Tonight

Tonight…
May your fleeting thoughts
be that of your Savior.
May your final image
be that of the cross.
May your pleasant dreams
be that of your eternal home.
May your constant yearning
be that of Jesus’ righteousness.
Tonight…
May you rest in peaceful slumber
and awake in joyful thankfulness;
knowing who you are
and
whose you are.
May God your Father,
Jesus your Lord Savior,
and the Holy Spirit
hold and keep you,
Tonight…and always.

The Pastor -|—

 

Empower Me

Empower me,
oh God,
to live a life worthy of the Gospel.
Where there is hurt, use me to provide comfort.
Where there is conflict, use me to bring reconciliation.
Where there is hatred, use me to show love.
Where there is a need, use me to bless.
Holy God,
Creator and Redeemer,
may Your grace and lover spur me to stay in the game;
not becoming complacent,
and may I have the tenacity to never stop living for You.
All glory be unto You,
Oh God,
through Christ Jesus my Lord.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Begin…

Hebrews 12:1–2 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Holy God,
as I begin this day,
I am feeling the weight of demands and expectations.
I am feeling the prodding of Satan’s attacks.
I am feeling the weariness of the battle.
All of which work against that which You call me to do;
to shine the light of Your love.
Oh God,
May my eyes be fixed on the founder and perfecter of my faith, Jesus Christ.
May his strength alleviate the weight of demands and expectations.
May Your armor shield me from Satan’s prodding jabs.
May Your promises revive my weary soul.
May I continue to “run the race”;
following the example of the witnesses before me
and with my eyes firmly fixed on my Lord and Savior.
And so,
I begin may day,
ready to run.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Treasure

He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
Hebrews 11:26 ESV

Dear Christian, what has greater worth to you? The treasures of this world or Jesus? The rewards that worldly treasures offer are nothing more than short-term pleasures that will quickly burn out if you don’t work hard to keep the flame stoked. As anyone knows, a fire only burns as long as it has fuel. You can’t start a campfire and then watch it burn without end. You have to keep throwing logs on the fire. You have to expand energy to ensure the flame does not go out. You might have to go out before hand to cut wood and prepare it for the fire, but for what? The fire consumes your work and then you have nothing to show for it. What have you then gained for your work? It’s a wasteful work that gives pleasure for a short period of time. As the author of Ecclesiastes said, it is vanity, a chasing after the wind.

Now, oh Christian, contrast that with Jesus and the reward that only he gives. It is a fire that does not go out. The work beforehand to prepare is Jesus’ work. The stoking of the fire? Not needed for the joy of the Lord is unending; it never burns out or diminishes in the least. But people want what they can see now and not what is promised later. They want immediate satisfaction. They are too impatient and thus willing to foolishly sacrifice eternity. Moses had it all; living in Pharaoh’s household, but he gave it all up for the sake of God.

Dear Christian, what is promised later is of infinitely more value than anything that can be created here. Look to the reward; eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Bear his reproach now as a follower and disciple; keeping your eyes firmly fixed on the reward already prepared for you. Be sustained by Him and enjoy a treasure that is forever more.

The Pastor -|—

Light in the World

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
[Philippians 2:14–15 (ESV)]

It seems to me that many in the Church need to take these words of Paul to heart. Too Christians spend way too much time fighting and complaining about the stupidest things or whining and complaining about this and that politician. They do this all the while as this “crooked and twisted” generation is watching and thinking, “why do I need to listen to them?“. Or worse yet, this “crooked and twisted” generation doesn’t even notice the Church because it looks like everything/one else. What would it look like, though, if the Church kept the main thing the main thing and actually were “lights in the world“; proclaiming the Gospel and working out their faith with fear and trembling. What if the Church was actually holy; set apart, different from the world? What if the Church actually sought transformation through the Gospel instead of conforming to the world around them.

Hey there, Church, if you are trying to advance the Kingdom of God, stop trying to look and act like the world. Stop trying to please the world by conforming to them. Be a light in the world; lights among a crooked and twisted generation. Remember whose you are and live a life worthy of the Gospel. It’s time to grow up, Church, and be who you are suppose to be.

Rant done…now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

The Pastor -|—

Jesus, You Alone

Jesus,
you alone sacrificed EVERYTHING
that I could have everything I need.

Jesus,
you alone are the “something” to believe in
for you alone are my EVERYTHING.

Cross

Jesus,
you alone knows what it means to lose everything
as you hung on the cross crying out,
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Jesus,
you alone are deserving of everything I am
for you alone are worthy of everything.

Jesus,
this country sets up idols on lofty thrones,
not knowing from whence comes true hope.

Oh Lord Jesus,
help me to speak into such madness and foolishness,
not to put people down but to raise them up;
not that I can boast but that You are glorified.

Jesus,
you are my everything.

The Pastor -|—

Everything

I’ve been reflecting on Nike’s new ad campaign that features embattled (former) NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who infamously started the “kneeing for the national anthem” movement. The campaign features a black and white close-up of his face with the words…

Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything

A couple thoughts come to mind:
(1) Kaepernick has NOT sacrificed “everything”. He still sits on a nice little nest egg and is receiving national attention. The only thing he has sacrificed is playing in the NFL, and if that is “everything” then he truly has nothing.
(2) Jesus sacrificed EVERYTHING that we could have ETERNAL LIFE, which is everything we need.
(3) When you only believe in “something” you have nothing. When you believe in someone, namely Jesus, then you have everything.
(4) When you truly sacrifice “everything” for Jesus, you have lost nothing.
(5) Our brave men and women serving in the armed forces have sacrificed far more than Kaepernick will ever know.

With that being said…

I am in no way attacking what Colin Kaepernick is claiming he is protesting. I am in no way advocating some boycott of Nike like some are doing. But this believe in something/sacrificing everything crap that Nike is dishing out has rubbed me the wrong way. It has also saddened me and stirred something up in me. If people don’t get that Jesus sacrificed everything that, through faith in him, you can have eternal life, then I need to step things up more.

So here you go…

PEOPLE: You are SINNERS. You are under God’s WRATH. But wait, there is hope…JESUS. He died FOR YOU and rose from the grave FOR YOU, that you could have ETERNAL LIFE. Believe not in something, but believe in someone…JESUS.

There you go…

To God be the glory!

The Pastor -|—