Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How Is Your Prayer Life?

November 15, 2021

Thanksgiving should not be a once-a-year event. It should be the perpetual attitude of our hearts. In fact thanksgiving is inextricably woven together with the principles of prayer. Too often people think of prayer is a way to Get things from God. In reality it is about intimacy with God. A memorable way of prioritizing the principles for developing intimacy with God through prayer is the acronym F-A-C-T-S and it starts with the prayer of faith.

FAITH is only as good as the object in which it is placed. Put another way, it is the object of faith that renders faith, faithful. The secret is not in the phrases we utter but in coming to know even more fully the One to whom we pray. Since God is revealed in His word, the prayer of faith must always be rooted in scripture. R.A.Torrey stated it well when he said

“to pray the prayer of faith we must, first of all, study the Word of God, especially the promises of God, and find out what the will of God is….we cannot believe just by trying to make ourselves believe, such belief as that is not belief but credulity: it is “make believe”. The great warrant for intelligent faith is faith in Gods word. “

Paul puts it in Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ” Jesus summed up the prayer of faith with these words “if you remain in me and my word remains in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you (John 15:7.

Faith in God naturally leads to ADORATION. Prayer without adoration is like a body without a soul. Through adoration we express our heartfelt love and longing for God. This inevitably leads to praise and worship, as our thoughts are focused on the greatness of God. Psalm 95: 6-7 is a great example

Come let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His Hand.

Psalm are filled with exclamations of CONFESSION. While un-confessed sin will not break our relationship with God, it will break our communion with God. Therefore confession is a crucial aspect of daily prayer. The concept of confession carries the acknowledgement that we stand guilty before God. There is no place for self-righteousness before God.

Nothing , and I mean nothing is more basic to prayer than THANKSGIVING. Scripture teaches us to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.(Psalm 100:4) Paul says that pagans know about God but they neither glorify or give thanks to Him.

We will now address the final letter in the acronym, SUPPLICATION. Let us be ever mindful that the purpose of supplication is not to pressure God into providing us with pleasures and provisions, but rather to conform us to His purposes . If we approach God with confidence , that if we ask He will respond but only if we kneel in faith, adoration, confession and thanksgiving.

May your prayer life be filled with these principles and may your communion with God be a blessing to you. Amen


Dealing With Trials In Our life

October 5, 2021

We all go through trials in our lifetime. We have events that affect us deeply. Your can’t live a very long life until sin, sickness, tragic death, loss of a job, children in trouble or a myriad of other events hit you when you least expect it.

I want to talk about two elements of dealing with those events. We can either deal with it or let it overwhelm us. IF you don’t deal with it, life can reflect your suffering by depression, sickness, addictive habits and lost relationships. If you ignore the pain you are going through, if you say to yourself, I will get over it. If you tell yourself to suck it up and go on you will most likely suffer for it.

So may I suggest you start following James 5: 13-16. it says, “if anyone is in trouble he should pray. If anyone is happy, let him sing songs of praise. If any of you is sick you should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. and the prayers offered in faith will make the sick person well., the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned he will be forgiven. Therefor confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous man is powerful and effective”

What we may glean from that scripture is that the community of faith will be there for anyone who is going through distress. Can’t we all remember when we had a problem. had someone to discuss it with who would listen and be supportive? Wasn’t that a relief when you unburdened yourself? The church is our sanctuary , a place we can go that will help us heal. How? Expanding on the scripture, I would say that church friends, fellow Christians ,believers can, through their individual concerns and listening be an instrument of healing. But let me suggest another church activity and that is small groups. IF you are a member of a small group bet it Sunday School, ,bible study, outreach ministry to name a few, they can be the loving and concerned folks for you to turn to.

The second element of dealing with these life events is your grief. We could write several blogs about the elements of grief but for this discussion I want to focus on being able to grieve. So many people deny their grief and as I have already said this manifests in unhealthy behaviors. This is where I think small groups (as well as individual Christians) can play a part not only in expressing their grief but walking through it. I have had many instances where a person in grief found help and comfort talking about it with their group, or Christian friend.

Just last month I have had occasion to be supportive to 3 people who have lost loved ones. The first one was a 45 year old lady that lost her husband in an explosion. Her grief was profound. She of course was surrounded by good friends and family. I played a small part in helping her through the grief process. Another lady lost her husband of 15 years to COVID. His death was not totally unexpected as hi had not been in good health for a while. However she depended on him for everything. Her grief was as much for what was she going to do next as anything. The third was another older couple. He was not feeling well that they went to the hospital to check him out and he never recovered. She is a strong Christian and as she said her grief is tempered with the knowledge that he is with his Lord in heaven.

God want you to have life and have it abundantly, however we all suffer losses. You will never forget the incident, but He wants you to know that He walks with you through your grief. Amen

Shining our light in this world

September 4, 2021

As children of God, we can be assured that He has a purpose for each one of us. Discerning that purpose is a life long walk with Him. Not all of us are called to proclaim the Gospel in a distant land, or stand behind a pulpit and preach to an audience. But let us never underestimate the power of being a Godly example every day. A faithful life will be an effective sermon. We as Christians are being watched by the world-first they don’t believe that we have a Savior that gives us eternal life. Second, they really question our sincerity when we reach out to others They are observing how we respond to testing and trials that come our way.

I read this somewhere: “The flower lady was smiling , her wrinkled old face alive with joy. On impulse, I picked out a flower. “you look happy this morning” I said. “why not” she replied “everything is good. “She was dressed so shabbily and so frail that her response startled me. “you wear your troubles well” I remarked. She replied, “when Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, it was the worst day for the whole world. Then three days later Easter. So when I get troubles, I have learned to wait three days, somehow everything gets all right again” And she smiled a good-bye. Her words have followed me , whenever I think I have troubles –I wait three days”

Words are easy to say, but we exert our influence when our attitudes and actions demonstrate what we profess. Hebrews 6:10 says “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love” God takes notice when one of his children live an honest upright life and when they show genuine love for God and for his neighbor. 2 Timothy 2:21 says “a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meant for the masters use”

Remember these things:

1- Try to be a rainbow in somebody’s cloud

2-Don’t ever tale a fence down until you know why it was put up

3-Never ruin an apology with an excuse

4-Make a connection with another human being, even if it is just a touch, it can convey the love, compassion and grace of Jesus Christ.

We are here to make disciples but in doing that we are to shine our light in this sometimes dark world. May it be so for all of us ..Amen

Life Goes on

August 9, 2021

A few months ago, I related a story about a lady that I met when I was in Missouri. She is a columnist and in my estimation is an excellent writer and story teller. I had related that she lost her husband, and at that time I was comparing that to the loss of my wife and what we go through’

I just got another email from her with a recent column. It was so close to home for me and so much the way she opens herself when she writes, I wanted to pass it on.

Quote..

I am close to each one of my children even though they live in other states. I have been bossing these three around all the days of their lives. I have held them, rocked them and comforted them,. and lately I have been doing a lot more of that. My children thankfully have a very tight bond with each other and that has only gotten stronger in their adult years. But now, since my husbands passing, these collaborating, conspiring, conference calling children are all in my business.

Suddenly they are the boss of me. …. “Mom” my oldest daughter Hilary said “your hair is all bunched up in the back” “oh” I replied, my shoulder popping as I reach to smooth it down. ” I can’t see it anyway” “You know, even though you can’t see it everyone else can, please tell me it doesn’t look like that every day? Don’t you ever look at the back of your hair?” Hilary with a gasp a stricken look on her face , “What I can’t see, can’t bother me” I said, looking like I was teasing but meaning every word I said. “Mom, how hard is it to look at the back of your head and fix your hair?”

I didn’t tell her but someone used to do that for me.

My youngest daughter, Mariah, reminded me that I need to check the labels on food in my kitchen. “your eggs are three days past the expiration date, and I am afraid to open the milk carton. Mom, you need to pay attention! You have spices that need to be tossed and biscuits that are about to explode. ! There is a bag of cheese you don’t want to see and a jar of salsa that I wish I hadn’t! Mom, you have to eat this stuff before it goes bad” Mariah declared , throwing her hands in the air.

I didn’t tell her, but someone used to help me with that.

My eldest child Taylor, came for a visit and took a tour of the place. The grass is neatly mowed, but there are weeds where there never used to be. I have bare spots where the rain has washed the mulch away, and a colony of spiders living in my mailbox. I forgot to put the trash out and when I asked him to get my bicycle down from the bike rack in the garage, Taylor came back into the house and sighed. ” Mom, you sure you don’t want a new bicycle.? How old is that one? I can get you one with a side mirror and a horn and a basket to carry your cell phone in., maybe one with hand brakes or gears to make pedaling easier? Besides, your chain is loose and both of your tires are flat and they are old cracked and can’t be fixed. If you don’t want a new bike, at least you have to get new tires “

I didn’t tell him, but someone else was going to do that.

These children of mine seem to think that I am now the child. They make me call when I am out, and check in when I am in. They clarify my schedule, quiz me about my day, and need to know what I had for dinner. They inquire about my health, my sleep and what I watched on TV. They send me calendar invitations , remind me about appointments and provide unsolicited information about combing the back of my hair, cleaning out my cabinets or the features of a new bicycle with an extra wide seat………… They are all up in my business.

I know, and they do that I love them for taking care of me. They may worry that my hair is a mess, my cabinets are half empty and I have two flat tires.

I didn’t tell them, but I call it progress.

End of quote

I call it God walking with she and her family…Amen

Am I unique, am I valuable ?

July 3, 2021

In some of my readings, someone will ask Am I unique? Do I have real value?

Not only do you have a reason for your life on this planet, but you also are a very unique and and valuable person You are a precious individual , taylor made by the great designer. You are God’s special creation, made in his image. Knowing that, we are made in his image and thus share many of his characteristics provides a solid basis for our self worth.

Before you were formed in the womb, the bible tells us that God was already involved in the shaping of your life. Here is what scripture says: “you knit me together in my mothers womb; I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.. your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before anyone came to be”(Psalm 139: 13, 14,16). God made you who you are not some random evolutionary process. Think it through, there are billions of people on this planet, and you are the only one with your fingerprints and DNA structure. Furthermore , if the DNA strands from your body were stretched out in a line it would reach to the Sun and back 400 times!! You are a complex unique individual.

When Jesus Christ was on the earth over 2,000 years ago he prayed to His Father “let the world know that you sent me and loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23) The Son of God wants you to know that God the Father loves you just as he loved His own Son. That is amazing and makes you very very special.

Can you think well of others even though you know they were made by God as well, even in the light of what is going on in this world? Can you think well of yourself? Do you feel that you are special and wonderfully made? God thinks so. If you are doubting yourself , turn to the creature who will surround you with his love. For God loves his creation!

The God who created you expects you to live a life for a higher purpose. He wants you to glorify Him, and as a creation of God, we can do no less than walk in the light of Christ and spread that light into the world. Amen

Some practical things

June 2, 2021

I have come across things that my wife and I talked about, meditated on or put into practice. First we talked about how we talk to others and how comfortable we are with them will determine the level of our talk. Level of our talk means

THINGS- cars. houses, clothes etc. On this level, we can feel comfortable talking to most people we meet. EVENTS: weather, sports events calendars etc. We progress to this level rather easily. However in some cases the discussions never get beyond events.. IDEAS: as we get more comfortable with the person (maybe over time ) we are comfortable discussing ideas such as “I think we should” or “I have an idea” BELIEFS: getting to this level probably takes time with a person. As trust develops you may be comfortable with sharing your beliefs (religious, political, social) This exposes you most in dealing with people.

Next, we think it is important to review and note the defining moments of your life. This will give you a map of your growth. It will give you more appreciation of what God has done in your life. When I did this I grew in appreciation of all that I had done, good and bad. There are moments in your life that define who you are, where you succeeded and maybe where you failed.

At the risk of exposing myself and my vulnerability , here are some of my defining moments:

1- my father constantly telling me that I had no mechanical ability. Consequently I am not comfortable fixing things.

2-Sr. Yr High School- got kicked out for a week, for cutting class for the day(the only day that I cut in 4 years) My mother was both devastated and at the same time very angry.

3- The day I arrived in Manhattan for my freshman year at K-State on the train from California, in the station I saw a cowboy with his 10 gallon hat over his face and his booted legs sticking out. Then I looked at the clerk behind the counter, with his green eyeshade typing out Morse code. I was stunned. I almost thought of getting on another train heading west.

4-Enlisted in the Army Reserve. This started a time of growth in maturity and resolve. Gave me a sense of responsibility.

5-While at K-State I got a call from a girl from one of the sororities on campus, wondering why I had not asked her “sister” out on a second date. So I told the girl who called , lets get together and I will tell you why…that turned out to be my future wife.

6- Became a dad for the first time…. Overwhelming love

7-Met Marilyn at a convention-married her 6 months later- best decision I ever made. We were together for 38 years.

As you can see there are a lot of blanks to fill but this give you an idea of times in my life that were significant. I suggest that you take the time to do the same thing. It will make you appreciate where you are now and how God has guided you through life. …….Didn’t mean to get so personal but I hope I made the point, bless you all.. Amen

Building Community

May 10, 2021

One of the elements of our growth as Christians is our association with other folks striving to be better disciples. We associate with them to help bear each others burdens. We call it a community of Faith.

But do we have a handle on what real community is about.? Dr. Scott Peck who wrote such books as People of The Lie andThe road less traveled stated that although the early church was a model of community, today’s churches are harder to build community. Peck sees most of todays congregations as groups that are merely pretending to be communities. Why? Because communities require work and what he calls discomfort. He sees two main reasons for the church’s unwillingness to become real communities.

First of all building community requires work and time and few people are willing to give that much work and time to the church. Secondly church congregations are rarely willing to go through the pain of times when everything seems to be falling apart, yet such times are necessary. To achieve real community, these tensions and conflicts must be openly dealt with. Churches usually see conflict as something to be avoided.

But in real community people don’t feel they must constantly hide their real selves or stifle conflict. They feel free to speak of what really concerns them the most. According to Peck, another important part of developing real community is that it must have support from the top.

I can say that the church I now attend (as a lay person) is tackling all of this head on. The sermon series that we are now in is called “Decision, Stand, Walk”. The lead pastor begins the series by asking “Why Discern?” His focus is on the lies that are told in the community and in the outside world, We need to discern what is biblical truth. Then we stand on the truth of the bible and we speak those truths. Therefore we walk in His Light and we shine our light in this world.

These themes from the pulpit are carried on through all the teachings in Sunday School. So what we hear in Sunday School is what we heard in the message. But with this church (and I had never seen this structure) they have what they call “House churches”. Small groups that meet weekly in homes to discuss what has been preached and taught at church. I believe this the place where community comes full circle. If you have ever been in a small group it is a place and atmosphere where people who are fellow Christians and who love each other, can express their concerns and ask for help to be better followers of Christ.

As a pastor I have encouraged and led many small groups on various biblical subjects but there was not a cohesive message throughout the church. If this the situation in your church, I urge you to visit with your Ministry Team and develop this plan. As you can see, the church I attend is all in to 1) making disciples for Jesus Christ; 2) Helping Christians know what is biblical truth; 3) developing a biblical world view.

I thank God for bringing me to such a church. Amen

The resurrection and beyond

April 5, 2021

Last month I talked about the Lenten season beginning with Ash Wednesday. Lent was over the Saturday before Easter

Sunday. I am writing this after the Easter Celebration ..He is Risen..He is Risen indeed!

Our belief and faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis for our Christianity. Christ conquered

death for all believers. Perhaps we should define “believers” at this point. A believer is one who has given his or her life to Christ by asking for forgiveness of sins, acknowledging that the cross took them away and that they want Christ to come into their life. Oh, we have physical death, we don’t get out of this world alive, but then we live with the Lord for eternity.

This is not the forum to give detailed biblical descriptions but as a student of the bible, I can tell you that there will be a time when all mankind will be judged, and a time where it will be too late to be a believer. That time is called the Rapture and the Tribulation. At the Rapture all those who have died in Christ will be raised first then the believers who are still alive will be raised. All will meed God in the air.

The tribulation will occur on this earth and (again not detailing) there will be in for a time where God will send his wrath on this earth. At the end of the tribulation , this earth will be destroyed. God will then come down to a new earth and a new heaven to rule for 1,000 years and all those who were will Him in heaven will be with Him. There is so much more to fill in about the Rapture and the Tribulation , but this is a blog not a book!

I encourage you to study scriptures, find out more about what I have said and with that knowledge, if you have not done so , you can become a believer and live with the Lord forever.

I invite questions–I will try to answer or direct you to the biblical passages that fully explain what I have talked about today.Again, Happy Easter and may you be blessed this day. Amen

March 3, 2021

The traditions of Lent

In the tradition that I have been with (two different denominations) Ash Wednesday was always an important event. It is a reminder of our human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God. Ashes are administered by the priest or pastor on the forehead of the congregant in the form of a cross. This signifies both death and repentance.

It is also the start of Lent. This is a period of 40 days of prayer fasting and support of the church. Lent ends sundown on Holy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) It is a time of true denial by self control over some aspects of our life. An emphasis is on prayer, meditation and fasting during this period…there are actually 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday, but Sunday’s during Lent are not considered days for this discipline. This is also a time to cone to a realization of the Spiritual Gifts God has given us and to offer them to the Church.

The Sunday before Holy Week is Palm/Passion Sunday. IT is a time to recall through reading of scripture Jesus entry into Jerusalem the week before His crucifixion. It was my custom to also have the Passion story of Christ’s last days on earth. The significant times during Holy Week are Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday. It is called Maundy which is the Latin word for “command” and refers to Jesus’ command to his disciples to “love one another as I have loved you” This commemorates the Last Supper and Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples. We celebrate this meal at most churches either weekly or monthly as the Holy Communion or the Eucharist.

The next day Friday is called “Good Friday” This day marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is probably called good and may have been translated from Holy. Someone was asked about that and their answer was “how would you characterize the crucifixion” -answer is was good. Good because Christs death on the cross paid for our sins past, present and future.

Next time we will talk about the resurrection and the traditions of Easter. Thank you for reading this! Blessings to each of you this Lenten season.

where do I fit in God’s kingdom

February 8, 2021

We all think at times, what can I do for the Kingdom of God with my limited skills. I don’t seem to fit anywhere . We are told in Matthew to go make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19-20) First Corinthians says that “these three remain, Faith hope and love and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

So how can I follow Christ with the command to make disciples and to love all God’s children?

There are several things we can do to shine our light in this troubled world By loving people you can:

keep in touch with friends relatives and neighbors with phone calls email and Facebook;. Write a letter (a lost art but one that has a great impact to the recipient); Complement others. There is always something good to say to them; give people your time..what a gift to others..to take your time to spend with them; Point them to scripture. Share your belief that the bible is our guide and inspiration. I always start with the book of John; Fill a need . We should be more sensitive and aware of the needs of others and see if there is a way to fill that need; Be forgiving. A good example for non-believers and new believers is that God forgives us and that he will forgive you so you should forgive others; Set a good example. I love to tell the story of the new Christian in China. He had been baptized and started reading the bible. He was at his job one day when one of his fellow workers noticed that he was always in a good mood and had a smile on his face. He asked him what was different about him. The new Christian told him that God had come into his life.

What is the saying: “preach the Gospel and sometimes use words” If you are not like that Chinese man who said that God had come into his life, you can change that right now. Ask God to forgive you of your sins and turn from them. Ask Him to come into your life and guide you every day. If you sincerely prayed that prayer, you will now be part of Gods kingdom and the Holy Spirit that is send by God will be in you and with you.

May you be blessed in your walk with the Lord. Amen