People-Watching

I am sitting in a fast food establishment during my lunch break, watching the different people who come through or sit down. For the record, I am NOT stalking. Now that I have clarified…

Too many of us are way too busy to notice those around us. People young and old, rich and poor, those who have a home and those who are homeless were all represented. Some came in for warmth. Some came to eat. Some came for a place to charge their cell phone.

If you watch long enough, you begin to see beneath the surface. That’s what Jesus did. He saw beneath the outward behavior. Others saw an addict while Jesus heard a cry for help. Others saw a promiscuous woman while Jesus saw someone who looked for a love she could not find.

Could we slow down long enough to see the real needs around us? Let that sink in…

I Can’t Wait Until…

For several years of my life, I was stuck in a phase. I could not wait until God called me to another ministry. I could not wait until the kids were a little older. I could not wait until…

Many of you are either there now or have been there. You could not wait until a certain phase of your life was over because a restless part of you was wondering if the grass was greener on the other side. Some of you got to the other side, and you long for the grass from the past.

What did that phase of life do for me? I honestly cannot count how many times I have moved. I know I served my purpose where God had me for those brief seasons. I wish my kids were the younger versions of who they are now, wishing I would have cherished my time with them when they were little. I wish I would not have spent my twenties and early thirties looking for the next best thing.

This stage of life finds me a little more content and settled. In Philippians 4, Paul said he had to LEARN to be content. All great traits are learned.

If you have this problem, slow down and savor this stage of life. Yes, it’s difficult. But you have only one chance to live it. Live in a way where you have no regrets.

Santa Claus Theology

I was just sitting here pondering how much people base their theology on ideas from the character of Santa Claus. Think about it with me for a moment. Many equate the idea of Santa Claus, one who watches everyone’s good and bad deeds, knows their every move, and deems them naughty or nice. Humanly speaking, it is an unfair system. The principle that has crossed over is the idea that people have to earn the favor of God through “enough” good deeds. But how much is enough? The spirit of benevolence is not enough to get someone into Heaven. Most of us know that the Santa system really doesn’t play by the rules anyway, so we can do as we please and still get what we want for Christmas.

Biblical theology isn’t fair either. Christ suffered a cruel death on a cross when we should have carried the punishment of our own sin. His righteousness applied to the believing sinner isn’t fair when people compare it to a works-based system. We should all go to hell, but God provided a way, the only way, through Jesus Christ.

If you are spending your life trying to perform well enough to earn God’s favor, you can take a long break by trusting in Christ to save you. Get rid of the Santa Claus theology and trust the true Savior of the world.

Image from me.me

Does Anyone Else Have This Problem?

I have hundreds of bloggers I follow. I’m not sure the count at this point. The problem I am experiencing is that I receive notifications by email for several, some appear in my reader, but there are multiple blogs I love that I have to hunt down. Does anyone else have this problem? If so, do you know the reason behind it. Is it an algorithm issue like Facebook? Enlighten me, please, WordPress friends! Have a great Monday!

Letter from John Newton| stalwart of our past

We need more mentors and more who are personally discipling new believers in the faith. This letter was written by John Newton, writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace” to a new believer. If you have been walking with God for a while, take someone under your wing. This is actually a commandment in 2 Timothy 2:2. Thanks, g.w., for sharing this!

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

 Due to the mainline churches of today increasingly becoming more prone to apostasy and heresy in their desire to be “relevant” in a changing society, I find it increasingly more fruitful to re-discover the words of mighty stalwarts from our Christian past.

From the Letters of John Newton: Letter to a new Christian

March 18, 1767
“Dear friend,
You have one hard lesson to learn, that is–the evil of your own heart. You know something of it, but it is needful that you should know more; for the more we know of ourselves–the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His wondrous salvation.
The more you know Him–the better you will trust Him.
The more you trust Him–the better you will love Him.
The more you love Him–the better you will serve Him.
This is God’s way. He is teaching you these things, and I trust He will…

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Church Really Isn’t Cancelled!

Church building

Around midnight, I saw posts and texts about the cancellation of services for today due to inclement weather. For many, the idea of church will be put on hold until next Sunday or Wednesday (depending on frequency of attendance). A biblical understanding teaches us that the church is the body of Christ which the “gates of hell shall not prevail against” (Matthew 16:18). From my home today, I cannot attend a building that people call “the church”, but I can “be the church” (the body of Christ) to someone who needs it. I can pick up my phone and call someone and minister a word of encouragement. I can text someone or even write a blog post.

Born again believers have a calling and commission to BE THE CHURCH every day. Everywhere you go, you are on mission. What are you doing? The Bible says you are “a royal priesthood”, so you don’t have to wait on a preacher to do the same things God has equipped you to do. Live out each day as the person you are, empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the work of the ministry. More can be done through the efforts of the entire body of Christ than through just a few. Be a part of those who understand their mission and act upon it.

Photo from wikipedia

Where Do You Stand?

Most of you who are reading this see the title “Where Do You Stand?”, and you’re thinking “I’m sitting down reading a blog”. Merriam-Webster defines stand as “to be in a particular state or situation”. I want to focus on the state of standing.

Some of us stand upon the security of our jobs, our bank accounts, our family, etc. I honestly did not know which direction I would take with this as I began this post, but I have some clear direction as I continue to type.

The hymn writer wrote these great words:

On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.

On what do you stand today? If it is anything other than Christ, you are bound for failure. The musical part of me has to end with a song, so I will close with this. I pray that it puts your life into proper perspective.

Dead Man Walking

Let me be clear that this post has nothing to do with ghosts, vampires, etc. You may be surprised that I encounter dead men walking every day. It does not matter where I go. They are in churches, grocery stores, hospitals, or any other place you can name. Please allow me to explain myself. (I knew you would😀.)

The first kind of dead man or woman I see walking is the spiritually dead kind. Ephesians 2:1 describes us as dead in our sin before we enter a relationship with Christ. These people live what appears to be great lives. They have great careers, have nice possessions, and their social calendar is full, but they are dead inside. This kind of dead person can only be cured by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The other kind of dead man or woman I see is dead in a positive way. You may ask, “How can dead be positive?” Scripture teaches that believers must die to their old ways. Those who have crucified the flesh with its evil desires are dead in one sense but living the most abundant life in another sense.

I cannot say I have fully attained the second one, but I am growing in that area. So which one are you? Are you the dead one who is headed for hell because you are dead in your sin, or are you the one who is daily dying to yourself and your selfish sin nature? I hope you are the second. If not, understand that you have a sin condition that only Jesus Christ can remedy. Turn from your sin and cry out to the Lord to save you today. You’ll be glad you did.

Image from 8tracks.com

Some Things Never Change

Before I comment, please read these verses:

“Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.” Haggai‬ ‭1:5-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This was written a few thousand years ago, but it sounds so much like people in 2018.

  • God gave them a harvest, but it wasn’t enough.
  • We have food, but we say we don’t have any because it isn’t what we like.
  • We have clothing, but it isn’t designer.

Bottom line: We have what we need, yet we waste it!

Today is December 5. We just came out of a season of Thanksgiving to enter into a season of commercialism. All I hear people talk about is how much they are going to spend or need to spend on each child, friends, family, enemies, etc. Many will go in debt in the attempt to please others with STUFF. At the end of the day, it won’t be enough. Then the credit card bill will come.

I am at a stage in my life when I live paycheck to paycheck more than ever, yet God gives me what I need. I am tempted at times to compare myself to others, but I look at them and see that they are miserable even with all the things. I have a good family, dependable vehicles, food, shelter, clothing. I won’t be invited to rub elbows with the upper class of our area, but I really don’t care.

It’s time that people quit complaining. There may come a day when all we have is ripped away from us. Will Jesus be enough? Ponder that.

Or will they?

Stop Delegating Biblical Training to Church Leaders!

Today is a day when most people who attend church are consumers. They want the best in programs for all ages. I am a firm believer that the Christian community should be the first to do things with excellence. Excellence is defined differently based upon the resources you have. If I base my standard of excellence based on a megachurch with a million dollar budget, I might as well close shop and go home.

Here is the problem. Many parents think the quality of the youth or children’s ministry is the answer. If their child is not behaving right, many of these parents think that the church is the answer to the problem. The pastor, youth pastor, or volunteers must do more. My question is directed to parents: How much are you doing between Sunday services to disciple your children? If you are making some excuse about not being theologically trained or ministers being experts, that is a cop out. We have gotten this thing screwed up along the way.

If you think this is simply my opinion, let the Scripture speak for itself. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “”Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” To simplify this: Parents, study the Bible for yourselves so you can teach AND model it before your children EVERY DAY!

The church is only a supplement to what you and I should be doing at home. There is no way around that. Preachers can’t make house calls every day for family devotions. Dads and moms, step up and do it. I’m preaching to myself here. Although biblical conversations happen frequently, I could be much more intentional in discipling my family.

Don’t wait to make this a New Years resolution! Start now! Who knows how much time we have left? Invest while you still have time.