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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.




September 1, 2016, 9:59 AM

What Do You See?

When you walk down the street, or at the mall, what do you see?

Do you see people of different color, ethnicity and culture?

Do you see young people that need to pull their pants up, clean up, and grow up?

Old people that need to speed up, ease up, or lighten up?

Do you see people in need, or people of greed.

Do you see people in need of a helping hand or people looking for a hand out?

Or do you look at people with a heart of love and compassion and realize that God loves everyone one of them, and died to save them just as he loves you and died to save you.

As Christians we must start seeing people as God sees them, with a heart of love, mercy and grace.




August 30, 2016, 11:09 AM

What Should My Response Be?

This blog post is not about:  A Man being told he could not pray on Clemson University campus unless he registered to do so and was located in a “free speech zone.”

The purpose of this blog post is not to discuss:  People at Travelers Rest H.S. being told they were not allowed to bring an American flag into a football game against Berea H.S. because it was offensive to the students, players, and fans of Berea H.S. 

The purpose of this blog post is not:  To convince you to vote for Donald Trump for president, nor to convince you to vote for Hillary Clinton for President.

The purpose of this blog post is not to discuss:  The actions and words of a football player who refuses to stand for the playing of the National Anthem, because he refused to honor the flag of a country who oppresses blacks and other minorities. 

The purpose of this blog post IS:  To share with you from God’s word how we as Christians and the Church of the living God should respond to things in life that are contrary to your beliefs, principles, and convictions.

So many things happen these days that just make us want to scream!  We read or see things in the news and we are left speechless and dumbfounded.  Or maybe we know exactly what we want to say but know we shouldn’t say it.  

In a world of 24 hour news, social media, and live feed videos, we as Christians must take pause before we post, tweet, or just old fashioned rant.  

When you don’t know what to say or feel like you might explode if you say anything, stop and consider these steps.  

1.  Turn to God in prayer.  Give your hurts, fears, pains, frustrations, and confusions to God.  Take time to vent to God before you vent to anyone or anywhere.  - I Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”  Pray for guidance and patience in how to think, act, and how to respond or whether to respond at all. 

2.  Remember we are commanded to love our neighbor.  Who is my neighbor you ask?  Well, in short, everyone.  But, to be more precise it is not just people who look like you, talk like you, and believe like you, but it is also those who don’t.  It includes those who are not like you, don’t believe the same way you do and even those who don’t like you.  Remember the story of the good samaritan?  Luke 10:25-37

3.  Remember to love your “enemies.” - Perhaps avoiding the idea of looking at people as your enemies is the best philosophy to embrace to begin with.  After all everyone has a soul that needs to be redeemed by Jesus Christ.  We are to love, care for, and be kind to everyone so that they may see Jesus in us and come to know Him.  That includes those that oppose you, torment you, persecute you, are out to get you, or otherwise drive you crazy.  - Matthew 5:44 “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”

4.  Remember to let your light shine for Jesus Christ.  A soft answer turns aways wrath.  Be the bigger person.  Humble yourself and think of others first.  Realize that it is largely a choice to be offended or not.  In a day and age when so many people are so quick to be offended over so little.  Respond to adversity as Christ would, with love.   Love does not mean having to agree with, embrace, or join in.  It does mean that we don’t tear down, belittle, or berate those that disagree with us or persecute us and our beliefs.  We should temper our response with kindness and love.  Demonstrate that we are willing to go the extra mile so that others might see a difference in us.  When we respond as Christ would respond, in love, we are letting our light shine.  - Matthew 5:16  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

5.  Stand on the Word of God boldly.  Research the issue, and know the whole story.  Don’t jump to conclusions or have knee jerk reactions based on news headlines.  Once you have know the whole story and have followed the other 4 steps as listed above then respond in Godly fashion with the truth.  I Corinthians 6:13 ESV “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

Respond and discuss the events of life as God leads you, God guides you, God protects you and as He would respond.  Be wise as a serpent, but harmless as a dove.  

 


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