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Honesty

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?

3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation — Psalm 42:1-5 (ESV)

I often wonder if I am doing enough as a father to inspire my children to seek a relationship with God. Do I set an example of depending on God day after day? Have I shown them that sometimes the only way to truly appreciate a cool drink is to know what it is like to be really thirsty? Honestly I have to admit that I don’t know. While I am certainly working on moving closer to Christ, I can’t give a measurement of the distance I have to go.

That isn’t necessarily a bad place to be, I guess. Maybe it is okay for my girls to see that I’m not perfect and that I am still working on what it is to follow Jesus. Or maybe it is okay for me to be okay with them seeing my imperfection. Honesty is one of the most notable characteristics of the Psalms. Yet that honesty is always tempered with truth. It is why the discouraged put their hope in God.

So I will live imperfectly with my children, transparent and honest about my life with God, but always rooted in the truth. This sounds like a good way to instill a thirst for God in all of us.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

What Does Evangelism mean?

What does it mean to be an evangelist? The word evangelist is derived from the Greek Word “euaggelistes” when means “one who declares good news. Jesus did so much during his earthly ministry to give us examples in what it means to be an evangelist. 

After washing the disciples feet, he actually told them it was an example and they were to do the same.  He was calling the disciples to humble themselves and to serve one another. We are commanded to imitate Christ by doing the things he did. It goes without saying that in order to model our actions after Jesus, then we must study his words and actions so that we can.

Jesus was not just a preacher.  He was not tied to a pulpit, nor was he just an itinerant evangelist.  Jesus ministered to the needs of people by going out among the people.  Matthew 5, 6 and 7 is well known as the Sermon on the Mount. 

These chapters contain many examples of how Jesus challenged people to change the way they think.  Then immediately in chapters 8 and 9, Jesus went out and changed people’s lives.  He cleansed the lepers, healed the sick and raised the dead.  He wasn’t sitting in an office somewhere blogging about helping people; he was on the front lines, in the trenches so to speak, getting his hands dirty.  He changed people’s thoughts and he changed their lives. 

Jesus ministry was about showing people God.  Colossians 1 describes him as the “image of the invisible God.”  In John 14, Jesus told his disciples that if they had seen him they had seen God.  Jesus wasn’t just making God visible; he was illustrating what God is like.  The Pharisees had kept the letter of the Law, but in doing so, they missed the spirit.  Jesus was on earth to remind us what the heart of God is like.  

The story of the Prodigal Son shows us a father that is merciful toward a son that does not deserve mercy.  Jesus told dozens of these stories.  The message he delivered and the lessons he taught were not his own; he shared what the Father had taught him.  We can listen to Jesus and still hear the Word of God today. 

This is a 3-point message:

1) Jesus changed people’s lives. 

2) Jesus showed people God. 

3) He wants us to do the same. 

In John 14, Jesus plainly instructs his followers to go on doing the things he did.  Some he said would do even greater things.  Now consider if you will these two scriptures, both the words of Jesus:

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  -John 8:12

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  -Matt 5:12

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”  But he also said “You are the light of the world.”  During his ministry, Jesus himself showed people what God was like.  He shined the Gospel light into a dark world.  And now… it is all of us who carry the light.  We possess Jesus Christ in our hearts, and the knowledge of salvation.  The Gospel has been entrusted to us, and we must carry it to every corner of the globe. 

I discussed this matter with a friend to come up with opportunities to spread God’s word and here’s what we came up with:

  1. Look at the people we work with, we spend more time with them then our families, so there is an area we could be reaching.
  2. Many people reserve the weekends for family time, an idea would be find an area where your whole family could serve, such as a food pantry/soup kitchen.
  3. It can be as simple as being thankful and gracious in conversation.  
  4. In addition to serving together, I think inviting people to dinner is a great way to share the gospel too.  What better way to exemplify the giving/serving nature of Jesus than to invite someone into your home and feed their bellies? 

Ministry is more than preaching in the pulpit or teaching a Sunday school class.  We must do the things that Jesus did.  The Jesus that ate with sinners and touched sick people.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

What’s Your Mix

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Once upon a time, mix tapes were all the rage. If you don’t remember, a mix tape was when you would record all your favorite songs on a cassette tape. Now we have mix lists on our iPhones. A good mix can lift your mood, inspire you in a workout, and help you relax too.

Unfortunately, the mix we sometimes play for ourselves does the opposite. It says:

- you’re not good enough

- you’re not pretty enough

- you’re not smart enough

Thankfully God has his own mix for our lives;

When you say “I’m inadequate”, God says:“You are CHOSEN.”

You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,“and my servant whom I have chosen,that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed,nor shall there be any after me (Isa. 43:10).

When you feel afraid, God says:You are REDEEMED.

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:“Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isa. 43:1).

When you feel unloved, God says:You are LOVED.

Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored….I love you, (Isa. 43:4).

When you feel forgotten, God says:You are REMEMBERED.

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” (Isa. 49:16).

When you feel insecure, God says: You are SECURE.

The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God[a] surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.” (Deut. 33:12).

When you feel unable, God says:You are ABLE.

God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Hab. 3:19).

When you feel worthless, God says:You are CALLED.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Pet. 2:9).

Don’t let the devil cause you to feel like you are worthless. You are not worthless in God’s eyes; you’re a child of the one true King!

One of my favorite quotes is from The Help, by Kathryn Stockett; “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” We all need to remind ourselves of that. Therefore, change the mix you are listening to and be encouraged!

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Gift of Grace

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God’s grace is hard to grasp, but why. God gives it to us freely, we just have to receive it. The reason we often struggle with this is because, in most relationships, grace is often a reciprocal thing rather than a free gift.

The idea that the grace of God is free is mind boggling to many. People always say, “Nothing in this world is free.” The reason that grace is free is because Jesus gave everything and paid the ransom of dying for our sins so we didn’t have to.

It is incredibly easy for us to point to someone whose sin seems outrageous and think “well I’m not as bad as her”. When we do that we are basing our “goodness” on other people’s lives, thus making us judges. The Bible speaks about pride so much and pride is right at the heart of judging. As soon as we start judging someone else, we’ve put myself in God’s role and we are sorely qualified for the position.

God is invitational, merciful and gracious

Everyone of us, is equally, in need of grace and the wonderful news is that God’s grace is sufficient. It’s enough for you, me, and enough for those that we feel might be irredeemable or undeserving. God doesn’t say “clean your life up and come back when you’ve got it all together.” He says in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Scripture lists other examples of God’s graciousness in Exodus 34:6-7, Nehemiah 9:12, Psalm 103:9-10, Psalm 145:8-9

He asks for repentance, no question there, but He welcomes all who seek him and ask to be forgiven. Is there someone on the fringes of your community, of your church, who is weary and burdened? You could be the one person who demonstrates a little of what God’s invitational love looks like? It’s could be as simple as smiling and saying hello. Maybe it is inviting them to sit with you in the service or chat afterwards or go for coffee.

When we can see sin for what it really is we can see ourselves as we truly are – an equal community, guilty in a variety of ways but redeemed under one grace. All have sinned, but His grace is enough if we humble ourselves and ask. Grace means that there is nothing we can do in order to make God loves more. Grace also means that there is nothing we could do to make God love us less God doesn’t grade on a curve, thank Heaven for that!

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

What Is Your Calling

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As I approach my birthday, I have begun to question my calling. A small voice inside calling me toward something unknown and risky, yet more fitting with my own truth. I couldn’t tell, however, whether the voice was trustworthy, whether this truer life that was stirring within me was real or within reach. 

As Christians, we’re told constantly that we were created with a purpose. And it’s true, you were made to do good works, born to leave a legacy. The events of your life are directly related to your understanding of this. And whether you believe it or not, you’re living a story. Whether it’s worth telling is up to you.

So how do you find that purpose? If you’re like many people who are striving to live meaningful and intentional lives, it will come in the form of what many refer to as “a calling.”

We can sort things out if we accept Webster’s definition of calling: ” a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.”

That sounds simple enough. But how do you know when God is calling you, and is there any way you can be sure you’re doing the task he has assigned you?

The First Part of Your Calling

Before you can discover God’s calling for you, you must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus offers salvation to every person, and he wants to have an intimate friendship with each of his followers, but God reveals a calling only to those who accept him as their Savior.

This may put some people off, but Jesus himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, ESV)

Throughout your life, God’s calling for you will bring great challenges, distress and frustration. You can’t succeed at this task on your own. Only through the constant guidance and help of the Holy Spirit will you be able to carry out your God-appointed mission. A personal relationship with Jesus guarantees that the Holy Spirit will live within you, giving you power and direction you need.

Unless you are born again, you’ll be guessing at what your calling is. You’ll rely on your own wisdom, and you’ll be wrong.

Your Job is Not Your Calling

You may be surprised to learn that your job is not your calling, and here’s why. Most of us change jobs during the course of our life. We may even change careers. If you’re in a church-sponsored ministry, even that ministry can end. We will all retire some day. Your job is not your calling, no matter how much it may allow you to serve other people.

Your job is an instrument or tool that helps you carry out your calling. A mechanic may have tools that help him change a set of spark plugs, but if those tools break or get stolen, he gets Your job may be closely wrapped up in your calling or it may not. Sometimes all your job does is put food on the table, which gives you the freedom to go about your calling in a separate area.

Many times we use our job or career as a measure of our success. If we make a lot of money, we consider ourselves successful. But God is not concerned with money. He is concerned with how you’re doing at the task he has given you.

As you’re playing your part in advancing the kingdom of heaven, you may be financially rich or poor. You may be just getting by financially, but God will give you everything you need to accomplish your calling.

Here’s the important thing to remember: Jobs and careers come and go. Your calling, your God-appointed mission in life, stays with you until the moment you are called home to be in heaven

How Can You Be Sure of God’s Calling?

Do you open your mailbox one day and find a mysterious letter with your calling written on it? Is God’s calling spoken to you in a booming voice from heaven, telling you exactly what to do? How do you discover it? How can you be sure of it?

As I have been trying to discover by calling I have used the following method:

  1. Praying
  2. Reading Your Bible,
  3. Talking with godly friends, pastors
  4. Patient listening. 

God equips each of us with unique spiritual gifts to help us in our calling. He give us  a list found in Romans 12:6-8 (ESV):

“6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

We won’t recognize our calling overnight; rather, God may reveal it to us gradually over the years. As we use our god-given talents and gifts to serve others, we discover certain types of works that feel right. They bring us a deep sense of fulfillment and happiness. They feel so natural and good that we know this is what we were meant to do.

Sometimes we can put God’s calling into words, or it may be as simple as saying, “I feel led to help people.”

Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45, ESV).

If you take that attitude, you’ll not only discover your calling, but you’ll do it passionately for the rest of your life.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

You Shall Be Perfect

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48 ESV). At first glance, at this difficult passage, we will say “It’s impossible, Nobody is perfect,”

It is true that all people commit sin. Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is why Jesus died for all men to give them the opportunity to have their sin removed (Heb. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:14). It is also why the gospel needs to be preached “to every creature” (Mark 16:16). Even after one does obey the gospel, they still can commit sin and need forgiveness (1 John 1:7–10).

If Matthew 5:48 were telling us that we must live sinless, perfect lives or that we must be as perfect as God, then obviously this is a real problems.

When you seek to understand the meaning of any Biblical text, especially one that seems so difficult to understand, you must remember, that when it comes to Scripture, whatever God’s word says on any subject is right (Psa. 119:128). It is also possible to twist or misuse the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:15–16).

When we study the difficult text before us, three questions must be answered:

First: Can the word “perfect” have several meanings in the Bible?

Second: What is the context of this verse?

Third: Are there other verses in the Bible which will help us understand this one?

The Meaning of Perfect

In the Bible, the word “perfect,” can and does mean “complete” or “finished.” Jesus was made “perfect” through his suffering (Heb. 2:10; 5:8–9). By Jesus suffering for us, he completed or fulfilled God’s plan for Him as our Savior.

“Perfect” also means “mature” or “grown up.” In Philippians 3:15, the apostle Paul speaks to “as many as be perfect” (KJV). The ESV translates this phrase ” those of us who are mature.”

The Context of Matthew 5:48

Jesus contrasts his teaching with that of the Old Law (Matt. 5:38–39). He shows us what our attitude is to be toward those who want to make life hard for us by forcing us or hatefully treating us (Matt. 5:40–44).

He instructs us to love our “enemies” (Matt. 5:44), not an easy thing to do. We are to do this so “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:45a ESV). God acts with concern and love for all men. If we are truly acting like our father in heaven, we will act with positive good will toward evil and good men alike. If we only love those who love us but do not love our enemies, we are really no better than evil men for even evil people are capable of loving those who love them (Matt. 5:46).

When Jesus said, “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48 NIV), He was saying, “Let your love be complete as God’s love.” God loves everyone, even evil people. This is how we can be as “perfect” as God. Our love for our fellow-man needs to grow and mature — including loving our enemies. Therefore if we do not love our enemies as well as our friends, then we are not acting as sons of God ought to act.

Other Passages To Help Us Understand

“Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children” (Eph. 5:1 ESV). In this passage, the apostle Paul holds forth the Father as one we are to imitate. By again taking note of the context of this passage, we can see that Gods example is in the realm of attitudes toward our fellow-man. The verses that immediately precede this text say: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ” (Eph. 4:31–32).

This passage clearly instructs us that our attitudes toward other people must be the same as those of our Father in heaven. If not, we have no right to claim to be his children.

“But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:15–16 ESV). This text impresses upon us the necessity of modeling our lives to the qualities and standards of divinity. Holy conduct arises from holy attitudes. If we are going to conduct ourselves in a proper manner toward our fellow-man, we must have the proper attitudes including the attitude to love even our enemies.

Conclusion

We must heed the command of our Savior given in Matthew 5:48 to “be perfect” just as our heavenly Father is perfect. We also must be careful, though, not to apply this command to areas of our lives to which Jesus never intended for it to be applied.

He was speaking of the love that is to characterize those who are children of God. That love is to be complete, extending even to those who are your enemies, those who hate you and spite you. In this, as in all other areas of our lives, we must strive to be as both Father and Son.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Ruffled Feathers

Unless you have been under a rock, Im sure you have heard about Phil Robertson getting suspended from the Duck Dynasty TV show by A&E. I know some people have said this was a violation of Phil’s right to free speech. I dont agree with that, he has a right to voice his opinion and he did that just like A&E had a right as his employer to hand down consequences.

I agree that what this boils down to is A&E is bowing to the liberal media and other various groups who called for Phil to be punished for promoting his Christian faith. Why are people so shocked. Anyone who has ever heard any of the Robertsons speak, knows that they do not shy away from their faith and they believe wholeheartedly in the Bible and what it says. I mean what did they think someone from the backwoods of Louisiana would say on that topic, and they only released a few snippets online. They conveniently left out the part where Phil said that even though he didn’t agree with the lifestyle, he would still treat that person with dignity and respect because that is what a true Christian would do.

In my opinion, I think that what was shocking was the fact a Christian was standing up for the Bible and his beliefs. Culture today has tried to turn Christians, especially the men into meek little namby pambys. We have let this happen and then we wonder why the world is the way it is today. We wonder why divorce is so common, why children dont respect their parents, why girls behave like harlots. It’s because we as Christians have let society say this is normal

Fathers and Husbands, we are called to be warriors of God. We should be a proud as Phil about our God and the Bible (I don’t agree with the terminology that Phil used but I agree with the sentiment). We as Christians need to start fighting for what’s right, such as family values (eating meals with each other, respecting each other), standing up for the Bible.

It’s sad when you can have shows that promote drug use and promiscuity, teen pregnancy and homosexuality and everyone says oh that is great. A show promotes wholesome values and we let it get shot down. 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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