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October 26, 2016, 10:44 AM

Want Your Vacation to be the Best Ever!!! Don't Forget to Pack!


Are you planning a vacation, or weekend getaway?

Great vacations are pursued by us all.  Whether it be a Summer vacation, Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations, spring break, or just a weekend getaway; an approaching vacation will captivate a great deal of our attention.  

Making reservations, packing suitcases, and planning a vacation itinerary so that we can squeeze the most out of the time we have away often consumes our thinking.  We will meet with a travel agent, pick up brochures, and purchase tickets months in advance.  We even make check lists and packing lists to be sure we did not forget anything.  The thought, “Am I forgetting something” usually grips us just as we are leaving the house for the vacation.  

A vacation taking opportunity is just around the corner.  Are you prepared?  Have you planned?  Have you forgotten anything?

What are you forgetting to pack?

Did you forget Jesus?  

Wait...What?  You didn't pack a Bible?  You are not going have your devotions or do some Bible reading while you are gone for a week?  You didn't include selecting a church to visit while you were away over the weekend?  You don't have time for that?  So, what you are saying is that it will take away the time that you were going to use to do what you wanted to do, and to have fun?  

Often the only time we pray to God for anything on vacation is when you think to ask Him to protect you as you leave out your driveway on the trip or to pray for good weather when you see ominous clouds.

That sounds bad when you really think about it doesn't it?  You didn't realize how it looked until you read it in black and white or how it sounded until you heard it in your head?  

Don't worry, I am as guilty as you might be.  But I am asking the Lord to help me not to do forget about him on my vacations and getaways from now on.  Even on trips when I am no where near a church or scheduled church service time, I can at least lead my family in a time of worshipful devotion right there in the car, the hotel room, the tent, or wherever we are.  

Don't forget about God when you get the chance to get away for even a short time.  He never forgets about you!

Don't forget to take God with you on your next vacation.  Don't forget to worship God on your vacation...it might be the best vacation and best worship service you have ever had.  

Hebrews 10:23, 25

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)  

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching."




October 20, 2016, 12:02 PM

Christian, How Shall We Vote?


Every presidential election cycle seems to be promoted as “the election that matters more than any before.”  Of course the election that matters the most in the moment is always the one that is next.

While most elections in my adult voting life have seemed to have a “voting for the lesser of two evils” feel to them, this perhaps more than any other has that connotation.  

How we arrived as a nation to the place we are today with the horrendous choices we have today will have to be left for another day.  However, few Christians can truly sing the praises of our current list of nominees for president.

Sure one looks more polished than another, but we are still comparing a bruised  spoiled apple to a spoiled, mealy peach.    I think we can agree both are awful and trying to figure out which is worse is like trying to decide on which tooth in which we wish to have a root canal.  

Donald Trump has certainly been guilty of diarrhea of the mouth.  He may be guilty of sexually assaulting women.  He is accused, we don’t know for sure.  

Hillary Clinton has certainly been guilty of attacking and destroying the women who have accused her husband of the same and worse actions.  She is guilty of allowing atrocities related to Benghazi, we are unsure to what extent.  

I think we agree that neither is a choice we would choose...so what do we do?

First we trust God.  We pray to God.  We confess our sin and beg God to turn our country back to Him.  We trust His will and His plan for us and for our country.  

But should we not vote?  No, our voice needs to be heard.  

Do we vote for a third party?  No, I think that voting for a third party unfortunately is like not voting at all.  I realize that there are some that disagree and think they can not in good conscience vote for either Donald or Hillary and I respect that, but I can’t find another candidate that I feel is that is worth casting a vote for to make my point.  

What we must do is vote the issues based on the priorities of the Word of God. While there are many areas I will not address because they are farther down the priority list for me.  It’s not that that they are not important.  But I believe if we make a voting decision based on these issues that God will bless us and provide for the rest.  

Vote for the Candidate that will:

1.  Be a strong friend to Israel - The Bible Says:

“I will bless them that bless you (Israel, and curse them that curse you.  In you (Israel) will all families of the earth be blessed” - Genesis 12:3

If we fail in this area, we will fail as a nation!  We must stand strong with God's chosen people.  That does not include approving of every action.  But it does mean being a staunch ally.

2.  Defend the unborn baby - The Bible Says:

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5

Not only does God forbid murder, but God describes here that he knew Jeremiah before he was ever born.  The same applies to you and me, as well as to every conceived baby.  Killing the unborn child is murder plain and straight.  

3.  Stand for the traditional family and against the re-defining of marriage and the advancement of the agenda of sexual perversion.  The Bible says:

“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female...” -  Matthew 19:4

God does not make mistakes.  Marriage has been created, defined and ordained by God.  Who are we to attempt to redefine it.  God also created male and female.  Who are we to re-define who what he has made us.  

4.  Stand for equality and civility of all mankind, regardless of gender, race, religion or creed. - The Bible Says:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” - Matthew 22:27-40

Treat others as you would want to be treated.  Let’s end (as much as possible in this life) racism, sexism and inequality.  We are all made in God’s image.  

 

While there are many other issues to consider that are important:  Job creation, border security, government assistance, strength of military, tax plans, social security, immigration reform etc.  I believe that if we vote based on the 4 issues as I have described we will have voted as God would have us vote. 




October 7, 2016, 10:48 AM

Praying for the "un-deserving"


This past week we prayed for the victims of the Townsville Elementary School shooting. At the school one teacher and two children were shot while one other student was wounded.  Jacob Hall (one of the children who was shot and only six years old) passed away 3 days later after succumbing to his wound and loss of blood.  

Wednesday we prayed for the family of Jacob Hall as they said their final goodbyes with a superhero send off, while the community and funeral attendees dressed up like superheroes.  

Thursday we prayed for the teachers and students of Townville Elementary as they went back to school for the first time since the horrific and senseless tragedy.   

All of the above “deserve” our prayers.  They need our prayers.  They need us to continue to pray for them.  I will continue to pray for them

But..

Today (Friday) I am praying for Jesse Osborne and for the Osborne Family.  

He is the 14 year old boy who (allegedly) shot and killed his father and then drove to Townsville Elementary and started shooting.  

There are some who might say that he does not deserve our prayers.   There are some who may not even think to pray for him and his family.  

But can I remind you that as believers in and followers of Jesus Christ, He has instructed us to pray Jesse, and others like him that often we find “unworthy” of our prayers.  

Matthew 5:44 says:

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

I give you a second reason to pray for Jesse and others that we may not think of praying for:  

Matthew 22:39 says “…love your neighbor as yourself.”

Let me give you perhaps the greatest reason of all to pray for Jesse, his family and anyone else who you may not deem “worthy”  of your prayers, love and compassion.  

Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

That verse tells us that while we were unworthy of God’s love and compassion, He sent His only son to die for us!  We were wretched and vile and could do nothing to deserve God’s love and forgiveness.  

Sounds a lot like Jesse to me.  

Someone prayed for me to be forgiven and saved, and someone prayed or is praying for you.  Even though we don’t deserve it.  We, if we belong to God, have the love of God in us and are capable of loving and showing compassion just as God does for us and the whole world.  

So I ask you.  Who is “undeserving” of your prayers, but yet God deemed worthy enough to die for?  

Who is it that you will pray for today?  

 




September 7, 2016, 3:31 PM

There is Something Worth Living For


Life can be hard, it can be dark, and it can be suffocating.  But there is something worth living for.

Even typing the previous sentence seems like a massive understatement.  There is no family that I know that has not been touched by depression.  There are very few that I know that have not seen their family touched by suicide.  

Yet, unless you have known the icy grips of discouragement and the downward spiral into depression, it is difficult to grasp just how hideous it can be.  

While drugs, alcohol, even some “antidepressant” medication all seem to exacerbate the circumstances; depression and suicide don’t limit themselves to only these scenarios.  

It can strike the wealthy, poor, or in-between.  It can strike in homes with two parents, one parent, or no parents.  It is found in “Christian” homes as well as “non-religious” homes.  It is not discriminator of persons effecting men, woman, children, the old and the young.  Popular social standing doesn’t prevent it from rearing its ugly head.  There are no quick fixes, certain remedies, or promised cures.   

It is ugly, it is vicious, and it is increasing in America and the world.  

As much as it breaks my heart to say, as a pastor, I don’t have any magic words nor can do I possess any miraculous abilities...but I can offer hope.  

If you are reading this and have have been touched either directly or indirectly by depression, I have a word for you.   O if you are considering taking your own life for any reason at all and you feel as if you are drowning in deep water and you can’t keep your head above water much longer, there is hope and there is a firm foundation on which you can stand.

Please know that you are loved.  There are people who care.  There is an answer to be found.  You may not see it, but if you will just look it is there to be found.  There are people who want to reach out and would try to reach out if they knew that you were hurting.  

I care...you don’t know me and I don’t know you but I want to.  There is love in my heart for you no matter where you have been, no matter what you have done. There is love no matter what you are going through.  

Not only do I love you but others do as well.  There is one that I would introduce you to.  His name is Jesus...There is salvation and it is found in Jesus Christ of the Bible.  He loves you and you can find hope, acceptance and love in Him.  

In Habakkuk 3:17-18 the author penned a verse of difficult dark times.  But, He found joy in the presence of Jesus.

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines;  the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls.”

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation!

Also in Zephaniah 1:17 says:

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in his love, He will joy over thee with singing”

My friend, there is a God who cares.  A God who will answer.  I pray that you will find him.  

I would love to introduce you.  There is something worth living for.  




September 2, 2016, 9:00 AM

What If...?


What if we got as excited and passionate about reading our Bible, going to church and loving and ministering to others , as we do about...

Pumpkin spice Latte's?
Apple Cider Donuts?
(Yes I admit to feeling convicted)
College Football?
Pro Football?
Fantasy Football?
Politics?
The Lake?
The Beach?
The Mountains?
A Person?
Or whatever it is that you get excited and passionate about...

There is nothing wrong with the above list...
There are wonderful things on that list...
as long as they do not take over and control life. As long as they do not become our god's or replace our time with God.  
You were made with a void in your life. It can only be filled with a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 

The void cannot be filled with a peanut butter Krispy Kreme Donut.
(Partly because Krispy Kreme is not selling their Peanut Butter Donuts here in the states...only in Europe and Australia...I know!!!) 

We try to fill it with so many other things. Often we try to fill the void with everything other than the One Being who can fill it. 

Have you loved Jesus today? Because He loves you perfectly every day.


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