Phil Us Up!
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October 15, 2013, 9:19 AM


What are they, what’s the difference? I think if you ask most folks, what faith is, or what belief is, the answer will not be, well there's not much difference. The thing is they are so related, so close in meaning, many think they are the same. Different translations often use the two words interchangeably which is often confusing. So what is belief? Here is a good definition; a judgment or opinion in which a person is fully persuaded. Beliefs, simply stated, are things we are convinced of. Faith is something different. Faith includes our beliefs, but it is bigger than our beliefs, it requires action. If our beliefs do not move us to action, then there is no faith. James says it like this. “Faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity” (CEB) Do you see how belief and faith are interrelated? The difference is subtle but critical. When we believe the truth with enough confidence to act, we exercise our faith! Jesus says it doesn’t take much faith for stuff to happen even miraculous stuff! (Matt. 17:20) I often hear lots of religious talk about what someone believes. Here is what I observe. Religious talk desires something to happen—faith expects something to happen. Religious babble talks about prayer—faith spends time in prayer. Lots of Christians want lots of stuff from God—“faithers” anticipate provision and supply from God! Many of us live in a state of want, with no trust. Faithers live lives filled with action, expecting God to move mountains! Faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen. I spent way too much effort at times telling others what I believe instead of acting on what I believed, and watching God Move Mountains. God shows up when His people act in faith. Now you tell me, what’s the difference between belief and faith? Mountains that move! Have a great week. Philip

October 7, 2013, 10:04 AM


     I read an article about great quarterbacks that never won the "big one". Players like Warren Moon, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly. My favorite was not on that particular list, his name is Elisha. His professional career kind of mirrored his college days. He always played on a team, well, that was just not very good. But that didn’t seem to matter to Elisha. He just kept on playing and setting all kinds of records. In the first, prime time nationally televised college game Elisha threw for 436 yards and ran for another 106. His team lost by one point. 33-32. Later someone asked him why he kept trying so hard and playing so well when it seems to rarely pay off with victory, “I just love the game, and always gave my best.”

     It’s easy to love the game when we are winning, when we are getting the recognition for success. In the years or the times in our lives when it appears we are not successful it’s tempting to take some time off. To maybe allow our spiritual fervor to drop off a little bit. God calls us to be steadfast in our spiritual fervor every day, especially on those days when it seems not to pay off with victory. Paul writes at the end of Ephesians, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

He encourages us to be strong in God’s mighty power, not our own, especially when it might look like a losing battle. Immediately following that admonition he calls on us to put on the whole armor of God. He would have told Elisha to put on a champions uniform every time you go out on the field!

     I wonder if I display the same passion every time out, even if it looks like there is no prospect of immediate reward? My prayer is for God to give me a passion and love for His Kingdom every day, especially on those days I wonder if I am on the winning team.

     It worked out pretty good for Peyton and Eli’s dad.  It probably will for us too. Have a great week.  



September 10, 2013, 9:32 AM

Quack Quack

   It’s a real, modern, “rags to riches” story. I admit at first I wasn’t tempted at all to start watching Duck Dynasty. I had no idea. Today if you see the preacher trying to get out of the building quickly on Wednesday nights I admit it’s because there is a new episode on, and I am hooked. Over 12 million of us hurried home to watch the start of the 4th season last month.

    If you haven’t seen it it’s a reality TV program about a family in Louisiana that makes and sells duck calls. The story began many years ago with the patriarch of the family Phil Robertson. Years ago, Phil kicked his wife, Kay and kids out of his house in a drunken rage. He was more interested in partying and hunting than parenting.  Sometime later he came to his senses and wanted to come home. Kay took him back under these conditions, he had to stop drinking and give up his rowdy friends. Life began to change for Phil Robertson. He did the things Kay insisted on, began Bible studies and was baptized into Christ at the age of 28.

     I enjoy the crazy stunts the family boys are always getting into as much as the next viewer. “Redneck” water parks and catching lizards with the Louisiana flour trap are really funny. Now that’s entertainment! For me the question is, why are the Robertson’s so wildly popular today? How popular? They are the most watched program on cable TV of ALL TIME.

     Here is my theory, and I hope it’s true. Every episode revolves around family. Every episode has a plot with everyday relationships and the tension those create. We all can relate because we all experience them! Whether its sibling, marital, or parental, these relationships play out on the screen, and the Robertson’s act surprisingly decent and respectful. I hope America has grown tired of the dysfunction that is part of nearly every TV program. Most of us don’t need to turn on the TV to see that played out; too often it’s happening in our own homes or at least down the street. The Robertson’s remind us we can solve our differences without yelling or worse. We don’t have to have a revolving door of relationships that wreck our lives. Phil Robertson and his family remind us that family indeed can work.

     I think what Phil would say, (and this Phil is saying) family works best when people follow God’s design for it. Faith in Jesus guides them, and should guide us. The traditional family WORKS! That goes against the liberal bias of today’s media, but the Robertson’s are making it work! The most valuable thing the Duck Commanders are selling is not duck calls, its family values rooted in faith! And that’s the fact…….Jack. Have a great week.

Redneck, Phil Sims

August 20, 2013, 3:36 PM

That was fast!

     Where did the summer go? Could it have gone by that fast? I guess the answers are, I don’t know and yes! On one hand it’s kind of sad, summer is over and its back to work for many of us. On the other hand it’s almost like New Year’s again! It’s a chance for a fresh start or a new beginning. I like “do overs” and starting school is a new beginning.

     The beginning of school also reminds me I will never stop learning. After elementary comes Jr. High, then High School. Most of us go on from there to more “school”. After all of that education I remember thinking, I was finally through, and I had arrived at my destination! I had to learn some more, in fact, learn that I never would STOP learning.

     Here is what Paul wrote to the church in Philippi; “I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal.”

     I like the idea Paul uses here when he says, “I am well on my way.” That’s maybe how I have to look at the start of another school year. I’m on my way! I’m not going to look back, I have a new start!  My eye is on the goal, where God wants me to go—to Jesus! One of the things Paul had to learn was to not look behind him, (he did have a shaky past) but to look forward. It’s my prayer all of us look to the new school year as an opportunity for a fresh start and a new beginning! Have a great week, and new school year! Onward!


July 25, 2013, 8:51 AM

Whats the point?

It seems to happen frequently. I hear an idea about something I believe I have figured out, it makes me think, and look from a new perspective. Sometimes it helps me understand things I already understand but in a new way. It happened again Sunday. John Foster said Sunday morning in our communion with God and each other, that the Bible was kind of an autobiography of God. The more I thought about that, the more I think I agree with it, and like it. Sometimes we think the point of our study and reading is to simply know more Bible. Maybe that’s not the way to look at it.

So what is the point of Bible study? I’d say it’s to know God. The scriptures tell God’s story and introduce us to Him. Knowing Him is the whole point of life.By "knowing Him" I don’t mean to say the Bible is just information, like you would know your school history text. Really "knowing" the God of the Bible means He will shape your very soul. He will recreate you in a new and exciting way!

I’m grieved by the culture I see frequently, where knowing the Bible is about being right, passing judgment, defending a position, memorizing data, supporting a political party, or one of many other imposter functions. I recall seeing a national newscast where a guy stood in a line of protestors at an abortion clinic. He was yelling while holding a sign with a huge Bible on it along with the words, "You're going to HELL, the Bible tells me so."  "Know God’s word in order to know God and He will bless you" would have been a much better pro-life message. John says “These things are written that you may believe and that by believing you might have life...”  Jesus says, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Micah says the LORD requires us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.

If knowing God's word doesn’t help you do that, what’s it for?

Have a great week!    Philip

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