Showing posts from June, 2018

Keep Thy Word!

1 John 2:5  But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: So I was put in a situation today because someone didn't keep their promise.   I've never met this person.  Until today, I didn't even know this person existed.  But he made a mess.  Recently, I heard John Maxwell recant how as a kid his dad would make him keep his promises.  Because he liked to please people John had a bad habit of making promises that he couldn't keep.  It probably didn't go well for him when he had to face the music for his actions.   Keeping your word is a Biblical value.  It has a direct effect on your witness, and it has a direct impact on the church of Jesus Christ.  When you break your word, you devalue your witness.  The ability to speak into peoples lives.  You cheapen the message you believe in and live for.  Your actions have repercussions on others who are of like-minded faith.   I don't know ho

Wait! What?

A friend of mine was approached by a young gentleman in Wal-Mart yesterday.  He was kind and polite enough to warrant a gracious response. "Do you believe in God?"  He asks. She replied, "Yes, I do."  "Excellent!"  He replied.  Then the conversation began.  All went well until he said, "You know, God is a woman." She said, "Wait!  What?" The young man was proselytizing for the World Mission Society Church of God.  They believe that a South Korean man was Christ and founded this organization in 1964.  They believe in God the Father and God the Mother.  That God the mother is the co-founder of the church and she is still alive today. They claim to have 1.7 million members in 2,200 churches worldwide.  Which leads me to my question. How can so many people be duped by something so obviously wrong? 2 Cor 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the g

The Weight Of Relationships

Think of the person whom you love the most. Think of what life would be like without them.  That's probably a painful thought, isn't it? What would you be willing to do for them?  Die for them?  Change your world just so you could be with them? The value, the love, the passion that you have for that person is like a weight in your life.  You don't complain about it.  You willingly and cheerfully carry it.  It isn't a ball and chain.  It isn't an anchor around your neck.  You actually find it a joy to make sacrifices to carry this weight.  You love them. The weight of our love for Jesus should be greater than any other love in our life.  So great is our love that we gladly make a sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15) to be in His presence.   1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Let's put it this way.  In everything that you do, do it as a form of worship unto God.  He created worship so we could

Does Satan Bully You?

Bullying, in its purest form, works like this.  I am stronger than you. Therefore I am right. Right and wrong are sacrificed on the altar of strength.  If you disagree with a bully, they just keep ramping up their threats or actions until you finally cry, "Uncle."   Now you know how Satan works.  He bullies you into believing in fear over faith.   Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan 3) were being bullied by Nebuchadnezzar.  They stood up to the bully and called His bluff.  For that, he threatened to kill them, by fire, in a furnace, in front of everyone.   They didn't budge.   That's because their faith in God was greater than their fear of King Nebuchadnezzar.   2 Timothy 1:7  For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Don't allow Satan to bully you.  Call his bluff.  Sure he will threaten you - but in the end, He cannot touch you.  As a follower of Jesus, you come under the protection of the Almighty.  Now

Don't Be Lonely

Loneliness is one of the greatest fears in America today.  We are afraid of being abandoned or dying alone.  But why? Because we are afraid that we will not be loved.  That in the present or in the end we will not deserve someone's affection. So let's a few things straight. Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Why will God never leave you?  Romans 8:35-39  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else

We need the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to go to Walmart

Ok, nothing against Wal-Mart.  The phrase will make sense in a moment.   A friend of mine Randy Brummit,  fellow Pastor, and co-worker in the Kingdom of God wrote this on his facebook the other day.  I absolutely loved it.   But before I share it with you, let me make a couple of things clear.   I am Pentecostal.  Yes, I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, (Romans 12 and 1 Cor. 12) I also believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2, 8, 10, and 19)  No, it isn't weird.  At least from God's point of view.  33% of Americans who go to church speak in tongues, and 51% say they attend a church where people speak in tongues. Of the 2 billion followers of Christ on this planet, over 600 million are Pentecostal / Charamastic. Why speak in tongues?   First of all, each of us was designed to fulfill God

Overcoming Victory

David defeated Goliath Gideon defeated the Midianites Froid-Medicine Lake High 102, Brockton High 0 Ok, that last one wasn't Biblical, but for a girls High School Basketball game, that's a blowout! This morning, Jeff Staudt, missionary to the youth groups of Florida, preached about overcoming victory.   You can listen to it here . In the face of your giant, in the face of your army, in the face of your negative report from the doctor, in the face of unemployment, in the face of whatever is threatening you and your life - know that your God is bigger. How can you know if your God is bigger? First, let Him.  You have to get out of God's way and let Him do what He does best. Secondly, believe in Him.  It is difficult to believe in what you don't know.  Take the time to learn about the character of God then you will know what to believe in. Thirdly, worship Him.  Make God bigger than your need and you will discover that He is. True, it is difficult to trust

Life is What We Do - Living Is What We Choose

So what do I mean by this? I know people who do a lot every day.  Their life is full of events, phone calls, stuff, and appointments.  But when you talk about the quality of their life, all they do is complain and blame.  Why do they do that?  Because that's what they choose to do. Now I am the first to tell you that life doesn't play fair.  It will knock you down.  Then it will kick you while you are down.  Then it will try to sit on you so you can't get up.  Life can be painful, and disappointing.  But that doesn't mean that's what you have to choose. So what do you do? Deut 30:19 - 20 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to

Today Is The First Day of the Week.

Today is Friday, and for some, this is the first day of the week.  They do not have to go back to work until Monday so as soon as they get off of work, the fun begins. For some, the first day of the week is Monday.  Recently I blogged how Monday is a real drag for some people.  But Monday represents the day when you start making money. So which one is right?  Neither.  Sunday is the first day of the week.  That's the way God created it.  God rested on the 7th day of the week.  We call it Saturday.  That makes Sunday the first day of the week. Now Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday.  The church then practiced worshipping Him corporately on a Sunday.  But Sunday can be more to you than this. Proverbs 3:9-10   Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. The Bible has plenty to say about first fruits.  In Jesus' time, they grew crops and livestock.  S

Persistence Will Always Meet Resistance

If it doesn't, then why be persistent? We as a culture have become a bit lazy.  We like to make things as easy as possible. We love gadgets and life hacks.  We love the innovation that saves us time and money.   For example. Aquanotes - So you can take notes in the shower. Or onion goggles.  If you don't want to cry while cutting those onions. I have nothing against these products, saving time or money. But when things get tough, there isn't a gadget out there that is going to fix it. I recently spoke with someone who is going through a rough time because they lost a loved one. I also spoke with someone who loves their spouse but feels as if they have to divorce them because of their spouse's substance abuse. I talked to someone who has received a negative diagnosis from the doctor and doesn't know what to do. Resist. James 4:7b Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. This is true, but it isn't a cure-all to every

When God Changes Your Mind

Over the last few days, I have been cleaning out a storage room.  I have found old notes and sermons that date back nearly 30 years. Wow, have I changed my mind a lot. Acts 10: 34 - 35 34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. Here is a little of the backstory.  Since Acts 2, the church was Jewish.  I don't believe that they had something against everyone else.  Just their previous religious culture just didn't allow them to think outside the box.   So the Holy Spirit graciously and carefully leads the church in a new direction.  To the acceptance of Gentiles.  Peter had a vision where God told him,  “What God has made clean, do not call common.”  At first, Peter was confused, but now he was starting to understand.  God was changing his mind.   Peter preaches to the Gentile believers and they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, ev

How To Deal With Judas

Jesus had a Judas.   We all have had or will have a Judas in our lives.  My guess, you're going to have more than one. We've all been betrayed.  But there is a level of betrayal that seems even more painful than most.  When one is determined to bring you great pain or also destroy you - it's usually expensive both emotionally and even financially.   Luke 22: 1 - 5   1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. Why Judas did this isn't known.  The writers really had no interest in sharing tha

What Is a Cassette Tape?

How did the smiling thing go today?  I hope it did well.  I tried, but to be honest, I've had a headache all day, and it was painful to smile. I'm going through some stuff in storage and cleaning out some old stuff.  I came across a box of cassette tapes and wondered what they were.  As I pulled them out, I realized that it was tapes of me from 10 and 20 years ago.  Sermons I preached in various places and different times in my life. Then someone asked me, "What's a cassette tape?"  Really?  But this was someone born after 2001.  Did you know that everyone born after 2001 has never known a world without cell phones? In the same box were some VHS tapes.  Google that if you don't know. Then I remembered, I'm turning 55 this year.  What does this mean?  I'm not 45, 35 or 25. 2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. Don't be distracted by the fact that

Smile on Monday

For some people, it is the first day of their work week.  Ugh! For some people, it signals the end of the weekend.  Double ugh! Monday is the least favorite day of the week. There are more heart attacks and sudden deaths on Monday. In some parts of England, people don't smile until 11:16 am and gripe about it being Monday for a full 12 minutes.  I have a suspicion that we start later and gripe longer here in the states. With all that said.  I will venture a guess that you may not like Monday, so let's change that. Psalm 126:2-3 “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.” What can you do?  First of all, decide that you are going to smile more today.  We will decide on what you are going to smile about in a moment.  But you will never smile until you decide to do it.  Secondly, be like Peter Pan an

Happy Fathers Day

Besides my dad, I had many, many father figures in my life. Rich Nelson.  The Royal Ranger Commander (that's kind of like boy scouts in a way) who showed interest in me as a kid. Glenn Trusty and Darryl Billingsly, youth pastors, who invested in my life profoundly. Tom Gotcher - a senior pastor who saw more in me than I saw in myself. Ed Lawrence - my college professor who would listen to me ramble on about stuff, but welcomed me into his home and life. Psalm 71:18  So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. There is a heritage of wisdom and faith that must be passed down from generation to generation.  For thousands of years, it was by word of mouth.  Then mankind started writing it down.  Now we Youtube it.   But the best way is still through friendship.  Deep, valuable and long-term friendships.  So what can you do to be a mentor/leader in someone's life? 

Life Isn't Fair

There was a flash of light, a sudden explosion, I rose out of my chair two feet, the electricity went off, my computer shut itself off, I landed in the chair, the electricity came back on, and my computer popped.   All of that happened in less time than it took you to read it.  Lightning struck nearby. Both internet routers were dead except for one wireless signal.  My computer will not start up correctly, and the Ethernet card is now gone. 35 minutes on the phone with AT&T.  Yep!  We need a repairman.  Two router boxes, two repairmen.  (HUH?)  Will be here between the hours of 12 and 2.  They arrived, and two more hours later we are back in business.  I have figured out a workaround to get my laptop to work, albeit I don't know how long it's going to last, and I'm out a whole day's worth of work. Now to keep things in perspective, I know that there are people who are in much worse shape than I am.  In fact, you might be reading this say, "Really, Jones

I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up

(Phone rings) Me: "Hello?" Caller: "Pastor, I'm in trouble." Me: "What is it?" Caller: "I've started drinking again." Me: "How long?" Caller: "6 weeks now.  I can't stop.  What do I do?" I've had this phone call, in one form or another, more times than I can remember. Proverbs 24:16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. What do you do when you've fallen and can't get up? Get help - Family - Tell your family what your struggle is all about.  Sure, some of them might reject you.  But if you are humble about this and are willing to accept their love, I believe most of them will help you. - God - Spiritual leadership and church do increase your chances of recovery dramatically.  The family of God is a place that practices love, acceptance, and forgiveness. - Professionals - If you need to check yourself into some kind of rehab

Where Are You God?

"I've prayed and prayed and prayed, and God said nothing." I don't know how many times I've heard that statement.  The implication is that God doesn't want to talk to them when in reality I know that He is shouting at you. John 10:27-28   My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. The first question you have to ask is.   God is speaking are you listening?  Listening is an art, not a science.  That means you need to practice.  God speaks through His Word, the Bible.  He speaks through spiritual leaders and mentors. He speaks through a still small voice in your own heart.   The second question is.   Do you know the difference between listening and expecting God to do what you want?  Or you could put it this way.  Can you hear God say no?  We say, "God didn't answer our prayers when what we mean is, God didn't do what I

Anthony Bourdain's Suicide

From time to time this post comes up.  The suicide of a famous person.  I don't try to address all of them as they happen.  But occasionally one stands out from all the rest.  Anthony Bourdain's is one of those. According to Wikipedia, "Anthony Michael Bourdain (June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018) was an American celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and television personality who starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture, cuisine, and the human condition. He was considered one of the most influential chefs in the world." For the last few days, many people in my circle of friends and acquaintances have commented on this.  How could it happen?  Why would he want to kill himself? As with all suicides, hindsight is 20/20.  A few have taken to the internet to comment on Anthony's behavior and actions.  His struggle with depression was no secret.  But still. Let me set a few things straight here. - Just because you are a followe

What A Stunt!

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) announced over the weekend that they would change their name to Internation House of Burgers (IHOB). At first, when I heard this, I thought, "This will be one of the biggest marketing blunders of all time." In fact, this blog was going to be about one's lack of wisdom. Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. What marketing person fell out of his chair, hit is head on a trashcan, and while laying in the floor wondering what happened to him thought, "Let's rename IHOP - IHOB".   This would be a great example of how one cannot have wisdom if they don't possess the knowledge to be wise with.  If you want to be a wiser follower of Jesus, you need to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.  But it's all a publicity stunt

When It Hits You

I was unsure why the baseball was getting bigger, then it hit me. That old joke has been around a long time.  Some people giggle, some just moan, I've even had a few people ask me to never tell that joke again. Acts 16:25-40  25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  But then it hit me.   Just like the Ph


So I was talking to someone who has this uncanny ability to remember phone numbers.  This, I think, is a remarkable talent.  Considering that one day, at the store, I was so tired that I had to look at my driver's license to remember my own name.  (True story) So, I decided to test my friend's talent and asked them, "Do you remember your phone number when it started with letters instead of numbers?"  She rattled off her childhood phone number. Mine?  ME6-1382. Times have changed.  I have a cell phone number.  My wife has a number.  The church has a phone number.  I have 5 emails.  A Facebook account.  An Instagram account.  A Twitter account and more username plus passwords than I can remember.  I have to use LastPass to keep up with them all. I would like to know who gave the world permission to change everything! Ecclesiastes 3:1  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: Granted, all changed isn't good.  Whoever

Looking People In The Eye

So I tried a social experiment today.  I deliberately looked strangers in the eye.  I smiled as I did it and attempted to look as welcoming as possible. Only 1 in 20 people would look me in the eye and smile. Most people never looked at me. Some people did glance at me and then would avert their eyes to the ground. Matthew 6:22   “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, This Scripture isn't talking about 20/20 vision.  It's talking about what you put into your soul and spirit.  Put Godly, "good stuff" in, and you will get Godly, "good stuff" out.   The eyes are often a telltale sign of what is going on in one's heart.  You can see pain, joy, despair, hope or hopelessness in someone's eyes.  Often times people will not look at your fearing you will see what is in their heart.   But more importantly, and I am guilty of this, are we avoiding people, fearing what we might see

What's Heavy In Your Life?

No, I'm not talking about the scale in your bathroom. I'm talking about what is heavy on your heart? I would suspect that many of you would tell me about someone close to you who is destroying their life.  Some of you would say to me about the struggle you are currently facing.  Others of you would tell me about your current need. But let's flip that around.  What do you love that is heavy on your heart?   A marriage?  Someone, you love?  Your love for God?  Your love for the Word of God? When we worship God, we worship Him from our heart.  The value of His presence in our heart brings us great joy.  When He speaks into our lives, His Words bring us hope and life.  We value Him so much that our worship is more than a religious obligation, it is emotional and meaningful.  It is open and beautiful. So the question we much ask ourselves today is, what do you put "weight" in?  What do we value?  Who or what do we worship? Psalm 95:6 Oh come, let us worship

Giftedness vs Character

James 1:17   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. We are a culture that celebrates giftedness.  We appreciate a great singer, an excellent actress or actor, even someone who makes the "impossible" plays in a football or basketball game.  We will pay huge amounts of money to see them and watch them earn millions per performance.   1 Samuel 16:7   But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” But we also live in a culture that ignores good character.  We appreciate a great singer and overlook the fact that they are a criminal.  We will watch an excellent actress or actor but ignore their sexual escapades with whomever.  We will even cheer for the impossible playmakers while dismi

Running On Empty Pt. 2

Matthew 11:28-30  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  Message Paraphrase To recap. #1 - Stop.  Let's use an adage here.  Stop doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.  #2 - Rest.  Rest gives you perspective.  It clears the mind and the heart.   #3 - Admit.  Have a, "come to Jesus" moment with yourself and admit that you cannot keep going this way.   Now let's add #4 - Get help!  Running on empty isn't anything new.  New moms know all about it.  Multi-job households know about it.  Parents with 2 or more kids know about it.  Look around you and find someone who has, "been there and done that."  Ask t

Running On Empty Pt 1

Betty, Anneka and I have just wrapped up 4 days of intense hard work.  Annekas dance academy recently put on their year-end event.  Anneka dances in it, I take picture and Betty works backstage. Thursday dress rehearsal.  Friday dress rehearsal.  Saturday 1st performance, 2nd performance, and Sunday's 3rd performance.  It takes dozens of people to help hundreds of dancers perform for hundreds of parents, family, and friends in each show.  It's hard, intense, and nerve-wracking. The shows were fantastic.  The dancers were excellent and we feel like a truck ran over us. Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  Message Paraphrase There is no doub

I Caught Myself Smiling

Last night, after my daughter's ballet performance (which I might add, she crushed), I caught myself smiling.  For a moment I thought to myself, "Why am I smiling?" To put that question into perspective, I was in a lot of pain.  I had been standing in the same spot for three and half hours taking 64GB of pictures.  I was hurting.  But I was smiling.  Then it dawned on me. I was looking at my daughter's smile.  She was happy and living in the moment. Proverbs 15:13-14 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. Joy is contagious.  When you are around someone who is enjoying life, you will enjoy life.  When you are around someone who is grouchy, grumpy and complaining - you'll start doing the same.   PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me to smile today and let it be contagious.  AMEN  

The #1 Song On Your 14th Birthday Will Define Your Life

It’s one of those Facebook things that you see from time to time. I just found it intriguing that someone made this up. Matthew 11:28-30. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” What defines your life?  Money? Art?  Things?  A cause?  Your family or marriage? All of us will choose something, even if by default, that will define our lives. Jesus tells us that if we will choose Him and allow Him to define our lives, it will be easier than the weight the world will put on our shoulders.  The world will always weigh you down with more than you can bear.  But Jesus says that He will come beside us and help us carry that load. Jesus is able to do more for you than you can do for yourself. PRAY:  Dear Jesus, define my life and help me carry this heavy load.  AMEN Oh, and what w

When A Plan Comes Together

Remember that line from the "A-Team"?  "I love it when a plan comes together."  If you don't know it, Google it. For the last few months, God has been taking me on a very, very, very slow study of the book of Acts. Painfully slow, from my perspective.  I was wondering why?  Then it all came together. A few weeks ago God redirected my summer plans for the church to emphasize the Holy Spirit.  How to gain wisdom, how to experience deliverance, how to use the Gifts of the Spirit in everyday life.  How to connect, grow and serve with and through the Holy Spirit. Then it occurred to me why God was taking me through this intense study of Acts.  Watching how the Holy Spirit worked in the early church, seeing how the Apostles interacted with the Holy Spirit, and discovering how the Holy Spirit led the new church into existence speaks to us today. God brings His plans together.  His plan to prosper us, not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future.  (Jer 29:11