Thursday, September 20, 2018

Created For His Pleasure

Revelation 4:11 reads, "Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."
This passage of Scripture clearly teaches that all things were created by God. Further, all things were created for God's pleasure.  The word pleasure there is the Greek word thelema,  meaning "what one wishes or determines to be done."

Part of the "all things created" is us.  You and I were created for His pleasure.  At first, our minds go to some king or dictator seeing us as some jester or slave, but that is not reality.  God does not treat us that way; yet, we were created for His pleasure.

There are many things created for our pleasure.  A White Castle cheeseburger can be created for my pleasure.  When it is, it is totally in my hands, soon in my mouth, and I am greatly pleased.  The cheeseburger has no say in what happens, for it was created for my pleasure.

A teenager will turn on his playstation, which has been created for his pleasure.  The playstation will play and do whatever the young man tells it to; for it was designed for his pleasure.

We were designed for God's pleasure; yet, He doesn't make me do anything.  God doesn't make me wear certain clothes or listen to certain music.  God doesn't make me go to church or force me to tithe.  He has the power to do so and the right to do so; yet, He doesn't make me.  Too many Christians do these things, along with many more, trying to earn God's pleasure.  If those things were the zenith of His pleasure, He would force us to do them.  But, they are not.

So what is His pleasure?  We were created for His pleasure, that is our purpose in life!  If you are reading this and you have said (or are saying), "I have no purpose," or "What is my purpose?", I am about to share it.

You were created for His pleasure!  So....what is His pleasure?  He doesn't make you do a thing.   God's pleasure is to have a relationship with us, and us allowing Him to be our pleasure!  Let me explain.  God gets pleasure in being our God!  He desires to have a relationship with us (through salvation) and then to be the God we need Him to be.

Stop and think Who God is to you.  Seriously, think of a one word answer to "Who is God to you?"

Got it?

Keep Scrolling....

Think on it.

Stop!  Before you go on.  I want to answer it for you.  If you are saved and have answered this question, here is your answer:  He is what you needed Him to be.   For the person having grown up in a broken home, He is your Father.  For the person who faced the hardest of times, He is your Strength.  For the person who needed deliverance, He is your Salvation.  For the person who was weak and almost done, He is your strength.  For the pastor, He is your Life.  For the addict, He is your Deliverer.  I could go on, but you see, we were created for His pleasure; and His pleasure is to be our God...just the God we need.  What a God!!!

How does this make me respond?  I love Him, because He first loved me.  I want to serve Him, because He gave all for me.  I want to be holy, because He is holy.  I choose to dress the way I do and listen to what I listen to, because...How could I not?  I just want to please Him....and I and God get to share in His pleasure!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Not The Place

With today's social media, we all have so many outlets to share our opinions...too many outlets. My grandpa always said, "Opinions are like armpits, everyone has them and most of them stink."  While we all have opinions, many that would read this and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram also have preferences and we all have convictions!  Daily, I find great joy in reading through my friends posts.  I love being challenged by the math questions, finding the hidden objects, laughing at someone falling in a video, and then nearly every time you find it!  What is it that seemingly shows up daily on my "friends" pages?  A controversial statement.  As soon as I read it, my emotions start kicking in, my thoughts start racing, my "wisdom" starts to pour forth, and before you know it, I am typing and correcting the world....well, I used to.   You see, I stopped.

Now, before you start calling me a coward and a compromiser and tearing down statues of me, let me explain.   I will start with a story.  Once upon a time, quite a few years ago now, I was commenting on every one's blogs trying to make my point, I was writing weekly my own blog begging people to comment and challenge me, and I was ready with my 120 words a minute typing skills to correct my brothers and sisters who needed correcting.  There are many illustrations I could point to, but the bottom line is, I was wrong. I was not wrong in my stand, I was not usually wrong in my thinking, and I was about 50/50 on the deep stuff, but I was wrong in trying to correct everyone through social media.

On my Facebook page, I try to pretty much share a good quote every so often, pictures for my family, and brag on my God and the church He allows me to serve in.  Every once in a while, I will share my opinion on something, but you will notice something below those opinions...NO COMMENTS.  There were comments made, but I hide them, because social media is not the place for spiritual debates.

For one, the Lord gave us some simple instructions in Matthew 7:6:
"Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again to rend you."
My, how this Scripture is applicable!  In case you don't know, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever ".com" you go to, is not Christian.  You may have Christian "Friends", but it's not a Christian setting. When we take matters of spiritual debate to social media to exchange Sword blows, it is ALWAYS rooted in pride.

What ends up happening is described in the above verse.  We take what is precious and let "swine" handle it.  How often are debates "hi-jacked" by some reformed, Calvinist, compromising, antagonist, agnostic, liberal, or worse-a know it all Baptist who then twists, distorts, misinterprets, and abuses Scriptures to make their point?

Who wins these debates?  How often do you ever read the final comment as "well brethren, I am so glad we all could humbly discuss this and all come to the same Scriptural conclusion"?  Normally, we end up with "I'm blocking you," "brother, I appreciate you, but can't agree on this," or the best lets still be friends comment, "I suppose we will agree to disagree."  No one ever wins on social media, except the swine.  There are those who mock the Lord, Christianity, and His Word who watch all of this and laugh.  While a world is supposed to view a John 13:35:
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Instead, they see the arguing, tempers, and emotions being shared and are not being drawn to Christ, for sure.  That which is  precious is then trampled under feet with all the "traffic" and the end result is those "turn again to rend you."

Now, don't get me wrong, use every outlet you have to share the Truth.  Matter of fact, share your convictions, your preferences, and even your opinions; just reconsider allowing or participating in a debate on social media.  Remember, it's your page, your tweet, your space (lol) and you can share what you want; just keep in mind others.

I know the Scriptures teach rebuking, correcting, and teaching; but it also is pretty clear when and how to do this. Paul had an issue with Peter and he withstood him to the face. (Gal. 2:11).  In other passages, the rebuking is done either by "going to the brother" or handling it in a church setting.  Going on social media is not "going to a brother."

Here is a novel idea, talk to people.  Go and see them as Paul did and how the Bible instructs. You can visit, call, FaceTime, Skype, email, text, private message (need I go on?), but stop and think before you cast pearls before swine.

Face to face or voice to voice is preferable and most Scriptural.  Why? Because writing keeps a wall up.  When you write (type), you are most often more comfortable in sharing things you would not at first say.  Most of us wrote, "I love you" before we said it to our honey.  We will type things at first, we normally would not say face to face.  Then, emotions get involved. When participating in an online social media debate, you have time to read, get mad, develop your point, and then scathe the other.  Words are much more harsh when hiding behind a keyboard.

I know some are probably still fuming and ready to correct me, but stop and think first.  God gave us a gift to handle spiritual matters and debates, it is called a local church. The church is still the "pillar and ground of Truth." (1 Tim. 3:15)-not social media.  If you have questions, concerns, and disagreements, handle them within your local church.

I know, I know, "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear." (1 Tim. 5:20).  But those instructions are for a local assembly dealing with corrupt elders.  I hate to bust the bubble of all our "spiritual watchdogs" out there that are caring for all us and warning all of us about all the heathen and heretics and compromisers out there, but...that's why God gave us a local church.  I have no problem warning the flock that God has placed me as the under shepherd of whoever and whatever is wrong out there, but it really isn't my business what other church's are doing.  I think we can trust God to handle His churches.

One last thing to consider is the spiritually weak.  The Bible warns about offending the little ones.  Children, definitely, but also the young in the faith.  As a pastor, I have other pastors and spiritually mature people who are my "friends" on social media; but I also have new converts and lost people who are becoming wise unto salvation.  We have to be careful about hindering the work of God with our words and debates on social media outlets.  They are watching.  Paul gives us a thought on this in 1 Cor. 8:9:
"But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak."

So there you go, something to think on. I will post this, I will share this, but I will not debate this on social media.  Feel free to contact me personally if you like.  May others see Christ in us, the love of God, and read and hear only Truth spoken in that love.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Today here at home, we are enjoying a beautiful snow. It really is our first good snow of the year. As I drove in this morning and looked at the snow, I thought of some Scriptures about snow. Snow gives us some beautiful pictures in the Word of God:
1. Forgiveness of Christ: Psalm 51:7 describes the forgiveness of God as making us “Whiter” than snow. There isn’t much more “white” than a field of untouched snow, but our forgiveness in Christ makes us “Whiter” than snow. If you look close enough in any snow, you will find contaminants, but in the forgiveness of Christ, ALL is forgiven. Is. 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall e as white as snow...”
2. Refreshing of the Word: Proverbs 25:13 states, “As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.” In the harvest time men are working hard and pouring themselves out to reap all they can. It is hard work. In those days, there was no ice machines, but rarely and at great expense, one could be sent to the top of a nearby mountain and obtain snow and then hurry back to the men working. By then there was offered to the laborers an ice cold drink of pure water. That snow represented the refreshing power of the faithful messenger. A faithful messenger these days is rare, but for those laboring in the field, nothing refreshes the soul like the Word of God.
3. Folly of a Fool: Proverbs 26:1 reads, “As snow in honour is not seemly for a fool.” The thought of seeing what I am seeing in my front yard in July is ludicrous. So, the Bible teaches, is honor for the fool. It is time we quit trying to give honor to those who live ungodly lives. It is the fool that says in their heart there is no God, and may we add to that, it is a greater fool who says there is a God, but they will not serve Him.
4. Face of God: Rev. 1:14 gives us an eye witness of our God: “His head and his hairs were white look wool, as white as snow...” What a day, when we get to behold with our eyes the pure, righteous, holy face of our God!
Thank the Lord for snow.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why Our Girls Do Not Play Basketball

The picture to the right is that of our church's academy's girls volleyball team.  This was them displaying their trophy after volleyball tournaments.  We are very thankful for our young ladies. After volleyball season begins basketball season.  I schedule our academy's games, and each year I am asked if we have a girl's basketball team.  Each year I answer "no."  They usually ask why, and I usually answer with a vague response like "it's just not something we do."  It's an acceptable answer, but I know I didn't answer anyone's question.  I've never really given an answer.  I know there are parents who wonder the same thing.  To be honest, we would probably be pretty good after some practices, but thank you.
The reason we do not have a girl's basketball team are quite simple. Now, let me make clear, I am NOT saying that others are wrong and in sin if they have a girls team.  I am NOT saying that girls should not play basketball.  What I am saying is that I chose for our girls not to based upon the following reasons.
 First, and foremost, the Lord just doesn't give me liberty to do so.  I have prayed about it, and if I were to have one at this time, I would be going against what I know God has told me not to do.  As a pastor, I try to be sensitive to the Lord's leading.  Second, I don't care for what most often is produced.  To be a "good" basketball team, your team must hustle, run, be aggressive, fight for the ball, box out, be strong, and dive for the loose ball.  Growing up, most schools I went to had a girl's basketball team.  When we first started CBA, we had a girl's basketball team.  The "good" basketball players carried these characteristics with them off the court.  Most of them were "jocks" with aggressive spirits.  When I read the Bible about young ladies and Biblical ladies, the ideas of diving on floors in front of men, fighting, boxing out, and being physically dominant is just not found.  The reality is, most who were "good" girl basketball players did not end up being sweet, modest ladies.

Third, and sorry for the awkwardness, it just many times is not modest for ladies to run up and down the court and occasionally diving to the ground for a loose ball.  Most time the shorts and culottes ride high above the knee when running down the court.  My understanding and conviction is that above the knee is nakedness as defined in Scripture (Ex. 28:42; Is. 47:2-3; 1 Tim. 2:9).  For this same reason, our boy's basketball team wears long pants.  Also, a modesty issue is the cut off sleeves along with the running up and down a court for a lady as designed by God.   You may think I am being too strict, foolish, or a sexist, but just watch most men's eyes when a lady is jogging by.

Titus 2 gives us our Biblical goals for our young ladies.  The Scriptures demand they be taught to be sober, love their husbands, be discreet, be chaste, a keeper of the home, good, and obedient to their own husband (submissive).  Playing on a basketball team helps in none of these areas in my opinion.  Rather, it teaches them to be emotional (just watch a game and hear the screams and watch the tears), strong willed, in your face, hustle at all cost, be at practices away from home, be dominant, and modesty not prioritized.  This just isn't what I desire for our young ladies.

Again, any one else can do what ever they feel the Lord will have them do.  It is none of my business and I do not write this to correct anyone, but to explain why we do not participate.  Do as the Lord leads you; just make sure you have asked the Lord what He thinks about it.

Monday, January 11, 2016

An Open Letter to the Struggling

My name doesn't matter, but I represent those who go to church every week, get out of the car with our smiling family, sing the songs with a smile on our faces, and "amen" when the preacher is preaching.  I represent those who go back to church on Sunday night and the mid-week service and spend an hour or two on visitation every week.  I represent those who dress with standards, and call other Christians brother and sister each time I meet them.  I represent-the Church people.

First, trust me, we all have our problems.  Even though the above paragraph truly does represent me and my family most every weekend, we have our own struggles.  We all have our past, we all have our besetting sins we must guard against and often repent of, we all have days of tears.  Yet, there we are each week enjoying the presence of God in the presence of our brothers and sisters.

The reason I write this is because we get a bad rap most often.  A quick "google" and you can find plenty of open letters to us church people from those who have struggles reminding us that we are not perfect and how we don't understand and how we need to quit judging and how we are pushing you away.  Well, as a representative of many of these "church people," let me just answer that we know we are not perfect.  Probably, we know that more than you understand.  We are so far from perfect.  Matter of the fact, we make ourselves sick when we look at ourselves, and that's why we are so happy!  You see, I know how bad I am, but despite me and my flesh, the Lord has saved me and forgiven me!  Because of His great mercy, I get to go to Heaven!  What a miracle!  How can I not be happy?  I have given all my sin and guilt and unrighteousness to God, and in exchange He gave to me His Son's righteousness!  All this, by repenting of my sin and trusting in Jesus Christ as my Saviour!  Even after that experience, I have failed so many times.  Yet, time and time again, I confess my sin and turn from it and He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse EVERY TIME!  No wonder I smile a lot.  I know we are not perfect.

The accusation that we don't understand just isn't applicable either.  I do understand.  I am a sinner.  I have sinned and done things I so bad regret.  Our sins may be different, but we are both sinners the same.  Even if there are some sins I may have never participated in that possibly you find yourself entangled in, doesn't mean I don't understand.   All sin is addictive.  All sin is powerful.  All sin can take over your life.  I do understand what it is like to be under the power of sin.

Then there is the whole judging thing.  I speak for the great majority here, "no one is judging you."  How could someone who knows how wicked they are and how powerful sin is think they are better than someone else struggling with the same thing they struggle with?  No, we are not judgmental and no, we do not think we are better.  Matter of fact, we care even more.  We understand and we reach out our hand to help you with the Truth.  That hand out reached is not a hand pushing you away, but a hand to offer you help.  A hand to help you get up.  A hand to help you overcome.  A hand to help stabilize you.  The devil tries to get you to duck when we reach out that hand, but he is lying to you.  That hand is one that is just there to offer help.  The reason we do that is because someone reached out a hand just like that to us in our life.  Each of us have needed that hand, and we still do.  That's why we spend so much time together with our brothers and sisters.  We need each other!

The problem is many times, that the person struggling doesn't want help.  Now that statement may upset you and you may think "here he goes again being judgmental," but please let me try to explain.  We all are often like little children in the sight of God.  We all fall at times.  Then, just like I have done both physically as a child and spiritually too often, we lie there and cry because we have fallen.  What we want is for someone to lie there next to us and cry with us.  We want people to wallow in our sorrow with us and feel like no one understands what it is like to have fallen.  Reality is, we all have fallen.  Some have harder falls than others, but we all have fallen.  What did we need when we fell?  We didn't need our parent to lie on the ground and cry with us, we needed a strong and loving hand to lift us up and help us get on our feet again.  We needed a stabilizing hand to just "be there" in case we began to fall again.  It wasn't long, until that fall was behind us and we weren't even thinking about it anymore...because we let someone help us get up.

How does this work?  That "rhetoric" you hear from us ("let the Lord help you," "you must repent and turn from your sin" "you must take hold of God's hand" "you need to come to church and be faithful to services" "quit going to those places that offer temptation") is not judging, it's experience.  Those are words that we were told that helped us get up and get on our feet.  You see, we don't  think less of you because of sin, because we are right there with you as sinners.  We just have experienced the forgiveness and restoration of God and the necessity of fellowshipping with our church for strength and stabilizing.

The good news is that there is hope!  The Lord will help!
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:10, 13
 It's not just words, the Lord truly will help and strengthen you.  His hand is mighty.  Victory comes when you are willing to get the sin out and the Lord help you up.  And I promise, we will be there offering our hand too, for that's all we know to do, because that is what the Lord and others did for us.  We love you!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

What It's All About

Well, another holiday season is about to pass us by.  Again, it has been crazy busy and filled with the hustle and bustle that seemingly never ends.  Last year, we did not go Black Friday shopping due to the fact that all the stores opened so early on Thursday, we refused to leave our families on Thanksgiving.  This year, the stores opened even earlier, and we again stayed home with our families.  But this year, we decided to just spend the evening out shopping after all the "crazy people" had gone home.  It was a good choice, and we met late that Thursday and shopped until the wee hours of the night.
This year, the group consisted of myself, Chrystal, Rachel, Rick and Jerrica.  We met at Walmart and began our night.  It was crowded, but not as much as we were used to.  In many ways, it was sort of more enjoyable that way.  We purchased a few items and headed for the check out.  It was then I looked up and almost passed out.  Let's just say it was a classically dressed walmart shopper.  The lady had nude colored pants on and I was almost sure she was without bottoms on.  I was wrong, thankfully, but the group didn't let me hear the end of that.  So, when we got to the check out lane, I spoke to the cashier.  I encouraged her to check the lady behind me really good as she was just released from jail for shoplifting.  I admitted she was my sister, but didn't want her to go back to jail and to please understand she was a kleptomaniac.  By the time I was done cashing out, my sister had heard our conversation.  The cashier was checking out everything Chrystal was buying and her cart to make sure nothing was being stolen.  Chrystal finally "admitted to the cashier" she had a problem, but assured her it was under control.  When my sister Rachel walked by who had cashed out at another lane, she spoke out and said, "Chrystal, you didn't steal anything did you?"  The cashier was a little nervous, but thankfully Chrystal didn't steal.  Well, then again, maybe she did.  While we were shopping, she saw a toy that her daughter really wanted, but they were out of.  It was in another person's cart.  Now that person was looking at clothes and left her cart in the aisle.  I don't want to say anything, but Lici did love that toy!
We then went out to the car.  We were all going to ride around in Rick and Rachel's car.  We put a few items in my trunk and headed to the car.  It was then that I saved Jerrica's life (maybe a little over dramatic here).  She was walking between cars when a speeding car came flying by.  Let's just leave it at a close call.   We then went Eastgate and went to Toys R Us and Kohls.  The lines were still pretty large and I again was able to convince Chrystal to spend more of her money (it is always a goal of mine).  We got a few good deals and then Chrystal swore she was done being talked into buying things by me.  It was in line that I saw some awesome Charlie Brown Christmas glasses.  Her family, on Christmas, were going to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas movie, so I encouraged her to get them.  She refused, swearing she would not give in.  I was disappointed I was unable to convince her to do so...that is, until two days ago when I saw this picture on her Instagram account:
Yeah, those are the cups and yes she admitted she went back and got them.  We then headed back to Milford to go to Target.  First, we had to stop at a UDF for a soda to keep us going.  I got a Diet Mountain Dew (the nectar of life) and then we were able to continue.  We took a trip to target where I got a great deal on some candles (don't ask, it is a fetish of mine).   We then all agreed to go back to Eastgate to check out a new store.  When we got there Chrystal couldn't believe we were back at Eastgate...though we had just agreed to go there.  A little too tired maybe?
Now this new store was pretty awesome.  They had a little bit of everything.  I didn't buy anything, but they had some odd things.  It was there I found a little gem.  I took this little gem and put it on and hid in an aisle I knew my sister Chrystal was coming to.  It worked to perfection!  It really woke her up!
We then headed out and back to the car.  Other than a useless stop at Meijer, there isn't much more to report.  It was a good night filled with lots of laughs.
After a few busy weeks at school and church, Christmas finally arrived.  I love Christmas.  This year seemed to have a theme to it.  It was an unplanned theme, but one definitely developed.  I call it a nostalgic Christmas for me.
You see, it started on Christmas day.  After a lovely Christmas Eve at my in-laws with gifts, food, and a Garfield Christmas special, we spent Christmas at home-as we always do.  It was a wonderful day of family time.  To me, one of the most important parts of the holiday season is TRADITION.  We woke up that morning, but no one can get out of bed until 8.  We read the Scriptures and had prayer and then opened gifts.  Oh, how I love to see the kids excitement as they do so.  We then played some games.  I lost at Trouble, I lost at Sorry, I lost at Pie in the Face, and then lost to Alex in baseball on his new game system.  I hate losing, even to my kids; but Christmas is different.  It's ok for that one day.  Then, my friend Matt dropped off a gift.  I could not believe what he gave me.  There in the package was my hat.  You see, when we were teenagers, I always wore the same hat.  I had a black Boston Celtics hat with Larry Bird embroidered signature on the front and his name and number on the back.  When I was about 16 or 17, we were at an amusement park and while riding the roller coaster, my precious hat flew off.  We tried to jump a fence to get luck.  We tried to talk a worker to getting it for luck.  I sadly had to leave my hat.  For years, we both joked about losing my hat that day and I swore I would one day get it back.  Well, Matt found the exact hat on the internet and brought it to me.  I couldn't believe it.  It brought back a lot of memories. I so appreciate it Bro. Matt!
The next day, we went to my parents.  It was such a joyous time.  My dad again put on his Christmas hat and read the Christmas Story to all us kids and now his grandkids.  Dad again cried during prayer (and this year his dog decided to bark through the prayer-demonic I believe).  We then all opened gifts.  Dad always starts with stockings.  I replaced my stocking a few years ago with a better one.   It was again awesome to watch the kids and us adults open our stockings.  Rachel got her make up, Chrystal got her nail stuff, and I got my chocolate peanuts and another present we shall leave anonymous dad gets me each year.    We then started opening gifts.  This year, my sisters got me two special gifts.
First, they got me a pack of M.U.S.C.L.E. men!  I absolutely loved these as a kid.  They were my favorite toy growing up.  They even got me rubber bands to go with them.
I couldn't believe they found these.  Again, so many memories.  Then my sisters got me a polar bear.  You see, when I was growing up, I had a favorite stuffed animal.  Obviously it was a polar bear.  His name was Dan.  Even though I grew out of the "sleep with a stuffed animal" stage of life, I kept Dan. He was that one stuffed toy I always liked keeping.  Dan went everywhere with us.  We moved a lot, and Dan was taken each time.  It was while I was away at college my freshman year that my family moved again.  That time, my dad decided to throw away Dan.    He was always brought up when we spoke of bitterness in our house and I am glad that Dan II has now arrived at our home. 

We spent the rest of the day playing games (we loved pie in the face-see Chrystal Snell's Facebook page for videos).  We laughed and shared stories and watched the kids play.  We just enjoyed it all.  Then, we had not even gotten all back home, before we all were texting each other and sharing how we so much appreciate each other and the love we can share.  I told them "I am glad that all our children see it as normal that family get together and enjoy each other's company, laugh, cry, and love."  I want that to be the normal for them someday.  I want them to have traditions, good traditions.  While watching the Garfield Christmas special Christmas Eve, I think that Garfield said it best: "Christmas, it's not the getting or the giving; it's the loving."  That is what it's all about.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cozaddale Baptist Academy-The Lord has been Good

Soon at Cozaddale Baptist Temple all the children will be being dropped off in their new school clothes, wearing new shoes, with lots of paper, pens, and notebooks ready for another school year to begin.  Those students will find their seats, share stories from the summer, and begin another school year.  For four students, it will be there first year as they enter Kindergarten.  For three, it begins their senior year, which I hope is a fabulous year of good memories.

It doesn't seem possible that I graduated 22 years ago from high school.  I can't even believe I just typed that.  The Lord has sure been good to me and has taught me so much.  As I look forward to teaching again this year, I have been thinking about the history of our school.

This year the Cozaddale Baptist Academy will begin its 19th year.  I can't believe I just typed that as well.  It all began with a phone call in 1996.  I was in college at Fairhaven Baptist College and my dad called me.  He told me that he really felt of the Lord to start a Christian school at our church the following year.  He then told me that upon graduating college, he would like for me to come home and lead in establishing this ministry at Cozaddale Baptist Temple.

I was thrilled, then scared to death.  My senior year at college, one class I had to take was School Administration.  I never paid so much attention in any class like I did that one that year.  To graduate that class, we had to start a fictional school and organize everything from teachers to class schedules to restroom breaks and everything in between.  The difference between my project and everyone else's was that mine was not fictional.

I called my project "The ABC's of CBA."  That  project is still the parent/student handbook we use today (though edited quite a bit).  You will be glad to know that I received an "A" in school administration.

The next fall we began the Cozaddale Baptist Academy.  That first year we had 23 students. (I remember because that was Michael Jordan's number).  We all met in one room with each student a desk attached to the wall in our learning center.  The year went well with my dad overseeing the year very closely.

As the years went on, the school grew and with every year, my dad gave me the reins more and more.  We took the school from a learning center to a traditional class room school.  By the year 2003, the school had 120 students.  While I like to believe we made a lot of positive influence on a lot of children, I also know that I made many mistakes I would love to go back and change.  I began to see that some of my philosophies, while the student's were happy, wasn't the best philosophies.  There was a lot going on behind the scenes that I was too young and ignorant to see.  I guess, my head was in the sand some what.  

Most everyone from those days can tell you about the long recesses, sports programs, and such.  Again, much good can be related and there are young people still faithfully serving the Lord, but I began to notice a trend that the majority of our graduates were not staying faithful to church.  I, as there youth pastor, principal, and teacher, take a lot of that blame.  The Lord began to stir my heart and I began to search the Scriptures more about this ministry.   I studied every aspect from "Is it even Biblical to have a Christian School" to "Why a Sports Program?"

Then, in 2004, my dad was moved of the Lord to Kansas to pastor a church there.  Soon, I was the pastor at Cozaddale Baptist Temple.  I turned over the job of CBA administrator to my good friend Bro. Carr.  We had many talks about philosophy and the direction of our school.  I thank Bro. Carr for years of faithfulness in leading the school and  implementing positive changes as we were led of the Lord.

We limited who was able to enroll their children into our school, we removed all the "dating spirit" out of our academy, we began to focus more on academics and less on entertaining.  We desired for our students to learn what a walk with God is.  Our school schedule was so full, that we eliminated all sports programs, for it had become too much of a priority.  There were many changes, and the school began to shrink.  By 2010, the school had 30 students, but the Lord was blessing.

We began to see changes in the young people.  We had a different spirit amongst students and teachers.  Our graduates are still faithful to church. To God be the glory.  In the last few years, we have brought back again a limited sports program, but now the priority is not a sport and practices are very limited.  Will we be a powerhouse in volleyball or boys basketball?  No, but if our young people are still in church serving God years after graduating, I'm fine with it all.

Some of our earlier graduates from the early days would never consider sending their children to our academy.  Some because they don't care for the spiritual as they should, others because they know some of the foolishness that went on that I wish I could change. But regardless, what everyone will find is a different school than what it was.

I am thankful for the 58 students planning to attend Cozaddale Baptist Academy this year.  I am thankful for their spirit, their love for the Lord, their walk with God, their sweetness.  I am thankful that we do not have to focus on disciplinary actions, but on maturity.   I am looking forward to this year and am thankful for every parent who has entrusted us with the opportunity to be of a help to them in rearing their kids.  You see, this is the greatest difference the Lord has led me in.

The Lord had to show my that it is not my responsibility to rear other people's children, but can be used  of the parents in helping them.  I do see the mandate in the great commission to teach others to "observe all things."  I do see in Psalm 1 the necessity of not sitting our children under the counsel of the ungodly.  Thus I am convicted that parents must lead in the training of their children via home schooling them or the church being a help to them in this way.

So, we begin the 2015/2016 school year.  I am thankful for every student and every graduate that has ever come to CBA and I do not think that any would doubt that I truly loved them. I pray the Lord continues to lead and guide in the upcoming year and years ahead.  Praise the Lord for His blessings and leadership at the Cozaddale Baptist Academy.