FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART    

   I received some very kind comments about the Memorial Day service and the sermon on Sunday. The message was based on Paul’s instruction in Romans 13:7: “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, respect to whom respect and honor to whom honor.”  We talked about the fact that those who are committed to public service are due our honor and respect.  In the message, entitled “Giving Honor to the Honorable,” I emphasized that those who died in service to our country: Served a People They Didn’t Know; Served in Places We Wouldn’t Want to Go; and, Sacrificed Their Life Before It Could Grow.

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  It was the third point of the sermon that stuck with me all day Monday. Since most of these men and women died in their late teens or early twenties, they never had a chance to experience many of the benefits and blessings of life that we enjoy today. They did not have the opportunity to choose a career path, to experience the thrill of seeing children and grandchildren grow up, or enjoy growing old with a beloved spouse.

For most of them, the dash between the dates of their birth and their death represents a very brief time period. Not only did they sacrifice their present lives, but also their futures.  And they did that for you and me! 

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   The pastor in me also wondered how many of these young people died without knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior?  My hope is that the horrors of war caused some of them to look beyond this life, and to prepare for the eternity that awaits all of us.  The same thought crossed my mind about those who were listening to my sermon on Sunday. Who in the “Facebook Live” audience, or in the “YouTube” viewing group, or among those who logged on to our website have not given their hearts and lives to Christ?  My earnest desire is that anyone who makes a decision to trust in Jesus will contact me and let me encourage them in their new walk with the Lord.

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You can email me at jmuston@hotmail.com or call me at (901) 754-1064. I am not looking for a count, but to offer you counsel and prayer support. 

Serving in love,

                        Bro. Jim         

FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART May 26, 2020

    

   Most of you have heard the saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” I am probably dating myself by sharing this traditional rhyme describing what a bride should wear on her wedding day. However, it also characterizes what is on your pastor’s heart and mind today. The thing that is “old” is dealing with the impact that the COVID-19 virus has had on every area of our lives. We are all growing weary of living in fear, but we also do not want to behave foolishly.

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   The “something new” that has taken up a lot of my weekend is my new IPhone. While I am not “technically challenged,” I did have a bit of trouble setting up and syncing up all the Apples in my basket. When your phone, laptop and watch all talk to each other, it can be tough getting them to all get along well. I do have the luxury of two IT sons, but I was determined to win this battle on my own. I must confess that the image of William Tell shooting that apple did cross my mind, but I doubt either of my sons would put the phone on their head to test my archery skills.

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   As for “something borrowed,” I picked up a book this weekend that one of our dear members loaned me a few months ago. We share a love for the “Action and Adventure” genre, so this is a book that I really want to read.  However, I haven’t found the time to sit still and read any book except my Bible in quite a while.  Since she hasn’t inquired about it, I assume she still entrusts it to my care.  It makes me “blue” that I cannot find a quiet moment to escape from the “old” and the “new” concerns in my life long enough to enjoy this “borrowed” treasure.

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   I understand that we are all feeling a mixture of emotions at this juncture of our Coronavirus journey.  People have become angry, confused, skeptical, and scared by the conflicting information they are receiving. As your pastor, I want to reassure you of my concern and compassion for all of you. We are proceeding cautiously with our Sunday morning services in various formats: live, streaming live, and digitally recorded. Your health and safety are of utmost importance.  So, I encourage you to choose wisely how you will participate with us in worship.           

 

Your Pastor and Friend,

                        Bro. Jim         

From Your Pastor's Heart May 18, 2020

FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART    

   When you live on the lane that leads to the city landfill, you see all types of people throughout each day.  For the boy “Growing Up On Dump Ground Road,” one of the most familiar sights was the “trash trucks” traveling to and from the garbage dump. It was not uncommon for men to be standing on the running boards of the truck as they passed his green, shotgun house. As was the custom for folks in a small town in the south, he would wave to those men and anyone else driving down that gravel lane.

   When the DGR kid got his driver’s license and his first set of wheels, he joined the ranks of courteous southern drivers by waving to everyone he met on the road.  This custom may not have been taught in Driver’s Education classes, but it was a learned behavior from observing family members and other adults.  No thought was ever given to discrimination or discernment about the oncoming driver.  It was simply expected that each person would give a hand gesture of greeting to every vehicle they encountered, and the passing passengers.

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   The boy growing up in the south of the 1960’s was well aware of the differences in color and race between people. He was neither blind nor stupid. Yet he was also aware that there are good and bad people in every segment of society. Starting in Jr. High, he attended school with children of every ethnicity. His friendships included people of every group, ranking and race. As the teenaged preacher in High School, he related well to the nerds, the jocks, the rich kids, and even the cheerleaders. He found that friendliness leads to lasting friendships.

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   That boy from the 60’s is now a man in his 60’s, but I am still baffled that people will allow differences in skin tone, social status, or political preference to define and divide them.  While I am not color-blind, I am color indifferent. I understand where I rank in the socio-economic structure of society, but I do not allow a person’s finances to influence my relationship to them. I am unapologetic about my conservative stance, both theologically and politically, however that does not exclude or limit my friendships with people who do not share my views.

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   Psalm 10 is a song of confidence in God’s triumph over evil.  We find in verse 14: “You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand.”  Like the DGR kid from so long ago, I believe in extending kindness to all people and trusting the judgment of those who do wrong to God. I pray that God will pour out His grace upon the grieving and will punish the wicked for their evil deeds.           

 

Serving in love,

                        Bro. Jim         

From Your  Pastor's Heart June 1st, 2020

From Your Pastor's Heart May 10, 2020

FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART    

   Our first “live” worship service went well, after seven weeks of streaming video on “Facebook Live” and uploading recordings to “YouTube” and our church website. It was a joy to be able to return to a more familiar order of worship and to once again have people in the pews. I am sure that Bro. Ken enjoyed hearing someone else besides me singing along with him. It was a special blessing to meet together for Mother’s Day with those who were able to attend.

   We will continue with both our live and digital service next Sunday, with the same conditions that applied this past week. It is up to each member and family to decide when they are comfortable returning to worship in the sanctuary. Those who choose to return are instructed to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other worshippers. We ask that families sit together in a group. We will not pass out bulletins or take up an offering. Bulletins and offering plates are located on the table in the foyer for your convenience. We will not have a Nursery or Children’s Church until further notice. You may feel free to wear a mask during the service. If you need one, we have some available on the table in the foyer.

   I am especially proud of the fact that I was able to contain my enthusiasm and not grab everyone for a long-overdue hug. In keeping with the call for social distancing, I greeted and dismissed everyone in the service from afar. Anyone who knows me understands what a challenge that was for me. However, the health and safety of our church family and our community is a high priority for us. We encourage those who have health issues to enjoy the streaming video service until you feel that it is safe for you to join us.  My love and prayers are with all of you, whether you are worshipping here or at home!           

 

Serving in love,

                        Bro. Jim         

From Your Pastor's Heart  May 4, 2020

FROUR PASTOR’S HEART    

   I love to write and reminisce about the boy “Growing Up On Dump Ground Road.” He faced some tough challenges during his young life. He was introduced to sickness, sadness, sorrow and scares at an early age. His Elementary School years included: a frightening surgery (an appendectomy) in a foreign place (the Catholic hospital in a neighboring town); his father’s job loss; the deaths of several relatives; and, the reverberating remnants of Hurricane Carla.

   Yet nothing in my early life, or my 65 years of living, prepared me for what we have been dealing with for the past several weeks. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine the lockdown of our nation, and the whole world, as we have seen during this “safer at home” directive in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The barren streets and empty parking lots along Germantown Parkway reminded me of an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” We never dreamt of seeing stores closed, restaurants reduced to takeout and curbside services, and churches forced to stream live worship in empty sanctuaries. And yet, we have somehow survived these inconveniences better than I ever expected.

   As we are beginning to transition into a “new normal,” we want to do so with the utmost caution. We know that the threat from the Coronavirus is still very real. People continue to catch the virus, as new cases are still being reported. And the death toll continues to rise, even though the rate of survival is also increasing.  Yet, great strides have been made in educating the public on how to protect yourself and others. 

   At CBC, we are concerned with the safety of our people. We are opening our doors for public worship on Sunday, May 10th, in celebration of Mother’s Day.  In doing so, we are asking our members to use their own good judgment in determining if they feel comfortable attending the live service. We will continue to provide the streaming video on “Facebook Live” and uploading the recorded service on YouTube and on our website: www.cordovabaptistchurch.org. To those who do choose to attend, you are welcome to wear a mask and/or gloves.  We will urge members to maintain social distancing by sitting together with your family, but spreading out in the sanctuary.  I pray for God’s protection over His people, as we return to the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day. I am excited to share God’s Word and to see your smiling faces again!

            

Serving in love,

                        Bro. Jim         

April 28, 2020

FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART    

   The exciting news of the day seems to be that some governors are beginning to lift or lessen the “stay-at-home” orders related to COVID-19 on businesses and individuals. At the same time, other governors and city leaders in majo...

April 20, 2020

FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART    

   After a month of preaching to an almost empty sanctuary, I am ready to have our CBC family back together again. As much as I appreciate the kind comments on Facebook, I miss seeing your faces. I am grateful that we have been abl...

FROM YOUR PASTOR’S HEART    

   We have heard, read and thought enough about the Coronavirus to last us a lifetime.  So, I am determined to not write about “COVID-19,” “being sheltered safe,” or “pandemic” in this article. These terms were not a part of our da...

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From Your Pastor's Heart June 28th, 2020

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