Sunday, April 29, 2007
Can you be in God's will and not go to church? I think the answer to this has to be "NO." I say this, because you cannot be partly in God's will. I believe God has not only created us to be in relationship with Him, but to worship Him, and to serve Him. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, He is also to be our Lord. And to be our Lord, we must worship Him. Of course, it is possible to worship God individually, but God has also designed worship to be done together. There is something special and profound when we worship with other believers and interact with other believers that cannot be reproduced when we are alone.
Secondly, going to church helps us to be plugged in. When we accept Jesus Christ, we are filled with the Spirit of God. Jesus promised us this in John 16:7, when He said, "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." And having been filled with the Holy Spirit, we are given gifts of the Spirit, as told to us in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12. But these gifts are not to be used for ourselves, or for just a few chosen people. The apostle Paul makes it clear that these gifts are given "for the common good." It is impossible to use them for the common good if you are not plugged into a church.
A third important factor about being connected to a church also relates to giving. Not only are we called to give of our gifts to the work of the body of Christ, but we are called to give of our money. In the Old Testament, Malachi 3:8-10, 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
"But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." When we don't give back to God a tenth of what God gives to us, then we are in essence robbing God. We need to be giving our money to God's work through the church.
So my questions to you are: Are you regularly going to church? If not, why not? How can you give of yourself the way God desires if you are not connected to a church? Tell me what you think by clicking on the "comment" button below and sharing your thoughts.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Our world can be a challenging place to live. We are surrounded by so many things that entice us. There are always new cars, new brands of clothes, new computers, new televisions. We see these things, and the desire is put in us so that we want them.
On top of this, we are challenged by others to believe a certain way and act a certain way. The company we keep will determine who we are, what we believe, and how we act. But in the Bible we are challenged to not let others create who we will be. The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2, "1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
The problem is that we think our life belongs to us. And because of this, we think we can think any way and act any way. But if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, and your Lord, then you are under the authority of Christ. In another part of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul says, "19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." If we want to live like a Christian, we need to live in a way that pleases God, not people. We need to seek things of God, not of the world. We need to not allow ourselves to be conformed by the world's way of thinking. We need to love, even when it is hard to love. We need to forgive, because Christ forgives us. We need to not be materialistic, but seek to give away. And on and on it goes.
So I ask you: Where do you need to stop conforming? How do you need to change your attitude and behavior? How can you let Jesus be your Lord, instead of you trying to run your own life? Why is this so difficult for people to do?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. If you'd like to share, click on the "comments" button below.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Not too long ago I was thinking about emotions. I was contemplating how our emotions are a big part of who we are. When you think about emotions you might think about love, anger, hate, or fear. We don't necessarily have an understanding of our emotions, but we know that they affect how we live our lives.
The word "emotion" comes from the latin word meaning 'to agitate or stir up.' Our emotions arouse in us perceptions and feelings about life. This is a good thing, because it is what keeps us from being robots. But the challenge is learning how to control our emotions.
It can be a challenge to control our emotions, because our emotions are often stirred up by situations that seem out of our control. EX. You are driving along, and someone rudely cuts you off. This stirs up anger in you before you even realize it is there. OR, someone smiles at you and opens the door for you, which stirs up feelings of happiness.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23, "Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts..." We should contain our emotions through our will and our intellect, but this isn't always the case. We don't always think before we feel. We don't always try to control how we react to situations. But we should, because our emotions can get us into trouble. When we get angry at someone before we think, we might say something hurtful, and cause ourselves greater problems. If we let our love for someone get out of control, we could become obsessed with them.
Proverbs 25:28 tells us, "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." In Galatians 5:23 we are told that self-control is a Fruit of the Spirit. In Titus, chapter 2, Titus is told by Paul that in his teaching, he is to teach the older men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:2), the women to be self-controlled (Titus 2:5), and the young men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:6). We need to control our emotions so that life is best experienced. If you are like me, and you react to situations, you know that it is very important to exercise self-control over your emotions. By being in control of our emotions, we will keep from making life more difficult and complicated, and we will be able to live the life God calls us to live.
If you have trouble with controlling your emotions, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to pray for you in this area. If you would like to add your thoughts on this subject, please click the "comments" button below, and share your thought.
Note: Your comment goes to my e-mail address first. If you don't want it published, please let me know.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
When I lived in Pueblo West, Colorado, we moved into a brand new house. Within the first couple of months, we had the front yard landscaped. But the back yard we left alone for the first year. Every week I would go out and pull the weeds. This wan't too difficult, because the weeds were small and pulled out easily. But I got lazy over a period of time, and pretty soon the weeds were tall. When I decided to go out one day and pull the weeds, I was astounded at how difficult they were to pull out. I had to dig and dig before they would come out!
In the book of Psalms, chapter 1, verses 1 - 3, it says:
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
This psalm tells us that we are blessed, or happy, when we walk with the counsel of God; we are happy when we do not hang out with sinners; we are happy when we delight in the law of God, and not the ways of the world; we are happy when we plant ourselves by a water source (which in our case is the aforementioned actions).
When we plant ourselves in the world of those who love and seek God, and when we seek out God's word for our lives, then we will root ourselves firmly in God. Like the weeds I tried to pull out, we will be securely connected with God!
I want to suggest to you, that if you are not happy, it is probably because you haven't plantedd your self in the right place, and you are not seeking God the way you should. What do you think? Let me know by clicking on the "comments" button below.
Monday, April 16, 2007
If you have ever been to Sea World, you would have seen a scene like this, where a dolphin performs and is rewarded with some food. In life, we often perform for the rewards we receive. Maybe the reward is friendship, or a promotion, or a kind word from another. But we often live for rewards.
Rewards can be nice, but the rewards we seek are usually very temporary. What if we could live our lives in a way that would make an eternal difference? If this could be true, then how amazing our lives could be. The truth is, it is true. The apostle Paul wrote in the bible, in 2 Corinthians 4:18, 18"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
In the Bible, we are told that we can make an eternal difference. But we have to understand that what is eternal is limited. What is it we can do to affect the eternal?
The most important thing that we can do is to tell people about Jesus. The Bible is clear that those who accept Jesus into their lives will have salvation; meaning they will live with God in heaven for eternity. How wonderful would it be to get to heaven and know that there are people there because of you?! We cannot just stand around and let people get lost in this world. Those of us who know about Jesus need to share Jesus with those who don't know Him.
A second way we affect the eternal is to help people live out their purpose. God created each one of us unique and with purpose. Too many people are going through life not being all that they were created to be. By helping people to discover and use the gifts God gave them can help give people the life they were meant to live. This life will be so much more exciting, meaningful, and effective.
A third way we affect the eternal is to love others. Love is the one emotion that will carry on into heaven. 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us, "13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." Since God is love (1 John 4:8), love is what heaven will be all about; loving God, God loving us, and us loving each other. When we learn how to love, and teach others to love, we experience a bit of heaven on earth.
Do you really want to settle for temporary rewards, or do you want to shoot for the eternal? Tell me what you think by clicking on the "comments" button below.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Have you ever felt like you are fighting a battle that is difficult to win? Have you ever wondered how there might be a power at odds with you?
What does every good story have? It has a villain. It is hard to think of a tale that doesn’t have a villain. The Big Bad Wolf, the Troll under the bridge, Darth Vadar in Star Wars, the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. And in the great story of J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, we come to dread the Dark Lord Sauron.
And just as every story has a villain, so does your story and my story. Though we don’t want to admit it, we don’t like it, it is a reality. There is evil cast around us. With war, famine, betrayal, and murder all around us, we surely know there is an evil force. Where did it come from? What is its motive? How are we to find refuge from it? We ask these questions.
The good news is that we are not alone in this battle. The battle is being fought for us in another realm. As the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” God has created angels. Angels are powerful. That is why every time an angel shows up in the Bible, they have to say “Fear not…” They strike fear into humans by their presence.
It is interesting to see how naïve so many people are about evil. Most people don’t take it seriously. They don’t live as if there is a villain in their story. They don’t believe that Satan is real. The truth is, life is very confusing if you don’t take into account that there is a villain. As C. S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity,
“One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament
seriousl,y was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a
mighty, evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death, disease, and
sin…Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was
good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees…this isa universe at war.”
Today is Easter Sunday. Easter reminds us that we will see Christ again in heaven. Easter is about Jesus making all things new. No longer is Satan in charge. No longer does sin and death reign over us. Because Christ has died and been risen from the dead, the Evil One is cast down. I lift this blog up to you today to give your life over to the risen Christ, and receive the power and victory that Christ has for you. God bless. Tell me what you think by clicking on the button below and sharing your thoughts.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
As a minister, much of
my day is spent
seeking to find ways
to teach, lead, and
help people. The nature
of the job is one of
giving myself away.
Because this is true,
I do know that for me
to do my job well, I
have to stay physically,
and spiritually healthy.
people in my life who
give to me, who fill me
up, is vital.
I believe it is important to have encouraging and positive people around me. These people help to further the mission of the church, and remind me that I don’t walk alone in this journey. My elders are not only called to govern the church, but to pray for me, and the ministry as well. My Deacons are not only called to minister to those in need, but to pray for me, and the ministry as well. I am thankful for my prayer support team that regularly prays for me and brings me spiritual strength. My church overall is a great to support as we walk together to carry out God’s call for our church. And I am equally thankful to those in my life who mentor me and keep me on task and accountable. God has blessed me with many people who love me and support me; who pray for me and care for me; who want to see me succeed. God does not call us to do life alone.
I thank God for my wife
(Tami)and my 2 children
(Tyler and Tiffany).
They bring great
happiness to my life.
They are great
supporters of what
I do, and their love
and encouragement helps
me to stay grounded.
Their faith and strength
increases my faith and
strength. Their desire
to know and love God
pushes me forward as
Do you have people in your life who lift you up? Who keep you going when things are hard? Who are they?
Let me know your thoughts by clicking on the "comments" button below. Blessings.
Monday, April 02, 2007
If I were to ask you to what are the six most important word you would give a person to remember you by and why, what would you say? As we come to holy week, we remember how Jesus knew that His time was drawing near to when He would be crucified, die, and be resurrected. When He met with the disciples, He knew this would be the last time they would have together. What did Jesus do with them? He shared the Lord's Supper with them, so they would understand what He was going to do was for them. As I think about what I would want people to know about me, I think it would be: “I have faithfully served the Lord.” With these words I believe it explains who I am, what I have done, and why I have done it. As people, our lives are very complex. We have a job, a family, hobbies, and so on. Each part of my life is important in its unique way, but the one thing that connects it all for me is God. God is a part of all that I am.
So, when it comes to my family, “I have faithfully served the Lord.” I do my best to try and be a good and loving husband, father, son, brother, and uncle. If I seek to “faithfully serve the Lord” in regards to my family, then I will try and be there for them when they need me; I will try and balance my time appropriately with each part of my family (giving the most of my time to my wife and children). I will also seek to help them follow, serve, and love the Lord. I will seek to be a good example of what it means to love God with all of my heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, and what it means to love my neighbor as myself.
But there is also my church and my ministry. In this I seek to continually “faithfully serve the Lord.” I write about this commitment second, because I believe that my role in my family comes first. If I do not have a healthy family, then I won’t be able to “faithfully serve the Lord” in ministry. I try and faithfully serve the Lord in ministry by teaching the Bible faithfully, sharing how Jesus makes a difference in my life as my Lord and Savior, and by helping others to know that they can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as well.
I hope when I die, and people are remembering me, they remember me as one who could say: "He has faithfully served the Lord." What do you want to be remembered by? Click on the comments button below and share your thoughts. Blessings.