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Sunday, December 8, 2013


Approximately 2000 years ago prophecies hundreds of years old, a few perhaps thousands of years old, were fulfilled with amazing precision when a baby was born in the city of Bethlehem.  Nothing has ever been the same since.  The way we record time even changed and we now refer to the day after His birth as the common era (C.E.), or year of our Lord – Anno Dominus (A.D.).

Jesus didn’t stay a baby though.  He grew in stature and wisdom.  He showed us the Father.  He died.  He arose from the dead.  He ascended to the right hand of the Father.  He now makes intercession for those of us who have our faith in Him.  Soon he will return to receive us to Himself.

The celebration of Christmas is under scrutiny within the church and from outside the church. Outside the church, the effort is to silence the message of Christ, plain and simple.  Within the church the efforts to stop the celebration of Christmas, by the Christian, is usually based in the belief that it this celebration is pagan in its origins and shouldn’t be participated in by Christians.  Sometimes though, it is rejected simply because of the materialism that the holiday has become known for.

While Christmas isn’t a holiday that is reported in scripture, or even necessarily celebrated by the early church, not beginning until around the year 336 AD, most of us have chosen to commemorate the birth of Christ on this day.  Was Jesus actually born on December the 25?  No, very probably not.  It was more likely in March. Is this a celebration instituted by God?  No, it was instituted by the early Catholic Church, thus the name “Christ Mass.”  Don’t the celebrations of the day, have roots in paganism?  Some of them do.  Hasn’t the day become just a marketing ploy for the materialistically greedy corporations to take advantage of the public?  Perhaps, because it truly has become far too materialistic.

So, is it wrong then to celebrate Christmas?  I think not, if we keep Christ at the center, but I’ll show you why.

In the celebration of Christmas we, as Christians, look back to the birth of the promised Messiah of whom it was foretold that He would come to save His people from their sins.  We also have opportunity to look presently into our own hearts and their condition, whether close to God or distant from Him; as we are reminded of the greatest gift ever given to anyone.  “For God so loved this world, that he gave…”  Hopefully in this season we will allow the reality of Emanuel, God with us, to cause us to let go of any greed and follow the example of our Father, giving our best gifts to God and men, as well of telling others about our Lord and his life-changing power.  We can, and should, also remember that His birth represents only the first coming of this Messiah, and that He is soon coming again.

If these things happen at Christmas, then the day serves as a great reminder of how we should actually be living our lives every day because of the appearing of our Savior, and because our relationship with God now, through Christ.
While Christmas may not have been celebrated by the early church, the birth of Christ was surely celebrated by the angels of the Most High God, as we read of the heavenly hosts praising God at Jesus birth.  It was celebrated by wise men who left their homeland and traveled far to look upon Him and to bring offerings.  It was celebrated by the shepherds who left their flocks, and so their livelihood, for long enough to see this amazing child – the Holy One of God.

Also, the pagan influences from ancient times have lost their meaning to us and are not the reasons of our celebration.  Just as the names of the days of the week, also had roots in paganism but have lost the association.  In fact, many of the traditions associated with Christmas, that were originally pagan in practice, were repurposed, and refocused, by the church to point people toward Christ.  This is much like the Apostle Paul’s use of the altar built to the “unknown god” as a way to preach Jesus to the people of Athens, Greece.  That altar was built in pagan worship simply out of superstition, to some god – whoever he might be – just in case they had failed to remember or recognize him.  So Paul claimed it for the Living God.  He told them that Jesus was the man appointed by God, the God previously unknown to them, but who might now be known by them, through Christ.

Another reason I think the celebration of Christmas is appropriate for us, if we choose to celebrate it as Christians, is found in principle in, Romans chapter 14 and in 1 Corinthians chapter 8.  The Apostle Paul made it clear that some of us would see things differently than others.  While one would NEVER eat meat offered to idols, someone else may not see that as anything to even consider, knowing that idols are ‘dumb’, simply objects and not truly God.  He admonishes us to not judge one another in these things, but adhere to our own God given convictions, knowing that God who knows our hearts, will judge each of us.

If you feel it is inappropriate to have a tree in your home, or to even celebrate the day, be true to that conviction.  If you have no such conviction, don’t feel pressured to give up your celebration.  Don’t judge one another though, if you don’t see eye to eye.

Here I’m sure all will agree, Jesus is the reason for this season.  He deserves worship.  He deserves praise, so if you do any celebration this Christmas, be sure HE is at the center of it: not materialism, not paganism, but Jesus. 

Merry Christmas from the Laudermilk family.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Debt Ceiling

The "Debt Ceiling" as it is being called is nothing more than actual, physical (and fiscal), bankruptcy in our government. The name debt ceiling sounds so much nicer though, doesn't it?

The fact is, we're broke. We're flat broke! We’re in debt up to our eyeballs. What the House and Senate (and perhaps the President; I'm unsure of his motives) are trying to do is simply come to some agreement on what 'plan' we should put in effect to put off the date of reckoning for our lack of fiscal responsibility. If an agreement is not reached we face ‘judgment day’, so to speak, NOW. If they can come to some agreement, we keep the judgment at bay another day.

I’m no expert on world affairs and I may not have all the facts but the way I see it, here's what's at stake… If we pass through the deadline tonight, at midnight, without a solution in place, then our country defaults on it loans and therefore has no money to pay its bills. What bills does a country have? Well, there are plenty but I'll name a few: US Savings Bonds that are mature seem to be what's making the news. They seem of little consequence to most people, but read on because I'll deal with them in a moment. Another big news item is governmental employees paychecks. I agree this is an issue, however much bigger problems are just down the pike. “Like what?” you ask. A MUCH bigger problem is Welfare, Unemployment, Disability payments, Food Stamps, and etcetera. The people receiving these payments would very soon stop receiving anything what-so-ever. Then, because of savings bonds having no value, (here we go) interest rates would rise making inflation run rampant. Finally, in light of all the other things, the US dollar devalues. If the dollar is devalued, it doesn't even matter if you have money, it will be nearly useless. This could happen because our US dollar is no longer backed by gold. It’s just paper. The bible talks about a loaf of bread costing a day's wage. That is exactly what will take place if our dollar loses its value. All of this would be devastating and would cause widespread panic and unrest, perhaps even civil war or a revolution, but certainly riots at the least.

Even more disturbing, is the fact that a loan in default suggests a borrower and a ‘lender’. We are the borrowers, but who do we owe this money to? Mostly, we owe China, the other world superpower. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but if there is a loan, whether it’s defined or not, there is also collateral. If we default on our loans to China, no matter what the analysts might say, we are in danger of invasion because if we aren’t able to keep our commitment in paying off our debts they will want something of value in return for their loan. Besides just wanting repayment, if they are defaulted on then their economy begins to tank as well.

Here’s the long and short of it. Even if the Senate and the House come to an agreement and the debt ceiling is raised and the deadline is extended, until December; or whenever. Even if they make an allowance and give the U.S. Government more money to operate on, we are in a very precarious position as a nation. We had better wake up and look around us, these are the end times. Months or years aren’t needed for things to fall apart in the world, or even for us as a nation. Within days, our nation could be on its knees because of poor management. Within weeks the world economy could follow. We are in a precarious position indeed, and perilous times I might add.

Be wise. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, but expect the return of Christ soon. What does that mean to the common person? First, know Christ intimately. If ever there was a day to be close to God, it’s now. Second, don’t follow the example of our nation. Get out of debt if you can, and don’t go further in debt. Put aside some reserves; by that I mean food, water, bartering items, and procure means of protection for your family - whatever that may mean for you.

I warn you of this not out of fear, but for wisdom’s sake. Proverbs 22:3 says, “A shrewd person sees danger and hides himself, but the naive keep right on going and suffer for it.” Even if the ‘judgment’ of this nation is stayed tonight, it’s coming shortly. If it isn’t the judgment of God, it will be the judgment of our peers, and we have brought it upon ourselves. We as a nation have allowed for no other option than judgment. When it’s coming is the question.

Will Jesus come before all this? Who knows. Even so… come quickly Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Do-over Days

I woke up this morning thinking about how nice it would be if we had 'do-over' days. If rough days, like yesterday for my daughter Lauren, could be relived with the knowledge we have now, we would certainly make different choices! For her, it would have probably been to skip that soccer practice...But we don't get do-over days. However we live today, whatever we do, goes straight into the record books.  

Live your life today with the leading of God's Spirit. He knows what today holds. Live it right the first time, because we don't have a second chance at some things. 

IF you mess up, and we will some days, learn from it and move forward. If you sin, repent. If you break a bone at a practice that hardly anyone else even showed up for, you'll heal with the knowledge that you were doing your best and you were faithful. Keep going. 

We don't get do-over days, but hey, that's what 'new days' are for. Start today with yesterday's knowledge and go forward. Better days are ahead for you if you just keep going. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Simplify - What a Complicated Word!

Nothing is ever easy it seems, and we are all too busy. Clearly, most of us need to simplify our lives...  But, simplify - what a complicated word!

Summer is always a busy time and if you are like me, you want to take in every day to the fullest.  As a church, I enjoy our going into the community to serve, church picnics, cookouts and Sunday Services. Personally, I love the warm temps, the fresh garden foods, soccer games, family time, and vacations.  I even enjoy the time I spend at home on my riding lawn mower.  Yet, I don't love being so busy that it seems I'm always behind on something, or more accurately, everything.

One thing I love most about winter, and those things are relatively few, is that things slow down in the winter.  Even then though, if we aren't careful, we'll be too busy even then.

We, honestly, try to squeeze too much into too little time.  We over commit, we're over worked, we're overly entertained and we allow our lives to be overly complicated. I believe it is a sign of the times we live in, but I also believe its a trick of the enemy to keep us focused on 'the now', rather than on eternity. If we aren't careful, we'll focus on what's pressing at the expense of what's precious. We need to stop for a moment and see what it is that is has brought us to such busy complicated lives.

I left my phone at home today. It wasn't intentional, but I didn't have time to go back and get it so I've done without it.  Guess what? I have had a much more productive day and life hasn't felt quite so complicated.

Modern conveniences like the smart phone, lap top computer, tablet, or even the microwave, may make things faster but they often serve to only make us busier. A smart phone, for instance, can be used as a communication device, a calendar, a camera, an MP3 player, a GPS, a game station and so much more.  Why then does it make us busier?  Because the shortcut it offers, gives us a few more minutes of free time so we try to pack more and more into those extra minutes.  Instead of a helping us to be more efficient, it often becomes a time trap.

Am I saying that these things are evil? Of course not.  The gadgets really aren't the problem.  The problem comes when we allow our priorities to become clouded.

If we want to simplify our lives, and many of us would benefit from that, then how can we do it? Must we get rid of the phones, computers, and other modern conveniences?  No. If we want to simplify, we just have to choose to intentionally de-clutter our lives. That may look like watching less T.V., listening to less radio, putting the phone away, or any number of things, but really it's about priorities.

Focus on the important things, and put aside some of the less important things, and you'll probably find your life will be more enjoyable and less complicated.  Sounds easy doesn't it?  But even when we  know how to simplify, it's still very complicated.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Spinning Plates

You've probably seen it before. It's a variation of juggling. One person by himself, or perhaps with an assistant, places plates, one after another, on vertical rods and tries to keep them all spinning. They add more and more until they are running back and forth at a crazy pace.

The principal is of course not to let any of the plates drop, but to impress us with the skill of doing so much at one time. 

It's great to watch, and very entertaining, but it takes skill and determination to keep those plates spinning and no matter how talented the performer is, he will drop some plates. 

That's what being a pastor feels like to me. I'm not sure that's how it's supposed to feel, but it does. There is just always too much to do, and no pastor wants to drop plates.

I know many think that the 'job' of a pastor has to be an easy one, just preach Sunday you're done for another week. But the truth is, it's the hardest thing I've ever done... by far. 

There are always people that are in need of either a visit, or prayer, or encouragement, or counsel, or correction... or the list goes on. There are always things that need to be done, or said, to further the gospel or take ministry forward that it 'seems' that only the pastor can do. There are always a multitude of little things to be done around the church, waiting for someone to get to them or at least approve them. 

Yet, spinning plates is a form of entertainment; it's show business. As I said earlier, it requires talent, skill, and determination and it's done to impress the viewer. That's what much of the church has come to expect of a pastor too... But, it's not God's call on the pastor to impress or display his talent or skill. The pastor is not a performer. The pastor is called to care for, to equip, and to 'lead' the flock of God, not to display his giftings... And not to spin plates. 

Am I saying that I have no one to assist me? No. We have some great workers in our church, yet honestly many, if not most, are content to sit back and take in the show. I think that's the way it is in most churches.

There is so much to be done, and so little time to do it. My prayer today is for laborers in the field. I'm tired of feeling like I'm spinning plates... Probably many pastors feel this way! But, I don't want to impress any more, I want to equip, and empower. Will you join the team of assistants and take your place along side me? If you aren't from ALT, will you take the place beside your pastor?

We aren't in the business of entertainment, we are in the business of winning souls. Let's do the business of this Kingdom together!

Here is a link to a video that illustrates the performance. This one is based in comedy too,so I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We say God is our friend...

We say God is our friend, but we treat him like a stranger.

We treat him like a waiter:
"If he's lucky," we give him a nod and say a quick "thank you" when he puts the food on our table.  If he treats us really good, we might give him a little extra.

We treat him like a neighbor:
We speak to him in passing. "Hello there sir!" Then we go on by, without stopping to get acquainted.

We treat him like the young lady behind the doughnut counter:
We ask for what looks good to us that day, expecting him to just give us whatever we ask for, but without a hint of relationship.  "Can I get one of these please, and Oh! could you please get me some of the others, over there, too. They look so delicious."

We treat him like the attendant at the gas station:
We will give him what we feel is required, but not without complaining that the price is too high.

We treat him like someone who looks familiar to us on the street.
We'll give him a second glance, or we may even "wave at him" in a worship service... But we don't stop to spend time face to face, so we never really know him. He's just a little familiar to us.

We say God is our friend...
..but we treat him like a stranger.

Take time to get to know him today. He's the best friend you'll ever have.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Church Needs Rehab

Today’s church needs rehab!  Rehabilitation, is the process of restoring to a condition of health or ability to work. It means to restore to a former capacity, standing, rights, and/or privilege. It can also mean to reestablish a good reputation.

When a person has an injury, they must often set up an appointment with a therapist for rehabilitation for that injured part of their body. Or, if a person has fallen into a lifestyle of substance abuse, for instance, they sometimes must undergo rehabilitation. Rehab allows the person to regain what was lost by the injury or abuse, to take back their life and again start living more fully.

I believe the church has come to the place that it needs rehabilitation. The Body of Christ, is in need of restoration, renewal, or to use a better known term associated with the church, revival. 

We are not operating at our former capacity of faith.  Our ability to ‘work’ has seemingly been stripped away, by complacency and American commercialism. We’re losing rights and privileges daily. We are losing our good reputation as we are so wrapped up in our own agendas that we fail to be the light of Christ that we are called to be. We have lost effectiveness because we operate like a club, rather than a living entity.

The church has wandered from the standards of biblical holiness, and I’m not referring to style of dress.  We have shirked responsibility in our communities. We have compromised, because we didn’t want to seem politically incorrect. We have failed to love those who are in opposition to us, acting as though we can win them by some militant action.

The truth though, is that the church is a living body.  It includes many members, who each have a function.  Christ is the head, the one who is calling the shots. As members of His Body, it’s our responsibility to act according to His mandate. 

This is why I say we need rehab. The head (Jesus) is sending signals to the body, but the body (the Church) isn’t getting them. We’ve lost our ability to hear his instruction, and we’ve been acting independently.  Rehab, renewal, revival, can fix that.

You may be thinking, if we go back to some former capacity, we will lose our edge in being relevant to today’s world.  That’s completely untrue. Our God is bigger than history, he’s bigger than our present.  He’s certainly God enough to handle the future. Jesus has just what this world is in need of, and if we the church can get the signal from the head of the church, we will be fully equipped to handle the challenges of today, and the days to come. We need to be rehabilitated.

So what does the rehabilitation of the church look like?  I believe it starts with prayer and returning to the Word of God (the Bible).  We need to reestablish the communication with the head of the church, Jesus. We need to hear what Christ is saying in His Word, not just what we hope or believe He is saying.  We need to pray together, until the walls of our pride and arrogance fall.  We also need to begin to talk to one another, across our lines of demarcation and love one another again.

We need to then create new habits. We need to learn to walk again, according to His Word. We should ‘be’ love personified. Not just showing love, but habitually being love.  Not some watered down version that condones godless living in the church, but love that will speak the truth to a world going to Hell in a hand basket. Love that says that you don’t have to stay in the bondage you are in, because there is a way to become new in Christ and that freedom comes by His power not ours. We need to bring integrity back to the pulpit and the pew, and make truth a habit like it was in the past.

Rehabilitation in the church may be difficult, and it won’t happen overnight, but regaining what was lost is rarely easy.  Rehabilitation takes commitment and determination, but it’s worth it, and it’s needed. The church needs rehab right away, and the good news is that our therapist (God’s Spirit) has openings available. Won’t you sign up to regain what we have lost? Make your appointment for rehab today.

Monday, June 3, 2013

"On Guard!"

Do you recall the old ‘Three Musketeer’ movies?  When I was a boy, I loved to watch them. Of course, every boy who has ever watched one of those movies has then had to have his own share of sword fights.  We didn’t have the fancy store bought swords, so I recall using whatever was available as a sword. A stick would work in a pinch, but as I recall my favorite was an old curtain rod that mom had replaced with a new one, or at least that’s the way I remember acquiring it. ;-)

The Musketeers had muskets too. It was where they got their name. A musket was a long barreled, black powder, handgun; but it was the sword that thrilled me.  Handguns were commonly in use in the westerns and the police shows of the day, but only the Musketeers, Zorro, or the occasional Pirate had a sword.

Now, all these years later, I carry a sword with me everywhere I go.  I’m not the most talented at wielding it, but the sword that I carry is very powerful and makes up for my inadequacy.  Certainly by now, you know that I’m referring to the Word of God.  It is called the “Sword of the Spirit” in Ephesians 6:17. It is said to be “sharper than ANY two edged sword” in Hebrews 4:12. I’m all grown up, and have been for a long time, but I still think the Sword is one of the coolest weapons of all time.

We often find ourselves in spiritual warfare.  Like the old movies, it seems that the good guys don’t have to go looking for trouble because trouble comes looking for you.  But this is reality…  This is life, and sometimes it isn’t quite so fun as it was when I was a kid.  The sword fights really matter.  The prize isn’t fantasy, it’s real.  The damsel in distress might be a daughter, or a niece, or a family friend and the peril we are trying to rescue them from is not fiction.  It is a real and present danger and in some instances it is eternity that hangs in the balance.

In the old movies, just before a sword fight, one of the opponents would say, “On guard!”  In life, it isn’t always that way.  The Devil is sneaky, he doesn’t tell you he’s about to attack.  So just stay ready.  I MUST be on guard!  I must be vigilant! I must be alert, and not only for my own wellbeing, but for the people who need the help, or strength, that I might be able to provide.  I must guard against sin in my own life.  I have to guard against offense from a brother; just let it go.  I need to guard against complacency.  I need to watch out for the wide range of attacks of the enemy.  But how can I help someone else?  I’m just a man.  I’m just an overgrown boy who was fascinated by swords, Musketeers, and sword fighting.

I can help others the same way YOU can: By being skilled with the Sword that I have been given and staying on guard.  The Word will do the work. Remember, I told you this Sword is very powerful. I need to know it. I need to declare it.  I need to believe it. Then, I need to stand in agreement with it and watch it work.  The enemy doesn’t have a Sword like this.  This Sword is backed by the power of the Almighty God. "On guard!"

Saturday, March 30, 2013

People Have Always Been in Search of a Savior...

People have always been in search of a savior...  And they have looked to lots of people... But those people have always died.

Buddha died, of food poisoning, about 483 BC and his body was cremated and relics of it were placed on display at various monuments.  His tooth is reportedly still on display in the "temple of the tooth" in Sri Lanka still today.

Confucius died in 479 BC, reportedly grief stricken by the loss of his son and a favorite disciple. He was buried in his home town of Qufu, in China. 100,000 of his own descendants are buried in the same Cemetery. 

Mohamed died in the city of Medina, Saudi Arabia, in the year 632 AD/CE in his wife's home, with his head laying in her lap.  He had fallen ill only a few days earlier, with a high fever and sever pain in his head.  He was buried in that same house, which now has been engulfed by what is known as "the mosque of the prophet".  His remains lay in a grave behind a golden mesh and  black curtains.

Jesus died somewhere around the year 33 AD.  Since our calendar has had some errors in the last 2000 years and has been adjusted, it is difficult to say the exact date. However, there was reportedly a great darkness that covered the Earth as recorded in Matthew 27, Historic documents of the time also tell of this darkness happening in the year 33, and recent geological data suggests a great earthquake the same date.  It most certainly happened between the year 26 AD and 36 AD while Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea.  In any case, he died on a cross as capital punishment, officially for blasphemy... saying He was Gods son, and equal to God.  

He proved it when he got up from death three days later!  

After that, more than 500 witnesses saw him at one time….His tomb is still in Jerusalem.  It still lies empty until this day! 

Jesus was dead, but is risen!

(I pray your search leads you to the risen savior... There's no one like Jesus!)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Right to Bear Arms

Christian, there is an effort to disarm you!  Are you aware?  In light of recent events, the gun debate has become a huge issue.  Personally, I still believe in the Constitution of the United States and the right of the American people to own and bear arms.  In general, disarming America, if that ever truly becomes the focus, is a bad idea. The right to bear arms is also an idea that our Founding Fathers were passionate about enough that they included it in the design of our nation. However, there is another effort of disarmament that is taking place at this very moment, in this nation, that is far more threatening; it’s the disarming of the Church.

2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “…The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds!”  The New International Version says it this way, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish.” So what are these other worldly weapons mentioned here in scripture, what were they intended to ‘demolish’ and how are they being taken away?

I shouldn’t even have to say this but I will for clarity, our fight is not with each other, those with opposing views, or even our government.  Our fight is bigger than that. “…We are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.”(Eph. 6:12)

So what are these powerful weapons that we, the Church, should have in our arsenal; the weapons being stripped from us daily?  Let me name a few; Faith in the Word of God, Prayer, Hope, Peace, and Unity in Christ.

Prayer is not accepted in public like it once was, but really that makes little difference.  No one can keep you from praying.  Reading the Bible is perhaps considered out of style. It was once a priority to Christians to read daily from the infallible Word of God, but now it seems we are willing to settle for the opportunity to listen to a half hour, weekly sermon. Honestly sometimes these sermons even lack much substance, except encouragement.

Each day many of us Christians start without prayer. We live our lives and then end our day without ever talking to the one we call Lord, except for when we need something from Him.  We rarely read from God’s own Word although He has given it to us to be our ‘most powerful weapon’ spiritually.

How can this be?  It’s because we are being disarmed.  Other things are taking our time and our attention, and the weapons of prayer and the Word of God, including our faith in the Word of God, are being neglected.

This is certainly a conspiracy against the church.  It’s certainly a sad testament of our day. It’s certain that we had better take notice.

These weapons, among others, were given to us by Christ himself to demolish the work of our enemy, Satan. They were given to allow us to be strong in our faith and to even spread our faith to others.  You have the right to bear arms, spiritually… Yet these weapons are being taken away; not by our government, or some radical far left special interest group. They are not even being taken away by Satan, although it is by his conspiracy that we are losing them. These weapons of our warfare, that are mighty through God to the demolition of all powers against the Kingdom of God, are being taken away by our own complacency.  We are being disarmed by our lack of passion for the things of God. Are you aware of this? What will you do about it?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Something Great

If you could do something great for the kingdom of God, what would it be? Think about that for a moment. What would you do for the Lord, if you knew you couldn’t fail? If you knew the Lord would bless your efforts and would even supply the means to accomplish the task, what would you do?

If we honestly consider these questions, I think that many of us would realize that we have something, or maybe more than one thing, that comes to mind which we dream of doing for God. Others, perhaps, have never considered the possibility that you could ever do anything of benefit for God’s Kingdom, much less something great.  

You can do something great though! God has placed greatness in each of us.  We were created in His own image, and even though man has fallen, WE who have believed, are new in Christ!

I believe it’s likely that the very thing that crossed your mind when I asked those questions, is something that God, Himself, has placed there.  As humans we sometimes selfishly dream of doing things to build our own kingdom, but if your dream is of something for the Kingdom of God, then it probably didn’t originate with you.

If that dream is of things like building homes for the homeless, or feeding the masses of starving children in some third world country, or seeing souls come to Christ by the thousands, or even one by one… It probably is not a selfish human aspiration, but rather a desire placed in you by the Lord. 

Perhaps  though it’s not so glorious as those grand ideas, but more mundane.  Maybe you simply desire to tell an unsaved neighbor about Jesus, or the love in your heart pushes you to comfort a grieving family who has lost a loved one.  Maybe you want to show some child at the local YMCA that not everyone has some ulterior motive when they give them a kind word.  Or, maybe you want to rally to the aid of someone who lost everything to a house fire.  Those are great things too!

Those dreams of doing great things for God are probably not your own.  God’s word tells us that He has given US the ministry of reconciliation.  Reconciling man and God is a great task, and a great honor, but God has already done all the hard work!  We get to be the messengers bringing the message of hope to a world at odds with God! …And there are thousands of ways to do that which ultimately point to Jesus!

So, what is your dream and how does it fit into fulfilling the plan of God in the world? What is it that you dream of doing in the Kingdom of God?  Because, God wants you to do great things for Him!  He’s willing to supply the means so that you can accomplish what He has placed in your heart to do for Him. He wants to see you do it without failing.

So here’s another question: If God is for you, then what’s holding you back? Take that first step, a step of faith toward what God has placed in your heart and just see if He blesses it. No dream is too big, or too small, if God is in it. Go on… do it! Walk it out by faith. Lives can be changed. Souls can be saved!  With His help, YOU can do great things for the Kingdom of God!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Not Everyone Will Go...

As we live we also learn.  Some lessons are hard and even harder to receive.  While other things you learn, and wonder, “Why couldn’t I have learned this years ago.” Life though, seems to have a way of teaching us what we need to know, precisely when we need it most. I guess that is just the way God designed it.  What invaluable lesson has life taught you lately that you could share with others to encourage them?  Here is something I have learned:

I have learned that not everyone will go with you on your journey toward your destiny.

Some will not go because they are ‘stuck’ in something. Perhaps it’s self pity, or bitterness, or a habit of sin that they aren’t ready to let go of. Others will stay behind because they just aren’t mature enough to go to the place God is taking you.  Still others, and honestly this is the most probable reason, cannot go with you because their destiny simply lies in another direction.

It’s easy to judge those who don’t go with us. It saddens us, and sometimes angers us when we know we have to move forward and others feel contented to remain. Yet in actuality, we’ve all been right where they are now.  Someone in your life was once where you are spiritually, and you watched them grow toward their own destiny, while you were satisfied to stay put. It may have been for any number of reasons, but you just couldn’t go. They may have judged you for not going with them, or they may not have, but we should determine that with God’s help we will not judge. We will leave that to Him.

Sometimes this manifests itself in the physical, and we leave behind mother or father, or brother, or sister. Other times it is Spiritually that we move forward, and it feels the same, as if we are causing some sort of separation. God’s purpose it too precious though. His plan is too real. The pursuit of Him is too essential to let others who aren’t going cause you to miss your destiny. Go after God!

If God is drawing you closer to Him, Go after Him with all your heart. If others don’t go, journey on. If God is teaching you, and others don’t seem to be getting it, still, learn all He will allow you to learn. If God is showing you a destiny that he has ordained for you, but others aren’t understanding it… It’s okay to invite them along, even urge them to come, and maybe they will go with you, but YOU have to go after the path of God!

With all this said, I ask you to go on a spiritual journey with me this year… I feel like destiny is ahead. I believe that for most of us, at Abundant Life Tabernacle, our destiny is intertwined at least for the foreseeable future.  You may disagree, and if you do I forgive you and I will journey on toward my Spiritual destiny while allowing you to go toward yours, but let’s certainly not just sit here and allow God to pass us by.

God has brought us together, to this place and at this time, for His purpose. Why not give all we have and just see where He will take us?  Why not seek Him with our whole heart? Why not allow His plan for this church and for each of us individually to come to pass?

God’s plan is always better than our own. The destiny that He has for you will far exceed your own hopes and dreams! The path ahead may be unknown to you, but God has it mapped out.  Some will reluctantly stay behind, others will gladly go along, but WE must press into His planned destiny for us if we want to receive ALL the joy that He wishes to bestow on us. Go with me this year on a pursuit of God! Will you?