Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Putting Pastors in a Box:

I have been accused on many occasions of placing pastors on a pedestal. Your right I have great respect for them. Let me put it this way. If you wake up tomorrow morning and find all the pastors are gone and find yourself still here on earth. I would not want to be you. The day pastors are gone is the day we find ourselves knowing we missed the boat.

Begin to check our history. Let's look at the 18th, 19th and recent 20th centuries. We find pastors and preachers outspoken and in the fight for human rights, our welfare our very right to live free. The moral watchdog of the country came from the pulpit and not from TV, the news desk or Washington D.C. Certainly not from some day time talk show host or even Hollywood. The moral standard came from the church. Did not Jonah preach repentance and the city did. Giving a time of reprieve for the city. This too has been repeated by the likes of Dwight Lyman Moody, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and Billy Graham.

Yet today do our pastors and preachers have the opportunity to fight for God as they once did? I say NO. We put them and their families under a microscope each day. When they slip up or make a mistake they quickly come up against fierce opposition. If anyone should be under this type of scrutiny it should be the leaders of our country. Yet another drunk congressman found with a prostitute barely makes headlines anymore. It is unfair to our pastors and preachers to be held to such a high standard when we ourselves could never live up to it.

Example. Could a preacher or pastor be allowed to write a Blog such as this one without offending someone in their congregation and not have their job or livelihood threatened? The answer is no. There is the problem. We do not allow the very ones chosen by God to stand in the gap. The world falling apart around them and we will not allow them to kick us where we need to be kicked to get moving for God? They are allowed to preach to us. They are allowed to teach us. They are allowed to live as an example for us to follow, but few of us ever do.

I know of some pastors who will not even go to a movie theater because they risk being looked at in the wrong way because someone might not approved of the film they are going to watch. Some will not go to popular restaurants because their beverage may be mistaken as the wrong drink of choice. If we demand such perfection of our pastors and preachers should they not expect the same from us? They do, but would never demand it because they love us.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
1 Cor 13:4-8 (NLT)

I am thankful for my pastor. He loves me even though I have consistently let him down time and time again. God forgive me and bless my Pastor. -Amen

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Corporate Church:

It is a little obvious to my readers that I am not a supporter of the modern corporate church model. I am not alone. Authors Thomas White and John M Teats of the book “Franchising McChurch.” Tony and Felicity Dale of the book “the Rabbit and the Elephant, Why small is the new big for today's church.” First we need to clarify what is the modern corporate church model. Just a few short decades ago in fact the corporate buffet of the 90's was a time when corporate America was at its peak. Mega corporations buying out other mega corporations became the primary news feature each night. With that also came to view the birth of the mega-church. The bigger is better attitude for a new generation of Christians. These churches existed long before the media took notice. The push for more came with the media wave of influence. Suddenly the non-profit corporation of the new face of Christianity was looking much like corporate America. That is exactly what happen. We quickly went from seeking redemption to seeking ratings. From worship to entertainment. Growing even bigger today.

So D. C. what is wrong with that? More are coming to Christ right? With numbers in the thousands you would think so. It is agreeable that a mega-church begins with a congregation of 2,000 or more. Many support congregations of 5,000 to 50,000. On the surface that is something to celebrate. With that comes the sucking sound of small local community churches forced to close their doors for lack of funds to keep the lights on. We see a similar effect on the down town districts of towns and cities when Wal-mart opens its doors. The local mom and pop stores which have been family owned and operated for generations fall like dominoes. Call it an ending of an era. Might want to call it the ending of our neighborhoods as we once knew them.

So what is your problem D.C.? This is a world of progress. The church needs to grow just like the world right? There is the problem. The church conforming to the world when the world needs to conform to the church. Is bigger better? Did not the church grow in the Book of Acts with the same numbers of converts that we are talking about within the mega-church? Yes, I would have to agree, but that is where the similarities begin to separate. How so?

A business owner, an accountant, or even a CEO would look at today's modern church and see little difference between the American Corporate Business model and today's corporate church model. To conform to IRS regulations the hierarchy is the same. Committee members are formed from people within the congregation who's only real experience is with dealing with corporate America. Therefore the result is a church run like an American corporation. Expecting profit and loss. Wait a minute! We are Christians. We are not producing some type of widget or product. We are in a battle that is in fact life or death. How can that be put down on a balance sheet? Does the church have expenses? Absolutely, the bigger the church the more the costs are to operate. Not much head scratching on that. So what is our goal? What is our purpose?

That is where we have taken a wrong turn some where. I agree with Pastor Ray Comfort. (Way of the Master, Living Waters Ministries) Today's modern gospel has become about life enhancement and not about repentance.

Let's talk turkey. Let's get down to brass tax here. Should we dismantle our mega-churches and return to small community churches? No. Let me put it this way. Noah built the boat, but it was God who gave it to him. By doing so saving all of us. We built these mega-churches, but it is God who gave them to us. Is our purpose to save the world? It should be. Seek and save the lost. Sounds simple and with these mega resources we should be more capable of doing just that for God. Are we?

One of the problems with mega-churches is the disconnect problem. Being so big one can easily hide if not be lost in the crowd. Crying out for help among the roar of others. One can easily be left behind. That is the difference between the church in the Book of Acts and today's modern corporate church model. The focus was on the needs of the people and not of one's self. This is extremely hard for us now since we live in a materialism based culture and society. We have become backwards and upside down.

Let us talk about solution then. OK, let's say a mega-church of 2,000 sets a goal of each member witnessing to others for at least 3 new converts each. By the end of the year the church would have a congregation of 6,000. Do it again for the following year and you would have 18,000 members. Sounds great on paper. Witnessing and revival are not the mainstream we are seeing. Keyword here: “Witnessing.” Being a witness for Christ. Simple, straight forward and obeying the Great Commission.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Matt 28:19-20 (NLT)

Therefore our focus should be on witnessing for Christ. We need to teach it. We need to practice it. We need lead in doing it.

The goal should not be “Bigger is Better.” The goal should be to witness better and for His Kingdom to become bigger here on earth.

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In His Image

In His Image Devotional Bible is first of all a complete Bible. One I can bring to worship, Sunday School, and Bible study. The New Living Translation is my translation. God's Word jumps off the pages for me. Easy to understand and share with others.

The devotional features give you the ability to go step-by-step like traditional devotions if you wish. Let me first point out. This devotional Bible focuses solely on your personal relationship with God. For life application there is a Bible for that. For serious study there is a Bible for that. What good is having all this knowledge without having a personal relationship with God? This devotional helps me focus on what is important. My personal relationship with God growing and getting stronger each day.

Each devotional keeps you on track. Prayer, subject verses, focus on what God is telling you. Closing with prayer and taking time to thank God. In today's hurry up and step on the gas world this course of study works.

There are hundreds of combinations you can put together to learn all the attributes of God. It is learning these attributes of God that help me build and grow stronger in faith.

If there are any drawbacks to this devotional Bible they are minor. I am old school and like to have the words of Jesus in red. I would also like a concordance. With that said the In His Image Devotional Bible is my Bible of choice and will be for years to come.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leave a Comment:

The other day a fellow Christian Brother came up to me and publicly denounced the writing of one of my Blog articles. This happened at work in front of my co-workers. He told me aloud that I should not be writing stuff like that. I asked him if he liked any of my articles. He said no. Nearly 4 years worth of work shot down in less than 4 seconds. Now that must be a record for Christian encouragement. Could he have come to me in private and told me of his concerns in an effort of Christian correction?

If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.
Matt 18:15 (NLT)

Well so much for what God has to say about it. It seems we Christians when we get angry we are the last to seek out God's Word. I am guilty of that too. The truth is we do not have it any better than anyone else. After 2,000 years we still have not figured it out have we?

At the end of every one of my articles is a comment link. If you do not like the article take a moment to say so and why. Please, do not be a sissy and not leave your name. Here is an opportunity to stand up and be counted. There is a good chance that I am wrong. My Blog is about my current Christian experience. I am not afraid to write about the good, the bad or the ugly. Like what happen this day.

I believe that censorship is just one more step to Communism. This is the information age. The reality is more dis-information than truth. People do not like the truth. Look in Matthew 23:23-33. This is the only place we find Jesus publicly condemning anyone. Who are they? Ones that should have known better. Ones who should have recognized Jesus immediately. The teachers of the law. Better known as the Pharisees.

Again if you do not like what you see then leave a comment. Start writing your own Blog. Stand up for once and make a difference. Or just sit back and play Monday morning quarterback. There are lots of those. You will not be alone.

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Who is in Charge?

Bosses, CEO's, managers, supervisors even store owners always think that they are in charge. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

We all think we're the boss, but it's a bunch of baloney. If you are confused about who really runs your business, consider this: a co-worker with a bad attitude can (a) steal your money or products, (b) fudge on their hours, (c) undermine your relationship with your customers, and (d) poison the morale of everyone else. So, if you think you're the head honcho at the office, think again. Your coworkers really run the business. ~Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko's, author of the book: “Copy This!”

Rarely do I ever hear people complain after going to Wal-mart that the prices are too high. There is no where else to shop. They are the only game in town. What we do complain about though is how we were treated. Many I have talked to repeatedly complain about the service or lack of it. What does this say about Wal-mart? If I the customer am being treated badly by the sales clerk. The manager must be mistreating the sales clerks. The upper management must be mistreating the store managers and so on up the ladder. So who really is in charge? The one who has the one-2-one relationship. Some call it personal service. We Christians call it fellowship. The building of personal relationships. That is why when I shop at Wal-mart I look for certain sales clerks because I know they will treat me right. That is how people should look at and for Christians.

For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
Matt 7:2 (NLT)

And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us. 
Titus 2:7-8 (NLT)

In Matthew above did you ask who will be judging us? The one and only judge, God. So if we treat someone else badly do we really think we can get away with it? Of course not. Why? The fact is God is in charge. The sooner we realize it and submit ourselves to God's will the better we will be. Does this make our lives easy. No, in fact it makes our lives harder, but more rewarding knowing that we are doing it for Christ.

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sword Play:

In Ephesians 6:10-18 teaches us of the Armor of God. I have been told by many that Paul was just using such items as a metaphor. I still disagree. Paul used the armor as a straight forward example for us to follow. I will write a detail explanation another time.

In the 17th verse we receive direct instruction that God's Word is a sword. The first five pieces of armor are for defensive protection. The sword can be used for defense as well as for attack. Here in is the danger. A sword wielded by a child or even a novice can cause great damage to themselves and others. A true swordsman has to practice daily and can take years to acquire the skills to use it effectively.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Heb 4:12 (NLT)

As we see in the Book of Hebrews the sword (Word of God) is a mighty and powerful instrument not to be taken lightly. Too often I witness fellow Christians debating each other using scripture against one-another. In other words like swinging swords wildly back and forth cutting everything in their path. The harm caused is tremendous. Stepping between it to help stop the fight can be extremely dangerous too. We so often as Christians forget just how powerful the Word of God is. Was it not God's Word that brought you to Christ?

Great swordsmen must practice daily. Train intensively over long periods of time. When studying God's Word we tend to skip by sometimes. Perhaps become comfortable with just a quick Sunday School lesson and the preacher's sermon thinking that is enough. I am guilty too.

Scripture memorization is very important. Too often though we tend to quote scripture unaware of realizing our opponent first. What do I mean by that? When I was an atheist and Christians would come up to me to witness they would often quote scripture. I was quick to challenge them by noticing first off that they were not carrying their Bible with them. I would ask, “Does the Bible really say that?” What could they do? They were not carrying their sword. I was in no way going to trust what they had to say. I was challenging their word. Their memory and their integrity was I not?

I have never been very good at scripture memorization. Perhaps because of my own past. I always try to have my Bible with me. When I do quote scripture I make a point in opening my Bible and saying, “My Bible says this.” Now if the scripture is challenged they are challenging God and not I. You see my weakness can and should be challenged. You cannot challenge God and expect to win. Can you say Satan.

There is more to a sword than just carrying it along like some ornament or fashion accessory. Like a great swordsman the sword becomes a part of him. No longer added to his attire but becomes an extension of one's self. A living breathing part of you. That is the Word of God. Living and breathing. The Christian life is one of living for and like Christ and less and less for yourself.

Do not be afraid to carry your sword in public. Do not be afraid to open it in the middle of a restaurant or bring it with you when you might have to sit and wait. Do not be afraid to carry it with you while walking down the street or to any event you might be attending. Wait D. C. someone might ask me a question? Well you got the book for it. Use it.

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Sunday, September 26, 2010

We Shoot our Wounded:

I was told this by my Associate Pastor several years ago. “Southern Baptist have the reputation of shooting their wounded.” For years I have tried to deny this statement. Yet, I cannot deny what I have seen within my own church in the past three years. I personally have seen members of our church who have been led by God to serve at another church be literally crucified by other members of our church. Rumors and untrue accusations fly like rice at a wedding. Hate mail sent to them who's handwriting is obvious but refuse to sign their own letters of cowardice. The only way I can describe it is taking the Book of James and tearing it right out of your Bible and setting it on fire. Then taking the rest of your Bible throwing it on the ground and stomping on it. There is no doubt in my mind that Christians are the worst in persecuting Christians.

I count myself blessed to have been able to be part of a men's ministry of another church that I am not a member of. My brothers there have treated me with love and respect. I cannot say the same for some of the members of my own church who have gone out of their way to block any development or return of a men's ministry within our own church.

These atrocities within my church are rooted in personal pride and individual quests for control and power within the church. That's right I said church. On the outside seen as a fortress of safety but what lays within is an entirely different story. Not once looked upon with reverence to our Lord.

These situations and instances are normally ignored as disgruntle church members and those who remain just want to say, “Good riddance.” Funny the word “riddance” means “the act of forcing someone out.”

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. James 1:14-16 (NLT)

No wonder more and more people will tell you they are looking for God and not a church. God and the word, “church” no longer seem to mean the same thing. After experiencing what I have written above you certainly cannot blame them. We as Christians have taken God's Word and ignored it. We have taken God's house and used it to isolate us from the world. Making us no different from any other religions and that is exactly how the world sees Christianity today.

Does this mean we should just give up? No, but we need to admit the corporate church model so associated in America today does not work. If a pastor is preaching to 300 to a 1,000 or more there is no way that one pastor can serve the spiritual needs of his flock. Even with two or three associate pastors the need cannot be fulfilled.

The only future I see for Christianity is a return to What Did Jesus Do. A one-on-one relationship. Tossing pride and self-absorbed out the door and focusing on putting the Great Commission to work as we have been commanded to do.

I am sure I will have more to write on this subject in the near future. Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Radical: Chapter 5

Today's morning study focuses on chapter 5 in David Platt's book, RADICAL. In my opinion, this is the heart of the book. This is when the author tasks us with taking the Great Commission seriously.

If we were left to ourselves with the task of taking the gospel to the world, we would immediately begin planning innovative strategies and plotting elaborate schemes. We would organize conventions, develop programs, and create foundations. We would get the biggest names to draw the biggest crowds to the biggest events. We would start mega-churches and host mega-conferences. We would do...well, we would do what we are doing today. ~ David Platt

Jesus focused his time on teaching a small group of 12 men. Discipleship training was a relationship with the Master. A slow committed process. Not a lecture type class.

What would be the most effective way for a new follower of Christ to learn to pray? To sign them up for a one-hour-a-week class on prayer? Or to invite them personally into your quiet time with God to teach them how to pray? What would be the most effective way for this new follower of Christ to learn to study the Bible? To register them in the next available course on Bible study? Or to sit down with them and walk them through the steps of how you have learned to study the Bible? ~ David Platt

The author points out we have created the American Dream version for Christianity. In essence we have disinfected ourselves from the realities of the world. Turning church into a spiritual safe-deposit box for us. We have become decent church members with little more impact on the world than we had before we were saved.

This without a doubt is a very tough chapter. Discipleship training is a matter of obeying Christ's commands spelled out in the Great Commission.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matt 28:18-20 (NLT)

Discipleship is duplication. First you become a disciple of Christ. We receive the Word in an effort to reproduce and teach others. Preachers looking to reproduce more preachers within their churches. Sunday School teachers looking to reproduce more Sunday School teachers within their churches. Christians going out into the world to witness to seek and save the lost. Look at the Great Commission again. It says “GO.” That means all of us, not a selected few. It says, “GO” and not wait until we feel better equipped. There is no mention about building giant buildings and monuments, programs or events. No argument of music and entertainment. The Word says, “GO.”

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Monday, September 13, 2010

Christian Gambler:

The Alabama Baptist newspaper is running an eight part series on “Gambling in Alabama.” I guess the past year of Casino Bingo articles just have not been enough. First off what is my definition of “Gambling?” In my humble opinion gambling is investing something of personal value for the intent of personal gain. So do I have a problem with casinos being built-in our state? No. That is not very Christian of you D.C!

First look at who has to loose if casinos were to be built-in our town. The first ones to loose would be other casinos in the state. Second, other casinos in neighboring states would loose business. Why travel there if you can get it here? Local stores especially Wal-mart and other major retail chains would be the first to see a drop in consumer spending. Small local shops would suffer the most. On top of that the business model for such small casinos experience a revenue plateau within 3 to 5 years. About the same time the break even point of initial investors' investment is achieved. To continue an increasing revenue stream such casinos will need to again make new investments in entertainment, food and yes, new and more gaming machines.

City and county governments will see a short-lived increase in tax revenue for the first 3 to 5 years. After making countless building permit and other concessions the over-all benefit will be lucky to break even. Now that is gambling.

So why is gambling such a big issue in Alabama. Greed and moral decay are at the heart of the matter. The facts are that we as Christians have no intentions of funding such an expensive legal fight with casinos. Casinos have what appears on the surface as an endless revenue stream to funnel cash into the fight. If we are really concerned with the moral decay of society we would focus our efforts on witnessing for Christ and not throwing money at a losing battle.

“I never gamble.” I hear that a lot from fellow Christians. Strange when I was younger I actually got to meet a professional gambler. He told me that a professional gambler never gambles. They only invest when the odds are in their favor. Sounds a lot like the banking industry. They invested heavily into real estate mortgages and even when their investments went South they still received billions of dollars in bail out money. It was overall a safe gamble you have to admit. One made entirely in their favor.

Have you ever driven a car? You are gambling thinking that 6 inch wide yellow line will prevent that multi-ton car coming at you will stay in their lane. The fact is you are gambling with your life every time you drive in a car. In other words you are investing your life in exchange for getting from point “A” to point “B.” What is the definition of gambling?

D. C. get on board. We are talking about putting a casino in our own backyard here. With that comes drug trafficking, prostitution, increasing crime and violent assaults too. You are absolutely right. When we hear the word casino we think big luxury hotels like in Vegas or Atlantic City. They will never be coming to our town. The high rollers who can afford to spend the money needed to fund the dreams of local politicians and our community will never come. These are not casinos. They are the diet Coke of casinos. Just one calorie, not casino enough. What we are really seeing coming to town are gambling joints bent on only one thing. To strip away as much money from the local community as possible. The business model for a Vegas type casino is to build it. Open the doors and collect the cash in as many buckets as you can. That is in Vegas not Alabama. In Vegas people are under the illusion that gambling is entertainment. They entertain as much money as possible right out from under you without you even thinking twice about it. We see people coming back from Vegas with nothing but lint in their pockets and smiles on their faces. That is Vegas. Here a gambling joint will need to swindle your money away from you. That leads to corruption, heartache, and social destruction.

If we really want to control this we first must realize it is coming. Therefore we should pass laws requiring a true casino establishment must be on the huge scale of Vegas. Requiring the investment of 100's of millions of dollars and nothing less. In other words make it OK to build if you build the biggest and the best. Top dollar in will result in top dollar out. If they want to build a casino here then make them go all-in not just a few coins down. Make them invest in building an airport. Minimum room development of 500 to 1,000 's of units. Tax each room whether occupied or not. Only those who can really afford it will build. Why should they? If you are going to spend money like that then spend it in Vegas like they should. Reduce the odds of success and you reduce the odds of building it in our backyard.

From the Christian point of view we need to start negotiating the right to minister to people on casino property. Start gambling counseling facilities before they even open up for business. Funded by the casinos themselves. They would have too just for the PR value.

Well that is my story. It is just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think? Are you willing to put it on the line and leave a comment? Yes, leaving your opinion for someone else to see is a gamble. Is it worth the risk? Make a choice.

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Debt to the Lost: Radical, Chapter Four

This morning we continued with our study of David Platt's book entitled: RADICAL. Special thanks to Brother Troy for opening his home to us to study God's Word. Speaking for all the men within the study we would like to especially thank Sister Becky for cooking and preparing the wonderful breakfast for all of us. They are servants of the Lord.

This lesson was one of the hardest. We owe a great debt to the lost. That is correct. We as Christians have a debt to the lost. Think about it. We are Christians, we are saved, we have eternal life through Jesus Christ. We have the cure for death. We have this greatest gift and we are commanded to share that with others. Not just those immediately around us, but world-wide.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Matt 28:19 (NLT)

I do not know how many times during seminary and during everyday walks of life I have been asked, “Have you been called?” We seem to think that we must be “Called” first before we can serve. As David Platt points out we are not called to do the same tasks nor are we given the same skills and abilities. We are though commanded to share the Gospel. We are commanded. Whatever skills, abilities or other gifts we have been given become useless if we fail to respond to the Great Commission.

Christianity is not dieing. We have simply failed in doing what we have been commanded to do. The author makes a bold statement in chapter four.

Jesus didn't die for just you. “We live in a church culture that has a dangerous tendency to disconnect the grace of God from the glory of God. ….We bask in sermons, conferences, and books that exalt a grace centering on us.” - David Platt, RADICAL

He also states: “We have taken this command, though, and reduced it to a calling—something that only a few people receive.”

The problem I see right in front of me is the fact that we do not teach witnessing. We do not practice witnessing. Therefore how as Christians can we expect to witness? Witnessing must become a habit. As natural as breathing.

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Evil in the World

Why Does God Allow Evil in the World?

In lieu of the upcoming date of the attack of 9/11 where nearly 3,000 lost their lives in a brutal attack of evil. A question we as Christians face and must be able to answer is why if God is such a loving God would allow evil in this world?

God allows evil in the world as a demonstration of His grace and love for us. What? D. C. are you out of your mind? Only we could be so bold and so ignorant to think that we deserve to live in a world without evil when in fact we are the evil.

No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies. Snake venom drips from their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all.”
Romans 3:11-18 (NLT)

If God was to make this world without evil He would have to first start by eliminating us. Does the name Noah ring a bell? That was our second chance. What did we do with it? We blew it. Again we have taken God's own creation and turned it into a battle field. We have become very efficient in killing one-another. We have reached a point with enough nuclear weapons to kill every man, woman, child and every blade of grass around the world six times over. Six times over.

Each day that we are allowed to live is a blessing, a gift and a demonstration of God's grace and love. We do not deserve it.

Noah was our second chance. Jesus is our last chance. There again showing us God's grace and patience. Not very often do we see a fellow human being ever giving another a second chance let alone a third. It is our lack of forgiveness that demonstrates our sinful nature. I would be the first to admit that I am guilty.

...For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Matt 5:45 (NLT)

Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
Heb 13:4-6 (NLT)

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Monday, September 6, 2010

Taking the Risk out of the Market:

My father spent thousands of dollars for my education in financial tactical analysis. Simply put, “a chartist.” Moving averages, complicated formulas and trend following investigating. Though no longer in the position I once held. I am still a daily chartist.

So what does this have to do with being a Christian?

More and more I receive advertisements with the following statement, “Take the risk out of the market.” The fact is risk is where the money is. This sounds very worldly coming from a Christian. Your right.

Jesus gives us a lesson in investing: Parable of the Three Servants (Matt 25:14-30)

The one who played it safe ended up losing everything and was left separated from the master. We see the same thing in today's churches. We play it safe. Dress nice. Go to church on Sunday. Smile, sing and put a little into the offering plate. Our work is done now let's go to lunch. This way we feel comfortable and think we have invested enough of our time and resources into God's Kingdom. As we continue to do this Christianity grows weaker with less and less baptisms. Religions like Islam continue to gain ground by growing each day. Why? They invest and put themselves in harm's way. They continue to risk and so far have succeeded.

We are always looking to take out the risk in investing. When looking for the easy way out in life there is no easy way out.

And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:27 (NLT)

Carry your cross can be interpreted as carrying your own electric chair for us to better understand today. Dead to self. To abandon one's own goals, ambitions, and even one's own needs for following God's will. We may preach it. We may want it. We rarely put actions to our words and do it.

Did Jesus take a risk? Yes sir. He risked everything. His life for ours. We seldom take that to heart.

Here in the South the Civil War or the “The War of Northern Aggression” still runs deep within our society. In July of 1863 General Robert E. Lee had begun his invasion of the North. Few know that Lee's plan was to draw out the Northern Army and destroy it. That was not his primary objective. His goal was to deliver a letter of peace from Jefferson Davis to the desk of Abraham Lincoln. The intent was to offer peace from a position of absolute strength. It was a risk. Lee risked all for peace. The battle came to Gettysburg which was not the intended battle ground. The risk for peace cost tens of thousands of lives during those three days of battle. Some historians estimate as many as 50,000 American lives were lost. The Battle of Gettysburg is still looked upon as the turning point of the war. It does not take a lot of head scratching to realize the Southern States are still being punished.

Some of the greatest innovations have come from the South. The worlds most powerful motor was developed and built here in the South. The Saturn Five rocket which was the key to getting Americans to the moon. Development of the ironclads changed naval warfare throughout the world overnight. Even today the South is still called “The Bible Belt.” the last strong hold of Christianity in America. Now that is a risk worth taking.

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Radical and the American Dream:

Today we continued our study in David Platt's book, “Radical.” Chapter three entitled, Beginning at the End of Ourselves. James Truslow Adams is given credit in 1931 in coining the pharse, the American Dream. When you compare the American Dream to God's purpose for our lives the two do not meet. The goal of the American Dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God according to Platt. I agree. Here in America we live in a society that teaches and encourages us to be self-reliant. If it has to be, it is up to me attitude. Do not worry about the people you step on the way up unless you expect to see them on the way down is our American motto.

Chapter three starts out telling of how Seminary students in Indonesia must plant a church with at least 30 baptized members before they can graduate. The story continues in explaining how two classmates died at the hands of Muslim persecutors doing so. What if graduating seminary here had the same requirement?

As Brother David explains, giving up self for Christ means giving up everything. Putting your life goals and career aside for a life that God wants for you. Does this mean giving up my job, my career, my life plans and/or my business for Christ? If they are not inline with Christ then the answer is a simple YES. This hurts. I know. This morning we discussed about moving from the valley up to the top of the mountain. What if you reach the top and realized you are on the wrong mountain? Yes, the journey begins all over. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, you will have to make sacrifices. Yes, you are seeking God's will for you. Yes, you will have to trust God with your very life.

The author points out in today's world strategies for doing church require little if any power from God. Today the power of God is no longer needed to draw a crowd in our culture. We are looking for performances and not seeking the truth. Church competes with other social events and entertainment events. We have large auditoriums to accept crowds of people and not focusing on sitting down on the floor in a small room with others sharing and teaching God's Word. We have reached a point where we can download a sermon online. Hand it to an actor to perform along with musical entertainment. Bingo! You got church. The next step is to get rid of the church building all together and just broadcast the event over the internet, satellite, cable or TV.

I like what David Platt has to say about the New Testament Church in the Bible. “A scene where the church radically trusts in God's great power to provide unlikely people with unlimited, unforeseen, uninhibited resources to make his name known as great. I want to be part of that dream.


Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sunday School Recycled:

This week we start a brand new study lesson in Sunday School. It begins with, “God has an eternal plan.” If you have been in an Adult Sunday School class you quickly realize the subject materials tend to recycle themselves every two years or so.

The main problem is the pressure we place on our Sunday School teachers. For a half hour to forty-five minute lesson our teachers must spend several hours each week in preparing for the lesson. At least our teachers do. On top of that they must be ready to give a lesson that has something for the experienced Bible student as well as the beginner each week. An elementary to high school teacher would be the first to admit that is not possible. Yet, this is what we expect, if not demand, from our Sunday School teachers. This is also why most of the lesson materials come to the church from out-source providers.

The out-sourced materials provider cannot build a lesson plan in the traditional step-by-step and level-by-level way. Why? Our Sunday School classes are arranged by age groups and not by Bible experience levels. Such a provider can only offer so much. With the undo pressure of trying to be everything to everyone our Sunday School teachers are limited in what they can do or provide for.

I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other.
1 Cor 3:2-3 (NLT)

You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
Heb 5:12-14 (NLT)

I know and have spoken with those who have told me, “I've been a Sunday School teacher for thirty years.” “Wow,” I reply. “You must have hundreds of students out there teaching Sunday School?” Often the reply is, “No, the same group is still with me today.” Ooops! Does this help promote and grow God's Kingdom? Ouch!

By grouping by age group and not by experience we limit ourselves, the study materials and our ability to grow as a Christian. This teaching model has been in place for decades. Why rock the boat? We are Christians! It is our job to rock the boat.

We have this attitude of “Got Milk.” Then think that is enough. Look at the scriptures above. Milk is not enough.

Solution: Those who want more need to learn to teach. When you teach a lesson you learn more and get more out of it. Sure it takes more of your own personal time. Time spent with God. What could be better? Therefore we need a Sunday School class for new Sunday School teachers. Existing Sunday School teachers could rotate to help teach the class by sharing their personal experiences and offer guidance in a way books just cannot. Just like missionaries. They need others to come in and relieve them once in a while. This way new Sunday School teachers can gain experience without having to be appointed for life to a classroom.

Wait a minute! We do not have enough students to call for the need to train new Sunday School teachers.

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.”
Matt 9:37 (NLT)

Not training new Sunday School teachers is like telling farmers we have enough to eat this week. There is no need for you to go to all that trouble in planting another crop.

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Week Two of Radical:

This morning ended week two and chapter two in our study of David Platt's book, “Radical.” Is God's Word enough to bring us together?

A group of Christian men getting together for the study of God's Word. Forty and even sixty years ago that was a common occurrence here in the United States of America. Here in the South you would still expect it, but fewer and fewer men are doing it. Why?

Many of us are working two jobs. Working nights and weekends. We have family responsibilities. We are getting older and seem to have less time week after week. Then we say, “I need more Me Time.” Where does God fit in?

Our Christian brothers and sisters around the world risk their lives just getting together to worship. Risk their lives serving Christ many times in secret. They do not have the comfort of air-conditioned rooms. They do not have sound systems, modern projections systems or Power Point. No cushioned chairs. Many meet in rooms with dirt floors. They are there because they thirst for God's Word. They are there because of their personal relationship with Jesus. Not a religion; a relationship with Christ.

We have no threat of being persecuted for meeting at church or in our homes. At least not yet. Christianity should be exploding throughout our country not drying up. Do we go to church for His Word or is it something else? The truth is we do not go to church to worship. We must bring our worship to church.

Being Radical is not about going backwards. It is not about coming up with wild new ideas to attract people to Christ. Marketing sells books. Worshiping God can save souls. I like David's lesson on Secret Church. That got your attention, but there is no secret about it. Christians meeting at church on a non-church night to pray and study God's Word. Not just for an hour but hours. Late into the night. Stripping away any entertainment value and just focusing on Christ. Would you come?

I am talking to Christians directly. Remember moments before, even seconds before you gave your life to Christ? You hungered for God. For His Word. For forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ. Nothing could stop you. That void had to be filled now. Filled only by your personal relationship with Christ. Do not tell me you are full. Thirst today as you did that moment.

Team up, set-up and get into the fight. <><

Friday, August 27, 2010

So What?

President Obama says we are not a Christian nation. So what? Why should I care? I am in my little home. Mowing my little lawn. Living in my little town. I go to church. Why should I be concerned about the president? He never calls me. I pay my taxes and just want to be left alone. So what?

That is the attitude the majority of us here in the United States have. Let the world be damned. It is not going to affect my little world. Then the World Trade Center was attacked and all America coward down. Like the attack on Pearl Harbor. The day after, America was changed forever. So what, everything is OK as long as it's not in my back yard. By the time it reaches our backyard it is long over.

Going back to how America was is no longer an option. We have given up our freedom in the name of better security. In the name of control that is. Herded like cattle at the airport. So what? It is the price we pay for today's world. We are a nation of tolerance not of freedom. Freedom is now determined by the cost of court battles and media publicity. What next? We go to Washington D.C. with sand blaster and remove every reference to God? We would have to start with the Supreme Court building. It is covered with images of Moses and the Ten Commandments. So what? If it makes Muslims happy why worry about throwing away hundreds of years of Christianity or the fact that our forefathers paid for our freedom with blood. So what? It is not in my backyard.

In the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” at the end it visually shows how quickly after the Christians and Jews were forced out how Christianity was removed and Islamic control was about to be entrenched. It happen then and it can happen now just as easily. I am sure citizens of Rome never thought their country would ever fall too.

So what America? After Pearl Harbor we declared war and did not stop until the evil was defeated. After 9/11 we rushed to our local churches for a while until it calmed down and went back to our regular routines. The war in Iraq is just a blimp on the six o’clock news. So what? It's not my war. I have my flower garden to attend too.

Israel did not wake up until God allowed them to be conquered by the Babylonians. Is that what it is going to take for America to wake up? I pray not.

What do we do? We cannot go back. That opportunity ended long ago in the late 70's and early 80's. I think God's Word clearly gives us the solution.

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.”
Mark 16:15-16 (NLT)

Team Up, Set-up and get into the Fight. <><

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Getting Radical

This is a follow-up article. Today started the new Bible Study of the Book by David Platt entitled “Radical.” I was fortunate to be able to join Stowers Hill Baptist Church Men's Ministry this morning.

As I have stated before this is one must read book for all Christians. Today's lesson comes right at you. To follow Christ we must give up everything and follow Him. We need to put Jesus first in our lives but do we? What is the cost of being a disciple of Christ?

“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26-27 (NLT)

Here in America we have no idea what it must be like to be persecuted for your faith. Why do you think so many other religions come to America? Just imagine for a moment that if you walked out of your church this Sunday you would be arrested. Separated from your family. All that you owned would be taken from you. You would have to spend the rest of your life in prison. For what? Going to church. Yes, that is what most Christians in foreign lands face today. Every day. Just the Bible study I attended today would be considered illegal and punishable by death in other countries. Then again some members of my church might feel that way for me attending.

In Luke 14 we see Jesus with this “Radical” statement. If we truly love Christ and believe in Him then we must accept His Word as fact. Not pick and choose what seems to fit in our own situation. We have to take it all in. We have to stand when others run away and hide.

This first lesson and first chapter of the book is a test for all of us Christians. We must believe. If not then what is the point? Even when we do not understand the scripture or want to believe it we must. It means giving up control of our lives and handing it all over to Christ. We want to be in control. That is our sinful nature. We want to be God. The god of our lives. The fact is we are not in control therefore why do we still insist in fighting it?

The first step in being Radical is to truly believe. Take Christ at His Word.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

America's not Wanted

Clothing giant, or former giant, American Apparel Inc. is slowly falling away into corporate American history. I would like to say because of poor sales. The truth is CEO and founder Dov Charney had a great idea. American made clothing for sale here in America. What a contrarian way of thinking. The road to success has been marred with lawsuits and other shall we say suspicious business practices and colorful press.
Mr. Charney fits the world's view of success. With 10,000 employees world-wide. Taking his company public in 2007. Winning fashion awards. Named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004 among other titles. Yet the company has fallen on hard times lately.

Debt is killing the company as is our nation. American Apparel's debt has increased to over 120 million dollars. Its stock dropping to record lows.

As a Christian, why should we care? This corporate sad story is an example of what is going wrong in our country. American made has little or no meaning right here in America. American icon Warren Buffet in the September 2010 issue of Smart Money magazine noted his suit with a China label.

What about our Christian label? I have been told that 80% to 90% of our communications with one another is by sight or by body language. That makes sense with how the world looks at us as Christians.

We are seen heading for church on Sundays to get our religious fix then live like the world till next Sunday. Might not be fair but that is how we are seen. The church used to be the center of the local community. Kids did not have many places to go for fun. So they went to their local church. Society did not have many social activities to be distracted by so they went to church. If there was a problem in the community people looked to the church for help, guidance and action. Today it seems the church is competing with local movie theaters, the mall, sports and even bass fishing. It has become about entertainment and not the salvation of one's soul. Not about standing for God, but standing for yourself. Self-serving and more predictable each day. Satan likes that.

We (Americans) want to look better. Live better. Have bigger and better things and stuff. We will undercut our own nation for it. Why pay more for American Made clothes when you can get them cheaper from overseas. Why run a company with focus and purpose when living the American dream is the name of the game for those sitting at the TOP. Even a house of debt must come down someday. When Mr. Dov Charney jumps out with his golden parachute what will happen to the other 10,000 employees? Thanks doll for giving us the shaft?

As Christians, what can we do? What should we do? Back in my grandfather's day the church was not afraid of being politically correct. If the town was corrupt the voice of the pulpit spoke load and clear for all to hear. Not just for the church congregation. Protest did bring the entire congregation down to city hall in a moments notice. Today we are lucky if a few citizens even show up for a city council meeting.

We need to get back into the face of society. Jesus did not preach in a safe and comfortable establishment. He ate and drank with society's worst. Why? Who needed to be saved? Those who knew or should have known God or those with a front row ticket straight to Hell?

We want to be nice. We want to avoid offending people. If your neighbor's house was on fire would you casually walk over there and please ask if you could step inside and save them? No, we would rush in there and drag them out kicking and screaming. If they wanted to run back into the flames then that would be a different story. Yet, some will listen to the Gospel and then run right back into the flames.

Time to team up. Set up and get into the fight.

Amen. D C McKay <><

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Paradise and the Baptist World Congress:

On the front page of the Alabama Baptist Newspaper was an article about the recent 20th Baptist World Congress. Over 4,500 Baptist from 105 nations gathered. What a surprise. They held the event in Honolulu, Hawaii. Rallying for God in the midst of paradise seems off base to me. According to the article those attending represented over 37.3 million baptized believers. Sorry they did not represent me.

One note added that more than 1,000 people who registered for the event were unable to attend because they were denied visas by our very own U.S. government. Must be a threat of those Christian extremist. If even one was denied they should have pulled the plug and moved the event to another country. Here is a thought. Perhaps they should have had the event in a country in need. With 4,500 people that is 4,500 meals to prepare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not to mention the need for 4,500 places to stay, shop, transportation and so on. You think representing 105 nations one would be in need more than Honolulu. Let us face it the beach has its appeal.

Was any sweeping changes made? No. Was a plan to end poverty created? No. One accepted report called to provide examples of godly living. Here is an idea. Why not start with your own event? How 4,500 Baptists of a 105 nations going out on the streets of Honolulu and feeding the poor and homeless. Or helping the drug addicted. Oops I am sorry that is something Jesus would do. Who is He?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Slavery is Alive and Well

Living in the South the word “Slavery” is still a word scowled upon. It brings up a dark past in our history that we are not proud of. Similar to our very early church history which in one afternoon “The Church” martyred more Christian brothers and sisters than all the Caesars combined. Yes, it happened.

How about slavery today? An estimated 12 to 27 million are held in slavery today! How can this be? How as Christians over the centuries could we possibly have even allowed this to happen? Yes it is alive and well right now. Today!

Any where between 600,000 to 800,000 human-beings are trafficked around the world and over 17,000 are trafficked here in the United States. Half of these modern day slaves are children.

We are blind to it. It is not news-worthy. Sure an occasional celebrity has appeared surprised that the garments bearing their name come from slave camps and political correct announced sweat shops.

Prior to William Wilberforce's life's battle that led to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 in England it was said that a drop of blood is in every lump of sugar. Referring to the slave trade and slave labor in the growing, harvesting, and the production of sugar for one's tea.

Not far off the truth for today. How many of the socks, shirts, shoes and other clothing we purchase come from the backs of modern day slaves? Try going into Wal-mart and find a label that says “made in the USA?” You will be hard pressed to find one on clothing, toys or even sporting goods. There before us is the 12 to 27 million brothers and sisters that wait for freedom. Who die each day hidden and invisible to us.

See for yourself: Visit

<>< D C McKay

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Radical by David Platt

Not very many books would be on my Must Read List. This is one of them. The book is Radical by David Platt. You have probably heard of him and his church family of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham Alabama. It is a mega-church. Yet one that is trully doing radical obedience for Christ.

Just 9 chapters that will inform you. Change you. Get your focus on God and God's Word. It is far more than just saying NO to self. It is a plan and call to action for all Christians to radical obedience for Christ.

Brother David might be a mega-church pastor but he speaks like a down to earth fellow you would meet at a small church. His ideas are simple. His challenge is tough.

I have been invited to a Bible study using David's book later this month. I am looking forward to it and know it will be one of the hardest to complete. It is about taking the Gospel back from the corrupt corporate American Dream we have all fallen victim too.

I guess the best way to describe my reaction to the book is WOW! The other is I am scared what God is now going to call me to do. Yes, this is a must read book. Get it. Read it. Get Radical.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pride and the Empty Sack:

If you're a Star Trek fan then you have heard the following statement. “Pride and an empty sack is worth the sack.” I have mentioned it before. Pride has toppled more governments and empires. Pride has destroyed more corporations. Pride has ruined more lives and decimated more families than any war or decease in human history. Pride is the devil's own nuclear bomb. It looks like everything else in the world and when it goes off nothing is left alive.

With that said is it alright to take pride in being humble? The American dream says no. A trap we have all found ourselves ensnared and disparate to get out of. We find ourselves trying to present ourselves in a better light or something more respectable. Why? Society calls for it. In business we have titles when in fact just plain old “Owner” describes it well for those who are truly in business. Owner means in-charge, the top dog, the buck stops here, and also means responsibility many of us would never really want to have or face. Yet society expects titles like CEO, CFO, manager, supervisor, president instead of servant or “Someone who can really help you.”

I heard a story about a man who was running for election for mayor of a small town. He had worked as a custodian at the city hall building for many years. Made very little money. His family scrapping each day to get by. One night there was a town hall meeting to present the candidates to the public. Many of them were well to do citizens of the town. Business owners, current politicians and high society types if you know what I mean. Each one made a wisecrack about the janitor running for mayor. Then it came the janitor's turn to talk. He did not try to call himself a sanitation engineer or try to project himself as something he was not. He did not even take pot shots at the other candidates like they had done to him. He simply spoke the following. “For years I have worked as a janitor at city hall. I have personally seen how my fellow town's people are treated poorly and without respect. I see the waste caused by all the offices here. The misuse of office machinery. I have had to listen to the gossip around the hallways. Poor attitudes and office politics. I have personally witnessed the disrespect for our town's properties. Over the years I have seen some of the most educated people in our town make a mess of what we call our city government. I'm a member of the same church as you. Many a times my family is overlooked or looked down upon. Why not? I am just a janitor. God has given my family and I strength to endure, hope and love when others simply pass on by. The desire to serve others. You might not understand, but God has put me in the right place at the right time. Who among these candidates has any experience in cleaning up a mess?”

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Prov 11:2 (NLT)

….for even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matt 20:28 (NLT)

Peace be with you. <><

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No Your Other Left

It is hard not to bad mouth the United States these days. The facts show we have lost our way. In fact we lost it a long time ago. In a recent article from Michael Synder the numbers show that America has missed the mark.

We seem to be worried about the stock market but the fact is that 83% of all U.S. Stocks are in the hands of 1% of the people. Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 which is 32% more than in 2008. Why are we worrying about the Real Estate market? The facts now show for the first time in our history that banks now own a greater share of residential housing net worth than all individual Americans put together. In 1950 the ratio of average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000 that ratio has increased to 300 to 500 to one. Here in the U.S. the average federal worker now earns 60% more than the average worker in the private sector. The average time needed to find a job in a America has risen to a record 35.2 weeks. More than 40% of Americans who are employed are now working in service jobs which are often very low paying. Nearly 21% of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010. The highest figure in 20 years. The top 10% of Americans now earn around 50% of our national income.

These are striking statistics. As Christians should we be concerned? Very much so. Why? You can easily see that we are losing hope. We have lost our direction. The people we should be ministering too is growing. We need them. They need us. We all need Christ more now than ever.

Does that mean we preach and teach a message of prosperity? Telling them just trust in Jesus and He will fix your marriage, your job, make your kids perfect, cure your addictions, get you a bigger house, a new car and so on? That is the message that is being preached on T.V. Promoted in the best selling books. Dare I say in the pulpits of today's churches? We got to get them in the doors someway. Telling them they are going to die and go to hell just isn't working anymore. What?

Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
Prov 11:4 (KJV)

Salvation through Christ is about the wrath that is to come. The truth is we will die and without Christ, Yes you are going to Hell. That is a fact not a statistic. Not a suggestion. Not an alternative way of doing things.

We need not worry about bringing people into church. We need to bring Christ's church to them. Tell someone about Jesus today.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Unburdened by Chris Tiegreen:

God's timing is perfect. When I received a copy of Chris Tiegreen's book from the Tyndale Blog Network I had been going through one of the worst and darkest times of my life. This is not a “how-to” book to relieve stress and magically make your worries disappear. The author focuses on the root of our problems as a Christian. How many times have we gone up to the alter to place our burdens upon Christ then moments later just pick them back up again? Chris makes if very clear from the start that our problem is truly trusting God.

If we are to truly let go and trust God we need to go all the way. Even when we feel and it looks like God is not listening to us we still need to trust Him. It is easy to trust in Christ when things are going well. It is when life throws a curve ball at us that we seem to want to put the load on our own shoulders and wait till the weight is crushing us until we turn to Christ for help.

Mr. Tiegreen points out that when we hand our burdens over to God they just do not disappear nor should we go around with a care-free attitude. It is Christ that makes the load lighter working with us. We still have responsibilities and obligations. If we are to be truly living an unburdened life then we really need to let go of self and live for His will.

This book has only 9 chapters. Walking you through a look in the mirror in my opinion of what we are facing and how God's Word explains how we are to live with less weight upon ourselves. As Christians we have resources others do not. Yet we still want to do things our way and the end result is just opposite of what God has planned for us.

The author really showed me how our own perspective and expectations of others are so unrealistic which in turn adds to the burdens we carry. This simple truth unlocks the way we need to look at things. Being humble is OK. Working to live up to others expectations is misguided if we are not living by God's standards first.

You will find this book deeply fulfilling. Sure at times here in the South we might say that Chris takes the long way around the barn to get to the point but you quickly will see the reasoning. If you find yourself wondering why all this junk in your life keeps building up and weighing you down over and over again then you need to read this book. Life may not be trouble free but worth living in Christ when we truly trust Him fully.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hello Darkness My Old Friend:

When I was just a kid the dark frighten me. Fear would come over me like a blanket. Trapping me like being chained to a battleship anchor at the bottom of the sea. The same feelings would come over me when I saw a skeleton or skull. I don't why. I was little and did not know God. So I embraced my fears. To the point I preferred the dark and skulls no longer frighten me. This was a worldly attitude of self reliance. At times it seemed to work. In sports, in business and focusing what I thought mattered in life. My life that is. Very selfish and worldly.

Did embracing my fears help me conquer them? I think not. It just allowed the evil one to use me like a puppet. Pulling at my strings throughout my life. Then I came to know Christ. Released from captivity. Today the evil one comes at me with a hatchet in hand ready to strike without warning.

Do I still have fears? Absolutely. I would be a fool to deny it. Anyone would. Is it our fears that allow evil to control us? Or is it our lack of trust in God? This is what I face. I am sure you do too.

In the last few weeks I have experienced the darkest time in my life. My Christian Brother quickly pointed out the story of David and Goliath to me. Was David afraid? It appears not. God was with him. It was David's earlier experiences in protecting his flock that built his foundation of faith with God. So too does our life experiences with Christ build our foundation with Him. Ask any military soldier. They will tell you it takes years to create a soldier and seconds to loose one. Our lives can be turned around and upside down just as quick.

So when life goes bad what do we do? Even during these dark times in my life I must first thank God. What? Thank God for making my life miserable? As hard as it must appear the answer is Yes.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1:2-4 (NLT)

Reading the scriptures is one thing. Going through the trials is something we cannot do alone. This is why Christians have the advantage. We are weak but our God is strong. Times like now I look down and wonder how am I standing? I take a closer look and see that my feet are not touching the ground because Christ is carrying me.

We have all heard the statement, “I feel your pain.” When you can look another person in the eye and say, “I know your pain” then you have been released from the flames for an opportunity to help someone else. One just like you. This is what it means to be a Christian Brother or Sister in service of Christ.

- In His service. <><

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Imaginary Jesus:

I am not one who really likes to read Christian fiction. Author Matt Mikalatos captured my attention within the first two chapters and never let go. It is a wonderful book. You might say it is a little like the Christian in wonderland story. Then there are times when you can deeply recall similar experiences which makes you think is this fiction or not?

Like many of us and scholars too, we are all looking for the real Jesus. In doing so we seem to continue to place Jesus in a box. When it is us who are in the box looking out. Matt gives a glimpse of his world and his adventure in looking for the real Jesus.

One of my favorite moments is with his dealings with Magic 8 Ball Jesus. How many times have we prayed and like a magic 8 ball turned around and shook it again praying the same prayer and expecting a different and just as vague answer.

As you read through you might just identify of few of your own imaginary Jesus'. There are twists and quirks which Matt must overcome. You are right there next to him through it all. It is a non-stop adventure in the present and the past.

At first I found myself saying what in the world is going on here? It was not what I was expecting and glad of it. I was never bored when reading. In fact I looked forward to each new chapter. Say hello to Daisy for me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

At What Price?

This morning I opened the church for the 170th Sunday in a row. Though the wind was howling outside the light through the stained glass windows lights up the sanctuary with an array of colors. Each Sunday morning it is as quiet as the fog over a lake as the sun begins to rise. This is the time when I pray and asked God to speak to my heart. I asked God at what cost have you brought me here. He answered, “What cost indeed? Your wife and children are saved. Forever shall they be with me.” 

If I must live out a life of complete servitude alone in the desert the cost is rewarding enough.

…..were in an office of great trust, for they were responsible for the rooms and treasuries at the house of God. They would spend the night around the house of God, since it was their duty to guard it. It was also their job to open the gates every morning. 1 Chron 9:26-27 (NLT) 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Life Recovery Bible

I do not know where you might be from but where I live the Recovery Ministry is in great demand and need. With today’s economic times getting harder and harder many of our brothers and sisters are falling victim to addiction. Turning to alcohol or drugs to escape the pain of today’s reality. Let’s face it. Life is hard and we are not in control no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves we are.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

These are not just God’s words but also His command. That is the point of being a Christian. Acknowledging and accepting that Christ is the Lord of your life that you are not in control and God is. Yes, I know it is hard at times. In this world we pride ourselves in being in control of our careers, home, family and our very lives. The truth is that we are not. Why do we fight it so?

The Life Recovery Bible is a wonderful tool to be used in the Recovery Ministry in my opinion. Many of you know that I favor the New Living Translation of the Bible. It is simple to read and understand. Easy to share God’s Word with others too. One thing this tool lacks is printing the words of Christ in red. Besides that it has wonderful features not found in other Bibles. One feature I like best is the Reflections section at the end of each book in the bible. In fact I would recommend reading the Reflection section first before reading the particular book first. The Recovery Profiles demonstrate that key characters within the bible have faced trials; temptations and persecution just like each of us. Through God was their only way to get through it.

If you know someone fighting with addiction being Christian or not this Bible would make a wonderful gift. Follow-up with them and read it with them. Be part of the solution and not just sitting on the sidelines.

I am a member of the Tyndale Blog Network. Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or ARC.

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