Pastor's Blog

Sand Mountain Sermonette 18

John 11:35; John 11:33; Hebrews 4:16; Revelation 21:4

The Tears of Jesus
“Jesus Wept.” (John 11:35)

The shortest verse in the Bible, one which many of you most likely memorized in Vacation Bible School when you were a child as I did, speaks volumes to the heart of God! John tells us of Jesus’ weeping at the funeral of His best friend, Lazarus. John 11:33 says, “When Jesus therefore saw her (Mary, Lazarus’ sister) weeping and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled.” Through the tears of Jesus, we see that tears touch the heart of God. At the tomb of Lazarus, we see that Jesus weeps over our sorrows and that He is touched by our broken hearts.

As a pastor, I have witnessed many times as I stood by a coffin in a funeral home or at the grave site, a friend, neighbor, or co-worker burst into tears the moment he or she saw the bereaved. My father died several years ago, and the night of the viewing, many people from my hometown and surrounding area passed through the line to comfort my mom, my brother and his family as well as my own family. During that time, I shed quite a few tears, but when a little old man accompanied by his granddaughter walked up and introduced themselves to me, I really lost it! She told me her grandfather was an Albertville city policeman with my dad back in 1962. That instant, a black and white photo that had been taken of my dad and all the policemen including this gentleman who served on the police force that year; all dressed in uniform, entered my mind. John tells us when Jesus approached Mary and saw the others, including Mary’s sister Martha, in tears, their sorrow moved His heart!

I am also taken back to my field experience in Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.) that occurred in seminary in the 80’s at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington. One day I was assigned to walk the children’s cancer wing and visit with children and youth and their families. After the completion of my assignment, I went into the hospital’s chapel, one in which I found myself alone, and I wept and wept. About a week later, when I was having one of my IPR (Interpersonal sessions) with my chaplain supervisor, Chaplain Bojia, I told him of my broken heart over the children with cancer and of my feeling that God might be calling me into full-time children’s ministry upon my graduation from seminary. Chaplain Bojia, a wise and committed Christian, listened lovingly to my words and then he said to me, “Louie, consider that God may be telling you in the midst of your emotions, that He is not calling you into full-time children’s ministry.” I went back and Nancy and I prayed about this, and I felt a peace from God directing me to stay on my current course to become an ordained pastor in a local church; one in which I still have to opportunity to minister to children. That day in the chapel, Jesus was crying with me! He was weeping with me over my broken heart regarding these precious children and their families and I believe He gave Chaplain Bojia the words to speak over me that day!

Christian, you serve a Lord who is near, not far away! Jesus wept! It’s okay to cry.
(Ponder Hebrews 4:16 and the beautiful scene pictured in heaven in Revelation 21:4).

Pastor Louie

Sand Mountain Sermonette 19

Matthew 9:36

A View of the World from a Corn Crib

“And seeing the multitudes, He (Jesus) felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36

When my mother was a little girl, her paternal grandfather, “Papa Floyd” had a house on the main road into to town that was frequented by an old hobo at the time known as Hoarse Slayton. Mom and her older sister, my Aunt Sue, would often go into Papa Floyd’s barn and climb into the corn crib to peek and see if Hoarse was in there because that is where he would stay when passing through town.

In our passage of Scripture, the word translated distressed is an original word that means, to skin or to trouble, and the word translated downcast means, to throw off or toss. My mom and aunt may not have fully realized it then, but they were witness to the ravages of the world as their little eyes peered through the slats of the corn crib. A world in which an old hobo who, whether by choice, accident, or by some other design was skinned down to his last penny and often thrown and tossed away by a society which often trades compassion for a critical eye and critical spirit.

Jesus is our example. He felt compassion on the Hoarse Slayton’s of the world because He knew they were ultimately lost spiritually and in need of His forgiveness and love as the Great Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep. He cared and still cares about every soul. He did not worry if they were trying to beat the system or not. He just loved them. Should we not do the same? Who is God calling you to care for with the unconditional love of Christ, today?

Thankful for Our Compassionate Savior and Friend,
Pastor Louie

Sand Mountain Sermonette 20

Matthew 11:28

Sand Mountain Sermonette 20

Come Here!

One of my favorite teachers at Albertville High School was my Eleventh Grade English teacher, Mrs. Smothers. She had that classic English teacher look in that she wore horn-rimmed glasses and fashioned her white hair in a bun on the top.
I just loved her class, and I loved her too.

One day I was standing at my locker between classes when I saw a friend of mine to whom I called over to chat for a couple of minutes. As soon as I called him over, I heard Mrs. Smother’s familiar voice say to me, “Louie Mabrey, come here!” I turned and saw Mrs. Smothers in the hallway to which she repeated, “Come here!” So, I sheepishly walked closer and replied, “Yes, Mrs. Smothers, what it is it?” To which she immediately said, “You said, “Comere” when you called your friend over!” “Louie, it’s not “comere” it’s “Come here!”

Well, Mrs. Smothers was right. My Alabama country English tempted me to slur these two words together rather than correctly and distinctly annunciate them clearly and apart. Often in the Scriptures, we find Jesus inviting people to come to Him. And each time, His words are clear, distinct, and bursting with revelation as to who He is and who we are in Him!

In John 7:37-38, Jesus offered these words at the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” And in Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (literally, I will rest you).”

Won’t you come to Jesus? He cares about you! He wants you to clearly understand He word right down to its proper use by the moving and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Thankful for such a good teacher!
Pastor Louie

Sand Mountain Sermonette 21

Mark 1:16, Luke 19:10

Sand Mountain Sermonette 21

Gone Fishing!

My hometown of Albertville, Alabama, rests atop what is known as “Sand Mountain.” If you travel about ten miles north on Highway 431, you will come to Guntersville, Alabama, which features some of the best fishing in the state. Now, I’m really a city boy when it comes down to it, but I can tell you this, I loved to fish when I was a youngster and most of the time I fished with my Papaw Mabrey on some select spot on the Guntersville River if not at the pond which was located at my grandfather’s brother-in-law’s house a few miles out of town.

Having said this, I want to tell you of my first time to use a rod and reel. Some friends of my grandparents had invited them to use their boathouse any time they wanted so my Papaw and Mamaw Mabrey invited my family to join them one Summer afternoon for food and fishing down on the river. When we arrived my mom and grandmother began to prepare the means to a delicious river meal comprised of catfish, hush puppies and coleslaw.

In the meantime, dad and his dad proceeded to bait a rod and reel for me and then place near the end of the little dock beside the boat house for a time of fishing. Well, they backed up a several feet and begin to talk, but it wasn’t long until I the bobber bobbed up and down and I began to pull up on my fishing pole with all my might and lo and behold, something round came up out of the water and its momentum swung me around so this most amazing catch landed on the dock behind me! Then it began to move towards me—a snapping turtle! I couldn’t go forward or around it, and if it came any closer, I would find myself falling off the dock and into the river only a few feet away. So, I yelled for my dad and grandad, and they came and rescued me from the turtle. But after this, and to my dad’s surprise, I asked if I could take my “pet” turtle home to which he lovingly warned me it would never work, but who gave in to my longing to have this turtle anyway. So, we ate our supper and went home with my turtle in a box, but the next morning as you would have guessed it, the box was tipped over on its side and my turtle was long gone.

Do you have a favorite fishing experience? Mark 1:16 tells us that as Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel l He saw Simon Peter and his brother Andrew casting a net in the sea for they were fishermen. The next verse reads, “And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” That is Jesus’ heart and that is Jesus’ calling on our lives as His followers, “to become fishers of men” for Jesus said that He had come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

To be a fisher of men is what interests God and that is what Jesus want’s His followers to be interested in. That day on the dock at the Guntersville River I learned that not only was fishing a big deal, so was the catch! Perhaps you have been praying for a loved one to come to Christ for a long time; do not give up! Like a good fisherman (as my grandfather was), be positive, be persistent, be patient, and be passionate for the souls of men, just like Jesus!

Pastor Louie