Archive for February, 2009

Interesting Challenge

bibleA friend of mine from the Quad Cities in Illinois told me about an interesting challenge that his Church is going through. The Pastor challenged the congregation to go through the entire Bible in one year. The Church is probably about 350-400 in size and he said that 200 or so people signed up for this challenge. As we talked I kept wandering how this congregation will be transformed by those who accepted this challenge. There are many who do not regularly get into the word of God and find it easy to brush off with everything else going on in their lives. Those who take in a steady diet of the Word cannot walk away from it without their lives being impacted.

What about a Lent New Testament Challenge? That is what I will be challenging our congregation with this Sunday. The New Testament has a total of 260 chapters. If you were to read 6.5 chapters a day and you started on March 2nd you would complete the New Testament by April 10th. If you have never read through the New Testament from the beginning of Matthew through Revelation how can you know what the Word of God truly has to say? Challenge yourself to read the New Testament in 40 days and watch how God will grab a hold of your heart and strengthen your faith.

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Sour Milk

penn1This morning while I was watching the news I had to endure what the winners from the Oscar’s had to say. While I am a movie buff, I do not like the rhetoric and agenda that Hollywood seems to promote unashamedly. As I was watching I had to listen to Sean Penn who won an award for the movie MILK. This movie (which I have not or will not watch) is based on Harvey Milk and his fight for equal rights for homosexuals. Penn stated that this was really about “equal rights” which is what he said when he won the Golden Globe for the same part earlier this year.

The issue of homosexuality is becoming an increasing issue in our culture. Now people are saying that this is a civil rights issue. This is becoming such a big issue that it is influencing those who are in the Church and Christians are beginning to sit on the fence. This is not a civil rights issue! This is a problem and those of us in the Church need to take the stand that scripture does. In Romans 1:18-32 & 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 God tells us that homosexuality is wrong. He tells us that this lifestyle is sinful and unnatural. This is what we must teach and preach since it is a part of God’s Will.

I will say that when witnessing to a homosexual or discussing the matter with them we should always do so in love and grace. With that said I do not think that the Church should back down one bit from what we believe is the absolute truth of God’s ordained plan for His Creation. Hollywood is leading a charge that will impact our culture in negative ways for years to come. Those of us who are in Christ must defend the faith and we need to realize that we have the same right to discuss this issue as those who are trying to promote something that is against God’s design. God blesses those who stand up for the truth.

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weeping1One thing that has disturbed me over the past couple of years is the lack of remorse I see in people over their sins. People just don’t want to admit when they are wrong and will sometimes give a half-hearted apology when they feel that there is no other alternative. As a Pastor I have witnessed people only apologizing to each other to make themselves look good instead of feeling bad over how they have wronged someone else. I fear that Christians could be approaching God with a half-hearted attitude when it comes to sin in their lives. Growing closer to God means feeling greater remorse for our sins. It means that we are striving for a closer relationship with Him at all times. James 4:8-10 says;

Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.

If we will take these verses seriously we would see greater improvement in our life with God and others inside of the Church. Each of us is so quick to point our fingers at one another, but we need to always take a closer look at ourselves first. Not dealing with sin and grieving over it stifles our relationship with God. Are you the type of Christian who is sorrowful over your sin or you the type that just doesn’t give it much thought? Before we get caught up in style or programs lets get back to some basics and learn to deal with sin properly.

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hp1This past week I kept receiving a message that my Norton Anti-Virus was about to run out on my HP Laptop. This was troubling since the computer is only 2 months old and I have a receipt for a 3 year subscription that HP was suppose to install when I ordered this computer. I decided to call them only to be sent overseas and was re-routed several times to people I could not fully understand. After about an hour on the phone I became frustrated and asked if they would just send me another subscription for Norton in the mail. To my surprise they agreed. Usually something like this rarely happens, but we take what we can get these days from customer service.

Trying to resolve any issue with any ones customer service department can be frustrating. There is a lot of talk but rarely does the problem get resolved. As I think about my experience with HP today I wonder to myself how frustrated people become with the Church at times because they feel lost in what we do and our overall processes. Too much of the time Churches worry about being nice and huggy with new people in the building without much thought that they are confused or frustrated by not knowing why we do what we do. If we want to be better than a customer service department we are going to have to engage people in conversation and help them understand quickly who we are and what it is we believe in. New people coming into the Church are coming for a reason. Do you know why they are coming? Trust me, there is a reason. We are not called to meet every need, but we are called to minister to those who God brings through our doors. Lets be better than HP and help new people figure it out.

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6 Minutes 25 Seconds

Do you have an extra 6 minutes 25 seconds to hear the Gospel and its affect?

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mhMark Driscoll is the Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. I have been listening to his sermons lately and really enjoy his perspective. One sermon that he preached that I thought was really outstanding was one that dealt with faith and works. You can find that sermon as a media file at; http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/religionsaves/faith-works

This subject of faith & Works means a lot to me. The meaning comes from being a part of a tradition for many years that teaches wrongly that someone is not saved until they are baptized. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. If you don’t fully understand what it is to be justified by Christ take a look at this sermon. It is 57 minutes long, but it is worth every minute.

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gbGlenn Beck is a news commentator that usually deals in the area of politics. My wife and I started to watch Beck about a year ago when he was on Headline News. Now Beck is on Fox News at a time that I usually cannot watch him. What I like about this guy is that he seems to point the finger at both political parties and asks the government to do what it is supposed to. He asks them to help this country move forward. He is quick witted and is even quicker to point out the absurdities of the political system. Our family is hooked on watching this guy because he makes a lot of sense commenting on the problems with America. Nothing beats someone being straightforward. I think its time for the Church to learn some lessons from this guy.

What would happen if we approached the Church like this? I have seen the Church sweep their problems under the rug for the past decade only to have them become bigger problems down the road. I think its time for the Church to really wake up and take a good look at herself. While I love what I do and feel great about the Church that I am Pastoring there still are issues to deal with. The Church in America is on the decline in case we did not know that already. One of the main problems is that we are afraid to step on any ones toes to see it move ahead. Does that make sense to you? Does it make sense to keep doing things the same way and expect God to suddenly bless that? How about being honest with each other and realizing that certain aspects of the Church and its tradition just don’t work anymore. While I believe that we need to be preaching solid biblical messages we still need to realize what year it is. I want the Church to be the best that it can be, but getting there is what frightens people the most. Ask yourself what needs to be done to move your Church forward in a way that honors God and then start doing it. We need to gain new ground and stop sitting idly by while the world is moving forward.

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