Time Flies


My weekly medicine organizer has seven slots for the morning and seven for the evening. I’m amazed how quickly the box gets emptied. Many would agree that the older you get the faster time flies. We are all being thrust into the future at sixty seconds per minute and sixty minutes per hour.

Do you recall the in Star Wars movies when a starship jumped to light speed? Harrison Ford would pull a lever in the Millennium Falcon, the stars would become streaks, and instantly they arrived at their destination!

At times, it seems the future is rushing at me at blinding speed. I vividly remember my High School graduation, the births of our two children and four grandchildren, and the beginning of each major chapter in my life. Whish! Decades fly by in my memory!

Reactions to facing the future are often characterized by apathy or anxiety. People respond with “Who cares!” or “Oh my!” Neither produces joy, so is there a joyful alternative?

The apostle Paul depicts life like a race, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Joy comes when you make knowing Christ the goal of your race through life into the future.

First, Paul showed us a healthy dissatisfaction. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own.” (Phil. 3:12) Joy comes when you know your goal is worth the investment of every ounce of energy you have to reach for it. He knew perfection would never be reached on earth, but in heaven perfection is certain.

Second, Paul demonstrated a healthy view of the past. “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and staining forward to what lies ahead.” Joy requires you to let go of the past. You can’t change the past, so instead of worrying about it, forget it.

We hang on to the past when we retain regret. Sure, I wish I had done some things differently, but there’s no joy in dwelling on them. Let it go. We hang on to the past when we remain resentful. Resentment does not hurt the person I resent, I am only hurting myself. Let it go.

Is your view of the future producing apathy, anxiety, or joy? Make Jesus Christ your finish line and lean hard toward the tape.

Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “HOW TO IN-JOY LIFE: Simple, but Difficult Steps.” Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.

Life’s Greatest Accomplishment

When I was about eight years old, my Dad entered me in the local “Punt, Pass, & Kick” contest. I didn’t really understand it, but I did it. I won a trophy! I still have it, I think, maybe it’s in a box in the attic. My Dad got me a horse, we joined a small, local riding club and they had competitions. I won a race! I got a trophy. I think it’s in that box too.

Like so many of you who read these articles, I’ve received my share of certificates, plaques, diplomas, and awards. They all pretty much collect dust in the attic, a shelf, or a closet now.

A friend and former co-worker of mine retired to Hot Springs Village. He told me as he met many of his neighbor that they were all “P.I.P.s” or “Previously Important People.”

I think most people who retire are glad to relinquish all the stress, pressure, and expectations. They are ready to stop being an “Important Person” and enjoy the later years of life with much less demanding activities. They want to do the things they have always dreamed of doing when work took up all their time.

So, if I’m on my deathbed, what really matters? When this life is all said and done, what will be my greatest accomplishment? Will it be the college degree, the mounted 10-point buck, or the proverbial “gold watch?” Probably not. Well, absolutely not!

The apostle Paul had a long list of accomplishments. He was the “best of the best” and the “most of the most” in his day. He could out-brag any of us.

But as he looked back on them, he said they were all rubbish. Now rubbish is a mild translation. Now how does a preacher say this without getting into trouble? I think you get the picture: sewage, garbage, poop!

His greatest accomplishment was knowing Christ Jesus as Lord! All other achievements become like a few grains of sand the wind blows away compared to the deep and wide ocean of knowing Christ.

You will live forever. How much joy will you experience from the certificates, plaques, diplomas, trophies, and awards if you spend eternity apart from the love of God? Zero, zilch, none!

Do you want real joy? Come to know and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Knowing him is the greatest accomplishment of life. If you do know Christ, joy comes from becoming more like him daily. Are you growing in Christ or retired from him too?

“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8 ESV

Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “HOW TO IN-JOY LIFE: Simple, but Difficult Steps.”

Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.

Take this Job and Love It

I have to admit, I hated the job. While working my way through seminary, I worked part-time on a night stocking crew at a grocery store. I had a bad attitude. Doing it only for the money, I took little pride in my work. I was a demonstration of how not to do it.

Is it even remotely possible that the words ‘job’ and ‘joy’ could coexist in the same sentence without someone rolling their eyes and saying, “Yeah, right!”

Paul said, “Work out your own salvation … for it is God who works in you.” (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV) In this context he uses words like “work” and “labor” alongside “be glad” and “rejoice.”

This verse has nothing to do with earning your salvation. You are saved by grace alone through faith. But once God works into you His salvation, then you are to work it out.

First, work your faith. God has worked in you his salvation, gifts, talents, and skills. Now work this potential out in your everyday life everywhere you go. Tragic it is to let gifts lay around going to waste, even if you are retired.

Second, faith your work. If you have a job, then put your faith to work at the workplace. Perhaps you see your job as a joy-stealer. But joy can be found in the most unlikely places if we will apply ourselves for a higher purpose than just making money.

So how do I find joy in work? After all, didn’t Adam and Eve sin in the Garden of Eden, get kicked out for bringing sin into the human race, and then punished by having to go to work? Not exactly. They did sin and brought sin’s curse on all of us sinners. But the punishment was not work. They were given work to do before they sinned, God placed them in the garden to “work it.” The curse of sin is the weeds and toil of working in a sin-tainted world, not the work itself.

Here’s seven ways joy can result from how we work. (Philippians 2:12-18)

Obey God at work. Apply God’s principles as you work. It will often be anti-cultural to do this, but it is the first source of joy. (v.12)

Work with an intense reverence for the real presence of an awesome God who gives you his amazing grace. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. (v.12)

Expect God to provide you everything you need to do his will at work, even the desire and energy to do it. (v.13)

Take muttering and calculated conniving out of your work conversations. Complaining only steals your joy and other’s joy. (v.14)

Be a bright light in a dark and crooked world. Remember the song, “Hide it under a bushel? No!” (v.15)

Memorize scripture and live it out at work. Don’t meditate on the negative (worry), meditate on Scripture. (v.15)

Do these things even if it requires you to sacrifice something, then rejoice. (vv.17-18)

Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “HOW TO IN-JOY LIFE: Simple, but Difficult Steps.”

Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.

Bad Customer Service

When the clerk at the store or the waiter at the restaurant provides poor customer service I have been upset and indignant. That is the natural thing to do.

I grew up in the customer service world. Ingrained into my psyche is to put the customer first. When I don’t get the service I was trained to give then I notice. Our natural inclination is to not care what another person thinks or what crisis they are going through.

But what if that inattentive clerk is trying to feed three kids at home, her husband has just abandoned her, and there’s too much month left at the end of the paycheck?

Real joy, that is, happiness not based on happenstance, does not come from acting from our natural inclination or demanding our own way.

What would it take for your joy to be complete? The apostle Paul in the “Joy Letter” to the Philippians said, “Complete my joy.” (Philippians 2:2) He gives several practices which will do that. Here’s one of them.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

Philippians 2:3

When I let pride be my guide, then it becomes all about me. Pride say, “I couldn’t care less what that clerk is thinking or feeling.” But the opposite of pride is humility, but what is it?

Humbling ourselves is not thinking we are a ‘zip,’ a ‘nobody,’ or a worthless person, but seeing others as valuable. It is not putting ourselves down, but building others up. It is not so much what you think of yourself, but what you think of others. It is not denying your strengths but being honest about your weaknesses.

In the Bible God gives more promises connected to humbling ourselves than any other activity except being generous. Humble people are promised God’s presence, power, and peace. God promises His prosperity and to honor those who choose humility over pride.

Our culture promotes just the opposite attitude. It screams, “indulge yourselves!” The popular Frank Sinatra hit exclaimed, “I did it MY way!”

What a surprising source of complete joy! Humility, who would have thought? Acting opposite of our natural inclination brings real joy.

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “HOW TO IN-JOY LIFE: Simple, but Difficult Steps.”

Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.

Gone Fishing

I have fished from a kayak, canoe, Jet Ski, little two-man pontoon boat, Ranger bass boat, charter boat off the gulf coast, while wading in a small stream, standing of the bank of Lake Balboa, and at a wilderness Canadian lake. Enjoying fishing didn’t depend on the kind of boat.

Can I have joy no matter the circumstances? We have all seen a person in a great situation but who has a terrible disposition. We have also witnessed someone with terrible circumstances but has a great disposition.

Even though he was chained to a Roman guard twenty-four hours a day and had lost his freedom and privacy, the apostle Paul had a lifestyle of joy no matter what.

How? He habitually lived seeing life from God’s perspective!

First, joy resulted when he looked through his circumstances and saw the results of what God was doing. “What has happened to me has served to advance the gospel,” Philippians 1:12. Amazingly, many guards he was chained to for two years became Christians, who told others, and even some of Caesar’s family believed in Christ. Also many of the believers were encouraged to be bold in their witness too.

Second, joy resulted when he looked beyond picky personalities and saw the plan God was carrying out. “Christ is proclaimed and I rejoice,” Philippians 1:18. Some folks didn’t like his preaching. Some people don’t like my preaching either. As long as Christ is proclaimed, Paul’s joy didn’t depend on people liking him. You do not have to have people’s permission or approval to be joyful!

Third, joy resulted when he looked past the temporary problem to his eternal purpose. Paul wrote the most joyful book in the Bible and said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” Philippians 1:21. He was facing execution. But he had a purpose in living and purpose in dying. Both brought him such joy, he didn’t know what to choose. “For me to live is __________.” What do you put in the blank? When you die will it be gain or loss?

Can good really come from bad circumstances? Can joy actually be yours no matter what? Look at the cross where Jesus died for you. Bleak circumstances of unimaginable suffering, ridiculing personalities flinging obscenities at him, and death with all its finality, yet he saw past all of this to Sunday, resurrection day, the victory, and in this he had joy because he did it for you.

Our source of joy is “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2

Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “HOW TO IN-JOY LIFE: Simple, but Difficult Steps.”

Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.