I can no more adequately explain to you the difference between the way an apple tastes and the way a pear tastes than I can explain the difference between ‘praying hard’ and ‘just praying’; but I know which one I’m experiencing when I taste of it.
On March the 6th, 2016, I was honored to preach my first ever Sunday morning sermon at First Baptist Church of New Albany in Ohio.
To skip my comments and just listen to the sermon see below.
A few notable moments. Upon arrival I found out they were happy to allow me to lead the entire service. They had a bulletin already created which they could not get printed. As I was writing it out, I was so glad to see Heaven Came Down, How Great Thou Art and Victory in Jesus listed for singing. Then I noticed a song titled “Let Jesus Come into Your Heart” as the ‘invitation hymn.’
Not opposed to judging a song by its title, I asked if we could change it to “How Firm a Foundation” and they had no problem with that. The service flowed nicely with a skilled pianist and my friend Christopher offering prayer.
They had Scripture reading on their bulletin. I had not prepared for that. Since my sermon was about God’s Word, I thought it would be appropriate and helpful to read Proverbs 30:5-6. I then tested myself and tried to quote Psalm 1 from memory. I did it!! I thought Psalm 1 went nicely with my sermon, and it was the first time I had quoted an entire chapter of Scripture in public from memory (inside a church).
Then my daughter Bailey played perfect renditions of Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art on her flute for special music. You will notice if you listen to the sermon that I open by talking about the hymns. I then do what I am apt to do (and learned from my own pastor), and I spoke for 20 minutes off the cuff while ignoring my notes. So many things flood to my mind that I want to share.
I really enjoyed myself and was very grateful to my friends Mike Stockwell and Christopher Ledezma who attended along with my 3 oldest children. It was a time of service to God and to one of His local churches. I appreciate everyone who prayed for me and the service. As a hipster Christian might say “God showed up big time.” 😉
Feel free to listen here:
I had a rather productive afternoon on my computer. If anyone needs help with these items, please contact me and I’ll help you. Long story short, here is what I accomplished:
- I can’t stand the Windows 10 upgrade icon in the system tray (lower right). I had removed it before by uninstalling and hiding a windows update, but apparently windows packaged it again with a new update. So I wrote a batch file which I have start on system startup to kill the GWX.exe process which appears.
- I had a number of personal macros I wrote a while back which got lost when my computer crashed (I know, I know). So I figure out how to edit the registry to change the location of the PERSONAL.XLSB file where personal macros are stored. I was able to put it in a folder which is backed up to the cloud.
If anyone wants help accomplishing these tasks, let me know by contacting me <<– (click the link).
The good folks at the Pillar of Truth interviewed me about my work evangelizing and leading evangelism events.
In 2015 I was interviewed on the Pillar of Truth podcast:
As you can imagine, I wasn’t any less wordy with them than usual, so they had to cut the interview in parts. 🙂
I do appreciate if you listen and give me feedback.
Many folks will recognize the reference to the “camp song” in the title of this post. I am a “C”. I am a “C-H.” I am a “C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.” And I have “C-H-R-I-S-T” in my “H-E-A-R-T” and I will “L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y”!
It’s catchy. If you don’t know the tune, click here to check it out.
More on that later.
Today I took the first of a much needed two day vacation. My children have a snow day, so it is family day at the Coughlin home. I sat with my eldest 3 children to do a devotional today. I wanted to communicate to them why we have discipline for our youngest, Wesley who is only 1. Often I find my older children giving in to his mildly tyrannical demands, a trend I don’t want to see continue. I also don’t want my older kids who are just trying to help and who are genuinely trying to love their little brother to be discouraged.
So I turned them to 5 verses, studied in the following order.
In this verse we noticed the stark contrast between parents who are loving (provide discipline) and haters (neglect discipline).
In this verse, we saw the nature of children (foolish) and the remedy (discipline).
Here we saw the use of the rod bringing the opposite of the innate foolishness of a child, to the child. We also see the unfortunate effect of a foolish child. Shame to Mom! May I confess my own personal sin in that area for which Jesus (and my Mom) have graciously forgiven me.
Finally, we saw this wonderful promise that proper discipline will not harm the child, but rather, it will provide him/her with life. It is this type of discipline which loving parents apply to their children which allows children to see the personal promise which is offered when they obey their parents. (Exodus 20:12). We saw how parents and children work together to eliminate foolishness from the child’s heart God’s way.
So I asked my children, what is the proper heart response to parents who are trying to discipline according to the nurture and admonition of God? They responded that it should make them feel good; they realized there should be an acknowledgement that they are inherently foolish in their hearts and that they should actually crave discipline…so that they may reach the point where they are no longer fools.
Any child who claims to be a Christian ought to be challenged to believe these Scriptures and respond as if they really believed them which would look like gratitude, affection toward parents and ultimately, obedience.
Then I thought of this song referenced earlier and I asked my children to each write a new song with the truths they learned. I gave them a starting point, here are the results to the tune of “I am a ‘C.'” Say capital letters individually, not as words.
Bailey – 14
I am a C, I am a CH, I am a CHILD.
and I am FOOLISH in my HEART and if I am not disciplined I will DIE!
Alexandra – 10
I am a C, I am a CH. I am a CHILD.
and I have FOOLISHNESS in my HEART and only DISCIPLINE and CHRIST can SAVE me!
Nicholas – 12
I am a C, I am a CH, I am a CHILD.
and I have FOOLISHNESS in my HEART and I will need DISCIPLINE!
1. I know it’s funny that Alex Malarkey’s last name has a coincidental meaning in English of “nonsense.” And the book previously drafted by him is nonsense.
But can we stop with the plays on words with the person’s name? Just take for example the fact that both Alex and his mother have repented and are working to amend for the error as enough to say, hey, let’s stop making fun of the kid’s name?
Seriously, he inherited that name from his earthly father, and Alex has a new Father now anyway. I can’t tell you how hurt I’d be if someone with my last name did something stupid and then my last name became a great punchline.
2. If you are going to talk about Martin Luther King Jr., and you don’t allow people to refer to details about the man’s life or teachings which directly relate to his character, well, remember the words of … um … Martin Luther King Jr.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
I would say allegations of adultery go directly to the “content of his character” regardless of the “color of his skin.” And if the content of a man’s character directly relates to his qualifications as a preacher, then so be it. And if a man isn’t qualified to preach, I have no reason to listen to his preaching on that basis. Now that doesn’t mean MLK never said anything right or true, but it was incidental, for the wrong reason and thus, possibly misdirected.
If me writing what I just wrote makes me a racist in your estimation, then you are part of the problem.
3. Back to the Malarkey or Burpo kid with the Heavenly Tourism stuff. What should be striking is NOT so much that there are ravenous wolves trying to deceive the Church, but rather, that the Church is either so non-Christian or so lacking in discernment that these books are even popular. Seriously, I don’t know the demographics, but my guess is the predominant statistics would tell us it isn’t atheists and Muslims who are buying these books!
Whose fault is it? A number of people, to be sure, but for one thing: pastors and teachers who are afraid to speak ill of these books and name them to their congregation as well as men who do not hold to and consistently teach the sufficiency of Scripture.
4. My baby boy is turning 1 Sunday. After 2 miscarriages, for God to give my wife and me a child is so sweet. This is the first child we are raising together (we had 3 others already when we met). It is really fun to watch the process and to see how we each interact with him. I’ve noticed in the area of discipline something neat.
It seems to me that my wife tries to appeal to him to love her and have a desire to obey her. So when she tells him what to do or what not to do, it is very kind and gentle, almost enticing him to goodness. It’s like subconsciously, she wants him to choose good things for good reasons and love and trust for her.
I am nearly opposite. I am completely happy that he fears me and the consequences of bad behavior. You can see the difference in how we interact with him. It made me think of our Perfect Triune God who really offers both those features to His children to provoke us to love and good works in the fear of the Lord.
Just a few random thoughts for a Wednesday.