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March 1, 2017, 9:58 AM

The Heart of Worship


If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. -Genesis 4:7

While

I find it greatly disturbing that the people of a church often can’t find a way to get along, pull together and strive for the will and perfect plan of God.  

Too often I hear of fights breaking out in church business meetings, or arguments taking place over how a worship service is conducted.  

People who are bought by the blood of Jesus and called to show compassion and concern for a lost and dying world are sometimes dragged into the argument over how long a worship service should be, whether the music is too upbeat or not upbeat enough.  Whether or not the color of the carpet or seats are satisfactory.  I have even heard people disagree on how many verses of invitation should be sung at the end of a service!

While I find all this disheartening, I do not find it surprising.  Satan has tried to sidetrack, destroy, and dismantle the plans and work of God from the beginning of time.  

It is ironic that in Genesis chapter 4 we find a worship service being attacked by the Satan.  Cain and Abel are bringing their offerings to the Lord and God accepts Abel’s sacrifice but not Cain’s.  Cain becomes bitter and kills Abel in the field…following a worship service!

While I have never known anyone to act quite so violently following any worship service I have ever attended, the fact is that we often can kill the spirit of love and worship if we allow sin to “lie at the door” of our hearts.  We certainly can prevent the move of the Spirit in someone’s life with our own hurtful attitudes and sin.  

May we all be challenged to not let our lives and attitudes become a tool of the devil in distracting or destroying the work that God wants to do through us and in our church.  Purpose to give God your very best don’t give in to the devil.  After all all that are called are called to be part of the same family.  Let Christ reign in your life and in your worship today and every day!

Let us let the world that desperately needs a loving Savior see a clear image in how we conduct ourselves in our lives and in our church.  




January 30, 2017, 10:21 AM

Why I Care.


I care about immigrants (legal and illegal) and refugees. 
I also care about the American Veteran and their needs.  
I care about the unborn baby, no matter how they were conceived.  I care about the mother of that unborn child no matter what decision they have made or are considering making in regards to the child that lives within their body.  
I care about black lives, blue lives and military lives.  
I care about those that practice a LGBTQ lifestyle.
I care about the Christian and the non-Christian.  
I care about the conservative and the liberal.  
I care about those that agree with me and my beliefs and those that don’t.  
I care for the rich and the poor and everyone in between.
I care for the greatest among us as well as I care for the least of these.
I care about the old and the young.
I care about the guilty and the innocent. 

I could suffice it to say that I care about everyone.  But I realize that it is not sufficient to say that.  
I don’t just care about the physical, mental and emotional needs which are temporary, but more importantly I care about the needs of their eternal soul.  
I don’t just care because it makes me feel good to care, or because it is politically correct or expedient for me to care. 
I care because God cares and God loves everyone just as much as God cares and loves me.   I care because Jesus cared enough about me to die on a cross for me.  He paid my price.  I can never pay Him back, but at least I can care.




January 24, 2017, 1:14 PM

Key Words, Cliche Phrases, and Magic Wands


The Christian life is not one of ease.  If it is for you, you might not be living the Christian life.  Christians deal with troubles, trials, hardships, and heartaches just like everyone else.

The Christian life is also not a life of perfect living.  We sin, fall, and fail, just like everyone else.  When we do God has to chasten and discipline us and rarely is the chastening easy or desirable.  

No matter how or why we get there, when we find ourselves in a mess, the important thing is that we call on God for help.  Because, He is able to deliver us from any situation if we will call on Him and turn to Him for our Help.  (Psalm 121:2 - “...my help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.”)

God can, and often does deliver us immediately from our trouble.  (After Peter walked on the water to Jesus, he took his eyes off of the Lord and began to sink.  He became afraid and cried out “Lord, save me!”  Matthew 14:31 says: “...immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him.”) But perhaps just as often the process of delivering us from our trouble is not immediate.  When this happens, we are often prone to fits of impatience and panic.  

We get the idea that if we pray, it is like waving a magic wand over our hurt and troubles and things are supposed to magically, instantly get better.  

Often times when we share our troubles and prayer needs with others, we get a cliche response:  Just trust the Lord with it, or you just need to have enough faith.  Other times we think if we use a key word like Jesus Name our problems will flee from us.  That is not how turning to God works.  

I want to remind you of what when Israel was in slavery in Egypt: (Exodus Chapter 5 - 14)

God heard their cries and saw their need.  He called Moses to deliver them from  Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  But, they were not immediately delivered.  In fact things got worse before they got better.  After Moses first went to Pharaoh, Pharaoh made their work harder.  Sometimes when we cry out to God to deliver us from our trials and temptations, things get tougher before they get better.  It took 10 plagues before the people of Israel were delivered from Slavery.  During this time Israel was required to obey God’s instructions in order for them to be delivered.  Even then it took a pillar of fire, cloud and the crossing of the Red Sea for their troubles to be destroyed.  

When you are in trouble, call out to God and turn to Him.  Trust that He hears you and is able to deliver you and then have faith.  Obey what He tells you do and will give you the strength to do.  Don’t just sit there waiting on God to do it all.  Follow His Word!  Obey His Commands!  Understand that a people who rely on the God of the Bible will never be let down nor disappointed.  

If you are turning to God for help from your troubles, know that God has heard and is active...He just might not be done yet delivering you.  

But He will!  It won't be done through cliches, key words, or magic wands, but it will be done in a miraculous way!




November 1, 2016, 12:00 AM

Ready for Takeoff!


Christian, do you find your life has become dull and listless?  Do you find yourself floating along in life with no real power or victory?  Or is your life spinning out of control?  

Do you remember what it was like when you first called on the Lord to save your soul?  How exciting it was, full of wonder, hope and possibility?  

But something happened didn't it?  Somehow you have become untracked and sidelined.  It just doesn't seem the same anymore.

I suggest a new beginning.  A new journey.  A new adventure.  Something exciting!

As a kid, I went through a phase where I wanted to be an astronaut.  The idea of exploration, specifically space exploration thrilled me.  Perhaps it was watching shows like "Star Trek: The Next Generation" or just being a kid during the first launches of the space shuttle.  It might have even been going to Cape Canaveral and and had my picture taken with what I was left to assume was a real live astronaut in full space suit with face shield and oxygen tanks!  As I grew up, my desires changed, I changed, and my reality changed.  

I never became an Astronaut.  But to this day I am still fascinated by space, the stars, and space exploration.  I read an interview by Ron Guran, who flew into space on the shuttle Discovery, and I read about life training to be an astronaut:  He said that because there are so many things that could go wrong during launch, that they most of their training (as much as 90%) is focused on that one phase of the flight.  

That is amazing!  Read that again...90%!

Christian, If your life has gotten mundane, boring, or status quo and you are just floating along; I suggest we reboot and begin again fresh.  Or, If life in this sin cursed world that we temporarily call home has dragged you down, beaten you up, and threatened to spit you out, I suggest you start over and begin again.  No matter the reason, as you start over, pay special attention to the beginning.   

1.   Ask God forgive you for letting your life be bogged down, dragged down, beaten down and just floating along.  No matter whether or not is because of your sin or just the effects of a sinful world we live in, ask Him to forgive you, pick you up, and help you set sail again.  - He will lovingly and faithfully do it.

2.  Ask God to strengthen you and prepare you as you begin again.  Ask him for the grace to get off on the right foot and with a strong foundation so that you can have a victorious journey - He is your strength and He will never steer you wrong. 

3.  Begin each day of your journey focusing on the take-off.  A successful journey is a step by step, day by day journey.  Begin it with prayer and meditation on God and His Word. - It is how He will train and renew your mind to face the challenges of the day.

4.  Get ready for an adventure unlike any other, with God as your friend and your guide.  Explore the mind of God and the love and purpose that He has for you as your read the Bible, His love letter and guidebook for your life.  - He will never leave you nor forsake you.  

Prepare for the experience of a lifetime!  This is more than just a new day or new beginning in your life...Prepare for Takeoff

This is the start of something truly special in your life!  3...2...1...

"Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;  for I trust in you; teach me the way I should walk; for to you I lift up my soul." 

Psalm 143:8 

 




October 31, 2016, 12:59 PM

Don't Be Scared. Be Loved Instead.


Halloween is a time for dressing up, trick or treating and being scared by things that go bump in the night.  A time for scary stories, ghost stories, and running through a graveyard at night with a bunch of black cats crossing your path...okay maybe that last one was just my plans this evening. 

No matter how you celebrate Halloween, or don't celebrate Halloween, there is no doubt that someone will try to scare you or creep you out this time of the year.  Scary movies reruns, scary sitcom  episodes, and scary commercials will invade our television viewing.  Hollywood has for the last several weeks been promoting the scary movies coming to a theater near you.   Haunted Houses, haunted corn mazes and haunted local places of legend will have throngs of people showing up for a scary good time.   

Silly costumes, scary costumes, and downright disturbing costumes will parade around our neighborhoods in search of candy and the occasional.....AAAAHHHHHHHH! Moment.
None of it is really all that scary.  In fact most of it is silly if not even comical.

But, do you know what is really scary?  Admitting what it is that really scares you.  Admitting what really scares you is the opposite of comical.  
Things like:

What is going to happen tomorrow or what does the future hold in store for me?

What happens to people when they die?

What would happen to me if I were to die tonight?

Is Heaven real?  Or worse yet, is hell real?

How do I get to Heaven, or how do I stay out of Hell?

Is Satan real?  What about ghosts?  

Is God real, and if so what does he expect from me and how do I find out?

If I did not know the answer to all these questions it would scare the life out of me!

If you don't know the answers to those questions or ones like them, let me answer them for you. 

I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that God holds the future.  He sent His son to die for you so that when you do die (as everyone faces the end of their life someday) you don't have to go to a real place of fire and punishment called hell that was not meant for Satan and his demons and not meant for you, but can live forever in a real place of perfection called Heaven.  God loves you so much that made away of escape through Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, dying in your place on a cross and then rising from the dead proving He has conquered death and paying the price of sin once and for all.  

When our life ends on this earth we will be faced with a very real, very loving, and very perfect God that demands perfection.  We are not perfect.  We cannot live perfect.  We fail to reach perfection and that is called sin.  God cannot allow sin into Heaven, but if you turn from sin and believe on Him and ask Him to wash away your sin, He has promised that He will and He will welcome you into Heaven when your life on earth is over.  It's that simple.  There is nothing else to do.  The Bible says that we are saved by grace (undeserved kindness) through faith (believing without really seeing) that it is not of works or anything we could do, lest any man should boast or brag.  

Don't be afraid any longer.  Turn to a loving God and loving Savior today.  He will save you and there will be nothing to fear.  

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life - John 3:16

Don't be scared...Be loved instead.  


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