Archive for December, 2012

December 30. 2012 “Finishing Well”

Sunday, December 30th, 2012
A few months ago I learned that my dear friend Ellery Lawrence was dying of cancer.  Ellery was the deacon chairman in the first church I pastored.  He was such a godly man and a real encouragement to me as a young pastor.  He and his wife Bettye taught us so much about Christian grace.  He was always hopeful and faithful.  In 1979 when a tornado ripped through Wichita Falls his home was destroyed along with many of the rest of the members of the church.  But Ellery didn’t think about his own needs.  You would find him most Saturdays working at someone else’s house helping them to recover. He loved non-believers and would often take me to see friends and loved ones who needed to know Christ.  On a recent trip to Wichita Falls Nan and I stopped by to see Ellery at the hospice facility where he was receiving care.  We hadn’t seen him in several years and we weren’t sure if he would recognize us.  When we walked into his room, he was lying in the bed, his body emaciated by cancer, but his face lit up with his typical joyous smile.  And we spent a half-hour just rehashing good memories.  At one point in the conversation Ellery talked about how God had been so faithful to him throughout his battle with cancer.  He was concerned for his wife and family, but his faith was still strong.  With tears welling up in his eyes Ellery said, “Mike, I know where I am going and I am excited!”  Just a couple of weeks after we visited Ellery he went to be with Jesus.  He finished well.  I want to challenge us today about finishing well. (more…)
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December 30, 2012 “Finishing Well”

Sunday, December 30th, 2012
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December 23, 2012 “The Joy of Seeking Christ”

Thursday, December 27th, 2012
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December 23, 2012 “The Joy of Seeking Christ”

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012
At the birth of Jesus there was an explosion on joy.  The angel announced to the fearful shepherds:

Luke 2:10 – “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

The reason joy is such a huge part of the birth of Christ is because it is such a huge part of the life the Christ came to give us.  And the joy of Christmas is nothing less than the joy of knowing and loving Christ.

1 Peter 1:8 – Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

“Inexpressible and glorious joy…”  Does that characterize your life?  This joy is ours, even in the face of suffering.
And as others see this joy in us it causes them to wonder about the source of that joy, and we have the opportunity to
point them to our Lord. (more…)
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December 16, 2012 “The Joy of Sharing Christ”

Sunday, December 16th, 2012
Throughout the biblical account of the birth of Christ there is woven this note of joy.  And that’s been our focus this Christmas season. Joy is something that is internal, that eventually explodes in something external called rejoicing.  What does it look like?

ILLUSTRATION – In the classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” we have the story of George Bailey.  He managed a building and loan that was barely staying afloat.  His life began to unravel and he lost all joy in living.  He even found himself thinking that everyone would be better off if he had never been born.  So his guardian angel Clarence is given the task of showing George Bailey what everyone’s life would be like if he hadn’t been born … to show him that he really did have a lot to live for.  George learns his lesson, and the joy returns to his life.

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December 16, 2012 “The Joy of Sharing Christ”

Sunday, December 16th, 2012
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The Gift of Time

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law” (Galatians 4:4).

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16 NKJV).

No doubt you have attended a Christmas party this month in which everyone was encouraged to bring a “white elephant” gift.  It’s sure to bring loads of laughter to the gathering as people try to outdo each other with the outrageously useless, prankish gifts.  Tucked away in closets and cabinets in our home there are things that came to us years ago through the deviously thoughtful efforts of friends wanting to choose “just the right gift” for us.

Do you know where the “white elephant” gift idea came from? (more…)

December 9, 2012 “The Joy of Serving God”

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

We’re focusing this Christmas season on joy.  The angel announced to the shepherds at the birth of Jesus, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”  Over and over again in the Gospels account of the birth of Christ there are references to this joy … mega joy that is for everyone.  The reason joy is such a huge part of the Christmas story is because it is such a huge part of the life the Messiah came to give us.

And if that joy is such a huge part of the life the Messiah came to bring us, why is it in such short supply in the lives of believers. We find ourselves whining and worrying … stressed and depressed much of the time.

And in the absence of that real, mega joy, we try to stuff our lives with the things and experiences of this world, hoping to find that joy that is missing. (more…)

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December 9, 2012 “The Joy of Serving God”

Sunday, December 9th, 2012
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Keeping Christmas

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The Christmas holiday season takes on a life of its own each year.  The materialistic and commercialistic pressures are so great that we find ourselves looking forward to December being over.  As believers we must not succumb to the powerful tide of holiday-related stress.  Let’s seize the opportunity to proclaim the good news that Jesus has come to save us from our sins.  Here are a few ways you can do that:

Keep your priorities straight. Christmas can cause us to spend money and time on things that are not worthy priorities.  Sit down early in the season and remind yourself of your monetary, family and life goals.  Stick with them. (more…)

  • Bio & Introduction

    Dr. Michael Dean has been the senior pastor at Travis Avenue Baptist Church since 1991, having also served churches elsewhere in Texas and New Mexico. He and his wife Nan are blessed with two married children and three grandchildren. With a keen sense of calling to shepherd the flock of God entrusted to his care, Michael longs to see people become passionate followers of Jesus Christ. His hobbies include long-distance running, golf and hunting.

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