Cling to Jesus

It’s happened again. An individual has taken the lives of a number of people and has injured more in New York City near the World Trade Center memorial. I don’t have all the details but you can go to the news outlet of your choice and read for yourself.

We are still recovering from the Las Vegas shooting, now this. I just shock my head when I first learned of this and I can’t help but wonder, “Am I safe anywhere“? I can almost hear the cries now:
Why God, why?
~ How long, oh Lord?
~ When will this stop?

Not again!

Etc, etc, etc…

So many questions. So much anger. So much fear. I get all of that, but remember, no matter the situation; no matter what is going on, God is still God and therefore…

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 and my God.
[Psalm 42:1-5]

I will remember in prayer those who have been affected by this violence, but I will not let go of my God. I will not shake my fists at Him. I will not accuse Him of being weak or indifferent. I will worship Him still, for I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, [Job 19:25-26] This violence is not the eternal reality for those who are in Christ. This world is indeed messed up; filled with sin and death, but God has overcome the world through Jesus Christ. Cling to him and be at peace.

Praise be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

Another One

Another school shooting 😦

In Freeman, WA yesterday, (about 5 hours to my east) someone opened fire at Freeman High School. As I know now, one student died and three are hospitalized in Spokane, WA and many more people have been affected.

Later on that day, I heard that the middle school in the town I live in was in shutdown mode for awhile because of gun shots that were heard nearby, but off campus. Nothing has come of that as of now and the school was back in normal operation later that day. Happy to hear that the school took swift action to ensure the safety of the kids, even if nothing came of the perceived threat.

And now this morning, schools in northwest Montana are closed due to threats that were texted messaged to officials. I don’t know the nature of the threats, but scary all the same.

How long long, oh Lord!

Please be in prayer for Freeman, WA. I am praying for the family of the deceased student, the three that were hospitalized, the professionals in town caring for survivors, families, students, teachers, staff, etc. I am also praying for the shooter (who is in custody). Yes, pray for them. It is easy to be angry with this person but they need prayers as well. I don’t condone their actions and they need to be punished, but I pray they may confess and repent of their actions. This shooter needs healing. I pray that God changes their heart.

Oh God, we live in evil; sinful times; we always have, but it just seems to be intensifying. Send Your Spirit that we may live our lives out loud that proclaims the life-giving message of Jesus Christ. May we seek peace, not hate. Make we seek reconciliation, not division. May we seek Your glory. Oh God, bring healing to this land. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Racism Crap

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of this racism crap. Oh God, help us. Oh God, send Your Spirit…

Creator God,
You created us in Your image;
we are Your children.
May we cast aside all prejudices that separate
and begin to see that we come from the same family line.
We are not different species
even though we may look different or act different
therefore racism has no place in the world
and especially in the Church.
May we seek unity not division;
community not factions.
May we go out and seek the lost
in the name of Jesus,
no matter who or where they are.
May we be one as You are one with the Holy Spirit
and Jesus Christ,
in whose name we pray,
Amen

The Pastor -|—

Facing Jesus

I was struck by a convicting thought during our congregational text study this morning. The Gospel text for Sunday is Matthew 14:22-33; Jesus walking on the water. As we were discussing this I began to think about facing fears. Peter was afraid in that boat as the wind and waves were causing havoc out there on that sea. To top things off, a “ghost” was heading straight towards them. Upon seeing it was Jesus, Peter asks to be near Jesus and thus it happened. Instead of facing his fears, Peter was facing Jesus and eventually, face to face with him out there on that stormy sea. It wasn’t until Peter looked at the wind; his fear, that he began to sink.

As we continued to discuss this text the issue of North Korea came up. All the talk about them attacking Guam and potentially the main land of the United States. It’s kind of scary when you dwell on that but why am I dwelling on it. I began to reflect on the fact that I normally close my day by watching the news and then going to bed. On many nights, the final images and words in my brain are the crap going on in the world. How dumb is that. It seems like a no-brainer. Face my fears or face Jesus. The answer is pretty simple.

[Click]

Off went the T.V.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m climbing out of the boat…

The Pastor -|—

 

True Delight

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
[Psalm 1:1-2]

Previously I wrote about the church keeping it’s focus and not getting distracted with a worldly gospel that has politics at it’s core. It’s a gospel that is ramping up more and more as we approach Inauguration Day. The rhetoric is aimed at pitting two sides against one another; not leading towards unity but rather a “war” of sorts. I am seeing Christians and Christian leaders posting articles and updates that have a hate-filled taste to them. It bothers me. I try to avoid such things but it’s all over the place. I see the posts and quickly gloss over them; trying not to get drawn into the fray. And believe me it is tempting. So in response I am trying to focus on taking delight in God through Jesus Christ and letting THE Gospel shed light in the darkness. It’s only through Jesus that we will find hope. It is only through love that we can battle hate. So excuse me as I go and delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it…

All praise be to God our Father through Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen

The 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 -|—

Rejoicing in Victory

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What a powerful and reassuring couple verses. I wish more people would take this to heart and cling to this promise. There’s a lot of crap happening in our nation and our world today but our Lord and Savior and King reigns supreme. His victory did not happen through an election but rather through the cross. Seek JESUS and you will be found safe and secure. Seek JESUS and rest in him.

Holy Father,
words don’t and can’t adequately express my thankfulness,
as I gaze upon the cross and see
VICTORY.
I see my Lord suffering and dying there,
FOR ME.
I see my King reigning supreme,
OVER ALL.
I see my Savior with my life in 
HIS HANDS.
How can possibly express my thanks with mere words.
And so I worship
YOU.
I praise Your holy
NAME.
I rest in Your mighty
ARMS.
Holy Father,
may I not fear this world,
but rather,
rejoice the victory through
JESUS CHRIST.
Amen!

The Pastor -|—

Facebook and Twitter Hiatus

It seems more appropriate to write about my Facebook and Twitter hiatus here rather than on Facebook, since it is Facebook and Twitter that I am stepping away from for the time being. Oddly enough, though, some of you are reading this via Facebook or Twitter since these posts get posted to those social media outlets.

O.K., enough typing “Facebook” or “Twitter”. On to my point.

Since the election last week, I have been keeping a close eye on social media to monitor the reaction of people. I was surprised by the outcome of the election but even more surprised by the reaction of this nation’s citizens. It has saddened me to read stories of people feeling empowered to lash out against people of color and immigrants (legal or otherwise) and others who have been marginalized. I have also been saddened to read about people lashing out at the millions of people who voted for Donald Trump; and basically that is what people are doing by protesting the election. This has nothing to do with the man who was legally elected to the office of president but rather everything to do with the nation who elected him. We have our issues but I don’t see how taking to the streets shouting “Not my president” is going to solve them. We need to pray and work together to make this a better nation.

And so, as I perused the likes of Facebook and Twitter, I have read angry and sometimes hate-filled words. I have seen “news” articles that I wonder if they are even true. There are petitions to rescind a legal election. So much negativity. So much hate. So much division. As I have been reading these things I have been finding myself getting drawn into the fray. I have been tempted to lash out and mix it up with people, but that would accomplish nothing. So therefore I am taking a break from the aforementioned social media outlets (Did you see what I did there? I didn’t mentioned that “F” or “T” word). I am going to take a break to care for my soul. It almost feels like Satan has been prodding me; drawing me in. I need a break and maybe even rethink my social media habits. I am not going to let Satan distract me from living faithfully in the Kingdom of God. And so, the only things that people will see from me on “F” or “T” will be faith related posts coming through third party apps (like my blog or my Bible app, for example). I am not going to sign in and check who has responded to what I’ve posted or respond to any comments. The only social media I will be doing is writing here on my blog, and therefore the only comments I will be responding to are ones posted here. What I am doing is simply taking a break from “F” and “T”. I am not sure how long the break will last but if you want to keep up with my ramblings then you will have to find them here.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to set myself up as some morally superior, super Christian by doing what I am doing. I have my issues as well. My hope is that people will consider following my example. As a people we need to watch what we post. Does it glorify God? Does it honor one another? It is truthful? As a nation, we need to bring GOD back into the fray. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Our only hope is to turn to the Creator as this world is in His hands. Let’s not let Satan tear apart this nation. We have our issues but together, and with God, we can combat that which Satan is trying to do and in the end, praise God for the victory already won through Jesus Christ.

So there you have it. My hiatus from “F” and “T” is underway. May God be praised and glorified.

The Pastor -|—

Silence!

I have not been silent about the events of the past few days. I have not turned a blind eye or a deaf ear. True, I haven’t written anything here but I have not been silent.
I have not been silent on the street.
I have not been silent in my office.
I have not been silent in my home.
I have not been silent at the coffee shop.
No, I have not been boisterous and in people’s faces about my concerns and fears over this election. I have not been outspoken about anyone who was elected or not elected. I have not taken to the streets in protest. I have not been feisty on social media (at least I hope I haven’t been). I am just saying,

I have not been silent.

Instead, I have been crying out. I have been crying out to God. I have been pouring out my heart to Him. I have been outspoken in my concerns for this nation; for this world. I have been “up in God’s face”; making sure He has heard me.

I have not been silent.

And we can’t be silent at least we can’t be silent with God. And with that said, we need to be silent in this world for a time. I am not saying that we ignore the problems that we have as a nation, but we need to be silent in this world, now, and focus on crying out to God. For how can we expect to change the world if we are too busy talking and not listening to God. How can we change the world if we are taking to the streets and not on our knees, listening to our Father. How can we make a difference if we aren’t listening to one another. We need to be silent, now, so we can cry out to God. We need to be silent so we can listen. We need to be silent.

There is too much noise.
There is too much fear.
There is too much hate.

Silence and Listen. God wants to say something…

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 -|—