I’ve Had Enough

It is time for me to resurrect this blog.

I have let it slip into a very deep hibernation but it’s time for it to come back to life. Why, you may ask. Well, I’ve had enough.

I’ve had enough of the whining.

I’ve had enough of the whining about how bad our politicians are. I don’t care if your Democrat or Republican or some other party I haven’t heard of before. I’m just tired of the mean-spirited internet memes. I’m tired of the “news” articles about how bad this person is or how terrible this person’s policies are compared to this person. I’m tired of the celebrities getting on their high horse as if they are claiming some moral authority.

Whining, whining, whining.

What ever happened to praying?

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. [1 Timothy 2:1-2]

I have published passive aggressive posts on social media calling out the whining and calling people to prayer. Well, I can hardly do that if I don’t lead by example. So I am going to do that here. I am going to compile a list of local, state and national leaders and pray for them; some of which I will post here. The prayers won’t be political in nature. I am simply going to pray for our leaders that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Enough is enough. Many of you are praying and to that I say AMEN and TO GOD BE THE GLORY. Everyone else, get on your knees. If you want a better country, it’s not going to happen because of an election. It will happen when the people turn back to God.

And so, let us pray…

The (Feisty) Pastor -|—

What Gospel are you Preaching?

Hey there Church…

We are not to ignore the world but neither are we to conform to it. (Romans 12:1-2)
We are to pray for our leaders. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
We are not forbidden from serving in public office but rather we are to serve Chirst in the vocation to which we are called.
We are to submit to our government authorities. (Romans 13:1-7)
Our government does not bear the sword in vain. (Romans 13:4)

…but I am concerned about something. What Gospel are you preaching? I am seeing way too many Christians on social media too focused on politics and politicians. Don’t get me wrong, though, I am not trying to pass judgment but rather wondering.
~ Is this really our call as Christians?
~ Is political rhetoric going to save souls?
~ Is complaining about politicians going to give people hope?
~ Is bashing our government going to encourage people?

I am not throwing my support behind any political party here but rather I want the Church to focus. There are greater issues in the world than who’s boycotting what political party or who is in office. Don’t ignore politics but also don’t make politics the Gospel you preach. The Gospel is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, that we may have the hope of everlasting life. That should be our core message and that is what people should be hearing from the Church. I know I need to hear that on a daily basis.

Let’s keep our eye on the ball and remember what our mission is. Jesus saves not politics.

The Pastor -|—

People of Prayer

 

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This picture says it all for me this election season. Those who know me well, know that I have been bringing this theme up over and over again, but I don’t think you can bring it up enough. We need to be people of prayer. November 8 is fast approaching and as Christians, we cannot lose hope over who is going to be elected president or be dispassionate. We MUST be involved.
Voting? YES.
Praying? ABSOLUTELY!!!
And then we must keep at it; remembering that no matter what, Jesus still reigns. No worldly president or ruler can or will be our savior. God has set up all leaders and will bring about his glory through them. They are nothing but pawns in God’s grand design and plan. So don’t fret and don’t fear. God is sovereign. He’s got this.

The Pastor -|—

Fight the Fight of Faith

I am not a fighter; at least not one to get into physical confrontations. I can think of only three times in my life when I got into a physical confrontation with someone. The first time was in 6th grade when the younger brother of a classmate cut in front of me in line. For someone reason I got mad and pushed him off the balance beam. Let me tell you, my classmate and his friends were not afraid of physical confrontations. The second was in high school during cross country practice. A guy was taunting me while running ahead of me. I eventually lost it and came up behind him, bear hugged him and then dropped him to the ground. I have never run fast in my life after that one. And the third time was my freshman year in college. We were playing video games in a dorm room and a guy was chiding me over and over again because he was winning. Eventually I whirled around and, with a closed fist hit, him square in the chest; knocking him off his chair. Thankfully the other guys separated us; protecting me from getting pounded by him.

You can definitely see a theme here. I am not a fighter but I am a fighter about things that truly do matter.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. [1 Timothy 6:12 ESV]

Paul is encouraging young Timothy to fight the fight of faith. This was not a call to get into physical confrontations with people but rather to stand tall and hold firm to the faith he has professed. There are many that are going to resist the message of the Gospel. In that case, you fight the fight of faith by continuing to proclaim the Gospel message without watering it down.

Satan will attack you and attempt to draw you away from God. In that case, you fight the fight of faith through prayer and scripture reading and worship and fellowship with other Christians. You stand tall and not be ashamed of the Gospel; knowing that you are a forgiven sinner through faith in Jesus.

Others will chide you for believing something that is “outdated” or “irrelevant”. In that case, you fight the fight of faith; remembering the Gospel proclaimed to you and the fact that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. (Hebrews 13).

Still others will try to stifle your exercise of your faith in Jesus Christ. In that case, you fight the fight of faith and not be ashamed of the one who is not ashamed of you; Jesus. But also remembering that there is a place at the Great Banquet table, in God’s kingdom, waiting for you. Therefore you have a hope to cling to in the midst of pressure.

Fighting may not come naturally for you but I am guessing that when it involves something that really matters, you would respond. If someone were to threaten my family I would not hesitate to put myself into a confrontational situation in order to protect them. They matter to me; and so does my faith. So in both cases I will fight for them.

I fight the fight of faith because the Gospel of Jesus Christ means life and salvation and that is something I am not willing to compromise. To compromise my faith; to water down the message; to back down from my proclamation, is death for sinners. I can’t do that and so I will stand tall; asking God for strength to stand.

Jesus fought for you by suffering death on the cross that your sins would be forgiven. So fight for your faith in this Jesus, in whatever form it comes; but do so in love; remembering that God will ultimately fight for you. Don’t push and shove people; don’t verbally attack or put down people, but stand for your faith; giving glory to God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Holy Father, grant me the courage to stand tall when I am pushed. Grant me the faith to fight back Satan’s attacks. Grant me the peace live in this world in the midst of faith confrontations. And in the end, Oh God, may you be glorified. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Don’t Be a Frog (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you. [1 Timothy 6:20-21]

These verses from my morning Bible reading snacked me in the face; for this spoke volumes about what is going on in our culture and the Church. It’s a warning that desperately needs to be heeded today.

In these verses, the apostle Paul is warning his young companion and partner in the ministry to remember what he came to believe and whom he came to believe in:

guard the deposit entrusted to you.

Paul then goes on to warn Timothy to avoid the “knowledge” that some claim to be biblical and godly; for these people have swerved from the faith. People are trying to distort the Gospel for their own purposes. Some oppose the Gospel and are trying to make it something that it is not. There are many false prophets going around and some claiming to be speaking the truth.

And this is very dangerous. It’s the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing thing. It looks and sounds good but really it’s irreverent babble and contradictions. As I have preached and taught before, anyone can stand in front of a group of people; wave a Bible around and make godly sounding claims that really have no basis in scripture whatsoever. The sure defense to this, though, is to guard the deposit entrusted to you. Remember what you came to believe and know your Bible. One of the joys of theology is that it does not change. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. So if a new thing about God is being taught; be very, very leery. If someone is trying to tell you what the biblical writers “really meant”, run away fast.

And this is exactly what is going on today. Thousands of years of Church teaching is changing. But the problem is that it has been changing at such a slow rate that many in the Church haven’t noticed a thing. Remember how to boil a frog? You don’t throw it into boiling water but rather into cool water and slowly increase the temperature so they don’t notice they are being boiled to death.

The Church is being boiled to death,

but very few people are taking notice. Instead they are engaging in irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”. We need to guard that deposit and remember what we came to believe in and whom we believe. We need to remember that the Bible (ALL of the Bible) is God’s word. We need to honest with ourselves but more importantly we need to be bold and courageous in our faith.

The time to jump out of the water is now, before it is too late.
Don’t be a frog.

guard the deposit entrusted to you
Remain faithful
Cling to and proclaim THE Truth
Don’t swerve from the faith

And…

Grace be with you.

Holy God, You have entrusted the Church with the Truth of the Gospel. May we cling to that Truth and proclaim that Truth, all the while avoiding irreverent myths and false knowledge. May You be glorified. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Doing Prayer Right (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. [1 Timothy 2:1-2]

As a man of prayer, one of the things I struggle with is prayer. Sounds like a contradiction but if, as a Christian, you are not struggling with prayer, then you might be doing it wrong.

What do I mean by this?

Paul is teaching his young companion, Timothy, to pray for ALL people, not just family or the people you like. Not just for those you want to manipulate, but for ALL people. And Paul says that “all people” includes kings and those in high positions. Today, the “all people” would include our president, lawmakers, judges, state and local leaders, school board members, your church council/session.

All people, no matter how you feel towards them.
politicians
that cranky neighbor
that ex who cheated on you
ISIS
ruthless dictators
that parishioner who is spreading lies about you

All people

Paul says that we ought to do this that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. But also, we ought to be doing this because God desires to see all people saved. This doesn’t mean that all people will be saved, but God desires it. God knows whom he has elected for salvation but you and I don’t. So therefore we are to pray for all people. But your prayers shouldn’t be selfish in nature but rather that they may come to know God or have their faith strengthened or that they may not fall into temptation or that they may lead with wisdom or…(and you get the point).

We are to pray for all people not to get ahead but rather that they may come to know salvation through Jesus Christ.

But I have also come to discover a “selfish” side effect of praying for all people. Is there is a person in your life who has hurt you or raises your blood pressure to a point that you feel chest pains?

Pray for them.

I have discovered that it is really hard to be mad at someone that you are praying for. And if you are still mad while praying for that person, then you might be doing it wrong.

Pray for ALL people that GOD may be glorified.

Holy God, I desire to have a relationship with you but I also know that your heart is for all people. May my heart be like Yours, oh God, that I may see others as people worthy to be prayed for as You would like. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Godly Training (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. [1 Timothy 4:7-8]

I think a lot of Christians waste a lot of time engaging in silly arguments, debates and controversies at the expense of godly training time. Christians also engage in everyday life without proper godly training. Christians deal with stress and temptation without proper godly training. This is basically what the apostle Paul was warning his young friend, Timothy, about. And this is something that all Christians need to take to heart.

Train so you can be ready.

I am currently registered for a half marathon in June. This will be number three for me to add to the three marathons I have already done, so I know the value of proper physical training. The problem is that I haven’t taken my own advice yet and really gotten into my physical training. I need to get moving because I can not expect to do well in June if I don’t prepare my body now. Without proper training my body will take beating and I high doubt I will be able to finish.

The same goes with godly training but godly training has many more benefits than anything we can do to prepare our bodies in this life. Recently I was reporting to my church council that Lent this year was going very well; that my stress level was down considerably from past years. I then went on to say that I have been continuing to exercise my faith through daily Bible reading, devotions and writing on my blog everyday (sometimes more than once). Following the meeting, a council member/friend approached me and said, “Do you think that your reduced stress this year has anything to do with your prayer/devotional life?”

Silly me, I never considered that, but absolutely!

Nurturing your relationship with God through Jesus Christ through worship, praying, reading God’s word, not only strengthens your faith as the Gospel is read and proclaimed to you but it also helps you deal with life now. Don’t get me wrong through, I am not slipping into a prosperity Gospel preaching mode; trying to give you some easy steps to a happy and stress free life (if I ever do that would someone please slap me up across the head). Anyway…what I am saying is that godly training is important in this life to bring glory to God. Because believe me, there are irreverent and silly myths and controversies all over the place and the Christian needs to be ready. So this godly training is not about a happy and stress free life (that is just a pleasant “side effect”). Godly training is about glorifying God today and preparing our souls for eternity.

And so if you don’t engage in godly training now; when life happens and the world challenges your faith, you will stumble and fall. But also, if Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, why wouldn’t you want to train and grow closer to him?

So…

Exercise your faith.
Train your soul.
Prepare your defense.
Be ready.

And when life happens, you can bring glory to God (and not yourself).

What a joy it is to spend time with You, oh God. What a joy to grow closer and closer to You. What a joy to soak in Your holy law. What a joy to give You glory in this life. May You bless our “training” not for us but for You, oh God. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—