Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I do not know you

In The book of Luke Chapter 13 we come across some scripture where Jesus is traveling through the cities and streets on his way to Jerusalem, when someone asks him a very important question. (Luke 13:23 NKJ) "Lord, are there few who are saved?" Another way of putting this question would be to ask; (NLT version) Lord, will only a few be saved?"

Today I wanted to focus on what it means to be known. You see the key to our having eternal life is to be known by Jesus. If he doesn't know you on judgement day, well then you'll be locked outside of his kingdom away from God's love forever. So I ask; "does Jesus know you?"

In my career and my involvement in church and other events around the community, I come across people all the time who know me, but I really don't know them. Has that ever happened to you? Someone comes up and says, "Hi, how have you been?" and even calls you by name, but you just can't place them, you can't remember where you have met them. It was probably at work and they were one of my customers, or maybe at church or a religious function or event. Maybe I met them through my interaction in the community with music? Who knows? But the point I want to make is that just because they know me and know my name and may have even visited with me or heard me speak or sing or teach doesn't mean that I know them.

After this person asked Jesus this question, "Lord, will only a few be saved?" Jesus told them a parable or story that explained the way to heaven or salvation. The way is narrow, meaning very specific. Let's look at the following verses...

The Narrow Way

22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.

So we see now, it's not enough to know Jesus. He must know us! Jesus is the narrow way. He is the specific and only way to have eternal life in God's Kingdom. Please do not make the mistake that so many of the people did in this parable when they thought that to know Jesus was enough. It must be sad for those people to be standing before Jesus pleading and desperately trying to jog his memory in some way hoping that he'll remember them, when they know deep down they never invested a genuine interest before now.

For Jesus to get to know us, we must spend time with him. First we need to recognize that our sinfulness, our lostness, keeps us away from God. We must respond to the leading of His Holy Spirit and say to Him, I don't want to live this way anymore, I want to give my life to you Jesus and make you LORD of my life. It's when we do this, that Jesus knows who we are. We've established a way for a right relationship and over time Jesus will teach us and shape us into his likeness through the power of His Spirit. Then on that day of judgement... because Jesus knew us, we will be locked inside the Kingdoms gates rather than outside! Trust me friend... you do not want to be left outside. Be sure that you develop a first name basis relationship with Jesus. That means... it's personal and intimate.

My prayer for you is that you will known by Jesus. May God bless you,


Now that's Faith!

One of my favorite stories in the bible is the story about the Centurions servant being healed by Jesus. I think the reason I like this story so much is because I can relate to it and understand it. Like this Centurion that has been placed in a position of authority, I to have been placed in a position of authority. I was in a position of authority while serving in the US Army, and I'm currently in a position of authority in my retail career. This centurion knew what it meant to be a person of authority and when he went to Jesus to ask him to heal a servant of his, he knew that all Jesus had to do was say the word, and his servant would be healed. He had so much faith that Jesus had all power and authority. This centurion knew that since he was also a man of authority over other soldiers, when he told them to do something, those soldiers did what they were told. They obeyed the one with all the authority. He knew that Jesus only had to speak it, to command it, and whatever he spoke would be done. Now that's faith in Jesus. This kind of faith impressed Jesus so much that he turned to the crowd around him and told them that he had never seen anyone with as much faith, even in all of Israel!

The Faith of the Centurion

1When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue." 6So Jesus went with them.

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Let me ask you... Do you have faith in Jesus? Faith first of all that he can save you from an eternal separation from God's love? Faith that he died on the cross for you and rose again three days later to provide a way for us to be made righteous in the sight of God?
Then why do we worry? Why do we not live in joy and peace? Why do we not take everything to the Lord for his help and guidance? Why? Because our faith is weak.
This Centurion should be an example for all of us. He KNEW who Jesus was and because of that understanding and knowledge there was no doubt in his mind that Jesus could do whatever he said he would do.
You know the bible is full of God's promises, full of his commitments to his believers and followers. Time after time were told in the bible to simply ask in the name of Jesus and it will be given to us.

So what is it you need from God today? What have you asked for that only God can provide? Jesus is just waiting to show you want he can do when you put your complete faith and trust in him. Remember, the Centurion knew the power of Jesus and went asking for help knowing full well that if Jesus agreed to help, then his servant would be healed. Do we have that same expectation? Do we have that same faith?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, my prayer today is that I would have the faith that this Centurion had in you. A faith that is expectant and confident in you and what you can do. Help me Lord and increase my faith each day as I see you working in my life. Thank you Jesus! Amen.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why me Lord?

Self-Pity, brooding, and frustration, happens to all of us. It's what we do during these times that matter most. We can choose to sulk and hang our heads and say woe is me or we can stand and fight against this self-pity that we fell and it's devastating condition it has on our lives. Self-Pity is nothing new, it's been around ever since man has felt that life and life's issues are not fair. Life is not fair, it hurts, it never goes as we plan, and it as most all of us have discovered, it's disappointing so often. Look at some of the men in the following verses and see if you can relate.

Elijah yielded to self-pity for a time and fled to Horeb.

1 Kings 19:4-5

He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord, " he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

Asaph, the psalmist, also fell into the sin of self-pity for a time.

Psalm 73:13-14

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure; in vain I have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.

Jonah became angry and was filled with self-pity, for which God rebuked him.

Jonah 4:3-4

"Now, O Lord, take my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." But the Lord replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"

Without going into each mans situation and the reasons behind their self-pity, we can see that they all felt sorry for themselves and felt the distress of what they were going through. Maybe you are trying your best to do what you feel God would have you do yet it seems that even though you live for him and call him Lord of your life, it doesn't seem to matter much. Evil people still have it better and suffer less it seems. As Elijah did in his frustration, sometimes we just want to give up. Have you ever felt that way? You just want to say... "I've had enough." and then all you want to do is lay down and sleep. Both Elijah and Jonah got to the point they felt they would be better off dead! That's a tough place to be isn't it? The point to where we feel we have nothing left, it's over, life is ruined. Or is it? The answer of course is always... NO. Life is not over and because of our self-pity we just can't see it anymore. Self-pity crushes the spirit, but a person that is happy has a cheerful face and sees things differently. We have to figure out how to turn from self-pity or we can be destroyed by it.

Proverbs 15:13

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

So how do we pull ourselves out of this depression or self-pity that has preoccupied our mind? Well we can start with the same question that God asked of Jonah. "Do you have any right to be angry?" I mean in the total scheme of things with all that God had done for us, the eternal life and peace he has given us as his children, do we really have any right to allow the circumstances of our day to allow us to fall into this sin of self-pity? We shouldn't, but we do because we are focused on self. That's the key problem with self-pity. We're focused on ourselves and our circumstances. There is good news however! The Lord directs us to a cure for self-pity. I'll leave you with Psalms 37. The Lord wants you to hear his words of comfort and wisdom through this pslam of David. May these verses encourage you and turn you from self-pity.

Psalm 37 (A psalm of David.)

(1) Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. (2) For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. (3) Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. (4) Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
(5) Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. (6) He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
(7) Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. (8) Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper- it only leads to harm. (9) For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.
(10) Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. (11) The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity. (12) The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. (13) But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.
(14) The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right. (15) But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
(16) It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. (17) For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly.
(18) Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. (19) They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.
(20) But the wicked will die. The Lord’s enemies are like flowers in a field—they will disappear like smoke. (21) The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers. (22) Those the Lord blesses will possess the land, but those he curses will die.
(23) The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (24) Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
(25) Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. (26) The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing.
(27) Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever. (28) For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die. (29) The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.
(30) The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. (31) They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path.
(32) The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them. (33) But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.
(34) Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.
(35) I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil. (36) But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
(37) Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace. (38) But the rebellious will be destroyed; they have no future.
(39) The Lord rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble. (40) The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Heavenly Home

John 14:2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

This week I attended the funeral of a co worker of mine and while at his funeral the preacher said something that I've really never thought about before. I mean I know how wonderful heaven will be, I know what the bible says it will be like. But to help us imagine just a little of what heaven must be like, he said this...

"When you look around and see all the beauty that is around us, the trees, mountains, sunsets, and such, all this was made by God in 6 days. Now think about what Jesus said about heaven. I go prepare a place for you. Jesus has been preparing that place for over 2000 years now!" "Think about how awesome and beautiful his creation is here in only 6 days work. Can you just imagine what God can do with 2000 years?" Wow. I do not think we can possibly imagine what heaven will be like, because however we imagine it, we can't possibly do it justice. Our minds can not comprehend what awaits us.

All I have to ask you is this... Are you going? Is Jesus preparing a place for you?

If you are not sure then read the previous posting titled... "Path to Salvation... Knowing Christ" and know for certain you are going to heaven for eternity.

God Bless you,


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Joy in Suffering

Philippians 4:4
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"

Everyone wants to be happy. As a matter of fact we make this ideal a lifelong pursuit. Chasing it always and most often happiness eludes us. We spend money, we collect things, and we search for new and exciting experiences. All in the pursuit of happiness. But if happiness depends on our circumstances, then what happens when our toys rust, our loved ones die, our health begins to deteriorate, our money gets stolen, and we realize the party's over? It's during these moments that we see our happiness slip away and despair sets in.

Joy however, is not dependant on our circumstances. Joy, rather than happiness, runs deeper and stronger. Joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God's love and work in our lives. Joy comes from knowing that he will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.

The book of Philippians is Paul's letter of joy to the Philippians. The church in the city of Macedonia had been a great encouragement to Paul. The Philippian believers had enjoyed a very special relationship with Paul, so he wrote them a personal letter expressing his love and affection. They had brought him great joy. Philippians is also a joyful book because it focuses on the real joy of the Christian life. The concept of "rejoicing or joy" appears 16 times in four chapters, and as we read through the pages we see this positive message over and over. This message of joy is said best in Philippians 4:4 with "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"

Lets not forget that although Paul's life was dedicated to serving Christ, it wasn't always a bed of roses. If anyone had reason to be discouraged or experience despair, it would be Paul. He had faced terrible poverty, abundant wealth, and everything in between. He even wrote this joyful letter from prison. Paul had learned to be content.

Philippians 4:11-12 says...
(11) Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.
(12) I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Paul found real joy as he focused all of his attention and energy on knowing Christ and obeying him. We too need to dedicate ourselves to finding joy in Christ. Each Chapter of Philippians speaks directly to our Joy. Chapter 1... joy in suffering, Chapter 2... joy in serving, Chapter 3... joy in believing, and Chapter 4... joy in giving.

Today I want to focus on "Joy in Suffering." (Philippians chapter 1)

We all suffer. Have you ever tired in your faith because of your suffering? Has the suffering your going through challenged you on staying the course. I know when I suffer, I have a tendency to want to withdraw. That's not the thing to do of course but it's a natural desire.

Paul suffered greatly throughout his life as he boldly proclaimed the gospel. I think sometime we are under the false hope that if we serve Christ diligently then we will be blessed in some way because of our service and somehow avoid problems and suffering. But we have to remember that God never promises to protect us from problems or suffering, in fact we learn from our bible that God is our help during times of suffering. This body we live in and this place is only temporary. Our real home is in heaven, and while we are away from our heavenly home, well we groan and moan as we live in this temporary "tent." (refer to 2nd Corinthians)

2nd Corinthians 5:1-2
(1) For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
(2) For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.

So suffering will come and we all will have to live through it. Earlier I said that Happiness comes from the circumstances of things that are happening to us. But Joy comes from knowing Christ. It's hard to be happy while we're suffering isn't it? But even in our suffering we can have joy. The joy we receive comes from the Holy Spirit in us as we still live our life for Christ in and among our suffering. Just knowing he will complete a good work in us one day lets us know that we are never alone. Don't let your personal condition rob you of the joy of knowing Christ or keep you from growing closer to him.
Philippians 1:6
(6) being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

In verse 7 of Philippians Paul says... "in my chains" he's most likely referring to his imprisonment in Philippi, recorded in Acts 16:22-36. Then again later in Chapter 1 of Philippians verse 13 and 14, Paul speaks of his Roman imprisonment. The thing is... wherever Paul was, even in prison, he faithfully preached the Good News. We need to remember Paul's inspiring example when when our suffering slows down or hinders our work for God. Usually being in prison would cause most people to be bitter or to give up, but Paul saw it as one more opportunity to tell others about the Good News of Christ. Paul realized that his present circumstances were not near as important as what he did with them. He saw past the suffering and looked ahead to what was really important. Turning a bad situation into a good one, he reached out to the prison guards and to the others in the prison to encourage them through their time of persecution. We may not be in prison but we all go through very difficult times of suffering and discouragement. Times of indecision, financial setbacks, family issues or conflict, loss of jobs, I could go on and on. How we act in these situations or circumstances will reflect what we believe. Like Paul, look for ways to demonstrate your faith even in bad situations. The good news is... that whether or not the situation improves, your faith will grow stronger.

Paul is a great example for us, because like us he too suffered greatly. But he was good at not allowing his circumstances to take his focus off of his eternal reward. Life is hard. It's not fair. But we are foolish to expect it to be while we live here in this temporary dwelling place. Our home is in the future. Heaven awaits us and our joy in all circumstances comes from knowing that our Savior is always with us until the day we are made complete. Remember... when we speak fearlessly for Christ, or live faithfully for him during difficult times in our life, we encourage others to do the same. Be an encouragement by the way you live. Let others see your Joy in your suffering.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Comforting a Friend

A Child’s Comfort
A little girl came home from a neighbor’s house where her little friend had died. “Why did you go?” questioned her father. “To comfort her mother,” said the child. “What could you do to comfort her?” “I climbed into her lap and cried with her.”
Source unknown

This short story speaks volumes to each of us. Sometimes when we want to comfort someone, we think we need to be available to talk, but the secret to comforting someone is in just being there for them. This father just couldn't see how in the world a little child could possibly comfort a grieving mother that had just lost her daughter. He didn't realize that it's not what we say during times like this, it's what we do. As a matter of fact it's best we say nothing and simply listen. We can't solve their problems, we can't fix the situation nor should we try to, we can only show love and compassion as a true source of comfort. A hug, an arm around the shoulder, and even crying with them in their pain can comfort more than anything else.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
(3)Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
(4)who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
(5)For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Thank God for his compassion. Thank God that he is the God of all comfort. As we go through our own struggles God comforts us so that we can comfort others that are struggling as well. It's just like Christ isn't it? He dies on the cross to save us so that we will go out and tell others about his saving power. He also comforts us so we will in turn comfort others. The reason we can comfort others as only Christ can is because his sufferings flow over into our lives and the compassion that Christ has for us, flows out to those we are comforting. Basically, Christ is comforting others through you. I believe that's why it's best not to say anything in most cases. Just let God's comfort flow through you and touch the life and soul of the one that is hurting. Allow His spirit to speak to their heart. Allow God to work through you and provide the comfort that only God can supply.

Lessons from the little girl.
1. She went to the one hurting as we must go to those hurting. This Mom didn't call her to come over did she? No. As a matter of fact I doubt that this mother would have thought to call this girl over for comfort. But it's what she needed wasn't it?
2. It's not what we say, but what we do. This child simply sat up in the mothers lap and cried along with her.
3. We must share the burden or the pain. It's OK to cry, It's OK to share in the sorrow, as a matter of fact it helps the person suffering to know that you really do care when you hurt because they hurt. This lets the one hurting know that you have compassion for them.
The next time you have the opportunity to comfort someone, remember that God is working through you. Make yourself available and be blessed as you are a blessing to others.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for Your comfort that spills over through me to others in their time of need. May I be sensitive to You leading me to comfort others, may I be willing to go to them and comfort, may I be willing to simply listen and be there for them, and may I be willing to allow you to comfort as only you can. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen

Monday, October 22, 2007

All in a Day

This morning I awoke to what I thought would be a normal day (as far as normal can be anyway.) It felt good! A beautiful morning and a good time alone with the Lord at the beginning of my day. I listened to gospel music on my way to work this morning and actually turned my hour drive to Murfreesboro into a worship service. The morning went well and pretty much on the routine that I had planned to some degree, but after lunch my world changed.

As I was having a meeting with several of my associates at work I was paged to answer an urgent call. I asked the group to excuse me for just a moment as I'll be right back after I take this call. The call was nothing that I would have ever expected. I was informed by the caller than one of my asst mgrs was killed in a car crash earlier this morning and that they have just identified who he was and after notifying his family they called me so I could let the associates know about this tragic accident and what had happened. I could not believe what I was hearing. This asst mgr was respected and loved by many of our associates. Sharing this news was going to be difficult. I was grieving myself and couldn't hardly grasp what had just happened either. I was shocked as I knew everyone else would be. This was extremely sad news.

I asked the Lord to help me with delivering this message that I had to share with my associates and I went back in the room to tell those that I had left in there the news. As I shared what had happened we all we're very heartbroken, deeply saddened, and shocked. I knew that the rest of the day would be one of meetings and counseling and comforting others as we all worked together to get through this initial shock and the grieving process. It was a tough afternoon for everyone, people within the Company to contact and brief, schedules to adjust, and all while trying to maintain and focus on the business at hand. What a challenge, but the Lord was with me and He gave me strength when I needed it.

I finally headed home and called my wife and shared with her what had happened as I drove home. The hour drive was spent mourning and thinking about what the associates were going through. Almost home, I saw a vehicle that had run off the road and apparently just crashed into the field to my left as I drove past. It was almost dark and difficult to see, but as I drove by I saw people just outside of a vehicle that had rolled over and rested on it's side just off the road. People from a nearby house off the highway were running as fast as they could to the overturned vehicle. As quickly as I saw this I slowed down and noticed other cars beginning to stop to run to the aid of this car accident. I assumed there were enough people to help and kept driving. I called 911 on my cell phone and reported the accident and it's location and they informed me they were on their way with an ambulance, that someone else had just called. I quickly said a prayer and this of course reminded me again of the loss of our asst mgr this morning.

Just a few minutes from Home I get a call from my wife and she tells me she is driving quickly to a friend of hers house and for personal reasons I won't go into the details, but this whole thing has my wife upset as she's on her way to see if she can be of any help. I finally arrive home and await for her to come back. Finally she gets back home and she fills me in on the details and I see the pain of what she is going through. More grieving, more sadness and more pain.

As things finally settle down it's now the end of the day. I'm exhausted, we both are. Why did all this happen? I don't know. But this I do know... the Lord got me through this day. I could not have handled it on my own. My prayer is this... Tomorrow Lord, I know already my day is full with the issues I have been presented with today. Please Lord, give me strength and the ability to handle whatever comes my way. I hold fast to the promise you have given me in your word. Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you Lord for your comfort and your love during this next challenge and test in my life. Guide me and direct me O Lord. It's in the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

An Angusihed Heart

Today during my quiet time I was reading out of the book of Psalm. I couldn't get these verses out of my head and for good reason. The reason I post these verses is because I feel that most likely, there are many people out there that struggle with an anguished heart. What is an anguished heart? The dictionary defines the word anguish this way...

anguished or with anguish: feeling or producing extreme anxiety or torment.

So by definition an anguished heart would be a heart that is feeling anxious or tormented. What causes anguish? The bible teaches us that our sin causes anguish, especially in the area of the God's discipline. Let's take a look at Psalm 38:1-8

Psalm 38:1-8
(1) O Lord, don't rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage!
(2) Your arrows have struck deep, and you blows are crushing me.
(3) Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins.
(4) My guilt overwhelms me- it is a burden too heavy to bear.
(5) My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins.
(6) I am bent over and racked with pain. All day long I walk around filled with grief.
(7) A raging fever burns within me, and my health is broken.
(8) I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart.

Wow, did any of this strike a chord with you? They sure did with me. I suppose I'm not the only one that struggles with sin. I have sins in my life that reoccur over and over again. As much as I try, I can not avoid sin. Sin has a way of invading our lives and with it comes regret, sickness, guilt, pain, and anguish! God does discipline his children. Psalm 38 is a psalm of David and he's asking God to remember him, to help him, to not abandon him. I know that's the feeling we can have when we are experiencing God's discipline. The reason for our anguished heart if the by product of our sin. Our health is broken. We are literally sick from how we feel about our sin. We know it's wrong yet we did it anyway. This breaks our health and makes us sick. Our guilt overwhelms us, it's such a burden that we just can't bear it. It's overwhelming! Our sins creates wounds that we suffer from. I like to call them consequences. These wounds fester and stink as a reminder of our sin. We're racked with pain from our wounds or consequences of our sins. We walk around filled with grief rather than joy or happiness. We are totally exhausted! Were crushed. We have no stamina or energy to go on. We groan and moan in our suffering and our heart is anguished.

So what do we do? How do we become healthy again. How do we have joy again? How do we get rid of the guilt and put salve on the wounds of our sin? The answer my friend is to confess our sins to the Lord and ask for his forgiveness. We need to apologize for what we've done. Our sin is direct disobedience to the will of God and that's what makes us sick. We need to tell him we're sorry. We need to confess what we've done, and ask the Lord to help us overcome our sin. When we confess and say we're sorry, we are acknowledging our guilt. We must take responsibility and acknowledge what we've done before we can truly be sorry for it. A true apology suggest that we know we've hurt someone with our actions. God knows your heart. Tell him you're sorry, confess to Him your sins, and begin the healing process that only God can give you. David said it best in these following verses...

Psalm 38: 17-18, 21-22
(17) I am on the verge of collapse, facing constant pain.
(18) But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.
(21) Do not abandon me, O Lord. Do not stand at a distance, my God.
(22) Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father. Please remember me as one of your children. Forgive me for my sins and come to me now O Lord and help me in my time of need. I confess my sins and I'm deeply sorry for what I've done. Please forgive me and restore me unto You. Thank you O God for your love, mercy, and grace. It's in the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Romans 14:13 Let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead. make up your mind not to put a stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

The title of this post is one powerful word isn't it? Respect. Everyone wants it, but so often we don't give it. As a leader in my organization I often speak to my associates about leadership. I've always believed everything either rises or falls with the leadership. After all, the leadership is responsible are they not for the results of the organization. Sure I understand that the leader can't do it all, so he or she has to depend on those they supervise to get the job done. But let's face it. As a leader we are only as successful as those we supervise. If our people are not successful then we are not successful either. We as leaders need our associates to be able to achieve results. We must work as a team, we must work together, or we'll fail to succeed.

I wanted to take the opportunity to challenge you to look at your place of employment and see where you stand in your own team. I like to think of my business, well like a sports team. You can choose to be a football, soccer, basketball, or even a baseball team. It doesn't matter... the principles are the same.

Before I start let me share with you some main concerns that most employees have in their organization. These are three main fears or concerns of most employee's.

  1. They don't feel they get recognized for their accomplishments or the work they do.

  2. They don't see strong evidence of effective leadership from their Leaders / Managers.

  3. They have concerns about their future and career.

Any and every business needs customers to survive. Without customers, the business dies. That's just how it is. Every business needs leaders and it needs workers to achieve the desired results that the business needs to survive. So we see three elements of every business don't we? Managers or leaders, workers and fellow associates, and customers. Now let's take a look at this team model I want to show you.

Every Leader is a coach. A coach for the team. Most organizations have a head coach (CEO, Manager, etc) But there are also several layers of coaches as well just like on a football team. We have special teams coaches and offensive coaches and defensive coaches etc. In most organizations there called managers or asst managers or dept mgrs etc. But they are the coaches for the team, the unit, the organization. Think about the role of a coach for a minute. Do they run out onto the field and make the plays? No, they observe the field or the court and they call in the plays as they see things pop up that affect the strategy of the game. They have a game plan and they follow it, but they also react and change their game plan if the rival team (the competitor) changes their strategy. Coaches change their strategy when they realize that what they are doing is not achieving the results they want to see on the scoreboard (P&L, profit loss statement.) Coaches also appreciate and pat their team players on the back when they perform well on the field, but they also hold them accountable to perform their expected roles on the team. But in the end... the team will win or lose depending on how well the coaches and the players have worked together to achieve the results. They celebrate together if they win and they suffer together if they lose. Coaches without players can not win! Players without coaches can not win! So you see we need each other to WIN! To be successful. It's that simple. And whether you are a coach or a player... you are both very valuable to the team and it's results or performance. What we need to be asking ourselves is this... whether I'm a player or a coach, am I doing all that I can to help this team win? Or am I causing this team to stumble? We have to be honest with ourselves. We must understand that it's very difficult for me to change someone elses behavior, but I can always change my own... always. So I ask... What are you doing to make your team the best that it can be?

It's about respect for each other, it's about realizing that no matter what your position within the team, everyone is a key player, everyone has a role and a job to do. It's about caring for each other and it's about helping people feel good about themselves while at work. It's about having a strong work ethic and doing our best... always. If we focus on RESPECTING each other, then we'll see the team performing better than it ever has. We'll all be striving to perform better and become better in our positions and this will affect our customer service as a result.

Remember every team has a coach or coaches, and every team has players that execute the plays or plans. But the team does not exist without the fans. If we don't have fans, well then we can't afford the expenses of operating the team. We can't afford to pay the coaches or the players for the jobs they do. The fans bring in revenue! Our fans, (our customers) come and participate in the game when we play well. Customers love a winning team! Our customers won't come to the game if we don't play well, if were always losing. Our fans will quit coming and they will go to another game in town (your competitor). We must win, because without fans, there's no need for a team anymore.

I hope we all realize that it's not about Management, it's not about the workers, it's all about the customer. The customer always responds to our performance. We must work together to achieve the results that will exceed our customers expectations. We must play well together and we must realize that we need every player and every coach to succeed. We must play to win!

RESPECT... treat each other with respect... always, and see what can happen within your very own organization. We all play a part in our own success. But to be successful alone is very rare indeed. This whole conversation reminds me of Christ's Church. We must be respectful with each other and we must realize our roles and place in Christ's church, His body. For Christ's church to be what He intends for it to be, we must work together, not against each other. We are after all on His team. we are... CHRISTIANS. Are we doing all we can for the team, or are we a stumbling block for our brother?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Riding the Fence

We all know what it means to ride the fence don't we? It means lack of commitment. We say one thing but do another. We stand for something but then wavier in our stance. We say were a Christian, but we don't live like it.

The bottom line is this... You can't serve two masters at one time.

Matt. 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Luke 12:15 Then he [Jesus] said to them, "Watch out! be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

It's not that money in itself is bad. But what it causes us to do is bad. Money can cause greed. We want more and more and more than we really need. Money can blind us into a sense of comfort and peace but in the end it's only temporary. It has no eternal value at all and it definitely is nothing we can take with us when we leave this world. When money is our master we strive to get more. We sacrifice our time for it, we sacrifice our family for it. We sacrifice our work for God for it. But when God is our master, money is not the focus or the issue. God provides for us as we need it. Greed is not the main thing. Money or material things is not the focus but living in obedience to Christ is the focus and desire for our life.

Which master do you serve? Are you riding the fence with one leg straddled on each side. The way of the world or the way of the Lord, which side of the fence are you on? Are you content in your life or do you feel like a boat being tossed this way and that on the waves. Just when you think your living right, another wave knocks you back or steers you off course again. It tough staying the course isn't it? It's all about the masters we serve in our life that dictates our contentment. The love of money will never leave us content (although we think it will). By keeping free of the love of money we can be content.

Heb. 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" [Deut. 31:6]

Our contentment comes form God. He will never leave us or forsake us. We must take a stand on one side of the fence for Christ and never go back over to the other side. We must quit riding the fence and go ahead and get our feet planted firmly on the ground of righteousness. If we do this we will have everything we ever need. God will provide because we've put our faith and trust in Him rather than our faith and trust in our money.

Matt. 6:33 Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Do you want to stay off the fence? Then seek out Christ. He'll give you more than money and possession could ever give you. Contentment, love, peace, and eternal life. All of which money can't buy. So get off the fence and serve only one master... Jesus Christ. make him Lord of your life today!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

God's Peace

Have you ever struggled with having peace? The peace I'm talking about is a peace that calms and comforts you in times of distress or anxiety. We all have those times. Yes the bible says not to worry, but we do because we just don't trust, our faith is weak. As a man of God I'm always disappointed in my lack of faith and my inability to tap into His power and experience God's peace and comfort like I should. You see I know about God's peace, yet I don't always ask for it?

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

My son has been in jail now for 2/3rds of his three year jail sentence. He is contemplating about going before the Judge asking for early release so he can take care of his daughter. His daughter is now 9 months old and he hasn't been able to hold her. His visitations are through a video monitor screen only and we talk through a phone line to each other as we see each other in the monitor from separate rooms in the jailhouse. Once a week for an hour we see him and we always bring his daughter Halle so he at least can watch her grow and she can see him and get to know him as as well. We've discussed this with an attorney and he says there's a small chance that the early release could be granted, but he's not really very confident that it will happen. My son on the other hand is putting all hopes in this happening.
When we talk on the phone he senses my lack of enthusiasm or hope that this is going to turn out well for him. I just can't seem to help myself and over the last few years my wife and I have been faced with so much disappointment as we went through this sentencing. I'm preparing for the worst, but I'm losing sleep and constantly worried about this meeting in court with the judge and what the outcome will be.

Tonight as I was sitting on the front porch, I realized that I have not even been praying about this meeting. Here I am filling my head with all kinds of thoughts that have been worrying me sick and I have not even taken any of it to God in prayer. As I was reading my bible this evening this was one of the verses I read, and I immediately realized why I have no peace. God's peace comes to me when I pray and petition my requests to God. God's peace transcends all understanding. and will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. This, is what I need.

It's the only way I'll be able to face the decision that is made. Whether encouraged and happy with the results or discouraged and disappointed with the results. My heart and mind will be protected with God's love and PEACE. A peace that transcends all understanding. I will be praying non stop for God's will in this situation, and of course I'll be asking for God to have my son released early if it's in His will.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for giving me this verse right at the time I needed it most. Forgive me for my lack of faith and for not taking everything to you in prayer. I've learned that the reason I need to take everything to you in prayer is because no matter how you answer it... I will be ok, because your peace will be with me. Oh, thank you Lord Jesus. It's in the name of Jesus that I pray. Amen

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Forgive as God forgives

One of the most difficult challenges of my life has been to forgive those that have wronged me over the years and when I think I've forgiven, something reminds me of what happened to me in the past and I begin to get angry and hurt all over again.

Eph. 4:31-32 says this... Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander. along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Let's think about God's forgiveness of us! He sent Jesus Christ his one and only Son to die for us. Even though we do not deserve it, even though we disgust Him with our sinfulness, He provided a way for us to be reconciled, to be made righteous, to be made perfect and holy. He gave His son up as a sacrifice for our sin. God let Him die on that cross and bear the weight of our sin on his shoulders. God forgave us when He gave us Christ as a sacrifice. He loved us that much. The amazing thing though is this... When God forgives us, He forgets about our sinful past completely. Now when He looks at us he sees us as righteous because our sin has been washed clean or should I say covered by the blood of Jesus. He sees His Son when He sees us. Now that's forgiveness!

It's hard to forgive others when they've hurt us, It's hard to be nice to those that get under our skin, but God does it! He did it for us, and if we truly have the Spirit of God living in us, then His spirit can help us to forgive others when we just can't do it. You see, we're not alone in this struggle to forgive others. We have within us the power to do it, when we just can't on our own.

Forgiving others is an absolute necessity.
Matt. 6 14-15 says... If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins.

IT's A SIN NOT TO FORGIVE! And God will hold us accountable for this sin. He will pass judgement on our sin like he did in the parable of the unmerciful servant. In this parable He shows us how sinful it is not to forgive.
Matt. 18:23-25, (23) Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. (24) As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. (25) Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

The next few verses in this parable also shows us God's mercy. This king in the parable forgives this servant of his debt when he falls to his knees pleading that the master show him mercy. The servant promises to pay back everything, but the servants master had pity on him and cancel all his debt so that he no longer owed him anything, and he let the servant go free of debt. What's this servant do next? He goes away and finds a fellow servant that owed him some money and he grabs him by the throat choking him demanding that he pay him back what he owes. His fellow servant falls to his knees and pleads mercy, telling him to please be patient, I will pay you back everything I owe you. But he refused and even went as far as to have his fellow servant thrown in prison until he could repay his debt. Well the news of this treatment got back to the master and he brought the servant back in to see him.
Matt. 18:32-35, (32) Then the master called the servant in. "You wicked servant," he said, "I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. (33) Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you? (34) In anger his master turned him over to the jailers until he should pay back all that he owed. (35) "This is how my heavenly father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.

This issue of forgiveness is serious. God intends for us all to love one another, to forgive each other when we say or do things that hurt. When we forgive, we do it out of God's love for us. We remember that we didn't get what we deserved either. We we're set free by God when he gave us his Son Jesus as a sacrifice to cancel our debt.

We need to let go, we need to not hold that grudge anymore. We must, yes we absolutely must forgive as God forgives, or face his judgement for our sin in this area. I can only imagine what God thinks of us when we won't forgive our brother, yet He forgave us and cancelled all debt and we don't pass it on. That makes us pretty selfish doesn't it.

PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, forgive me for my lack of forgiveness. I thank you for these verses and the reminder you have given me of your forgiveness of my sin. Help me Lord, to completely forgive those that have hurt me, Please Lord help me to always forgive others and may I live in accordance to your will. Thank you for saving me and forgiving me as only You can. Amen.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Times have Changed

I'm amazed at the way things have changed over the years. I know that every generation has seen their share of changes and improvements in technology, but I feel that now more than ever it's changing at a faster rate than we can keep up! I can only imagine what the next 20 years will have in store for us.

What I miss...

1. No stores open on Sundays.

2. Having to fill up with gas (at 32 cents per gallon) on Saturday to travel to Grandma's on Sunday because the gas stations were not open on Sunday (except on the interstate).

3. I miss penny candy. I miss going into the drug store and buying a bag of candy with the pop bottle money I got from the bottles I found on the side of the road. I'd find a couple of bottles after school while riding my bike and I'd go to the store and cash them in then run down to the drug store and get me 20 pieces of candy and the clerk would put those candies in a little brown paper sack for me to carry them in. And the candies back then were great. the little cinnamon hot dog shaped chewing gum, the square pieces of flavored taffy. a huge variety of tootsie roles and tootsie pops. Remember the wax lips or teeth?

4. I miss the stores closing at dark most evenings and everyone was at home every night spending good times with the family.

5. Riding bikes or walking around town without fear of getting kidnapped or hurt by others.

6. Trick or treating on Halloween was the best. We'd run the whole neighborhood and come home with tons of candy. We never feared someone hurting us with razor blades or poisoning the candy like we have to be concerned with today. It was a community event back then.

7. Family reunions happened almost every weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's house. This was of course before we all started moving all over the United States with our jobs and careers.

8. I miss going to work for a Company that you could count on being there for you till retirement. Now who knows?

9. I miss getting a bottle of pop (coke) for 10 cents a bottle at the local laundry mat where my mom washed our clothes.

10. I miss going to the grocery store on Friday nights after Dad got home from work with the paycheck. The whole town was there on Friday afternoon. We saw everybody there and it was fun and a busy time for merchants in our town.

11. I miss going to the park downtown and playing on the huge slide in the middle of the park. We'd wax that slide down by finding a waxed paper cup in the trash can and then we'd rub the inside of that cup on the slide making us slide super fast. The parks back then had great equipment like monkey bar and all kinds of equipment to climb on. The swings were huge and we could really get some air as we would fly out at the peak of the swing. We'd play in the park for hours and the rule was to run home when the street lights came on.

12. Suppertime was family time. We all sat around the table and talked and the TV was never on until after Supper. (now the TV is never off.)

13. We would go to work for an 8 hour work day and work 40 hours per week. You could count on the same shift every week. Now who knows?

14. A wrist watch looked like a clock and we'd wind it up each day.

15. 8 tracks were the latest thing in music. This could be the end of records.

16. A car cost you $5,000 brand new off the lot and a house was $25-$30,000 brand new.

17. Everyone knew how to work on their cars back then because they were all the same.

18. the high school football, basketball, and summer baseball and softball fields were the place to be for the whole community. Now that was entertainment.

19. Speaking of entertainment... you couldn't beat the "drive in." Mom and Dad would send us kids down to the big screen and we'd all play on a playground under the screen until the show started. As soon as we saw that movie start to play all the kids would run back to their cars and settle in for a run of three movies. I never made it past the 2nd movie before I fell asleep. I remember Dad carrying me into the house in the middle of the night after the long drive back home. What a great time this was for all of us.

20. Everyone in town all had the same banker, insurance man, lawyer, teacher (for all generations), schools, etc.

21. Everyone knew the police chief and believe it or not, he was a great guy. Gave you a break once in a while because he was your friend and neighbor.

22. When we had a parade, it went through the whole town and latest for hours. Lots of candy was thrown out and us kids would always compete for ribbons by decorating our bikes up with crape paper and riding in the parade.

23. There was nothing like being home for the Holidays. It began with Thanksgiving and went all the way through to the New Year. I remember looking out the window on a cold night just hoping it would snow. As Christmas got close we'd dream of Santa and the gifts we'd get for Christmas. Believing in Santa and then finally finding out he wasn't real... it didn't warp our minds like everyone's afraid it will today. It was the fantasy of it that made it fun. It was like living out a fairy tale.

24. TV shows were for the whole family, no cuss words, no sex, but lots of comedy. We laughed a lot more back then.

25. TV was free (we only had three channels) but they were free. TV also closed at a certain time of night, usually around midnight and I remember they would always close the network with pictures of our American flag flying as the National Anthem would play. Made me proud of our Country.

26. We all had the same telephone Company, and some of shared phone lines with the neighbors on our party lines. I remember having to listen first before dialing when we picked up the phone because someone might already be using the phone line.

27. The US mail was the only way to send a package or letter.

28. We all had our laundry hanging on the clothes line.

29. We all washed the dishes in the sink.

30. Our food was home cooked, not out of a box like it is today.

31. Going out to eat at a restaurant was rare and a special treat, now it's the norm!

32. Cookies in the cookie jar would last a week, because you could only have one or two before going to bed as a snack. Now a days the cookies don't even make it to the cookie jar!

33. I remember when the families had a Mom and a Dad.

Now days...

We have email, text messages, job uncertainty, political unrest, Internet, electronics instead of toys, music that is filth (because we want to be able to express our self in our freedom of speech.) To have TV in the house we have to pay an arm and a leg now and it's not good enough to have 3 channels, we have to have 150 channels and we still can't find anything worth watching. Every time you turn on the TV you hear cussing, you see sex, and we just don't seem to laugh as much anymore. Everything's a drama! And it's not a tasteful drama either. The bolder the better it seems! One TV isn't enough, we have to have one for each room so we don't have to be together to watch TV anymore. The dining room table might as well be the computer desk because we rarely eat as a family there anymore. Speaking about computers, we all own one an we also pay dearly for the Internet as well. Not just in monthly payments but in the time we spend on it away from our families and the filth that is available there as well has hurt many families.

Cell phones are the new way to communicate, talk about costing us an arm and a leg... this is it, but everyone in the family has to have one. Not to talk to each other though, so we can talk to our friends or better yet, send them a text message or a picture or any other thing that is a meaningless waste of our time.

Between the Cable bill, the Internet bill, and the new phone bill for our cell phones, the average person has $200 more in bills that they didn't have just a few years ago. Is it any wonder that our children can't afford to leave the house and make it on their own? Those that go to college are often so far in debt with student loans that it takes them 10 years of their life or more to get that huge debt paid off. I feel for our youth and teenagers today trying to go out into the world and make it on their own. We've given them as a society a false hope. For some reason they all feel they need phones, computers, cars, Internet, and all the luxuries of life that it took us years to get as their parents. We've set them up to fail.

Those of us working out there today.... It's get more done with less people! The Internet has replaced the mail bag and instead of getting mail once or twice a week we get emails all day long everyday so that we can be informed and directed with each passing minute of the day. We all have more to do and less time to do it. So we extend our work days to get it done, but it doesn't work. People are stressed at work because nothing is secure and everyone is expendable. The technology changes so fast that we can;t even get the new changes communicated properly or learned before they change again. Today's technology, TV, computer, accessories, is tomorrows junk, only because it becomes obsolete so quickly.

I won't even go into the details of all the drugs that are out there destroying the minds and the lives of so many people. I'm amazed at the way the media drives issues. News is instant and available on all issues. Nothing is too graphic anymore and nothing is off limits. We get to see it all. We get to disrespect each other on the radio and on TV. We seem to love seeing others suffer, or at least we're quick to jump on others misfortune and talk it to death in the news. Never mind we've ruined someones life with all the media attention! Most of what we hear, we could have done without hearing... Why? because it doesn't affect me!

I could go on and on, but I'm tired just thinking about it all. I don't want to go back to the good old days, but the way we're tackling the days of today.... Well it's destroying our families, it's killing our time together, it's costing us a fortune to live and we all just can't afford the pace we've set for ourselves. We're in trouble, all because we don't remember what was important to us in those good Ole days. We have to slow down some. We have to, or this technology and fast paced world we live in will wipe us out. It's like we don't have common sense anymore? We have to get back to focusing on the family, Spouses loving each other, teaching our children how to survive and providing good role models for them so they can be successful in life and marriage. America has fallen into a trance. We've become disillusioned into believing that we have the right to do whatever we want whenever we want to whomever we want. It's all about what feels good and we've thrown morals and respect out the window to get it.

It has to stop.

We've got to change.

We must take a stand.

Let's learn from our past, Thank God our past generations were not so self ambitious and that they thought more of their families and their future rather than just... "What's in it for me?" We have good role models for the most part in our past, I suggest we start imitating them since what we're doing isn't working out so well. From where I sit, the future doesn't look real good unless something gives.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Pastoral Search Report

We do not have a happy report to give. We’ve not been able to find a suitable candidate for this church, though we have one promising prospect still. We do appreciate all the suggestions from the church members, and we’ve followed up each one with interviews or calling at least three references. The following is our confidential report on the present candidates.

Adam: Good man but problems with his wife. Also one reference told of how his wife and he enjoy walking nude in the woods.

Noah: Former pastorate of 120 years with no converts. Prone to unrealistic building projects.

Abraham: Though the references reported wife-swapping, the facts seem to show he never slept with another man’s wife, but did offer to share his own wife with another man.

Joseph: A big thinker, but a braggart, believes in dream-interpreting, and has a prison record.

Moses: A modest and meek man, but poor communicator, even stuttering at times. Sometimes blows his stack and acts rashly. Some say he left an earlier church over a murder charge.

David: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the affair he had with his neighbor’s wife.

Solomon: Great preacher but our parsonage would never hold all those wives.

Elijah: Prone to depression-collapses under pressure.

Elisha: Reported to have lived with a single widow while at his former church.

Hosea: A tender and loving pastor but our people could never handle his wife’s occupation.

Deborah: Female.

Jeremiah: Emotionally unstable, alarmist, negative, always lamenting things, and reported to have taken a long trip to bury his underwear on the bank of foreign river.

Isaiah: On the fringe? Claims to have seen angels in church. Has trouble with his language.

Jonah: Refused God’s call into ministry until he was forced to obey by getting swallowed up by a great fish. He told us the fish later spit him out on the shore near here. We hung up.

Amos: Too backward and unpolished. With some seminary training he might have promise, but has a hang-up against wealthy people. Might fit in better in a poor congregation.

John: Says he is a Baptist, but definitely doesn’t dress like one. Has slept in the outdoors for months on end, has a weird diet, and provokes denominational leaders.

Peter: Too blue collar. Has a bad temper—even has been known to curse. Had a big run-in with Paul in Antioch. Aggressive, but a loose cannon.

Paul: Powerful CEO type leader and fascinating preacher. However, short on tact, unforgiving with younger ministers, harsh and has been known to preach all night.

Timothy: Too young.

Jesus: Has had popular times, but once when his church grew to 5000 he managed to offend them all and this church dwindled down to twelve people. Seldom stays in one place very long. And, of course, he’s single.

Judas: His references are solid. A steady plodder. Conservative. Good connections. Knows how to handle money. We’re inviting him to preach this Sunday. Possibilities here.

If you have ever been part of a Pastor search committee you can chuckle at this while at the same time see the truth of this! All the reasons not to hire these men have most likely been heard during your own search for a Pastor. Is he single? Is he too young? Does he offend people? Does he have tact? How's his temper? Is he a sharp dresser? Does he like to visit? Is he friendly and socialable. What about his wife? On and on and on we go. The danger of course is that we get so involved in the negative things of his past or that he can't measure up to our expectations of a Pastor that we neglect to see the positive possible impact of his ministry.
I believe that if we're too particular, we can end up like the church in the example above. "Hey, this guy Judas sure looks good, let's give him a shot." You see all the other men were men of God, and they struggled with sin in their life just like you and I. But for some reason we expect the Pastor to be perfect! We expect the pastor we choose to meet all of our expectations and be this perfect person that does everything we need as our leader. He's not allowed to have issues! After all he's a man of God! He's been called by God to be the Pastor! And by the way, he's being paid.

How quickly we forget that we also have been called by God to serve, evangilize, witness, and preach the good news to those we meet that are lost. Why do we assume or think it's the Pastor's role to visit the sick? Why do we think it's the Pastor's duties to run the office of the Church? Why do we think he has to be the one to outreach to the community so they can be saved? Why do we think this and how did we get this way? I'm convienced of this... We want someone else to do our work that God intends for us to do. Is that why we hire a Pastor to lead our congregation? No, of course not. But sometimes it seems that way doesn't it? If it wasn't for the Pastor or associate Pastor and a hand full of key leaders, teachers, etc. where would we be? The rest of the people come to be a part of their own social club. In some ways we begin to think, this church is our church. It's our responsiblity to complain when things in our church are not right. Now wait a minute, we tried that 10 years ago and it didn't work out so well, it just won't work. Now wait a minute Pastor, did you run that by the committee for approval first before you go too far with this? Well Pastor we have no one do run this ministry... can't your wife do it? Pastor, Pastor, PASTOR, can't you do more, can't you do better?

Folks... the man is human. He's just like you and I. No different! He's not more Godly than you and I should be. Usually he is though because we fail to read our bibles and study like we should, so we think that because he's the Pastor... well it his job to be more Godly. No it isn't, It's his job to equip the Saints (the members of the church) for ministry. It's not his job to do all the ministry, it's his job to equip us to do the ministry. Like visiting, like fellowship, like teaching, like evangilizing, like reaching out to the lost.

Pastor's role...
Ephesians 4: (11)"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, and some pastors and teachers, (12)for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."

Some of the first preachers were the 11 disciples.
Matthew 28: (18) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (19) "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Our role...
To be made into disciples. Men and women that have learned and been taught to observe all the things that are commanded us by our Lord Jesus Christ. This teaching of course comes from our Pastor and God's Word (the bible). He's our equipper. Our role however is to discover the gifts that God has given us and apply those gifts in areas of ministry within our body of believers (the church). For Christ's church to be all that He wants it to be, we must look at ourselves as the body of believers. Where have we dropped the ball? Why would we blame anyone other than ourselves for the condition of the church?

I hope that as you read this you look at your own church. You'll see these same results most likely. You have a hand full of people doing the work. You may have too many ministries going on and not enough people to do any of them real well. So you're frustrated and wonder why God is not at work in your church? You may be blaming your Pastor for the Spiritual condition of your church, yet, how often have you prayed this week for your Pastor or for the church? How often have you picked up your bible this week and read it with anticpation to see what God wants to reveal to you today? What does he want you to change in your life? Sometimes I think we just need to start over. Sometimes I think we make such a mess of things that maybe God just wants to take it down the foundation and start over and build us back up again as He intended. Have we built on His foundation with gold , silver and precious stones, or wood, hay, and straw?

1 Corinthians 3: (11) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (13) each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.

Could it be, that we've built our churches with wood, hay, and straw rather than the gold, silver and Precious stones that will hold up to the test? Sometimes I wonder?