J. Vernon Mcgee once told the story of a young seminary student who was about to preach his first real sermon. The young man was quite accomplished in his studies, and he felt more than equipped to communicate God’s Word. As a matter of fact, he was overly confident. When the time came for him to deliver the sermon – he walked boldly, even arrogantly, to the sacred desk. He arranged his notes before him, then gazed over the congregation. As he began to preach, his memory and his tongue betrayed him. He couldn’t remember his illustrations, his words shaky and weak. What he thought would be a 30-minute sermon was over in 10 minutes. Sheepishly he descended the stage after the concluding prayer.
The Senior Pastor of the church was an experienced minister who had seen this sort of thing many times before. He placed his arm around the young seminarian and said, “Son, if you had walked onto the stage the way you came down, you would have come down the way you went up”.
King Ahab of Israel gave similar advice to Ben-Hadad in 1 Kings 20:11 (ESV), “Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.” No matter what you are attempting to accomplish today – remember that victory belongs to the Lord. He gives you a mind to think and arms to work. As Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). May this thought sober you and humble you as you strap on your armor.
2017 will be a very busy summer for our family. I have recently accepted a position as the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fernandina Beach, FL. The church is situated on Amelia Island and serves families from Jacksonville, FL to the Southern tip of Georgia. I have been extremely impressed at the sincere heart for prayer that the church has demonstrated. The kindness they have shown to our family is remarkable. We will never forget the time we spent at Capshaw and the friends we’ve made throughout our time in North Alabama. Thankfully, through social media we will be able to stay in touch.
Early in ministry, relocating was relatively easy. The kids were too young to have a strong opinion, Julie was a stay-at-home mom, and we just didn’t have very much to move. Today we have two teenagers, a nine year old, Julie owns a small business that is growing at amazing speeds, and we are homeowners. It was essential that we identify a place that would uniquely fit each of us, as well as serve the callings on each of our lives.
I’ve received several messages from people asking about how this move will impact the Maximum Life Podcast, YouTube Channel, etc. By God’s grace, our media ministry has become the largest audience that we serve on a daily basis. Around 2,000 unique users download our podcast monthly from all over the world.
Thankfully, First Baptist Church has state of the art A/V capabilities and we should be able to continue unhindered. If you are not already subscribed, make sure to do so from your favorite podcast provider – http://zachterry.libsyn.com/rss
COMING SOON – the Maximum Life Podcast will include new, “in-between episodes” that will be in addition to the regular sermons. These episodes will provide commentary, interviews, and truth directed at the issues facing Christian families.
Please be praying for us during this busy season!
Isaiah 6 tells the story of one of the most remarkable revelations of God ever experienced by a man. It was in the year of Uzziah’s death that the event occurred. Uzziah ascended to the throne in the midst of a collapsing economy, a weakened military, and growing threat of an Assyrian invasion. But under Uzziah’s godly leadership, things seemed to be turning around. The economy soared, the military grew strong and hope was alive in Judah. Uzziah was making Israel great again (I couldn’t resist.)
From Genesis onward, humanity has waited and watched for the “Seed” that God would provide that would ultimately crush the head of the enemy. Throughout the Old Testament, we see hopeful prospects- Seth, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David… and now Uzziah. Could this be the one? Could it be Uzziah?
Then, at the height of power, Uzziah made a fatal mistake – he allowed the power and strength to go to his head, and he became filled with pride. God punished him by striking him with leprosy, and ultimately he died. Can you imagine how this felt for the average Israelite? Hope was deferred and their hearts were sick (Proverbs 13:12).
It was at this time that Isaiah has a vision of the eternal King sitting upon an eternal throne. In the midst of this revelation, Isaiah’s sin is magnified, then atoned for, and a question is raised. It seems God has a plan to radically change the world, and he desires a human instrument to accomplish his purpose. God asks, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah volunteers. The mission to which Isaiah is called is bleak. He would see no fruit from his service to God, but earthly success didn’t matter – Isaiah had seen God and lived.
Isaiah 6 ends with a faint whisper of hope. In the midst of a tragic loss, that promises only to get worse, God says,
“And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump.”
God’s answer to all of man’s problems wasn’t the forest, it was the Seed. And the Seed remained. The Seed in the stump was also the King on the throne, Jesus Himself. The glorious mystery of the nativity is when the God of glory will become the seed of Mary. He is the Seed that Israel and all of humanity had longed for.
Have you noticed that there are some names that bring a pleasant emotion when you hear them, while others bring a feeling of negativity? Remember the bully in middle school? The kid who drove to school, had peach fuzz on his face and always seemed to have a wad of big league chew in his mouth? Would you ever consider giving your child his name? NO! Because he has a bad name – a name that brings stress, frustration, and an array of bad feelings. Next, think of a person who unquestionably loves you and communicates it faithfully. Maybe it’s a parent or a significant other. Hearing their name brings peace and joy – and a myriad of positive emotions. They have a good name.
The emotions that follow a person’s name are the sum total of the residual effects that this person has had on you over the years. This is their name. But remember, a name is less like a resume developed and more like an emotion conveyed.
While there isn’t much we can do to affect the way people treat us, there is much we can do to change how we treat people. In other words, we have no power to change the “name” of others- but we have remarkable power over our own!
Here are some things to consider:
- Take inventory on what causes someone to have a good name.
- Write a list of practical ways people have treated you that cause you to have a pleasant response to their name.
- Consider ways you can replicate their behavior in a way that is consistent and authentic in your own life.
Developing a good name is a worthy endeavor. King Solomon wrote – Proverbs 22:1 (ESV)
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.