Posts

How Committed Are You

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Commitment is hard.

Just look at statistics on marriage and jobs. You'll find that in America, at least, we are increasingly a culture that does not like to commit. Co-habitation is on the rise while marriage is in decline. People frequently have two or three careers in the course of their lifetime.

Our faith, though, requires great commitment. It means sticking with it in good times and in bad. A committed believe does not walk way when things get messy. They don't look around to see where else they can go.

In Philippians 2:12-18, Paul talks about working out our salvation with fear and trembling. What he means here is that our faith requires hard work if we're going to keep it for the long haul. Faith in Christ requires a commitment to see things through, even if we don't like what is going on.

A committed believe is committed to their faith and to their church. They plug into a local body, serve the body, tithe to the body, and seek to grow the kingdom of Jesus thr…

A Holy Flashlight

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You ever step on a LEGO? Man, those things hurt.

I have a house with kids. We have toys all over the place and sometimes they don't get completely picked up. Since I'm the last one to go to bed, I have to turn out all the lights and make my way to the bedroom in the dark. I, inevitably, will step on a toy, usually a small, painful one like a LEGO.

Boy, does it hurt. I will grab my foot, hop on one leg to the couch or chair, and quickly make sure I have punctured a major artery. I'm embellishing a bit, but you get the point. Those small little toys can become large stumbling blocks in the dark.

So, I use my flashlight to illuminate the path. More accurately, I turn my phone into a flashlight to navigate in the dark. It casts light onto the floor so I can see where I'm walking. It helps me to avoid the tiny, but painful, toys in my path that can make me fall, stumble, and be distracted by the pain.

In Psalm 119:105-112, the Psalmist writes about that. He calls God's…

Don't Let Fear Stop You

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What is Alpha?

That's a very good question that I cannot give a very good answer to. Alpha is a program which teaches spiritual truths, but does so through a video series and small group interactions. It's not your traditional Bible study. It is more organic in the conversations it starts.

And, initially, it was something I was afraid of.

You see, as people, we are reluctant to try new things. We can be very set in our ways. We like our schedules, our tastes, our pace of life and our ways of doing things. A church is made up of people, so you can only magnify that reluctance. Churches tend to be places based on traditions and by-laws and the way it has always been done. In some ways, churches fear change because it is different and to some people, different is bad.

So when I first had the opportunity to start Alpha at our church, I was hesitant. I feared it failing. I feared this new way of teaching. I feared bad theology. I feared the ramifications if this thing went off the…

This Child Was Uncontrollable Until This Happened

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You clicked on the story, didn't you?

Well, I have to be honest. I made up that headline with the intention of you clicking on the story. It's a tactic often used in what is known as "click bait." These are stories with ambiguous headlines like the one above that are designed to pique your curiosity enough to get you to click on the story. Once there, the author or the site gets money from ad revenue based upon their visitor numbers.

It's a scheme, and we all fall for it. We just can't resist clicking on the story to see what it is all about. Usually, it's nothing, but you click and read and they get revenue. So the cycle continues.

Sometimes it is even worse than that. People will literally make up false stories to sway your opinion about someone or something. Usually it is politically motivated. It happens on both the left and the right.

It's the phenomena we know as "fake news." With the advent of social media, fake news has exploded. Al…

Entitlement

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Jesus is entitled.

Do you realize that? Of all the talk in our culture about entitlements and people who feel entitled to things they didn't achieve, Jesus Christ actually is entitled. And he deserves it.

You see, God is entitled because he's God. He made the universe. He is the embodiment of goodness. He is perfect. He is all powerful and all knowing and ever present. By being God, he is entitled to our worship, devotion, adoration, and obedience.

In a sense, that's what the Ten Commandments were about. They ratified God's covenant with Israel, but also stipulated that Israel was to only worship God, to obey his commands, and be completely devoted to him. Then, he went out to describe the proper ways to do that.

God is entitled. Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus is entitled to those things as well.

And yet, despite that, Jesus did not take those entitlements while on earth. Paul writes in Philippians 2:5-11, that Jesus did not take advantage of his divinity on earth. He…

Staying Strong on the Inside

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I have no desire to be a caretaker pastor.

If you don't know what a caretaker pastor is, then let me explain. It's a term for a pastor who simply takes care of the people in the church and does not worry about being innovative, evangelistic, or doing anything that might rock the boat. Caretaker pastors generally keep the people in the church happy rather than trying to make strides to grow the church in a significant way.

Generally, this term is applied to older pastors near retirement. They see the end in sight and so they concentrate on keeping things quiet in the church. No conflict means a smooth ride out of the church and into retirement. I've seen it too many times.

Often it means that the church is slowly dying. The pastor, rather than rescue the church, is content with keeping members happy. Happiness and peace often means more than growth and evangelistic efforts.

I get it. Churches all over America are dying. More will close this week. It's easy to fall into…