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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Americas church and the complacency

There seems to be a revival of sorts by many well-known Christian leaders. A revival directed towards any and all leaders to boldly declare the truths of the Word of God without being a wimp. They are not advocating bullying or Bible beating, but simply to not be apologetic for what scripture teaches and to pass it along with the boldness of Paul or John.
This thrills my heart as I consider how far Americas churches are from the intent outlined in Acts chapter 2. People weren't arguing over coffees, roof color, paved parking lots or new pew Bibles. They were concerned with what they could do to admonish the body and bring non-believers to a saving understanding of the grace of God. They were less concerned with what they wore and more concerned with what they missed if they weren't able to make it to a gathering. The church of God was on the move and people needed to be on board, fasten their seat belts and hold on.
I don't believe for a minute that God is weary and no longer on the move but rather He is watching for willing hearts. Christians sold out for Him and willing to sacrifice an evening with their favorite drink and sit com for a chance to build the church.
As I have served in several states I confess that I have a great deal of concern. It started with my time as a youth pastor, seeing corrupt leaders in the church, the very thing we are called as shepherds to be on alert for and yet the opposition was against anyone who stood in their way. The sheep will always take the way of less resistance when you stand by idle. Another area I saw was a parenting issue. Professing Christians committed to a church, or at least appearing to be and then being extremely passive regarding their youths involvement in a youth group. I have witnessed first hand the youth culture, bouncing from group to group looking for the latest good time. Youth pastors that have a "shot of Jesus" as if to much Jesus would be fatal. Just the opposite! Parents that would ream youth leaders because little Jimmy or Sally are bored or as one well to do man i spoke with, wanted to shut down youth group and do an open gym because basketball was important to his son. Really?? Since when did the churches outreaches seek to please one self centered father, through becoming a rec center or show, instead of God centered ministry? It has gotten out of hand and we even see it in our adults. Consumers, not contributors, givers, doers and go getter's. I believe it gets back to the push for Biblical training not just for our leaders but for every Christ follower. Discipleship to model and train up new leaders. Preaching and teaching the Bible for "a change". That of course is an intentional two-fold meaning. Teaching for a change instead of making it fellowship and game time, and the other meaning is a direct reference why most God honoring teachers preach and teach. They desire to see the listener prompted to growth and motivated to action. Something most every pastor would tell you is severely lacking in our churches. I believe it is time to join these leaders and encourage your pastors and teachers to preach the truth. Enough with the extras, give us the Word of God!!
Just a thought for the week.
Maybe you could take a moment and send me a note of what your pastor is doing well and why.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Fathers day

Hard to believe we are approaching the 1/2 year gone mark and as usually occurs about this time fathers day. A time we acknowledge the men in our lives that we can blame for how we turned out. Of course now a days it seems as though we ought to petition hallmark to get rid of fathers day as an infringement on the American family. After all who are they to force their view of a traditional family? Of course I am being sarcastic and I completely back the traditional family. I am merely expressing how far some are going to discredit the role of Fathers. There is a ton of evidence as to the importance of the father to be in the home and married to the mother of their children. Regardless of what the liberal media seems to think this is an assault on our homes and our children.
Amazing how even some professing Christians can go along with these views when scripture is so clear on the roles and necessities of having a father in the home. God Himself ordained marriage and instructed Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. This was a pure and right statement by God that has been vastly perverted and misrepresented by the liberals and atheists. In no way is a father to be replaced by another mother or after the pregnancy a mother to raise the child by herself.  Of course the modern day, "man", certainly hasn't done anything to help fix this problem. Between supporting the pornography industry, bailing on their responsibilities, treating women as objects or possessions instead of like women they were created to be, I am not sure current generations understand what it should even look like.
Here is a mental picture for you. Men were created stronger, more aggressive, and protective than our counterparts. Men are wired to care and protect the woman and children in his life even to the point of death. Men are defined by their careers many times and take great reward in a job done right and done well. They are hard workers and desire to be all that his family expects him to be. A man opens the door for his woman not only as an act of chivalry but as if to tell the world, this is precious cargo and she is now safely in her carriage or entered safely to her destination. A man questions the intent of a young man calling on his daughter and if their is any doubt as to the boys integrity and spiritual condition tells the young man he is not welcome to date his daughter. A man takes his son aside and teaches him what it means to be a man based on Biblical perspectives. He explains the proper way to treat a woman and how to handle conflict not to mention the importance of leading them spiritually. A man is so much more than the culture has made it out to be. Men are necessary and my prayer is this fathers day, God will burden the hearts of all men to step it up and quite being lazy, privileged, pampered pansies and man up to lead their families and honor God. It is hard wired in them so it is a matter of getting power to the right circuit and getting started.
Happy fathers day.
Till next time, father up

Thursday, June 11, 2015

rear view mirrors are always smaller than the windshield

The older I get the more time I spend thinking about the past. It's not like I'm infatuated with it or have a long list of regrets, after all, that is what has made me who I am today. Its more along the lines of what it........
What if I pursued a different career, or if we had more kids, or pursued an education at a different school. What would have really made a difference today and what would have made absolutely no difference. I suppose the thought that I am closer to my end than my beginning leaves me with a certain.... what could I have done better or changed or actually followed through on. As relatives age and you begin to realize that if they are that feeble and frail and they were old when I was young, what does that mean I look like to them? I can just hear the conversation after leaving their home, "my goodness hes gotten old, did you see all the white in his beard?" "Yes, and the lines in his face look like hes been wandering in the desert for 40 years." The funny thing is when we get together with people we haven't seen in a while we always rate their aging factor. We always take notice of how well they have aged or in some cases how poorly. In order to do that we have to take a look under what parameters we knew them from the past. We don't meet new people and instantly think how much older they appear than before, because we have no before to compare it to.
I recall when I was younger some of the stupid things I did and some of the good things I had done. I also think of the circumstances leading up to hearing the gospel and responding. Honestly one of the main things I look back, in the rear view, at is to wonder if I am really all that different now than I was then. That day is a day that sticks in mind, or a time period that does as my Spirit wrestled with my flesh. My pastor lived next door and that made me twice as anxious. I recall thinking that the world is an open book and that God can use me however He desires. Looking back I am not sure I was wise enough to understand what all that could mean. Dragging my family through multiple states, working long hours, being on call 24/7, being so far away from family that we hardly ever saw parents or other relatives. And yet in the quiet of my personal time recently, the flooding thought, "the windshield is always larger than the rear view mirror." By that I mean that regardless of what your history has been, regardless of where you have been, or who you were, there is a wide open road in front of you. You are who you have become because of the parenting, the influences and teachings you have had and the experiences. God has brought you to a place that sets you up to begin your journey looking forward. Don't panic you can still look in the rear view mirrors but your focus has got to be bigger and grander, towards the future yet to be discovered. A roller coaster ride of thrills and chills. Surprises and yet strangely very predictable.
As you read this, make it a priority to start using the windshield to discover many things that will be added to your history. At some point, Gods Son will come and gather us and those who have "fallen asleep" before us will be awakened and we will give account of our days. I would suppose we will look at the countless hours we've wasted or missed opportunities we let go by and feel remorse as never before. Yet we have an opportunity in what little time is left to make the most of it for Christ's sake. Don't spend your days looking back in sorrow for your youth, or full head of hair, best friend outings or anything else, look forward and see the splendor unfold before your very eyes. 
Till next time, keep looking forward.