where love is alive 

Like most folks, when something in my life quits working properly, I am inclined to take a look at it myself.  Hopefully I can assess the problem and figure out a solution to try.  Who knows?  It might just work!

My number one strategy for just about anything that acts up is this:  Try restarting it. 

  • When the car engine’s “check engine” light comes on: stop and restart.
  • When the ice machine is not making ice: hit the reset button.
  • When the computer is running painfully slow: reboot
  • When my mobile phone freezes up: do a power cycle.
  • When the printer refuses to work: unplug it and plug it back in.
  • When the copier is acting up: restart it.

Maybe some corrupt data created the problem and needs to be cleaned out.  Maybe something in the “set up” has gone wrong and needs to return to its original configuration.  I honestly do not know exactly what happens, I just know the “restart” strategy often works.

Recently we were trying to add some new seasonal messages to the LED sign at the front of the church.  But for some reason the computer in the church office that relays these messages had lost its connection to the sign.  No quick look at the software itself gave any answers, so I returned to my tried and true solution:  I rebooted the computer.  I was mildly optimistic that this “reboot strategy” soon would have us back in business.  But, alas, the failure to communicate remained even after the computer restarted.

Clearly “out of my league,” I called my friend Reed for help.  Reed works for the company where we acquired our sign.  He is their technology geek.  It just happens that we are both alumni of the same high school.

Reed quickly logged on remotely to our computer, made a simple assessment and told me what to do to fix the problem:  Go restart the sign itself!  Within moments I was down near the street power cycling the LED sign.  In no time at all we were good to go.

It ends up that my strategy to restart was spot-on!  The problem was that I had rebooted the wrong thing!  It dawned on me that this mistake is made in other avenues.  Something in our life is broken, empty, a grind, and just not working.  To break out of this people try starting new purchases, new hobbies, new schedules, new schemes, etc.  What actually may be needed is a fresh start with one’s relationship with God.  Fortunately, God is the master of new starts:

  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
  • He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5 NIV
  • I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; Ezekiel 11:19a NIV
  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus. 1 Peter 1:3a NIV

He is the God of fresh starts. Start again with Him in faith, prayer, scripture, worship, and ministry. We will see you Sunday.                       -Jay


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    1. Dear Pastor,
      My wife and I are moving to the Cleveland area sometime in May or first part of June.
      We have been praying fervently for God’s direction in locating us to His place of worship, fellowship, and service there. We will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this August 5th. We met at Dallas Bible College and Connie joined me, along with other students, in an itenerate ministry to three rural churches in SW Arkansas. Therefore we are celebrating fifty-two (52) years of ministry together. She was the pianist.

      Our son, Mike Harrison, Jr, has a 36 acre spread about 15 minutes from North Cleveland Baptist, where our apartment is being constructed beginning this week. We are retirees: Connie in 2016, as a Director of a four physician (pediatric) Cook Children’s facility in Flower Mound, TX; and myself in 1996, as Dean of Students at the International Institute of ACE located in Lewisville, TX (after four heart attacks and two major strokes).

      God renewed my strength and I was able to speak again, preaching and teaching for over ten years in my wheelchair. But God had another change for us as He laid on my heart two new ministries (but they required me to walk – No problem for the Lord!) I called my dear pastor and we had he and his wife pray with us along with five other “faithful prayers”. Six months later, God delivered the answer – on the night of the worst pain I had ever experienced in my 47 years of back pain… there in our bedroom, in my hospital bed, at 3:00 AM, I finally fell off to sleep in total exhaustion. At 7:00 AM, I was awakened by the soft peck on the cheek of Connie’s “goodbye, I’m off to work” kiss. After a few seconds I realized something was different.

      “No back pain”, I gasped. Then, “Glory, I can walk”!
      I put my feet on the floor immediately. Stood straight up and walked without a wobble;
      Bent right over and touched the floor, “Glory, Hallelujah; let Your Name be praised”!
      When Connie came home for lunch – she was overcome with joy and thanksgiving!
      Our three married children and their families were rejoicing. They had been praying.
      But what happened on Sunday was so glorious. Pastor Osborne and I decided I would make a special announcement. The congregation had, for the most part, never seen me walk. I made my way to the auditorium early and transferred to a from row pew.
      When he said I had an announcement, instead of sending down a mike, I leaped up and ran up nine steps to the podium. There was silence throughout. Not a sound from either level. The following clapping, “amans”, “glories”, and “hallelujahs” are a testament to the faithfulness of God and His people honoring Him in worship and praise. Humbly and passionately I explained to our family in the faith the privilege God was affording us and that we had taken on two new assignments six months earlier with the full assurance this day would be a blessing for us all, but the glory all His. That was August 2006. I became active in our special missions group and became a Salvation Army shortly thereafter.

      Connie and I practice personal evangelism and are faithful in praying and Bible reading and study. We are interested in a church that is committed to disciple making and worship. We are interested in a church that’s doors are open to all. We are highly interested to an assembly where “reaching our” and “reaching in” are in balance with the Word. We are interested in a church where we can serve. Connie plays the keyboard, sings, teaches, and just loves folks. I first taught junior boys at age sixteen and have been teaching for 54 years. I first preached (Opelousas, LA) at age 18; therefore for almost 53 years. I came to know Christ as Savior at age, 11, at a VBS at First Baptist Church Moss Bluff (Near Lake Charles, LA). I Graduated, Dallas Bible College, 1971,(Biblical Studies). Connie came to know the Lord as Savior as a younger child at home. Both of us were baptized before the age of 12.

      Most of my “work”career was spent in management.
      I worked for over 10 years for Sherwin Williams Co. in Garland, TX (night shifts) in order: to finish Bible College; supplement income as pastor; free time during days to volunteer for Christian ministries at various churches.
      I worked 17 years for Accelerated Christian Education; IT Director and Dean of Students.
      Christian Ministry: Pastor, Youth Pastor, Music Leader, Men’s Ministry, Deacon, Project Leader, Sunday School Teacher, Evangelist, Church Planting, Church Recovery,
      Salvation Army Chaplin, Missions Team Leader… Church Janitors (together), Create and print Bulletin…

      We would love to hear from you. We need you to provide some things that you, as pastor of North Cleveland, consider dear to you in your own ministry, and from what I have shared, would you be willing to join Connie and me in asking God to direct our hearts to the people and field where He has for us join Him in His work?

      Matt. 28:19-20
      John 13:31-35

      Posted by Michael C Harrison Sr / Mike | March 5, 2017, 2:38 pm
    2. Thanks for writing. I hope you will come see us when you get to the Cleveland Area. I have a deep love for local church ministry and appreciate when Christians join together in ministry.
      Have a blessed Easter Season

      Jay McCluskey, Pastor

      Posted by jaym | April 6, 2017, 11:44 am
    3. Thanks Dr. Jay. I always need the reinforcement of knowing He will come in His time.

      Posted by Viviene Serridge | May 20, 2018, 6:50 am
    4. Received your website with ease this morning and sermon on Hypocrisy. Thanks so much.

      Posted by Viviene Serridge | June 10, 2018, 9:07 am

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