The new house!

The new house!
This is our spring and summer view from the kitchen of our new home in Oklahoma!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!  In case you're wondering where all the current blog posts are... well... they are not here!  I am taking a month off to pray over the directions for the blog for the new year!  So, Piper and I pray that you all have the BEST Christmas ever and that 2018 brings you the abundant blessing of Papa God! 

We look forward to seeing all of you again in the New Year!  - Pastor Jim

Friday, December 1, 2017

BBQ Chicken...

We have a very nice Weber gas BBQ that my parents gave to us quite a few years ago.  The only problem is that we haven’t used it in three years!  Let me explain… Over the years that BBQ has been at the center of countless family dinners, holiday gatherings and a good source to cook on when the power went out!  And since one of our all-time family favorites was barbequed chicken… that BBQ had not seen much down time… until we moved out here!

When we first moved here to North Carolina we rented an apartment until we got a little familiar with the area so as to be able to make a good choice as to where we would buy our house.  One of the downsides of the apartment was that barbequing was not allowed on the apartment patios due to fire regulations.  So for a year and a half we did not BBQ anything.  By the time we moved into our new home it would seem that the years of use finally caught up with the flavor rods and grates inside the unit.  They basically fell apart in my hands when I opened the lid and tried to move them.

It is not like it came as a surprise to me as I had been nursing those parts for a couple of years back in California and knew that I would have to get some replacements.  But you know… for some reason it just hasn’t happened yet!  I know they have the needed parts at Home Depot but I tend to forget about them whenever I go there… only remembering when I want to BBQ something!

I’m sure that I am the only one that this ever happens too… right?  But it is not like we never BBQ as I also have a small Weber charcoal BBQ that I’ve been using since we moved in.  To be perfectly honest, I like the way the charcoal BBQ cooks the meat much better than the gas unit! The only problem though, is that it takes longer and entails a bit more effort than just turning on the gas, igniting the jets and tossing something on the grill!

Charcoal cooking takes a little more planning, some experiential knowledge of cooking with your particular BBQ, and the understanding that the coals don’t always heat up evenly or  completely as they should.  There have been many times when I find myself with a folded newspaper fanning the white hot areas of the coals in order to stir up and then spread the fire.  But again, just about every time I take that delicious looking – perfectly cooked - chicken or steak off the grill, the extra work and effort seems well worth it!

The process of stirring up the fire within the coals of the BBQ reminds me of the Psalmist’s words as he encourages us to “Erupt with thanks to the Eternal, for He is good…” (Psalm 107:1 The Voice)  Whenever I read this verse I always tend to believe that our eruption of thanksgiving and praise unto the Lord should automatically come from the fire that we need to keep stirred up inside of us.  Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:13 and again in 2 Peter 3:1 that he believed it to be of utmost importance that we stir ourselves up by putting ourselves into continual remembrance of God’s Word.  In 2 Peter 1:12 he says that we should stir up the truths that we already know and live by.

An even layer of white coals at the bottom of the BBQ cooks the meat a lot faster and more evenly with delicious results that make one’s mouth water much better than a bed of spotty white and black coals can ever attain!  But like I say previously… to reach the peak of perfection with the coals takes some knowledge, patience, effort and maybe even a bit of sweat!

Keeping the fire white hot inside of us also takes that same kind of patience combined with regular effort and at times, some hard-pressed and diligent work.  Once the coals of our spirit-man are white hot though… it doesn’t take much stimuli to “Erupt with thanks” unto the Lord. 

The results of all that diligence and effort shines through like nothing I can explain when we enter into the presence of the Lord!  It is an experience like none other… and according to the Word of God, it is something we can all experience more often than we would think!  It just takes some priority setting, some diligent and consistent effort and maybe a tad bit of self-discipline.

Now… a perfectly cooked piece of juicy barbequed chicken with a crispy skin marinated throughout the cooking time with delicious home-made BBQ sauce that fills your mouth with a sensation of flavor and tender goodness can’t really be compared to a time in God’s presence as you “Erupt” with thanksgiving and praise to Him… but I think it gives you an idea of what I am talking about! (Might make you hungry too!)

Have a great weekend!  Get to the store, buy some chicken and BBQ it for some tasty sensation and a wonderful meal… and then as you sit back in your favorite chair after dinner and pat your satisfied tummy… ask yourself… “Am I expecting to have that same kind of sensational experience in the presence of God today?”