Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Proverbs 19:21(NIV)
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it it the  Lord’s purpose that prevails.
What does it mean to be intentional? How many times when you were a kid and you got in a fight with a sibling or friend and you said, "you did that on purpose" saying they cheated or hit you or tried to do something on purpose.  Well purpose is intent. and Being intentional is doing something on purpose.

Of course, I'm not talking about cheating, or hitting, or hurting others, I'm talking about doing good and serving God by doing things with purpose and on purpose. I am talking about being intentional in the way you life your life, treat people, act, your attitude, your behavior, lifestyle, etc...are your purposely striving to live a life that reflects God? Do you represent God by the way you treat others? Do you intentionally make an effort to try and serve God by serving others?

As Christians and as church members, we need to "Be Intentional" with how we live our lives on a day to day basis.  We need to "Be Intentional" with how we treat others because we represent God on this earth.  People need to see Jesus and His love through us and how we serve them and treat them.  Do you understand what I mean?  

Too many of us just go through life caught up on our own lives, schedules, problems, and agendas and do not make any effort to make a difference for God. Do we not realize that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, that you make a commitment not only to accept Him, but to live for Him, and living for Him means we grow in our faith, and we take on the responsibility to represent Him in this world. We will grow in our abilities and talents so that we can serve Him. Being a Christian means we are part of His Church, which is His spiritual body, and we are a body part, which means we serve a purpose in a specific way in the body of Christ(the church).  That means, we live and serve intentionally trying to please God, worship God, honor God, bring Him glory, and most of all maybe share that Love and Hope that Christ offers to others.

I want to encourage you today to start living "Intentionally". Meaning you and me are going to make an effort to do things for God "on purpose"!  We are going to make an effort to serve God in the local church and find ways at our job, schools, and other places where we can purposely make a difference for God or "be intentional" about our faith so that others may be intrigued, curious, or impressed with our devotion to God, and  just maybe may want what God has to offer. 

Be Intentional everyday for God in your life.  You are His representative. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Could it be me?

Could it be me?
Max Lucado shares this story in his book "Facing Your Giants":
In a concentration camp, a guard announced a shovel was missing. Screaming at the men, he kept insisting someone had stolen it.  He shouldered his rifle, ready to kill one prisoner at a time until a confession was made. As the story continues, a Scottish soldier broke ranks, stood stiffly at attention, and said, “I did it.”  The guard killed the man. As they returned to camp, the shovels were counted. The guard had made a mistake.  No shovel was missing after all.
Now Max was using this story to illustrate Jesus taking the blame for our sins, but I want to approach it from another angle.  The angle of the guard. The guard thought someone stole the shovel and all along it wasn't missing. We are guilty many times of blaming others for our shortcomings or mistakes.  Sort of like us blaming your spouse for moving your keys when we lose them only to find them in our coat pocket or blaming your kids for forgetting to turn off a light, when it was you  who forgot.

There are dying and divided churches all over this country full over well-meaning people who won't let go of control or reigns of the leadership in the church, or not so well-meaning christians who hinder, hurts, or hold the church back with their legalism, traditions, set in the ways mentality, and they fight and resist any changes because they think those things hurt the church, when in reality, they are the ones who are hurting the church by their refusal to move aside, let go, or cooperate.
Whether it's well meaning or not, is not the issue, good intentions and bad intentions still end up with the same result when the are wrong or based on selfishness, stubbornness, ignorance, or controlling ways.  I can do the wrong thing with the best of intentions and it's still wrong. I can do something the same way for 40 years and have been doing it wrong 40 years, or I can do something that works for awhile, but eventually it stops working and it needs fixed or change, but I refuse and cause more damage, sort of like driving on a car with bald tires for months after they should have been replaced until you finally end up wrecking your car or having a blow-out that cause damage to your vehicle.
We have to take a good hard, honest , & sincere look at ourselves and ask ourselves some difficult questions:  Am I holding the church hostage when I don't get my way? Am I keeping the church from growing by not allowing new people to serve? Am I hurting the church by continuing to lead when I'm not long willing, able, or equipped to lead?  Am I hindering the the church from growing by being rude, selfish, or judgmental of others and running them off from the church?  Could it be me when I keep blaming others or making excuses to why the church isn't growing or healthy?
So many times we are so self-unaware, even with good intentions we still be doing the wrong things.  We want to live in the past, hold onto the past, or worship our preferences and traditions over God working and moving in our church and lives.  If we are part of the problem, we need to realize that we are and either change our attitude, our hearts, our vision, our motives, or our ways or we need to be mature enough to be willing to follow others or simply move out of the way so others can do what God has  called them to do. There also may be cases where we need to repent and ask for forgiveness for hindering, hurting, or holding God's church back.
When you have to fight to maintain control, or get your way, or go behind the scenes to make things happen in order to get your way or keep control whether in a job, on a team, in a relationship, and especially in a church, it's just plan wrong, and even more I think it's sin.  
I've always heard if you think everyone else around you is crazy and your the only sane person, chances are you are the crazy one.  Same goes for church, when you think other people are always the problem or blame in the church for it not growing or reaching it's potential, chances are you may be part of the problem.   So you need to change or get out of the way so that God can move and work in His people  to build His kingdom of reaching the lost and helping members grow and mature in their faith(making disciples).   Changes isn't wrong, keeping up with times isn't a sin, and trying new things of doing things a different way isn't evil as long as it's biblical and about obeying God.
How great could our local churches be, if good leaders would lead, bad leaders would resign and let good leaders lead, if certain people didn't try to run the church and instead let God do the running, it's His job anyway, and just were a willing servant ready to serve.  How much could a church accomplish in the local community if the members all worked together to help the church and not hurt it, to hold up one another instead of holding the church hostage so they can continue to have control, or if they moved out of the way or moved to an attitude of serving others and God instead of hindering the work that God was trying to do their in their local body?   
Remember in the OT when King David had an affair with Bathsheba and then she got pregnant and David had her husband Uriah killed so that he could cover it up? And God sent Nathan to confront David and this is what Nathan said to David:
2 Samuel 12:4-6(NIV)“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!
David was angered at the story and the treatment of the people in the story, until He realized Nathan was talking about Him and He did the same thing as the rich man in the story.  We like David need to repent of our sins, accept responsibility for our actions and attitudes and change our hearts so that we can serve God not ourselves. Don't be the reason the church is dying, dwindling, dividing, or damaged.  Help it! Love it! Support it! Care for it.  

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Real Faith

Real Faith

Do you have real faith or just real religion?  Do you have real faith or just really go through the motions of christianity? Do you have real faith or is church and christianity just an option you choose when you don't have something better to do?  Only you can answer these questions, but Real Faith is life changing, it grows, develops, matures, and deepens.

Hebrews 11:1 gives us a biblical definition of faith  "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."  Real Faith means that I am confident that the Hope I have in Jesus Christ is worth living and dying for and I am assured of my salvation and am going to live for Jesus even though I may not physically see Him.  Faith is bigger than just believing, scripture also teaches us that believing is not enough and even demons believe(James 2:19), of course we have to "believe" in order to have faith, but many just stop at believing.  I can believe lots of things and not let them change my life, character, lifestyle, choices, decisions, or bad habits.  

Belief is not enough, we must act upon what we believe about God and His Word and Salvation. Acting upon belief is Faith!  Real Faith is living every day trusting in God and His promises, His Spirit, His Salvation, and His Word.  It is allowing God to work in your life and make a real difference in your life.

When we have Real Faith we are going to have a positive attitude, we are going to trust God through the rough patches and tough times, and we are also going to be more selfless and care about others. We are going to have a desire to serve and give to God through His local church body and be an active part of the church. We are going to be faithful in attendance, service, worship, giving, and living!\

I am reminded of the picture of Jesus walking on the water and one of his followers Peter wanted to come out on the water with Him, so Jesus invited Him out and sure enough Peter got out of the boat and started walking toward Jesus on the water, but then something happened, Peter got distracted by his surroundings the wind, the water, etc..and he began to sink and Jesus had to reach out and catch him.  The point?  If we want to have real faith, we have to keep our eyes on Jesus, not be distracted by problems, greed, selfish desires, sins, etc...and we have to keep our focus on God and trust Him with our whole entire being, our hearts and our lives.  Do you truly trust God? Do you truly live for him? Do you have a real faith? Like the picture with this blog, I think we do a lot of talking, but we don't truly trust God, or live out and practice real faith.

Matthew 14:29b-31
"Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Thursday, August 01, 2013

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do?

"What would you do for a Klondike bar?" Many of us may remember that slogan about the ice cream treat, and the things people would do to eat one.  But, I also wonder what you and I are willing to do when it comes to our Faith, the Church, or for God?

What Would You do? Would you be willing to sacrifice your favorite seat in the church for a visitor or new family? Would you give up your "control" or "power" in the local church so that others could lead? Would you encourage new people to serve along side you in the ministries you've been serving in for years?

One of the biggest complaints I've seen from new or potential members over the years when visiting or attending a new church, is the feeling they are not welcome or not encouraged to help?   That is sad beyond belief.  Any Christians worth their salt should love and encourage others to serve along side them or should be mature enough to mentor, train, or get out of the way when new leaders or servers come up.  No one should have to tell you that, if your heart and motives are in the right place, you should love to help or serve others, especially those who are new to the church or new to the faith.

Yet, we live in a world where most churches are full of people who are "set in their ways", "comfortable", and who do not want to "give up" anything, not their seats, not their status, not control, and not their traditions, nothing.  Yet, they don't realize they are being selfish, hurting the church, and yes even holding back the church.   This should never happen in the Lord's body.  Anyone who is a member of a church should feel welcome to sit anywhere they want, dress how they want, and volunteer to serve where they feel led and gifted.

If our identity in the church is not in Christ, but in some ministry or service we do, we've lost the true meaning of serving in the first place, or we've forgot whey we serve and lead? It's for God! His glory! His Worship! His Purpose!  We also have to realize that God wants to use us to serve others, help others, welcome others, encourage others, mentor others, and yes sometimes it means we have to be hospitable, welcoming, and helpful to new members, visitors, and potential future servants and leaders.

I  don't think their is an age limit on serving or leading, but I do think their is an "effective" level. There comes a time when we've outlived our effectiveness in a ministry or position and it's time to turn it over to someone else and we need to be willing and able to do that, selflessly and without running others off because we don't want to give up our spot, or our place, or our purpose.

So, I ask the question to you again, What Would You Do? What would you be willing to do in order to see someone saved? To see someone place membership in your local church body?  To see someone get plugged in to serving God at your church? To helping someone or mentoring them in their faith or giftedness?

We all need to be welcoming, hospitable, helpful, encouraging, supportive, self-less, and Christ-like no matter our age, our personality, or background. We also have to realize the church isn't ours, but God's and we are simply a part of it, like everyone else and we are not more valuable than the next person, we all are valuable to God and we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to make others feel welcome, accepted, and wanted by God and by us.

I'd give up my seat to see a visitor have a place to sit, I'd give  up  my time in order to mentor someone new in the faith or show them the ropes, I'd give up my position to someone else if they could do a better job, and I'd give up anything it will help the kingdom of God.

Matthew 10:40(NIV)
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.