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Thursday, December 3, 2015

"God Isn't Fixing This..." - NY Daily News

The article from the New York Daily News claiming that "God isn't fixing this", is an affront attack on Christianity.  It's an atheistic statement attacking Judaeo-Christian values and the practice of prayer. Sure, it's clearly meant to be a shocking statement of propaganda used to urge the public toward gun control, but it's also a jab at Christians.  There is another element too, the mocking of republican candidates. The mocking however, is focused on their practice of prayer. 

It's okay. I'm not offended. As a matter of fact, I'm unmoved by it in the least.  My ideas on my 'rights' as an American to bear arms are unscathed.  My 'trust in God' is unshaken. Political affiliation is irrelevant to this issue in my opinion, but prayer is still powerful. I'm still praying for the victims. This senseless tragedy is less a sign of a need for a change in gun laws though, than it is a sign of the need for changed hearts... which only happens with prayer.

It might surprise some, but I will agree with the statement, "God isn't fixing this!"  

God isn't fixing this because our nation has turned it's back on Him.  We have removed nearly every vestige of Him from American leadership. We have used our forefathers' idea of 'separation of church and state' to dispel God from anything governmental or political, when the original thought was clearly not that God should be removed but that everyone should have the right to worship Him as they see fit, free of government oppression.  Why would God step in on a national problem that we have banned Him from? He won't force Himself on us.  Biblical history shows us that His character is to abundantly pardon and forgive, IF we turn to Him... Not turn away from Him (See Isa. 55:7). The nation that forgets God though, will be allowed to continue on its chosen path and be turned into hell (Psa. 9:17). 

God isn't fixing this because we, the church, have not yet humbled ourselves and repented from our own wickedness as is prescribed in 2 Cor. 7:14.  Until the church itself is serious enough about the state of affairs that we find ourselves in, we will continue in our complacent unconcern and our nation will continue to be overrun by the godless. If, and when, we ever get concerned enough corporately to humble ourselves, repent, and ask God for revival and the restoration of our land, we are promised national healing. We don't see a 'fix' because church doesn't pursue it by pursuing God in prayer for it.  We don't pursue it because we don't believe it...  And we don't believe it because we are believing the propaganda, rather than the scriptures.

Do you want God to 'fix this'?  Then it's time to repent and seek Him for our nation. Attention New York Daily News, Attention Christians: There is no hope for America, other than God! Pray is exactly what we need to do, but the 'fix' begins with prayers of repentance.

Breitbart's link to coverage of this story...

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sheep And Goats

We usually consider the goats and the sheep being separated in Matthew 25, as "Christians" and "non-Christians".  Perhaps that's what it is about.  But read that story in context.  The whole chapter is about the two types of people coexisting in one group. 

The story of the 10 virgins, is a story of young women who are morally pure but some have oil, and some do not,  five are wise, and five are foolish.  (The beginning of wisdom, is the fear of the Lord. The fool has said in his heart there is no God.) The ones who have oil are taken into the bridegroom's chambers.  The others who don't are left behind.  They were all in the same group, they were all virgins, they were all waiting for the bridegroom. Yet only 5 were wise and had enough oil. The five foolish were left outside.

The story of the talents (or bags of gold) is a story of three servants. They were each given varying amounts of wealth to care for and invest, by their master. The servant given five bags of gold, went to work and multiplied it. The servant given two bags of gold did the same. The servant given one bag, hid it in the ground and kept it safe, but did no more. All three were servants of the same master, all three were entrusted with talents, all three were expected to accomplish something with what they had been given by the master. The first two heard "Well Done".  They probably all expected to hear it. The last though was considered a wicked and lazy servant and was taken away.

Then, toward the end of the chapter the nations of the world are gathered for a final judgment.  There is more than one way we can look at "nations" but most often the word nations in the Bible, refers to people groups not necessarily geographical boundaries.  Anyway, one gathering of all people groups is brought before the King, notice that all of them call him Lord.  From that one 'flock' people are separated into two groups, just like a shepherd will separate his sheep from his goats.  Those who are represented by sheep are placed on the right.  These are said to be righteous, and blessed of the father.  These had served Him well, even down to serving the sick and the poor and the imprisoned. They are given an eternal inheritance. The others though, from that same gathering who were separated to the left 'as goats', are called cursed ones.  These didn't regard the poor, the sick or the imprisoned and the King was very offended by their actions.  So offended was he, that he says, if you did this to the least of them you have done it unto me. 

So, my point? There are two groups of people in the church (I think this is the correct understanding of these parables). You can't necessarily tell them apart by their morality, the way they dress, what they say, or even their claim to serve the Lord. Goats will be right alongside the sheep in the house of God. Yet God knows the difference and He will sort them out. He is the one who will divide his flock into sheep and goats (Not my job). Our job is to be wise (fear the Lord), keep your lamps full of oil (Be filled with His Spirit, not your flesh), be faithful to use what He has given you (Multiply it through diligence!), don't forget the hungry, the poor, the sick, or those in prison but genuinely care for them. 

The key to understanding Matthew 25 is found in Matthew 24: 45-51 (Read it). It tells us that the sensible and faithful servant is the one the master can give responsibility to. The others will have their place among the hypocrites. This stirs me to the core!  I cannot allow myself to just go through the motions! I must be numbered among the sheep! Can He trust me?  Is he REALLY my Lord, or just in name?  I am in the group who calls myself a Christian, but am I a sheep or a goat? Wow...

Monday, September 28, 2015


We all have our own ideas of what revival looks like, or at least what we think it should look like. Most of those ideas are based on what we’ve personally witnessed in past years.  However, God doesn’t always consult with us to see how we think He should do things before He does them. Sometimes, God does things differently than we might expect. 

I’m reminded of stories in the Bible when people, no doubt, expected God to do things one way but He did something differently.  I can imagine the Children of Israel never expected to defeat Jericho by marching around the city, or shouting at that wall.  They probably expected a show of military might, or of strategic genius, but victory came thought obedience.  I’m sure King Saul wasn’t expecting deliverance from the Philistines, and their champion  Goliath, to come through a teen-aged shepherd boy who wasn’t even old enough to be in the army.  Yet David fought for Israel, and God fought for David.  I doubt that Peter expected to have money to pay his taxes by catching a fish and finding a coin in its mouth, but that’s what happened at Jesus’ command.

We should remember that God says, “My ways are not your ways…” (Isa. 55:8-9).  I’m steadfast in my belief that what God is doing among us, and in many other American churches, is unlike what we’ve seen in the past or even have expected for our future.  I believe that God has likely done things this way before, but our experience is so limited that we may not have seen it. 

I was talking to a pastor last week who had heard about God doing some miracles here in our fellowship.  He told me that he had been confronted with a woman who was in need of healing from cancer, and was reminded of what God had done in Sister Edith’s body with the removal of tumors, so he decided to pray for that woman right then and there!  I earnestly hope and expect to hear a good report from that prayer.  I talked to another pastor this morning who has been in ministry for more than 40 years.  He told me that he had witnessed God move this past weekend in a way he had never seen.  God had given such specific information to a man of God about a woman they were praying for, that it was absolutely astounding.  That woman was convinced of God’s power, she was touched and filled with the Spirit of God!  I’ve heard others within the last month, people who have been in church all of their lives, say they have never felt God so strongly or seen Him move in such a powerful way.

My point is that we shouldn’t be surprised when God does something surprising.  He does things His own way. He’s God after all!  What we call revival is simply the restoration of what was once alive, back to a state of life or vitality!  That’s what revive actually means and that’s what God is doing in His church!  It might look different than we expected. It might sound different.  It might even leave us a little perplexed, as was probably the case for the nation of Israel, for King Saul, and even Peter in the previous examples.  God does things differently than we expect.  Yet if God is the one doing it, it’s good… and I’m all in!  How about you?  Revive us Lord!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What We Hold As Convictions...

We love to judge others by what we hold as convictions.  All the while, we are seemingly oblivious that things we are doing may not be considered holy enough by someone else.
This is not a personal jab at someone.  I'm not here to start a 'holy war' among the self righteous. I'm not here to condone the practice of habitual sin. I'm writing this blog today to remind you, and me, that we will all stand before God for ourselves, and He will judge each of us. I also want to remind us all, that the Bible says that each of us should work out our "own soul's salvation with fear and trembling."

In the last two days I have been approached by as many people who want to address my 'relaxed stance' on purchasing Starbucks coffee, or actually allowing my daughters to purchase it. See Starbucks is very pro-homosexual in its worldview and is known to support homosexual marriage. I don't support that, or even agree with the ideology. My worldview is undeniably Christian. Yet, I haven't stopped my daughters from their patronage of the said establishment and for that I am perhaps being misunderstood.

What I'm hearing from these folks is that some may see that choice to not stop our patronage as hypocritical. I understand that. I have even been right there! In 1996 when the Southern Baptist Convention boycotted the Walt Disney Company for it's "anti-Christian, anti-family direction", I participated even though I'm not Southern Baptist. In 1997 when Ellen Degeneres came out as openly lesbian and ABC Television chose to air her show 'Ellen', I was very disappointed and, for a while, was determined not to watch ABC.  In 2005 when the American Family Association called for a boycott of Ford Motor Company, I was in! I was determined that I would do my part to make the difference! ...But where were all the bold Christians in 1996, 1997, 2005?  I felt alone then. Just a few of us were willing to take a stand and I was a little put off by their lack of action.

Now, let's fast forward about ten years from that last date.  Today, September 22, 2015, I am being questioned for my stance as perhaps being too soft and appearing hypocritical. For the record, as far as I know no one has called me hypocritical, but concerns have been expressed that my lack of boycott might be seen as support. Again, I understand that but let me say on record, my values have not changed. I still believe that marriage is to be only between one man and one woman.  I still believe the Bible is true and that it declares the homosexuality is a sin, just as it declares that heterosexual sex outside marriage is a sin. I still believe God will judge all sin, of all types. I also believe in boldly declaring it!

Today however, we live in an America that is far different than it was when I grew up. In this society there are extremely few non-homosexual supporting corporate entities out there.  Yet there are multitudes of companies that do support homosexuality.  Here's a list of 379 companies that urged the Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage.  Do you use the products or services any of these corporations in your daily life?  Probably. (Amazon, Apple, CBS, Colegate-Palmolive, DirectTV, CVS Pharmacy, Ebay, Estee' Lauder, Facebook, General Electric, Google, Johnson & Johnson, J.P.Morgan/Chase Bank, Levi Strauss & Co, Microsoft, Nationwide Insurance, Office Depot, PepsiCo, Starrtek, Target, United Airlines, VISA, Verizon, Wells Fargo, Wyndham Worldwide Corp... and 354 more.)

We have arrived at a day when it's virtually impossible to buy anything without supporting someone with whom we disagree morally. The previous list only includes a fraction of those who actually support the homosexual agenda, they are the few that spoke up on behalf of the agenda to the Supreme Court.  A great number of others are on board as well, but didn't address the Supreme Court. Among those are favorites like Walmart, Nabisco, Frito-Lay, and the list goes on. 

So where does that leave us, as Christians?  It leaves us to consider our own convictions.  To me, today's issues seem very similar to an early New Testament Church issue. People of differing convictions, tried to decide whether or not to eat meat sacrificed to idols. One group of believers considered it completely unethical. Another group of Christians, including the Apostle Paul, saw no danger in it. Paul dealt with this topic in 1 Cor. 8:4-13, and then dealt with our Christian liberties in 1 Cor. 10:25-32.  The basic ideas found in these scriptures would teach us to not judge one another for seeing things differently, but to also try not to offend one another with our liberty. 

Here is my conclusion: I'm not willing to give up my faith!  I'm not willing to compromise my values.  I am not willing to turn my back on the Bible, or to wink at sin. However, on issues like this one I am willing to concede the 'culture war', for now. The only hope for America is revival! We need Jesus! It's too late for boycotts! Also, judging others for their convictions only divides a Body of Christ that really needs to be in unity right now. I urge you to stand for your own convictions. I urge you to not bow to religious persecution. I urge you to pursue God and grow in your faith! What we hold as convictions may slightly differ. What we hold as convictions may be used in judgment against us by God one day if we ignore them... so live by them! Yet what we hold as convictions should guide us, they should not divide us. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Easy Isn’t The Goal.

Easy isn’t the goal.

We are all human and often we look for the easy way out in situations.  Why not? If there is an easy solution, why not take advantage of it? Right?

Well, serving the Lord isn’t always easy.  As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s downright hard. The modern gospel doesn’t usually present it in that way, but it’s still true.

Jesus said that the world would hate us, because it hated Him first.  The Bible makes it clear that those who live Godly, in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Persecution is an ugly, hard word. I don’t even like the implications! My carnal man wants things to be nice and comfortable, and 'easy' plays right into that. So, easy is what I want!

Some things are easy, and I’m thankful that God designed them that way.  It’s easy for us to have relationship with God, because Christ Jesus already did the hard stuff at Calvary when He died as a substitutionary sacrifice for my sin, and yours .  He has even given each of us a measure of faith, to allow us to believe. Our faith in Him for salvation and relationship, is a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  It’s easy for us to know Him, if we will just allow that faith to come alive.

Sometimes, though, doing or saying the right things isn’t so easy. Sometimes operating in our calling isn’t easy.  Sometimes living holy in the midst of temptation isn’t easy. Neither is getting out of our recliner to go out into the world to witness of Him. These things aren’t easy because our flesh is too dominate and it causes our spirit man to have a difficult time following the ways of God.

It’s hard to say "no" to peer pressure. It’s difficult to give people a biblical answer that goes against what they wants to hear.  It’s uncomfortable to stand for Christ in a culture that celebrates sin. Let’s face it, it isn’t always easy to do the right thing.

It’s never easy to tell someone that according to the Word of God, they have to forgive that person who hurt them terribly… and it’s even harder to live it yourself. It isn’t easy for us to hold our tongue and let God vindicate us when someone is speaking falsehood against us. It’s not a simple thing to overlook offense, or to control our anger, or to bridle our tongue, or to repent if we’ve done wrong… but these things please God.

There are lots of things that are difficult when trying to serve the Lord in a God pleasing manner…But after all, easy isn’t the goal: Christ-likeness is.

Monday, June 29, 2015

What's Next?

Yesterday was Sunday. I preached a message called, "What's next?".  In that message I shared a truth. What's next for the church, is for us to continue in what we have always been called to do by God. I won't preach it again here, but as soon as it's uploaded, you can listen online by going to  Notes are also available at Sermon Notes.  However, what this blog is about today is a bit different, yet carries the same title. According to scriptures things in this world will get continually worse.  I want to share just a few things you should expect. I'll start with a scripture...

2 Timothy 3:1-5, 12-14 (NLT) 1You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! ... 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.

What's next in the world, in relation to this recent US Supreme Court ruling? 
(Here are five things that I expect to happen very soon.)
  1. The government will soon remove tax exempt status that has historically been available to the church.
  2. There will be a further separation of the true church who stands for Biblical truth, and the counterfeit church who have accepted the lies of culture and compromised the truth.  
  3. Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech will be quelled at the expense of so called civil rights. Preaching the full Gospel will soon, legally, be considered hate speech, while certain scriptures will likely be banned. 
  4. Persecution of Bible-believing Christians will become far more common in the US and harassment of those attached to biblical Christianity will be the 'in thing' to do.  
  5. This so called victory for the LGBT community will not be enough, and there will be a push for more depravity. Sin never satisfies for long, only for a season, so they will want to go further. (See below before you think I'm being hateful.)

Tax Exempt Ministries - There is already a cry from many to see this benefit to the church removed as some feel it is a violation of the current thought on 'separation of church and state.' We have seen this coming for some time, yet the current events have hastened the day. Already, in light of the SCOTUS ruling last Friday, Time Magazine has released an article saying, "Now is the Time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions."  This comes two days, after the courts ruling.  The writer of the article, Mark Oppenheimer, who is a supporter of Friday's ruling, hopes to ride this wave of 'progress', or from my perspective this wave of religious repression. His is just a voice among many who wish to do whatever possible to silence the biblical church, and remove any advantages we might have once enjoyed.

Separation of Sheep and the Goats - Certainly the true separation of the sheep and the goats will happen on the Judgment Day, but I use that analogy for lack of a better description. The true church which stands for biblical Christianity and the counterfeit church which stands for very little, are moving further apart daily. There is, and will always be, a church built on the firm foundation of the words of Jesus Christ, who have taken up their crosses to follow Him. These, who live godly lives, will stand out among the rest who have chosen compromise. God will bless His true church which believe in His power to change them, and He will condemn those who deny His power. You need not condemn them, God will. But I urge you to come out from among those in compromise and walk in holiness, so you may be received by God.

Freedoms - Freedom of Religion and freedom of Speech have been under attack for some time, but there is quickly coming an increase. In the days, weeks and months ahead opinions of Christian faith based on the Bible will likely plummet. The scripture will be considered archaic and many will seek to silence the truth from pulpits, air waves, and even Christian Schools. It may take a period of time to silence us, but it will likely be the next big push.

Persecution - Persecution has always been a part of Christianity. We were told by Jesus that it would be, and that we should not fear it. We here in the US have seen very little persecution in the past, but it may now be our turn. Persecution has historically come quite often through those who are merely religious but have no real relationship with God.  So it's likely that the counterfeit church will play a part in the persecution of the true church. For our belief and adherence to biblical truth, we will be harassed at first. Harassment by the counterfeit church, toward the biblical church, will become fashionable as they consistently slide further from truth. This will prove their faithfulness to culture. Also, bold advocates of the 'new norm' will come into our biblical churches demanding membership and wanting to be married by our pastors. Rejection of the advancement will set many pastors and church leaders up for arrests and jail sentences. In jail pastors will perhaps be abused and mocked for Christ and our adherence to truth.  You may say, "this couldn't happen in America!"  I say, "why not?" We have said the same about the very thing that happened Friday.  

Never Enough - The bible says there is pleasure in sin for a season. What happens in a pleasure-crazy society, when a pleasure grows old? You find a new one. Today LGBT's are celebrating what they call a victory. In a while the celebrations of June 26th will grow quieter and those involved will settle in to their new normal.  Someone though will not be happy. This isn't the end, it's just the beginning. Human depravity can never be satisfied, so there will be a new group who will arise to take our nation further down the road toward hell. One sin is never enough. The lust for more, will resurface.  (I don't say this filled with hate. I love those in the grips of sin. I was there too but have been washed and I'm in the process of being made into Christ's image. Sinners just sin, that's what we do until a work of grace regenerates us, and still we all fail from time to time. However, there is an agenda here toward unholiness, and the freedom in American allows for this push toward what is biblically considered depravity, unless the majority stands against it.)

There is a possible different course we could take though... God said, "I
f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chron. 7:14)  Pray for America!  Repent Church! Turn to God, perhaps He will forgive us and restore us. If not though, "the nation that forgets God will be turned into hell." (Psa. 9:17) 

I do want to tell you not to fear though. If you are in Christ, none of this will harm you. Keep loving one another. Love those who hate us and who are against us. Yet keep speaking the truth. 
Stay focused and endure to the end. Jesus is coming. 

What's Next? We'll see.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Stop And Be The Roses.

You've heard the saying, "Stop and smell the roses." Life is certainly far too busy. I can't remember a time when I had things caught up, and didn't have anything to do.  You probably can't either.  Life moves at a breakneck pace and, it seems, something is always being left undone. But the busy pace of our lives is causing us, and others, to suffer. Perhaps it's time to 'stop and be the roses.' This may not make much sense without an explanation so I'll do my best to help you understand my statement.

As a father, husband, son, friend, pastor, the overseer of a dozen of ministries and as a community leader, there is always someone needing more of my time. As a homeowner with a large yard, the owner of more than one vehicle, and the caretaker of three family pets, among other responsibilities, there is always something that needs to be done. Some of these things are far more urgent than others, but they all demand attention.  You lead a similar life.

Today, in the church office, I was looking at my schedule and decided to go the 'easy' route. I didn't have any appointments, and its only Monday so my message prep could wait just a day or two. Yet numerous things are waiting on me to complete them, so as I looked at what I needed to do most, I decided to call some of the members who are unable to be in church because of age, or sickness. The response I got was so rewarding.

I didn't call for my own benefit, I didn't even see anyway it would really add to my day. I just called to check on them. My phone call was simply to let those home-bound members know we care about them, and to see if they needed anything from me or the church family. Yet my efforts were met with such an enthusiastic appreciation that I was unexpectedly blessed in a tremendous way. That's what I mean by 'stop and be the roses.'

Jesus often did things just because one person would receive a blessing from it. While on the way to Bethany, to raise Lazarus from the dead, He made an out of the way stop in Samaria just  to meet the woman at the well. Jesus knelt in the sand to write, on another occasion, and turned away a group of accusers of the woman who was taken in the act of adultery. Then He told her to go and sin no more.  I believe that Jesus made a special trip past the Pool of Bethesda, especially for the man who had been lame 38 years.

It's very difficult to slow down, and even stop for others in need or for those who are lonely, but it's worth it.  I said earlier that the busy pace of our lives is causing us to suffer, and even others to suffer. We suffer by not having that one on one interaction with that person, whoever it may be, who possibly cannot even do anything for us. We suffer, in that our busy lives cause us to miss that blessing of giving of ourselves and our time.  We miss out on that reward of having reached out in genuine concern, and that offering being wholeheartedly accepted by someone who perhaps has no one else checking on them at the time.  They suffer because we are ignoring their plight and they feel alone in their difficulty.

We need to stop and BE the roses to someone.  Go out of your way to call, text, or better yet visit, someone who is elderly, sick, or lonely.  Check on someone who is battling depression, addictions, or uncertainty.  Your compassion will go a long way toward helping them feel loved, and perhaps to find peace. It will also go a long way toward bringing more joy into your life. If you are too busy to check on someone who is in need, you are just too busy.  Slow down.  Stop and be the roses.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lindsey ❤️

This post is different. It is directed to one person, my oldest daughter Lindsey Rae, but I don't mind if you read it too.

Lindsey, I'm very proud of you. You are a great Godly example to others. The last few days, weeks, months, that example has shined! I love you and I am very proud of the young woman you have become.

I've seen your last two posts on Facebook, the blog you wrote and the other one you shared and I wanted to tell you something...

Somewhere there is a young man who can hardly wait to meet you. He is a great guy who loves the Lord, like you do. He knows about honor and respect and long term love and commitment like you have seen exampled, because he's witnessed it too. He's probably good looking, even if a little skinny (lol). And he will give you a lifetime of love and happiness and together you will serve the Lord side by side. 

He's waiting too. Waiting for that young woman who has kept herself for him. I don't know where he lives, or what his name is. I don't know if he comes from a family with money or one who works hard for every penny. I don't know if is eyes are blue or green or brown or something else, but I know his eyes are on God, I know he will take care of you and I know he will be a good provider. I know that he will treat you like the lady you are. I know that even on days when he's getting on your nerves, you will be sure of your love for him.

I know these things, (except the skinny part) because your momma and I have been praying for him since he was a just little boy. See we started praying for your future husband while you were a just little girl (just as we also do for Lauren's future husband). 

He's headed your way now, and probably doesn't even know it. He will get here in God's timing. Perhaps soon or maybe in still a little while, your lives will intersect, and then run parallel, and finally merge to become one. 

I know how hard it is to be alone, waiting, because I had to wait on your momma.  I also know it's worth it.  Don't worry, the wait isn't too long.  :-)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Christianity is a Love Affair!

Christianity is a love affair with God.  Being led by the Spirit is about romance with a Savior.  This might sound odd, but Christianity is about God’s love for us, and our love responding to Him.

About 24 years ago, I met a young lady who completely changed my world.  Her name was Tracy. She was beautiful, intelligent, witty, loving, and had a sweet disposition.  Yet she was passionate and fiery and feisty, and was not to be crossed.  When I first noticed her, I was instantly attracted to her but with an introduction and time, that relationship developed. In a while, I realized that she was pursuing me even more so than I had been pursuing her. Once I got to know her, I just couldn’t see my life without her.  I loved everything about her, from her tenderness to her fiery personality.  Finally, I made her my wife.  And all these years later, I’m more in love with her now than I was even back then. Her love has captured me and because of it, I want to be with her as much as possible. 

About 44 years ago I met someone else who completely changed my life. His name was Jesus. He was beautiful, intelligent, witty, loving, with a sweet disposition.  Yet He was passionate and fiery and not to be crossed.  When I first became aware of Him, I was instantly attracted to Him but with an introduction and time that relationship developed. In a while, I realized that He was pursuing me even more so than I had been pursuing Him. Once I got to know Him, I just couldn’t see my life without Him.  I loved everything about Him, from His tenderness to His passion.  Finally, I made Him my Lord.  And all these years later, I’m more in love with Him now than I was even back then. His love has captured me and because of it, I want to be with him as much as possible.

Our relationship with God isn’t about legalistically following a set of rules, it’s about love. Just as faithfulness to my wife, isn’t only about the vows I made to her, it’s about the love I have for her… So it is with my relationship with Christ Jesus. I follow Him in holiness, not just because I’m required to by the Law of God, but because I am passionately in love with Him.  Love causes the Law to be fulfilled in my life. 

I have this little thing that I often say to my wife when she asks me to do something that I may not really want to do. I say, “You know I’d do anything for you babe.” And I mean it! I may not want to do it but if it makes her happy, or makes her life easier and she has asked me for it, I can hardly ever say no. That’s not because it’s required, or because I’m weak, it’s because I’m in love and it gives me pleasure to make her life better.   

The same is true for my Jesus. I will do anything He asks because I’m madly in love with Him. I may not necessarily want to do it, but because he asked me to, I will. I love to make Him happy. I live for Jesus simply because I love Him. I do what I do because He desires it. When His Spirit draws me toward something, or away from something, I joyfully conform because “I’ll do anything for Him.” 
If our love is as strong as it should be, we will willingly comply… not because of the rules, but because of the love. Christianity is a love affair with God.  Being led by the Spirit is about romance with a Savior.  I’ll follow you anywhere Jesus! “Anything for you Lord.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I am a Christian. أنا مسيحي.

I am a Christian. This is who I am… 

I'm not ashamed to be called by the name of Christ. I’m not ashamed to pray before eating a meal in public. I am not ashamed to admit that I really do believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word. I’m not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the good news of salvation. I'm not ashamed to be numbered among those who are ridiculed for holding on to the promise of the return of Jesus. I’m not ashamed to tell others that Jesus is the only way to God. He made that claim, and I believe Him. I am not ashamed to say I believe. I am sometimes am ashamed of how complacent and slothful, I and other Christians are in our obedience to Christ.  I’m also sometimes ashamed when legalistic Christians act ‘holier than thou’, and when lawless Christians live loose lives, because neither of these things represent Christ well or bring Him any glory.

I’m not intimidated by the atheist who dislikes my faith, or any faith, and thinks that I’m foolish for believing in God.  I’m not intimidated by the multitudes worldwide who follow after other gods, false gods like Allah, Buddha, or Mammon.  I’m not intimidated by the difficulties we sometimes face as Christians, because Jesus said we would have trouble in this world. I’m not intimidated by the number agendas being perpetrated against the church of Jesus Christ, it’s strong enough to withstand these, with His help. I’m not intimidated by the fact that my grandparents, and then my parents, expected Jesus to return decades ago.  I’m not even intimidated by the fact that two thousand years have passed since Jesus ascended into heaven. I’m not intimidated by my own occasional uncertainties. I am sometimes intimidated by the immensity of the job we have inherited, the job of taking this gospel to the whole world with so few Christians now participating in spreading the Word… Some say only 2%.

I’m not afraid of the fight this spiritual warfare we face. I’m not afraid of the Devil, who I still believe is a real entity, because I believe he is already defeated by Christ Jesus. I’m not afraid of rolling up my sleeves and doing my part in the Lord’s service.  I'm not afraid to take up my cross and deny myself. I am honored to be a part of the ministry started by Jesus. I’m not afraid of rejection when sharing the good news with others. They aren't rejecting me anyway, they’re rejecting Christ. I’m not afraid of death, Jesus already conquered it. I’m not looking to die today, but if I do I know where I’m going. I’m not afraid of judgment day, my sins are under His blood. I am sometimes afraid that I won’t finish my assignment here, as it seems each day is a battle and any real achievements are often very difficult to come by. 

I’m not beset by the difficulties we face. Hardly anything worthwhile has ever been easy, besides the Lord is on our side! I’m not beset by the state of the world, or this nation which is away from God, or the lukewarm church. If I am beset, overwhelmed or troubled, it’s usually from trusting in my own abilities or focusing my attention on the wrong things… I need not do that.

I’m not willing to be silent, and I suspect that it’s clear from the words previously written, that I’m not trying to be politically correct. I’m not willing to be silent in the face of false doctrines trying to infiltrate the church, false converts trying to lead the church, or false ideas of who Jesus was or what He stood for. All of that was clearly laid out in scripture and I’ll side with what scripture says. I’m not willing to be silent to satisfy a humanistic society, that celebrates perverted acts as natural, and condones murder of unborn humans if they simply become inconvenient. I am not willing to be silent about my faith, whether it remains our right in this country, or not. I was commissioned by Christ, so I must tell the world about Him. I’m not willing to be silent, nor renounce my faith in my Lord Jesus, in order to save my own life.  I understand that my life is not my own, I was bought with a price. With His help, and by His grace, I will hold tightly to this faith in Jesus Christ, until the day when I finally see Him face to face.  I will be silent when I am finally in His eternal presence, if only for about a half an hour, as the Book of Revelation foretells.  Then, with all of heaven, I will break forth in praise, to this marvelous Savior that I serve, and adore... because He is so amazing that I cannot be silent.

This is who I am…  I am a Christian.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What is God doing??

What is the Lord doing? It seem to me that we often wonder what the Lord is up to. Something negative happens in our lives and we think, 'where is God?'  A blessing comes our way and we usually thank Him, but then go on about our business. In our everyday lives though, we are often content to just meet with Him on Sunday morning in the worship, to then hear the Word and that holds us until next Sunday.  Sometimes we spend a little time in the Bible reading or some time in prayer during the week.  Maybe we even go to a Wednesday Night Bible Study if we can, but we are still often left with the question of what the Lord is doing in our lives.  Perhaps we could say it this way, "What's the plan Lord?"  "What's the big picture?"

For the most part, I am right there with you. As a pastor, I have to be at Wednesday night study, and I have to spend quite a few hours in study each week to be able to minister the Word in several services. Yet I too find myself often leaving a service, or time of prayer, and going right back into life without knowing what God is really up to in my day to day life.  I always want to hear his direction, but I sometimes can't seem to hear clearly. 

I certainly don't believe He wants us to know everything, but I do think He wants us to know far more than we do.  So what is God doing?  Why am I at this place in my life now?  What's next?  How do I get there?

I think all, or most of those answers are available to us in prayer and the Word of God. Proverbs 3:6 tells us, "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Verse 5, just before this, tells us not to lean to our own understanding.  I believe we lean to our own understanding far too much.  If we aren't hearing clearly from God though, what else are we supposed to do?

It's clear then, that we need to hear more clearly from God. What hinders that?  I'm sure there are lots of things.  If we are regarding iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us (Psalm 66:18)... So, it's not likely that He will keep speaking to us either if there is sin in our lives. If we are too busy with other things, we too won't hear because of distractions.  If we want to hear Him, we have to make meeting with God a real priority.  We also might fail to hear Him because we are simply not diligent in trying to hear, or maybe we don't really want to hear because we are afraid of what he might say (Zech.7:13). (I've been there!) 

I do believe that God wants to speak to all of us.  I think His Word is chocked full of instruction (Proverbs 4:1).  I think as the sons and daughters of God, He desires for us to be led by His spirit (Romans 8:14). Granted though, it seems very difficult to hear Him sometimes even though it shouldn't be.  

This morning in prayer I really met with God.  His presence was overwhelming!  As I write this we are in day 12 of our Corporate Fast, so as you can expect I have spent extra time in pursuit.  I was alone in the church and so I felt no inhibitions of crying out to Him. As He came so near I felt sorrow for our distance from Him, I felt hunger for more of Him, I felt His desire for more of us.  And in that time something occurred to me that I already knew, He wants to guide us but we aren't often close enough to be lead. Peter walked afar off (Luke 22:54), and so do we. The simple, yet not easy, answer to the whole conundrum that we seem to face in this area is: repentance, continual pursuit, then communion (or fellowship) with Him.  It is really that simple... and it's really hard for us to get everything out of His way so that he might be near.  Yet, it's worth it!

John 5:19 says, "Then Jesus answered and said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.'"  We desperately need to get to that place in our relationship to our Heavenly Father.  We can only follow His lead, if we can see/hear what He is doing.

I urge you GO AFTER GOD!  We need Him! Be determined this year to walk close to Him, so you can hear and react to what He is saying. He wants you to hear Him (John 10:27).  He wants to lead you (Isa. 40:11). 

In the Love of our Most Holy God,
Pastor Jerry