The Way

Father God,
hear me as I pray
and keep me in the way,
always and forever, each and every day.
A sinner I’m a runaway,
but be close to me today.
Forgive me as I go astray.
In Jesus may I stay.
So send me now without delay,
that others won’t dismay.
Always and forever, I am Yours, hooray.

Time

Where did the time go?
It was whisked away,
like a feather tossed in a stiff breeze;
a hurricane blowing it to God knows where.

Time melted away as a child’s ice cream cone,
in the heat of a muggy summer day;
evaporating into nothingness,
drifting away as steam.

Time is an elusive creature,
not willing to be tamed,
wild and free,
and impossible to be caged.

One minute I feel rich with time,
but the next minute I am in poverty;
begging for more,
but with none to be found.

Time can’t be borrowed, purchased or stolen.
Some say time is money,
but time is time
and thus worth more than gold.

Time is to be used now.
It can’t be banked or stored up.
It can’t be saved for a rainy day,
for time refuses to wait.

When you have time,
spend it — spend it or lose it.
Spend it on someone, now,
for someone needs your time, now.

When you have time,
don’t wait long;
for it will tick tock down its path,
merrily going its way; never looking back.

The time is now.
Tell someone about Jesus,
before time runs out,
never to return again.

Its time…

Speak!

Those days are done. The time of silence is over. The glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

The Word is being abused; twisted and contorted. Rewritten to fit the desires of the world. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

Firm, Word-standing Christians are being mocked. Hate-filled language is being hurled at us. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

People are lost and confused; searching for meaning. People are being mislead and deceived. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

Many church are conforming to the world. It’s leaders are preaching a false gospel. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

This slippery slope sliding culture is plunging faster and faster into oblivion. But the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, speak.

The Church is becoming more and more irrelevant. But the world cannot afford to miss our message, for the glory of Jesus has been revealed.
Speak, my friends, SPEAK!

The Pastor -|—

Shine

Holy God,
Your mercy is great,
Your grace is abundant,
Your might is awesome,
Your love is precious,
I begin this day waking in Your arms,
and basking in Your glory.
I want to leave this house clinging to You
and embracing Your commandments.
Grant me, I pray,
Your Spirit that I may shine.
As the face of Moses shined; reflecting Your glory,
may my life shine bright.
But may I not veil Your glory but boldly live for You.
Oh God, I want to shine for You.
In Jesus name I pray.
Amen.

The Pastor-|—

Announce!

Loving Father,
You sent Your Son,
Jesus Christ,
to die and rise for us that we would have forgiveness of sins
and thus the hope of the resurrection.
And now we wait
excitedly and
patiently
for Jesus’ return;
knowing that at any moment the trumpet will blast,
and our Savior will ride in triumphantly,
and bring us into the great wedding feast.
May we not be found wanting when he returns,
but also,
may we not be quiet until then.
Therefore,
may our preparations also include
announcing to all that Jesus WILL return.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Avoid One and Done

I have discovered a proliferation of door to door sales people here in Washington as compared to rural Minnesota where I lived for 44 years. I’ve had people come by trying to sell me home security services, pest control and lawn services. I listen to their sales pitch but I tell them that I am not going to buy anything now but rather I want to do my own research. I want to get to know their company and what they are selling. I want to trust them before I make an investment. They usually don’t like this response as they want the sale now.

The same mentality is often seen among Christians. One presents the Gospel to someone and then wants to see the fruits of their efforts now. They want to make an instant “sale” and then move on; feeling good that their numbers are going up. This tactic, though, is rarely effective in the long term, especially for the one “buying the product”. One and done evangelism is often more damaging to the one being evangelized. It’s like selling someone a whatchamacallit without an owners manual.

Instead, we need to spend time with people and develop relationships with them.  We can’t have a “one and done” mentality. We need to invest in people, provide for any needs, be a guide and help them along the way as they grow in Christ. When you look at the early church in Acts, the apostles spent time in the towns in which they planted churches. They didn’t just preach and go. They weren’t one and done evangelists. They invested in people.

Door to door ministry can be effective, but only if a relationship eventually ensues. Leading people to Christ can be a time consuming thing but it is important work as we are called and commanded to “Go therefore and make disciples…”. Spend time with people and live out your faith. Show them Christ’s love through your words and deeds. Be a “little Jesus” to them. Walk with them and when the opportunity presents itself, tell them about Jesus. Basically, earn the right to be heard.

So all you door to door sales people, don’t expect me to buy what you’re selling until I get to know you. Make an investment in me and earn my trust. Not practical for you, I know, but for you, Christian, it is. It’s what Jesus and the apostles did. Follow him and walk AS Jesus did and don’t be a one and done evangelist.

The Pastor -|—

Making Disciples

As a church, what are you about?

A church strategy that focuses on getting people to come to you through flashy programs, big events, creative gimmicks or high energy worship technology misses the point of being the church. Jesus never said, “Go therefore and make members of all nations…“. Jesus commanded us to “Go therefore and make DISCIPLES of all nations…“.  The work of the church is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and thus create Jesus-followers or better yet, those to walk/live/talk/act AS Jesus would. It is a command to live out loud in such a way that people see Jesus in you and thus give glory to God. The work of the church is “out there”, not in the safety of your four walls.

If, as a church, though, you are only focused on bringing in more people so you can cover your budget, you are nothing more than community-minded club. Following Jesus is not a club but a way of life. Following Jesus is messy. Following Jesus is joy in the midst of a messed up, sin-filled world.

As a church, ask yourself this question:
If we evangelize someone; sharing the Good News of Jesus with them, and they come to believe, will we still rejoice if they choose to worship elsewhere?

Think about that. If your answer is no then some soul searching needs to be done.
Why do you exist?
Who are you trying to glorify, yourself or God?
What’s more important, building your kingdom (building) or God’s Kingdom?

Sure, more than likely, if you help lead someone to Jesus, they will come and worship where you worship, but they may not. If they choose someplace else, then still praise God. Praise God they are part of the flock. Praise God they are worshiping him. Praise God that there is another disciple out there ready to do battle with the forces of evil. Praise God.

As I said, following Jesus is messy work but if you are unwilling to get messy, then you will miss the joy that is discipleship. Get out of your neat, safe and comfortable buildings. Hit the messy, dirt road; kicking up some dust along the way and getting dirty; knowing that you are already washed clean through the Holy Spirit.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
[Matthew 28:19-20]

Let’s get messy.

The Pastor -|—