Monday, August 22, 2016

Ephesians: Draw Upon the Well for Our Citizenship



Conflict. Everyone has it...sometimes it creeps up in churches too. This weeks sermon tackles conflict and our citizenship.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ephesians: Draw Upon the Well for Grace, Faith and Our Work (Purpose)



Purpose. Everyone seems to be searching for it at one point or another. This week in our trip through Ephesians, we search the idea of purpose in our lives.

(This is the weekly sermon uploaded to YouTube by me!)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

We Don't Have to Live with the 'Lesser of 2 Evils'

Time and time again I see people complaining about this years candidates for President. The Republicans are offering Trump and the Democrats are offering Clinton. No matter which side you reside on, the sentiment usually is something like this, "Well, I don't want _________ becoming President, so I guess I'll vote for _______ even though I don't like them either." I've also heard (in past elections too); "Neither one really stand as great examples...it's just about picking the lesser of 2 evils." If you'd indulge me, I submit that we do not have to live with the 'lesser of 2 evils' simply because there is no other choice. I submit that there is a choice...this is America. We've grown accustom (and dare I say brainwashed) to the 2 political parties in power showing us 2 candidates. Every once in a while you have a Ross Perot or Ralph Nader come in and run as a 3rd party candidate, but no one realistically gives them any chance of winning. However, before you count out the idea of 3rd party candidates, did you know Abraham Lincoln was a 3rd party candidate? One of the greatest presidents in US history was running as a 3rd party candidate. I submit that if Americans were truly tired of the political bull honky from both Republican and Democratic parties, we could and would elect someone from a 3rd party.

The problem is that we Americans have been told what to think for so long that we've lost the ability to think on our own 2 political feet. We've grown accustom to simply 'living with the lesser of 2 evils' and that voting for a 3rd party candidate constitutes 'throwing away my vote because they won't ever get elected'. If we as Americans said enough is enough and got behind a candidate, we would throw the entire American political system on its head because the American people dared to stand against the government. My friends, we've done it before by electing Abraham Lincoln as a 3rd party candidate. We've done it before by bucking the chains of tyranny and persecution to form this country as an independent nation from England. We are Americans. Land of the free, home of the brave, where "In God is our trust" is part of a verse in our National Anthem, and where we are free to elect our representatives from whom we so choose, not from whom we are told to vote for.

My friends, it's time to do our investigation. Both Republican and Democratic parties no longer stand 100% for the Christian value system this country started out with. Libertarians (Gary Johnson) simply take their cue and steal from both Republicans and Democrats, thereby ensuring their value system isn't much better and the Green parties (Jill Stein) focus is solely on the Environment and way further left politics than the Democrats. I submit that the Constitution Party (Darrell Castle is their candidate) be considered. They rest solely on getting this nation back to the style of government according to the Constitution of the United States of America. That means doing away with a lot of the governmental controls put forth in both socialism and capitalism. It means returning this country back to the people where black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Native American and Middle Eastern are endowed with equal and unalienable rights. We aren't talking about going backwards, we're talking about following our governing document. Less federal government, more state and local government. It's time to stand up as Americans and tell the government we're taking our country back by exercising our votes outside of their 2 party system. The Constitution Party isn't on the ballot in every state. They are working on it, so in some states, you'll simply have to put them in the write-in candidate spot. Again, if enough of us say enough is enough, we'll get a 3rd party candidate elected.

In addition to this, we need to stop the violence, hatred, bickering and slandering taking place in this country. We need to stop drawing lines in the sand according to race, religion, and sex. We need to think on our own 2 feet, use our God-given brains and repent of our evil ways. Living with the lesser of 2 evils still puts the control in the hands of the 2 major parties...and by the way, God can and will use whomever He chooses to accomplish His will; Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green or Constitutionalist. We need to stop thinking that a party can and will fix things. Realistically will the Constitution Party be able to accomplish all it wants? Only in time with enough support to accomplish the goals. But the Constitution Party is not the answer to our problems. Only Jesus Christ is that answer. He is the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Only by placing our trust and faith in Him will the answers to our problems arise. We, as Christians, need to stop forcing our ways upon people. That makes us no better than those in European History where Christianity was made the state religion. God doesn't want forced believers. He wants people to want to worship Him. With that said, perhaps what this country needs is to continue to get even further from God's truth in our laws in order to wake people up to His Truth. You can't know how good God is until you know what it's like to be so far away from Him you see no other option but Him. Remember, what we are experiencing in America just might be a spiritual weeding out in order to leave a fruitful remnant.

More than anything, pray for this country. Pray for our leaders. Exist in peace, stop being combative towards those who do not share your views. Live your life in the Love of Christ and show that in your actions toward others. When the Church collectively repents of our sins, the outside world will see and take notice.

Feel free to share this post...to God be the glory!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Smaller Doesn't Always Mean Unhealthy

I saw a post earlier today that talked about a conference at an unnamed church that was geared towards smaller churches (under 500 in attendance) and how they could "get healthy". Now I really do understand this conference would be a great thing and that smaller churches carry a connotation that they are unhealthy. However, that isn't always the case. Believe me when I say that I have seen my share of unhealthy small congregations. However, I have also seen my fair share of healthy ones too. I have seen my share of unhealthy large congregations and my share of good, vibrant healthy large churches.

However, it is time that we stop associating healthiness to size. Is there a correlation? Depends. Actually, it depends on a lot of factors. Demographics play a role for sure, but so does financial issues, history, etc. There are some churches in demographical areas that would do well to get to 150, let alone 500-1000. However, if we are basing success on numbers, we might not be getting the whole picture.

What defines success is discipleship...is your church affecting the lives of the people in the community and the congregation? Are they coming to faith and growing closer to Christ in their relationship? If the answer is no, no matter the size, I'd venture a guess that unhealthiness is an issue.

The reason America is in the shape we are in is that we have churches who are: 1. Baptizing people and not discipling them or 2. Not baptizing or discipling people. I've seen huge churches great at baptizing people but discipling them horribly...which is bad news because then we have baby Christians with no direction, still acting like the world with nobody showing them the right way. Fortunately, I have seen this trend begin to correct itself a little, but more work needs to be done. We need to stop theorizing on how to approach it and actually get active, dirty and downright mud-wallowing messy in other people's lives. Theorizing doesn't do a thing. The Bible gives us plenty of direction to follow, the basic of which is Matthew 28:18-20...go...make disciples...baptize...teach.

Healthy churches aren't always big. Sometimes healthy things come in smaller packages.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Reflections, Contemplations and Thoughts

As I sit and contemplate things for the sermon this week, which is out of the Old Testament, I am reminded again and again of the situation we face in our country today. Christians everywhere in the USA are feeling the fall away from the things of the Lord in our culture to the godlessness of self. We watch as our fellow countrymen stomp on everything our brethren who came before us fought, bled, and gave their lives to build and protect. We continue to hand over our freedoms to corrupt politicians, all while saying it's in the name of progress.

The Old Testament Hebrew nation continually waxed and waned when it came to following the Lord. Whoever the leader of the nation followed as god, the people did too. Unfortunately, there were more bad than good. Up to this point in the history of the U.S., we've been lucky to have more good than bad. But as God worked to bring His people, Israel, back to Himself, Israel failed to see God working. God brought His people back to Himself by trial and persecution. God used captivity and other nations to preserve a remnant that was faithful to following Him. Now, don't get me wrong, the U.S. is NOT the new Israel. Israel is Israel and from what I understand in Scripture, God will be using Israel again in the future. However, the U.S. is a nation that was built on biblical principles (most of the Founding Fathers were deist). Now that we've started falling away from those ways, what I see happening scares me half to death. Angry? Maybe a little. But more scared for what lies ahead. I see a nation about to crumble under the weight of it's own sinfulness. I see a nation on the verge of a divide, worse than the Civil War split. I see Christians in a nation who've lost sight of what it truly means to be the church; who've grown soft and apathetic and only now have wakened to the reality of our actions...or inactions. We insist on sweating the small stuff and fight to hold on to the dominant power in the country to force Christian rules and laws on our society, all while pushing those who need the Gospel further away (we should stand up for our faith, vote appropriately and so on, but being mindful of the ramifications of our actions nonetheless). We've become haughty, arrogant and prideful. And by the way, I have been guilty of it too. We all have. What I see happening? Romans 1:18-32: (HCSB courtesy of www.biblegateway.com)

18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

24 Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

26 This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.

28 And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong. 29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. 32 Although they know full well God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.


We are simply being handed over to our own lusts. God is lifting His hedge of protection from around us and letting us experience the natural consequences of our actions and inactions. Our nation is in freefall. The great country of the United States is not what it once was. However, all is not lost. Perhaps we've lost control of being the dominant governing power. But, who's to say that's a bad thing? Who's to say that God isn't using this to draw people closer to Him? The Church in America has begun to awaken from it's slumber. The true Christians are waking up and realizing that although we may have lost the power over the country, we can still influence our section of the world. We can still preach the Gospel and save one person at a time. We stand up in the face of adversity, as Christians have done for centuries, and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust me, you can't keep Jesus down. He will save people. The Jews tried to squash the Christian movement. They couldn't stop it. Those opposed to Jesus will not be able to squash the message of Christ...He does His best work in adverse circumstances.

So my fellow Christians, have faith. Be strong. Live a righteous life washed in the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Stop fighting the fruitless battles (but continue to pray for our country and leaders) and preach the Gospel of Christ instead and watch people come flocking to Him. Everyone is missing a Jesus sized puzzle piece and we're all trying to make other things fit in His place. Share the Gospel with them and then sit back and watch Him work in them. Remember...you weren't perfect when you came to Christ for salvation either. No one is perfect this side of Heaven. We all have our faults and sins...hence the reason we all need Jesus as Lord & Savior. We don't ever stop needing Him. May God help us be who He needs us to be...right where we're at.

(I have more on this topic and answers to the problem written in my book The American Discipleship Problem: The Lukewarm Christian Epidemic found here...https://www.createspace.com/4503834)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Drives me nuts when....

It drives me nuts when people respond back to things like whether or not Homosexuality is a sin with Scripture...for instance, one argument as to why people say Leviticus 18:22 is invalid is that people eat pork, shave their beards and so on, so why can't they be homosexual? People divorce, and Jesus says that is wrong in the New Testament. People say the Levitical Law was for the Israelites only and that it doesn't apply to us today.

Here is my response to that. Have you ever read the Pentateuch, also known as the Torah or the first 5 books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)? God doesn't just say things to hear himself talk. We humans love to talk just to hear ourselves speak...when God says something, you can bet there is a really good reason why. Did you know that God says not to shave your beard because it protects us from the UV rays of the sun? Did you know that pork is one of the most difficult things for the human body to digest? Not only that, have you seen how pigs live? Like a vulture, they're scavengers...you don't eat vulture do you? Eww... It's all about choice. (Some sides argue that all foods are clean...Mark being the best example, however, I personally believe there is a purpose as to why God says not to.)

Here is my point. The Law of the Old Testament isn't just a collection of rules and regulations. It is a lifestyle...guidelines on how to live a fruitful existence. Every single law in the OT is there to keep us from harm in one way or another. It isn't a "because I said so" deal. It's a "because I love you" deal. No, we cannot keep every single law, it's not possible for humans. However, living up to The Law isn't necessary...that's why Christ came to die on the cross...so your sins can be atoned for. Don't argue Grace vs. Law with me because I'll just tell you that because of the Law, we have knowledge of sin and therefore we can have Grace through Christ to be able to approach the throne of God. Remember to filter The Law through Christ because He puts things into the proper light and clarifies things. It isn't, nor should it ever be a New Testament vs. Old Testament argument. Let's quit pitting things against each other. Everything in the Scriptures tie together. The Law points to Christ. Focus on Christ and the salvation He provides. Love God, Love others. The Bible is how we live that out. Remember actions don't save you, only by grace through faith in Christ our Lord; but actions are the temperature gauge of how healthy your relationship with Him is. Rely on the Holy Spirit of God to convict you so you can repent of your evil ways. God beckons. How will you answer?

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Downfall of American Society

I have heard so many people say that 'homosexuality is the downfall of American society'. Back during Roe vs. Wade, I am sure it was 'abortion is the downfall of American society'. Here is the thing...neither homosexuality, abortion, nor divorce is the downfall of American society. Do you really want to know what the downfall of American society is? Sloth and apathy to God's word. We have been breeding generations of children who do not know God's Word...read God's word...study God's word...hear God's word preached unhindered. During all the chaos of the 'gay marriage' debate the past few weeks, I have come to this realization.

I am truly appalled at the number of Christians who are endorsing "same-sex marriage". Even pastors. Multiple denominations have now backed this movement. It begs the question, where are you getting this from?!?!?! I have done a study, which I posted to my blog last week, and found no reason whatsoever to back this movement. I have found more reasons to preach against it than anything. But still, it isn't and won't be the reason American falls...and it is coming. The reason this country will fall is because we have doubted God's word. We have doubted and turned away calling things good which are evil.

This is a call to bury your nose in your Bible. Learn the word of God. Test what preachers, teachers and the leaders (whether church or the country) are saying. Just because the government says something is right, doesn't make it right. Just because the majority of people say it's right, doesn't mean it's right. Quit being so doggone gullible and believing what everyone says. Test it against the Scripture!

Around the holidays of Christmas and Resurrection Sunday, I am always shocked at the people who 'all of the sudden' speak about Christ for a day. Yet, the actions of their lives say something completely different. Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but your opinion does not sway Truth. God's Truth is forever and it will remain that way. A lot of people are going to be very shocked when judgment day comes and they find out that Truth is not relevant. Our post-modern world says Truth is relevant which is definitely not the case. There is absolute truth. That truth is God. Either you are on His side or you are against Him. It isn't my job to tell you whether you are on God's side or against Him. I am not the judge. God is the judge. Where you stand is between you and God. My job is to preach the truth and get it out that God's way is the top way...no matter what the majority says.

The downfall of American society is an illiteracy of the Bible. Change that today. Need help? Leave me a message here or on Facebook. It doesn't have to be public...you don't want it public? It'll remain quiet. I just want to help people come to a deeper relationship with God rather than just a surface knowledge. It's never too late until you're dead.