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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mary did you know?

Today is the last Sunday before Christmas and our thoughts are whirling with all the details to make it a special day. Friends, food and family make this a joyous time of year.
Yet 2000 years ago an angel visited a young woman who by social standings would have been regular and of no special worth. The angel had a very important message, Gods message. This young woman would be with child and even though she was engaged, she was a virgin. How politically incorrect, no bunking up together, no trial runs, she was indeed saving herself for a man by the name of Joseph. Joseph was a man of integrity and kept Mary a virgin until after the birth of this bundle of joy that we celebrate, Jesus.
As I have been preparing for Christmas eve service and Sunday services the past several weeks it has really been heavy on my heart the pressure Mary must have felt. Not only to tell her fiancé that she was pregnant with God, but her parents and friends. But even more importantly when Mary would ponder the writings of the Old Testament prophets about the life of the Messiah, did it really sink in this would be her son? Isaiah 53 would rip any parents heart out to think of such things happening to our children that we are to keep safe and protect. Everyday waking up wondering if this was the day my son would be led off and slaughtered.
Luke records the proud new parents going to the temple as the Levitical law demands to make sacrifice and during this time they encounter a man, Simeon who was told by God's Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Lords Christ. Anna the prophetess is the other one they meet who continually points people to the baby making known this is the promised one. But Simeon warns Mary that her son is "appointed" to the rise and fall of many. He goes on to say that not only that but Mary's own heart will be pierced, not literally but as she sees her son hanging on the cross, being pierced through for our transgressions. (IS 53)
Mary did you know your son was on loan?
Mary did you really understand what was coming?
Mary did you ever feel helpless to save your son?
Mary, through the death of your Son, you were saved!!
Listen, I don't mean to be a rock in your shoe, but recognize Christmas for what it is, a fulfilled promise of God from the book of Genesis that he will crush your head and you will bruise his heel, speaking of the battle between the Lord and Satan.
Merry Christmas and may God's blessing abound for you and your house this week.
At the manger

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Just in time for Christmas

If your still wondering to get that hard to buy for person I've got an idea for you to consider.
I was recently sent a complimentary Chronological Life Application Study Bible from Tyndale House publishers for my review. The quality is exceptional and the first thing that caught my eye was how colorful the pages are. From all the maps, pictures, and time lines this Bible is a joy to use. In fact there are more maps in this Bible than any other Bible I have ever had.
Each page has a time period on it to explain where the pages text take place in the plan of God.
The Life Application Bibles are known for their notes and helps found for many verses, but this Bible is a study every time you read it. The application notes are relevant and intended to help you draw closer to the Lord through your study. The notes often contrast between the world and the faith. What the world expects, offers, demands is many times at odds with the teachings in scripture. Sometimes as we read we miss the point by looking for other details, the notes in this study Bible do a good job of directing your discovery. This Bible would make a wonderful addition to your study, but it would also be a gift that keeps on giving. So be sure to check it out and let me know what you thought.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

In the Secret Service

No I didn't spend time in the secret service, as far as you know, but I did just read a book I would call the top read of the year for me. I read a lot of books as a pastor but this one wins hands down. Jerry Parr with Carolyn Parr are the authors and although Jerry's claim to fame was the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, there is so much more. I am a slow reader but I finished this in just over two days. I couldn't put it down! From Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights tension, Kennedy's assassination, Watergate, Iran hostage situation and more, you are in the front seat with the secret service. It is as if you are right there with them, feeling the emotions and tension they felt. Jerry brings a personal side to these presidents, and high profile dignitaries and leaders that have been discussed, and are in our history books, but I guarantee nothing like in this book. Regardless of political affiliation they have one job, protecting the assigned person, at any cost. The agents mentioned in this book become family and we learn about the person behind the office. Honestly some for the good and some for the bad, everyone can have a bad day but some folks are just rotten regardless of status. You'll have to pick up a copy to find out what I mean. This book is well written, informative and well worth the read. I recommend this book to all ages.
Spoiler alert: Jerry and his wife retired and served with many ministries and missions. Jerry went back to school and received his masters of pastoral counseling from Loyola college, later being ordained.
Tyndale House publishers provided a complimentary copy for my review.
till next time, pick up a copy and let me know what you thought:-)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What difference does 700 years make?

King Ahaz found himself on the sharp side of the sword, when the king of Aram, (Syria), and the king of Israel decided to attack the southern kingdom of Judah. During this time the inhabitants of Judah were terrified, as you can imagine, as the enemy was within sight. During this time a prophet by the name of Isaiah was sent by God to speak to Ahaz. Ahaz wasn't the most upstanding king the nation had ever had. The prophet of God encouraged Ahaz these invaders would not overcome if he would believe. Unfortunately we see in chapter 7 of the book of Isaiah, Ahaz refuses when God asks him to ask for a sign. "I will not test the Lord" he proclaims. But God decides he will give him a sign anyway. Verse fourteen of the seventh chapter says the sign will be a virgin with child who will be called Immanuel. Now there are different variations and interpretations to this verse but clearly according to the gospel of Matthew chapter one, where Matthew quotes the Isaiah passage, Jesus was the infant that would come to the world. He would come in the lowliest of ways, almost insignificant, unnoticed, in a world watching Rome. Over 700 years between the prophecy and the fulfillment and it comes and goes with little to no recognition. An infant and not a political deliverer as the Jews expected. Ahaz missed the boat and met his Waterloo, so don't make the same mistake. A day is coming and will indeed be here sooner than we think when the world will once again receive the king. This time He will come to gather those who are his, those who have a proper understanding, and it will be followed up by a second coming where all of the world will be attentive because He will be here to set things straight. Merry Christmas.
Until the next time
may all the honor be His.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Godonomics book review

Well from time to time I read a book I need to pass along and Godonomics is one of them.

Godonomics  by Chad Hovind is more than just another book about economics.  It does a good job of walking the reader through the Biblical principles of God's design for economic systems. This book takes the time to explain some of the most common economic systems such as Socialism/Communism and shows why they will not work from a biblical and logical perspective. This book does not make economics a "political" issue and is not written in a way that bashes one side of the aisle. Instead, it is written clearly and matter-of-factly about why God's design for our economy is far superior than any other system that is being followed today. Truly an encouraging book about where our country could be as well as where we as individuals can be if we follow's God's economic system. Check out the authors website by clicking here. Or if you would like to take a look at chapter one click here. Either way you won't be disappointed. I received this book for free from, Blogging for Books, for this review.

Well worth the read!
Until next time

Friday, November 29, 2013

What's in a "Word"?

I have been studying for our next series of sermons, entitled, "Do you hear what I hear". The premise is to discuss and study out 5 of the most significant statements ever made. This is quite a task considering there are 66 books in the Bible full of important phrases or quotable quotes.
Through  this study I searched famous statements which of course brought up famous quotes instead, but as I foraged through these quotes it amazed me at how many of our past leaders and influences in the united states talked about freedom and protecting our constitution. From Washington, Lincoln, and Johnson, to Martin Luther King Jr. they all had something to say. I would encourage you to not waste your time looking up Barack Hussein Obama quotes unless you desire less freedom, more control, and Muslim tolerance.
The thing that struck me through my studying is the importance of our words and how we choose to use them. We all know that women use more words than men, and so guys we need to be praying for women. ha ha. Seriously, if you stop and review your days word usage, would there be anything you'd change? Maybe select a different word, say it kinder, not say something, or maybe to speak up when you didn't the first time. The Bible has much to say in word selection and James warns us about the devastation our tiny little mouth muscles can reap when used flippantly or without caution and restraint. Not everything that crosses your brain needs to be processed by your mouth. Think how many arguments you would have avoided. I know my life would look differently today if I payed closer attention to my words selecting them like a mechanic choosing the right tool for the job.
Why not spend some time considering what changes need to be made in your word usage right now and plan to make the necessary changes.
Till next time, get those turkey leftovers eaten up.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fork me!

Not so long ago I participated in my first funeral. As a pastor we are often called to crisis situations but thankfully I had never been called to do a funeral. Out of the blue I get a call and am told that days are limited and that my church was the church of choice for the funeral. As I set in my office and pondered the reality that we will all at some time answer for how we have spent the time God has given us. No man, woman, or child will get around this stark reality, which got me thinking over the past. Specifically the last 5-10 years. I reminisced of friends and family that I have all around the country and the rough times that have surrounded many of them. I quite honestly started to get discouraged. I personally know more pastors than I can count on both hands that have left the ministry either out of frustration or because they were asked to leave. This led me to relook over some of my old emails to see if I could see any indication of their leaving the ministry and it led me in a way different direction. I came across an email of a pastor who had met a young lady who had limited days because of cancer and was preparing her funeral. As the pastor had completed the details, I got up and after a humble good bye opened the door. "Stop"' she called out. "I almost forgot the most important thing. My final request is to have a fork placed in my right hand so during the viewings and visitations people will be curious of the significance of this fork." Not wanting to be rude the pastor agreed that he would make certain of this final request. Indignant, she asked if he was at all curious why she wanted this, of all things. "Well, I am a bit curious",  he shyly responded. The young lady explained that as a young girl as the supper dishes were being cleaned up she would yearn to hear the words, "keep your forks". For she knew that was the indication of something better coming to her. She would grip her fork tightly and graciously receive the dessert which was sweet, warm and substantial. Hot fudge brownies a'la mode, pie, cake, custard, it really didn't matter it was the best part of the meal. "I want people to ask about the fork, and then I want you to explain it to them. I know the best is yet to come."
I sometimes lose track of this myself, in fact Jesus claims that He came that we might have life and have it abundantly. This isn't reference to the earthly riches you and I cling to, it was a reference to the eternal status you may have as a gift from Him to you. He has already reserved your space through His payment on the cross. So the question is will you take the fork or reject it? Jesus clearly says, "I am the way the truth and the life NO ONE come to the Father but through Me". The world will tell you otherwise and may feel good immediately but it will always be temporary. Salvation is for eternity and trust me it will feel better, be more joyous and rewarding than anything this earth has to offer. Why not make that decision now? What is standing in the way?
Till the next time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A long over due thank you:-(

As a preacher there are usually times of the year that people expect something such as an Easter service, or Good Friday service, Christmas series, and of course the summer should be filled with stand alone sermons because to many people will be traveling to be effective with a series.
I have always held to the belief that God Himself will give direction and although I value parishioners thoughts, I must follow God's lead.
It hit home yesterday that I have gotten tied up in a series that I am doing and trying to complete so I can begin my Christmas series, that although I feel this is what God led me to, He maintains the right to give me a last minute switch. Now if you know me at all you know me and last minute are not friends. I like to plan and think through and so when I felt the gentle nudge to acknowledge the veterans that have fought and still fight for our freedoms, I decided to just do an acknowledgement at the beginning of our service to appease my conscience.
Please don't think for an instant I meant to be flippant or unappreciative, as my intentions were to squeeze more in without losing what was already there. Usually this is about as effective as getting toothpaste back into the tube.
While speaking about our veterans I was moved almost to the point of tears as to how far our country has fallen and yet many of our men and women still fight for our rights even if we have given up. I understand that our veterans get paid and have great benefits, get to travel and see the world, use the latest and greatest technology, get college tuition, and many other nice perks as a trade off, but let me tell you about some other things they sometimes receive.
Prosthetic limbs due to an injury in the line of duty. counseling for all the death and destruction they endure. medication for the foreign illnesses you and I can't even pronounce. A divorce decree to sign when they return because their spouse didn't "sign up" for being a single parent. A new born child who is now walking and knows a few words, daddy isn't one of them because he is protecting you from afar. And how about the job loss, post traumatic stress disorder or paranoia thinking someone is always wanting to kill you, not to mention the snide comments that veterans get because of some Neanderthal liberal who associates the soldier with innocent deaths and blames the soldier instead of the threat and cowardly slime that put innocent lives at risk to save their own hydes.
I want to apologize to our veterans for not dedicating more time to prayer for you both personally and corporately as we worship. I want to apologize for not dedicating a day to observing the very things you fight for. And I want to apologize for taking for granted the comforts of my life and the freedoms that I observe every day because someone is doing something to maintain that freedom. You dear soldiers are a blessing.
We honor you today, those who have fallen and those who are being shot at as we read this. We pray for you, for your family and ask for your safety and strength. We are with you and we love you.
If you have need of prayer or would like to comment please feel free to do so. Please pass this post on to others that we may honor our veterans.
In His hands, even in the trenches
Pastor Mark

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What are you clinging to?

Can you remember back to when you were a kid? What I mean is how much things have changed and how different things are. In remember growing up on our farm and when dad would take the pickup into town or to a neighbors house my two sisters and I would hop in the back and off we'd go. We were supposed to sit down and not move but sometimes we set on the wheel wells and had a better view, after all we were all pretty young. I remember hopping in moms ole bomb and rolling down the windows to stay safe because of the leaky exhaust and rust holes. The car should have been called mobile suicide. We didn't even know if the car had seat belts and if it did we probably would have been more likely to tie them around our waists in case the floor gave out.
Fast forward a few years. Married with children and approaching the same circumstances I grew up around seem like insanity. Why would any parent in their right mind allow a child to ride in the back of a pickup going down the road. I can't find the buckle to my seat belt so two people are strapped together in their 3 point harness which is sure to prove interesting in an accident situation. Air bags, on star, and AAA are all at my rescue should I need them. I never thought my parents were bad parents but it is amazing how terrifying it would be to put a 30 lb. kid in the back of a truck when you've seen 150 pound items fly out of the back of a truck and the damage it did when it hit the ground. My parents didn't play Russian rulet with my life so what's changed? It is pretty simple. Our culture has!
It says your not smart enough to take care of yourself so you better find someone to help you. It tells you that your not strong enough so you need to find something to help you. In the same breath it says you don't need anyone, but you do need "stuff". After all you know the old antage, "the one who dies with the most stuff wins".
Honestly, I can do without a lot of stuff. I don't need to be the best, fastest, strongest, handsomest, wisest, person, although I am. tee hee. What I do need is to know who I am and my identity. I do need to know in a world full of uncertainty that I am safe and confident. I've looked in a lot of places for happiness, security, acceptance and have always been disappointed until the day I inquired of the stranger. This stranger was noble, royalty in fact and offered to take me in, feed me, clothe me and protect me. He made my enemies tremble at His presence. And then He offered for me to live with Him as a son forever. I would receive my own mansion and untold of treasure. And then with a tear in His eye He tells me of His Son, whom was beaten, abused, spat upon and murdered in a most horrendous way. Because of His Son, I can come and be part of His family and although His Son was left for dead, He came back from the dead and is now with Him. The name of His Son, is the most well known name in human history and is used as a curse word by some. Some have issued law suits and petitions to ban His name from even being mentioned. His name has been ban from our courthouses, senate, house and maybe even your vocabulary.
This name that is above all names is.....Jesus Christ. Do you know Him?
If you would like to know more send me a comment and I will be in touch. If you already know Him are you trusting Him.
Till next time

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Real men don't text

Tyndale house publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of the book "Real men don't text a new approach to dating", by Ruthie and Michael Dean for my review.
As a pastor I am always looking for great resources to add to my recommendations list for people looking for additional helps in their lives.
I have read what feels like a zillion dating books and have become somewhat critical of most of them. Real men don't text has a refreshingly strong core idea. The dating scene has become tech saturated leading to a new realm of issues. Though I am strongly on board with the ideas of this book I was disappointed with the delivery. Let me explain. As the authors attempt to strengthen the case for personal interaction complete with personal examples and sample texts it seems as though it becomes a journal of their personal experiences. That is good to draw from but I personally would have enjoyed a bit more scripture as well as more focus on the point than on their dating history.
The other thing I struggled with is the stereotypical all guys are pigs mentality. The real issue is where individuals are going to meet people. Believe it or not bars and parties aren't the best place to meet someone who is looking to get serious. Being equally yoked and setting standards and guidelines are mentioned in several spots and I couldn't agree more. I would probably would share a copy of this but it wouldn't be my first choice. My area of influence is likely different than the authors target audience.  Till next time

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Whats in a parable?

So what exactly is in a parable is the question. Some sort of hidden message? Some new revelation that is in secret code? A story that was used to entertain?

Well the answer is found in the definition of the word parable. Simply put it is where our word comparable comes from. The Greek word is made up of two roots. The first one is para and means beside or vicinity of, while the second root is bal-lo, meaning to throw at or toss into. Therefore the literal meaning is to throw two things together side by side for the purpose of comparison or correlation.
Last Sunday we looked at the "parable of the vineyard workers" and discovered what it was all about.
I shared some guidelines for studying parables but wanted to remind everyone about the second one.
Parables are often confusing so people walk away with many ideas of what the meaning was. The confusion comes because of a lack of understanding regarding meaning and application.
Let me explain. When your boss tells you to do a specific task you could draw many applications from his/her comment. Regardless of how the job gets done or why you think the boss wanted you to do this task, at the end of the day you were asked to do a task. These things are all applications that can be drawn from the command. The command it self has only one meaning, do the job.
So it is with parables, although many excellent teachers, teach on the multiple meanings of a parable, there is one core truth that Jesus is trying to communicate. The truth may be different from parable to parable but each parable will have a core truth being taught.
For instance in the parable of the vineyard worker found in Matthew 20:1-16 we find the kingdom of heaven is like a vineyard owner looking for laborers in the town square and could easily make several conclusive applications with just this one thought. The actual meaning here is that the kingdom of heaven is like a vineyard. How? Well Jesus goes on to explain, the point is that all believers are equal regarding eternal life and length of service, quality of service or any other self imposed comparison is merely an attempt at application. When we focus on the application so quickly we stumble plumb over the core truth. All believers are equal before a holy God and those who have been Christ followers longer have no advantage over the rest.
People like to make black and white into gray so they don't have to be pinned down for an explanation. After all safety is the most important. Or maybe not.
My challenge to you is to read scripture with your mind looking for answers and observations that will be ever changing.
Till next time, stay chilled.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Where are the men?

Sorry if your search led you to this blog hoping to find a listing of eligible bachelors, but the question is legit. Not so many years ago if there was a disagreement on the playground or struggle for a cute girls attention, a macho show down or even a punch to the gut was exchanged but at least they worked it out like men. I am fairly confident that our senate, house and white house are sorely lacking these basic genes to stand firm for something they believe in.

Let me back up and say we just got our health insurance projection thanks to Obama care, and it went up over 300%. I guess this is affiliated to the Obama-nation that we now seem to live in. What happened to a president who listened to the people? What happened to a congress that would debate the issue and not put writers on a bill that had nothing to do with the bill so they could get it through. Plain and simply integrity in the United States leadership is almost absent. What kind of country would permit a president to spend excessive dollars to block off the federal parks to "make them feel it" until they pass his excessive spending limit. Mr. Obama is this how you run your household, spending more than you bring in? Of course, not you charge it to the American tax payers.

What an outrage and disgrace to have a , cough cough, president, cough cough, that ignores the veterans that have served this country and protected our freedoms, the ones we used to have, and then show the support to the illegal immigrants. How do I know their illegal? Because they are here, and not in the country they are supposed to be in. I have no issues with immigrants, in fact this country is known as the smelting pot of nations, which leads to great diversity, but do it legally.

I know how the prophets felt as they wept over Israel and Judah because of the complete lack of moral values, integrity and righteousness, all traded in for wickedness and self gain.

Here's my offer if the white house would like a copy of George Orwell's, Animal Farm, I would be more than pleased to provide a copy or two. A great read with a very revealing story.
Till next time, take a stand!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Did you hear that?

I didn't either:-).
I have been studying the spiritual disciplines of the Christian Life for a sermon series I am preaching and so far we have looked at a few. Out of all the ones covered so far, silence and solitude seem to be the most difficult. Phones ringing, neighbors house getting reroofed, school let out and all the kids walking by, texts, email, breaking news, family time, where does it end?
In and of themselves these things are harmless and undoubtedly important, in varying degrees. So why is it that I can't get some peace and quiet?! If I am honest about it, it is because I am lacking motivation to leave to a quiet place. By that I mean, I physically need to get up, and go to a quiet place to be with the Lord. Sound like anyone else you know? We read in Matthew 1:35 that Jesus got up, left the house and went to a secluded, literally lonesome, place. He took action to secure a time away from everyone else to be with God. We know He used some of this time at least to pray, but the value of the time away from all distractions to just be silent and have silent is of great benefit to everyone, Christian or not. Time to prepare for the day, prepare yourself and think. It may just be what the doctor ordered. So why not give it a try? start small and try just an hour or so, leaving your phone, iPod, and other distractions at home. Go for a walk even if that is what gets you away from everything.
Good luck and I would love to hear your stories of how you observe silence and solitude, or what works for you.
Till next time.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Too Little Time

Whoa, Let me off the ride! I don't know how long I can keep holding on! Have you ever felt that way? Maybe that explains exactly how you feel right now. Well your not the only one. I have been talking to people all week and I am hearing the same thing from all over the place.
What most of us don't stop to realize is, this is an extremely effective form of spiritual attack. If you are busy, stressed and frustrated, searching for enough time to even catch your breath than you are certainly in the midst of war. When all of our time goes into trying to keep our heads above water, then the enemy has the upper hand. No longer are you able to pick the things you enjoy or know God would have for your day, but instead you do what it takes to survive. After all the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
So here is the good news. You have the authority and the ability to set things right and put your priorities in order the way you know they should be. Here are a few helps for you.

The first step is to acknowledge your situation and accept responsibility for allowing it to get this way. Its not that you meant for it to turn out this way but regardless it is what it is.

Secondly is to give yourself permission to rectify the situation. You know there will be hard decisions ahead and it will not be easy. You know at some point you will disappoint someone and that's never easy, but you cannot please everyone and live for their expectations.

Thirdly is to ask God for forgiveness for losing perspective and ask for His sovereign hand to fix it.

The fourth step may very well be the most difficult, stop everything! that's right absolutely everything. On the up side you will be immediately putting some things back in immediately, the down side is you will have to fight the urge to put the things that monopolize your time in a negative way back in right away, don't do it. Send out an email, text people, call them or do whatever you feel peace about but let people know you will be out of commission for awhile. You may want to give a brief explanation to help them understand its nothing personal but you are drowning in a pool of over commitment.

Make a list of all the things that you feel need to go back on your calendar and put an "A", "B", or "C" next to them. Simply put you are separating good, better, best. Consider the consequences and the benefits as well as the draw backs by putting these on your calendar. Discern what things will honor God, build your family and leave you time to do the things that bring you enjoyment.

As you put things back into the mix, place them on a calendar and only put the "A"s back on to begin with. If two of these contradict one of them must be placed on the "B" list. Maintain the attitude that you cannot continue to over commit yourself.

As a personal note, may I recommend that you place daily time with the Lord on your A list? Place family on the A list. Don't forget to put priority on these areas.

You have probably already figured out the plan of putting things back on your schedule but here is the catch. Operate on an "A"-list. Some of the items on the "B" list will make your calendar but be choosy. You can add things as you go and I would highly recommend not putting the entire "B" list back on. be patient and be confident before adding things. Your "C" list things may not ever make it to your calendar again. That's ok, in fact that's the goal, right?

I think if you take the time to evaluate how you spend your time and you make the necessary changes, follow it through, you will emerge victorious and find more enjoyment in life. Isn't it worth a try?

Keep your chin up and your calendar open.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Just read a great book and wanted to share it.

As a pastor I am always looking for great resources to pass on to folks that are spiritually based and don't treat the symptom but get to the root of the issue at hand in a practical way. I just finished one such book on a topic every person I know can benefit from. Depression affects so many of us, our family and friends that it is important to have a practical help that treats the whole person. The name of the book is "Turning Your Down into Up" by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD with Ann McMurray "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."
  click here to read a chapter
This book has found its way to my highly recommend shelf. This is the first book I have come a crossed that helps you to reveal the symptoms, isolate the causes, and gives practical steps to fix including thought provoking questions to personalize and come up with a plan of action. From diet and exercise changes, to scriptural promises this book thoroughly looks at every angle. Pick up a copy of this book and equip yourself to combat depression. Rather it is you dealing with it or someone you care about, you'll be glad you added this book to your arsenal.
Till next time
Pastor Mark

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Are you under authority?

As I have been considering more and more my role of obedience to government vs obedience to my Lord, I have felt like a haze has consumed me. Not in an overwhelming cant find the tree from the forest type of haze, but at what point do I say enough is enough. In fact even as I write this I think of the eye of "big brother" watching and listening in. I know many of us have "files" to keep all our important information in so it is only logical to conclude that those of us who call our selves Christians, get anti communism newsletters, conservative, value voting, joy casting, state hopping, cell phone using, people such as myself have a file as well. Register a gun, well that needs to be documented, call a known tea party attender, that's another line item, and the reality is we dismiss this as the governments need to keep us safe even if we have to give up a little freedom. A "little freedom" is merely the beginning. The Jews took sin seriously and attempted to make it impossible to sin by a group of people called Rabbis, that just means teacher, who began to write laws. And they wrote laws, and some more and again, you get the idea. The thought was if the Rabbinical code had enough laws and addressed every area of a persons existence they would no longer be able to sin and if they did they would fall into the hands of the church. Eeeekkkk, what a horrible idea!! Guess what you and I live in a very similar world where even the idiots that used to wipe themselves out, survival of the fittest, are safe and reliant on the government. As a kid I used to ride in the back of a truck bed going down the road, travel to the store without a seat belt on, spill a cup of hot coffee on me and know that it was hot, because that's what I ordered not just because the cup says so. I could go to town and walk around, eat lunch drive through busy intersections and never be on camera. Today you are filmed hundreds of times every day!
Listen I'm not just griping about these things, my Bible tells me clearly to obey the laws as if I'm serving Christ Himself. But the question burning in my consciousness is the same, "at what point do I say no more?" Then just like a proverbial 2x4 crossed my head it clicked. I've heard people say that you are to obey God and obey government, obey your boss and today's generation has had enough and refuse in many cases to obey any of the above. We see it in our houses, our workplaces and our churches to mention a few. But here is the final word, You are to obey the authorities in your life. So your boss asks you to do a menial job that the new hire, in your opinion, should be doing. Do it! Quite complaining and do it. You see lesson number one is you cannot be over until you have been under. You and I are under authority whether you admit it, like it or refuse it, it is a fact. When you learn how to be submissive, then and only then will you be able to be over. Lesson two is that you are to obey your authority up to the point it is contradictory to Gods law and what is expected of you scripturally speaking. This is the point I have been struggling to clarify in my mind. I must obey until I am asked to defile my character or go against God's holy teachings because that is the point my earthly authority over extends his/her authority and has no authority over me. It belongs to God and Him alone. Many times the authorities try to extend their authority over our lives in areas they have not been given authority, and this is the point we must say no.
So what is that area in your life right now? What area is it you know you have obliged the authoritarian and gone along with them, rather than saying this is where I stop?
That being said here are a few questions to take seriously to heart and ponder.
1. where do your tax dollars go and are they used to honor God?
2. How is your work ethic? Are you just doing the bare minimum because you don't get the appreciation you deserve?
3. Do you honor your parents, regardless of what age you are?
4. What areas of your life are you living out of fear of the authorities because you don't want the consequences of standing your ground?
I'd love to hear what's going on in your life and what areas this affects you so drop me a line!
For the King

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

name that sermon

Ok, so this may not be the best blog you've ever read but I was really hoping for you all to share some of the funniest sermon titles or experiences you have ever experienced in you days of church going. you see websites with funny bulletin inserts but rarely do you hear about personal experiences or even a pastors well-intentioned flub. Kind of like Ken Davis telling of a time he had a guy fall out of his chair into the aisle, everyone thought this guy was laughing so hard he lost his bearings. Nope, come to find out the guy was dying. They used the life paddles on him and took him out by stretcher. Ken says that was very difficult to recover from, people just don't think things are as funny after witnessing this type of thing. Or how about the pastor entitling his sermon flatulence or flowers, what are people saying about you?
If you have a funny story of a happening or sermon title or any other goofy church thing shoot me an email and share. I enjoy a laugh in the middle of the day. I will compile these and post them at a later date.

We will soon be posting book reviews and trends so keep your eyes open.

I would also invite you to ask questions on any questions you might have on family, or scripture type things.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to the grind

Most of the country is gearing up to head back to school. This can be an exciting time or a time in which our youth drag there feet. Here are a few observations for you to consider as you plan and strategize for the fall chaos that is closely at hand.
  1. "School supplies" are not a national holiday although we treat it as such and hold it sacredly observing the inserts in the Sunday paper as revelation as to where to find the greatest deals.
  2. Consistency is a good thing. I recall a parent in a church I pastored to the youth that when the daughters provocative dress was addressed the parent told the youth, "those clothes are unacceptable for church. If you wear them to school that's fine, but a good Christian gal should not dress like that at church. We aren't talking Sunday dresses and hats either we are talking your run of the mill t-shirt and blue jeans, unfortunately there wasn't much of either in this case.
  3. School has become all about the extracurricular things and less about the education. I am so sick of hearing about how well someone's kid is doing in basketball, football, track, and volleyball. That must be why now many of our schools are moving things to wed. nights and Sundays to fit it all in. As a parent stand up and let the school know you support them but will not support the encroachment on the few hours that we hold dear as Christians.
  4. Hey parents, your kids don't have to have the latest gadgets and whatchamacallits, to be liked or popular. Drive by the parking lots of any high school and look at the cars, or in Nebraska trucks, you'll see the majority that are newer and snazzier than what we are driving. It doesn't stop there either. High schoolers are now "given" laptops that are very helpful but not very practical. For instance how many people own a mac, as opposed to IBM compatibles? I already hear the whining that our kids don't know how to run an IBM compatible because they have learned on a mac. Lets learn to think people!
  5. Our final point today is that for as much as we spend financially, physically, emotionally in preparing our kids and ourselves for school we completely neglect the spiritual aspect. Truth is if you and I review our behaviors our selfish, greedy, prideful, lusting self comes out this time of year as we want the best clothes, and the trapper keeper that folds into its own backpack, with optional button that alerts you of a fashion disaster.
This fall try something new and fresh, buy your kid a back to school Bible, challenge them to read it in study hall, give them a one another's, challenge of practicing their Christian faith. Don't enter them in the competition we overlook called secularism. If that's what your after dismiss this entire blog, your well on your way to success.
Till next time, see ya in the halls

Monday, August 5, 2013


Fraz-matic, is the point at which you become so frazzled that it becomes an automatic response of your body. Kind of like the fight or flight when someone comes around the corner and yells, boooo at you. Its pretty difficult to diagnose at first until you have been properly educated.
You will first want begin noticing frazmantic behavior by small bursts of intermittent energy followed by numbness. The little jolts feel like a small electrical current running through your body, at more serious levels you may even experience heart palpitations. Not to worry this is just the last nerve shutting down. You may also notice rolling eyes, and weight gain.
Although physicians across the world have been treating the causes, they have not found a cure. They will tell you rest and relaxation will help the cause, but all it really does is prolong the inevitable, the death of the nerve. They say exercise, fresh fruit and plenty of soup will help, and it does, but it is still only treating the symptoms. Sadly the frustrations of everyday life, dealing with children, coworkers, and spouses, tends to hasten the demise of the nerve. No cure, indeed.....until now.
Recent research has indicated that a manual has been created and available at no cost to deal with this and all other illnesses, including sarcasmania. (The excessive use of sarcasm). It is an ancient writing that has proven effective millions of times. The Bible, as it is referred to has advice for curing Fraz-matics. For instance 1st Peter 5:7, tells us to cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Its true, Jesus has been recorded repeatedly curing people and fixing things including what ails you. In fact I have personal experience in that He dealt with my sin that was keeping me from my Father. He restored me and treated me like a king, restoring all benefits of being the son, and all I had to do is confess my sin and place my trust in Him. He can do what He says if you only believe. He's not like the frauds you hear about such as Muhammad, and Joseph Smith to mention a couple. Give it a try and I promise you won't be disappointed.
Till next time.

Stay tuned for our new section on this blog where I will be reviewing new release books and rating them.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sieze the day!

I guess you could kind of say this week fell apart. I made way to many promises and am still trying to get the work done that I was supposed to have done regardless of any promises. I'm sure you can relate. This time of year we are scrambling to get the kids ready for school, church is usually planning fall events, preparing for the holidays and before you know it, "HAPPY NEW YEAR".
The thought almost makes me shudder to think another year is over half over, or for you optimists, half left.
The irony is how small a device that runs our lives. Its a device that we can't seem to function without and even if we gave it away everyone else is still connected to it. What is it, you ask?
A Clock!! we can't do anything without it reminded us just how out of time we are. Plastic, glass, and metal controlling our lives and most of us live by it. Imagine a Sunday when everyone just took a chance to show up, hoping their would be a service if enough people showed up together.
Here's the clincher, Jesus isn't going to ask you if you were late to work, but He will ask you how you spent the time He gave you. How is it you will respond?

something to think about this week.
Till next time

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Feeling thankful

Have you ever had a period of time in your life where you wake up and feel like, "this is it". "This is the best it will ever get!" I've tried all sorts of things, lived through experiences I shouldn't have, including asking my wife what's for dinner and then looking disgusted with the answer. After regaining consciousness, I gladly ate what was placed in front of me.
That feeling of wanting to make a mark, no pun intended, on the world and being noted as an expert in a certain area only intensified as I've gotten older. Instead I have become a jack of all trades, master of none. I wrote a 60 page thesis on family dynamics but have still never written a best seller, starred in a movie, or wrote and performed a best seller. I don't drive a Beemer, or a hummer, wear the latest trends or have a golden tan "6 pack" all though my cooler is very shapely. According to the worlds standards I have come so far short of the goal, it appears I wasn't even on the field. Absent on game day is the feeling I have had and just couldn't shake.
It hit me this week the impact a corrupt society has had on my view of my life, my ministry, my entire outlook. We have been blessed to have been spending the week with around 50-60 friends from Arkansas and South Dakota that come together for one purpose. M.I.S.S.I.O.N.S. They leave the familiar and travel hours to join us. They bring vans and trailers and its kind of like the feeling in Smokey and the Bandit when the semi driver asks Burt Reynolds how many semis he sees. Burt Reynolds responds that he sees one as he himself is being chased by dozens of cops. Suddenly the semis begin to separate from the line they were in and what follows is nothing less than the call of the cavalry. Everyone is cheering and whooping it up, they forget about their personal issues because it is now larger than ever before. These people represented that for me. They did last year and again this year. Real people, with a real passion for ministry. A feeling of invincibility is at hand and a boldness to reach the community is renewed. Don't miss the point here, it isn't the people themselves, but the reminder I am a small piece in a very large and complex system. The reinforcements have arrived and together we rejoice in our Christ connection. I am thankful for them and their ministry, not to mention the lives they have touched this week.  Who is your Calvary? Drop me a line and let me know, or if you don't have one let me encourage you. Drop me a line and we'll talk.
Till the time comes;
By the way, isn't it refreshing that I didn't mention any current events?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Building or tearing down?

So I was listening to a podcast today and heard a fascinating statement. "You are either a stepping stone or a stumbling block." The more I think about it the more I believe it. We live in a culture that is so involved in the blame game that it would be next to impossible to conceive little ole me would ever have to claim my shame.
You see it in politics, marriages, schools, but nothing displays it more blatantly than watching preschoolers. You know the scene, little Johnny has the blue building block and now little Sammy sets his little eyes on it and within seconds something within Sammy tells him to go get it. He should have it and deserves it. Don't let anyone stand in your way. So Sammy is obedient to that little voice and walks over to Johnny and takes it. Johnny cries and draws the attention of the blonde headed, bubble gum chewing supervisor. She is like super nanny and chuck Norris combined. She goes to little Johnny gets the low down on what's going on and offers him a green block. All is good again.
......oh bologna, you don't believe that anymore than I do. What kung Fu nanny just taught the kids is profound. Johnny, if you lose something someone will come along and replace it for you. The louder you cry the harder they will work for you until they are enslaved to you. What's yours is only yours while you have it and you dare not hit anyone if they take it. Sammy learned that he can take what he wants and have no consequences other than the inconvenience of going over to get a green block now. The unintended message of the preschool helper was that these behaviors are OK. In reality it would be prudent to take the block from Sammy give it back to Johnny, helping him to say the correct way to handle things, and show Sammy their are consequences to your actions.
Imagine if those in powerful places would have had their hands slapped and things taken away when they behaved so rashly and wrong.
Correctly handled, I would fully expect little Johnny to walk up to Sammy and play together or offer him the toy.
And theirs another toddler tidbit you can take to the bank.
Till next time, no temper tantrums.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hello again, Mr. Common Sense.

I entitled this edition, "hello again" for a couple of reasons. First, I have been gone speaking all week and arrived back realizing its way past due for our update. Secondly, I would like to welcome common sense back into the studio. most of us know him but few acknowledge him. He is one of those elusive individuals that does a fairly good job of hiding out. At one point he has been quoted as spending some time with Osama Bin Laden. That was the day Osama realized he was the infidel and must die. You can only hide in holes so long before your figured out. As for me I would have appreciated a rousing game of whack a terrorist mole.

Anyway, how many of us read the recent headlines, watch a video clip or hear the latest in the break room at work and walk away shaking our heads thinking, "I didn't realize that some people simply have lost touch with Mr. common sense. Sure as kids we did stupid things, and some as adults as well, but we knew what we were doing was rebellion or going to get a laugh, but these are the people you see in horror movies. They aren't as easily spotted because they don't walk with their arms out such as you see in the movies but they usually are mumbling and drooling. Back in the good old days before we had a law for everything including throwing a snowball in July, no kidding there really is a law preventing this in the town I grew up in, the population was self leveling. I know that's not politically correct but the survival of the fittest did seem to be working. Now we make laws to protect them or make a movie out of it such as "jack ---" or "nitro circus", not to mention a ton of websites that make morons famous, you may have heard of it, "YouTube"

Those were the good old days when those without common sense paid the price. They reaped the consequences of their decisions and that was that. Not anymore, no sir e. Now we find someone to blame because they should have stopped us or had warnings that my coffee might be hot. Thankfully those lacking common sense don't have to be accountable, once they have selected someone to blame they then must watch daytime TV and select an attorney that will sue them for you no strings attached.

Thankfully I know many who have had enough, finally, and are taking a stance of no more. I am one of them. It is time to say no more stupidity and no more passing the buck and it starts by removing the corruption from the top down. Good bye Mr. Barak Hussein Obama, Good bye Joe Biden, Good bye Nancy Pelosi and on and on we go. Remember back when public servants represented you in the government and you trusted them? Yeah me neither but I'm pretty sure there was a day like that. A day when we used common sense so when the media and those feeding the stories to the media didn't make sense we would visit with Mr. common sense and come to the conclusion that someone must be trying to pull a fast one and we called them to the plate for it. That was when Mr. Integrity was in town but that's another story.
All that to say, common sense is back and is moving through the country, lets help him out. save a country, get involved, and reclaim our land. Time for the freeloaders to get lost!!
Till the next time, use sense, common sense.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The future isn't so bright?!

So that's a great attention getter of a title for this blog post. Sounds encouraging but look again at the punctuation. Both a statement and a question. So which is it? Is the future bright or are the lights going off for you?
For those who follow politics and current news reels you probably live day by day in despair and frustration. I mean, really, who can read the news and be like, "these are the best times ever"? That is unless you enjoy seeing the world as we know it being destroyed by self glorifying, power hungry, con artists. Of course there are some good people who do stupid things, so to clarify I am speaking of those who habitually ride the propaganda wagon, spending their nights dreaming of new laws and lies to make man-kind more "responsible".
Now the other folks who see the future as being brighter than ever, are those who look past the here and now to a day yet to come. It will begin with a great court scene taking place in the heavens, where all who live, have lived and some that are yet to be born will stand before a righteous judge. For most of us that is a foreign concept to think of a righteous judge, almost an oxy moron like, decaf-coffee, or little white lie. The truth is that in a day yet to come each of these people will be present as every person will be looked at as to how they spent their lives. But some of us, I'm proud to be included, will bypass this judgment of works and our attorney or advocate will step in. I have Him on retainer for future legal purposes, His name is Jesus Christ.
I know the Romans and the Jews thought they killed Him, but in actuality they were the catalyst to fulfill many scriptures that prophesied His coming and ruling. Because of this I need not get distracted by the worlds little men and women who will also be at the court hearing, but unless they recognize the peril of their condition they will be sentenced to life without parole. They will be sent to the worst prison ever. A prison where loneliness, gnashing of teeth, pain and suffering are common place. In a sad bit of irony they will get the results they had been feverishly pursuing on earth, only it will be for them and not those who they think they control.
I am not ashamed of the Gospel I proclaim and if you aren't either, shoot me a comment about the hope you have for a bright future.
Till the end

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

So that's how it's going to be?!

So gas has now made it back up to over $4.00 a gallon. I know, I know, you don't want to hear it, but that is what the Obama administration is hoping for. Never has a president been so entrenched in scandals and yet things remain, "as is". Even Nixon left office over the Watergate scandal and no one died. Time to man up Mr. Obama!
IRS, AP, Benghazi, and now fuel.  You are probably asking yourself what does fuel have to do with it. Let me put it this way; "Whatever takes the focus off your face". Do you recall the old movie "Liar, Liar" with Jim Carey as the lawyer and the receptionist that has a new doo? She asks him what he thinks of it and of course he cannot lie, so his response is short and to the point. "Whatever takes the focus off your face". Sorry for not being politically correct here but its time to get rid of the rats. Clean house and put the system the way it is supposed to be. Three branches of government accountable to one another with each having a specific function. Remember the good old days in school when we learned that the judicial branch enforced the laws, the legislative branch wrote the laws, and the executive branch did whatever it is they did? ha ha. Now we've got rough judges who have the audacity to take it upon themselves to write new legislature, uh that's not your job. No longer are our "public servants" servants. They have promoted themselves to public dictators doing whatever their little hearts desire. By the way it isn't just Mr. Obama, it is a toxic sludge that has permeated our government. Don't believe me? Try getting on a plane with a tube of toothpaste and a pocket knife and see what happens. Go try to buy a hand gun, it doesn't even have to have an extended clip for you to be considered a villain. Remember the government has stockpiled rounds upon rounds of ammo and would like for you to hand in your guns so that they can protect you. The right to bear guns was to protect us from a rampaging government. Uh oh, could be trouble. At least they won't target us, oops wrong again, they already have. By the way sign up for the anti-communist newsletter and see if you have an open FBI file.
Seriously, folks its time to make your voices heard and remind Washington who they work for. By the way, more laws aren't the answer. Natural selection helps us weed out the morons. ha ha.
The book of Daniel gives us a great guide what is just around the corner for us. Multiple empires and multiple leaders all fell as a result of pride and it will take us down to. Along with the bad news is the great example Daniel and his three friends display in dealing with these individuals. Continue to pray for our great nation and for God's patience as ungodly men and women take us down a path that is bound to reap what has been sown.
Specifically remember our veterans and those who have willingly given life and limb for our freedoms that ever increasingly are ebbing away. These brave men and women understood the importance of bravely taking a stance against an opposing threat.

Friday, April 26, 2013

come on man!

ok, so there are not to many times when people can surprise me at the lack of common sense, but this week didn't let me down. Talk shows and the callers they have are usually something I steer clear of just for the sake of my own sanity, but once in a while I will see a clip or hear a snip-it of something that boggles my mind. Twice in the past week I have seen things that left me speechless and utterly amazed at the sheer lack of though processing some people seem to have, er uh, not have.
I'm sorry for all you politically correct people who are offended by my words but can we just call a spade a spade?
I mean really what causes this type of thing? Eating paint chips, inhaling sewer gas, being dropped on your head, or what. (no jab intended for the guy I know who was actually dropped on his head as a child).
How many people out there actually believe that sport utility vehicles are what moms drive because they are driving their kids to sporting events?
or that taking guns out of common joes hands will keep the convict looking to rob, rape or kill someone will make things safer. Oh I know it is the same type of person that says that there is no moral absolutes and then tries to impose their view on me about abortion and homosexual marriage. Wait a minute, it just occurred to me that everyone is safe. After all their is no real wrong so God must be cool with all my sin and I will see you all in heaven some day, or if you don't believe in God you can't believe in heaven and of course no hell could exist so life is just a party followed by ABSOLUTE nothingness. That is if anything can be absolute, meaning there must be somethingness in with the nothingness.
Ok, now I'm just getting ridiculous, but do you get what I am saying? Most things are logically based and are cause and effect type things. Your faith or lack there of, is

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Time to stop! Before we go!

So when is enough enough? Is it when the "authorities" come into your home and tell you what food you have to feed your family? What if they told you that your children needed to participate in certain events or face not graduating? Oh, I know it must be when they come into your house as if they have the authority to be there and take your kids because your not doing a sufficient job of raising them because you have chosen to home school or use natural remedies to medical conditions. That must be it for sure!!
O.k., as you can already tell I am being sarcastic, but these things are happening every day right under your noses and most people look the other way because it doesn't affect me. How wrong you are! Each time these illegal actions are taking place, you my dear reader, are one step closer to having your door knocked on.
We see it everyday and tune it out. You walk into a break room or church hallway and hear the mumbling of disgruntled people but once again you can't do anything so why get involved.
I just read a headline and partial story of MS NBC latest expression of their mixed up way of thinking.
How ridiculous that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are getting railed for "overreacting" to the statements that our children belong to the community. MS NBC went on to say, my paraphrase, that parents need to get past thinking that their children belong to them but instead belong to the community.
I am so thankful for people in the media that expose these warped, misguided, creatures and their agendas.
Let me say it this way, "I home school my kids because, I truly care about my children and their education and there is no way I will hand over my children to an institution that birages them with messages that are contradictory with our faith. I have been set over my children to guide and direct them as they come of age to integrate into society to contribute in this lost and decaying world. I will not hand my kids off to an institution because its "convenient", or leave it to the "experts" because they are trustworthy. I take my role very seriously and will fight tenaciously to protect my rights and the rights of those who feel the same way."
I'm sorry Mr. Obama, and all other public officials, you work for me. I expect you to use my money wisely. Manage our money like you manage your own financials, only try to do it legally this time. No more double standards! You tell me no guns, which is my right and i will exercise my rights, than you should have no guns, and no armed body guards. Don't tell me my meat has to be radiated because its not safe to eat if its not. Do not tell me my body is releasing carbon and so i should be taxed for living, that was Gods design morons! Do not suppose I am so naive that your purchasing of billions of rounds of ammunition and property for detainment camps, i mean fema camps is for my protection. Hollow point bullets to the social security administration makes so much sense as those rowdy senior citizens may storm our capitals and although its clearly posted "no guns allowed" begin throwing bullets at you. COME ON!! Enough is enough.
All this to say that the Bible says that "My God shall supply all your needs, according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." PH 4:19 This verse reminds us that amidst all these insane, perverse, and downright evil behaviors, God is still in control and will maintain us until the day He calls His own home. Don't be left behind, Choose life, Choose Jesus Christ.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter sacrifice

Ok, I admit it. When our kids were young we kept them guessing about the Easter bunny. One year when our middle daughter was about to discover the truth, our oldest just couldn't figure it out, I tossed a row of raisins on the ground and put fuzzys by their bed. You should have heard the excitement when they woke up the next morning. Of course most of the excitement was because our cocker spaniel was eating the supposed bunny pooh. The kids new this was wrong and were disgusted and at the same time thrilled that the Easter bunny did indeed come to our place.

Now, as an adult, it really bothers me that our holiday characters are allowed into our homes, unquestioned and are expected to slip into our bedrooms to visit us sleeping. Think about it! The Easter bunny hides stuff all over the house and sometimes right in our hands, or what about the tooth fairy who comes into little Billy's, or Sally's room to look under their pillow. Who does this type of thing?

What if i told you the neighbor who just got out of prison on a technicality wanted to come over and visit your child's room while their sleeping. "Oh sure, Bill. We'll leave the door unlocked, and could you come over after midnight please".

I'm guessing by now you've got my point but here it is. We expect our kids to trust us and believe what we say, but our track record is less than perfect. Teachers, coaches, policemen, pastors and judges are trustworthy and should be trusted but have you ever stopped to think that these people have kids also? The message is loud and clear to our kids, "I cant be trusted".

Sure your wanting to argue with me but do our kids always distinguish the difference? I thought what i was doing was fun and the kids enjoyed it, when in reality it sent the message, I can be trusted most of the time.

I am so thankful that Jesus doesn't do this to us. As a Christian it is even more paramount to make sure our kids can trust us. Our kids think in terms of Easter bunny, Santa Claus and Jesus. To them, unless you make the distinction, these are all characters that exist and are literally mystical creatures.
Don't do that to Jesus! Make sure your kids understand what Easter is about and why we celebrate this time. I understand it isn't like we did this on purpose but that doesn't negate what is being believed, and by the way that is at the center of why our kids believe the teachers more than their parents and pastors.

Give Easter back to Jesus this Sunday and praise His holy name. After all He knows you by name and how many hairs are on your head. (I'm making it easier by maintaining less hair these days. anything to help.)
Blessings my friends
Pastor Mark

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Where is God?

That's kind of a silly question to ask, or is it? Most of us carouse through life day by day never really giving much thought to what God is doing. It must be important God stuff, or stuff we just wouldn't understand. But what if I were to tell you that He is sustaining you each step of the day. Its reasonable to think that God is busy with more important stuff than my life, and besides I never hear from Him or sense Hes even thinking about me let alone working on my problems.
Rest assured not only is He working on things, Hes seeing them through and orchestrating a 1000 other lives with yours that you couldn't even imagine. Think of it like this, and pardon the poor example. By the time you taste the freshly grilled hot dog that enters your gullet, stop to think how many people were involved with making this one bite a reality. For instance the farmer, processor, feed plant, grain farmer who made food for the animal who lost its life. Which reminds me that it may have had a vet visit before it was all done. The grocery store, delivery truck drivers, who need gas, vehicles, and a license to drive the truck that was purchased from a company who also performs maintenance and sales for others. Finally although not exhaustively, the grill company that made the grill with the miners who found the coal or the propane to use on the grill, the packaging and the utensils that are used and so on. good grief that's a lot of people to make one wiener. Now it would be absurd to say God personally did all this but only to be used as a very poor example of how God networks lives to bring us to the place He desires.
Daniel is just such a story, although it gets a bad rap for being focused on the lions den and the fiery furnace. Continue reading and especially to join us as we finish out chapter two and into chapter three and understand Nebuchadnezzar's dream which has mostly been fulfilled, however we are about to see that much more is yet to come. Shoot me a note and let me know how your personal studies are going and how we can encourage you.
Networked together,

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wheres God?

So last week we began to ask the question where is God when things are difficult and where is God when things are stressful. My challenge to you was to continue to ask yourself this question as we spend some time studying the book of Daniel.
Just as a reminder Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians and placed in Nebuchadnezzar's accelerated reprogramming classes. Daniel and some of his buddies not only got free room and board but they also got free college, food and drink from the kings table and I'd imagine some other benefits. We read in chapter one that the best looking and royalty were taken first and the population was already watching these folks so its a no brainer that if you can reprogram them to your way of thinking you will quickly reach the multitude. We also see that the Chief of the officials changed the names of Daniel and his friends from names that reflect the true God, to names that reflected the pagan gods the Babylonians worshipped.
Now I'm no genius but if someone uprooted me from everything that is comfortable and familiar, changed my name and tried to teach me a new religion, I'd be a bit of a basket case. My identity, my normal ways of functioning, my sanity, all out the window.
But the question is, "Where is God?", and why did He allow this to happen?
The world would say either He doesn't exist or that He is not powerful enough to stop bad things from happening.
Bologna!! If God's power rests in my being happy and content, or in everything having the outcome i desire than I have no god, but a servant or slave. Someone to continually make me happy by making the choices I would like. Kinda scary, if you think about it. The same God that scripture tells us we are the "doo-los" or slave of, is somehow now our slave. Forget it!!
Besides that, that would indicate that you are all knowing and understand the big picture and how these things will play out.
Here's a novel idea, quite trying to control the world, let God do the God thing, and you be the loyal trusting servant. Great idea!! By the way could someone help our nations leaders out with this concept? That's right, you in the White House, your only in power as long as God allows it and by the way times a ticking.
For the record, that is where God is. In the small and in the magnitude of life, He is our comforter, our savior, and our authority.
Till next time keep reading in Daniel.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Well this week we will begin an in-depth study on the book of Daniel. This is one of the all time greats in the scriptures and is the shortest of the major prophets. Scripture contains 17 prophetical books, 12 of which are known as minor prophets and 5 of which are ...... you guessed it major prophets. Daniel is 12 chapters of incredible real life drama, prophecy, evidence of fulfilled prophecy and hope. Grab a cup of, insert favorite beverage here, and your Bibles and follow along as we seek to understand a book that will take the Holy Spirits revelation to us before we will be able to understand. (Not that other scripture doesn't need Him.) As we study this out your sure to be challenged as it reveals 4 men's undeniable commitment to a Holy God. By the way, as a prophetic book, both fulfilled and future, why not take a look in our own back yard to see how things are going? As you learn more about the history of the Assyrians who captured the Northern kingdom of Israel, and about Judah's captivity by the Babylonians a little over 100 years after, you may find some striking resemblances with our own country. For sure in the leaders you have selected. Oh that's right we don't take credit for the liberals in the white house and congress do we? Well if each generation was brought up understanding God's righteousness and authority we wouldn't be in this mess. Sure that falls on our parents shoulders, but what is on yours for the way your kids will vote? Just saying.....
Anywho, have a lot of fun with this study and we'll be putting some extra points up just in case you missed them or didn't have time to research.
One battle at a time to win the war.
P.s. this weeks memory verse will be Daniel 1:8. Write it down on a memory card and recite it a couple of times a day.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Worship Experts

Well after 6 weeks of training straight from the Word of God, we should be pretty well versed on what God's desire is for worship. Our last topic of worship through relationships, was a good study and after studying for the sermon seems as though it could have been a series within a series. Relationships are so crucial to our worship and to our personal faith, it is almost inseperable. Note I said almost, to clarify that ultimately worship is for an audience of one and can and should be done everyday. The problem is that the six days leading to, or following depending on perspective, creeps into our lives and we show up to church expecting everyone else to be ready to encourage me and love me. After all I have had a nasty week and people just don't seem to care. Newsflash, their week may have been terrible also. Regardless of our desire, we are there to worship God, not you or me. This makes it even more difficult where Paul addresses the church in Corinth and rebukes them for taking sides. Some were following Paul, some Apollos, some Cephas (Peter), and others claimed to be following Christ. Pauls question to them is this, "Is Christ divided?" Simple enough question but profoundly affects our worship on how we answer. Let me ask you a question, are you living in the "glory days"? You know when everything was the way YOU liked it. When we live in the past and hold on to that we miss the future by looking back. You do realize why the rearview mirror is puny compared to the windshield, right. It is more important where you are going than where you have been. Eyes forward, ready for whatever God leads you toward. That is worship! attentively and lovingly longing for His hand in your life and direction to your existance, praising Him, thanking Him, asking Him for those things along the way that you need or desire.
Now, lets go worship THE living God.
See you in the clouds

Monday, February 4, 2013

is prayer in danger?

For the past several weeks we have been talking about worship and this past week we covered worshipping through prayer. Instead of teaching on the how tos, of prayer, i felt it was more pertinent to discuss the freedom or lack there of. I wonder if we think about this very often. Sure our personal prayers in our heads are difficult to monitor but Daniel prostrated himself before the lord, not to mention he did this in his window. Chapter 6 of Daniel tells us about the government officials trying to dig up some dirt on Danny boy and were unable to do it so they did the next best thing, write a new law and have the king sign it. (Sound familiar with any place you know or should i say live?) Daniel was sold out on God and devoted to an ongoing relationship with Him. Not only did the government officials trick the king into signing a law but it was irrevocable. Once Daniel was found worshipping the God of heaven and not the king, the king had no choice but to carry out the punishment of this new decree that he had signed. Although king Darius was remorseful, couldn't sleep and rushed the next morning to check on Daniel, don't expect to see that with your situation. While some "officials" are prayer friendly, the pressure is increasing to limit this activity as though you are a threat to our national security. In reality, prayer is our national security. We see our rights being challenged as Christians and yet as we become more passive, the enemy gains valuable momentum and real estate. Remember when Christian values were at the forefront of our governments decisions? Can you recall when the judicial branch upheld the law and the legislative branch deliberated law? Now we have rogue judges that a few years ago would have been snapped into position, for writing their own laws. Congressmen and women, senators that would have been sent packing for receiving bribes and special interests. Not to mention presidents partying on your dollars, saying that they will defend you while they take your guns and put them in the hands of the very people we are protecting ourselves from. Come on people, time to wake up, take a stance and give this country back to the Christian values it was built upon. We are loosening our borders and welcoming the Muslims to come in and set up shop to do what they would like. Last i checked they were the attackers and don't tell anyone, they hate Americans. At least the non-Muslim ones. It is in their own book in several spots. Don't believe me pick up the Koran and check out Sr 9. to mention a couple. Daniel was the man! He faced certain death and never flinched at the threat because his faith was to large to deny. How is yours, and how do we know?
Till next time, take a stance

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Superbowl Sunday means lots of prayer

Two weeks left in our study on worship and this week is worshipping through prayer. We have taken a look at several aspects of worship already and get that worship is so much more than just music. Last week we looked at worship through the word and learned that their is no more important spiritual discipline than the discipline of a steady diet of the Word. That being said the close second is the importance of prayer in our walk. God's word is to us and prayer is our opportunity to talk to God. Of course He already knows what it is that is on your heart but you are given access to His throne through prayer. That is if you have claimed the free gift of salvation through faith in Christ and Him alone.
You can rest assured that come "Superbowl Sunday" there will be many people calling on the name of the Lord, unfortunately it will mostly be those who use His Blessed name as a curse word. You know what I'm talking about, in fact you very well could be one of the individuals that do this with out much thought. So here's a thought, put your 5th grade English teachers name in there or 8th grade math, whoever pops into your mind and every time the other team scores, yell out there name. Doesn't have the same effect does it? That my friends is why prayer is important. Through the saving blood of our savior Jesus, the Lord hears our prayers. It is silly to think any other name would suffice. So not just during your super bowl parties but every day why not commit to praying daily to the one who will hear you and answer. Give it a go you might just come to understand just what is in a name.
Till next season, go Green Bay, (they should have made it)
Pastor Mark.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Motion Causes Friction

Motion causes friction. Such a simple thought and yet so relevant for everyday life as well as our spiritual life. Think about it. As you move closer to God, we seem to have more things challenge us. Our quiet time is interrupted by a ringing phone, or our Bible reading is distracted by a TV show. Or how about our worship being distracted by what everyone else wants for you.
Most of us don't realize it but our surroundings play a major role in our worship. I have been across the country, spoken in many many churches, talked with people, coached churches, pastored in several, candidate in several and ultimately the "style" of worship is dictated by tradition. Church plants, that are actually doing well, will almost always have up-to-date music, while the church celebrating its 100th anniversary is fighting to keep its doors open because they refuse to be relevant to the community it is trying to reach. Now that being said i believe the church is for the believer and specifically how can we worship something we don't understand. Worship has many aspects and is not JUST music, but has so many more ways of praising the Lord.
Psalm specifically addresses praising the Lord and covers multiple settings. Individually, corporately, with song, with instrument, in gladness, and in sadness it covers it.
When a church tries to update its "worship" they usually look at the music and not any other areas.
Here is an example. Where should the worship team, choir, organ, drums, song leader, etc be physically in the church? Should they be in the front or in the back? Another example is should there be PowerPoint or stick to the hymnals only? My guess is your answer shows your age. That's not a slam but an observation that becomes the largest divisive topic in churches. No clapping or raising of hands is sure to be communicated by the environment of the attenders. No drums or guitar show an attitude of instrumental discrimination. ( I made that up, ha ha)
I think you know what I am saying in regards to these areas though and it is an international issue.
I challenge you to seek scripture to see what worship through music looks like. I believe you will be shocked as to the real worship we see in scripture as opposed to how we do it in our local churches. Psalm 150 will be a good start in your quest. Our worship is for an audience of one and should not be restricted to what someone tells you you should do. think about it and respond accordingly.
Praising the Lord with you.
Pastor Mark

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Getting back to the heart of worship!

It is amazing how defensive people get when you talk about worship.
"Don't you be messin with our worship", or "The hymns have such a rich heritage" are two examples of the kind of comments pastors get when taking a look at their worship style, flow, content and of course music selection.
My guess is the first thing you thought of when you saw the word worship is music, but worship is so much more than just music. Over the next few weeks we will take a look at what scripture says in regards to this topic. After all if it is God that we worship than it really does matter what He desires, and not so much what you desire.
Worship is found around 183 times and in 172 different verses. It is found in 31 of the 66 books of the Bible with the most consistent use found in Psalms, (14), and Revelation, (21).
As I mentioned, worship is not only music but involves such things as communion, giving, singing, praying, praising, and serving to mention a few things.
The most controversial of these things is the music we select, which will be our discussion for next week.
This week is pretty straight forward and involves Jesus' command to "do this in remembrance of Me". Of course I am referring to communion, the Lords supper or whatever you call it. Sure its a command, but its a command on how to worship through remembering the great sacrifice on the cross. This is a time to reflect on your walk and in particular your relationship with God, and then with people. There is a wrong way to take communion and you can read these warnings in 1st Corinthians 11:23-31.
The word worship in the New Testament, comes from two Greek roots, meaning to move toward, and the second refers to a dog. Together the idea is similar to the family dog licking the masters hand, while crouching in submission.
As we continue through this series are you ready to abandon your preprogrammed ideas of worship or are you closed to the idea of being challenged?
If your with us you'll be shocked as to what is from the Bible and what is based from pagan idol worship or worse.
Till next time praise the Lord all you creation!