Monday, June 27, 2016
Before I answer, let me say this: I always go to church with an open heart and with "ears to hear" as Jesus says in the Gospels. I hunger to hear His voice and as such when I am listening to another pastor speak I am listening for the Spirit's voice to communicate to me. I would hope that all of you are placing yourselves in a similar posture to hear and obey.
The answer to the question in about 95% of cases (did you know that 87.56467% of statistics are made up???) is, "No. The pastor is not talking about you" nor is he referring to what you shared with him in private. Every man and woman of God that I know spends many hours in prayer and preparation before standing behind the pulpit to share what we all hope and pray is God's message to His people in that moment. That's not to say that different situations and conversations with people don't spark something that will be a driving force behind a Sunday morning message. Keep in mind that the majority of the New Testament, which is God's Word to us today, is actually letters written to specific people about specific situations in their lives or in the church. Those communications covered everything from disciplining people to commending them and through them God is still speaking to us today. I once had a lady get so offended because I wrote a blog about an issue that she had brought up to me in conversation. It sparked something in me that I felt needed to be addressed on a larger level to other people. Though I never mentioned that conversation or the person in the blog, she soon left the church. ( #BaitOfSatan )
The bottom line is that the vast majority of times, it is simply the Holy Spirit talking to you because you have rightly placed yourself in an environment where it is easier than normal for Him to to do so. And you should not only respond accordingly, but be grateful that He is speaking to you and leading you in your growth. If it happens that the pastor is using your conversation or situation within a sermon because the Lord sparked something within them that He wants spoken to the Whole, then be even more thankful.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Revenge of the Sissies
Saw Star Wars recently. It was such a good movie. Got to see Anakin freak out, and go Sithy on everybody…I only wish that JarJar would have been one of the victims!
Your education by nature is a preparative thing. It is constantly focusing you on your future. This is right and it should be that way…but one of the drawbacks can be that you tend to view your life as something that “will be” instead of “is.”
Don’t settle into a wait and see.
Your life becomes a “wait and see” thing.
We cannot afford for you to wait and see. We need you now. We need you now young Davids and Deborahs. Just imagine if David had waited to see what his life was going to be. Imagine if he viewed life as a wait and see prospect. He wouldn’t have killed the lion. He wouldn’t have killed the bear…and as a result he wouldn’t have been ready to step up and kill the giant.
1 Samuel 17:34-37 (NKJV) "But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”"
Right now there are culture wars going on around you. You may not be too aware of them, but you will be as you live determined to honor Christ in this life. Your faith and values are assaulted everyday, every time you turn the tv on. Every time you listen to the radio, or download songs. Some things will be as intimidating as giants to you.
You will have people taking a stand against you, telling you that you are not to take a stand.
You will have people tell you that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth.
You will have people assaulting you, telling you that you are cruel and intolerant because you live your life by standards.
It’s a mess! And it is easy to live intimidated by these giants and turn into one of the sissies that refuse to govern themselves with honor and live according to the standards and principles found in the Word of God. They will tempt you to live with your knees knocking in fear like everyone else, and start saying things like “well that’s just my truth…” “everything is relative”
What to do? Move to some remote mountaintop and eat bugs and mushrooms? Lock yourself in a church and plug your ears like much of the church today? I say the best defense is a good offense. Doesn’t mean try and be “offensive,” but it does mean live in the power and blessings that God provides us. Live with purpose. Live with peace. Live out loud and make a difference around you. God is recruiting champions, and he is looking squarely at you!
There will be rough times ahead. Not going to deceive you. Learn to cherish them…those times are the Forge of Champions.
Revenge of the Sith was kind of a dark movie. Saw people walk out all bummed and some even crying at points. Life will be like that. It will seem like the Hand of God has left you, hope will seem a distant memory. But do you know that just like with this last star wars movie…I know how it all ends. You see I saw the other movies…I know Anakin gets “saved” (if I can use that term), I know Luke and Laura go through some trials, but they emerge strong and victorious.
Do you know I’ve read the end of this book too! I know how thing turn out for those that hold on, and persevere. I know the King is coming back. I know that in this life God’s hand of favor rests on those He calls His own. I know that when they do go through tough times and trials that it isn’t meaningless, it isn’t empty, we’re not alone! I know that there is destiny on God’s kids, we can live like champions, and one day at the finish line…we get the Grand Prize!
Monday, August 17, 2015
All of us have a public face. It's our best face. It's the face that we want to be judged by since that is the one we use for good deeds, religious activity, facebook, etc. We even start to judge ourselves by that face compared to other people's. We think we are "pretty good." But there's a problem. That's not our true selves...our true face. Our true face is the one that keeps popping out at inopportune times. It's the one that needs healing and is often ignored in fantasy or medicated into silence. Our true face is the one that is a broken sinful mess and is longing for acceptance. Our true face also happens to be the only face that God will deal with. He doesn't engage our veneers. He doesn't engage who we wish we were, but rather who we really are. He says "there's the real you...the one that I love and want."
"But the cost...," we say as we think of our mess and cling to our security blankets (idols) of entertainment, unhealthy relationships and the rat race to get more stuff. He acknowledges our mess and points to the cross. And then it is decision time...again. Will we shrink back into the darkness or will we finally embrace His gift through faith and turn away from everything that has failed us so many times? For those who choose life and freedom, all of a sudden our true face becomes our best face because we are whole, loved and redeemed.
"Then Jesus spoke out again, 'I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"
Friday, June 26, 2015
President Obama in his comments about the SCOTUS decision today announced that "justice has arrived like a thunderbolt" It is significant that Baraq in Hebrew means "lightening". (Though I disagree with the video maker's initial conclusion click here to watch a video of the meaning of his name)
For close to a decade Christians and the majority of the people of this country have voiced their dissent of gay marriage with votes on the state level. Over the years the federal courts have slowly and steadily taken away the voice of the people by overturning rightly elected constitutional amendments and referendums. All the while as the decisions were made the new kept reporting how "gay marriage is now legal in ____" They would also report how opinion polls were shifting in support when I really think it was the people giving up the fight since they felt powerless because their voice had already been stripped away...opinions without the power of vote are powerless to affect change. Today POTUS succeeded in his agenda to legalize gay marriage in this country. You say SCOTUS is the one who handed down the decision, but with POTUS' obvious bias throughout the years and his nomination of two Justices to the court, do you really think that he didn't have that conversation with them before nominating.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I live in the New America, the land where we get offended by stuff because someone else might possibly get offended by it. It's only logical that we get offended on behalf of others who may or may not actually be offended. And if you disagree with that, I am offended and I have no problem offending you because you disagree with me. You are just not enlightened enough. Your lack of enlightenment is offensive.
Sound about right? #TheNewAmerica #LandOfTheFragile #HomeOfTheWeak #TwistedEmpathy
May God have mercy on us and restore us. May we remember our covenant with Him and repent of trying to make a nation in our own image and strength. Blessed is the nation who's God is the Lord.