where love is alive 

Most of us would confess to inadvertently approaching, or even entering, the wrong car in a public parking lot.  It is an honest mistake.  The vehicle probably looked quite like your own.  And it most likely was parked in the same proximity as your vehicle.  Eventually, you became aware of your mistake.  Maybe your key did not open the car door.  Or perhaps the contents of the inside clued you to your error.

I recently read a story in World Magazine that illustrated this common slip-up to a new level.  On December 9, 2018 a man in Nova Scotia, Canada was confused by identical cars parked side-by-side in a parking lot.  Surprisingly, the gentleman managed to open and start the wrong car with his own key fob.  (Who knew that was even possible?)  When the proper owner returned from shopping only to find her vehicle missing, she called police, reporting that it was stolen.

Meanwhile, the man in the wrong car realized his mistake after driving down the road several miles.  Can you imagine the mixture of emotions when he realized he was in the wrong car?  A blend of embarrassment, fear, and regret must have certainly overwhelmed him.  But not only had he gone to extreme lengths and distance before realizing his blunder, he also took impressive steps to rectify the situation.  The man returned the vehicle to the same parking spoke it previously resided, but not before FILLING THE TANK WITH GASOLINE!

The story never identifies the name of the unintentional car thief. Perhaps the publication is withholding the name to protect the (almost) innocent.  It does say that returning the car with a full tank gas was a very “Canadian” thing to do.  Perhaps so.  But it certainly would be a very Christian thing to do.

As followers of Jesus, we embrace the practice and application of grace.  Grace simply is receiving more than we deserve.  And, as I like to say, “It’s All About Grace.”  As recipients of God’s exceptional “above and beyond” goodness to us, we readily and regularly should show such kindness to those around us.  The story of the man refueling the gasoline is an example of such grace. Jesus gave us even more examples:

If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  41If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Matthew 5:39b-42

 

The challenge I give myself and to you is to be exceptional in the way we relate to others. Be extraordinary in kindness, in generosity, and in forgiveness. In doing so you are reflecting the perspective of grace that you received.                                                                                                                                                         -Jay

Pastor’s P.S.

We are about $1500.00 away from our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.  This is the final Sunday that the special Lottie Moon offering envelopes will remain in the pew racks of our sanctuary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Sunday morning I opened the sermon with this story from my childhood. Today I want to share with you a few more of the details. Honesty compels me to report that a bit of research this week revealed that these events actually took place when I was in the third grade and not the fifth grade as I said Sunday.

My third grade Sunday School teacher was named Doris Antrican. I remember her better than many of the children’s leaders from those days because she had a daughter named Donna who was my age.  It takes a special person to take on the challenge of trying to instill spiritual knowledge into eight- and nine-year-old minds, especially the minds belonging into young boys.  I know first-hand that they are easily distracted by things like a bug found on the floor or by the way the crank-out windows in the room operate.

One Sunday Mrs. Antrican gave us the assignment to use simple crayons to draw a Bible story on a large piece of writing paper.  My good friend Tim Perrin (now a pastor in Woodbridge, Virginia) chose to draw a picture of Moses driving a bulldozer through the Red Sea, making a way for the children of Israel following behind.  So you see, this was the raw material with which saintly Mrs. Antrican had to work.

While public school was teaching third graders to memorize their multiplication tables, at church the equivalent challenge was to memorize the books of the Bible in order. Mrs. Antrican put that goal before our group and gave us a grand incentive. She possessed an abundant supply of individually wrapped, fruit-flavored, hard candies. And she promised to give us one piece of candy for every book of the Bible we could name in correct order. So, I went to work.  My brain was much better at memorizing back then. And I learned a few tricks, like using the phrase General Electric Power Company to get Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians in the right order.

Even though it comes later, our first test was to recite the books of the New Testament.  With only 27 books, the New Testament books are easier to learn than the 39 books of the Old Testament. When the designated New Testament Book Recitation Sunday arrived, I was ready. But when I got to class my good friend Rocky Hodge (now a career Worship Minister) shared that he could recite the New Testament books both forward AND backwards. Naturally, we pressed Mrs. Antrican to give us a piece of candy both for each book of the New Testament we could recite forward AND another for each we could say in reverse order. She agreed and we both pulled off the trick! I proudly left Sunday School that day with a bag of 54 pieces of hard candy!

Well, I’m running out of space, so I will need to complete the rest of this story in next week’s newsletter. So as I said Sunday: Stay Tuned! The Blessings Are Coming.  It is a privilege to be your pastor.                                           – Jay

 

Pastor’s P.S. – This Sunday we welcome the Ladies of Lee to our morning worship hours. I can promise you that both their music and their message will touch your heart.  Then, starting in February we will turn our Sunday morning attention to the New Testament letter of First John.

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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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