bulletin article -- searching for lost souls

Searching for Lost Souls

As Alice and I were driving home after Wednesday night Bible study, we came across two small dogs who were wandering in the middle of an intersection close to the house. We could tell that they were excited about their new freedom and they were looking for new opportunities to make their mark(s) on the world. When we considered their situation, we realized that they were straying far away from their master, who was their source of food, water, and shelter. What was worse was the frightening storm-front that would increase their chances of getting injured on the road. To top it off, one of the dogs was partially blind and relied on his brother for a sense of direction. The bottom line was that these dogs were helpless. Therefore, I turned the car around, we picked up the dogs, and the adventure began to care for them as well as trying to return them to their owner the next day. In the mean time, the owner was apprehensive and could not sleep that night. At daybreak, she papered the community, hoping to discover any information about their whereabouts. A few hours later, she cried tears of joy when she discovered the dogs were at our house. Within a few minutes, she excitedly held the dogs in her arms and returned home with them.

Thinking about this story, I realized how much we can relate to these dogs. We all have been given freedom in our lives to walk down whatever road we choose and do whatever makes us happy (Eccl 11:9). However, when we leave the guidance of our Father in heaven, life may seem more exciting and pleasurable for the moment (Titus 3:3), but then we realize through the storms of life that we truly are lost and helpless without God. Just as one dog above was partially-blind, sometimes we can be blind to sin; we can be “enticed by sensual passions of the flesh” and also be “promised freedom” by our friends, “but they themselves are slaves of corruption” (2 Peter 2:18-19). Despite our helpless situation, we are fortunate that Jesus had compassion on us and “came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Once we realize that we were once lost, we need to adopt the attitude of diligently seeking the lost (Luke 15:8). While accomplishing this mission, we must remember that we were once lost and straying, but that we were able to come to our Master and be welcomed into his household. This is the gospel story that we all share. It takes courage to share this story with people who are not conscious of their desperate situation. Just like the dogs, we do not “wish that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Pet 3:9).
  • wheelman
    amen
    by wheelman at 09/05/09 1:11PM
  • alliecat
    I like that story... and the application :)
    hope everything is going well for you two!
    by alliecat at 09/23/09 10:11PM
  • worker_at_home
    Thank you, little neph! And a hot-orangie to you too!
    by worker_at_home at 11/05/09 4:04PM
  • smallgreenbug
    I love little things like that. I believe God gives us such situations in order for us to better understand Him, and what He wants for us to know and understand. I love it all!
    by smallgreenbug at 11/17/09 11:11PM
  • worker_at_home
    A belated happy birthday to you!
    by worker_at_home at 02/14/10 11:02PM
  • thatonegirl
    Thnx for the encouraging reminder of God's Word!
    by thatonegirl at 02/18/10 12:50PM
  • mastermind9879
    Good Words, it is always a helpful reminder to know stories which help us to apply bibilical text. Thanks for that Paul, and I hope you and Alice are doing alright.
    by mastermind9879 at 06/14/10 4:04PM

Moving on with Life

It seems like so many things have happened / will happen in such a short space of time...

I'm glad to have finally finished my Bachelors Degree in Biblical studies from Florida College. As I look back at those last 3 years, I'm so thankful for all the opportunities to learn & grow in God's Word, as well as for all the friendships that I hope to maintain through-out the years. I'm also thankful that I met my soon-to-be-wife at FC too. Although it was not my intention to find a spouse, I'm happy to have contributed to Colly Caldwell's statistic that 85% of students at FC are engaged :P

While in Florida, I was also very thankful to be apart of 2 great congregations: Cork & South Livingston. While working with them, I was given opportunities to teach, preach, and visit members, which have helped me tremendously in my growth as a Christian and as a preacher. Both of the churches are like families to me, and I love them and will miss them all very much.

Now that graduation is over, I have moved on to preaching full-time at the Valle Vista congregation in Pekin, IL. One thing that I love about God's church is that no matter where you are in this country, there will always be a new family to adopt you in. Although the congregation is mainly an older group, their energy and love is seen through their desire to serve one another; they all have been especially helpful to Alice and I while we have been getting the house set up.

The most exciting part about moving on with life is getting married. Alice is an amazing, godly woman who has been such a great encouragement to me these past 2.5 years. As I begin my life as a full-time evangelist, I realize how much I need a help-meet -- I'm not talking about cooking & cleaning...I can do those things just fine; I long to have my best friend close by to share my feelings with, discuss concerns with, get advice, and to work as a team to bring souls to Christ. Although we have many similarities in our backgrounds and interests, we also have some differences too. Some people see differences as a threat to becoming unified in their relationship. As for me, these differences create opportunities to get to know one another better, as well as make for some interesting conversations along life's way :) Unity is not defined as having the exact same beliefs all the time. Rather, unity is working together towards a common goal: for us, that's heaven. As long as Christ's love is reflected in our lives and we live by God's Word, there is nothing that we can't handle!

10 more days and a new chapter in my life will begin. I look forward to the journey...

I love you, Alice!
PT
  • heidiw
    It's good to know what is going on in your life! Wish I could be at the wedding!
    by heidiw at 05/20/09 12:16PM
  • azuresky42
    Congratulations Paul!
    by azuresky42 at 05/20/09 3:52PM
  • apbooklover04
    :) I love you too. I can't wait to see you this weekend.
    by apbooklover04 at 05/20/09 4:30PM
  • pianobub
    10 days! Woot!
    by pianobub at 05/20/09 4:52PM
  • southern_gal87
    so sweet! congratulations to you and alice :)
    by southern_gal87 at 05/20/09 6:16PM
  • emer
    Amen, brother. God bless your work in IL, and may He always bless your relationship with Alice. Come down and visit FC sometime!
    by emer at 05/21/09 10:47AM
  • cali_dude
    hey man major congrats on the wedding! Melinda and I get married on June 5th.
    by cali_dude at 05/21/09 2:24PM
  • onelittlecandle
    :)
    by onelittlecandle at 05/21/09 4:42PM
  • billy87
    Hey Congratulations and enjoy your wedding, we will all have to hang out sometime shelley'll be movin soonish to
    by billy87 at 05/24/09 1:50PM
  • obi_wan_kenobi
    Miss you, man, but I am excited for you as you and Alice will soon begin your life together!
    by obi_wan_kenobi at 05/25/09 3:34PM
  • jjorangeswirl
    I am preaching the Thursday night lesson of Crestwood's meeting on June 25th. BTW, how are you guys enjoying your new home? How is the work going with the congregation there?
    by jjorangeswirl at 06/10/09 9:32AM
  • jjorangeswirl
    Thanks.
    by jjorangeswirl at 06/25/09 11:36AM
  • lightbringer
    I'm so glad y'all are doing well. Must post again!
    by lightbringer at 07/15/09 4:28PM

Preaching

Wow, it's been awhile since I last posted! she has pretty-much summarized the past winter break.

Some good news is that I will be preaching in Pekin, IL starting in May. More details later...

Praise the Lord for His infinite wisdom and guidance through prayer!
  • jenuso
    So glad for you! Can't wait to see you Sunday!
    by jenuso at 02/02/09 10:16AM
  • deusvitae
    Hope all goes well for you in your work there. :D
    by deusvitae at 02/02/09 10:26AM
  • curlie
    Congratulations! Which congregation in Pekin?
    by curlie at 02/02/09 10:46AM
  • emer
    Yeah, it's been a while!
    by emer at 02/02/09 11:32AM
  • heidiw
    Cool! You will be in my neck of the woods!
    by heidiw at 02/02/09 2:24PM
  • onelittlecandle
    That's wonderful news! I'm so proud of you, cousin! :)
    by onelittlecandle at 02/02/09 4:18PM
  • forgetmenot
    YAHOOO! :) thats awesome! I'm hoping to move down that way this coming summer too :) It'll be awesome living so close to you all again. :)
    by forgetmenot at 02/02/09 6:06PM
  • prtbone
    Valle Vista COC
    by prtbone at 02/02/09 9:20PM
  • obi_wan_kenobi
    I'm glad you have this opportunity, Paul, and I know God will bless you in your endeavor.
    by obi_wan_kenobi at 02/02/09 9:51PM
  • billy87
    you'll be real close to where I live we'll have to hang out
    by billy87 at 02/03/09 12:20PM
  • southern_gal87
    happy for you!
    by southern_gal87 at 02/03/09 1:46PM
  • prtbone
    that sounds like fun :)
    by prtbone at 02/03/09 9:20PM
  • kattath
    Happy Birthday!!!
    by kattath at 02/12/09 7:55AM
  • anitaj
    I'm glad to hear your good news. May your service to our Lord grow even stronger while you are in Pekin.
    by anitaj at 03/16/09 5:30PM
  • worker_at_home
    Congratulations on your preaching job. I'm so happy for you, not to mention proud too. I'm looking forward to meeting Alice as well as seeing you. It has been too long!
    by worker_at_home at 03/30/09 9:54PM

Bears beat the Colts 29 to 13

Yes, I know that the Colts have a few guys injured right now and the lowly Bears had an unfair advantage...but this win made my day :)
  • melissakae
    hey, when is your wedding date? I forget. :-)
    by melissakae at 09/08/08 9:02AM
  • soundandfury
    This was such wonderful news.
    by soundandfury at 09/08/08 12:24PM
  • sendthelight
    Yes, that game made my day
    by sendthelight at 09/08/08 2:27PM
  • billy87
    it made my day to! lol
    by billy87 at 09/09/08 8:50AM
  • flowerpower
    You are so on my hit list.
    by flowerpower at 09/10/08 8:09AM
  • flowerpower
    Just kidding. (Sort of)
    by flowerpower at 09/10/08 8:10AM
  • flowerpower
    :) All in good fun. :)
    by flowerpower at 09/10/08 8:10AM
  • mastermind9879
    Bears rule over the colts(colts stink!!)sorry paul
    by mastermind9879 at 10/04/08 6:07PM
  • mastermind9879
    Hey paul, check out my account for full details on how District went today. Also goodluck to you and Alice, also sorry if i missed your anniversary. Remind me when that is.
    by mastermind9879 at 10/04/08 6:09PM
  • flowerpower
    Yes, that will be a very interesting game! So how are you and Alice doing?
    by flowerpower at 10/17/08 10:13AM
  • mastermind9879
    Thanx paul, State should be awesome. Not to mention it is inside, and it is AC. Lucas Oil is a dome. It's better being inside seeing as it is 20 degrees outside at max. So i choose inside. We should get back around 9-10 pm on saturday after watching class A. Good luck to you paul and say hi to meliss for me. Bye.
    by mastermind9879 at 10/28/08 10:24AM
  • mastermind9879
    Paul, your from chicago, stop going against the bears. If you want to be a titans fan( sorry but they stink worse than green bay), you'll have to like the bears a little bit. Don't make me send meliss on you. bye, and goodluck. Go BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    by mastermind9879 at 11/11/08 2:46PM
  • mastermind9879
    Just don't diss the bears around me, even if im not there and you know melissa will tell me. So, at least don't say anything like the bears are going to lose. And no, you don't like the Titans just because they're good. I'm not that stupid paul.
    by mastermind9879 at 11/12/08 3:09PM
  • flowerpower
    Aww, we missed you? Well, I guess that means you will have to come back! We were probably at Jamestown with my brother and his family.
    by flowerpower at 12/29/08 4:56PM
  • flowerpower
    How about them COLTS?!
    by flowerpower at 12/29/08 4:56PM
  • southern_gal87
    hmmm me thinks an update is overdue?
    by southern_gal87 at 01/05/09 9:44PM
  • mastermind9879
    Hey paul, hows the Titans doing. Sorry about the recent defeat to the colts, I guess you will have to go against them in the playoffs. But don't forget to worry about the eagles and the Jets especially. To be honest, I don't think the bears will make it for a few years without some good players other than just urlacher. Anyway, hope you and alice are doing fine. See ya@
    by mastermind9879 at 01/07/09 3:09PM
  • dominic
    Definitely! I (we) look forward to it. :)
    by dominic at 01/28/09 10:15PM
  • onelittlecandle
    I'll plan to give you a call this afternoon. :)
    by onelittlecandle at 02/01/09 8:52AM
  • onelittlecandle
    No problem. Earlier evening is better for me, if that works for you. :)
    by onelittlecandle at 02/02/09 8:13AM

Jim and Alyssa are married

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the news on Facebook. Foolishly, I quickly picked up the phone and called Jim, not thinking that he was going to be on his honeymoon (hopefully he won't kill me when he visits FC next week :)

The quick version that he gave me is that the wedding was tonight--it was just his family, a few friends, and the preacher (Alyssa's parents consented to the wedding). Now they're on their way to spend the weekend up in Northern Georgia.

Please note: Jim requests that nobody else call him during the honeymoon :)

Anyway, I thought I might share the good news.

By the way, Jim, I'm jealous :P

  • dominic
    Woah! That's awesome!
    by dominic at 08/22/08 10:16PM
  • kattath
    :)
    by kattath at 08/23/08 10:03AM
  • emer
    Wow! I wonder if Hannah has heard about this yet?
    by emer at 08/23/08 12:20PM
  • prtbone
    :P
    by prtbone at 08/30/08 11:34PM