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THE STORMS OF LIFE (Lk. 8:23; Acts 27:15-20;Heb. 12:18; 2 Pet. 2:17)

      “24  And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25  And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26  And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” Matt. 8:24-28)

      “23  But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24  And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.

25  And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” (Lk. 8:23-25)

Introduction: We have just witnessed a great storm, destructive of property and lives. As I heard of, saw, and  listen to discussion on the matter, it appears to me to look at the matter.

1. There were storm in of the New Testament time, and

2. There are storms of different kinds today.

3. In that dangers are surrounding us, and we need to be prepared to react. However, some of the most dangerous, are spiritual rather than in the weather.

Wind (STORM) of doctrine (Eph. 4:14).

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”

A. One can be, and many are tossed  to and fro by

B. Carried about by

C. Nature of” Slight of men cunning craftiness “2940. kubeia, koo-bi’-ah; from  kubos (a “cube”, i.e. die for playing); gambling, i.e. (fig.) artifice or fraud:–sleight.”

D. Lie in wait to deceive

     1. Aim

      2. Means

Understand that as people feel and find shelter of safety, we need to thus flee and find protection in the safe provision of God –In Christ.

A. He was there able to calm the sea

     1. He was able

     2. He did

B. The disciples were amazed that he was able, and so should we SEE

     the advantage of being there too

     1. He has invited all of us Matt. 11:28-30

     2. His grace has appeared to each/all Tit. 2:11-12.

Paul and His captures were in a storm with much damage, because the people in charge didn’t listen to his advise –being an apostle. (Acts 27:10-44)

Some storms –with destructive forces involved, from which we need to FLEE!

A. Immorality

     1. Works of the flesh listed  (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21)

     2. All are tempted, but must understand and thus flee! 1 Cor.

         6:18;210:14; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22

B. Family forces at times lead and push away from the Lord –in   

     Various way.

     1. Must not allow love for to keep from serving faithfully the Lord

         First (Matt. 10:36-38)

     2. Must not all desire for pleasure or material things to keep from

         serving the lord faithfully!

C. Church problems can develop and push or pull us away from faithful service to the Lord.

D. Lose of loved ones. — one can become bitter at the lord for allowing

     such to happen.

    1. Boys who lost father

    2. WE may not understand everything, but BY FAITH we must               

         listen to, trust, and obey the Lord in all things!

Conclusion: Beloved, are you aware of some of the difficulties that may have forces to destroy you most valued possession –you soul?

1. Have you faith to flee to the place for safety –In Christ (Eph. 1:3)

2. You can by believing in Christ, repenting of your sins, confessing your faith, and being baptized, and then walking uprightly, being faithful to the Lord.

3. If you are not in that shelter of safety, now is the time to act! Become a member of the Lord’s body or be restored to that position!

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Consider Your Ways… PROCRASTINATION (Haggai 1:2-5)

Here is the outline of a sermon I preached at Park Hill church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR on April 2, 2017. I borrowed the outline from Brother Norman Sewell. Thank you brother Sewell ….

1. Haggai rebuked the people of Judah for working on their own homes, but procrastinating work on the temple. Coming back from Babylonian exile, they were to rebuild the temple of God. “God tells them, “Consider your ways.”
2. But procrastination is easy—finally I’ve found something I’m really good at. Bro. Sewell’s Personal example: put off making necessary repairs in kitchen. My example: put off yard work.
3. What are YOU procrastinating?

A. Consider the ant (Proverbs 6:6-11). A sluggard is a person who is lazy.
B. One devoid of understanding (Proverbs 24:30-34). Sometimes we put off due to laziness.
C. Offering excuses (Proverbs 26:13-16). We may even imagine obstacles.

A. Like the Jews (Haggai 1:2-5)
1. These people had just returned from Babylonian captivity.
2. They had other things on their minds. Their job is to rebuild the temple but there were many things to do that distracted them from accomplishing God’s purpose.

B. Earthly treasures (Matthew 6:19-21)
1. This verse is NOT teaching that God expects us to live w/o planning for the future.
2. But he IS telling us don’t put all your hope in this earthly, physical world!
C. Putting man over God (Matthew 6:24)
1. Man cannot serve God and “mammon” (material things) equally.
2. Jesus asked his disciples in the following verses why they worried so much.
D. Seek FIRST… (Matthew 6:33)
1. Why do we put off things we know that we need to do to be right with God
2. We put our own desires before God

A. Fear/ignorance (Matthew 25:24-25)
1. We sometimes put off doing things because we are a little bit afraid
2. Sometimes we fail to think about the consequences (Matthew 25:26-28).
B. Miscalculation of time (Matthew 25:10-12)
1. In the parable Jesus tells, 5 have prepared and 5 have not.
2. The 5 who have not prepared run out of time to do the things they need to do.

C. Negligence (James 4:13-16)
1. Often we know things we should be doing but we don’t do them
2. For whatever reason: laziness, wrong priorities, fear, etch

A. It’s time to start (Nehemiah 2:17)
1. Nehemiah was one of those who came back to Judah after the Babylonian captivity.
2. His job was to help the people rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.
3. He urged the people to get busy. There was danger all around them.

B. Have a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6)
1. Here is an illustration of what can happen when we decided to get busy.
2. The people “had a mind to work” and because of that amazing things happened.

C. Do what we can (Matthew 25:14-19)

1. The parable of the talents teaches us that we are accountable for doing what we can with what we have.

2. A talent was a measure of gold or silver or item of worth.

3. The point of the parable: Each one was given an amount of responsibility according to his ability.

4. Often we don’t do what we CAN do!

D. Do it now (Acts 22:16; 9:18)
1. Saul was a persecutor until Jesus appeared to him.
2. Ananias, asked Paul why he was waiting.
3. He needed his sins washed away and he needed to do it “immediately.”

1. We offer many excuses for our procrastination; don’t know how; don’t want the responsibility, not convenient, etc.
2. But procrastination can be overcome!
3. But the consequences are eternal if we procrastinate in spiritual things. If we put off our relationship with God, the time might come when we run out of time. Are you putting off being the person you ought to be?
4. Won’t you start obeying God today? Song: “Why Do You Wait?”

(Source: Outline by Norman Sewell)





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Why You Do … What You Do

Here is the outline of a sermon I preached at Park Hill church of Christ in Fort Smith, AR on April 7, 2013 …

1. My sons, assisted by my wife, gave me a very thoughtful (and much needed, I might add) gift for Fathers’ Day last year – a digital picture frame
a. Linda took a great deal of time to load many, many pictures onto the frame
b. She created a slide that starts the series of pictures (Slide 1)

2. This thought (“Why you do … what you do) gave me the idea for this lesson this morning – a spiritual application
a. As Christians, we engage in many activities,
b. We “go through the motions”
c. We may lose sight of WHY we do what we do

3. Consider with me 3 areas in which you must remember why you do … what you do (Slide 2):
a. In Business/School
b. In Church
c. In Family
I. In Business/School – Temptation to compromise Personal Values

A. I had the opportunity last week to share this message with a group of college seniors who will be graduating from the Florida College Business program next month (Slide 3). I told them, “As you prepare to take your place in the business world, understand that you are entering a challenging place. Your faith may be challenged. You may be challenged to compromise your personal values. You must apply Biblical qualities of character which promote high levels of individual integrity. “I also told them, “You must understand the role that your personal values should play in your decisions as business managers. It is very important that you continue to exert your personal values in the decisions that you take part in. Stand for what is right! Have your conviction reaffirmed by the positive examples of the godly leaders that you have seen at Florida College.”

B. The corporate scandals of 2001 – 2002, that included WorldCom and Enron, revealed several weaknesses in our corporate culture (Slide 4):

1. Business leaders who appeared to be men in good standing in their communities led their companies to engage in fraudulent financial practices to disguise serious errors of judgment. Bernnie Ebbers, CEO of WorldCom, was a youth basketball coach and taught Sunday school, but when put to the test, his underlying personal value system failed him.

2. Mr. Ebbers developed a business strategy that targeted rapid growth through acquisition and merger. The financing of this rapid growth soon got him into financial trouble. He took down with him the WorldCom CFO, Comptroller and Accounting Director, as they all worked to disguise the company’s decreasing earnings in order to try to maintain the price of its stock.

3. The failings at Enron were very similar. At the end of 2001, it was revealed that it’s reported financial condition was sustained substantially by an institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known since as the Enron scandal.

C. So is today’s business environment better because of lessons learned from these and similar business scandals early in this decade (Slide 5)? Many say no. Susanna Kim, in a Dec. 1, 2011 article posted at, “10 Things We Didn’t Learn From Enron Scandal” points out …

1. “… much, unfortunately, has remained the same, with new frauds and excessive risk-taking exposed all too frequently…. Conflicts of interest continue to occur… Many businesses “seem too good to be true,” and so they probably are. A business should make sense. If a company is growing at a fantastic rate and no one can determine how they are doing it, if the cash flows do not match the profits, if it is difficult if not impossible to understand exactly how the firm makes money, if no one can understand how the company is valued – these things should raise “red flags.”

2. Regulators and the regulated continue to debate – is there too much or too little regulation? …

3. Some companies just are not transparent enough. Transparency is vital….. Peter Elkind, editor at large with Fortune magazine, says that companies must clearly disclose the risks they are taking and regulators need to require them to do so. Stephen Lubben, law professor at Seton Hall University School of Law says however that those disclosures are too burdensome and too complicated for investors to understand. He prefers a simpler warning that would say something simple like, “this investment is not guaranteed; you could lose all of your money.”

4. Some companies are leveraged too highly, on the false theory that “more capital is better.” Companies are still lead by individuals with questionable personal values and those values trickle down to others in leadership positions. Preferred stockholders still get preferred treatment, companies still build fragile financial structures and those who are important still make mistakes.

D. You young people are not involved in a business environment yet, but consider the school environment in “your world.” Do you sometime lose sight of “WHY you do what you do” in school (Slide 6).

1. You may get frustrated with some of the subjects you must take – thinking they will never have any application in your life! Remember, your perspective is limited – things that you are doing now are helping prepare you for life as an adult

2. You may be tempted to “slough-off” – to give less than your best – because it does not really matter. Well, it does matter – God expects you to give your best at whatever you. There are many verses in the Bible that teaches this. Consider two of them …
a. We sing a song that is based upon Colossians 3:17 which says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

b. Consider: Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV): “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

D. What does God expect of us in our business ventures/dealings? Please consider (Slide 7):

1. 2 Cor. 6:14-18: If you are “bound together,” you must be able to exert your personal influences!

2. Prov. 6:6-11: You must be industrious, plan ahead, and whatever your hand finds to do that is good, do it with zeal and as unto the Lord!

3. Eph. 6:10-17; 1Cor. 15:58; Rev. 2:10: Stand for what is right! Don’t compromise with evil! You will receive the victory!

II. In Church (Slide 8):

A. Quarrels (1Cor 1:10-17)
1. Party spirit – who their allegiance was to – over who baptized them

2. Paul’s answer: Christ was crucified for you and it was in His name you were baptized and it was His blood that saved you from your sins

B. The Wisdom of God (1:18-31)

1. The Word of the Cross – perspective of the perishing vs. those being saved

2. The world would never come to know God of its own wisdom – it took preaching!

3. Who was called – the wise of the world or the mighty or the noble? NO – it was through the foolish, weak and base! Paul says God chose this way to shame man so that no one could boast!

C. Preaching that is:

1. Not “persuasive” words of wisdom

2. But in demonstration of Spirit and power

3. “God’s wisdom in a mystery” – not understood by rulers

4. Revealed to the apostles by God through the Spirit

D. Some may still be “infants” in Christ and still fleshly which partly explains their party spirit (3:1-9)(Slide 9)

1. Jealousy & strife among them

2. Walking like mere men

3. Workers in building churches: planters and waterers - God gives increase – workers together with God.

4. Building on the foundation – fire will test the quality of each man’s work

III. In Family:

A. My special gift for Father’s Day reinforces every day that (Slide 10) …

1. My “job” is not an “end” but rather a “means to an end”

2. My service to God, to my family and to my fellow-man is the “end”

3. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my job, and lose sight of WHY I do … what I do.

B. I recently watched a movie that sent some compelling messages about fatherhood (Slide 11):

1. Our time is short with our children—sometimes shorter than expected—make the most of our time with them and show them the love of Christ.

2. We need to break free from past wrongs of poor or absent fathers and begin a new pattern for future generations of our family—multi-generational faithfulness. While no father on earth is perfect, there is a continual need for all of us who are fathers to repent of sins against our families—like neglect, apathy, and being a poor example and to model for them their Heavenly Father.

3. We need to decide to make a “Resolution” that we will endeavor to become the biblical fathers and husbands we need to be. In the movie, this “Resolution” was a formal document that they signed in a ceremony. Sometimes that helps add conviction and accountability to our actions.
(Adapted from

C. What God expects of us as fathers and husbands (Slide 12):

1. Eph. 6:4: Just as my children are expected to respect me, as their father, I am instructed not to frustrate them, but to raise them in a godly and gentle way.

2. Joshua 24:14-15: “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

3. Deut. 11:18-21: “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.

4. Eph. 6:22-33 As a husband, I am to love my wife, as Christ loved the church!
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Conclusion (Slide 13):

1. As Christians, let’s not be guilty of simply going through the motions as we engage the activities and roles of our lives.

2. Let’s not lose sight of WHY we do what we do – In Business/School – In Church – In Family – we do it to serve God, to provide for our families, to help our fellow-man.

3. Let us fight the tendency to get too involved in the responsibilities of the moment that we neglect the preparation for the eternal.

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Issue 1, Number 12: “Conflicts in My Life – Part 1 of 3”

Recently in going trough some of my father’s materials, I found an unfinished manuscript titled Conflicts in my life. I wish he had finished it, but I enjoyed reading it and believe it contains beneficial information especially for young people. I plan to publish it in three installments in my A Christian’s Voice From Raymore column on my blog. I invite you to read along with me and post your comments. So here is …

Conflicts in my Life – Part 1 of 3


William C. “Bill” Sexton

Life is filled with conflicts; many times one must choose between alternatives. Looking back, one can see that he/she has chosen the wrong one at times; but once made, he can not change it, and the choice certainly had its impact one one’s destiny. The sooner one is aware of this great conflict, I believe, the sooner he’ll be able to act more wisely; he’ll be looking for the alternatives and perhaps be better informed regarding them. He’ll never have the time to research for all the information available, which could enable him to make the right decision, but he can use the little time he has to avail himself of a few different facets of information and make a better decision than he otherwise would.

Every person’s life is different, to a degree, and yet dependent on many persons and factors. No two lives are exactly the same. Every person occupies a space by himself, and a time span that is peculiar to him only. As one looks back on his life, he remembers certain acts and events that made his impression; he can’t remember them all, and different times he’ll remember different ones, and as he does, he remembers other matters associated. Perhaps we could profit greatly if we’d spend more time meditating on the import that these different events had on shaping and forming our present character and mind set. It is with these purposes in mind that I approach the present work. 1. I’ll find some comfort in recalling events as they occurred in my life; 2. I’ll see how and why I am what I am, to a degree; 3. Perhaps, I can make others aware of the fact that they face alternatives daily, that there are conflicting forces at work in the world, and of necessity they will have their effect on one’s character, attitude, and destiny.


It was a Sunday afternoon, the day before school started. A beautiful day, as I remember, back there in Arkansas, in 1943. A man who lives around the mountain about two miles, came by as we were sitting under the shade tree, and asked me if I would plow for him the next day. After a little reflection, I said “yes.” I had decided to start Ozark high school the next day, with one of my cousins. (I had quit school a couple of years before, but I was still 15. She was starting to high school so I had decided to go back and get my “diploma.”) But now with this request to work and make a little money — and indeed little it turned out to be — was enough to cause me to decide to work instead of continuing in school. What a great mistake that was, as I would learn later in life. I had opened a door leading to great opportunities in the future but I closed it for a few pennies now. As one has said, I opted for “a short time gain with a long time pain.”

So many young people repeat the mistake I made. So, to the young person, I would urge with all the power I possess– Get the education while you have the opportunity. Yes, there are and shall eve be different things pulling at you. Foolishness will say to you, “Enjoy the pleasure NOW!, “Education is not that important, anyway,” or “Wisdom is getting by without an education, after all what’s a piece of paper?”

Now, even more so than in my early days, one needs a good education to be able to make the contribution that he can and to reap the benefits — fruits — that are available in this world.

However, thee are dangers connected with an education, too. The right kind of an education is extremely important. There are many things taught in school, which are contrary to the basis truth of the scriptures. God is left out, and often “anti-God” teaching is done. But, perhaps more dangerous is not outright anti-God teaching, rather it is more subtle — world views that are contrary to the Bible teaching that God created the world and all that in it is.

Pride, can accompany educational achievements, too. One can get degrees and fool himself into thinking he knows more than he actually does. I believe the real educated person will not be puffed up in pride about how much he knows, but rather will be humbled by seeing that he knows so little of all that there is to be known.

Young people often go off to college, however, having been reared in “Christian homes,” but where little serious study was ever done on evidences of God, the inspiration of the scriptures, or the the divine origin of Christianity. They may have heard some overly critical remarks about evolution that were not accurate and sustainable. In the end, they are unable to face the philosophy professor, or the sociology and psychology professors and the ideology they present. Consequently they decide that the narrow minded people back home were too ignorant. They decide that they must face up to the new world of research, etc.. and so they lose their religion, their faith in God and things that pertain to life and godliness.

(To Be Continued in Part 2 of 3 next week.)