Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Is the internet evil?


Are the internet and social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter, evil?  This past political cycle was the nastiest, sleaziest, ugliest mess I have ever witnessed, and thousands upon thousands of people continue to spew their overbearing opinions through blogs, Facebook posts, and Tweets.  This past week two-time Grammy and Emmy winning comedian, Kathy Griffin participated in a photo shoot in which she held up a decapitated, bloody head that resembled Mr. President Trump.  When I saw the firestorm of Twitter posts related to this un-newsworthy story my stomach physically turned.  Have we lost all respect for mankind?  I cannot imagine how President Trump’s son felt when he first viewed this barbaric photo.  We are most definitely witnessing evil behavior that is being broadcast to the multitudes through these news veins.  But, are social media outlets themselves evil?
What is the definition of social media?  I made this up myself, so I don’t have to reference anyone else.  Social media is a conduit or tool used to instantly communicate information to the vastness of society.  A tool is a lifeless object that cannot take on the attributes of a human being, therefore the answer to my initial answer is no.  So, where is this evil behavior birthed? From the depths of the human heart.  The prophet Jeremiah wrote, The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9.  And Jesus said, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”  Matthew 15:18.  The heart is wicked, and every wicked thing that comes out of the mouth erupts from the heart, and every evil thing that is tweeted originates from the human heart.  It is a proven fact that most people will communicate through email, texts, and Facebook statements that they would not say to another human being face to face.  It is truly an unhealthy use of freedom of speech, but rightly used, social media outlets can be used to glorify God and advance His Kingdom.  So, before you rant about the evils of this cyber-tech world, first check your own heart.  If parasites were truly eliminated from our hearts, we would not see as many evil posts on the World Wide Web.  I love ya’ll. 

Pastor Artie   

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Walking in the Dark



What is faith?  Cruising through the book of Hebrews, I stumbled upon this verse about faith that encapsulates the complete meaning of faith.

“By faith Abraham when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he didn’t know where he was going.”  Hebrews 11:8. 
 
How can you not know where you are going?  I guess Abraham did not have an iPhone with access to Siri!  Siri drives me nuts.  I don’t really need two women in my life that know more than me.

To obtain a better understanding of the situation, read Genesis 12:1-4.

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.  “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.  He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.”

Two words jump off the page in this text: Go and went.  The Lord said go, and Abraham went.  When Abraham packed up everything and left his home, he didn’t even know exactly where he was going or what he was going to be doing.  Abraham just knew that his new home would be in a foreign land known as Canaan.  God instructed Abraham to pack, and He told him that He would later show him where to go. 
 
Return to Hebrews 11:8.  Abraham obeyed and went, even though He didn’t know where He was going.  When God begins a new work, He doesn’t always give us all the details up front.  Even though we don’t know exactly how the new adventure is going to work out, as believers, we are to trust Him and obediently walk in faith.  When God says go, our first response is to be obedient and leave.  Church family, it is time to Come Together for the Future and populate a Building Team.  We don’t know where the new facilities will be built, or how God is going to provide financially for our needs, but it is time to be obedient and walk in faith.  As we walk, He will faithfully reveal to us all the details.  I love you!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Yes, Lord, Yes!

Church family, I do not deserve to serve at FBC in Chuck Town, and I do not understand why God chose me to be here at this time and be a part of the huge work that He is doing.  This great work I speak of is not the idea or thought of raising up a new building, but is that of raising up a united church body.  In a world that is riddled with individuality, it is truly refreshing to serve in a body that is seeking humility.

I’m still amazed by the clear confirmation that God sent our way through the pastor search committee process.  I was told in an early meeting that I would not receive a unanimous vote of confirmation from the church body.  My response was that we just need to pray about that.  If you look at the photo above, it will remind you that my assignment was confirmed by 111 yes votes to 0 no votes.  God provided a unanimous calling.  I believe the vote was unanimous because this body’s members were willing to kneel in humility and listen to God.  God can and will powerfully move within and through a body that is unanimous.

Is it possible for a church body full of so many different personalities and opinions to move powerfully in one direction?  Read Ephesians 4:4-6.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”  The very same Spirit of God dwells in every single one of us.  We are unified through the Spirit of God.  Therefore, if we seek God’s face through congregational prayer, and if we are listening, we should here the same answer.  Each member must humbly submit to the body as a whole, and be willing give to up his or her own desires to hear with one ear.  He is not a God of confusion and will not send conflicting messages to the members of His church.

April 30th at 5:00 p.m. in the Family Life Center, we will hold a special business meeting in conjunction with our 5th Sunday pot luck dinner for the purpose of discussing and voting on a recommendation brought forth unanimously by our deacon body.  The deacon body recommends that we authorize the Ministry Recruitment Team to populate a Coming Together for the Future Team to formulate a plan to meet our facility needs.  You will have a chance to cast an audible vote for this movement.  During the month of April, I am asking you to do two things.  First, agree to bathe this recommendation in prayer.  Second, if this is truly God’s will, which I believe it is, be willing to humbly submit to the body as a whole as we seek to be unified.  It is truly time for FBC Charleston to Come Together for the Future.           

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Coming Together For The Future




I love the background image in our Coming Together for the Future prayer card.  The highway is the place where our tires meet the payment.  First Baptist Church of Charleston is entering an intersection of sorts that can direct us to the interstate of faith.  However, our bus is currently idling at a stop sign, and we do not know whether to turn left, right, or continue forward.  We need direction or a GPS unit to lead us to our destination.  The theme verse for this road trip is Psalm 127:1.  “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”  Allow me to “Artie this up” for you.  Unless God is in this, we are wasting our time and resources. 

I am confident that our congregation must gaze ahead and determine future facility needs and map out a plan to meet those needs.  If we are not focusing our thoughts towards the future, we are in reality moving backwards.  Focusing on the future is clearly our only option.  The key is to gain an understanding of what God desires for our future.  During this journey of faith, we must allow God to chart our course.  So, how do we make sure God is guiding us?  James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5.  What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?  Knowledge is a human reserve of information where wisdom is an understanding obtained from the mind of God.  Church family, we are blessed with a tremendous reservoir of man’s knowledge, but now more than ever, we need Godly wisdom.  God’s mind is greater than all of our pooled knowledge.  We cannot and will not ever understand all the ways of God.  When we need answers or Godly wisdom, we ask God for an understanding from Him of what we need to do or not do.  Through His Spirit, He unlocks in our minds an understanding of what we need to know. 

A journey of faith requires that we ask God for exactly what He wants; we listen carefully and receive His direction; then we obediently go where He leads us.  My simplified version of this statement is that we must pray, listen, and do. 

This journey of faith has absolutely nothing to do with building a worship center; it is all about His church hearing His voice and walking with Him in faith.  God is giving FBC Charleston a vision to “Come Together” and walk in faith.  Now is the time to seek His face in prayer.      

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cut It Out!

I believe that most folks have a sin or a group of sins that they struggle with.  When I am tired and stressed, my natural bent is to overeat.  I have struggled with keeping excess weight off for almost twenty years.  When I am stressed, if offered a million dollars, alcohol, tobacco, legalized medical marijuana, or Reese’s Cups; I’m going to hammer the Reese’s Cups every single time!  For me, it is almost impossible to resist the chocolatey covered peanut butter cups.  Unfortunately, I turn to food during periods of high stress.  My choosing to over eat is wrong for two reasons.  First, I am out of control.  I have no discipline what-so-ever.  You better not leave out a bag of Nacho-Cheese Doritos.  Second, I am using food to soothe my mental pain instead of relying on God’s provision.

Because overeating is a sinful habit, I feel good for a while, but am later overwhelmed with guilt.  My heart hurts when I realize that my favorite clothes are too tight.  Hung neatly in my closet are a couple of suits that are a size too small.  I would love to wear them, but right now it is not going to happen.  The struggle is real. 
A couple of weeks ago, I once again decided to do something about my eating problem.  I asked Emily to help me measure my eating portions, and we are working out at the local fitness center.  The first few days of the workout, I thought I was going to die, but some friends encouraged me to keep going and by the fifth day, my soreness and stiffness had receded. 
The truth is, Satan knows your bents or weaknesses, and he is waiting to entice you at the perfect time and place.  That is the way he rolls.  In Matthew 5:29 Jesus says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.”  Jesus is teaching that you should take drastic measures to strategically cut sin from your life.  My drastic measure is to wake up at 4:30 in the morning and work through a crossfit routine.  Additionally, I am writing this post so that tons of folks can hold me accountable.  I do not want to turn to a coping mechanism such as food to soothe my heart.  My desire is to rely on God to provide for my every need.  Please pray with me as I seek to honor God with life change, and I would also plead with you to cut sin out of your life.  I love ya’ll.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Santa's Down!


Approximately six years ago, a kind woman in our church family passed down to us an eight-foot tall blow-up yard Santa.  Ever since then, Santa has stood tall in the Hudson yard throughout the Christmas season.  After eating lunch one day, I backed out of my driveway and pulled up to the stop sign on the east side of our home.  As I rolled past the sign, I heard a huge boom.  It totally mimicked the percussion of a 12-gauge scattergun!  The blow startled me in such a way that I stopped the car and looked around to see if I could determine its origin.  When I looked over my left shoulder, I immediately noticed that Santa was going down.  My first thought was “Santa’s down!”  What kind of sicko would shoot my yard Santa? 

As Santa slipped to the ground, I threw the car into reverse and returned to my driveway.  When I got out of my car, I noticed that the electricity was off at my home.  That is when I realized that the transformer had blown down the alley from our storage building.  Santa was not taken down in a blaze of glory, but had just lost power.  I felt like an idiot.  My initial thought was an erroneous assumption.  I got all lathered up for nothing.    

What does the Bible say about jumping to conclusions?  In Proverbs 18:2 Solomon wrote, “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.”  Let me ‘Artie that up’ for you a little bit.  It is foolish to speak your mind without first gaining understanding.  I constantly remind myself that my fleshly heart is proud, so I must humble myself and investigate the facts before I shoot off my expert mouth.  Save your self some frustration and pain and investigate the facts before you plunge into an assumption.                       

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Our First Chuck Town Christmas


This year, we, The Hudsons, will celebrate our first Chuck Town Christmas.  The Christmas season is absolutely our favorite time of year, and like Cousin Eddy from Christmas Vacation, as a family, we lick every drip of Christmas eggnog from the moose-head cup.  Consequently, like other Christmas-walnuts, we came up with a super, awesome family tradition.  It is the Hudson’s 25 Days of Christmas.  Starting December 1st, each day leading up to Christmas, our family participates in a Christmas activity.  Activity is a broad term, so allow me to share with you a few examples.  We always purchase a fresh-cut tree, make popcorn garland, decorate ginger bread houses or bake sugar cookies, place lights on the house, stake down the blow-up Santa, read the Christmas story from the Bible as we assemble the Nativity scene, and of course watch Christmas Vacation and Christmas with the Kranks a billion times!  That’s not 25 days, but you get the general idea.  For fun, the activity is always documented with a photo and shared on Facebook each night.  I’m not sure why, but friends and family seem to enjoy our crazy family. 

The most special night is the Candlelight Christmas Eve service at the church.  Everyone enjoys juggling molten hot wax candles, as they sing Silent Night, but my favorite part is coming together as a church family and remembering the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ through the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.  This special time together reminds me that, “Mercy triumphs over judgement!  James 2:13. 
Because of the original sin of Adam and the deserved curse of death, every man and woman inherited the sinful nature and death penalty.  But, because of His great mercy, while we were sinners, Christ died for our sins.  God’s great mercy triumphed over His just judgement.  When God entered flesh, through the Christ Child, Emanuel, He ultimately chose mercy over what we deserve, judgement.  I am so thankful that God chose mercy!  As you rush through this Christmas season, allow this grand view of His great mercy to cause you to celebrate.  Mercy triumphs over judgement!  Have I told you that I love you today?  I love you, and I pray that this is your best Christmas season ever.