Holy Hill Prayer

O LORD,

Who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
It is he who walks blamelessly
and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the LORD;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
It is he who does these things who shall never be moved.

Holy God,

I am humbled and convicted by these words from the psalmist (Psalm 15);
for I have no right to stand in Your presence.
Nobody does.

But it’s Jesus that justifies and so it’s in his name that I call out to You.

Hear my prayer and forgive me.
Hear my cries and come to me.
Hear my pleadings and have mercy on me.

Holy God,
I want to sojourn in your tent.
I want to dwell on your holy hill.
I want to commune with You forever.
Restore me,
Renew me,
Remake me;
that I my glorify Your most holy name.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Concerned

I am concerned.

I am concerned that people would rather draw battle lines
rather than come together.
I am concerned that people would rather fire shots across the bow
rather than lay down arms.
I am concerned that people would rather strive for the last word
rather than listen to words.
I am concerned that people would rather craft hated-filled words for others
rather than truly listen and consider the impact of their own words.
I am concerned that people would rather hide behind social media posts
rather than honestly listen and talk with one another.
I am concerned that people would rather create sides/parties
rather than strive for unity.

I am concerned.

I am concerned that people aren’t running to God.
I am concerned that people aren’t dropping to their knees in prayer.
I am concerned that the blame-game doesn’t included one’s own actions.
I am concerned that it is always someone else’s fault.
I am concerned that this country is in a win-lose internal battle.
I am concerned that this nation is turning to other gods for help.

I am concerned.

But I am also hopeful,
because Jesus reigns and always will,
God is still God,
and the Holy Spirit is still active;
and therefore I will pray for this country.
I will pray for it’s leaders,
I will pray for it’s citizens,
I will pray for it’s success,
that God may be glorified.

Be concerned, but be hopeful.
God has already won.

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 -|—

 

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 -|—

Sermon Teaser for John 9:24-41

Jesus says of himself that he is the Light of the World; that all who follow him will not walk in darkness. One would think that would be enough to clue people in that maybe Jesus is worth following especially considering the dark world in which we live. Liberalism is constantly telling us that we are evil and bigoted and therefore demand that we be tolerant or shut up. The forces of evil seem to be ramping up their fear tactics. Satan’s prowling is ever more present. Darkness is darker than ever. But Jesus came to reveal the Truth by opening people’s eyes, but if you refuse to acknowledge that Truth then you are truly blind. Unless you acknowledge that you are as dependent as sheep, and trust him with all your heart, you will never truly know the peace that can only come from Jesus. May we truly open our eyes.

The story of the man born blind is one plump full of Gospel truth for a messed up world. Jesus is the Truth, period. I look forward to unpacking this text more over the next few days.

The Pastor -|—

Come Far and Near

Wise men came from the East;
magicians
astrologers
worshipers of the stars,
seeking a Messiah;
a King.
They knew the prophesies
They heard the stories
but most of all
they saw a STAR;
a STAR created and sent by God.
Don’t try to scientifically explain it;
just give glory to God!

So without delay they left on their journey,
long,
difficult,
dangerous,
and for what; for who?
A BABY.
They sought out the king and the leaders of the land,
but knowledge of the birth
they had none.
Prophesies were told
and the location was known.
So Herod sent them on their way
for he, too, wanted to “worship” this child.

(Don’t believe him, he is lying)

Upon finding this child,
they fell to the floor in worship of the
KING.
They worship the KING through their gifts of
Gold
Frankincense
Myrrh
They worship the KING through their joy.

(Praise be to God!)

But these wise men must leave.
They must return to tell Herod
so he, too, can come and “worship” this
KING
But warning comes;
a warning comes via a dream

Don’t believe Herod. Don’t go back to him”

So they wise men return by a different Way.
They returned changed.
They returned glorifying and praising God.

Have YOU seen Jesus?
Have you seen the KING?
If so, why are you walking along YOUR way?
Confess your sins and be forgiven;
for Jesus is the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE.

Come far and near and see Jesus.

The Pastor -|—