Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

My church family helped Tricia and I host a block party at our home on Memorial Day.

It was awonderful time. We had probably 6 or 7 homes from our street represented at the party.

Thanks to my Baptist brethren we were able to have a bounce house, snowcone, and popcorn machines for fun. We had a ton of kids, probably 25 -30. It was really cool.

What was really neat, was how our church family jumped in and really did a great job of serving and talking to my neigbors.

We had a little memorial ceremony with our local Marine Corps League presenting the colors. It was pretty cool!

This gives me grand ideas of hoping to reach our neighbors for Jesus.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Making Your Voice Heard on High

Remember in the movie "The Goonies" when Sloth discovered his echo in the cave. He thought it was great to yell his name and hear it echo off the walls further away. I love that movie.

Anyway, in Isaiah 58, the Lord speaking through Isaiah announces the sin of his fasting people. Although they fast, they do not do it in such a way as to be heard by God.

The Lord tells them that their fast is done with a sinful motive and so their voice is not heard on high. I love that imagery. I can imagine my desperate prayer in a time of fasting echoing off the halls of heaven. An echo calling for God to do a greater work in my life. An echo crying to God to save the lost around me. An echo screaming for my Rescuer to come and restore me after my dreadful sin.

Fasting is a deep desire on our part to tell God how serious we are to hear from Him.

Fast this week and listen for your echo and watch for your Redeemer riding in on His thunderous clouds to save you!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What is a church to do when church leaders are bowing to the winds of culture?

The Episcopal Church USA has lost its focus by turning its resources to hunger, primary education, and AIDS instead of the proclomation of the gospel.

The Presbyterian Church USA has successfully negotiated changing their constitution to allow homosexuals to serve as ministers in their churches. This may sound good, but to know that the vote was lost by one is rather disheartening. The majority won, but only by one vote. This means close to half of their denomination was supportive of homosexuals serving. Did I miss something?

The Pope, who visited Jordan recently, has expressed his "deep respect" to the Muslim community. Sadly, the Pope and Catholic doctrine says that anyone holding a beleif in the monotheistic Creator of Abraham is welcome into the Kingdom of God. (For more check "R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Should Christians "Respect" Other Religions?")

Your church, my church, any church needs to ask "Who is God?" "Who is Jesus?" and "What do we beleive?" Is the church to be influencing culture through reform or through the gospel.

I believe Jesus said it best, "Upon this rock my church will stand and gates of Hades will not overpower it."

First, it is His church.

Second, Hell cannot stop it.

Hell cannot stop it, but the culture can sure dictate some local congregations direction and focus.

Lord, forgive us for defacing your Body, your Bride.

Have mercy on us.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Stop Growing the Church

The church was and is being built by the Lord Jesus Christ and the gates of Hell will not overpower it. Yet, it can remain in-effective as long as we use worldy gimmicks and models to try and prop up God's work.

The Lord has called every church to be a sold-out and surrendered church for His use. If we add anything other than that, we prostitute the church for the world's pleasure. When pastors preach sermons based on media hype or based on some wild e-mail forward making its rounds we deny the people of God true pure milk of the Word of God. When we apply worldly models of bigger and better, more shiny, new model, faster, happier, prettier, better results, all we do is deny God His place in His church. This is why many churches are sick.

Pastor, stop trying to grow the church. Preach the Word, disciple believers, discipline the wayward, make prayer a vital part of all that your church does. Go back to Acts and count up the number of verses that reveal that "God was adding to their number daily those who are being saved." The early church had no slick campaigns, no million dollar facilities, no sermonettes. They had one another and the apostles teaching. Pastors, ministers, leaders, if you are not drawing upon God and His Word to feed the sheep, protect the sheep, and nurture the sheep, then you have no business this Sunday trying to fake your way through the service or teaching hour. If you aren't prepared to be an honorable vessel for the Master's use, then step away. You are called to shepherd the Lord's flock until He returns. Be a faithful steward, not a slick salesman trying to sale your Jesus product to one more potential customer.

Church members, go to church to meet with God. Pray all week long that you will anticipate and expect to hear from God at worship. Pray for the leadership--musicians, Pastor, and other ministers that they will have had adequate prayer and preparation time so that they can HELP you come into the throne room and worship your God. If your Pastor does not teach the Word, go where it is. If the musicians sing for their glory and not for God's, go somewhere else. But, go to be fed, nourished, challenged, and encouraged. Do not go to see how the staff beefs up Jesus to make Him more interesting or culturally relevant.

The church is the body of Jesus. Do not pollute it with the world's standards or idealogies. Don't make Him come in there with a whip and overturn tables. His house is a house of prayer, a place of communicating with your Savior and God, Jesus Christ.