Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's your excuse?

What's Your Excuse?

It seems that when it comes to why people do not go to church or why they aren't christians the excuses can be endless.  But, in the end it's all they are: Excuses!

There is no excuse that is good enough out there that gives us a pass from not being an active part of  "THE BODY OF CHRIST", that is what the church is(read I Corinthians 12:12-31).  That means that we must not only "attend" church services, but more importantly, we must be "committed" to serving and being active AS THE church.

There is also no excuse out there to stop going to church or being a part of the local church body.  How many times have I heard people say they got mad at someone, they got their feelings hurt, or the preacher didn't visit them, or they missed church and no one noticed.....etc....etc.....we can make all the excuses, find all the reasons, and justify every one of them, but the bottom line is, it's an excuse.  Many stop going to church all together or they "church hop" everytime they don't get there way or like something.

People C'mon!  If you had a bad experience at one restaurant would you avoid every eating at a restaurant again? If you went to Wal-Mart and a cashier was rude to you or made you mad, would you stop going to Wal-mart or boycott all Wal-marts or deparment stores?  Absolutely Not! So we cannot with all honesty blame one person or one church for us giving up on God or our faith.  The problem with everyone's faith and attitude about church or God is internal, meaning the problem is us, not the church and not others.

Truth is, there are bad churches out there. Truth is, there are people out there who are christians who are mean, dishonest, rude, and selfish and they hurt people.  I can be honest and say some of my deepest hurts in this life have come at the expense of people who called themselves Christians and was part of the church.   Truth is, the church is made up of imperfect people and also people who  are so harded the Holy Spirit can't convict them or they are so selfish they have hardly a conscience and satan has a foothold in their lives or that church, but that doesn't make all Christians bad or all churches bad.

We need to stop making excuses to avoid going to church and being faithful to God.   Whether we like it or not, Jesus Christ after His resurrection from the dead for our sins, He established the church and if He did that, it's pretty important, not optional to our faith.  If He felt the church was important enough to compare it to His body and we are a part of His body, then we need to take it serious and stop making excuses to avoid it or not be a committed part to it by giving of our time, our talents, or our treasures.

We also need to understand that if we "call"  ourselves a Christian or we are a member of a church, that more is expected of us.  Some of you reading this today might be that negative part of the church or the one giving christianity a bad name,  no excuse for people to not go to church or be christians, but we all could help by being a more positive part of the church and being a better example of our faith in God, people have enough excuses to not go to church, don't make it easier for them.

Reality, is God wants you to be a part of His church and He wants you to be a devoted Christian and follower of His.  Excuses aren't going to cut it and they will not be accepted by God. Do not let satan, lousy christians, bad churches, or most of all lame excuses keep you from being a part of the Body of Christ(the Church) or serving God and giving to Him as a Christian.

 If someone makes you mad at a church, pray for them, or if it's serious be honest with them and confront them, or take it to the church leadership, or if you're sin a situation that seems like it's not going to get better, than move on, but find another place to serve and worship, don't stop going or being a christian because of one person or one bad church experience.  Church is bigger than one local church and christian faith is bigger than one person who isn't practicing their faith.  Stop makign excuses and start being a positive part of the church body and work on your personal walk with Jesus.

Romans 1:20(NIV)
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Running on Empty

Running On Empty

Most of the time that sounds like a bad thing doesn't it?  When we are running on empty usually means we've stretched ourselves too thin, aren't getting enough rest, and have too many irons in the fire.  But, did you ever think of it in another way? I'm talking about a differnt kind of empty and it's a good thing!

We live with the HOPE of what Jesus Christ did for us, not only dying on the cross for our sins, not only defeating death, hell, and sin, but He rose from the grave and left an empty tomb, and because of that empty tomb, we have the hope of eternal life and salvation from our sins, therefore, we are running this race in life with God because of the empty tomb. 

So when I say "running on empty" it's a good thing!  We focus a lot on the cross and Jesus death, but so many times, we forget to focus on what was even more important, that HE ROSE!  He overcame death!  He defeated it! He not only defeated death, but in the process became sin on our behalf and took our sin and defeated it, and because of defeating death and sin, He defeated Hell, which is the punishment of sin and sin brought death into the world.

Only a perfect sacrifice from God could ever defeat sin, death, and hell.  That victory is symbolic in the empty tomb.  We have life because of His death.  We have forgiveness of sins because of Him becoming our sin.  We have a choice to spend eternity in Heaven instead of Hell because He overcame hell.  Do you see why the empty tomb is reason to celebrate? Do you see why we can run this race of life with confidence because of the empty tomb?  Do you why we have hope in this world because of Jesus?

People live their lives every day going about their daily business and routines and chasing after things of this world that they think will give their life meaning, value, and purpose, but they are running and chasing in vain.  They are filling their lives with all sorts of things and none of them can bring peace, purpose, value, or hope.  Only Jesus Christ with His death on the cross, His defeat of sin, His victory over hell, and most importantly that empty tomb gives anyone and everyone who will accept it everything they could ever need for purpospe, peace, value, meaning, and hope!

Are you running on empty today? 

John 20:1-10(NIV)
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Thursday, March 15, 2012



Psalm 49:5 (NIV)
 5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me

I'm not sure there is a worst feeling than being betrayed or hurt or "stabbed in the back" as we like to say by those we love, care about, or consider family or friend.  It's tough, and not an easy answer to respond to how to overcome those tragic moments.  It is true that sometimes you  those we love the most end up hurting us the most, even when it can come to violence or abuse.

I am not sure what always makes a husband hit his wife, or a wife to have an affair on her husband, or parents to abuse their kids, or co-workers to throw us under the bus, or for our best friend to lie to us, our boy/girfriend to cheat on you, or a friend to gossip about you?  I am sure there are many scenarios out there where me and you have been hurt or wounded by a friend or family member.  We expect it from an enemy or stranger sometimes, but never from those we love, trust, or respect the most.

I've been there, am there, and I'm sure many of you reading this have been there or are there too.  What do we do? How do we handle it?  How do we overcome or heal from it?  I think every situation is different and to different degrees and level, but  I think there are some things we can do.

First, we have to forgive.  I am not saying forget, I am not saying allow the person to keep hurting you, or to even stay in the relationship.  They best thing may to end the relationship or part ways or put distance, but forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things.  Forgiving is about you releasing yourself of the anger toward the person or offense, so that you do not become vengeful, resentful, bitter, or do or say things you will regret or put yourself at same level as the guilty.  Forgive the offense, and focus on healing.

Secondly, we have to protect ourselves. This may mean distancing yourself from the person, or having nothing to do with them, or ending the relationship, or simply avoiding them until they make sincere effort to change. This step is hard for many people because we feel guilty, or feel sorry for the person especially if it's a loved one, we can make excuses for them, and all these unhealthy things. But, when there is danger, you run, you get out of harms way, and avoid those people that are toxic, dangerous, manipulating, or purposely being or doing wrong.  This isn't being mean or harsh, it's protecting you and your family and sometimes your health or sanity.  It also doesn't mean your a bad christian because you withdrawal from a relationship because of how you've been treated.  Bible says forgive, it doesn't say keep putting up with peoples behaviors.

Thirdly, we keep doing right.  Do not let others actions keep you from trusting people, loving people, or moving on with your life.  There are bad people out there, but no all people are bad.  We just simpoly have to choose better and more wisely those we befriend, marry, date, or family we let close to us.    Even in our best efforts to do right or be a Godly person, because of sin and satan even good people are going to hurt us or wrong us sometimes, but the key is was it accidentaly or intential?  Was it an isolated event or does it consistently happen?  Do not  let others bad behaviors or lifestyles keep you from doing right and being a good person.  If you see red flags, or pick up on inconsistencies in someones speech or behaviors, than beware.

We can pray for those who hurt us, we can pray for God to give us the strength and peace to ovecome and move on and heal and we can read scripture and maybe some other christian books to help us in our quest to heal from hurts.  Wounds seem to be deeper aned hurt more when they are from people who we love and respect and whom we've trusted ourselves around, but we still can learn from this, overcome, don't keep repeating the same hurts and mistakes, heal, and move forward with our lives and sometimes that means without those negative, toxic, and harmful people in our lives and sometimes it can mean restoration or healing of a relationship, that really depends on the offender. 
Psalm 101:4(NIV)
The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil.Titus 3:10(NIV)
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.

Thursday, March 08, 2012



Proverbs 16:2(NIV)
All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD

I think that is a legitimate question to ask ourselves as we go about our daily lives.  Not only what motivates us to do what we do and act like we do, but also what are our motives for our relationships? How we treat people?  Why we do things?

Many times we can do things with selfish or self-seeking motives, using or taking advantage of people, especially people we are supposed to love and trust.  We do things only with the intention of holding it over their head, or to get something in return, or to get infomation, or hold it aginst them, or to get something out of it ourselves.  That is no  way to treat anyone, especially people we love.

I have had people do me a favor, then bring it up when they wanted me to do something for them, like I owed them, even though their favor to me was unsoliciated.  We will be nice to people at school or work to get them to do our work for us or make us look good.  We will take advantage of relationships and parents will use their kids and kids use their parents and husbands their wives and vice versa not for the greater good or love, but for selfish or self-centered reasons.

Our motives in life, especially for those who desire to be a Christian and live for God need to be pure, holy, sincere, and honest.   As Christians we help people for God's sake and never expect anything in return.  We are to love people and treat them fairly, honestly, and respectful and not in a way to use them, exploit them, take advantage of them, or walk on them.

There is not a worse feeling in the world than feeling used or betrayed or manipulated by someone, especially by someone you are supposed to love and respect.  This behavior turns into a lifestyle and does not honor God.  I would be bold enough to say it's sinful for us to have impure or selfish motives in any relationship.

I think the desire for anyone is to be treated with love, dignity, respect, and our best interest in mind and in return we do the same thing for others.  We love people the way God loves us and the way God loves others.  The greatest command given when ask to God was this:  "Love God, Love Others."  You cannot fulfill either with you have hidden or secret motives that are selfish.

I want to encourage everyone reading this today to have pure motives.  Let God motivate you to be a good person and treat people honestly and fairly.  To love others and to not expect anything in return when you do something for someone.  Do not do anything for selfish reasons or treat people selfishly.

Philippians 2:3-4
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.