Thursday, December 27, 2012

Working on YOU

Working on YOU

Probably the most difficult thing to do in life is change yourself.  It's easy to change others, give others advice, or have opinions/judgements on other peoples lives, but so difficult to better or improve ourselves, why? Because it hurts!  It takes work, discipline, effort, and energy!

Many times around this time of year, the end of a year and beginning of a new year we want to make resolutions or resolve to be a better person, but really I think we need to do that every day, not just one time a year? It's ok to make resolutions to stop smoking, lose weight, or clean out the attic/garage, but when it comes to being a complete, whole, positive, or healthy all around person mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc...we should strive to work on that on a daily basis.

I am not preaching some easy Joel Osteen "Be a better You", becuase it's not always pretty to become a better person. Sometimes you have to end friendships, change jobs, or even chang places you go or people you are around. It may mean admitting fault  asking for help, or seeking professional help. I am not sure what you are dealing with or going through anymore than you know what I am, but  regardless, we all need to take the steps to be a better person and constantly be working on ourselves.

You  don't just come out of the womb and grow into a good friend, husband, wife, father, mother, brother ,sister, grandparent, boss, employee, christian, have to learn, develop, mature, grow, and work at it.  You have to develop healthy social skills, living skills, and learn how to be a better person.

We are all different ages, in different places in our lives, different upbringings, habits, and lifestyles, but God is the same.  He is our model. His Word and His church are places we learn, grow, and develop, discover, or deepen what and who He wants us to be.

Overall He wants us to be like Him. Strive to be honest, sincere, giving, and holy.  He wants us to have a relationship with Him and then model that relationship that is healthy in other relationships.  Marriages, dating, parenting, work, etc...and sometimes its tough.  We might struggle in certain areas with certain people and we may have some difficult people in our lives to deal with.  Regardless, God can and will help us grow as to be a better YOU if we will be honest with Him, seek Him, make the effort, and remain faithful.

If it weren't for the faithfullness of God I would have given up the faith a long time ago, and I tried before and I tried other things to replace God, and it all ended in failure.  I know now that if I am going to be a better Christian, Husband, friend, Father, Minister, or whatever it's only going to be because of me seeking God and His help. I can't do it on my own.

It may not happen overnight or make take a long time on this journey in life, but I pray each of us everyday will work to change ourselves and be the best we can be for God and others.

 James 3:17NIV
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere

Wednesday, December 19, 2012



Since sin (separation from God) first entered our world in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit from the "Tree of the knowlede of good and evil" when the serpant(satan) enticed Eve to take of the fruit of the tree that God had told both Adam to not eat of (every tree was ok except this tree). 

The reason? Well look at the name of the tree? Before they ate of the tree they had no knowledge of what good and evil even was. God knew that once they ate of it, there was no turning back, sin entered the world through this first disobedient act and they were exposed to the knowledge of what good and evil was, which causes separation from God in a variety of ways.

Since that day in the garden the world has struggled with evil.  God had already destroyed the world once because of the evil that took place, only sparing Noah, his wife, their 3 sons and their wives.  God promised to never destroy the earth in that manner again(a flood), but next time would be different(not a pretty scene coming in the future), but the point being, evil didn't die, it continued and has continued for centuries up until today.

Evil is not going anywhere.  We can create laws, go to extremes to prevent it, but in the end, you cannot stop evil.  Evil will prevail.  People are still going to shoot people, stab, rape, molest, choke, beat, and blow up other people.  No matter how many attempts we make to change laws and create legislation and do things to stop people, there is no stopping evil.  Evil knows no law, respects no boundaries, and heeds to no rules.  Evil is mentioned almost 500 times in the bible.  It's evident in the Old and New Testaments.

Depressing you yet???  The Bible doesn't tell us there will be no evil, but the Bible does tell those of us who know Christ to overcome evil with good.  The Bible also says to repay evil with good.  Those are foreign concepts to us even as christians sometimes.  Also, we have forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ if we repent and accept Him as our Savior.

Imagine if people started doing good and being good(honest, sincere, caring, compassionate, giving, etc....) and also starting doing good to those who do evil instead of seeking revenge or vengence or payback(Keep in mind that is for the Lord to do, not us). Our job is to forgive, His job is to take care of the vengence part.  But imagine if one person starting doing that, then another, and another, and there was a ripple affect across our world, it wouldn't happen overnight, but eventually good would start combating evil and maybe there would be more good and less evil in the world.

We live in a broken world there will never be a 100% end to evil in this world filled with broken, confused, bitter, resentful, hateful, mental, and unstable people.  Not everyone will stop doing evil, but what if more of us started doing good? Seeking good? Being good? Practicing good behavior? Developiong good attitudes? 

If we truly want to see less evil in the world, than we need to starting being better people.  Raising better children. Being better classmates, better friends, better employees, and better christians.  It's up to you and me and it begins with you and me.

I wish I had an easy answer to end evil and do away with all the crazies who blow up buildlings, shoot up malls, schools, & public places full of innocent people, but I don't.  I know that evil has been around since the beginning of time and isn't going anywhere until the Lord returns.    We do not have all the answers or we may never understand the "why's" of why things happen like this, but we cannot lose hope or heart in God.  There are still good people out there and good for me and you to do and be.

Most of all we serve a God that is good all the time and all the time God is good.

Romans 12:21NIV
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 Peter 3:17NIV
It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

3 John 1:11NIV
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Audience of One

Audience of One

Many times we fail to realize or understand that church services are not for attending, we are not the audience coming to be entertained or "get our hour" in for the week.  Do you realize when you come to church God is the audience? We are there to give Him worship and worship Him with our chuch body. 

Not only church services, but in our Christian walks we should be living day to day, we are living for an audience of one...GOD!  We get it so backwards or make it so complicated.  We think church is about singing "our" favorite songs, or the traditions "we" like, or  it's all about "us" when it comes to our church,  our worship services, or our programs, and "YOU" would be very wrong.  It's about God. He is audience, it is about Him, for Him, and because of Him!

If people could grasp this idea, change their attitudes, and grow in maturity in faith, then I think the way our worship services and other things might start looking a little different, maybe be a little more sincere, and might even  move us with compassion, sorrow, motivation, conviction, or desire to give God our best, give Him ALL the glory, and we do it all because and for Him. Try it!

I want to encourage you this Sunday if you got to church, to worship with that attitude.  That God is the audience not you.  So many times we treat going to church like going to the movies, like we are the audience and it better be a good show.  The preacher better not be boring or long-winded, the music better be to our taste or preference, and no one better be in my seat!  What a horrible attitude to come to worship God with. We make issues out of things that are not, focus on areas that don't matter, and all the while, we are missing what it's about about anyway, God, not you!

Even sadder it, it doesn't matter what side of that you are on. Half complain because the music isn't traditionanl enough and the other it's not contemporary enough. Half complain it's too hot in the auditorium and the other it's too cold.  Half complain about the activities of the church, the preacher, the leaders, the kids, etc....there is plenty to complain about if you look, but people are complaining as if church is to please them and for them, when it's for God and all music is pleasing to God if it's worshippng Him and worship is more than just singing songs! All activities new and old, traditional and contemporary, and everything in between  is pleasing to God when it's done with Him as the audience and not me or you.

It's time we take our churches back and take our Christian Faith back and get them pointed back in the right direction toward God. We need to get out of the audience and on the stage because we are the ones who are being observed.  How is your worship? Your atttitude? Your giving? Your spiritual growth?

If we are not growing in our own personal faith, it hurts the church, because we are part of the church body, and if we are not positiviely contributing to the church body, then we are hurting the body, and if we are taking the attention, glory, honor, or reverence away from God because we think it's about us, then we are hurting ourselves, others, and most of all God. 

Remember everything we say or do is for God, the audience of one. Whether we are at public worship at church or we are at work, home, or anywhere, we always have opportunity to worship God and make it about Him.  He is our Audience of One.

1 Timothy 1:17(NIV)
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, December 07, 2012

High-Tech Parenting

High-Tech Parenting

We live in an ever-changing world and it seems with technology it happens at even a more rapid pace, but the problem is what kind of affect is it having on our children and on our families?

This issue has been on my mind for awhile and my concern is, I see way too many kids both pre-teen and teens with way too much "freedom" and "access" to all these avenues of technology and the bigger problem is their is no boundaries, structure, rules, or guidance in these areas by many parents across our world.

We take for granted because so many of us adults/parents use smart phones, laptops, ipads, text, internet, ipods, etc...that we forget about the freedom our children have in their hands.  Easy access to the world wide web and unlimited resources for innapropriate youtube videos, pornography, predators, R-rated things, and that's just the internet. What about cell phones where they have their own cell phones and they have unlimited freedom and no supervision, to text, call, talk, internet access 24/7?   

Same goes with video games, television, movies, and music.  Many kids watch and listen to whatever they want whether it is age appropriate or not?  Many parents do not realize or do not care that all these things do have parental ratings and warnings on them to show you what is the content, if we'd only take the time to look.

My point?  Parents we need to wake up, educate ourselves, and set clear boundaries and educate our children.  First,  the internet, cell phones and other gadgets and devices are PRIVILEGE not required.  Parents you pay the bills and you need to set clear boundaries and guard your children with these devices.  You need to view your kids phone, email, facebook, texts, at anytime and check them regularly and monitor them. It's your right or they lose them. You are the parent and set the rules, but you got to enforce them and be consistent.  This is loving your kid, not being their friend or giving them all these things with no supervision.   We only get one shot at parenting our kids.  If your kids don't cooperate then they don't need a cell phones, facebook, computer access, or any other devices.

Secondly, you need to set clear boundaires and structure. I would advise heavily to not let your kids have private computers or internet in their bedrooms, you are setting your kids up for failure with unlimited freedom and access.  There are also settings where you can turn off interenet at certain times or limit them.  You also would be wise to have your kids keep their cell phones in a public place like a dining room or kitchen so that they do not have their phones in their rooms at night or 24/7.  Again, you are the parent, you pay for the phone, set rules when you give it/buy it and you can loosen up over time as they age, mature, or show responsibility.  Same goes for TV, Movies, etc...set locks on your tv's so they can't watch certain channels, tv shows, or movies that are not appropriate for them. Do not buy or allow others to buy movies, video games, or music that is innappropriate for them due to langauge, sex, violence etc.

Thirdly, do not feel like you are a horrible parent because you've not done these things up until this  point or do not feel you are a horrible parent for enforcing rules or boundaries for your kids, they need them.  Our most important thing to do as parents is to love and protect our kids.  We live in an age, where one of the best ways we can protect our kids is by limiting, monitoring, and setting clear boundaries on all this High-tech stuff and media that our kids are exposed to that we were not, and protect them from others and mostly themselves.  Most kids are growing, maturing, changing, and they haven't fully developed good reasoning skills and are still impulsive, or following peer pressure, or even self-centered, and it's our job to not create or give them opportunities to mess up by giving them so much freedom with cell phones, media, or computers that they really cause a lot of issues for themselves and you as parents.

Children have plenty of opportunity to make mistakes and bad choices without parents being a willing party to them.  When you give your kid unlimited useage and unsupervised access to cell phones, computers, media, etc...with no boundaries, clear rules, limits, or structure you are setting both yourself and your kid up for failure.  We all need to do a better job of educating ourselves and our children on how to use media, technology, and communication appropriately and responsibly and it starts at home.

We  have rules and boundaries in our family and if they don't honor them, they lose the privilege.  As this world continues to be High-tech remember that all these things we give our kids are wants not needs and you are the parent and are in control of what they have and how much freedom them have, so let's all be wise so our kids grow up being responsible with technology and know how to use it in the right way. Technology is so easily available now and is part of our culture and we take it for granted, but we still need to teach and monitor our children, or we will be dealing with lots of problems in the future.

Proverbs 4:23(NIV)
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life

Tuesday, November 27, 2012



If there is something we humans are good at it seems to be be making things complicated that don't need to be complicated.  When it comes to the Christian Faith, I think it shows in the amount of denominations and church groups out there and constant arguing over topics, that we tend to complicate the gift of Salvation, the grace of God, and His Holy Word. 

I am not saying being a christian is simple and certainly what God did by sending Jesus to become a baby and live on this earth to eventually become a living sacrifice for our sin and go through death, hell, carry our sin, and resurrect was no simple process or matter. 

The gift however of salvation is simple.  We accept this free gift, but even then most can't agree on the process of salvation, some want to "pray Jesus into your heart" which isn't even in the Bible, others want to over-emphasize or under-emphasize parts of the salvation process such as the hearing of God's Word, or confessing Jesus as Lord, or Believing, Baptism, Faith, etc....and I truly think we take something God intended to be simple and we allow Satan to use us to complicate and confuse people.

And we wonder why people don't want to go to church or be saved?  We complicate it even further by saying, you have to be a member of this church, or be baptized this way, or wear your hair this way, or dress this way, or do this or do that, and we keep adding things to God's Will and Way that are not His, but man's complications to salvation and christianity.

We major in the minor things in life and make things that are preferences into doctrines and we make commands out of things that God meant to individual liberties, and we want to pick and chooose between the Old and New Testaments what is Law and what is Liberty and we just continue to confuse people.  People we truly need to start reading and studying our Bibles in context.

I don't claim to know everything and have all the answers, but I do feel pretty confident that  being a part of a certain church group or denomination or using a certain bible version or dressing a certain way to go to church isn't going to determine whether I am saved or going to heaven or not, no matter what anyone tells me.  I don't care whether you agree with me or not, some will argue and fight to the death in  order to be right or secure their views or doctrine is "right".  I care more about being "righteous" in God's eyes than what any man or group thinks of me.

I am not wanting to add to or take away from God's Word.  I am not wanting to water down the Bible or be so liberal that nothing is a sin or abomination to God, but I am tired of people complicating the salvation message of Jesus Christ or putting all these  laws, rituals, and regulations on our spiritual personal relationship with God.  God gives us HisWord, He gives us His Holy Spirit, and doesn't need people mis-using His Word, or even His Spirit to guilt, manipulate, put-down, or accuse people and complicating His relationship with us.

It's simple folks.  God created us.  He created us for relationship and His pleasure.  We are sinful by nature.  We needed a way to have forgiveness and our sins covered, so He provided a way through Jesus Christ His  Son.  Jesus came, died and rose from the grave and in the process defeated death so we don't have to die, went through hell so we don't have to experience it, and took on our sin because we aren't perfect and we needed a perfect sacrifice. 

If we accept Jesus as Lord and follow His process of salvation found in scripture and strive to be obedient to His Word and use His Holy Spirit and prayer and our part in His Body(the church), then it's not that complicated.  Living a Godly life is complicated, overcoming bad habits and sin struggles in complicated, being faithful to God is complicated, but salvation and what God has done for us and will continue to do for us is not.

We need to stop making being a Christian so complicated with all our opinions, legalism, liberalism, worldliness, religion, justifications, excuses, denominationalism, docrtrines, etc.....and start loving people like God loves us, sharing our faith and the good news of Jesus and stop worrying about all the junk we tend to worry about that is not even salvation essential or does not take away our salvation.  I think God wants us to have reverent fear for Him, not live on contsant fear of making mistakes or not doing something right.  I also think we tend to worry too much what others think and not enough about what God really thinks.

Let's get back to the simplicity of loving God and loving others and the great commission of reaching the lost and  making disciples for Jesus.

John 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Give it a Rest

Give It A Rest

2 Timothy 2:14-17a(NIV)
14 Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene.

2 Timothy chapter 2 Apostle Paul instructs young preacher Timothy in dealing with those who like to argue, fight, and use God as their reasoning, but really they are working against God.  (encourage you to read the entire chapter or letter for yourself.)

Paul was encouraging Timothy to remind the people he was dealing with, what was important and to stop arguing about things that were not important, or not truthful.  I think this is the biggest enemy of the church today. It's not sin, It's not the world, it's people already in the churches who preach and teach and spew hate, negativity, factions, fighting, arguing, and judging not only toward those outside the church, but mostly toward those who are already christians.

Many church groups, preachers, and christians out there spend the majority of their time trying to debate, argue, or fight with those already saved about issues that aren't salvation related.  Instead of trying to love their communities, reach the lost, or discple the christians in their churches to maturity in faith, they spend most of their time trying to "prove" other church groups or christians wrong on issues such as bible versions, church music, dress codes, end of times, spiritual gifts, denominationalism, etc....which are not essential to your salvation or things that base whether you are saved or not, or going to hell or not.

Now, some may argue they are and try to debate.  I don't see God or Jesus every trying to argue or debate with people in the Bible? Yet people love and get excited about it, they love to argue, fight, debate, and sadly its really about trying to prove someone wrong and not about being righteous in God's eyes.  I think it's healthy to have discussion, not debate. I think that is how we learn and yes we even learn from those we don't agree with or share same convictions, if we allow it to happen.

Paul told Timothy to warn them(christians) about words, and that's what many do today, they want to use words to belittle, argue, tear down, and push their agenda or self-promote!  To me this is the opposite of what God wants from us.  Yes, we have a right to our opinions, but how can you expect others to listen to your opinions if you do not listen or respect theirs?  How does anyone win in an argument? They don't, especially God. There is a time to stand up for truth, to stand up against spiritual bullies, or sin, but if the motive is not the Love and Honor of God then we are doing so with wrong motives or if you can't be unbiased or respectful, then you're heart and motives are wrong.

It is time for each of us to take a long, hard, direct look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves, what or who am I really following or worshipping?  If it's God, I do not think we would spend all our time trying to prove others wrong, argue with others, or try to get others to think/feel/believe as we do about our favorite topic/subject.  Most of all the very things we are arguing about, are not salvation issues and are not keeping people from God, we are keeping ourselves and people from God when we waste it arguing.

I know many feel we must stand up for God, Hiw Word, and His church, etc..and at times we are to correct and rebuke, but verse also says encourage (2 Tim. 4:2)   If we are right about a subject or topic, yet treat someone with disresepct, belittle them, or just looking for a fight, then we are the one who is really wrong.  You can be right in subject but wrong in attitude, motivation, or treatment of others.  We also got to always keep in mind in some cases, we have liberty/freedom as a christian and we cannot bind or force our personal convictions on everyone!

It is not our job as christians, churches, or even preachers to "POLICE" the world, nor is it our calling to "prove others wrong".  Our calling is to preach and teach the Word of God to the best of our knowledge, wisdom, and discernment and be guided by the Holy Spirit and love others as Christ loves us and His church.  Yes, there will be times to confront or address sin, and times to try to correct a brother/sister of their lifestyle or choices or thinking, and yes even times to have discussions about certain topics/beliefs/convictions, but never for the purpose to quarrel, argue, or debate with selfish intentions of being right or being superior.  I think God deserves better from all of us including pastors, leaders, teachers, church groups, and individual christians.

My plea for today is "Give it a Rest", stop making your life or ministry about a certain subject or topic that's imporant to you or your church group and start making it about loving God, loving others. Make it about seeking and saving the Lost and making disciples,  those are things that are essential to our salvation and calling.  Not what type of music I listen to or what bible translation I use, or what clothes I wear to church, or what name is on the church sign, or how charismatic, liberal, or conservative my views are on spiritual gifts, end of times, or eternal security. 

There will always be issues that we can discuss, dialogue about, and share with each other and yes we can agree to disagree about certain subjects without questioning someones manhood or womanhood, their standing with God, their knowledge, or their intelligence.   I think we should all be motivated to be closer to God, understand His Word and Will better, and tap into the power of His Holy Spirit, but never should our motivation or agenda be to argue, quarrel, belittle, or fight. 

You can stand for truth and still be respectful, you can disagree with someone and still be brothers/sisters, and you can still love people who love the same God, but differ on intrepretations of certain scritpures on certain subjects.  We all can start by focusing more on God and working on our walk/relationship with Him and be our goal to honor and glorify Him on all we say and do and how we treat others and treat His word and the name of "christian" we wear.

2 Timothy 2:23-26 (NIV)

23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Tattoos & Jesus

Tattoos & Jesus

Leviticus 19:28(NIV)
28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.
Well there is it, I can stop there, I don't have to say anything else about tattoo's....or do I?  It would be easy to asssume this one verse means christians can't get tattoo's or it's a sin if you do, or at least this is the verse everyone uses to claim this.
Leviticus 19:26-28(NIV)26 “‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.“‘Do not practice divination or sorcery.27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
These are just two of the verses before vs. 28, so if you follow vs. 28 then you have to follow vs. 26 only eat kosher meat, don't practice sorcery(that one's pretty easy for most) and don't go get your hair cut on the sides or clip edges of your beard, i guess if we want to get technical, it's a sin if you don't have a beard, because it implies you already have a beard.

Ok, I'm not meaning to be sarcastic, but my point is Leviticus 19:28 is taken out of context and is misused in a way to encourage people not to get tattoo's or to call tattoo's a sin.  I am not writing this today because I have tattoo's and I want to justify it.  Truth is, if I thought tattoo's were wrong or a sin even though I had them I would admit it or get them removed.  At the same time, even if I didn't have any tattoo's I would not misuse scripture to say something is a "sin" or "wrong" when I did not have the scripture or authority to back it up.

The past week I have seen two debates on facebook about this issue and I have seen extreme on both sides of the issue and even shared my 2 cents for what it's worth, but the bigger issue for me besides tattoo's is the manner in which we make things sin and claim something to be wrong and use the Bible yet we are misquoting it, taking it out of context, or misusing or mishandling the Word of God to push a belief, meaning we already have a predetermined belief because of the way we were raised or taught so I have to have a scripture to back it up. 

People do this with the tattoo issue and music in the church, and all other sorts of beliefs, that pull a scripture out of a book, chapter, and use it to say what they want it to say.  That is wrong and I believe that is the SIN. 

This chapter in Leviticus was a chapter written about various laws and mostly dealing with some of the pagan worship and practices that were going on in surrounding cultures around the jews and some were coming into their area and lives and God didn't want that in there.  He didn't want people cutting their bodies to remember or honor the dead(pagan ritual) nor did he want people(many women in this time) marking themselves with various markings/tattoos to ward off evil spirits, remember the dead, or honor a pagan God, or some sort of idol worship. 

The issue is you have to look at the book of Leviticus as a whole, you have to look at it chapter by chapter and do some research. I spent some time this morning looking at the Bible, reading some commentaries on Leviticus, and even read some articles online about the pro's and con's about this issue.     People do the same thing with I Corintians 6:19, Paul addresses a section of scripture in his writing on sexual immorality in chapter 6 and vs. 19 says "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you,, whom you received from God? You are not your own."(NIV) Once again if you'd read this in context with chapter 6 and especially 6:12-20 you would see this verse is in deed not about christians getting tattoo's, it's about  people abusing their bodies, especially with sexual sin.  His best advice is in 6:12, where He reminds us "everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial."

I think the bottom line is in my study and research and prayer of this topic, that a tattoo is an individual and personal choice and for some they can get them and have peace and a clear conscience and for some they have doubt and concern and they would be wise not to get any, but the key for all of us to remember is there is no scripture in the Bible Old or New Testament that specifically addresses this issue, but like many topics and issues that are not specifically addressed, we must use wisdom, discernment, self-control, common sense, and our personal liberty/freedom given to us by God and His Holy Spirit guidance.

I'm not promoting for anyone to go get tattoo's nor am I calling them wrong or a sin, nor am I riding the fence on the issue, because for me and what I've seen in the Bible it's a personal issue, not a church, doctrine, or salvation issue. 

There are so many things we focus on and we try hard to make them a "sin" or about "salvation" or question others "christianity" if they don't agree, look like, sound like, or dress like us, or believe just like us, or go to our church group.  That my friends is the bigger sin, because the bible speaks a l ot on our hearts and attitudes. 

Jesus told us in Mark 7:20-23when dealing with the legalistic religous leaders of His day on what was clean and unclean 20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’”(NIV) So I think a tattoo on the outside of your body if you choose is insignificant, but what comes out of you from your heart is the true sin.

I think we all need to go read Romans 14 in context and read the whole chapter and that should be our attitude on things concerning issues and topics where the Bible doesn't clearly speak or is silent so it gives us personal freedom to choose for ourselves.  That your homework today, to read that chapter!

It was not my goal to change anyone's mind today, if you think tattoo's are wrong, then don't get one, but do not tell someone else they are a sinner or wrong if they have one or want to get one, and if you have tattoo's or plan to get one, don't do it for the wrong reasons or flaunt it to be divisive to those who don't share your same freedom. Most of all stop misusing, mishandling, or misquoting the Bible.  Don't try to make the Bible fit into your belief system, but be a student of the Bible and let God's word change you from the inside out!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Get Over Yourself

Get Over Yourself

Ecclesiastes 3:4(NIV)
"a time to weep and a time to laugh"

Solomon went he wrote Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for everything, and yes even a time to laugh.  People who don't often laugh, joke or smile, often are very miserable and unhappy people.

I know scripture teaching us about coarse/crude joking, but we have to realize not everything you say joking or attempt at humor is coarse/crude or displeasing to God.  Bible teaches us "love of money" is root of all evil not money itself and in this instance "joking" is not a sin, but the type of joking you do (coarse/crude).

I think God has a sense of humor and as we look at certain books of the Bible or characters we can pick up on their use of humor, such as Elijah in I Kings 18 taunting the Baal prophets or even Jesus' humor with the woman at the well in John 4, who said said she had no husband when Jesus told her to go get her husand, and he told her she was right that she's had 5 husbands and the guy she was living with now wasn't her husband.  If you can't see the sarcasm in these examples you were baptized in prune juice or grumpy.

Seriously, though, we need to laugh and enjoy life.  There is so much sin, hurt, tragedy, pain, and suffering in this time,  we need times of laughter and humor or we're going to be miserable, bitter, unhealthy people.

Why do you think Solmon wrote  Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

I am not saying be so humorous you have no boundaries or standards or intentionally try to hurt, offend, or upset people or God, but at the same time, there are some unhappy, grouchy, stick in the mud folks out there "claiming" to have the joy of the Lord, but the Lord they are getting their joy from is not  the same one I serve.

Being Holy doesn't mean being unhappy.  Being an example doesn't mean being a dud.  Being Christ-like doesn't mean being humorless.  People are missing out on so much living by living by a set of rules that were man-made, church group made, or devil-made.  You think the Devil wants you to have a good time and enjoy being a Christian?  No! He wants us all to be uptight, relgious, legalistic, buzz-kill, kiljoys!  He doesn't want anyone to enjoy being a Christian.

Satan wants to rob us of our joy and so in taking away our sense of humor or our laughter and joking, he takes away our power to practice joy. I'm not giving him that power.  I'm going to laugh, I'm going to cut up, I'm going to tell jokes, and I'm going to laugh at others and what they say and do.  That doesn't make me less of a christian, a bad example, or a heathen!  It makes me human.  It makes me realistic.  If I cross the line or say or do something I shouldn't in the attempt at humor I feel the Holy Spirit will convict me and I will repent if I act in a way that doesn't please God or separates me from Him.

My point today is that God created us in His likeness and we are His.  We were all created with different personalities and gifts and some of that might include a humourous personlity or gift of making others laugh, but all of us are capable of lauging and smiling and making others do the same.

Enjoy a laugh today.  Make someone laugh.  Make God laugh.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Accept Responsibility

Accept Responsibility

This is a rare commodity in today's world these days.  What I mean is people who make mistakes, mess up, or do the wrong thing and then turn around and own up to it and accept responsiblity for their actions.

Many people live a lifestyle of lying, dishonesty, blame, finger pointing, and immaturity because they do not want to accept responsiblility for themselves and especially their actions.  They do not want to be held accountable for their behaviors.  Why is that?

There are many reasons, some don't want to be proven wrong.  Others are prideful and do not want to be seen as wrong or imperfect.  Still others are simply just dishonest or selfish people who want to get their way and not have to suffer consequences for their decisions or choices.

We need to accept responsiblity for ourselves.  Our bad atttitudes, our wrong behaviors, or the  choices and decisions we make, including those which are stupid, bad, wrong, or selfish.  We create so much more problems and consequences for ourselves when we don't come clean at the beginning and accept responsibility for ourselves and our lives.

First and foremost, we have to understand that God knows and sees everything including thoughts and attitudes. He knows what we will do before we even do it, and when we do something and try to hide it, cover it up, or lie about it, He knows and we begin the process of creating alot of hurtful natural consequences for ourselves.  Secondly, we need to understand our behavior, choices, and actions impact others and hurt others when we lie, decieve, or cause pain in their lives and we make it worse when we won't accept responsiblity for ourselves.

When you say or do something that is wrong or you make a mistake, admit it, own it, and accept responsiblity for it.  If you need to apologize, do it.  If you need to confess it, confess it.  If you make a mistake at work, at school, with a friend or family member then instead of reacting to being confronted, be proactive and admit your mistake as soon as you know. Of if you are confronted instead of making excuses, blaming others, justifying, or flat out lying, own up and begin resolution and damage control.

Even when others hurt us or make us mad or circumstances out of our control affect us, we alone are still responsible for oursleves.  You and the only one who will answer for you, not your parents, not your spouse, and not your kids. YOU!  Be responsible, take responsiblility, accept responsiblity, and be a person of integrity, character, and honesty.  No matter the situation or circumstance always accept responsibility for yourself and your behavior and actions. It's lime we grow up, own up, and look up to God to help us live and be responsible people. 

Hebrews 4:13NIV
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Faith & Politics

Faith & Politics

2 Timothy 4:2(NIV)
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

Apostle Paul gave young preacher Timothy some good advice.  "Preach the Word."  He also goes on in rest of verse telling Timothy how he should preach the Word: prepared, to correct, to rebuke, to encourage.  He also says what his attitude should be in preaching the Word:  great patience and careful instruction.

That is some good advice for us today, not only preachers, but all of us who may share the word of God with others (we all have a responsibility to share the Word of God, not just the preachers).  So, we can' just pull scriptures out of context and change their meaning to fit our denomination, or what we were raised, or taught, or even our agenda because we are passionated about a certain subject and topic.  People do all the time, they preach and push their denominational beliefs, their doctrinal beliefs, and even their preferences they think are gospel, and they talk about God in the mix of it all, but they are missing the point of actually preaching the Word of God.

It sort of reminds me of what we face anytime there is an election year, people want to spout and shout their political beliefs and agendas, yes, even preachers from pulpits want to spew their love or hate of the republican party or the democratic party, or they love or loathing of a certain candidate, or even further a certain issue that they are hot under the collar about you  name it, gun control, taxes, immigrants, gay marriage, abortion, etc.....and we us the pulpit and our faith as a platform to push our opinions and views.

You can disagree with me, I am only stating my convictions and feelings, but I do not feel the pulpit is the place to spew personal politics. It's a place to preach God's word.  There is no mention of political parties in the Bible. There is no authority from God in scripture to tell us to rip apart, disrespect, or put down people or things we don't agree with or dislike.  As a matter fact  Jesus told the jews to give to Caesar what is Caesar when asked about the jews having to pay taxes to the Romans in the gospels and even Paul in His first letter to Timothy encouraged Timothy to pray and not only pray but pray for those in leadership and authority in government.(1 Tim. 2:1-3niv)I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior."

As Christians and even as Preachers we have an obligation to preach, teach, and share the moral and ethical values taught in scripture, but it is not our place to endorse a certain political party, agenda, or candidate.  Nor do I feel according to God's word is it our place to use our position and time as a preacher in a sermon to preach "OUR" feelings or opinions on our president, our government, our political party, or our political agendas.  On a personal level if an someone asks you your opinion or feelings on their own, we are free to share our thoughts as an individual away from the pulpit if we so choose.

People  we are to PREACH the Word and the Word is Jesus Christ.  Not Obama, Not Romney, or George Washington, or JFK.  The Word of God is truth and it's not democratic, or republican, or even Libetarian or Tea Party.  It's not our job to use the church or the pulpit to push any other agenda other than the agenda of God, which is proclaming, sharing, preaching and teaching His Word.

I know some of you will say we have an obligation as Preachers or Christians to speak out and stand up for right and wrong, and I agree when it comes to God's Word, but not politics.  We do need more of God's Word in our governement and Christian leaders, but politics has not place in the body of Christ.  It's about Him, not us, not our agenda, or political views.  

There may be certain issues we are passionate about because of our Christian Faith, and that is fine, we should stand up for our Christian rights and values and I do think each of us should do our own homework and educate ourselves on candidates and their beliefs and views and we should vote our conscience, but we are living in a fantasy world if we think every political party or every candidate will agree with us 100% or support everything we stand for, it and they won't.

As a church we have to stand up for our Christian Values and as Preachers and  Teachers we have an obligation to Preach and Teach God's Word, and I do not think that involves endorsing politics, politicians, political parties, or political agendas.  We preach and teach Christ and let God's Holy Spirit convict and guide each of us who and how to vote on election day.

Just my thoughts, but I  pray I will never use my position or my pulpit to preach garbage, preach personal agenda, my politics, or put down others, or dishonor the calling God has placed on my life by misusing my power or position to preach anthing, but His Word.  I pray you will never use your faith, or pulpit, or positions, to preach, teach, or share anything other than God's Word.

Friday, October 12, 2012



"membership has its privileges" Do you recognize this quote from the American Express commercials or ads?  It's a great marketing slogan they use to show that if you are one of their credit card users that you will have things you won't get with other credit cards.  We'll I'm not sure of that because I've never had an American Express?

What about church membership? What does that mean?  Well what it means and how people treat it are two different things.  Church membeship should have its privileges as well, but people treat their church membership very loosely sometimes.

Membership to a church or religous group doesn't guarantee your way to Heaven.  Many churches claim a membership,but t heir attendance doesn't reflect membership role.  A church may have a membership of 500, but only have 75 attend, so I ask what's the point of having membership if members aren't committed.

I think we need to understand that church membership should mean first and foremost that you have made a decision and commitment to become or be a Christian. That you have accepted Jesus Christ the son of God as your Lord and Savior and have been baptized for the remission of your sins. Secondly, if you are a "committed' christian, your church attendance and involvement in your local church is going to reflect your membership there.

The church is not like social clubs or organizations like the VFW, Moose Lodge, Lions Club, Rotary, etc...where  you pay an annual due or whatever and attendance and involvement is optional.  The church is more than a social setting or organization, it is  the Body of Christ.  It is a family and community and membership to this body should be taken seriously and mean something to you.

If you want to place your membership in God's church then you should be willing to make a commitment to serve, give, and attend faithfully.  Your membership to the church should be backed up by your atttitude and actions.  Meaning as you grow in your personal faith and mature, your service to God in giving of your time, finances, and abilities should grow.

Being a member of a certain church isn't a free ticket to heaven.  Saying your a christian or believing in a God isn't what is required of salvation and eternal life. Salvation is a process and living a christian life is too and so is our membership to the church. We have God's word as our guide and His Holy Spirit as well. 

Churches of all kinds of denominations set up membership classes and polices and some are great and help people understand what is expected of them as a member of that particular church.  But, ultimately your church membership and more importantly your membership to the family of God and church body is your sole responsibility.

As a Minister I cannot force my church members to come to church, or give of their time or money or abilities. I can educate them on what God requires of us, or encourage them to give faithfully to God through the church in a variety of ways, and I can help them understand maybe what God wants if they don't know exactly how to give or serve financially or with their time and abilities, but I can't make anyone come to church, be the church, or be committed.

It is my desire today to those who read this that if you are calling yourself a christian, but you are not a member of a church anywhere that you find a church and make a commitment to serve God there.  I do not believe a person can be a christian and not be a member of God's church locally.   Jesus did not die on the cross and establish the church, for it to have no meaning or be optional folks, we need to read our bibles, church has a purpose and it's the body of Christ, which requires membershp of it's body parts(me and you).  Also, if you do claim to be a membership of a local church, are you attending faithfully? Are you committed to not just attending weekly, but you also support  the church by giving financially a committed amount(you giving is between you and God and you are giving to God-not the church so don't stop giving if you get mad or don't get your way) and you should be serving through the church in some capacity, whether it's teaching, singing, cleaning, handing out bulletins, whatever the gifts you have find ways to use them in serving God and others through your local church.

Don't just call yourself a member of a church, we all need to be a member of the body of Christ and be active in our faith, serving the Lord, and then our membership to His church will definetly have its privileges.

Ephesians 5:29-31 (NIV1984)

29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[a]

Wednesday, October 03, 2012



It's sounds like a nice word doesn't it?  Immune.  I am immune to your negative words!  I am immune to that illness or sickness!  Well I've lived my whole life, all 40 years of it never having an issues with poison ivy until last week!  I got it and I got it good. I had to go get a shot and steroids to get rid of the rash and no one wanted to be around me or touch me for some reason?

I read that sometimes as you get older you immunity to certain things changes, which in this case my years of never having an issue with poison ivy obviously has changed.  I am no longer immune.   It got me to thinking about the way our society has headed.  We used to be bothered by certain things in society, maybe language on tv shows or sex in movies, or social issues that the media pushes, but it seems over time, we become immune to those things and our convictions stop and we no longer are so convicted or offended by things, nor do we stand up for them.

I think of the biggest dangers for christians is when we become immune to the consequences or guilt of sin.  When you first sin, you may feel guilty or remorse and even repent, but if you keep doing it long enough and over time, you stop feeling guilty, or you justify it bein ok, and eventually (in your mind anyway) it's ok, and you have made yourself immune to the consequences or harm of that sin.

We live in an ever changing world and I know so many people think the world we live in today is awful, but if you study the Old Testament and even the New Testament, you see that governments were still trying to force people to go against God,  people were still really sinful and did bad things, and sin was still sin. 

The problem in any time or society is whether christians decide to remain sensitive to sin and allergice to the conseuqences of sin and avoid and flee from it, or we allow other things beside our relationship with God to dicate what we do and say and how we live.

Yeah I lived 40 years without having to worry about Poison Ivy, I had  good run, but now I have to protect myself in the future so that I do not get the rash or suffer the consequences of it's poison.  We need to live our lives the same way.  Protect ourselves against the sins, temptations, people and things, that bring us down, hurt us, and hinder us.

Learn to pay attention to the things that cause struggle, pain, or sin in your life and make the changes you need to make, or soon you will find yourself immune to it and it will be too late.

Proverbs 16:17(NIV)
The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.

Friday, September 28, 2012



I've been going over my sermon this week on "Re-Building" talking about Nehemiah rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem and tying it in to how the church can rebuild.  But, the same principles are true of our lives.

Many of us reading this blog today are broken, things in life have tore down the walls of protection, hope, and peace around your life.  Divorce, death, job loss, depression, relationship issues, troubled kids, financial stresses, anger, unforgiveness, etc...the list could go on of the things that can cause you and me to feel broken.

When I am broken, I feel helpless. I become frustrated, and it is there I am reminded it's not my job to be God and rebuild my situation or life alone, it's my job to listen to and follow God and allow Him to help me rebuild my life or situation. 

It will not happen overnight, it may take time, it may not be the same as before, and then again, you may not know what the future will hold, but the key for me and you is to put our hope and trust in God.  God will never let us down, lead us astray, or fail us.  Any failure or let down is on our part.

Sometimes we need to be broken and at the bottom so that God can finally get our attention and that we can finally allow God to do His job.  So many times we want to do God's job and if we don't try to play God then we are usually blaming Him for all that's wrong or playing victim or feeling sorry for ourselves.

It's time to step up, grow up, stop making excuses and blame shifting, and pick yourself up and seek the Lord.  Repent if you need to repent.  Change if you need to change.  Adjust your attitude if you need to adjust it. Whatever the case, I can't speak because I don't know your situation and you don't know mine, but I do know no matter the situation God can help us rebuild our lives.

 We have to stop living in the past, break old habits, destroy old cycles, get rid of our negative thinking, and status quo and we need to start all over.   No  matter the situation you face today or have been dealing with, let God guide and help you to rebuilding your life.  Understand it will take time, one day at a time. Understand you can't be God or tell God how to do His job.  You also cannot live in the past and keep doing things the same ways when they do not work and haven't been working.  You must learn to trust more in God's provisions and His timing, understanding its gonna take time to reubuild your sitution.

Your life may  never be the same or go back to the way it was, and sometimes that's a good thing, but either way that doesn't mean your life can't be better, have more meaning, or have more God if we would start the process of rebuilding our lives and giving our situations over to God.   Admit your are broken and need fixed.  Realize God is our creator and the only one who can heal and fix our brokeness. I'm there with you today folks, we all got issues and problems in our lives that need God's attention and intervention so that He can begin the rebuilding process. Let's all start today.

 “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.-Nehemiah 2:18b(NIV)

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Things

New Things

5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
 Revelation 21:5NIV

New can be a good thing or a bad thing, just depends on the circumstance or situatioin..  A new job can be exciting, unless you lost your last job and didn't want to look for one.  A new relationship can be good, unless you are still pining over the last one that ended that wasn't your choice.  A new start can be nice, unless you are still living or dwelling on the past, which will make it difficult to start over.

Regadless of the situation good or bad, things will become "NEW" at times whether we want them to or not.  I think it's more of an attitude or outlook that we need as opposed to making things worse or prolonging the inevitable. 

Sometimes we need to start over in a new job, a new town, a new church, a new relationship, or new scenary whether it was our choice or not.  We need to understand that God is still God no matter our earthly circumstances and as the scrpture above indicates with God all things are new.

I can relate in my life right now.  I am in a new town, a new church, a new job, and a new opportunity. Ofcourse, this newness was my choice, but the church I'm coming to didn't have a choice they weren't looking for something new, but their minister of the last 2 1/2 years passed away back in May unexpectedly of a heart attack, so whether they wanted or intended to start over, God had other plans for them.The church I just left serving will start a new day with a new minister and so the new things continue.

I am not sure what you are facing today, dealing with, going through, or whatever?  Maybe you want some things to be new, maybe you didn't want anything to change, or you don't feel you are ready for something new? Either way, having a bad attitude, blaming others, sulking, or feeling sorry for yourself won't change the fact that you may have to start over or begin a new day with new things.

My encouragement for you is whether you wanted new or not to embrace it, seek God and trust Him and ask for His help, guidance, strength, or whatever it is you may need in your situation. But, above all don't make things worse by being negative.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Who you Worship?

Who You Worship?

My last blog was about following God and not our denomations, or tradtions, and things of this nature that many get caught up in and miss the point of truly following God and being in a realtionship with Him.

It got me thinking even further on this issue and how so many times we base our  christianity on this type of mentality and even take it a step further.  Many times we get caught up following a certain preacher or denomination or church group to the point where we base our faith and judgement of other christians on whether they are like-minded like us.  When the Bible tells us to be "like-minded", this is not the type of like-minded it's talking about.

What I'm getting at is we tend to start worshipping our pastor or a certain preacher or teacher or authoer we like, or we take to other extreme: We look down or judge someone because they go to a certain church, or listen or read a certain preacher or author or speaker we don't agree with.

We don't have to agree with every preacher, author, singers, speakers, theology or doctrine to learn something from them, but at the same time, we need to use discernment and wisdom in hearing what they say. At the same time, we must become so in awe of them, we tend to put them in higher regard in our life than God.

I've been to churches and know people who go to certian churchers where all that comes out of their mouth is pastor this and pastor that, pastor said this, pastor did that, blah blah blah and speaking as a pastor/preacher I do not want to be put on that type of pedestal and if people are talking about me (good or bad haha) more than they are about God then I've failed or got too big an ego. We worship God not a man and certainly not a church group/denomination.

Also, I've noticed that sometimes we judge people based on what they read or who they listen to.  I was recently criticized because I quoted Joyce Meyers on fb(by more than one person even),  do I agree with everything Joyce Meyers says? No!  Do I agee with all of Joyce Meyers theology or doctrine? No!  However, that doesn't mean she doesn't have some good quotes, say some good things in books, or on the radio.   We need to stop being so legalistic and narrow-minded to think that we have so arrived that only speakers/authors/preachers from our church group/denomination are the only ones who are annointed/called/gifted etc....Some people will not even listen or read or hear what someone has to say if they do not line up with them theologically/doctrinally/ or even opinions.  People that is why God gives us discernment, I don't care who a person is we can learn from others even those we oppose or disagree with, if you  can't distguish that then in my opinion you aren't mature enough in your faith or too narrow in your mind. 

There are many out like Joyce Meyer, Joel Olsteen, Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll, John Hagee, Fred Craddock, to name a few that I may not agree with on every issue, topic, stance, including doctrine, theology, social issues, or scripture, but not everyone is a heretic, false teacher, or of the devil who doesn't line up or agree with me, and honestly none of these mentioned has ever asked my opinion?  What's up with that?

Ok, seriously though my thought today is simple. I worship God. The God!  The great I AM.  I can only saved today because of Jesus Christ and I have the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life.  I am a sinner saved by grace.   It is my own personal responsibility to grow and mature my faith, to guard my heart, learn and grow in God's Word and Will.   But, no matter where I go to church, what I preach or teach about God, or who's books I read, or speakers I listen to, or preachers I hear, it is my job to use Godly wisdom and discernment, and not dismiss what someone has to offer or say because they don't go to "my" church" or  believe "like me" or whatever excuses we use to dismiss them or judge others who listen, hear, or read them.  I know there are false teachers out there, but if you're mature in your faith, you should be able to discern that with God's help.

Don't miss out on opportunities to learn, grow, and be challenged by others, and sometimes being able to listen to someone we don't agree or moves us  out of our comfort zone is what makes us grow and mature.    Worship God, not your pastor or your church!  But at the same time worship God and be willing to use discernment when hearing others and do not judge or criticize those who think or see differently than you. 

I Corinthians 3:1-9
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Follow God

Follow God

Sounds simple doesn't it?  Follow God.  Many claim to follow God but their lifestyles, actioins, or fruit their life is producing(or not producing) speaks otherwise, but what about the other side of that coin?  What about those who claim to be following God but in reality they are just really following a tradition, or the way they were raised, or a denomination, or a church sect/group, or following a bible version, or a preacher/pastor, or something else?

Yes, many people claim to be following God, but in reality they are really focused on other things besides God.  It more people were following God, christians would get along better, churches wouldn't split, we wouldn't have so many denominations or church groups, and we most certainly wouldn't get all caught up on personal agendas, subjects, and topics.

Do you truly worship God or are you more a follower of the church you attend or the name on the sign?  Do you care more about hot button topics or things you can argue about and put down others, or do you truly love with the love of Christ?  The only time I ever saw Jesus ugly with people was the crooks in the temple and with the legalistic pharisees all who were supposed to be religious, but were more selfish than selfless and more about their agenda or rituals or egos than serving God.

I'm not here to argue one church group/denomination over the others, nor am I here to argue one type of bible version, praise & worship music style, or any other topic you can think of that causes divisions, splits, factions, and disssension in the church.  I'm not trying to argue at all, what I am doing it trying to urge everyone reading this devotional blog today to do their own part to follow God and make following God their first priority.

It's ok to have convictions and prefernces and opinions, but know enough about the bible to know the difference between facts and fiction or common sense or ignroance.  Don't push or bind your feelings or opinions, preferences or convictions on others, as a matter of fact, if your faith is based on the way you were taught or raised, or the church you grew up in and not God and His Word based on your own personal walk with God and your own reading, study, and research, you might want to do a little soul searching today and ask yourself why you believe what you believe? Why do you go to church where you go?  Why do you feel strongly about certain things and not about others? 

So many people will carry on about abortion, gay rights, worship music, bible versions, speaking in tongues, end of times, denominationalism, and all sorts of topics and things, yet they never invite anyone to church, never share their faith, never take time to read their bible regularly, or use their gifts serving God through the local church or out in the community.  We need to get our priorities in line.  Follow God.  Let God's spirit lead and guide you as you pray, study, mature, and grow, and if he gives you a passion for something that is fine, but be careful that you do not become narrow-minded, dogmatic, self-absorbed, or led astray by the devil, yes even the devil's biggest weapons are christians.

Follow God. Not man, not a denomination, not a movement, not a name, not an upbringing, and not a tradtion.  Follow God.

Romans 15:5-6(NIV)
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Same Team

Same Team

I am shocked and not so shocked at the same time at the attitude and behavior of some christians, churches, and preachers when it comes to judging, condemning, or bad-mouthing other christians or churches. 

I personally have felt this attack from others because I didn't go to their "kind" of church,  agree with certain "beliefs" they hold to, or didn't line up with their religious circle or viewpoint.  It makes me angry and sad at the same time.

There is a saying in churches of "shooting our wounded" or even in the military about "collateral damage" where some of our own troops may get killed or injured by friendly fire or our own doing.  I think this is both wrong and not Christ-like.

Whether you are an individual christian, a member of a certain church, or even a Minister we do not have any biblical authority or authority from God to condemn, belittle, put down, argue, or judge what another christian, church, or pastor believes. 

We may have an obligation in our churches to strive to preach the truth in love (eph 4:15), and also scripture tells us to use God's word to correct, rebuke, and teach (2 Tim 4:2), but we many take this overboard and begin in my opinion becoming modern day pharisees making being a christians about being a part of a certain church group/denomination or you have to have certain beliefs or opinions or I can't fellowship with you or I won't recognize you as a "real" christian.

I am personally tired and frustrated by all the spiritual ignorance that is going on in our world today and people doing it  in the name of God.  People worship their denomination, or personal views, or a bible version, or a preacher, or personal doctrine more than they worship  our Lord.  What's up with that?

There are people out there that if you don't use a certain bible version  then you are a heretic, worldy, ignorant, stupid, and don't know the truth. There are those out there that if you aren't a member of their church group or denomination, you aren't really a true or real christian and you are being misled and following man and not God.  There are those out there who have such narrow views of God, His word, and faith that if you do not agree with their view on a certain topic like baptism, eternal security, worship, music, bible version, communion, speaking in tongue, spiritual gifts, etc..then you aren't really a good christian or you aren't as spiritual as them or are misled or confused.

I agree there are certain things in the Bible that are clear, in writing, and clear instructions of what God expects of His church and followers, however there are also many things in God's word where we as individuals have liberty or freedom.  This is hard for many to accept because they weren't "raised" that way or "taught" that way.  They were raised or taught one way and any other way is wrong, a sin, or blasphemy.  We as indivuals are responsible to read and study God's word.

I am not tyring to change anyone today, but I am trying to open our minds this morning, that we are hurting God and hurting the church and our faith if/when we are judgemental, dogmatic, militant, or harsh with our faith, especially toward others who are christians or go to different churches or maybe share different opinions about certain topics/subjects than us.  I think that type of behavior and attitude is way more wrong than what me or you believe about worship music, bible versions, or what to wear to church, or what I believe about the second coming.

I think they key for everyone is to ask ourselves about any issue is  "Is this a salvation issue"?  meaning if I believe this or practice this will it effect my salvation?  Or we need to ask ourselves "Is this Kingdom bearing"?  Meaning is this really a place for liberty, freedom, or personal conviction or is this a command from God.  I know it's hard for many of us to a accept or change our attitude and thoughts and ways that we've practice for ages, but I don't care how long you've been a christian, how long you've been preaching, or how long you've been a member of a certain church,  if you are putting down, belittling, name calling, or judging others to defend "your" position, faith, or church then you are nothing more than a bully, a trouble-maker, and causing division and dissension in the church body as a whole, and you are the one who is ignorant, misled, or missing the truth.

Jesus never treated people that way,  the only time Jesus was really harsh was to the ignorant, self-centered, arrogant Religious leaders and Pharisess due mostly to their attitude and self-proclaimed spiritual authority.

I am not saying we all compromise our beliefs or convictions, but what I am suggesting today is that we do not put down, look down, or not assoicated with other christians or churches simply because they don't share the exact same viewpoint, convictions, or opinions as me.  We do not have to agree on every issue to fellowship, accept on another, or worship together.   

I think we need to practice a lot more grace, respect, and unity with those churches and christians who may not share all the same practices, beliefs, views, or opinions that I may share.  If you feel convicted to about a bible version, or worship style, or some other issue, than do not  bind that on others.  Would you want someone to do you that way.  Also understand just becuase you have a conviction or belief about something doesn't mean you are correct or have authority to bind that on others.  Exericse love with others.  Respect their views.  It's not your job or place to always "correct"
 or "challenge" everyone and when you think you are doing them a favor, you really are just making them not want to be around you or listen to you because many times people who try to "correct' others in "error" usually do more damage than good.

We are on the same team, Yes!  Same Team!  You might not like it or agree with it, but we serve the same Lord.  We may choose to use a different bible version(which isn't changing God's word) simply a different translation(do some research) or we may choose to sing songs of worship differntly (contemporary worship, traditional hymn worship, instruments or no instruments), and we may go to churches that have different names on the sign/door, and we all may share diffrent views on a variety of topics in the bible(and they are endless it seems), but that doesn't make me or you less or more of a christian, righter or wronger(I just made up those words), or it doesn't make you or me more or less spiritual.

Come on people,  treat other christians with love and respect even when you disagree.  We are an example to the outside world and why in the world would a lost, unsaved, un-churches person ever want to go to church or follow Jesus if his current followers treat each other this way or can't get along or fight or put each other down?  We are being a bad example.  I would rather be righteous than right anyday.  I would rather agree to disagree than argue and fight and put a wedge between me and a bother, and I certainly do not have any authority from God to claim a person a christian or not if they do not line up with my own personal faith.

Let's start working together, getting along, respecting others differences, and stop focusing on trying to prove others wrong, and start focusing on reaching the lost, building up the church body, and doing our part to get along with others and love others.  I'm at a point in my life where I am tired of fighting and listening to other christians constantly pushing their message with hate and ignorance and juding others and putting them down.  I have no room in my life for people like this, if you don't accept me because I don't agree with you or line up with your thinking, then that is your problem and loss.  I for one will never put someone down or not fellowship with them or judge them not a christian because they don't agree with me or believe exactly as I do and I hope you will do the same.  Whether you like it or accept it, doesn't change the fact that we are on the SAME TEAM!

Romans 12:18(NIV)
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.