Theme Verses for Your Church

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. [Proverbs 16:1-3]

If this is not the theme verses for your church council/session/leadership group I ask you:


Pray and commit EVERYTHING to the Lord.

Enough said.

Holy God, may Your Spirit guide and inspire Your Church and may we be faithful to follow where You lead. May we not be so arrogant to think that we know what we are doing and may we place our trust in You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Holy Wednesday ~ No Ceasing

Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. [Proverbs 19:27]

For a couple weeks leading up to Holy Week, I started seeing my YouVersion Bible app advertise Holy Week and Easter Bible reading plans and devotions. There are also a number of videos, in the app, being offered on the life of Jesus. On TV, I have been seeing a number of Bible based movies and other informational shows about the Bible, Jesus and the times. So much stuff being thrown at us this time of the year.

But why only this time of the year?

The easy answer is that it is Holy Week and Easter. This is deemed to be the most important week of the year for Christians (along with Christmas minus the commercialization). And so it makes sense that information is thrown at us to help Christians prepare for this holiest of all weeks.

But I ask again, why only this time of the year?

The message of Easter is not only proclaimed one time a year and then we’re done. Jesus shouldn’t only make an occasional appearance in our mind’s eye. Faith development and spiritual disciplines shouldn’t only be encouraged once a year. We need instruction 24/7; 365/366 days a year. At least for me I need the Easter message everyday and my faith encouraged everyday.

When you cease to hear instruction; when you cease to receive the Gospel/Easter message; when you cease to feed your faith, you WILL stray, as Satan leads you off on dangerous rabbit trails into deadly snares. But, when you keep yourself in the Word, you will not only grow in knowledge about God but you will grow closer to God in Jesus Christ as your faith is nurtured and strengthened.

So as you reflect during this Holy Week, commit yourself to keeping you eyes on Jesus and your ears inclined to the Word; even after Easter. Don’t cease to hear instruction. Don’t cease to hear the Gospel. Don’t cease to pursue God in Jesus Christ.

Lord God, heavenly Father, may your Word draw us in and capture our souls with hope and peace. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Holy Parenting (Ephesians 6:4)


I claim no expertise in parenting but rather, I claim a strong desire and passion to raise my children to know and love God through Jesus Christ. And that is why I am so drawn to the above verse. I am constantly thinking about ways to be a good example but also thinking about what my children are seeing in me. Children are going to learn about God from their parents. Hopefully they learn a lot at Sunday school and Bible camp and vacation Bible school, but children will learn about loving and living with God by watching their parents.

So parents be mindful.

But not just parents. Church, be mindful. The children are watching you too. Whether you have children or not, they are watching you. When you are in worship; children are watching you. When you are interacting with others; children are watching you. Whether you like it or not you are being recorded by a child’s built in video camera in their brains, so be mindful.

But one of the biggest misconceptions in parenting is that as parents we need to be their child’s “best friend”. Children don’t need that. They have plenty of people to be best friends with. According to scripture, children need parents that will discipline them and teach them to know the Lord.

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24 ESV)

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t share this verse in order to advocate beating your child. This verse is about a parent’s God-given responsibility to discipline a child when they go astray. How a child is to be disciplined is something for another blog post. But here, parents are not called to be best friends. Parents are called to raise their children to walk the narrow path; disciplining their children out of love not anger.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)

And a parent may actually do this but see their child stray from the faith. If this happens, be patient, you have planted a seed. So don’t lose heart. Keep training them in the way they should go. How this training goes will vary from parent to parent but the common thread is, don’t be their best friend, be a faithful example of the Christian life. Love your children but even more than that, love God.

I have said this a number of times but it bears repeating:
The best thing a parent can do for their child(ren) is to love God more than them.

That right there says a lot. Love God above all things and all people and as a parent, you will do fine 🙂

Father God, parenting is hard work. Grant Your Spirit that parents and other adults may have the wisdom it takes to pass the faith on to the next generation. In Jesus name, Amen

The Pastor -|—

Have No Fear? Really? (Revelation 15:3-4)

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
 Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
(Revelation 15:3-4 ESV)

I stumbled upon was led to this scripture this morning for some reason. Funny how the Holy Spirit works sometimes.

In any case…

I started staring and reflecting on the question:
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name?

Seriously who? Who won’t fear the Lord? And why? It is a baffling question, really, when you think about it. God’s deeds are great and amazing. God’s ways are just and true. God is King. God is holy. But way too many people don’t know this or acknowledge this.

What a shame.

I look around and see God’s great and amazing deeds all over the place. I can not fathom the thought that we are nothing but chance; that some random molecules or proteins or whatever it is; came together and started forming the universe and thus life. There is no way whatsoever that life is random. It just doesn’t start out of nowhere and with no reason.

GOD is the author of life and thus God should be feared.

Romans 1:19-20 tells us:
[19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

It comes down to emptying yourself and trusting God. I saw this quote on Facebook yesterday that said: If you’re not hungry for God, you’re probably full of yourself. That sounds about right but I would say more than just “probably” full of yourself.

Through creation God has made it abundantly clear that God is God Almighty, Creator of the heaven and the earth. God has made it plain who He is. Just look around and see.

So take some time and reflect on the awesome deeds of God. Consider His just and true ways. Submit to His Kingship and acknowledge God’s holiness. Do this in order to foster and nurture a healthy fear of the Lord that sends you NOT running away screaming but running TO God in worship.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Don’t be a fool. Embrace the wisdom of God and learn from Him.

Creator God, You are holy and awesome and just and true and your ways are wholly righteous. May people run to you in holy fear and cling to Your promises through Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The Difference (Proverbs 15:16)

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. [Proverbs 15:16]

About three years ago, my wife was bombarding me with information about adoption agencies. And I remember thinking, “This is silly. We don’t have enough money to adopt. And do I really want to go into that much debt to do so?” But I didn’t relate much of this thinking to my wife. Instead I dragged my feet. I wondered aloud,sometimes, if we could afford this. My hope was that my wife would eventually lose interest and give up on this “fantasy”. Basically, I wanted her to let me off the hook because I was nervous about how much we didn’t have.

Thankfully she didn’t give up.

She continued pressing forward and eventually we found this agency and case worker that we would end up using to adopt our children. Yes, that’s plural. I am the proud daddy, now, of two beautiful and wonderful children. And I can’t imagine my life without them.

What was the difference for me?
A faith journey and transformation, and a better understanding of the fear of God through Jesus Christ.

You see, I was comfortable with my comfortable checkbook. I enjoyed my freedom and the flexibility that having “treasures” afforded me. I was still a Christian, serving as a pastor, but I wanted my cake and eat it too. But deep down inside I knew I was missing something; I just couldn’t place my finger on it then. Eventually (and I am not sure what precipitated this) but God pushed me over the ledge and said,

“Trust me”

So I did.

It was still scary to dive into adoption knowing the high cost of it, but along every step of the way, God brought friends and family and other caring community members to help us raise money and eventually finance our adoptions. And I praise God for each and every one of them because I know it was God acting through those people.

Money can’t buy you happiness.
A comfortable checkbook can’t truly make you comfortable.
A peaceful life now can’t bring you true peace.
Treasures in this life will never last.

The author of the Proverbs is not saying that if you have great treasure that you will be miserable and that if you have very little then everything will be great. That’s not what he is saying. The difference, he says, is faith; faith in the living God. And for us Christians, it is faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior; truly believing that Jesus died and rose for you that you may have true peace and hope.

That’s the difference.

And so for me, my checkbook is a little thinner, but I don’t seem to care much about that anymore.

[Please don’t praise my faith here, but rather give glory to God where it belongs]

God has provided and I believe God will continue to do so. Sure, I have my moments of worry from time to time; wondering how I am going to pay for certain things for my kids (especially as my oldest approaches school age). But as I worry and wonder and maybe even drag my feet a little from time to time, God continues to push me and say,

“Trust me, my child, trust me”

And so I do. And that is comforting.

Loving Father, please continue to push me when I starting doubting Your provision in my life. Give me those reminders of what you have already done so I may cling to those as Satan tries to plant hopelessness and fear in me. May I see very much even when I have little. And if I ever have very much, may I see that I have very little without you. Grant me the strength, oh God, that you may be glorified in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Strong tower (Proverbs 18:10)

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. [Proverbs 18:10]

Strong towers:
~ Money
~ Friends
~ Home
~ Career success
~ Children
~ Intellect
~ Humor
~ Sarcasm
~ Sex
~ Bible knowledge
~ Jesus knowledge

And the list goes on. Which ones here are your “strong towers”? Did I fail to mention yours? Basically, where do you run when the pressure is on? Where do you go when you need to feel safe? What defense mechanism do you activate to shield you from this world? Where is your safe haven; your fortress of solitude; your happy place?

We all have them. We all have strong towers. And I say “towers”, plural, because one is never enough it seems. Sometimes a situation calls for a different tower to run into. But the problem with strong towers here is that they really aren’t strong. They look good and impressive and powerful, but they can not deliver what you perceive that they promise. Strong towers here are really just towers of straw.

But notice where a righteous man goes; his strong tower is the name of the Lord:[9] Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:9-11 ESV]

The name of Jesus is exalted and therefore THE strong tower at which every knee shall bow someday. It is through the name of Jesus that you are saved from sin, death and the power of Satan. It is through the name of Jesus that you can have confidence in the face of death. It is through the name of Jesus that we can have hope and peace.

But be careful, the name of Jesus does not promise the easy way; rather the name of Jesus promises a cross. No where in scripture does it say that the name of Jesus promises a safe haven here in this life. It doesn’t promise success or riches or fame or prosperity; no matter what the property theologians say.

The name of Jesus is a strong tower because through faith in Jesus it promises eternal life; free from death, sin and Satan. And that is a Strong Tower.

Run to that
Cling to that
Dwell in that

The name of Jesus is to be exalted
The name of Jesus is to be praised
The name of Jesus is my strong tower

Praise be to God, always and forever, let’s pray…

Oh God, my Strong Tower through Jesus Christ, grant your children eyes to see the name of Jesus as THE strong tower. May we turn away from the straw towers of this world and run to you. We praise you that our safe haven in this world of evil and sin is the hope of the resurrection, and that we can have a name to cling to when death comes knocking. Oh God, my Strong Tower, may your name be praised and lifted high for all to see and run to. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Morning devotions ~ God is more than enough

Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord ?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. [Proverbs 30:8-9]

I find this an interesting prayer and one I am only half good at. I can pray all day long for God NOT to give me poverty. I mean, isn’t that the prayer of most people? But the next part I can’t say I have ever prayed before:

God, please don’t make me rich.

If you were to pray that line in public you might get some strange looks. Right? But then consider what else the author says:

lest I be full and deny you and say ‘Who is the Lord?’

Dear God, may I never say that. May I never deny you. May I never place riches as my god. My I never become so content that you are nothing more than a vapor in the wind to me. But don’t we already do this? Don’t we already become complacent at times with ease of life? Don’t we already forget to thank and praise God for good things. I guess this prayer is more important than I thought.

But what if you are living in poverty or are very rich. What then? Has God cursed you by placing you in poverty or by making you rich? By no means. Consider what the author prays next:

feed me with food that is needful for me.

This is no doubt the Word of God. This is the faith to know and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. This is asking for the eyes to see our sinfulness and the faith to acknowledge such. This is the faith to bring our sins before the throne of grace. This is feeding on God; that which we truly need. As scripture says, man shall not live on bread alone but from every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3).

What a powerful and convicting prayer. It is one that directs our attention to where it should be. Poor or rich let God be God and may we praise him as such. Let us pray this together:

Holy God, may I not be distracted with poverty or riches but rather feed me with your Word. And may I never feel so full of your Word that I stop feeding and receiving from you. O God, you are my God no matter the circumstances in my life. May you always be praised and worshiped. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Morning devotions ~ Your reflection

As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man. [Proverbs 27:19]

Never think or imagine that what you believe about anything goes unnoticed by anyone. Your heart is indeed a reflection of who you truly are.

I have heard people say,

My faith is a private faith. I believe in God. I just don’t think I need to go to worship to prove to anyone what I believe.

That is sad and a little hypocritical for you ARE proving something; that you really don’t believe and love the Lord. Worship is not about proving anything to anyone. Worship is about praising God. It’s an outflow of what is in your heart. If your heart is not busting at the seams to worship and praise God then I have to wonder what is in there.

What you believe about God is going to be revealed whether you like it or not:
~ How you live.
~ How you respond to situations.
~ How you love (or don’t love) people.
~ How you react to adversity.
~ How you respond to suffering.
~ How you respond to death.

Your heart reflects the person you are and shines brightly what you believe about God. Private faith? No such thing. Think about what you say and what you do; for they tell others a story about God. So make sure you do your daily heart check up.
~ Pray
~ Read scripture
~ Spend time with God
~ Worship
~ Question God
~ Listen to God
~ Be shaped by God
~ Reflect on your sinfulness
~ Know that through Jesus Christ you are forgiven

And be ready to reflect the glory of God in your life. Be ready to praise God with your whole being. Be ready to live as a forgiven sinner.

May God be praised always and forever. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Battle and Victory

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” [Proverbs 21:31]

I love that bit of wisdom and something I need to hear.

How often have you taken credit for a “victory” in your life? Maybe it was a compliment on a job well done. Maybe you studied and studied for a big test and you scored a high grade and patted yourself on the back afterwards. Maybe you credited someone else for your success. My temptation is when someone compliments me on a good sermon and I say “thank you”

[And yes, I do get those from time to time :-)]

Whatever it is, if we are not praising God in life’s “victories” then we are stealing the limelight from God.

Victory belongs to the Lord.

There’s no way around it. Without God we would be lost. Without God we would fall flat. Without God we would fail. It doesn’t mean we don’t prepare and study and make plans. We need to do those things.  Just remember who gets the credit in the end. Remember to praise and glorify God for He is worthy.

The Pastor – |—

Real victory

The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but the victory belongs to the Lord.
[Proverbs 21:31]

Prosperity theologians like to proclaim that victory is something we can claim through a right attitude.  They claim that if we can think correctly about ourselves or look at our situations in the right light we can claim victory or “favor” [ as one particular and misguided prosperity theologian likes to say].

But the author of Proverbs is saying that we can only prepare ourselves for battle but when it comes to “victory”…well…that belongs to the Lord.  And this is a victory we are given through faith in Jesus Christ.

Prosperity theologians don’t like to specifically mention the name of Jesus because that would give Jesus the power (which Jesus already has). To acknowledge that power takes power and control out on one’s hand.  The thing is, we have no victory (or favor) in this life without Jesus.  We have no future without Jesus.  We have no life without Jesus.

So prepare your horse for battle but don’t get too cocky.  Remember who’s in charge.  Any victory you win is from the Lord.  And favor?  Yup…through faith in Jesus Christ we have that too ~ the cross is proof of that.

Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
[1 Corinthians 15:54-56]

edh -|—