Follow the Instructions

This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. – Joshua 1:8

why-study-the-bible

I admit it… I have not had a good history of following instructions.  Now before you judge me, I’m not talking about serious matters of life, I’m talking about putting things together.  You know… the night before Christmas and all through the house, the kids are asleep and dad is pulling his hair out trying to put together a bicycle that he should have just paid a little extra for to have the manufacturer assemble for him!

Those kind of instructions.

Recently, over the past few years, I have gotten way better.  I have learned to pay careful attention to the details of the instruction manual.  I read it carefully, and I do exactly as it says.  You see, when I venture out of my own and attempt to do something stupid, it always ends up in a mess… always.  And life is the same way.

God, in His love and mercy, left us with an instruction manual; a guide; a roadmap.  As Joshua was preparing to lead some 2 million Israelites across the Jordan river and into the land of Canaan, God gives him specific instruction as to what He must do to be successful:  Read, meditate and obey the Law of God.

So here is the question:  How important is God’s Word to you?

Where is reading your Bible on your list of priorities?  Do you take some time each day to, not just read, but meditate and ponder the truths of God’s Word.  Do you allow it to speak to you?  Do you allow it to change you?  I am going to close this blog with two passages that I gave our congregation yesterday:

“For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

21 “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and it not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” – James 1:21-25

There are no excuses.  Let’s make a renewed commitment to reading and studying the Word of God!

Grateful for the service that we had yesterday!  Oaklawn, as we approach the summer months, let’s focus on inviting others to church!  Wouldn’t it be awesome if we saw an increase in attendance through the summer and not a decline?  We can make it happen by being faithful and inviting others!  Don’t forget to be praying for one another, and I hope you will join us Wednesday night at 6:30 for Bible study!

Blessings,

Pastor Jaywhy-study-the-bible

I Can Do All Things

What is it that’s holding you back?  You know that God has a purpose and you know that He has a plan, and yet you still are hesitant to move.  Is it something in your past?  Do you feel defeated about a mistake?  Do you live in the desert of doubt?  Friend, God is calling you to freedom, to “Promised Land” living!  

The truth is, too many believers live with the constant attitude of “I can’t”.  Living in the land of “I can’t” can bring defeat to every area of life.  In verse 1 of Joshua 1, God speaks to Joshua and says, “Moses my servant is dead.”  Horrible news, right?  Moses was the man, the leader, the legend, and in an instant, he is gone.  And Joshua, his assistant, has a decision to make, and could have EASILY said, “Lord, I can’t”.  

The people are too stubborn, the enemies are too strong, the path is not clear and there is too much uncertainty.  But Joshua said no such things, in fact, he did the opposite.  He listened to the word of the Lord, and he obeyed… by faith.  

Are you caught between the wilderness and the Promised Land today?  It’s time to break free!  For the Christian, we have a power that keeps us from striving under our own power, the Holy Spirit!  So, stop saying, “I can’t” and start saying, “I can, through Him!”

Philippians 4:13 says, “I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  

It’s time to march, and it’s time to move on… from I can’t to I can.   

Don’t let the holiday weekend keep you out of worship this weekend!  Be in your place for connect groups at 9:30 and morning worship at 10:45AM!

Blessings,

Jay

Joy and Sorrow…All in One Weekend


This past weekend was certainly a weekend for the ages.  I would have to say that, as a pastor, it was one of the busiest weekends that I have ever experienced.  Here is the way it all went down starting Saturday and into Sunday:

5:30AM– 17 miles on the bicycle.

8:00 – 12noon – Service and Sermon prep

1:15 –  Picked up Jake (my faithful assistant) 

2:00 –  Graveside service for a beautiful believer and wife of a dear friend.

4:00 – Wedding ceremony for a beautiful couple in our church, Zackerie and Brooklyn 🙂


6:00 – Stopped back by the church to pick up food prepared by some awesome folks at Oaklawn for the above grieving family.

6:15 – Picked up fried chicken and potato salad at Walmart.

6:20 – On the way to deliver food, spoke with an incredible man of God in the hospital awaiting open heart surgery by phone.  (Love this man dearly…please pray for him).  Also called two other great men in our church who are suffering physically to encourage them as well.

6:45 – Delivered food to the above grieving family and spent a few minutes with them.  

8:00 – Jake and I changed the church sign from “Car Wash Fundraiser!” to “Global Impact Missions Weekend!”

8:45 – Took Jake home.  

9:00 – Arrived home…Ate a half-eaten cheeseburger that my 6 yr old didn’t finish, sat down on the couch and caught about 30 minutes of “Chronicles of Narnia”, Clemson football, and Braves baseball.

9:30 – Began prepping a funeral message for a sweet lady who passed this past week…She was 101 years old.  Her name was Hazel Smith and her daughter, Phyllis, attends our church.  

Midnight – Go to bed.

Sunday morning, 6:30AM – Rise and Shine!

8:45 – Worship prep

10:45 – God blessed with an incredible worship time at our gathering.  Preached a so-so sermon 😊

1:00 – Quick lunch at Taco Bell…Probably wasn’t the best idea. 😳

3:00 – Officiated the funeral service of Hazel Smith of Belews Creek.  She was born on December 31, 1914.  (The same year WWI began)

4:00 – Officiated the graveside service for Mrs. Hazel and spent a few minutes with the family.  

5:00 – For the first time ever, I dropped my son off at the church for youth as a parent and not the youth pastor.  It’s gonna be great just being his dad…but I’m gonna miss the WELL. 


6:45 – Pick-up Grady from youth and headed home…debated on whether or not to make some hospital visits.  I stayed home and prayed for them. 

Now, I certainly am not complaining, as a matter of fact, if you know me, I’m having the time of my life, but…I want to encourage you to pray for pastors!  I didn’t understand this until recently, but there is a load and a burden that pastors carry that is just…there.  I don’t know how to describe it other than God’s call on my life allows me to not only carry my own burdens, but also empowers me to help carry the burdens of others.  

It is a great responsibility, and I love it and I love my people, God’s people, the people of Oaklawn so much!   I am looking forward to the awesome things that God is going to do in and through His church!  

Have a wonderful week everyone!  Pray for your pastor.  He needs it!  Love God and love people!

Until next time,
Jay

Has Social Media made us Anti-Social?

Yesterday’s message was definitely different, but it was a subject that has been on my heart for a long time now.  Hopefully, if you attended our worship service yesterday, you walked away with some information that will encourage you and your family to put down the smart phones and the iPads and spend more quality time together.  If you missed the message, it will be posted this week on the front page of our website and you can check it out there!  
I left our church with nine takeaways yesterday that I want to leave with you this week.  Here are nine boundaries for email, texting and use of social media:

  • If possible, turn off your phone when you come to church or when you meet together in small groups.  Don’t pull it out and check emails or send a text… Perhaps just leave it in the car.
  • Don’t put your phone (or your elbows) on the dinner table.  If your phone is in sight, you are likely to check it.  
  • Pay attention to whomever is speaking to you.  Don’t text or post a status update during a conversation.  It is rude and will be perceived that way. 
  • If you must take a call, take your call outside or outside the room.  No one wants to hear your conversation.
  • Get your face out of your phone!!  We all need to spend more face-to-face time together.  You will never gain social skills by hiding behind a keyboard.
  • Get out of the mindset that you need to respond to a text message or an email right away.  There is rarely anything so urgent that you have to reply the moment you receive a message.  Slow the cycle down.  If you do so, you will probably find that your response will be more thoughtful.
  • Don’t get upset if you don’t hear back from someone you’re trying to reach right away!  Do not call and call and call, or continue to re-text or email.  It is rude. 
  • Consider the time of day you send messages.  Do not wake someone up if it’s not an emergency!
  • Turn off your phones as often as you can, find a front porch or a back deck with some family and friends and fellowship for awhile…face to face.  

These are some great boundaries!  Give them a try!  Let’s all work harder at getting better when it comes to spending more time with family and friends face to face and less time sending them a text or an email.  

Join us next Sunday as we will discuss behavior  and social media… Stop hiding behind that keyboard!

Love you all!

Jay

Welcome to oaklawnlife.com

If I were speaking to you face to face, I would greet you with a big smile and a “How’s it going?”  So… (big smile on my face) How’s it going?  I am so glad that you have taken the time to visit our website here at Oaklawn!  When you are finished reading my nonsense, take a few minutes and browse around and, forgive us as we are still working on a few things!

I am so grateful for what God is doing here at Oaklawn.  We have been so blessed to see Him work in the lives of so many!  I want to encourage you to give us try if you are looking for a place to call home.  Our mission is to obey the teachings of our Lord Jesus:  to love God with all of heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbor.  We are also passionate about obeying the Great Commission by sharing and living the gospel and by making committed followers of Jesus Christ!

If you have any questions about our fellowship, please feel free to send me an email at jay@oaklawnlife.com.  I would love to hear from you!  I will also do my very best to update this blog every Monday morning so… stay tuned!

Blessings,

Jay