The Oaks family happily welcomes Ella Grace Hughes, born September 24, 2011. Josh will be taking a few weeks off from blogging to spend time with Ginger and their brand new baby girl. The Pastor's Corner will be back in mid-October.
Dr. Lucy Green
Growing up, I had the unfortunate opportunity to have several "Come to Jesus Meetings" with my parents. Now, I am not talking about a revival at the church, I am talking about an attitude adjustment that often ended with my inability to sit down for extended periods of time.
In our text for Sunday, Philippians 2:1-12, Paul encourages all followers of Christ to have a spiritual attitude adjustment. He says, "Your attitude should be that of Christ Jesus." That is a tall order because having the attitude of Jesus demands significant changes for all of us. It means we have to rid ourselves of selfish motives. It means we have to embrace servanthood. It means that we have to humble ourselves and become obedient to what Jesus commands every minute of every day. This radical change is the evidence of God working within us as His people.
On our own, this kind of adjustment is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. So as we prepare our hearts for worship this week, now is the time to begin taking these steps...what are you going to do?
I want to also take this opportunity to say thank you to all of those who gave us the shower last week. Ginger and I were humbled and frankly overwhelmed at the outpouring of incredible generosity that you displayed to us yet again. We cannot tell you what it means to us to have you as a church family. I am confident that our baby girl will be the most spoiled child to ever live with you in her life. May God bless you as richly as you have blessed us.
Josh and Ginger
Ga Tech surprised me last week with an incredible win vs. Kansas. A tight game quickly became a blowout when Tech completely owned the third quarter (4 touchdowns). Tech has the #1 rushing attack, the #1 scoring offense, and the #1 total offense in the nation. Perhaps this is their year to be special. "But to be the man, they have to beat the man" (Ric Flair enthusiasts know that line), WOOOOOOOO! And it starts with UNC. North Carolina is also a top 25 team and will pose a stiff test. This is a home game for Tech, and that helps. Tech wins a close one.
GA Southern did not play last week...(sorry, forgot about the bye). So I carry over my prediction from last week. GA Southern faces an angry foe in Western Carolina (this is who Tech beat in game one). The Eagles look dominant, #1 ranking in I-AA, and the trend continues. Eagles win by 10.
UGA travels to "The Grove" in Oxford, MS to play Ole Miss. Ole Miss has been a train wreck lately (they lost by 30 to Vanderbilt last week). UGA should dominate this game from start to finish. UGA by 13.
The Falcons pulled the shocker last week with a win over the Eagles. The Falcons seem to lack the identity they need on offense (as well as a starting LT who does not get pushed back in the back field every snap). They face a rekindled Bus team in Tampa. Falcons are getting better and will prove it this week. They win by 7.
God is not fair, God is gracious.
God called Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn the people of God's intention to destroy the city because of the wickedness of its inhabitants. Because of his disdain for the Ninevites, Jonah disobeys God and flees to Tarshish (You remember later the story of the storm, three days in the belly of the fish, and finally being vomited on the seashore which led Jonah to obey God and prophesy to Nineveh). But do you know the rest of the story?
After Jonah preached and the people repented, he sat overlooking the city, bitter about God's grace given to the people. Jonah wanted God's wrath to rain down, but instead, he was confronted about his own anger, and about his own sense of injustice. The text ends with God asking, "Should I not be concerned for that great city?" (Read Jonah 4 for further details.)
I share this with you because this is our Old Testament text Sunday. I will be preaching from the New Testament, Matthew 20:1-16 though the themes of these passages are quite similar. The issue is about how God treats His people...does God treat people fairly, sticking to the letter of the law, or does he treat people graciously, with love and compassion?
We often think we want justice because we see ourselves in a more positive light than what we deserve, and often see others with a more critical eye. But these passages confront our views not only of others but of ourselves, and we are forced to admit that without God's grace, we truly would be lost and without hope.
As you have heard me say a million times, err on the side of grace...for that is what God does as well.
God bless you all,
Overall Record for Picks (4-3) Not good, but still about .500
GT plays a college team this week--been playing High Schools lately and have been dominant. This week they face Kansas, a team from the soon to be defunct Big 12. I say Tech gets it done again, but they get a stern test. Tech by 6.
GA Southern faces an angry foe in Western Carolina (this is who Tech beat in game one). The Eagles look dominant, and the trend continues. Eagles win by 10.
UGA is coming off of two losses, one where they got out played by Boise, and one where they beat themselves in South Carolina. You simply cannot turn the ball over and win. UGA plays Coastal Carolina and blows them away...the score will be so bad, the game is not even televised. UGA by 30.
The Falcons play the Eagles at home...this is a homecoming game for Michael Vick. In his two previous meetings against the Falcons, he has been stellar with the Eagles winning easily. Folks, the streak continues this week. The Eagles defense is too much for the porous offensive line of the Falcons. It will be close, but Eagles will definitely pull it out. Eagles by 4.
Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion tells us an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion unless an outside force acts on that object. That's true, because quite often, I stay at rest on the couch watching sports until my wife mentions that the grass needs cutting. Now I cannot speak for you, but I can tell you from time to time, I need a swift kick in the pants to get moving.
In our text for Sunday, God gives Moses and all of the Israelites a swift kick in the pants at just the right time. The people have literally come between a rock and a hard place; Pharoah's Egyptian army is pursuing them from behind, and before them lies the expanse of the Red Sea. Moses gathers the people and tells them to "Be still," and to "watch the Lord fight" on their behalf. Just as Moses concludes that deeply pious oration, God intercedes and says, "Why are you crying out to me? Get moving!"
I share this with you because quite often, we spend too much time waiting on God and not enough time doing what God calls us to do. Praying for God's direction is important and it is a necessary step in following Him, but we must not use that time as an excuse to get comfortable and shirk the responsibilities before us as a church or as individual Christians.
So while you prepare for worship this Sunday, pray for God's guidance in your life, but get moving. We know the calling...now it is our responsibility to do what God says.
You have an opportunity to do what God says this Saturday, September 10th. The Oaks will participate in "Service in September," a project designed to serve local communities as a way to remember the tragedy of 9/11. We will be cutting grass, visiting local nursing homes, and even painting fingernails for people in assisted living areas. Please give of your time and effort this Saturday morning. We will have breakfast at 8 AM, and then we will work from 9-12 Noon in the local area. Please bring your tools, and a servant's heart as we work for the Kingdom.
Thank you for your continued support and service to God,
Total Record for Predictions (2-1)
Not a bad way to start out getting 66% of my picks right, though I admit UGA's loss to Boise was painful.
GA Tech plays MTSU this week. Again, the boys from North Avenue face an overmatched opponent who should offer little resistance for their program. I believe this game may be closer than some expect, but Tech should win handily by 14 points. (Let's hope they face someone of consequence sometime this season).
GA Southern plays Tusculum this week. The triple option is more than the Pioneers can handle. GA Southern should win by 21, easy.
Tough game for UGA last week. Boise State looked like a top 5 team, and UGA did not look prepared. But I have good news for Dawg fans this week. This game could theoretically decide Mark Richt's fate as the UGA head football coach.
I believe that UGA gets it done in an ugly slugfest in Athens. It may be a field goal late, but UGA beats the USC Gamecocks in a serious upset.
Finally, the Atlanta Falcons travel to Soldier Field to play the Chicago Bears in the opener. These were both playoff teams last year and the matchup should be a good one. While the Bears have a stout defense and a boisterous crowd/atmosphere, I believe the Falcons win. The Birds just have too much on offense and their defense should be better than last year.
We'll see how we do. Good luck to all the teams involved.
Rev. Steve Ayers, Jr. began serving as pastor for The Oaks Baptist Church on June 27, 2016. He and his wife Rebekah along with their two twin boys Luke and Silas have become an important part of the church. Their warm and loving spirits as well as the boys have captured the hearts of many at the church.