Wednesday, March 20, 2019

My church vs. Yours

Did I get you with the title? Did you think this post was going to be me tearing down the place or denomination that you attend? Well its not but I still urge every reader to finish reading this post to challenge yourselves with what you believe and why you believe it.
 The title should be read in the first person. I want you to be the one saying My church vs. yours. Again this isn't for you to be judgmental of another persons faith or belief but truly to look at oneself and be challenged.
   Here we go! Ask and answer for yourself why you attend the church that you belong to. Be honest, no one else will hear your answers. Think about it first and even write the answers down. Here is a cheat sheet to get you brainstorming with your thoughts. These are some of the reasons I have heard from people that I have asked this question to.
   Its big, its small. It has a nursery. It has children's ministry, Youth class, Adult class. My church has something for everyone. I like the music. I like the pastor. I was raised in this denomination. My family goes here. Closest to my house. Its friendly. My pastor preaches from the bible. Its Christ centered. Its evangelistic. Yes I have even had people answer, I don't know!
   At this point I want to add some substance to the body of this post and another challenge and I will leave you to it. We all know as much as we would like every church to believe the same and be just like the other they are not. There are petty differences yet there are serious and doctrinal differences.
Just for your information I have asked and answered this question for myself. Your dyeing to know the reason so I will share in brief. The reason I go to "My church vs. Yours" is because of the doctrinal differences. Its not because of its size or location. Its not because of its denominational connections. Its not because of the music or even the people. Church for me has never and I pray will never be about those things.
   Our choice for the church that we attend should solely be based upon the doctrine that is taught and not upon the denomination that its titled with. Its shouldn't be based upon its likability. It shouldn't be based upon what it offers as ministries. It shouldn't even be chosen because its what I think a church should be.
   Here is my challenge to you. Ask yourself again why My church vs. yours. If the first answer wasn't something to the effect of, Because my church teaches what the bible says and I can confirm it for myself by reading the bible please take a moment and reconsider. Study to show yourself approved unto God. Know what the bible says and require it from the church that you attend. Its your life! Its your salvation!
   Remember when the church started all that they had was what Jesus and the Apostles taught. And they that gladly received the word were baptized and 3000 souls were added to the church. The word that is preached from the pulpit is what makes the church THE CHURCH!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Fish stories!

Everyone has a fish story! No not just about the largest fish that they have ever caught but about all of their great successes! Let me explain further what I mean by a fish story. This is a story that you have to remember from days, weeks and even years gone by. Of course you are reminded of these stories the moment someone else begins to tell theirs. Its really a story to make us look better and more accomplished. It can even be a story that portrays a life more difficult than others.
 The reason why Im writing today is because fish stories are kind of annoying. Not that I dont like the story or that I am not interested in other peoples success, its the timing of the story. The bible teaches us to weep when others weep and to rejoice when others rejoice but I think we missed the point. For example when someone is telling you a sad story or something that has happened to them, their not looking for you to share your previous experience. Another example would be when someone is sharing a success story with you, they are not looking for a competing story that you might have.
 We are to weep with them and also rejoice with them about what is happening to that individual and about their situation.
 Listen readers, everyone knows that you have had a worse experience than they have! Everyone knows you have caught a bigger fish. The point here is is that we are allowing our pride, yes our pride to diminish someone else's story. Showing compassion is not sharing your similar story. Being excited about someone else's success is not demonstrated by sharing your greater gains!
  I hope you understand to this point but I also want to write about fish stories from another angle.
Most people are success driven. They dont want to be seen as a failure. We want people to know that we have accomplishments. With that said let me talk to you from a living day by day view point.
 How successful are we if we have to look to the past for a tale to tell? Another question I want you to consider is this, What have those successes done for you and even for others?
 Right now I am reaching for the person who hasn't ever caught a record fish, shot a deer worthy to be mounted on a wall, climbed Kilimanjaro or feels they haven't done anything worthy to tell around the camp fire. Your success isn't weighed by your previous accomplishments, success is determined by what you've done today.
 I have recently witnessed a fish story that kind of got under my skin. Someone shared a personal best of what they had done and immediately someone else shared that their personal best was better. My rebuttal, which I did not share was this, Person A has done it most recent and your success is only a fish story.
 Base your success on what you accomplish today and don't allow a fish story to diminish it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Is that even true?

Is that even true?
 What a great question that doesn't get asked enough! I love listening to my pastor tell old stories from evangelizing and even early years of pastoring. As I sit there listening to the story almost every time somewhere during the story his wife would interrupt him with that question, Is that even true? Either she forgot that it happened, she wasn't privy to it or maybe it wasn't even true. LOL.
 What have you heard about others? What do you believe about what they say? What decisions have we made based upon what they said? What relationships have been damaged based upon what you heard from someone else. The real question is, IS THAT EVEN TRUE?

 1 Tim 5:19
 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
 We should not simply accept what a person says even if we may agree with what is being said! This verse teaches us to give the benefit of the doubt. With that said let me explain the rest of the verse. This doesn't mean that if we can get two or three people to side with us that that makes the accusation true. These witnesses will be people in a neutral position on the matter. These witnesses will be trust worthy and not people looking for gain from the scenario. Probably people held in high regard, have a good rapport with the all involved and have integrity.
 I believe that most of the problems that we face when it comes to issues of hearsay can be avoided by asking the question, Is that even true? Then not falling into the trap of believing it until it is substantiated!
 Now take a moment and replay the latest accusation in your head that you have recently heard and probably believed, and ask the question. IS THAT EVEN TRUE? Don't answer the question for yourself based on how you feel in the moment or from an emotional angle. Go to the source!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Not according to plan

I was in construction for 20 years of my life and I have read a few blue prints in my day. Towards the end of my construction career reading those prints was a majority of what I did. It was always amazing to me and yet frustrating when the architect would come on the job and begin to question why something was done a certain way or why it looked like it did? My answer was always the same, because that's what the plan shows. After realizing it wasn't what they wanted, here comes the change orders.
 I used to be a model car enthusiast and the parts that were required to put that thing together, wow! Everyone reading this has probably purchased something that required assembly and most of us have probably had to back track because we skipped or missed a step in the process. Its probably happened but I cannot remember a time when I bought something to assemble and it didn't come with instructions. I can say however there has been a many a time Ive tried to do it without them. Rarely does it go according to the plan.
 LIVING FOR GOD IS NO DIFFERENT!!! There is an instruction manual. God has given us pastors and teachers to help with those instructions. Its not even that difficult to understand most of what we are taught and even what we read. At least not the New Testament.
 This blog is to convey a real simple message. If you don't read and obey the BOOK your life will not go according to plan. Way to many of us are struggling in our lives simple because we choose not to follow the instructions. And I'm mostly writing to those of us who know them. We choose to justify our actions based upon our feelings and emotions rather than base them on knowledge and understanding. We want to believe that what we are doing is acceptable with God and in fact what God would have us to do regardless of what the bible actually teaches.
 Over the last month or so I have been teaching on Gods plan according to Ephesians and its a great plan but if we choose not to read the instructions our lives will not align with the blueprints.
  If we try to put the model car together with out the instructions I would venture to say the only thing that would look like the plan is the body of the car. The interior and the details of the engine compartment may not get completed. Its certainly happened more than once that a plan wasn't read or was read wrong and the door was in the wrong place, the windows were to high and the closet in the bedroom, well maybe this room doesn't get a closet.
 But were talking about life, not just eternal life but the life were living now. This life needs instructions. The bible is the only source of Gods word for it. Don't live life without it! Don't disregard it! And don't try to make it fit your life but make your life fit it!
 If your life doesn't seem like its going according to Gods plan, pick up the book and read it. Get off the couch and into the church. And by all means include your pastors to help guide you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Suffering with Christ

Rom 8:16-17
 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
 Sometimes I think we get the wrong impression about this statement, "we are children of God." Do we think that because we are children of God that we will not suffer the trials of our flesh? Do sometimes think that because we are the children of God that we wont be effected by our surroundings? Do we think that we are untouchable by the evil of our day simply because we are the children of God?
 If my father were a police officer I would still have to obey the law or I could be arrested for breaking it. If my father were a doctor I would still suffer colds and sickness. My point in this is that whatever profession my father were in I wouldn't be exempt from what this life brings!
 Sin has destroyed the perfect world and the life that God had created for us and because of sin we suffer, we struggle and life at times can be very difficult.
 I am not saying that there is no pleasure in or benefits from serving the Lord. On the contrary, without Him this suffering would be in vain. Yet we are not exempt! I often share my opinion when it comes to battling in this life. To battle this life without Jesus and without His church would be unbearable to me. I have a friend, a counselor and a Comforter in Jesus and though I am not isolated from the pain, I am insulated from its full devastating effects.
 Being an heir simply means I have something coming. Its not in my possession but in the end I will obtain it. Had a parent willed something to their child, that child doesn't receive it until the passing of that parent. When I became a child of God I received certain things in my life for this life, other things are promised to be given and I patiently wait for them.
 We have become joint-heirs with Christ id so be that we suffer with Hi, that we may be also glorified together.
 There is no promise of easy living. The bible teaches that the road to heaven is straight and narrow not smooth and easy. A mathematical question once asked, What weighs more? A ton of feathers or a ton of bricks? It is amazing how many people will respond with the wrong answer. Of course the weight is the same but the perception is not. The weight of the world to those without Jesus would feel more like the bricks. The weight of the world to those with Jesus would feel more like the feathers. Same weight but different effect. Jesus bears our burden but we still have to carry them to Him. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Church errors!

First let me start off by saying the Church is the greatest living organism on the planet. If not for the church this world would have nothing left to continue on for. Many will say that the church is what's wrong with the world but I beg to differ and would say the church is what's right in the world.
 The church is the only thing that the gates of hell cannot prevail against and so it is in the church that I will remain.
 However, people make up the body of Christ i.e. the church and with that comes the imperfection that we all can admit to. Like any family, organization or group we may not all agree on everything and our personalities may clash at times but nevertheless we strive for the unity of the Spirit.
 These are not the errors that I am referencing however, but pointing out that we are all still human beings after all. The church errors that I am writing today about may be our focus, our purpose and our agendas.
 As I had recently preached in a message to the church I made this statement, "The church is not in this community for the churched, The church is in the community for the community." the unchurched is why we are here. Church cannot continue to be the gathering place of the saints but it has to be the church for the sinners.
 I love to enter into His presence for worship and praise but ultimately it is the atmosphere that we are creating for the lost that should be our focus. If the service is for the saints then when does the weary soul find their rest.
 Jesus demonstrated how He felt about the temple being used improperly. Matt 21:12-14
 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
  It wasn't until the house was in order before those with the greatest need would receive their healing from the Lord.
 I pray the errors that the church has made will quickly be corrected so that the church can manifest once again its true purpose. The church is not our social club but the place where we serve those in need!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pro Choice

Choice is a God given right. No-one gets to take that away from us. You may not agree with my choices and I may not agree with yours but we have been given the right to choose. With that said, let me quickly rebut what you may be thinking. I am Pro Life but I am also Pro choice.
 The debate shouldn't be between life and choice, the debate is between life and abortion. I am not pro abortion. Choice is something that if ever taken away, would cause us to cease to exist as human beings. From the very beginning in the garden of Eden the ability to choose is what separated us from every other living thing. Adam and Eve both chose to disobey God and that was their right to do so. Sure they were punished, not because they had made a choice but because their choice was in direct violation of Gods word. They were even warned what would happen if they made that choice and God didn't stop them from doing so.
 When making decisions, there is a lot to consider, and when we fail to consider the outcome of our choices is when trouble may arise. Its cause and effect. There are consequences for every action, good or bad.  We as the individual are not the only ones effected by our choices even if were making them for ourselves. One of the first questions that we should ask ourselves before making decisions, especially life altering ones is, Who will be effected?
 This blog originated from a recent gathering that I had attended as a police chaplain. We had met a few folks at a coffee shop and amongst them were business owners, retired lawyers, engineers and a couple police officers. As I was being seated, introductions were being made and of course I was introduced as a police chaplain. Immediately a lady at the table says out loud, for all to hear, that so and so is an atheist and I was seated right next to him. Did I rebuke him? No. Did I begin a debate with him? No. What I did was except his right to make that choice. Are there consequences for him if he doesn't change his mind? Yes, but his right to choose is still his.
 I may not agree with the law and so I choose to break it, that's my right. You may not believe what the bible teaches and that's your right. You may disagree or even disapprove with the way someone is doing something or how they are behaving but again that is their right. However, our right to choose doesn't declare our innocents nor does it mean that there will not be consequences to our actions.
 It is of my opinion that our choices and decisions shouldn't be made on a whim or off the cuff but should be carefully thought out and even include others in your circle of influence.
 Proverbs 24:6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war; and in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
 I have made plenty of bad choices in life and had I included others I may have saved myself some headaches. Most of the consequences that we suffer from our choices could be avoided by communicating with others who have been down a similar road before us. Ultimately we make the decision, but in most cases, education is great assistance.