Wednesday, December 31, 2014



Intent is our aim or purpose or intentions in something.  Sometimes we have good intent and sometimes we have bad intent. But, our intentions should always strive to be good and healthy and as Christians, Godly.

We have too many churches and too many Christians who are supposed to wear the name Christian and be the church, yet their intentions are not pure and holy and of God, they are of their own agenda and purposes. That is sin and we need to repent when we have other intentions besides worshipping, honoring, and glorifying God.

Too many times Christians even out in the work place, or our schools, or world do things will ill intent and that does not represent Christ or His church well.  We have a responsibility if we are going to be a Christ-follower and claim His name and if we're going to be a body member(part) of His Church Body we must represent Him and His church body well.

None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes, but the difference between mistake and calculated is intent, the difference between accident and on purpose is intent.  When people go to trials for murders, drugs, and different things the key to the case is whether they can prove the person's intent or not.   Though, we are not on trial, we are under the watchful eye and authority of our God and His desire is for all of us to live with Godly intentions.

This can take on many forms in many situations, but when we serve in any capacity our intent should be use our talents for God, build up His church, and give Him glory not our own personal or egotistical intentions.   When we give whether of our time, our talents, or treasures(financially) to God's church our intent should always be to do it and give it to God, not for our own insincere or selfish motives.  Also, our intentions should always be to help others and serve others and not be looking for attention, glory, or things for ourselves.

Intent does make the difference. We have to ask ourselves: Am I doing this for me or for God?  Am I letting God get the glory or am I seeking my own glory?  Am I looking to honor God with my actions or attitude or am I trying to get back at someone, or stroke my own ego, or seeking revenge? We need to check our intentions in all we do to make sure all we do is for God, about God, and honors God. When we don't care who gets the credit, we're doing it for God. When we don't expect things in return we're doing it for God.

Growing as a Christian and becoming mature in our faith takes time and is a process, however we can go a long way to help ourselves by always having intentions be for God and our spiritual growth and not for ourselves or our personal agendas.    God deserves our best and we all have a part in His body to do our part for the right reasons. It's not enough to do the right thing, many may do the right thing with the wrong intentions or motives, we must not only do the right things, but we must do them with the right intent.

James 1:25(niv)
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014



Proverbs 10:4
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
You know who I'm talking about? Those people who expect form others and yet do nothing for themselves.  They think everyone owes them, yet they take no initiative or responsibility for themselves.  They try and take advantage of family, friends, organizations, and yes, even churches.

If I had something about being a Pastor I dislike it's probably having to deal with people wanting a hand-out from the church.  These folks call with their rehearsed story and then act like I am obligated to help them. I am all for helping the poor and needy and the church helping those in need and glad to do it when the need is real,  but the problem is our definition of poor and needy. Some folks are poor because of their own choices, selfishness, or unwillingness to work.  They want to live off of the government or others hard work.  Some folks are needy and others  are just "wanty", meaning they just want to call around and go around and get hand-outs from churches or other places to pay their rent, utilities, buy gas for their car, give them food, and other items and they take away from those who are actually in need.

Sometimes we as Christians and churches create this type of mooching and freeloading because we think it's our job to help others and have pity and though I agree God wants us to help others, He also expect us all to help ourselves, to work, to plan, to provide, and not just look for handouts or ways to get out of work or get something for free.  God  also wants the church to help those who help themselves and those who are in need like widows or orphans or in distress,  not those who are chronically looking for a hand-out or those who can work or provide for themselves, but don't because their job is going around getting hand-outs.  We have to be careful we  as Christians/churches that we are not enabling or being a willing partner to those who want to take advantage of others or want free handouts and freeload and mooch off of the kindness and generosity of others. 

I think as Christians we have to use discernment and Godly wisdom to determine who to help and who not to help. Now, ultimately God will deal with those who purposely take advantage of others and freeload and mooch off of Him and His church or children, but we still must make an effort to help those who truly need it and not just be a willing party to someone's con to get out of work or get something for free. We are a church, we are not a grocery store, a department store, an ATM, gas station, landlord, or utility company.  We are the body of Christ and we must use God's resources wisely.  We help those with legitimate needs and those who are sincere, honest, and also not expecting it.

People are also this way with God.  Churches are full of people who come in and sit on pews in churches and give nothing to God, do not serve or volunteer in anyway, and then they expect God and the church to do everything for them, give them everything, and be at their beckon call, and this is what I call a spiritual mooch.  They give God nothing and expect everything from Him. 

Have you ever looked at it that way? Ever had a friend or relative come and stay with you and they stayed longer than they were supposed to and then they weren't appreciative or didn't offer to help or do anything? Ate all your food and didn't clean up after themselves or anything?  That is how we can be with God? We want him to take care of us without us having to lift a finger and then we can't even appreciate what He does for us. We must be careful that we don't mooch off of God, but we all do our part in the body of Christ, we serve and give, and we help ourselves.

I think this attitude in America we have of not wanting to work for what we have and expect others to take care of us is a big problem and it's not  what God wants.  I think Paul describes it best in 2 Thessalonians Chapter 3 when we warns that church about being idle/lazy. He gave an example when they came to visit they to pay for your own way if you can, to not be lazy and work and not be a burden to others and reminds us if you don't work, you don't eat.  Let us follow this example by not being a burden to God or the church and not allow others to be a burden.  We honor Christ by helping ourselves and helping others who truly have need and not just helping those who want to freeload or mooch off of others.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-10
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Thursday, December 18, 2014



I am a firm believer in being faithful to God's church in attending services, programs, and events.  While attending doesn't save you, it certainly shows how much you value the Lord and His church. God did not establish the church for our attendance to be optional. He also didn't establish the church for our involvement to be optional either.

God created and established the church as His spiritual body on earth to be the means to which the world will come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  We "the church" was God's chosen vessel to get this message out the "gospel" "good news" so that people will know about Jesus Christ and accept them as their Lord and Savior and follow Him.  The church not only has a calling to seek and save the lost, but we also are to make disciples which means once we become Christians we should learn and grow in our faith so that we can share it with others, but also serve the Lord through His church, not just attend church services, but participate and be involved in the kingdom work.

If you are a Christian, you are a part of the body of Christ, if you are a part of the body of Christ you actually have a "part" in the body, which means you participate and be involved in the life of the body.  The body can't have living and dead parts. The body can't have active and inactive body parts. If that is the case then the body won't be healthy and won't work properly.  Can you imagine if your physical body had parts that were alive and parts that were dead? Or parts that were active and parts that were not? Some people live with physical disabilities because of disease or accident that limits them in some ways and we limit the body of Christ when we don't do our part and participate.

God did not call us to sit on the bench or sidelines, He wants us to get up and get involved.  I can remember being in school and taking gym class or PE and the only requirement to get an "A" was to dress and participate.  How easy is that?  You didn't have to be good at sports or exercise you just had to be willing to participate in order to get a grade.  That is a true "A" for effort.  That is what God wants from all of us effort and willingness to participate, but the good news is God supplies us all with certain gifts and abilities that He wants us to us in His church.

Gods desire is for all His children to desire to be in church, to attend worship services and bible studies, etc... but He also desires for His children to not just attend and warm a pew or a chair, but to actually participate.  Maybe that means serving communion, or offering a prayer. Maybe that means working in the nursery, or teaching a Sunday school class?  Maybe that means leading a ministry or serving as a deacon or an elder?  Maybe that means learning to run sound system or singing in the choir? I don't know what it means for you, but I know God doesn't expect a handful of the body parts to do all the work for the entire body, yet that is what we have in most churches, a few doing the work for all and it's time that changes.

I want to encourage you wherever you got to church, no matter your age, or how long you've been a Christian to find a way not only to be faithful to God and His church with your attendance, but also with your involvement and participation.  God didn't create you to be a by-stander or a freeloader in the church. He created you to worship, serve, give, and participate. We should participate with Christ in a variety of ways realizing being a Christian is about being like Him and being a church member is about being a part of His body.

Philippians 3:10(NIV)
 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Which way?

Which Way?

Proverbs 16:2(NIV)
All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.
There seems to be an epidemic in many churches today and that is are we doing things the way we've always done them because they are the way "I" like them done or are willing to do things in a way that honors God's commands of seeking and saving the lost and making disciples?
Too many christians and churches alike spend way too much time fighting unnecessary battles over traditions, worship music, programs, etc...when what we really need to look at is the root of the problem and that is the selfish motives behind them.  Many times people refuse to change or cling to things because "they like them" or "they want them" and not because that is what is best for the church or even God's will.
While singing old hymns may not be wrong and can glorify God if it's not reaching lost people or attracting the younger crowd it may mean its time to sing some new music or blend in something that relates a little better to other generations.  We forget singing is not about "our" preference but worshipping God.  God can and does accept worship of all styles of music and songs, even if we don't. If it works in your church keep it, if not change or adjust your music styles.
While having revivals, vacation bible schools, autumn festivals, or some other annual events may have been done in our churches for years, if people have stopped supporting them with their feet(showing up) , then it doesn't matter if we like them or always done them, it's about whether they are effective, worth the time and money, and whether they are fulfilling the purpose of even having them.   Again, God isn't interested in our traditions and events as much as he's interested in us being good stewards of our time and His money and putting on events that are helping the church grow by reaching the lost or helping members grow.  If it works keep doing it, if not end it and do something new.
Every church has their own set of traditions, programs, events, and things they do in their local church and while some are great and continue to be a great ministry and effective for the kingdom, others have taken their toll and run their course and it's time to find another way to be effective and another method of reaching out and making disciples.   It may be time to start new traditions or find new or different ways to help the church grow.  As culture and the world changes we have to change our methods of doing things. Changing methods of how we do things isn't changing the message of Jesus Christ. The gospel message is always the same, but we have to find different methods to share that message with different people at different times.
I think we all can agree that what I liked as a child was different than what my parents or grandparents liked as a child.  I think we can all agree that we all have difference preference on the types of music we like, the type of sports teams we like, and the types of clothing styles we like.   And the truth is there is no one right or wrong, it's just what we prefer or fits our personality.  However, all the sudden we come to church and we start making our preferences gospel and the only way. Jesus is the only way, but there are many ways to reach the lost for Jesus and many ways for people to worship and serve Jesus.
I think the root of the problem is this,  Is it about your way or God's Way?  Do you fight, challenge, resist, push, or gripe if something is not the way you want it or like it not because your worried about offending God but because your worried about your own feelings, desires, wants, or preferences.  I think we are selfish when we try to hold our churches hostage with being "set in our ways" or always resisting any new or different changes.
We have to ask ourselves a very tough question, are we being selfish? Are we trying to get our way or are we trying to follow God's Way  Now, before we're quick to say our way is God's way, which many claim, think about it, if our way isn't working, making a difference, fulfilling the great commission, helping the church grow, reaching lost people or younger generations, then maybe we are being a little selfish or narrow-sighted.  I think this is an issue of the heart, because our heart should be like Jesus and Jesus wasn't selfish, narrow-minded, or one-sided. 
Jesus cared about people and gave us a model of being a servant, being unselfish, and sacrificing.. Do you think maybe we could make some sacrifices of our personal preferences for the greater good of the church?  I am a Pastor of a church and even as a Pastor, I do not get my way in all things(nor do I want my way in all things), we don't sing all the songs or styles of music I'd prefer, and we don't do some things I'd like to do and we do some things I'd like to do different, but it's not about me.   The church is God's not Jason's.  The church is the body of Christ and it's about building up Christ not me.  It's about doing things for God's will not my own, so naturally there are things that are better for God or better for the church overall that I may not prefer or would do different, but I sometimes have to set aside my wants, wishes, desires, and ego for the greater good of the kingdom.  Are you willing to do that?
After all, if the church never changes or does things different what happens? The church eventually dwindles and dies, they lose leaders, servants,  young people and families, and what is left is a bunch of elderly folks who eventually die off and the church closes. Even many churches may still have their door open today, but in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years? Many of them will be gone because they allowed a few people to dictate selfish ways and preferences and stopped being about the business of the kingdom and  refuse to change some things and now the church is dying a slow death.  Why? because people care more about their way than God's.
I want to challenge you no matter where you go to church, to be a positive part of that church.  Be open to the Spirit's leading, be open to change, be open to ideas and things that are bigger than you or you preferences.  Realize the church is bigger than you and the church must be about reaching the lost and making disciples or the church is nothing more than a religious social club of tradition. I want to encourage you to do your part to be a positive part of the kingdom in your local church. Help. Be supportive of the pastor and leadership.  Serve. Give. Lead. Come up with new ideas, methods, and ways of doing things to do things God's Way for God's will.   I'm not saying all old things or traditions are bad, if they are still working and effective keep doing them, but evaluate all you do on a regular basis and if what you are doing is not longer effective or working or productive than be willing to put your feelings aside and do what is best for the kingdom.
Sometimes we have to sacrifice our egos, our personal preferences, and feelings in order to do greater good and to see God's church grow, isn't that what its about to begin with? God's glory not our wants? God's will not ours? God's commission not our comfort zone.  So, always ask yourself this question is this about my way or is this God's way? Don't hold the church back. Don't run people off. Don't be selfish or self-focused.  Always keep in mind the church and Christianity is about Jesus not us, His way not ours.  Let's be about the Father's business and all we do be about His Kingdom.
Philippians 2:3a(NIV)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Excuse my Excuses

Excuse My Excuses

"The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse." -author unknown

We all can be guilty of making excuses, but a couple areas where we make excuses sometimes that are unhealthy is with our behavior and habits. We excuse our poor behavior and continue it without making any attempts to improve it. We also can be guilty of making excuses for others like family, friends, co-workers behavior and habits and the result of that is us enabling or allowing their continued bad habits/behavior. 

What I'm talking about is this, look at these examples:  "Oh that's just Mary she's always late, we're use to it", or "that's just how Jim is He's always moody", or "oh there goes Sally again she's always losing her temper and going off on people", or "that's Rick he's  always undependable and not doing what he said he would do", you see how we make excuses for peoples poor behavior/habits/attitudes and we allow them to continue or better yet, what about when we do it ourselves "I'm just having a bad day", "I didn't have enough coffee", "didn't get enough sleep", "you make me lose my temper", "you're the reason I'm always late".

Excuses. We have them. We make them. We offer them.  We use excuses to excuse our behavior and the behavior of others and the end result is nothing changes and some continue to get worse or out of control.  If you're a Christ follower, then there are no excuses for sinful or bad behavior, bad habits, poor character traits, or not accepting responsibility for our actions/attitudes.  I also think based on my study of scripture that God doesn't want us to enable, condone, or allow others to act this way or defend them, but instead correct them, rebuke them, hold them accountable, and expect the same in return.

There is an infinite amount of excuses we can make for why we are lazy,  bossy, always late,  grouchy, mean, undependable, sin, and why we do or say anything under the sun.  But, how are you honoring God, your relationships, your integrity or character, your employer, your church, your friends, or your own self respect by making excuses for your mistakes, poor decisions, bad judgments, bad habits, lack of discipline, poor choices, etc...? You're not.  God is honored when we are honest, sincere, make an effort, accept responsibility, do our best, are willing and able, and work to be the best person we can be for His glory.

I got a list a mile long of my bad habits, bad attitudes, and character flaws and quirks, I imagine we all do, but please don't make excuses for me or allow me to make excuses for myself. I also will not allow you or others to make excuses for yourself and I will strive to not excuse others actions/attitudes.  God designed Christians(the church body) to support each other, encourage one another, lift each other up, hold one another accountable, and  work together.  We can't do that if we are not giving God or others our best.

We need to be self-aware and have self-respect and respect for others. We should all  work at having respect for others time, feelings, personal space, property, our relationship, boundaries, or whatever we lacking.  We need to stop making excuses for ourselves and be the best that God created us to be. We also need to stop making excuses for others and allowing them to continue hurting themselves or others or continue with bad behavior, habits, or qualities that may be effective us or others.

Stop being late, stop taking our your anger on other people, stop being bossy, stop being unreliable, stop taking shortcuts, stop being a jerk, stop waiting til the last minute, or stop whatever it is you are doing that is a bad habit, bad attitude, or bad behavior and stop making excuses and start making a plan to overcome bad with good.  Stop making excuses for yourself and others. Join me at working on no more excuses for myself or others and lets make the world a better place  by being more like Christ.

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.