Why God, Why

This pastor’s heart is heavy this morning after reading news about a reporter and her cameraman in Virginia being gunned down and killed on live TV this morning. I won’t go into details here as you can click the link above.

As I read this story, my heart broke and immediately send me into a series of questions, many consisting of: “Why God, why?” as I instinctively started looking for answers. It’s a natural response to a tragedy as one seeks consolation, comfort, hope and maybe even an explanation. Something, anything to help make sense of the evil and sin in the world. I hear this “Why” question a lot and ask it myself.

And there are no good answers to explain why this tragedy happened, but there IS hope. The hope? OUR hope?


[Isaiah 43:1] But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

[1 Corinthians 15:55-57]  “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

[Romans 8:35-39, but really, read the WHOLE chapter] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

[John 11:25-26]  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?

…and there are many more, but hopefully this is a start for you. This world is nasty, sin-stained, filled with death, but…

Our God is love, pure and perfect, and filled with Life; a life that is your’s through faith in Jesus Christ. So as chaos reeks havoc in this world, cling to Jesus. May the only answer you search for and cling to be


Mighty and holy God, I lift up to You those affected by this tragic shooting. May family, friends and loved ones know Your love and the hope of the resurrection. Evil may have it’s day in this world but You have overcome this world. May we cling to THAT reality. All praise, glory and worship be to You, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Don’t Play God


You know, it’s just not worth it…

Someone does something evil to you and you do something evil back, and then that someone does something evil back to you for the evil you did back to them for the evil they did to you and then you do something else evil back to them for the evil they did to you for what evil you did back to them for the evil they did to you and then…

It’s just not worth it, but rather…

Someone does something evil to you and you respond with something good; messing with their heads.

[19] Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” [20] To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” [21] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21 ESV)

Or that works too.

Let God be God.
Let God deal with evil.

Besides, you don’t bring glory to God if you are playing God. So bring glory to God by doing good to everyone and always. And think about it, isn’t it more fun to mess with people’s head AND bring glory to God than to get caught up in evil and thus destruction? And you never know if your head-messing might just get to their heart…

…and thus bring glory to God.

Yup, that sounds better 🙂

Let the head-messing commence.

Father God, may I have the faith to respond with good rather than evil and thus bring You glory, in Jesus name, Amen.

Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks and Repeat

I have been writing a bit on prayer recently and committing things to the Lord. And this is not just some random topic to flush out but something that is at the heart of my ministry (especially now). And as I pray I am constantly being drawn to 1 Thessalonians 5:17 where it talks about praying without ceasing. But in addition to praying without ceasing it also says (before that) to Rejoice always. And then following the praying with ceasing part it says, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

And it makes no difference what you are praying for or who or what circumstance. This call to prayer should be a joyful one considering the God we are praying to. You could be praying in great anguish but if you are praying to God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, then you can rest assured that God is listening and therefore all will be good; no matter the outcome.

But I still find it difficult, at times, to rejoice when I am praying or to give thanks. I want God to fix my problems or give me a clear answer. But that is not God’s will for me. God’s will for me is to enjoy the fact and take comfort in the fact that God is in control and that God is for me. God wants me to take comfort in the fact that no matter the prayer request, that it is not too big. The only thing big in praying is God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

God’s will may be different than mine (and it often is) but God’s will is perfect. And it you believe that God’s will is perfect then rejoicing and giving thanks should flow naturally.

Wow, I’m feel much better about this praying without ceasing thing now.
Thanks for letting me talk through scripture with you.

Rejoice always
Pray without ceasing
Give thanks

for God is awesome!!!

Father God, calm my heart and help me see your awesomeness. You are faithful. You are loving. Your will is perfect. Grant me the faith to cling to that; that I may joyful commit everything to You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

The Pastor -|—

Sighs, groaning and praying

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” [Acts 7:55-56]

Stephen knew he was in trouble. He knew his life was in danger. Stephen knew that he was not getting out of this crowd alive. But he was unfazed. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he sees the reason for his faith. And I can about imagine the peace he felt, even as the people dragged him out of the city to stone him.

The reason I was drawn to this text this morning was because of a prayer request I received yesterday from a friend. He sent a group text to a few of us; asking how we should be praying for those Christians that ISIS recently captured. This has been weighing on him and wanted to know how to pray. So I sent the above text and wondered if we should be praying that those Christians see what Stephen saw and thus be strengthened and encouraged. Someone else then chimed in and suggested that we pray that the faith of those persecuted Christians have an impact on their captors.

But is there more?

I’m not sure what those Christians truly need since I can’t begin to imagine what it is like for them. I can’t imagine what I would pray for if I were in that situation or how my faith would hold up. But I like that text from Acts so I am going to pray for those Christians using that text and then pray that their faith impacts their captors and then fall in Romans 8:26…

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

…and then turn it over to God.

I don’t and can’t know what they truly need, but God does. So let’s allow the Holy Spirit to take our groanings and sighs and cries and carry them to the Lord. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to intercede for us. Let’s give it up to God and say, “May your will be done

Let’s pray…



The Pastor -|—

Just do it and bring glory to God

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. [1 Corinthians 10:31]

The context of this verse is Paul urging the Corinthians to honor God in what they eat/drink or don’t eat/drink, for everything belongs to the Lord. For example, in verse 27 Paul says that if an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you feel compelled to go; eat what is placed before you and don’t make a scene on the basis of conscience (for example, if you know the food was offered to a pagan god, eat it, it won’t kill you). Why turn the unbeliever off from the faith based on things they don’t understand now. Don’t use your freedom in such a way that it causes a “little one” to stumble.

…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

And isn’t that the purpose of our lives right there; to glorify God?

My wife shares the story of when she was doing a home visit, in her previous job, with an Hispanic family. When she arrived they offered her something to drink but all they had was orange juice (my wife hates orange juice). But to turn down a gesture of hospitality would have been offensive, especially considering the language barrier. So my wife bravely drank the orange juice, with a smile on her face the whole time. For her, it wasn’t worth risking offending this family and possibly ending any chance she had to share her faith with them in some way. The juice didn’t kill her and it definitely didn’t offend God.

Sure, there are things we need to stand up for and not do based on conscience and belief. I am not going to attend a drunken orgy on the off chance I could possibly pray with the people there. And I think you get the point. We are to bring glory to God and not use our freedom to cause others to stumble in the faith or to stumble before they even come into the faith.

…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

So basically we need to be mindful of how we act or don’t act, especially when it is known that we are Christian:
~ How do your actions or in-actions bring glory to God?
~ How are people seeing your faith being lived out?
~ Do your actions or in-actions cause others to stumble in their faith?
~ Are you giving God a bad name in how you live?

In whatever you do (or don’t do), are you bring glory to God?

Meditate on this today and contemplate what changes (if any) you need to make to your public (and private) display of faith. We are here to glorify God, through Jesus Christ, so just do it.

Praise be to God and Amen!

The Pastor -|—

Awesome salvation

[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. [Ephesians 2:8-10]

This is one of my favorite verses in scripture and therefore one that I have my confirmation kids memorize and later on write about in the faith statements. I mean, think about it:
~ Grace; free gift from God.
~ Salvation is this free gift through faith in Jesus.
~ We don’t (and can’t do this) and praise be to God for that; for we couldn’t depend on our choice.
~ And in case you forgot, this is a free gift.
~ And again, in case you forgot, this is not the results of your works.
~ Therefore, do not brag but rather worship God.
~ Rejoice that God has saved you and created you to glorify Him.
~ And enjoy your walk/fellowship with God.

Wow! That is good stuff but yet many people do not know this. Many people do not know about this free gift because they have not been told or told again and again. If this free gift is so awesome (and it is) then why not talk about it again and again and again and again and again and (well, you get the point, I hope)…

My friends, you have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ so shout it from the mountain tops that all the world may hear.
Praise be to God!

Let’s pray…

God of grace, Your mercy and faithfulness endures through all generations. Your love extends throughout Your never ending creation. And when I contemplate this, Oh holy God, I am in awe of You and therefore I have this desire that all may come to know Your amazing love and grace through Jesus Christ.

And so I lift up to You all those who do not call on the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior; that they may come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I’m not talking about a head knowledge about Jesus but an intimate knowing of the heart of Christ. May those who are reading this have their spirits stirred and transformed. May You open their eyes to see the truth of the Gospel. May they be joined to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

I also lift up to You those who are wavering in their faith. Maybe they are doubting the truth of the Gospel. Maybe they are drifting away from the church. Maybe some tragedy has turned them off from You. Whatever the case, oh God, may they remember Your love and come running back as the prodigal son found his father anxiously awaiting his return.

And for those, oh God, who think they stand firm; those who feel that nothing can touch them, humble them. May they be reminded that complacency is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. Strengthen their faith.

Faith is such an awesome gift from You through the Holy Spirit, so I ask that Your will may be done; that all those who call on the name of Jesus, may boldly go out and be Your instruments of salvation. May You be glorified in the faith of Your children.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

May God bless your day. May God give you opportunities to proclaim to people the saving love of God through Jesus Christ. And may God grant you the courage to not waste those golden opportunities.

The Pastor -|—

Love of money

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” [Hebrews 13:5-6]

And then you have Paul’s admonition from 1 Timothy 6:10 ~ For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

You see, money itself is not evil, it’s just how we relate to money. Jesus never said that a rich man will never get into heaven, only that it would be difficult.

Why? Because this money god is a powerful god.

This god dictates our priorities and decisions; and we’ll do anything to protect this source of peace. Money also is used a status symbol. The more we have the more we can buy. The more we can buy the better we look in the eyes of others. The better we look in the eyes of others, the more money we want so to look better yet. It’s a vicious cycle.

When you worship money you are saying no to God’s provision. You are telling God that you don’t trust that He can take care of you. When you worship the money god you are clinging to a false sense of peace that will eventually let you down. But worse yet, when you place your faith in the god of money, you are on the fast track to eternal death. Money may be able to buy you happiness for a while but it can not finance eternal joy.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I am not saying that if you have a lot of money then you’re in trouble. What I am saying is that there is greater temptation to see that money as your savior rather than God Almighty through Jesus Christ.

It is all a matter of where you put your trust. Will you praise God no matter what? Rich or poor? Healthy or sick? A big house or a cardboard box? A fancy car  or a bicycle? Is God your God or is it something else?

May the Lord be your helper that you may not fear anything this world throws at you or takes away from you. May the Lord be your provider in this life and in the Life to come.

May God bless your day. Amen 🙂

The Pastor -|—