Referring to New Year's Eve, 2017
The New Year is rapidly approaching. How would you measure how things went for you in 2017? Were there successes? Failures?
What are your goals for the New Year of 2018? I pray that your # 1 New Year’s resolution is to make Jesus our Savior number ONE in your life! We will have no greater joy, success, victory or purpose than to have a saving faith and a servant relationship with the Lord Jesus. After all, He died for me, He forgave me of all my sins, and He gloriously and wonderfully gave me salvation that will last for all of Eternity when I trusted in Him.
And the good news is, even if this past year has been scarred by failures, His forgiveness is ours to claim. 1 John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Sir Francis Drake, to whom Kathy is related on her mother’s side, wrote the following prayer as he departed the west coast of South Africa. The title of the prayer is “DISTURB US, LORD.”
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the Name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
May 2018 be our greatest year ever! May we acknowledge that we haven’t arrived yet, confess our failures and experience His forgiveness, put the past where it belongs—behind us, pour ourselves into the present, and maintain an eternal perspective. May this coming year be the greatest year for our Church as we do Kingdom Ministry by serving people all over the world, beginning at our front doors.
Referring to December 24th--The Forgotten Man of Christmas
When you look at Nativity pictures, you usually see angels, shepherds (and sometimes wise men with camels, although according to Matthew they didn't actually come to the manger). Usually cattle and sheep are present. Perhaps angels hover in the background.
On occasion you'll see a man standing in the picture, perhaps off to the side. He's the sometimes-forgotten man of Christmas.
This Sunday at First Christian Church of Wylie we'll identify this man, and discover how he did the right thing at the right time in the right way, leading up to Jesus' birth.
Don Hawkins D. Min.
Referring to December 10th-- Mary
When we think of Christmas, many characters come to mind: angels, shepherds, wise men, even wicked king Herod. But other than baby Jesus, no one plays as central a role as Mary.
A Nazareth teenager, espoused to Joseph (in that culture, a legal marriage contract without sexual intimacy), Mary received a visit from Gabriel, one of God’s choice angels, who explained that she had been chosen to give birth to the Messiah, Jesus. Puzzled as to how this could happen since she was sexually pure, Gabriel answered “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will over shadow you; therefore also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35).
While Bible-believing Christians have affirmed the miracle of Jesus’ virgin birth, questions have been raised about Mary. Is she a sinless source of grace? Was she also “born of a virgin?” The answer to those questions can be found in Luke 1:47 where Mary, in her “Magnificat,” affirms, “”My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”
The significance of this statement is that Mary, like each of us, was a sinner who needed a Savior, and who recognized that need. I believe she was a young woman of faith who understood that her Son was both the Son of God and the Savior of all who place their trust in Him.
As we think of Mary at this season, two key questions come to mind.
Like her, have you trusted the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior?
Also, like Mary, who called herself “…the maidservant of the Lord….” are you committed to serving Him with your time, talent and treasure?
A final thought. As we face the challenges of life at this time, remember the promise of Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1: 37. “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.”
December 3rd, Overcoming Holiday Burnout
The Christmas season is often described as the happiest time of the year. The phrase “Happy Holidays” is seen on greeting cards and heard in songs of the season. The theme permeates media advertising, as we constantly see images of families opening presents and smiling over what they have received. Groups gather with delight around elaborately-decorated Christmas trees and heavily-laden dining room tables.
However, holidays are not always happy. They can produce stress and even lead to depression for some people.
Factors leading to holiday unhappiness include financial pressures, unresolved interpersonal conflicts, perhaps a bittersweet reminder of a happy, never-to-be-recaptured past time, as when a beloved spouse, parent or other family member is no longer around to share in the season. Or the problem may be feeling burned out—physically and emotionally exhausted, wishing to withdraw from people, and working harder and harder to achieve less and less.
The kind of burnout often experienced at this season can be seen in Luke’s account of an incident from the life of Martha of Bethany, a friend of Jesus, in whose home Jesus and his disciples frequently visited. Luke 10:38-42 relates what happened on this particular occasion. Martha confronted Jesus because she felt there were important projects to be accomplished in the kitchen, while her sister Mary seem to be ignoring her responsibilities.
An examination of Luke 10 helps us identify several problems plaguing Martha. She wanted to be in control, she was task-oriented, she was an advice-giver, and she clearly struggled with anger when she exclaimed “Lord don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
In response, Jesus shared three important perspectives with Martha, perspectives which can help us address holiday burnout today. First, calling her name twice, He gently pointed out that she was not paying attention to Him, He suggested she was anxious about many things because she had too many irons in the fire. And at the heart of her problem, He explained that she was neglecting what was most needful, best, and lasting—listening to Him, as Mary was doing.
If you are feeling the stresses of the season, let’s think about these perspectives from Jesus. Are we taking the time to focus on Him and His Word? After all, it is His birth we are celebrating. Are we overly-busy because, like Martha, we have ‘too many irons in the fire?’ Finally, are we neglecting what Jesus commended Mary for—spending time in fellowship with our Savior?
Let’s make Him the focus of this holiday season!
Don Hawkins, D. Min
Referring to Sunday, November 26th
Over many years of ministry, I’ve often heard individuals say “I just don’t feel adequate for that” or “I don’t think I can handle that,” when faced with a job, ministry or new challenge. Have you ever felt that way?
In Second Corinthians, writing about his ministry, the apostle Paul addresses the issue of adequacy in the context of ministry from what might be considered a surprising perspective.
Some in the church in Corinth had questioned whether Paul should be in ministry, and the apostle may have struggled with his own feelings. He used the word translated “adequate” or “sufficient” four times in 2 Corinthians 2:16 through 3:5. His conclusion? None of us is adequate or sufficient on our own, and we can’t generate or produce it through natural talent or human effort.
However, through God’s indwelling Spirit, believers can find their sufficiency in Him. I hope you’ll join us this Sunday at 10:45 am for a message titled “Our Sufficiency in Christ” at First Christian Church, 701 East Stone Road in Wylie.
Referring to Sunday, November 19th
When we think of the characters of Thanksgiving, what usually comes to mind? Pilgrims, Squanto and other Indians? Or football, turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie?
Rarely would we think of individuals with leprosy. Yet one of the great texts on Thanksgiving is found in Luke 17, the account of ten lepers who were miraculously cleansed of their disease by the Lord Jesus Christ.
You would expect all of them to be extremely thankful for this miracle, and to express their thankfulness to the Lord without delay.
However, according to Luke’s Gospel that’s not what happened.
This coming Sunday at first Christian church of Wylie we will consider Thanksgiving from the perspective of these ten lepers. From this study there are lessons to be learned about how thankfulness should permeate our lives in every situation, not just on or around the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you’ll join us this coming Sunday at 10:45 AM for “The Thanksgiving Response,” at First Christian church 701 E. Stone Road in Wylie.
Referring to Sunday, November 12th
Do you know what the first negative emotion in human history was? Here's a clue: it's found at the point where God confronted Adam and Eve for taking the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3). There, in verse 10, Adam admits, "...I was afraid...."
Some 300 times in Scripture we find references to this negative emotion. Fear usually begins its grip on us in early childhood--think monsters under the bed or in the closet--and frequently continues to dominate both thoughts and actions in adulthood.
Given the recent church shooting in south Texas, the concert shooting in Las Vegas, the series of devastating hurricanes, wildfires and other events, feeling fearful almost seems understandable.
However, in Scripture there is an antidote for fear, and it’s a crucial ingredient for any Christian or any church. This Sunday at First Christian Church of Wylie we will consider the topic “The Key to Handling Terrifying Times.” I hope you will make plans to join us this coming Sunday at 10:45 am at First Christian Church, 701 East Stone Street in Wylie.
Don Hawkins D. Min.
Referring to Sunday, November 5th
I'm delighted to be serving First Christian Church of Wylie as your interim pastor. But what exactly is an interim pastor? Is the concept Biblical? Is there a new Testament pattern to follow?
This coming Sunday I'll address the concept of an interim pastoral ministry from Titus 1. There is a basis for this kind of ministry strategy. Paul outlines the process to follow, and we can even see concrete results from what the apostle outlined. I hope you can join us Sunday at 10:45 am as we consider the role of interim pastor, here at First Christian Church of Wylie.
First Christian Church
Sunday School 9:30 AM
Sunday Worship 10:45 AM
701 East Stone Road
Wylie, Texas 75098