Sunday, November 28, 2021

Being at the Wrong Place

One of the weirdest incidents in the history of baseball occurred on March 24, 2001. Arizona Diamondback pitcher Randy Johnson threw a fastball to San Francisco batter Calvin Murray. 

Then it happened. A dove, flying at 55 mph, flew in the direct path of the 100-mph ball, which was followed by an explosion of feathers. The baseball won. Our feathered friend suffered the consequences of being at the wrong place.

Like the bird at the baseball game, David got into trouble by going to the wrong place. After he killed Goliath, Saul became jealous and hunted him down to kill him. David knew he would be recognized anywhere he went in Israel, so he made a foolish decision. He fled to Gath, the city of Goliath, hoping to live inconspicuously among the Philistines because he knew Saul would never look there.

It didn’t take long for the people to recognize him as the one who killed Goliath, and reported him to Achish, the king of Gath. David was in deep trouble, and he needed God to show him immediately how to get out of there. Suddenly he got an idea. He pretended to be insane and acted like a madman, scribbling on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. The king thought, “Surely this can’t be the same man who killed Goliath,” so he dismissed him as just a crazy person (1 Sam. 21:10-15).

Acting insane was David’s way of escape. “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but . . . will provide the way of escape” (1 Cor. 10:13). David later wrote about this experience in Psalms 34 and 56, and gave God the credit: “This poor man cried and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (34:6) and “You have delivered my soul from death” (56:13). 

If you have made the decision to go to the wrong place, God will make a way of escape to get you out of it. Look for it, and take it.

BIBLE STUDY:  Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, November 21, 2021

You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone

After my father received radiation treatments for throat cancer, his taste buds were damaged, which made him unable to taste food. His inability to enjoy a meal made eating a dreaded duty. The doctors told him his taste might return later, but they couldn’t promise it.

Every meal became a forced feeding to keep him alive. After eating flavorless food for over a year, he sat down for dinner one evening. He reluctantly forced the fork into his mouth and discovered that his taste had returned! My father relished each bite as never before because he experienced what it was like to eat without tasting it. His reference point for thankfulness was eating tasteless food.

 Sometimes we don’t truly appreciate what we have until we lose it. If your house loses electricity for a week, you’ll quickly realize how important it was. As one song says, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Why is that?

It’s because we’ve lost our appreciation for God’s blessings. After seeing them day after day, we quit noticing them, and then we stop appreciating them. But after we lose them, our eyes are opened to what we once had.  

In Jesus’ parable of the lost coin, a woman had ten silver coins and lost one of them. She carefully searched through her house until she finally found it. Then she called her friends and neighbors together saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost!” (Luke 15:8-9). She gained a new appreciation for that lost coin because she had to diligently search for it.

The key to thankfulness is to be grateful for what you already have before you lose it. Think about what it would be like without it, and it will give you a new appreciation for it. Then rejoice and thank God for having it.

SERMON ON THANKFULNESS “Did You Forget Something?”
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174  Twitter: @KentCrockett


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Things That Get On Your Nerves

What drives you crazy? My wife doesn’t like hearing my metal spoon clicking the bowl when I eat cereal or ice cream. I’m not sure why it bugs her because it doesn’t bother me at all. But TV commercials with goofy songs—now that drives me nuts. 

When the annoying commercial comes on five times every night, I grab the remote and change channels—but it’s on the other station too! I’ve tried calling the advertising companies to please stop them, but their websites don’t have any way to contact them. And that’s ANOTHER thing that gets on my nerves!

It can even happen in church. Years ago, I visited a large church in Fort Worth, Texas. During the sermon, a woman seated behind me pulled out her fingernail clippers and started clipping her nails. She didn’t seem to notice she was getting on the nerves of the entire congregation with each agonizing click. I think the pastor’s eye twitched whenever he heard a snip.

When Jesus and His disciples showed up at Martha’s house, she welcomed them in. As she prepared their meal, her sister Mary wasn’t helping. Martha was perturbed that her sister Mary was casually sitting at Jesus’ feet while she was working herself to death in the kitchen. Jesus told Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things” (Luke 10:41). Martha was stressed-out about “so many things.” She let little things bother her. People got on her nerves. Sound familiar?

How can you stop annoying people and their quirky habits from getting on your nerves?
First, submit yourself to God. The Holy Spirit wants to develop patience in you so that irritating people and peculiar oddities don’t bother you anymore. He can actually settle your nerves through His supernatural peace.
Second, make some adjustments. Instead of getting frustrated, I just hit the mute button whenever those obnoxious commercial jingles came on. And because my spoon clicking got on my wife’s nerves, I started eating with a plastic spoon. Problem solved.
See? It’s not that hard to figure out how to calm your nerves. Just ask God and He will show you what to do.
BIBLE STUDY How Did We Get the Bible?
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Great Impostors

Ferdinand Waldo Demara spent most of his life pretending to be someone that he wasn’t. Demara convincedly imitated a great variety of occupations and fooled so many people that the movie The Great Impostor was based on his life of deception. He had an extraordinarily high IQ and was able to memorize terminologies and techniques by reading textbooks.

Demara posed as a surgeon-lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy by forging his credentials. He did dental work on the ship’s captain and performed surgery in a Korean hospital. He also posed as a civil engineer, a lawyer, a deputy sheriff, a Doctor of Psychology, a college Dean of the School of Philosophy, a prison warden, a hospital orderly, a child-care expert, a Benedictine monk, a Trappist monk, an editor, a cancer researcher, and a teacher at a junior college. The great majority of people never suspected he was an impostor.

 Paul rebuked the Corinthians for trusting in impostors: “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, this you tolerate very well” (2 Cor. 11:4).

False teachers and cults preach “another Jesus,” an impostor Jesus who isn’t the Jesus of the Bible, and “a different gospel,” an impostor gospel that isn’t the true gospel. If you don’t use discernment, you can easily accept the fake Jesus as the truth.

Cults preach an impostor Jesus and pervert the Bible. Mormons teach Jesus was a created spirit and the spirit-brother of Satan, and add to the Bible with their Book of Mormon. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the deity of Jesus and His bodily resurrection, and intentionally mistranslate words in their New World Translation. Don’t be fooled by impostors. Click on link for more information. 
BIBLE STUDY: What cults believe and how to answer them
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Thou Shall Not Fear!

When my friend Max was a boy, he visited his great aunt Ruth to spend the night. He was always afraid to sleep there because she lived in an old, spooky three-story house, where the floors creaked like a haunted house in the movies. 

That night he went to his bedroom on the third floor and climbed into bed. The room was dark, but enough light was coming through the window that he could see a man standing in the corner of the bedroom!
Max was absolutely terrified. He knew that if he tried to make a run for the door, the man could easily catch him. He figured the only thing to do was to lay still and pretend to be asleep. All night long he worried about the man. He lay in bed with one eye open, ready to run if the man made a move.
He kept still for hours until the sun came up, and as it got brighter in the room, he could see that the man in the corner was. . . just a coat rack with a hat on it! He spent a night in torment because he believed something that wasn’t true.

Although some fears are based on reality, most fear and worry are usually nothing more than our imaginations out of control. Ninety-two percent of the things we worry about will never happen. You’re probably thinking, “But what about the other 8%? That's what makes me worry.” The other 8% of things we worry about won’t be as bad as we think, or God will give us the grace to get through them. That takes care of 100% our worries.
You cannot worry and trust God at the same time. One forces out the other. Putting your complete trust in God is the only cure for worry. David wrote, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You . . . In God I have put my trust. I shall not be afraid” (Psalm 56:3-4). Are you worrying, or are you trusting God?
BIBLE STUDY:  Don’t Be Afraid!
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, October 24, 2021

God can guide you by repeating the same message in your mind

When I was in college, a friend of mine went to Glorieta Baptist Conference Center in New Mexico to work on their summer staff. After he came home, I called him to ask about his summer. During our conversation he told me, “Kent, you need to go work on staff at Glorieta next summer.”

I had never been to that place and had no interest in going there. But when I returned to college, the words kept coming to my mind, You need to go work on staff at Glorieta next summer. I could not get those words out of my head. I wondered, why do I keep thinking about working on staff at a Baptist conference center in New Mexico? At the time I was a Christian, but wasn’t a Baptist.
About the tenth time the thought came to my mind, I finally called the place and asked for an application. The person taking my call told me, “I’ll be glad to send you a form. However, you must realize that we receive about three thousand applications for our summer staff positions and we can only choose three hundred.” I assumed they wouldn’t choose me since I wasn’t a Baptist, but I figured I had nothing to lose by mailing them my application. To my surprise, I received a letter saying they wanted me to work on their staff.
The following summer, I traveled nine hundred miles to the camp I had never seen before. I was pleased to find out that half of the staff workers were college-aged females—including one who became my future wife! We dated that summer and married two years later. The thought that kept repeating in my mind was actually God telling me what to do. 
Sometimes God reveals His will to me by speaking the same message to my mind again and again until I finally “get it.” God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go. I will advise you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8). 

SIDE NOTE: A seminary professor speaking at the conference center helped me get enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary so I could prepare for ministry, which was another reason why God led me to work at the Baptist Conference Center.
BIBLE STUDY:  Why did Jesus talk about Himself in third person?
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174  Twitter: @KentCrockett

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Revenge Isn't Sweet When You're Bitter

Would you pay $300,000 to get revenge? Last week, a woman from Indonesia did. She kept telling her husband to clean out their aquarium in their house, but he never got around to doing it so she took matters into her own hands.
The creature inside the aquarium was an Asian arowana, commonly called a dragon fish. It’s the most expensive fish on the planet, worth as much as $300,000. The farms where they are raised are compared to high-security prisons, being protected with concrete walls, guard dogs, and barbed wire.
The wife wanted to teach her husband a lesson so he’d never again forget to clean the aquarium. She decided to cook her husband’s $300,000 pet fish and serve it to him for supper! She even made a video of her scaling and deep-frying the fish, and then posted it on social media. The video was viewed 7.1 million times in just one week. The final shot showed the golden-brown, extremely valuable cooked fish on a plate.
Revenge doesn’t just get even; it always pays back more than even. Was cleaning out an aquarium really worth sacrificing a $300,000 fish (that they both owned) to teach him a lesson? Her prank made her look like a fool to 7.1 million people. Revenge is never sweet when you’re bitter.
Romans 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Revenge is God’s right alone because He’s the only one who can correctly execute justice. God promises to deal with the person who hurt you. Whenever you retaliate, it shows you don’t trust the Lord to bring justice. Instead of being resentful, God says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
As the saying goes, “Revenge is sweet,” but it’s never sweet when you’re bitter. The revengeful woman didn’t say how the fish tasted, but it’s safe to say it wasn’t sweet.
UPDATED WITH NEW INFORMATION:  More Proof Evolution Isn’t True
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174  Twitter: @KentCrockett