It’s Focused on Relationships

Pastor Craig Carter It’s hard to believe, but the campaigning for the 2020 presidential election is in full swing. For the candidates trying to find “the it factor” among voters, they’d probably do well to steal a page from the playbook of one of the greatest campaigners of all time – former President Clinton. During the 1992 presidential campaign, George Bush, Sr. and Bill Clinton were virtually deadlocked in the polls. As Election Day drew closer, President Bush began to pull ahead. That’s when James Carville, one of Clinton’s top advisors, decided their campaign effort needed a new focus. After …

It’s All About God

Pastor Craig Carter Last week I introduced a new sermon series called “The It Factor.” The series is based on the premise that some churches and Christians have “it,” while others do not. But “it” is really a He, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Of course, all believers receive the Spirit of God, but some seem to get more of “it” than others and their lives are characterized by passion for the Lord and anticipation of what He is going to do next. The Early Church provides a vivid example of what it looks like when “the …

The It Factor

Pastor Craig Carter There’s an old adage: “You either have it or you don’t!” What is “it”? You know…it! Some people have it and some people don’t! “It” is hard to define, but we know it when we see it. Example: The singer on “America’s Got Talent” who sounds like many others but she’s clearly different and Simon Cowell declares she has “the it factor.” Churches and Christians have “it” too, don’t they? Have you ever been to a church that doesn’t have “it”? It doesn’t take long to realize “it” is missing. They’re lifeless, devoid of purpose, superficial/artificial, and …

Psalm 77: A Power Ballad of the Ancient World

Pastor Rudy Olivo For the music leader. According to Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm. I cry out loud to God—out loud to God so that he can hear me! During the day when I’m in trouble I look for my Lord. At night my hands are still outstretched and don’t grow numb; my whole being refuses to be comforted. I remember God and I moan. I complain, and my spirit grows tired. You’ve kept my eyelids from closing. I’m so upset I can’t even speak. I think about days long past; I remember years that seem an eternity in the …

What makes God laugh?

Pastor Craig Carter I don’t know how you view God, but according to Scripture, the Divine Being is not stoic or passionless. Instead, the Bible portrays the Lord in a personal manner as One who has thoughts, feelings and emotions. And apparently, at least according to the psalmist, He has a sense of humor. So what makes God laugh? Here are three things the Bible tells us: God laughs when… – We make our own plans – The forces of sin and evil think they are winning – The Enemy attacks His people First, let’s explore why God laughs when …

What is Baptism?

Pastor Craig Carter My daughter, Abby, lives in Pensacola and is attending a church of another denomination. I won’t say what it is but they talk a lot about being baptized. In particular, finding out she was raised a Methodist, they have pointed out their objections to infant baptism and sprinkling. On a recent trip home, Abby told me their arguments sounded pretty good and she really didn’t know how to answer them. A leader from our congregation overheard our conversation and admitted that she too wasn’t exactly sure what we, as Methodists, believe about baptism. How about you? Do …

One-Liners I Live By (Part 3)

Pastor Craig Carter RELATIONSHIPS WITH SPOUSE As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way…Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband. (Ephesians 5:31-33 NLT, MSG) You’ll notice Paul suggests the marriage relationship teaches us something about the relationship between Christ and His Church. The one-liners here apply …

One-Liners I Live By (Part 2)

Pastor Craig Carter In my previous post I shared some of the “Family One Liners” my wife Lee and I have developed to help us relate to our children. In this post, I’ve summed up what we’ve learned about relating to our parents. I was fortunate to have two loving, involved parents. My wife Lee didn’t have that same set of circumstances. Our combined perspectives and the guidance of God’s Word led us to these one-liners for relating to parents (no matter your age!). RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARENTS Interestingly, while the Bible gives considerable guidance to parents on how to raise …

One-Liners I Live By (Part 1)

Pastor Craig Carter I tend to overthink things so I like to use short phrases I call “one-liners” to keep me on track. Examples: “Let go and let God,” “Feelings are not facts,” “DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING.” That last one is my favorite and the one I lean on the most. My wife Lee and I recently co-taught a sermon series titled “Family One Liners.” We’ve been married 37 years and the sermon series was based on the one-liners we have developed throughout our marriage that helped us relate to each other, to our parents, to our children and …