Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I know some people who think that it is best to keep your comments to yourself, especially if you can’t be nice. Then there are others who think you need to “say it as it is” no matter if it hurts someone else. So how do we know which is right? Or, is it just a matter of perspective?

If we look at Jesus’ life we see that there were times when He was very loving with His words (like with the woman caught in adultery, when He told her that He forgave her). But then there was the time He called the Pharisees ‘white washed tombs,’ because they were living as hypocrites (they didn’t live by what they preached)!

In Colossians 4:6 the apostle Paul says to us: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” The truth is, if we want to have conversation with others, we need to be loving with our words, and speak words of grace. Sometimes that might mean we lovingly challenge them with our words, but that depends on the depth of relationship we have with them. Being argumentative will not help us in the relationship, or the conversation. It will either put them off, or cause them to not want to converse with us.

However, being ‘full of grace’ does not mean that we don’t speak the truth of the Bible, or of what we believe. But it does mean that we don’t attack. We speak the truth in love. We speak the truth with confidence. We speak the truth with boldness. We speak the truth letting others know that God loves them and wants the best for them, and that He has a plan for their lives. Blessings.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Busy Is Too Busy

Last Friday Tami and I got up for our ‘day off’ and proceeded to do our chores for the day. The next thing we knew it was time to go pick up the kids from school. We looked at each other and wondered where the time went. It seems like we are so good at filling up our schedules. So I ask, How busy is too busy?

Now I don’t presume to be an expert in this, however, I do know that we were not created to stress our bodies to the point of mental and/or physical exhaustion. We try and fit so much into each day, thinking that if we don’t get to it today, we might not get it done. Yet, there are very few things that fit into the category of “have to.” What we don’t get done today can surely get done tomorrow, or next week.

The truth is, most people know how to be busy, but they don’t know how to relax. Too busy is when you don’t take time to relax. Too busy is when you don’t make time for your spouse, or your kids, or your good friends. Too busy is when you don’t make time for God!! Too busy is when you get sick if you slow down. This is called ‘leisure sickness,’ and happens to people who aren’t used to slowing down.

Now some might say, ‘See, I shouldn’t slow down because then I just get sick.’ Rather, we need to realize that we need to change our lifestyle so that our bodies can learn how to relax without getting sick. God created us to work, and He created us to rest. Without rest we will fail to have the full and complete life God created us to have! That is why God made it a commandment from the beginning of time, and why God gave us the example of He Himself resting on the seventh day.

So how about you? Are you too busy? Do you take time to relax? Do you make time for God and others? Do you honor the Sabbath Day and keep it holy? Do you take time for yourself? Think about it. Blessings.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Family Reunions

In the recent past we have had two family reunions that have been memorable. The first was several years ago, and was meaningful because I had been living in Colorado for a few years, and hadn't been connected with my family in a while. We went camping together in Northern California, and it was a great time of getting reconnected with my extended family. It really made me appreciate them all the more!

The second was just a couple of years ago when much of the family went to the Fresno/Clovis area to celebrate my aunt's birthday. Again, it was so nice to be able to spend some time hearing what is going on in my family's lives (the ups AND the downs), and to draw closer together (as well as honor my aunt).

This reminds me of another family reunion that we will have; a reunion in heaven with the family of Christ. All who believe in Christ are together part of a family. Many of our "Christian" family we will never know here on earth, since we will not have an opportunity to meet them. But when we are in heaven, there will be a joyous time of connecting with the family of God, because we will all be there together in the presence of God, as God's children.

While we are on this earth, there will be times when we meet someone else that is a Christian. Know that they are part of your family, and that you should try and get to know them. It really is a family reunion of sorts. And thank God for all the family that you have. Blessings.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Church is not A Building

It is easy for people to think that Church is the building they see, because if this building was not here, we would be challenged in where and how to meet. The building is the visible part of the church. People see churches down most every street they drive. But when they think of the church, often times they think of it in terms of an institution; an institution that is impersonal, or desiring of only what people can give to it. They think of it as an institution that consists of wire, and glass, and concrete, and brick.

Consequently, I think that people shy away from church because they have forgotten what church really is: it is the people of God, the community of believers. Church is the place where we gather together as God’s people (fellowship), where we learn and grow in our faith (discipleship), and where we are empowered to live a life God calls us to live!

The problem comes when we go to church just for ourselves. How many people show up at church hoping that the songs or the sermon will touch them in a way that will help them get through the next week? But in doing this, they miss out on so much of what church is to be about.

Church is a place to live out the commands Jesus taught us: love God with your whole being, and love others as yourself. Do you see how this is more active? We give our love to God, and God gives His love to us. We are then filled with God’s love so that we might be able to share love with others. In this way, we are participating in worship, in church, not just hoping something comes to us.

As a pastor, I love to see vibrant, exciting worship on Sundays. The energy is wonderful and attractive. It draws you into the moment, where the love of God is alive. In times like this, church is not seen as a building, but as an experience, where we are built up in the love, presence, and power of God. Because of this, we can then go out into the world and live our lives with energy and enthusiasm, instead of drudgery. We can truly be the people of God each and every day. Blessings.