Mary has been my rock. She has stood by me and with me and God has blessed her with a special strength that is healing. While we were close before the heart attack I think God has used the event to deepen our relationship. Yes, she has had to line my wheels a few times.

By the way. If you want to know how things are going with us, don’t hesitate to call, visit, or text us. Thank you for being the wonderful people of God you are. You are an encouragement to us.

 

Larry




February 16, 2016, 7:10 PM

The Thorn in the Flesh


Current Sermon Series: “Living Among Thorns"

Text: 2Corinthians 12:7-10

 

Paul dealt with what he called a “Thorn in the Flesh.” You and I also deal with thorns. Sometimes it seems as though we not only deal with one thorn but we feel as though we are living in a briar patch.

 

Hard times are extremely painful and as Paul wrote about his experience, we find in the Word answers to three specific questions. First, “What is the reason for the thorn?” When we suffer it is only natural to ask, “Why?” In the text, two answers jump out at us to show us that there is purpose for the thorns in life. God wants us to “Depend on Him” and He wants us to “Deepen in Him.” The second question is, “What is the response to the thorn?” How does the Christian respond to the sharp wounds of the thorn? Paul’s response to his thorn shows us how to respond to ours. We have the opportunity to “Talk to the Lord about the thorn” and we have the opportunity to “Trust the Lord with the thorn.” Finally, the third question can be put this way. “What is the result of the thorn?” What does the Lord accomplish in us through our experiencing the thorn in the flesh? The Lord uses the thorn to give us a different perspective and outlook about life. As He deepens us and as we trust Him more we “Live in the Power of the Lord” and we “Live in the Praise of Lord.”

 

The central thought in all of 2Corinthians is the Lord’s words, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” In Him we have all we need to deal with pain and struggle. In Him we have hope and happiness. In Him we have real life.




July 4, 2015, 4:52 PM

Marriage


With the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that legalizes same sex marriage in all 50 states, some important principles and responses need to be reaffirmed.

First, all people are valuable to God and have worth in His eyes. Having the character of Christ, all Christians should love everyone and treat everyone in a Christ like manner without regard to race, gender, culture, religion, ethnicity, background, or lifestyle.

Second, The Buckner Baptist Church believes that marriage is between one man and one woman and that this is the only Biblical standard.

Third, as a pastor and minister of the gospel I will not perform marriage ceremonies for same sex couples. I will not comply with any ordinance or law that demands I perform such ceremonies.

Fourth, the Buckner Baptist Church will not comply with local, state, or federal governmental ordinances or laws that would attempt to force the Buckner Church to recognize same sex marriage. Neither will the church comply with any ordinance or law that attempts to force the church to allow the use of any and all facilities for same sex weddings or ceremonies.

Finally, liberty of conscience and freedom of religion have been fundamental to the foundation of this nation and must be preserved as rights given not simply by human governement but by the Lord Himself, Who is the Geat Judge and Final Authority. We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29.)

- Larry F Mitchell


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