Sunday, September 25, 2011


Good morning to everyone. Once again, I pray you took advantage of the privilege to
attend a house of worship of your choice. At least we have not lost that blessing yet.
People try to take us away from Christ and Christ away from us, but we can still get up
and go to church, if we will.

Our topic this week is "Character". Character can be defined as,
1>the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or
2>one such feature or trait; characteristic.
3>moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
4>qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a
5> reputation: a stain on one's character.
6>good repute.
7>an account of the qualities or peculiarities of a person or thing.
8>a person, esp. with reference to behavior or personality: a suspicious character.

With these definitions, we see things that help to show others who and what we are.
The Bible tells us of how the early Patriarchs made their way through life building alters
and digging wells to leave monuments to others and their children. Generations later,
people could tell you who built the alter and for what reason, or who dug the well and
why. Character was passed down through time and it was the actions of those that
made their character.

I can remember as a child living in Tennessee, my grandmother on my dad's side lived
in Alabama and my grandparents on my mother's side lived in Florida. We use to make
a lot of trips back and forth between the two of them. We could have jumped on 65
and took the fast track, but most of the time we took the back roads. We would stop
at the roadside picnic tables and eat a packed lunch of fried pork chops or fried
chicken, potato salad and maybe some tea made in a milk jug. No fast food junk. We
would load up in the station wagon and stop by the state parks and walk around.
During the car ride, we would play "I spy", "Popeye" or maybe "hangman", or if the ride
was too long between stops we may even have a fight between siblings. We did ok
without laptops, psps, Nintendo ds, portable dvd players, mp3 players, ipods, cell phones
and notepads. We actually talked about what was going on in our lives. We talked
about how things have changed over the years. Now days, everyone is flying up and
down the 6,7,8 lane roads in a hurry to get to where they think they have to be and
the little 2 lane roads that have history and character, little ma and pa shops and
cafes, are disappearing, and with them all the character that goes along with them. And
with that goes the character that becomes instilled in us.

Have you ever heard the saying, "so and so looks just like so and so, or he cannot
deny him"? It use to be we were known by our families and the character and
reputation of our families were known by people all around. I would venture to say that
most teens could not even tell you their grandparents full names, let alone anything
about their great-grandparents. Parents are doing all they can to pay for the things they
think they have to have and our children are being left to raise themselves on cable,
video games, friends, gangs and who knows what else. That is where they are learning
their character.

If we look back a generation or two, we see families taking care of each other. There
was no microwave foods, families made sure they cooked real meals to share. Families
ate together. After meals, everyone didn't shoot off to do their own things. They sat
around together and talked, played games, sang around a guitar or piano, watched the
sunsets, learned about what it took from their ancestors to make it possible for them to
be where they are today. Today we tell people they need to "find themselves", forget
the past and any parental influences and just be yourself. Looking back at the past, it
wasn't all that bad. Today we have the highest rate of teen violence, teen pregnancy,
unwed mothers, divorce, homosexuality, suicide, low to no self esteem, people living with
each other without being married and there are more people living on prescription drugs
for mental disorders than ever before.

We are told in the book of Romans, chapter 5, that tribulation produces perseverance;
and perseverance, character; and character, hope. If we are going to have hope in these
times, and I think there could be no argument that these are rough times, we must
return to the teachings of the Bible and stop looking to Oprah and Dr. Phil for the
answers to life questions. It is this type of thought and evolution that have brought us
from the times of happy families and Andy Griffith, to where we are today.
Character is not something we can tell those we influence to have. We can tell them
about others in our past, that have helped us to have the character we have, but we
must also live out the character our ancestors passed on to us, if we hope to get back
on track. The change we need is not what the presidential hopefuls are trying to push
down our throats, but a change back to the basic and simple things of life. When times
were much better and character said something about you and you were proud of what
it said about you.

Remember: As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. [Proverbs 23:7] THE BIBLE.

Until next time, please pray for each other and me, as I continue to pray for each of
you. Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church

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