Just a reminder: this week is "Trunk or Treat!" While I am excited about this night, we have plenty of work to make everything run smoothly. First, we need more cars. We had 17 last year...I am promising the children 20. Please decorate your car and have it in place in the front church parking lot by 5:30 PM Sunday afternoon. Furthermore, we will begin "trunk or treating" at 6, followed by a meal cooked by the Men on Mission. Don't forget, we will have face painting, games, and a moon walk as well as cotton candy and popcorn for you to enjoy. Let's come together to give the children a night they will never forget!
On to the sermon musings for Sunday...
Are any of you guilty of saying to your children, "Do as I say, not as I do?" If so, then you have fallen into the trap of the Pharisees' leadership style. They knew the laws, but they would sometimes apply those laws more harshly to others while absolving themselves of the punishment they deserved for the offenses they committed.
In our text Sunday, Matthew 23:1-12, Jesus uses harsh language against the Pharisees, condemning them for tying up heavy loads on people and refusing to help lift the burden. Jesus condemns them for seeking honor, glory, and titles for themselves. But perhaps the greatest condemnation against the Pharisees was Jesus' statement in verse 3..."Do not do what they do for they do not practice what they preach."
I must admit that I am fearful that Jesus would say those same words against the church in this day in time. How many of us as good faithful Christians and church members seek recognition rather than repentance? How many of us demand more from others than we are willing to give ourselves? And most importantly, how many of us do not practice what we preach on a day in, day out basis? I believe we as church members and followers of Christ must be very careful to not became that which Jesus condemns.
The only way for us to protect ourselves from falling into that rap is to follow the scripture in verse 11 and 12, "The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." It is time for us as a people of God to humble ourselves, and become servants. We do this not from a seat of authority or judgement, but by kneeling down, and washing the feet of others.
I challenge each of you this week to shirk the siren song of power, authority, and condemning others; instead humble yourself by serving someone else, and give God the glory for the opportunity to be one of His followers. Amen.
Sports Corner (11-6)
Well sports fans, this is a great week for football.
To start us off, GA Tech simply laid a stink bomb at Miami last week. This team looks completely different from the team at the beginning of the year. They are struggling at the point of attack and that spells trouble for a team that runs the triple option. Their opponent is the hated Clemson Tigers of South Carolina who are ranked #6 in the country. This is an I-85 battle that could prove costly for those Yellow Jackets. While I am tempted to take the home team, Clemson has more of an identity and is playing with passion that seems to be lacking on the flats. Clemson by 10, maybe more.
Ga Southern travels to Boone, NC to take on Appalachian State. This will be the biggest game of the year and the biggest test for GA Southern. They face an opponent who is undefeated at home and who will certainly give the Eagles all they can handle. With that said, this is a special season for Ga Southern. They beat App State on the road in a barn burner.
And now to the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party...UGA travels to Jacksonville to face the University of Florida. To say UGA needs to win is a great understatement, for this game could prove to make or break UGA's season. This is a tale of two teams on separate paths. UGA lost early, but has won 5 straight. UF won early, but has lost 3 straight to quality opponents LSU, Bama, and Auburn. The Gators are getting healthy and will most likely have Brantley under center (not good for UGA). UGA will get back their leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell as well as their starting ILB Alex Ogletree who was hurt at Boise (not good for UF). This game reminds me of 2007 when UGA celebrated a grand victory...My gut tells me to be careful of the Gators, but my heart says UGA to win. Dawgs by 7, and pulling away at the end.
As always, thanks for reading and may God bless you as you serve Him.
Hello Church Family and Friends,
Thank you so much for your cards, gifts, food, and generous welcome to our family. Ella Grace is absolutely wonderful, beautiful, and all around superb. I hope to have some new pictures of her posted soon, and maybe a video as well. (Let's be honest, Lucy will have to do that part in as much as I know nothing about technology). I appreciate your patience with me lately; it has been difficult getting back into the swing of things, but things are going more smoothly everyday.
The text for Sunday is one you should all be quite familiar with...it is the "Greatest Commandment" question posed to Jesus by the Pharisees. Jesus answers the Pharisees' question by saying the greatest commands are, "to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. All the other commandments and prophets hang on these."
These commandments are the very core principles of Christianity...so much of our faith is informed not simply by right doctrine, but right relationships with God and humanity. Perhaps we have made faith too hard, focusing on things that are inconsequential in light of these precepts that Jesus deems as the most important commandments in the scriptures. Have you ever fallen into that trap where you miss the forest for the trees?
It is time for us as a people of God to get back to the basics...to love God and love our neighbor, for if you have ever tried to follow those teachings, then you know how difficult it is to be Jesus' disciple.
I have had a pretty good run, but now is when football really starts to become difficult to predict. We are in the heart of the season, and this is where the cream rises to the top.
GA Tech was humbled last week by lowly Virginia. Everyone was shocked by this loss. Tech begins a trying run beginning this week. They face "The U" at Miami at 3:30 in a nationally televised game. Which Tech team will show up? The dominant team of the first 6 weeks, or the mediocre team of last Saturday? Now you UGA fans may not want to hear this, but I believe Paul Johnson is a good coach. I believe you see Tech come out with a fire and frenzy they did not have last week. While they were somewhat exposed by a poor run defense, they will beat Miami by 6.
GA Southern played very well last week in routing Furman, and I believe the same holds true this week. They play Presbyterian College, and I believe the Eagles will simply overwhelm "The Blue Hose." GA Southern wins big, 21+.
UGA is off this week but they were given a fit in a close victory by Vanderbilt last week. James Franklin has those Commodores on the rise. Let me say this about the extracurricular activities after the game between the coaches--I appreciate sticking up for your players, but you have to rise above the fray. The headlines should be about the game, not the post game skirmish between 40 year old men.
The Falcons play the upstart Lions on the Road at Ford Field in Detroit this week. Detroit has only lost one game (last week), and they are led by UGA standout Matthew Stafford and GA Tech All-American Calvin "Megatron" Johnson. The Falcons have to be able to run the football, and I think they can. The question, however, is if those Falcons can stop the vaunted passing attack of the Lions. This score could get ugly, but I believe the Falcons win in an upset this week by 3.
Thanks for reading and as always, may God bless you and keep you.
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.