Thursday, March 31, 2016

Technology, Church, And The Spirit

One Sunday morning recently here at New Calvary Baptist Church, we had some technical problems with our computer.  Because of that, we were not able to use PowerPoint for putting the words to our songs and the outline for my sermon up on the wall for everyone to see.  For a brief couple of moments, a few of us felt a little bit of panic.  Then we put together a quick plan for leading the service without the technological assistance we normally use.  When the service started, I welcomed everyone and said this from the pulpit:  "Now folks, I do apologize in advance for us having some technical problems today.  But here's the good news:  When Pentecost broke out in the New Testament times, they didn't have a sound system or PowerPoint and God still moved in a powerful way.  So I think He can also move and bless our time together today as well!"  Several folks laughed, nodded in agreement, and gave a hearty "Amen!"  

Look, I appreciate technology and see what a help it can be.  We use it weekly as a tool in our worship times.  And I am totally at peace with that.  But I think if we're not careful as worshippers in the 21st century, we can fall headfirst into the trap of relying too much on technology and too little on God's Holy Spirit.

In a day and time where churches spend thousands and thousands of dollars on sounds systems, projectors, computer software, smoke machines, and other gadgets, we must remember that we need the presence of the Lord when we gather for worship more than we need anything else.  When His Spirt is present and accounted for, meaningful, incredible, mind-blowing, life-changing things can happen.  And real powerful worship can take place.

Yes, there is a place for technology in the church.  Let's just be careful to keep it in perspective.  What matters most of all is that the Holy Spirit is unleashed and moving freely in the room where everyone has gathered.  That's the top priority when it's time for worship.

We can have good worship without technology, but we can't have it without the Spirit.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Church In Oswego

I was working a funeral today in Oswego, SC.  A beautiful, old church is where it took place.  Before the service got started, I was handing out bulletins to people in the parking lot.  As I approached one elderly gentleman and handed one to him, he looked at me and said, "No need to hand me one of these.  I can't read."  By the grin on his face, I could tell he was just kidding.  I replied, "That's ok, just take one anyway and enjoy the picture on front.  It's beautiful."  He quickly looked at me and said, "I know it is.  I'm the one who painted it!"  It turned out, he was telling me the truth that time.  As a talented artist, he painted a picture of the church, and the church posted it on the front of the bulletin.
 
I was stunned.  That was news to me.  Nobody had told me he was an artist.  And I was sure glad I had spoken positively about the picture! 
 
It was just another reminder for me of this truth:  When it comes to dealing with people, we often don't realize who we're dealing with.  Usually there is way more to people than what meets the eye.  Beneath the surface of what we see, there are layers of uniqueness.
 
What should we do about it?
 
[1]  Take the time to get to know people.  Ask questions, listen, and build a connection with folks you meet.  When you and I slow up and do this, we may be amazed at what we discover in people we meet.  The external appearance of people does not tell us everything about who they are and what they're about.  
 
[2]  Remind yourself at how awesome God is for knowing people inside and out.  God sees, hears, and knows things that we don't.  He is fully aware of everything about everyone.  It takes time for us to get acquainted and learn about people.  God, on the other hand, already knows them thoroughly.  That means He's awesome.  And that means He's way more qualified than us for sizing people up and passing judgement on them.
 
I'm glad I met the artist.  He's one neat guy.  And I'm really glad that when it comes to all of us, there's usually way more than what people see on the surface.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Rewind - 2016

*  It's been a good Easter Sunday here in Sumter, SC.
 
*  The Easter Bunny left gifts for the kids in the living room.  Plenty of candy was around, and a few other little things.  They seemed to have fun with that.
 *  Before Sunday School this morning, we all met in the front yard of New Calvary Baptist Church for scripture, prayer, and a song.  It was a special few moments for us as we kicked off a meaningful Sunday together.
*  A good sized crowd came out for our 11:00 am worship service.  It was great to see everyone gather as one.
*  Joy did a really nice job planning out this service.  Lots of special music celebrating Jesus.  It was a great time of worship!
 
*  The sermon I preached was entitled "Down And Back Up Again" and the scripture was 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.  Here was my outline:
Verse 3 - A sacrifice was made.
Verse 4 - An arising took place.
 
*  I talked about the resurrection of Jesus and what difference it makes in our lives today.
 
*  Folks looked good today.  Shirley's hat was great!  And Emerson's bow tie was mighty sharp too. 
 
*  We had no evening service tonight at the church.   This was so people could spend extra time with family on such a special day. 
 
*  I'm glad we have a risen, living Savior!
*  Because He lives, He is worthy of our worship and deserving of our trust.
 
*  It's been a good day.  Easter of 2016 will be remembered around here as a positive one.  God's been kind, and I am thankful.
 
*  That's it for tonight.  Plenty of new blog posts will be posted this week.  I hope you find them helpful and encouraging.
 
May God bless you and yours!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Wonderful Williston Wedding Weekend

It's been quite a fun couple of days.  Actually, it's been a wonderful Williston wedding weekend.  Here is the story and a few pictures.

From 2002-2009, I served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Williston, SC.  I loved that church and they were good to our family.  While we were there, we knew a young girl named Megan.  She was a great kid.  Well, since then, she grew up, met a good Christian guy, and got engaged to be married.  After he proposed, she called and asked me to come officiate her wedding.  I quickly agreed to do it, and I'm glad I did.  We travelled to Williston yesterday, and we returned home to Sumter tonight.

Here is the church I used to pastor.  It's a beautiful, old building that stands in the middle of town.  It's been neat to see it again.  I snapped this picture this morning.
This is where we lived during our Williston years.  I rode by it today, and all kinds of good memories flooded my mind while seeing it.  It was a nice home for us.
The wedding ceremony went well.  They wrote their own vows and picked their own scriptures.  The music was very well done.  And it was just a worshipful experience.  I'm happy for Megan and Brandon, and I appreciate them asking me to officiate their service.  After the ceremony, we got a quick picture taken together.  They're a fine, young, Christian couple, and I wish them well.
Their reception took place at Megan's home.  Her parents had big, beautiful tents brought in and set up.  It was decorated very nicely, and everyone had a ball.  It's one of the coolest receptions I've ever attended.
Lara and the girls went to the wedding too.  They got all prettied up before the service, and of course I snapped a quick picture of them.  Needless to say, they all were happy for Megan, and they enjoyed visiting friends from Williston.
We stayed with James and Mary.  They were really good friends of our family while we lived there.  They're special people, and have always been good to us.  Before we left town, Emerson got a picture taken with them. 
It really was a great couple of days.  I deeply appreciate Megan and Brandon including us in their big moment.  And I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a bunch of friends who will always mean a lot to our family.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Listening To The Sermon

So it's Sunday morning.  You're sitting there in the pews and the pastor is getting ready to preach.  It's time for the sermon. 
 
Here are some things to remember at this moment...
 
[1]  Whisper a prayer.  Ask God to give the pastor the words that need to be spoken.  And ask God to speak into your heart through the message.
 
[2]  Do your part.  To maximize those message moments, choose to tune in, pay attention, and listen to whatever message there is in store for you that day.  This requires effort.  When it comes to sermon time, you'll get out of it whatever you choose to put into it.    
 
[3]  Look closely at the scripture.  God's Word is rich, and you'll find something special in there for you.  You may find a promise to claim, an example to follow, or a command to obey.  Don't just sit passively while the preacher talks.  Open up the Bible for yourself and follow along while the sermon is being preached.  And always check to see if what the pastor is saying can be backed up with God's Word.
 
[4]  Ask yourself the "So what?" question.  In other words, ask yourself, "So what should I do in response to this sermon?"  This has to do with being a "doer" instead of just a "hearer."  Make up your mind to live out what you have just taken in.  Respond to what God says to you during the sermon.
 
I firmly believe these four practices will help us all have a positive experience while listening to the sermon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Wash

Covered in pollen.  That's what this car was the other day.  And I was about to take it for a spin. 
Because I was about to drive it around town, I wanted to wash it and make it clean.  To get it looking better was my goal.  So I grabbed the water hose and went to work.
After I worked on it, the car looked much better.  The pollen was gone.  Its appearance was as good as new.  And all was well.
As I saw the water wash the pollen away, I thought about how God's forgiveness washes our sins away.  All of our iniquity is removed and we are made clean.  Just like that car looked better, our hearts can look better too.
 
"Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from all my sin."  That's what David prays in Psalm 51:2.  Then in verse 7 of that same chapter, he makes this request:  "wash me and I will be whiter than snow."  Twice, David asks God to wash away his sin.  He understands that is the only way his soul will ever be cleansed.
 
The power and penalty of sin can be washed away.  And the shame you feel over sin can be washed away too.  All of that can be removed by God. 
 
Have you done wrong?  Confess it to God and repent of it.  Then let God wash your heart and make it clean.  He can fix you up and make you right.
 
No matter who you are, where you are, or what you've done, let God scrub your heart and change your life.  He can fix you up in a good way.  And you will forever be blessed because of it.  
 
"If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness." 
1 John 1:9 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Weekend Rewind - 3/21/16

*  Friday night was good fun for all ages here at New Calvary Baptist Church!  Pine Grove Baptist Church, out of Lugoff, came over with their puppet ministry and knocked everyone's socks off.  With a mixture of black lights, music, and various types of puppets, people were led in a time of worship that was all about Jesus.  It was a neat experience that we won't soon forget.
*  An excited crowd was in attendance.  There were all ages, from kids to senior adults. 
*  Afterwards, we all went outside for a cookout.  There was plenty of food for everyone.  EJ brought the "big man grill" and fixed a ton of hotdogs.  And a big group of kids had fun running around and playing in the yard. 
*  The kids, a buddy, and I went to see Disney's "Zootopia" on Saturday night.  It was animated, but very well done.  And it was a good reminder about not being prejudiced towards different groups.  We all had a good time watching it at The Beacon.
 
*  On Sunday I continued leading our study through the book of James.  My morning sermon was "He's God And We're Not" and the scripture was James 4:11-17.  Here were my two main points:
[1]  God Is The Judge
[2]  God Knows The Future
 
*  Yep, believe it or not, a Baptist sermon actually can be preached without three points.  Ha!  :)
 
*  I enjoyed the choir special in the morning service.  It was really worshipful.
 
*  In the evening service, I did something a little different.  It wasn't so much a sermon as I was just a walk through the scripture about the crucifixion of Christ.  Since it was Holy Week, we needed to revisit the cross of our Savior. 
 
*  Our church council had a good meeting afterwards.  I like how this group gets together and plans out a calendar for every month.  It's a good way for leaders to communicate and get all the ducks in a row.  I'm definitely a fan of having a church council in the church!  It's a great help.
 
*  The best video I've watched lately:  We have two guys from Lithuania here on our Gamecocks basketball team.  They've been here four years.  And their moms recently flew all the way over here to see them play for the first time in America.  This short video about their reunion and their first time in America is really something to watch.  You'll enjoy this for sure.  Just click HERE.
 
*  Easter is coming up in just a few days.  Between now and then, may we all be mindful of the cross.  And may we spend time thanking Jesus for how He stood in our place and took our punishment.  What an awesome Savior He is!
 
*  That's it for now.  New blog posts will be posted this week.
 
May God bless you and yours today!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Endured It

One day I was playing golf with some pastors in North Carolina.  The weather was not good at all.  And I was playing awful.  We pushed through, however.  And after 18 holes, I was glad to be done.  As we were leaving, one of my pastor friends looked at me, shook my hand, and said, "Well, endured it."  Notice he didn't say "Enjoyed it."  He just "endured it."  In fairness to him, I felt the same way.

There are some difficult seasons of life we have to endure.  "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus" is what Paul says to the young pastor in 2 Timothy 2:3.  Adversity creeps into the life of everyone from time to time, and we do have to be strong and hang in there.

But for the most part, I don't want to endure life.  I want to enjoy it!  And I bet you do too.

Let's choose to enjoy life.  

We can do this by...

[a]  Counting our blessings.
[b]  Looking for the good in every situation.
[c]  Remembering that tough times are temporary.
[d]  Appreciating the simple things of life.
[e]  Finding pleasure in God's presence.
[f]  Keeping in mind Heaven awaits us. 

Life.  It's a blessing.  And it can be more than something we endure.  Far more.  We can actually enjoy it.  So let's choose to do that by looking to God and staying close to Him.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Pollen Of Sumter

The 2016 season of pollen here in Sumter, SC has been amazing.  Never in my life have I seen so much of it.  Everywhere we look, there is this yellow substance.

It gathers on the ground.
It gathers on vehicles.
It makes eyes water and noses sneeze.

Do you know how many people I've heard say they are happy about pollen?  None.  Zero. 

And yet, pollen serves a purpose.  As it passes from the male part of a flower (the stamen) to the female part (the pistol), it enables new flowers and plants to grow.  A floral website tells us "without pollination a flower cannot reproduce." 

We were in a prayer meeting on Wednesday morning of this week when I suddenly felt led to thank God for the pollen.  Why?  Even though it messes up cars and stirs up allergy problems, it also leads to the creation of new plant life and beauty.  The end result is truly wonderful.

Some things we experience in life are not very pleasant in the early stages.  They can try our patience for a season.  But the end result can be fantastic and beautiful.  Much like pollen, difficulties can lead to something great eventually.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul encouraged us to "give thanks in all circumstances."  We can always find something for which to be thankful.  Even when it comes to pollen, we can have a heart full of gratitude.  Why?  Because God has a perfect agenda, and He can bring something wonderful out of something difficult. 

Always remember to count your blessings and give thanks to your Heavenly Father.  He's doing something good even when it may not seem like it.  He has a plan in mind, and He works things out for the right reason, in the right way, at the right time.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekend Rewind - 3/14/16

*  Last night was a special one here at New Calvary Baptist Church.  We had a sharing time called "Joys, Concerns, And Stories".  People in the congregation were free to stand up and share what was on their hearts.  It was kind of like "open mic night" here at the church.
 
*  "Joys" had to do with the good things God has been doing in their lives.  "Concerns" had to do with prayer needs.  "Stories" had to do with testimonies.  And lots of people shared from their hearts. 
 
*  There were tears.  And there was laughter.  It was just a good night.  I did have a sermon ready to preach, but I ended up not doing it.  We spent the whole time sharing with each other, and I'm glad we did.  It was a positive experience for the church family.
 
*  In the morning service, I preached a message entitled "The Wonder Of Humility" out of James 4:1-10.  Here was the outline for the message.
Verses 1-3 :  We need God's provision
Verse 4 :  We need God's friendship
Verse 6-10 :  We need God's grace
 
*  We started studying James as a church family on the second Sunday of this year.  We've gone verse by verse through this book every week since then.  This coming Sunday we will be looking at the final few verses of chapter 4, and then we will spend the next few weeks in the last chapter.
 
*  James is such a powerful and practical book!  It's all about growing up spiritually in the Lord and how to live the Christian life on a daily basis. 
 
*  We all were excited yesterday to learn we are over 50% of the way towards reaching our goal for this year's Annie Armstrong Offering, which is for home missions.  I'm always proud of how this church gives to missions.  They set lofty goals and reach them every time.  Way to go, church family! 
 
*  My youngest brother, Wyman, will be here at New Calvary May 1-4.  He will be preaching our revival services.  I'm really excited about this.  Should be a good time of worship, renewal, and fellowship here at the church.
 
*  Another fun part of this past weekend was my son's birthday.  The boy turned 11. 
 
*  We had a party for him here at the house.  He and the 6 boys he invited over played outside for a while.  Then we fed them pizza and a Carolina Gamecock cookie cake that was made at the mall.
  *  Then, I teamed up with a good buddy and took the boys to Hiwire in Columbia.  They jumped on the trampolines and had a blast.  We enjoyed watching them.
*  Happy Birthday to my Emerson!
*  Looking forward to a good week.  There's plenty to do here at New Calvary, and the family will keep busy too.
 
*  God bless you and yours this week.  I hope it's a great one for you all!

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Father Or The Brother?

I read about a young man who had a rebellious streak.  He lived wild and hard for a little while.  What mattered to him was his own happiness and pleasure.  For a season he was away from his family as he engaged in all sorts of immoral activity.  Then, one day, he came to his senses.  He realized this kind of living was not at all what he had hoped it would be.  He was filled with shame and misery.  So he decided to go back to his family.

His dad was thrilled he came home.  He hugged the young man, put nice clothes on him, gave him some valuable jewelry, and threw a big party in his honor.  The dad just wanted to celebrate his son's return. 

His brother, on the other hand, did not respond the same way.  He was bitter against the young man for his wild living.  So bitter, in fact, that he didn't go to the party and he didn't celebrate the return.  With a sour heart, he stayed away from the recently returned rebel. 

Here we see two different reactions to the same young man.  The father showed grace and forgiveness.  The brother fumed over the rebel's awful behavior and kept his distance. 

As I reflect on that story, I realize I have a choice when it comes to dealing with rebels who fail morally.  When they come back to their senses and return to the fold, I can either be like the father or the brother.  If I'm like the father, I celebrate their return.  And I show them love and grace.  If I'm like the brother, I look down my nose at them and hold on to negative thoughts and feelings over what they did wrong.  I refuse to be happy about them making things right.  And I keep my distance from them. 

I hope I can be more like the father when I deal with people who fail.  I want to be a grace guy who rejoices when fallen sinners return to the fold.  And I hope, with help from above, that I'm not like the brother.  Man, I sincerely hope not!  I don't want to be the kind of guy that writes people off and tosses them to the curb when they fail.  If I am like that, may God forgive me and help me to do better. 

The father lifts up.  The brother tears down.  The father is about grace.  The brother is about condemnation.  Which one are you most like?  The father or the brother? 

May God help you and me be like the father when we deal with people who make a real mess of things.  May we have a warm heart full of grace for people who fail.  That's how God treats us.  And that's how we should treat each other.

P.S.  If you want to read the story about the rebellious young man for yourself, just click HERE.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Foot Stomping', Hollerin' Preacher

I recently enjoyed a visit with a good pastor I've known and liked for years.  During our time together, he told me that a guest preacher filled his pulpit for him one day.  He was a "foot stompin', hollerin'" type of preacher who had a lot of volume and fire.  After the service was over, one of the members came up to my pastor friend and said this:  "Wow, that was some good preaching, wasn't it?!  We need more of that type of preaching around here!"

First of all, that's just rude to say.  Really, it is.  Imagine if your pastor came to your place of employment, observed someone fill in for you, and then commented to you, "Wow, that was some good work, wasn't it?!  We need more of that type of performance around here!"  My guess is you would be a little offended and maybe even hurt by that.  So is it any wonder that it may be hurtful to a pastor when he hears this type of talk?

As for the foot stompin', hollerin' preaching style, I'll offer a little food for thought:  It's always a good idea to focus more on the content of a sermon than the style in which it is delivered.  Pay more attention to what he says than how he says it.  There are some guys (not all) in the pulpit who yell, get red in the face, pour gallons of sweat, strut around, and point their finger but have weak material that is full of repetition and empty clich├ęs.  Some guys (not all) raise their voice on Sundays to sound authoritative and strong in the attempt to compensate for a lack of preparation and study during the previous days.

I am not elevating one style over another.  Not at all.  If God made you more of a "yeller", then be who you are.  If you're more conversational and low-key, be who you are as well.  Nobody should be fake or put on a show in the pulpit.  But remember to put your main emphasis on solid material that is biblical, relevant, and Christ-honoring.  That matters much more than how loud you get.

I felt bad for my pastor friend.  And I remembered this statement from years ago:  "If you want a better pastor, pray for the one you've got."  Amen to that!  Maybe your pastor doesn't do everything exactly the way you like.  If that's the case, remember that he's a normal human being just like you.  And rather than wound him with subtle, verbal jabs, pray for him and encourage him.  Give him time to grow and catch on.  You're not perfect at your work, so be fair and realistic in what you expect of him with his work.

I've been pretty fortunate.  Nobody has said anything hurtful like that to me in a few years.  No, I'm not dumb enough to think everyone likes my preaching.  I'm sure some folks don't.  But that's ok.  I am just fortunate in that I'm surrounded by folks who are loving, patient, and supportive.  So I have no complaints at all about my situation.  These people are good to me.

But some pastors out there are hurting.  They take a beating on a regular basis.  And in some cases, it is most certainly not deserved.

What church are you a part of?  Wherever it is, please be considerate to your pastor.  Pray for him.  Encourage him.  Point out the things he does well.  Be patient and show grace when he doesn't measure up to your expectations.  You're not perfect, so don't expect him to be perfect either. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Message At Pizza Lane

I was enjoying a salad recently at Pizza Lane when it caught my eye.  While sitting in my booth, I glanced to my left and saw a message someone had written on the wall with a marker.  It was in memory of a loved one.  This was what I saw:

"This was my mom's favorite restaurant. 
We sat here in October 2013. 
She died 3 months later of cancer. 
RIP Josie."

What a sobering reminder.  We can be here today and gone tomorrow.  Death comes knocking and it will not be denied.

Here are a few thoughts on death...

[1]  Death is inevitable.  Unless Jesus comes back first, you and I both are going to die some day.  It will happen.  "It is appointed unto men once to die" is what Hebrews 9:27 tells us.  Ecclesiastes 3:2 is where we read there is "a time to be born and a time to die."  In 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."  We are not bulletproof.  Sooner or later, we all are going to die.

[2]  Death does not have to find us lonely.  In my work, I've seen some sad situations.  More than once, I've been called to a home where a body was found that had been dead for a couple of days without anyone knowing about it.  I doubt any of us want to be alone when we die.  The good news is God stays with us when it's our turn to die.  David wrote the following in Psalm 23:4:  "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:  for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."  Even if our family and friends are not with us when death comes knocking, God is.   He's right by our side.  And He will give us the peace and courage we need for the moment.

[3]  Death leads to something else.  Because of my Christian faith, I refuse to believe death is the end.  Far from it!  Death is the door through which we step into the eternal presence of God in Heaven.  Jesus, while talking about Heaven in John 14:1-6, says this about Himself:  "I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  Yes, there is a Heaven.  And the way we get there is through Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of humanity.  When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and save our souls, we are blessed from above with assurance of a blissful life in Heaven on the other side of the grave. 

Yep, the message at Pizza Lane got me thinking.  It reminded me of an important truth:  Thanks be to God, we do not have to fear death.  Because of Jesus, we can hold on to peace when our time comes.  Amen to that!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

All I Have To Say

I'd like to take one blog post and give you all that I have to say. 

Please know....

1.  God loves you.  No matter what, you matter to Him.  You are cherished by Him.  And nothing will ever stop that.  Nothing.  Powerfully, sacrificially, eternally, and unconditionally.  That's how God loves you!

2.  Live God's way rather than your own way.  He knows what is best for you.  And in His word, He has told you everything you need to know about life.  Rather than living by fleeting emotions or selfish desires, you are much better off when you live in accordance with His plan.  Just trust Him and build your life by the blueprints He has laid out for you.  Life goes much better this way. 

3.  Know that your problems are temporary.  The hard time you're going through will not last forever.  One day it will be over.  God will not let you hurt eternally.  So hold on to your faith and keep your chin up.  And know that one day He will take you home to be with Him for all of eternity.  That's when life gets extra good, and the hard times you're going through will come to an end.  

4.  You are a wonderful creation of God.  He made you unique and important.  You have value because God's fingerprints are all over you.  Don't ever think you're junk or second-class.  Because of God, you are special. 

5.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.  The Son of God forgives sins, saves souls, and changes lives.  And one day we all will bow before Him and call Him "Lord".  Let Jesus be the center of your life.  When you do this, life makes more sense and gets much better.

My friends, this is all I have to say.

May God bless each and every one of you with His grace, peace, love, and joy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sky Pool And Trust

London will soon have the world's first all-glass sky pool.  It will hang 115 feet above the ground, and it will connect two buildings.  Yes, you read that right:  A glass pool full of water will hang 115 feet above the ground.  And people will be free to swim in it all they want.
 
I can respond to this idea in two words:  No way.
There is no way I would ever jump in this pool and swim in it.  Why?  Because I don't trust it will stay securely in place and remain in the sky.  It just makes me nervous to even think about it.  I'm sure that brilliant engineers and experienced workers will be overseeing this project.  But I just don't see myself getting in this pool.
 
Trust.  It's putting our faith in something or someone else.  And it's placing our well-being in the hands of another.
 
The Bible talks about trust.  It tells us who we can trust.  Here are just a few passages:
 
"Trust in the Lord"  Psalm 37:3
 
"Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him."  Jeremiah 17:7
 
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart"  Proverbs 3:5
 
"I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'"  Psalm 91:2
 
We have an awesome God.  He knows everything and can do anything.  His nature is good, and His work is perfect.  Everything about God is amazing.  And this makes Him worthy of our trust.
 
We can trust God to save our souls.
 
We can trust God to meet out needs.
 
We can trust God to calm our fears.
 
We can trust God to strengthen our resolve.
 
We can trust God to guide our decisions.
 
We can trust God to handle our problems.
 
We can trust God to bless our lives.
 
Listen, I don't know if we can trust the sky pool or not.  Maybe we can.  Maybe we can't.  But I do know this:  We can definitely trust God to handle everything in and around our lives.  Time after time, He has proven to be One we can trust.
 
Regardless of who you are and what you're going through, be encouraged today.  You can trust God to handle your life.  Pray to Him about what is going on in your corner of the world.  Ask for His help.  And then know beyond the shadow of a doubt that in the right way, at the right time, He will come through for you. 
 
Yes, God is great.  And we can trust him.  Both now and forevermore.