Pastor’s Pen

 

Dealing with Stress (Part 2) – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

In this article, I am continuing to look at the example Jesus set in dealing with stress.  He said, “I know where I came from and where I am going” (John 8:14).  Know what you want to accomplish.  Jesus said, “I know where I came from and where I am going.”  Can you say that too?  Unless you plan your life and establish priorities, you’ll be pressured by other people to do what they think is important.  Every day you either live by priorities or you live by pressures. There’s no other option.  Either you decide what’s important in your life or you let other people decide for you.  It’s easy to operate under the tyranny of the urgent, to come to the end of your day and wonder, “Have I accomplished anything at all?  I used up a lot of energy and did a lot of things, but did I achieve anything important?”  Busyness is not necessarily productivity.  You may be spinning in circles but not accomplishing anything of real value.  Preparation causes you to be at ease.  Or to put it another way, preparation prevents pressure, whereas procrastination produces pressure.  Good organization and good preparation reduce stress because you know who you are, who you’re trying to please, and what you want to accomplish.

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Dealing with Stress (Part 1) – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

Jesus was constantly under pressure.  There were grueling demands on His time.  He rarely had personal privacy and He was constantly interrupted.  People repeatedly misunderstood, criticized, and ridiculed Him.  He was under enormous stress, yet He remained at peace under pressure.  How did He do it?  In this article, I want to look at the example of Jesus and see what we can learn.  Know who you are.  “‘Who are you?’ they demanded.  Jesus replied, ‘The one I have always claimed to be.’”  
 
If you don’t know who you are, others might try to tell you who they think you are.  If you don’t know who you are, you’ll subconsciously let other people pressure you into believing you are somebody you’re not.  A lot of stress comes from our hiding behind masks, living double lives, being unreal with others, and trying to be somebody we’re not.  Insecurity always produces pressure in our lives; when we’re insecure, we feel coerced into performing and conforming.  We set unrealistic standards for ourselves, and even though we work, work, work, we still can’t meet them.  So, what should you do?  You must know who you are, and Whose you are!  You’re a redeemed child of God put on this earth not by accident but for a purpose.  You are deeply loved and fully accepted by God.  He has a plan for your life; therefore, you are significant.  To overcome stress, you must know who you are; until you deal decisively with this issue, you’ll be plagued by it.  

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What Kind of Shadow Are You Casting? – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

How would you do if I asked you to answer the following?
 
Part 1
* Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
* Name the last five Heisman Trophy winners.
* Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
* Name ten people who have won a Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
* Name the last half-dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
* Name the last decade’s World Series winners.
 
Part 2
* List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
* Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
* Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
* Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
* Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
* Name three heroes whose stories have inspired you.
 
The second part of the quiz is much easier and that is the point. The people who make a difference in your life are not necessarily the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. The people who touch our lives are the ones who matter.

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To Parents of Graduates – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

Now that summer is almost over, there are anxious parents across the country, who are preparing their newly graduated sons and daughters to leave home and enter college this fall. The countdown is on to find sheets for extra-long twin dorm room beds, to figure out student loans, to set up new bank accounts—everything that parents hope will pave the way for their child to be successful at college.
 
For these parents, this moment came quicker than they realized. How did 18 years go by so fast? For many parents, part of the anxiety that they are feeling right now is whether their children are ready for this. How will their kids do out on their own? All good parents want to launch their kids from home in the best possible way and hope that their children avoid the mistakes they made when they were young. But Christian parents, in particular, are concerned with whether their kids will walk with God when they leave home, and they pray that their children won’t stray from the faith taught to them.
 
It’s never too late to encourage your children to trust and obey God. It is far better to start while they are young and have the benefit of years to develop character and faith than to impart wisdom from dad and mom at the end. A deadline, like a child leaving for college, though does bring urgency to the matter. It forces parents to face the reality of the question: are my children ready? Have I prepared them as best as I can?  

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The Deity of Jesus – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

The Deity of Jesus – By Dr. Glenn Cummings
 
Peter says of Jesus Christ, “Through him you believe in God” (I Peter 1:21).  This is a true statement for me and many others.  Our belief in God is truly founded upon the work of revelation and redemption that God accomplished through the Lord Jesus. Jesus is central to our conception of God, of humanity, and of the world.  He is the brightest and clearest picture of God that humans can receive. The person and work of Christ should rise above all other considerations in our formulation of the doctrine of God as well as our doctrine of salvation.
 
Nothing is more important to us than the person and work of Christ.  We are “Christians” because we have trusted in Christ for our salvation. We believe that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19).  All that Satan destroys and steals through sin and guilt, God restores through Christ the Lord.

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Learning from Past Failures – By Dr Glenn Cummings

One day Samson encountered a lion and slew it. The Bible says, “Sometime later, when he went back…he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass. In it he saw…some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along” (vv. 8-9).
 
There’s a lesson here for you. When you take time to stop and reflect, you discover “honey” in your experiences that you can eat and grow stronger and wiser. When you reflect, you are able to put things into perspective; you gain new appreciation for things you didn’t notice before. Few of us have clear perspective in the heat of the moment. Most of us who have survived a traumatic experience usually avoid similar situations at all costs. This can leave us with unresolved issues that leave us tied up in knots. Reflective thinking enables us to distance ourselves from the intense emotions of an experience and see it with fresh eyes. Indeed, this process is one of the first steps to getting rid of our emotional baggage.

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Make the Most of Your Time – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

The life of John Wesley is a great example of the scriptural principle “making the most of your time.” He averaged three sermons a day for fifty-four years, preaching a total of more than 44,000 times in his life. In doing this he traveled by horseback and carriage more than 200,000 miles—about 5,000 miles a year. Even for a very productive man, that would seem to be a full-time effort.
 
Still, Wesley found time to write and edit. His published works include a four-volume commentary on the entire Bible, a five-volume work on natural philosophy, a four-volume work on church history, and a dictionary of the English language. He also wrote histories of England and Rome; grammars on the Hebrew, Latin, Greek, French, and English languages; three works on medicine; six volumes of church music; and seven volumes of sermons; and he edited a library of fifty volumes known as the “Christian Library.”
 
Each day he rose at 4 a.m. and didn’t go to bed until 10 p.m., allowing only brief periods for meals. Yet he declared, “I have more hours of private retirement than any man in England.”
 
Our days are like identical suitcases—all the same size. But some pack more into them than others. These are purpose-driven, goal-oriented people—unlike the man whose tombstone read, “When it came time to die, I discovered I had not lived.” So heed this Scripture: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (vv. 15-16 NIV).

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Dealing With Grief – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

I want to share something that I pray will help those who are dealing with the loss of a loved one.
 
If you’ve ever lost a loved one, you know the aching emptiness of grief. Often the pain is beyond measure – an overwhelming and profound sadness that words can barely begin to describe.  If you’ve walked this dark valley, then I’m sure you can relate to these words from someone who found herself sinking under the pain of bereavement.  “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21) I’m sure those words are familiar to many of you. They were spoken to Jesus by His close friend Martha following the death of her dear brother, Lazarus. And they reveal to us the painful questions of a grieving heart…. “I thought you loved me, Jesus.”   “Why didn’t you do something, Lord?”   “Were you not able to answer my cry for help?”
 
Perhaps you recognize the cry of your own heart in Martha’s heartfelt plea. If so, then you need to cling to the promises of God that will pour healing balm on your wounds of grief.
 
Here are two truths to help heal your hurting heart:
 
First, God understands your pain even when you feel like no one could ever know what you’re going through. As Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was…a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
 
Second, God will hold you firm even when you feel like you’re sinking in the storms of grief. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

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The Rest of the Story – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

I used to enjoy the radio spots that Paul Harvey had entitled “The Rest of the Story.”  Beginning as a part of his newscasts during the Second World War and then premiering as its own series on the ABC Radio Networks on May 10, 1976, “The Rest of the Story” consisted of stories presented as little-known or forgotten facts on a variety of subjects with some key element of the story (usually the name of some well-known person) held back until the end. The broadcasts always concluded with a variation on the tag line “And now you know the rest of the story.”
 
Christmas has come and gone for 2018, and how we have been thrilled again at the story of the star, the shepherds and the Savior.  We love to get in our minds the picture of the baby lying in the manger, the shepherds kneeling, the angels singing, and the stars shining.  But the story of Christmas is not the complete story of Jesus.
 
Most stories have three parts – an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.  The story of Jesus has 3 chapters, with Christmas being the first. The first chapter is about God coming to identify with us in a human body.  Maybe John 1:1 says it best, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”  We must understand that the baby born of the virgin Mary in that lowly stable was none other than God who had come in human flesh.  John 1:14 says “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

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God’s Presence – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

The tabernacle in the Old Testament is all about the presence of the Lord. The Lord God of Israel chose to make His presence known in the part of the tabernacle that is called the Holy of Holies. In the Holy of Holies there was only one piece of furniture––an ark. (Exodus 25: 10-16) The word for ark could probably be better-translated “chest.” It was a chest made of acacia wood and covered over with precious gold, both within and without. On top of this Ark of the Covenant was placed the Mercy Seat. Attached to the Mercy Seat were two cherubim that looked down on the Mercy Seat as angelic beings.

 
There would be over that Ark of the Covenant in the Holy Place, a burning light. It was the outshining of the Shekina Glory of the eternal God. The Ark was a constant reminder that the manifest presence of God was present in that tabernacle.
 
To stand before the Ark of the Covenant, the high priest had to move through the veil. He was invited to move beyond the veil only once each year. To venture into the Holy of Holies and to stand before the Ark of the Covenant on any other day meant certain death. This is a reminder to us that the presence of God is always a holy presence. Wherever God manifests His presence in time or eternity, it will always be a manifestation of His holiness. Holiness is so much a part of who God is that there can be nothing else connected with His presence.

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A Thanks to Our Educators – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

Yes, I am a pastor and preaching God’s Word and writing about spiritual things is what I do.  However, in our community we had a tragedy in the past few weeks that has led me to address something in this article that I think needs to be said.  That is a big “Thank You” to those who teach and administrate in our local school systems. My parents both taught for more than 30 years in Georgia and retired as educators in this State.  I recognize that who I am today is a product of those teachers who poured into my life from kindergarten through doctoral work at seminary. I cannot distinguish the part each one played individually, but I know that together they have greatly shaped who I am.
 
The tragic and unexpected death of Larry Walker, our Gilmer Middle School Principal, helped remind us of the impact educators have in our lives and it also reminded us of the brevity of life.  I will briefly address both here.
 
First, would you take time to thank someone who has taught you or your children?  Teachers are often under paid for the investment they make in the lives of our children.  But, it has been my experience that they go into this career not for financial gain, but rather to invest in the lives of others.  Larry Walker did that in Gilmer County.  Teachers care about their students and often go the extra mile to be sure the student is fed, and their needs are being met in many ways.  Throughout our years as adolescents, when we were at our most vulnerable state, when we were still struggling to reconcile ourselves to the real world, there were a few who stood by us and helped us through our moments of uncertainty.  These people can be anyone – a friend, a parent, a sibling, a pastor, a teacher. So, let’s honor our teachers for being a friend, counselor, and mentor.  Thank you for the value you have added to our lives and have challenged us to learn and grow.

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The Garden of Gethsemane – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

My thoughts today come from Mark 14:32-42.  The word “passion” is used today in our culture in several different ways. We talk about a person who has a great passion. That means they have a great fire. They have a great love to do something. But the word “passion” literally means suffering.  When you get to the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to the depths of the Word of God.

Think with me about the agony in the garden. It had evidently been quite a long day for Jesus. He has gathered in the upper room with His disciples for the celebration of the Passover supper and for the initiation of the Lord’s Supper.  The supper is now ended and He leads His disciples out of the city of Jerusalem, down the hill eastward and moving toward the Mount of Olives.  He crosses over the Brook Kidron. Historically and seasonally, at this time of the year, the Brook Kidron was swelling in its banks. We also know that the waste from the temple was poured down into the Kidron.  The blood of the sacrificial animals that had been slain on that Passover had been poured down into the Kidron Brook so that when Jesus and His disciples came to the Brook Kidron, it must have been blood red with the blood of sacrificial animals. Surely His thoughts were turned to the cross of Calvary at this point.


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FBC Family – 7/31/18

FBC Family:  Let me use this to remind you of three things.  Church members, please share with other members.
 
First, this Saturday the church family is encouraged to meet at 9:00 in the sanctuary. This will be a focus on prayer.  There will be those who walk our community and others who remain at the church to pray.  I would like for each classroom to be prayed over for the Sunday School and Discipleship teachers. I would like to be sure that someone prays on each pew in the sanctuary for those who will be seated there in the coming weeks.

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America’s Greatness – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

Psalm 33:12 says that the nation which recognizes God as Lord will be blessed.  That is more than simply putting “in God we trust” on our currency and coins.  I think most people can see that over the past years America has been a very blessed nation.  It has not been because of technological advancement or medical discovery.  America’s greatness has not been the result of powerful and influential leaders.  I believe there are two things that have made America great:  The Christian faith and God’s Holy Word. However, at the same time, I must also say, we are witnessing the destruction of this foundation before our very eyes. 

George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” Our thirtieth President, Calvin Coolidge said, “The foundation of our society and of our government rests so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings should cease.”

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Holy Ground – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

Have you ever had a moment of knowing you were on Holy Ground?  I sure hope so because those do happen and they are often spiritual milestones in our life.  How did you respond? What did you do? What did you say? When you find yourself standing on holy ground, it is important that you respond to God appropriately.

This “burning bush” moment came in the 80th year of the life of Moses. He had spent 40 years in the house of Pharaoh and now he has spent 40 years caring for the flocks of Jethro in Midian. Here he finds himself in an isolated part of the ancient world. Busied with a very menial task, imagining what ever life might have been in Egypt is only a memory of the past. Then something happens that will change everything for this Hebrew. It was the moment of fresh encounter between Moses and the God of Abraham. There are lessons for us to learn about standing on holy ground from this incident. 


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