CUT IT, BURN IT, POUR IT OUT

DO IT

I had the opportunity today to be out and about in some of my favorite spots. I over heard a man say that there was something he would like but he was still negotiating with his wife about the purchase. Let’s admit it, some of us have to spend much time gently convincing our spouse that what we WANT is actually a NEED. It doesn’t always work. Not motorcycles however, those are prescribed for men by God. In any case, I heard the Lord very quickly let me know that I had the ability in the moment to meet this person’s want; so I did. Why?

Jesus doesn’t want my latte’

We are doing kind of an “anti-Lent” on the way to Easter here at our church. We aren’t Lent-haters, I promise. With a little bit of study, you can see that Lent is really an extra biblical church activity. I struggle with Lent a lot because I really don’t see how letting go of my coffee habit is going to somehow connect me to the sufferings of Jesus leading up to his crucifixion. I already cannot fathom his depth of pain and suffering, I don’t think he wants my latte’.

What we are doing instead is looking at four things that Jesus DID do all along his way to the cross. He invited people to follow him, he invited people to give, he invited people to serve, and he invited people to celebrate.

Lamb of GodSacrifice

This week is all about Giving, specifically, sacrifice. Do we ever sacrifice? In biblical days they knew what that meant. You grab a sheep, a goat, a jar of grain, some herbs or spices, maybe even a child or some other livestock and you bring it to the temple and leave it there in the hands of the priest. You gave it to God. It was cut up, burnt, poured out, cast outside, gone. That means you went without it. It cost something, and it hurt a little bit to do that.

Going without

The truth is, I used to think of sacrifice as giving, but not the other part, the going-without-because-you-gave-it-away part. Sacrifice means I don’t have something any more. So if I sacrifice money, then I cannot spend it. I don’t have it. A guy once said, “You can only spend money once.” What a genius. I say that because not everyone I know (certainly not me a while ago) believed that. Sacrifice means that you are going to do without something. In this case so that you can give it to God, or someone in need, or want.

Not just money

Sacrifice is not always just about money. You can sacrifice your pride, your time, your energy, your love, your dreams, your desires, your attitude, there are a lot of things you can sacrifice. When you do sacrifice them, you don’t get to use them again. Think about time. If I were to sacrifice my money, I could earn a little more to make up for it. But, if I sacrifice my time, I can never get it back. When I stop what I am doing and love on someone by spending time or working for them, I can never get that time back again. I let it go, I gave it away as an act of worship.

“PRODIGAL”

Sacrifice isn’t always only for desperate people. We are not called to only help or give to people who are destitute. Sometimes we need to be like God and remember that he described himself as lavish. The story of the “Prodigal” in the Bible is actually a story of a “Prodigal” father, not a prodigal son. The lavish, wanton, ridiculous love of the father that took the boy back was the focus of the message. I don’t know why people always focus on the boy, he isn’t the context of the metaphor. The sacrificial LOVE of the Father is the message, the point of why “who-so-ever-will” may come.

The life that Jesus came to give you and I, according to John 10:10 is described in the Greek word, “Perssisos”. Look it up.

 

What sacrifice do you bring to God this year at Easter? Who do you sacrifice for intentionally to love God?

 

Think about it.

Peace be with you

feet of JesusThe “Butt-inski”

As two of Jesus’ disciples walked along on that very first easter day, they were met by a traveler. A guy. A man headed in the same direction they were going. He walked along with them for  a while as they were headed to a town named Emmaus. This man walked up into a conversation they were having about Jesus himself. They were disturbed by some things that the ladies had said to them, and honestly, based upon this description of the conversation, I would say they appeared to have serious doubts.

He hears their doubts and challenges them

As the stranger interacts with them, they end up kind of incredulous that he appeared to be uninformed about the weekend events. In true hospitable fashion they take it upon themselves to inform him. So they tell him all about Jesus, what he did, the miracles, how he was arrested and killed, then buried. I’m sure they told him what Jesus meant to them personally. This guy, this stranger that walked with them, listened, interacted, asked questions and heard them. The stranger hears their doubts. He then challenges their doubts and unfolds the scriptures for them. When it is all said and done, He ends up at their supper, breaking bread with them, and it is only then that they realize Jesus has been walking with them all along. Immediately Jesus disappears.

Out of their element …

They were walking and lamenting the loss of their leader, their lord, their friend, and there was no way that they were going to believe he was right there. I have often asked myself why Mary at the tomb, and these guys here on the road, didn’t recognize Jesus? Then I remember all the times that I have been somewhere and someone comes up to me, or I go up to someone, and realize who they are.  Out of their normal element or relationship, I do not recognize them. Then it hits me, this is “Bill!”

I think that is exactly what is going on here. They saw Jesus buried, he cannot be here, so that doesn’t even enter their minds. I don’t know what a post burial, resurrected, but pre-ascension body looks like, but they certainly saw him when he broke the bread, when he was “In his element.” Handing out communion he was Jesus again, and Jesus alive!!

What about you?

I wonder how many times we miss God in our lives, miss Jesus doing a work, miss the Holy spirit because he belongs in Church on Sunday morning. Here we are going through our week, maybe we have a spouse and we are doing our daily thing, chasing kids, a quick kiss before we leave for work, maybe a fight and we are immediately in a tension. A flat tire and the day feels wrecked, or work is just piling up and we don’t feel appreciated, no one cares so we melt into the old pit of wallowing; no one likes me, no one notices, I’ll never get ahead. God where are you?

“… and I know that there are angels all around …”

It is at times like these that we miss seeing God in our lives. We end up so focused on our want, our need or our loss, or our problems, that we don’t lift our eyes up and look at who is walking around us. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Look!

The Kingdom of God is here. Jesus said it is near, it is coming and it is in you. Jesus is in the Kingdom, so Jesus IS here. The Holy Spirit is in the Kingdom, so the Holy Spirit IS here. Angels are in the kingdom, so angels ARE here. I want to encourage you to lift your chin and look around. God is here in your midst. In the middle of your daily struggle, in the middle of your need to make a decision, in the middle of your fight with your spouse. He is here at work. He is here in your doubt and despair.  He will never leave you alone, but we may be choosing not to believe he could be here.
Cry for nigeriaAs you travel on this road to your Emmaus, that stranger, that song, that group pf people, that church, that co-worker, God is using them to speak to you, to support you, to love you, but you have to open your eyes and believe. Stop what you are doing right now and ask God to open your eyes.

 

ARE YOU AN EFFECTIVE CHRISTIAN?

salt2I’m reading through Matthew. Whenever the voice of the enemy or the activity of the enemy starts escalating, I run to my commanding officers standing orders. Whenever Lucifer starts influencing the world I operate in, I turn to Jesus. What did HE say? What does HE expect? What is has asking of me? That’s what I need to know.

THIS MEANS WAR!

I believe as a result of reading Ezekiel 28 and Genesis 1-2, that I exist and have my life behind enemy lines; that every day I get up I need to be quiet, and spend time on the “Horn” with the home base. I need to stay in touch with God. He sees me down here and he has work for me to do. Now, I get that I need to be bold, and no one ever accused me of being too gentle. (God forgive me that is not always a positive, sometimes it is a sin.) But as I go about my calling, I recognize that the enemy is coming after me, just like he is coming after you. How’s your day going by the way?

WHAT GOD SAYS

So a lot is transpiring and not all good, but I would agree necessary. So I’m sitting in my office and I think the answer is to be with God. So, I turn to Matthew 5 and I begin to read.

POOR ISN’T ALWAYS MONEY

Blessed are the poor in spirit – for theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The economic poor, the spiritually poor, the relationally poor. The depressed, the anguished, the abused, raped, jobless, cast aside, the mean, the ugly, the loud, the hiding. The poor. The drained, the empty, the “don’t have anymore” kind of people. Blessed are those, Jesus is saying, who have come to the end of themselves. Enough of the lies, the belief you are more than you are, or that you have more than you have. You are wrecked. There is nothing. God here I am. A leper. A cripple. An Oil-less virgin, waiting, crying, now fallen asleep waiting for the bridegroom. The less than, the least of these, those mourning.

MOURNING CAN BE GOOD

Blessed are those who mourn – for they will be comforted. They are crying out, they want to be heard, they have no voice. They are beaten down and oppressed. They are those who are imprisoned; rightfully and wrongfully. Imprisoned in a skin color, imprisoned in a sexual orientation, imprisoned in racism, imprisoned in hate, imprisoned in the need to be a victim, to be important and stand on a stage, imprisoned in a besetting sin that will not go away, or be healed, or be satisfied; so they cry. They mourn inside, they are weak, they are scared and meek.

MEEK MEANS FREEDOM

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. They recognize their situation, they finally come to the end of themselves and they wait. They are waiting on God. They want to rise up on wings of eagles but they are willing to wait. They don’t chase their education and then wave it around like a flag. They don’t come in and pretend to be humble telling you all the while how humble they really are. They know their calling, more importantly their role, and they long to play it. They move forward seeking those that they can move forward. They don’t want things; they just care. As a result of caring, the world is at their feet. They aren’t easily offended and they aren’t easily robbed. They just love. Jesus showed us this character. In their obedience, they hunger for more of God.

HUNGRY MEANS VICTORY

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – for they shall be filled. Not gluttonous, not covetous, but hungry. They are not satisfied with the status quo, they believe things can be better. Not through hate and violence, but through hunger and meekness. They want a better marriage, so they serve more, give more and leave more: like Jesus did. They are hungry for a chance to serve the less fortunate, hungry for an opportunity to give to the needy. Their hunger is a godly hunger, not the perverted hunger of the prince of the power of the air. As a result, they just long to be filled: filled with the Spirit, filled with the presence, filled with the opportunity, and filled with love for the lost and the despised. They will be filled.

The list goes on and it goes through the merciful who will receive mercy, pure in heart who will see GOD himself in all that is around him, the peacemakers who shall be called sons of God (no gender intended from me), and then it lands on the persecuted.

WAIT, THIS ISN’T FUN

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness – for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They have already received the Kingdom. They are already citizens of the glorious home we long for.

IT GET’S REAL

You know all the other “blessed are’s” feel good, feel spiritual, feel like God is up there just caring for us all, watching over us. Feel like he is keeping us from all harm; and then there is this. Blessed are you when you are persecuted. When you read that word, don’t think of the professor that mocks you in class, the fellow students that make fun of you for being a “goody-goody.” No, this is persecution for doing what God called you to do. This is being harassed by the enemy to the point that things break, sickness is thrown at you, people show up to lie and deride you, even take credit for what you did. It is THE ENEMY!

We know the enemy is coming. Shoot, we started this with the understanding that he is here and we are in his territory at war. Of course he is going to get mean and nasty, and ugly; he is the father of lies. But you are blessed when he takes notice of you. Jesus says you are blessed when you are so involved in the kingdom they the enemy persecutes you and falsely says all kinds of evil against you because of Jesus, for your reward in heaven is great AND they (enemy) also persecuted those prophets who went before you. You are in good company.

BEGIN AGAIN ……

So, back to the top. When the enemy starts lying to me I run to Jesus, get on the horn with the home base. Today, I heard God, through a recent message I preached, remind me that it is “principalities and powers pushing people’s buttons to get at you.” See the goings on as the father of lies pushing people around to distract you from the calling, the mission, the vision! Then press on!

WHERE’S THE SALT?

The next statement is, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

ARE YOU BEING EFFECTIVE?

And in the margin of my Bible I had written a while ago, “Are you an effective Christian?” After all the “Blessed are’s”, and all the, “You shall receive’s” the question I am left with is, “Are you being an effective Christian?” And as I read that I have to say, not if I am whining and complaining. I cannot be effective if I am focused on people and things and comfort. I cannot receive the blessing and help if my goal is not the Kingdom of Heaven here and now!! If for just a moment the enemy makes me believe that it is people and ME, I am most vulnerable to attack and depression.

Are you an effective Christian? What’s your salt quotient and what are you doing about it?

Do you REVEL or do you REPRESENT?

HOW LONG WILL YOU FALTER?

“How long will you falter between two options?” This was a question that Elijah asked the children of Israel when he confronted King Ahab on Mt Carmel.

Mt CarmelAhab was listening to his wife Jezebel, not God. As a result Elijah invited Jezebel’s Priests of Baal and Asherah to a show down. God revealed himself very powerfully and the people repented and came back to God … for a season at least. But the question is always a relevant one, “How long will you falter between two options?”

Another way is to ask, “Which SIDE of the fence are you going to live on?” you cannot live ON the fence. Jesus said it this was, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other!” (Rev 3:15)

ELIJAH was the guy, AHAB not so much

Elijah was a guy that was going to chase after God, he was going to represent God and he was going to be God’s man.
Ahab wasn’t that guy; He is referred to as a guy that did more to provoke God than any other King before him. How do you get to the place where you are the King and God who put you there isn’t your God anymore?

The Frog in the Pot

I believe it is the proverbial pot with the frog in it. The water is cool, feels good, and you are happy swimming in circles. The fire is lit under the pot and you turn up the Blog_BoilingFrogheat ever so slowly. As the water warms up the frog really does not notice it. It’s comfortable, it feels good, it’s fun, it’s all in innocence and being happy. Then the frog is dead.
He has been successfully cooked and is ready to be eaten.

HALLOWEEN

I think the Christians exuberance over Halloween is getting to be like that frog. There is a place to understand that we are not all celebrating Satan, or worshipping Satan because we went trick or treating, any more than any one who buys someone a present from Thanksgiving to December 25th is automatically worshipping Jesus. That is hands down some of the dumbest theology I have ever heard. You do not accidentally worship something or someone; intent has to be there. That is not to say candy-corn-pumpkinsyou don’t open yourself up unknowingly, but the idea of worship actually carries an inherent intent of the heart. I’m more concerned with the slow turning up the heat and the intentional willingness to participate in the macabre, and yet still call ourselves followers of The Way, The Truth and The Life. A little fear was fun, a little more is needed to scare you as you get used to it, and then it just grows and grows and suddenly you’re in places that make you wonder, what would Jesus really say about all of this? What does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God and not get all caught up in the world? And when are Christians being ridiculous?

How Long will you …

Elijah was a guy that wanted to represent Heaven. Ahab was a guy that wanted to revel in the worship of Baal, Asherah and all of its immorality. As Christians, whom do you want to represent with your life and what is the best way to do that? I hear this question, “How long will you falter between two options?”

Haunted Houses

As we enter Halloween season, and people begin to anticipate trick or treating. The movie theaters line up their ghastliest movies, all demonic and “gorefest” infused. People begin to set up and advertise their haunted forests, and haunted houses, and Thriller2-500x323chaunted asylums, all trying to create an evil and scary atmosphere more “heart attack inducing” then their neighbor. Local cities are starting to traditionalize the Michael Jackson “Thriller”/ “Walking Dead” zombie walk. Our society is getting more interested and more interested in the occult and all it trappings.
And I have to ask, what is the Christians role to the community during these times?

Reflected in our churches?

This propensity to Halloween is reflected directly in our awareness of sin as well. The church “appears” to be lightening up on its willingness to call out sin. We want people to feel good about them selves so we smooth over the idea of preaching what might be mean, or hurtful, or even try to be more politically correct. When this happens we really have to stop and question our love for people. We don’t have to be mean, but we should decide if we are going to seek first his kingdom and righteousness or, if we are going to “have it all.” Are we going to live the truth and encourage people into a new life away from the world and the enemy? Is our walk going to equal our talk, or are we just going to get cooked like the frog in the pot?

This Halloween are we going to revel with the world or are we going to represent?

TRASH, they say your children are TRASH?

We live in a time where babies are not considered living beings until they actually come out of the womb and breath air. Even then some have been reported as having been “dispatched” after being born alive. Then the same government that allows for human children to be cut to pieces to be removed from their mothers womb, or, to be removed and reported as dead so that they can be harvested and sold for profit like a bad Frankenstein movie. Trash. The government wants you to believe they are nothing but yesterday’s trash to be taken to the curb so that Planned Parenthood can collect them and use them for profit. Truly we live in a disposable society when our babies can be seen as refuse. Then again, most of our lives are “instant” and going 100 miles an hour.

We Have Drive-Thru’s For That!!

We have a Drive-thru for food because we do not have time to cook meals and to some degree, we are losing the skills necessary to cook meals.Drive Thru
We have a drive through for coffee and donuts because we don’t have time for breakfast; we want to sleep more.

We have a Drive-thru to pick up our prescriptions because getting out of the car Drive thru pandemic screeningand walking into the store takes too much time. This is a “Drive-thru for Pandemic screening” because we can’t be bothered to get out of our cars to save our own lives.

Abortion and Planned Parenthood has become our “Drive-thru” for taking care of a bad decision to have a fun night. And before you jump mad and tell me they provide other services beside abortion, killing innocent children is not acceptable just because they provide services that are provided through other more reputable avenues. Get a grip if that is your argument.

TRASH

Trash is what is left over when we buy something that needs to be in an overly decorated package. A package that we might not buy without all the frilly, artsy, Fast foo dtrashpackage that makes us believe we “Need” it.

You open up your Big Mac and have to do something with the wrapper. The fries are great, they have a 15-minute lifespan, but then you have to throw way the little Fry-cup. Then you down your supersized drink that you didn’t need and you are left with trash: a waxed cup with a plastic lid. Now I’m not just picking on one restaurant, go to the grocery and you end up with groceries in plastic bags. Then everything you bought at the grocery is wrapped in a container that was designed to hold food for long periods of time.

It’s Still Here

So, when we eat, play, buy, sell, we create more and more trash that we just throw away without regard for it. We are creating so much trash that we just throw away, or put it to the curb without any thought about it at all. It goes somewhere. It goes to thedumps dump. The dump is a property that is set aside and managed by a company, but it soon is a mountain, very quickly it becomes a mountain. When I go to Columbus from Central Kentucky I see a dump like I am describing on the side of the highway. You can actually smell it before you ever get to it depending on the day. It is where the trash goes. Monitoring wells, trucks, bulldozers, earthmovers, EPA, all of this plays into us tossing our trash into the wastebasket: we have created a culture that has a disposable, throw away, mindset. If it is leftover or unwanted, it is trash.

Freedom from consequences, not choice

That very mindset is what allows our culture to apply this to children. We don’t want the responsibility. Let’s admit it, the Planned Parenthood’s admissions on the videos posted on Social Media, is the proof that they truly believe that our unborn children are trash: Disposable refuse, left over from a high-speed lifestyle lived because we have to do more faster. It is also because we do not want the consequences of our actions.

We want to discard our bad, unhealthy choices,Trash at the curb like fast-food trash. We do not want to “See” the consequences; we want to believe it isn’t ours to deal with. We want to believe that we are not accountable for the leftovers of our decisions. Just like the trash we put out on Thursday night, we want someone else to haul our bad choices away and dispose of them so we do not have to deal with them. Pretty soon we will be driving by the piles of consequences and it will stink and it will break our hearts and ruin the landscape of our lives.

Cash for Trash

We have an opportunity. We are raising support for the “Pregnancy Help Center of Richmond Kentucky” to purchase and set up an Ultrasound Clinic. When we started pushing this, they needed $13,000 more dollars; they are down to $8,000. So, we are signing up to clean the byways around Richmond: Barnesmill, Tatescreek and Ultrasoundothers. We will pick up the trash and turn it into cash for the Pregnancy Help Center. We will gather at the Vineyard at 9am on October 17th and go out for 3-4 hours depending upon the number of people. We can raise $2000 in that amount of time if we all work together. That will take the PHC need down to $6,000. We can have this paid for before Christmas of this year, I know we can. We can show the world that our children, unborn children, are not trash. God is in the business of turning broken lives that the world has marginalized into Children of the King. Through giving your time on October 17th, you can show the world that they can call these children trash, but we see them as viable, living, loving human beings: PEOPLE that deserve a chance to be something other than parts for the body mill called Planned Parenthood. People that deserve the same chance the parents aborting them had.

Do You Have an Hour or Two For Our Children?

If you can give an hour or two or three or even four on October 17th, join us and help us help our children and their parents. Let us know you will be there by calling 859 779 5615 and leaving your contact information. Then, when you have signed up, show up. Let’s not talk about it; let’s do something about it.

You can donate your self

You can also donate to this cause by following the link below:
http://www.phccares.org/#!operation-ultrasound/csop

Your Marriage doesn’t SUCK, but you might suck at marriage.

1967 Mercury Cougar, that’s HOT!

1967 CougarAs much as I talk about owning a Corvette, my real dream is a 67′ Cougar, 289 with a three speed. I believe the color is called “Cinnamon Toast with a chocolate vinyl top. My parents owned one when I was very small. I have since owned three 67′ Cougars in my life: 1 was an XR7, one had a 427 and a 4 speed, and one was the classic 289 with a three speed.

Just Rusting away

I noticed there is one over in Irvine, Ky on St Rt 89 North on the left, setting up in the weeds. As I pass it by occasionally I am reminded that, when we have something precious and just ignore it, don’t pay attention to it, or abandon it, the precious thing will decay; slowly at first and then it will escalate. That was a magnificent car at one time. It was cool, and fun, and probably exciting to drive.

If you ignore what you bought, you’ll hate what you got!

Marriage is a lot like that car. It is fun, and exciting, and cool, and we loved it when we began. Then time goes by, jobs change, maybe a couple kids come and you begin to neglect it a little. The paint fades and we begin to wonder, “What happened to the shine, the sparkle?” And the truth is not that the car stopped being the car, it’s that you stopped paying attention to it, you got too busy. Then the rust sets in and when you look at your marriage, you begin to see the faults rather then the shine. Soon, with no care, and disdain rising, it won’t run right, and it leaves you setting, leaves you completely broken down.

It’s the little things that keep it shiny

That’s what happens when you stop doing the little things in your marriage that value and support your partner. You know, when you were young, in love and enthralled with that Cougar, you didn’t see a one of its faults, and when people pointed them out, you quickly wrote them off by directing the conversation to the positives. You could expound for hours on how this was the greatest car in the world. Same is true with your spouse. You used to see all the good and CHOSE not to see the flaws. So let me ask a question, why not go back to that kind of relationship?

There are newer models out there

2015-Toyota-Supra-side-e1411579898600
Let’s be honest, there are some newer and faster cars out now. The 67′ Cougar pales in comparison to them; The toyote Supra (above), the R7 Audi, the 07′ Corvette (not being greedy), I’m not even looking at the “supercars” yet. But here’s a point, why compare mine to the new models? Why not instead invest in the Cougar and enjoy the ride?
When the Cougar came out it was amazing. It was only about $2500 dollars. I recently priced one in immaculate condition, low miles, shiny, you get it right, well cared for; $28,000.00! more than ten times the value of when it was first produced. Ten times!

Keep doing what you used to do

This is why I will always try to keep doing the things I did for my wife before we married. I’m not blind, there are “newer models” out there, (see how I threw in the double entendres?), and let’s not pretend they aren’t pretty hot. But the value of my marriage grows every time I invest a moment, a kiss, a date, a dusting of the living room, or make the bed, our bed. Every encouragement, every inspiration just shines
our marriage that much more, why stop? Oh, I get she doesn’t look exactly like the girl I married, but she at least respects herself enough to care for herself while I do as well. She sees my faults, my struggle, my sin, and she loves me and makes me feel new. She invests in the relationship in little ways that are important and at the same time, might seem insignificant. She values the marriage. I work to keep it running, I work at making sure it doesn’t let her down or leave her setting. I invest. I may have a flat tire one day, need an oil change, maybe even a new part, but I won’t let it decay from lack of attention.

Why am I writing this today?

I’m sitting in my favorite spot in Richmond, Ky, pondering my marriage. I opened my Bible and there is a note from my wife. It’s PG but the sentiment is beyond. It was a very simple thing to do, and yet a very powerful way to shine the “car.” I cried, I’m not
The little thingsafraid to admit it. It is the little, inexpensive, things that you do now that keep it running through all the “laters.”
So, what are you going to do today to maintain the joy, the lust-er, the longing, and the adventure in your marriage? If you don’t, you will come to hate it and you can blame whoever you want, but at the end of the day YOU stopped caring for it.

Do that one thing today that will value, or say “I love you,” to your spouse!

#changetheworldchangeyourownlife

They just can’t stand Jesus!!! Jesus’ teachings are not popular with them

As I launch into this, its not the heathen and the pagans that they aren’t popular with, it’s the western church.
As Christians we are not to follow the way of the people around us. The people around us have confused nationalism with Jesus, this is Idolatry for they have fashioned a god out of a culture of greed, comfort and entitlement.

Isaiah 8:11-13 (NIV)
11 This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:
12 “Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread.

Religious Conviction? Really?

I’m watching this whole Kim Davis thing unfold in front of the world on social media and it is sad to see what people think, or thought, was the issue. The bottom line is not the same sex marriages as is being reported, it is the fact that her name is attached to the certificates they will receive. According to her lawyer that’s the issue. She doesn’t seem to have any problem taking tax money from gay people and Muslims and any other people group she disagrees with to pay her salary. Technically the very homosexuals that she is “standing up against” pay her and she takes their money, I can’t make that make sense in light of her supposed “convictions.”

She isn’t being persecuted for her religious convictions. She went to jail for not doing her job, and before you say, “because of her religious convictions,” remember, as the clerk, she is taking those same people’s money for taxes, her salary et al. She signed up to be the clerk of everybody in the county: Everybody. If there is a problem with that, we should note that Jesus didn’t work for Rome.

She should have stepped down

Why do I think she should have stepped down? Well, because if she says this is religious persecution, then I believe we should look to the very words of Jesus himself. The words she claims to be making a stand on. This is a very novel idea for her and those supporting her, but I think it is worth it.

“When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.” Jesus said in Matthew 10:23.

So, let me get this straight, Jesus said when you are persecuted, LEAVE, yet the politicians say, fight. Which one is THE Word of the Lord? Which one is the command of the Lord? Then which one should we DO?

Jesus’ teaching is not popular

That’s not popular with Kim Davis, her pastor, or now Presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruze, who are all milking this for all it is worth. Why? Good question. The true gospel of Jesus Christ is not popular because it requires a separation of church and state. It ends the nationalization of Jesus by all western politicians, and any other nation on the planet. Jesus came and died for everybody.

The Jesus says in John 3:16 (written in red) that God loves the world, he is not mad. John 3:17 says that God didn’t send his Son to condemn the world but to save it. No, the gospel of Jesus is an invitation to come back home, not a hammer or sword to use to create a utopian, free, fair, society, that make everyone comfortable and rich.

God only loves wealthy people?

I actually heard a man that claims to be a Christian once say, that the fact that America is so wealthy is a sign that this is a godly nation, and God has his hand upon us over all the nations of the world. I wonder what that says to any other people or people groups in the world? If you have money, God loves you, but if you don’t that is evidence that God is hates you? So I guess the Christians on the African continent that are dying from drought and disease as well as war, God must hate them? And the children being sold in to sex slavery in micro Asia as well as other places around the world, God hates them. Evidently God just loves Americans, Oil barons, Wall Street successes and South American drug lords. If we chase this philosophy, (I won’t even dignify it by calling it theology) Bill Gates must be God’s man for all time and we should just have him preach at all of our churches? All this stands directly opposed to John 3:16-17. So who is right, this guy or Jesus?

They won’t hear it

No, it is the church that won’t hear the teachings of Jesus because, wait for it ……., his teachings are expensive, and they don’t make “common” sense, and above everything else, they are not FAIR! I feel like I heard something like that in the Bible, just a minute let me see. Oh, here it is

1 Corinthians 1:20-21 (NIV)
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

Let’s do another shall we?

1 Corinthians 3:18-20 (NIV)
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

It keeps going,

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Now, can it get any clearer? The devil doesn’t have to chase you down and go all “Hollywood exorcist” on you to get you to turn away from God, he just has to sell you to the world and it’s ways. He just has to detract you from actually believing all the words of Jesus are true. He just has to convince you that God wants YOU to have it all.

What are you DOING Christian?

Before you get all riled up because I’m not agreeing with you, let me ask you this, who did you invite to church last week? Did you tithe, give generously, or give at all when the offering was taken up on Sunday? Where do you DO the things Jesus told us to do? Have you done anything to feed the hungry this week? Clothe the naked? Visit the widows or orphans? Before you say they should get a job, work for themselves, or anything else, Jesus didn’t put any, not ANY, qualifying factors on those COMMANDS.

It’s personal with Jesus

Ladies and gentlemen we live in a world that wants it all “just and fair” and it won’t be. We are to struggle for it, but Jesus never went all national and political, he went personal. Personal.

He personally left Heaven
He personally came to Earth
He personally lived a life of compassion, mercy, love and truth.
He personally called individuals to follow him
He personally invited sinners to leave their life of sin (he didn’t force them to obey)
He personally submitted willingly to death
He personally preached to those who died in the days of Noah
He personally was raised from the dead
He personally commanded us to make personal disciples
And, he personally lives to intercede on your behalf.
It’s all very personal with God; it’s not national anymore, I do not have to become a Jew to be a follower of Christ.

I love being an American

I want to live in a free country. I want to live where I can be comfortable. I want the opportunity to vote my republican values. I want to earn my way. What I won’t do is use Jesus to white wash my desires, my convenience, my politics or anything else to get what I want. Jesus didn’t come to make me comfortable, he came to save me and call me away from the world. He called me to live like a stranger and alien on this planet.

I am called to serve the Kingdom of Heaven, who are you serving?

#changetheworld

I’m sick of doing NOTHING about Planned Parenthood!!!!

This morning I saw a post from someone that encouraged us all to do something, to make a difference. Have you ever actually decided to look for an opportunity to make a difference? I mean have you ever stopped your “so-very-important” busy life? I’m talking about right now stand on the brake and bring your day to a screeching halt! You ever done that so that you could intentionally, with great purpose, change the world?

MY ORDER MY WAY

latte artMy barista does that every time I show up at the coffee shop. He or she, depending upon the day, takes MY order, makes it the way I LIKE it. For the time that I am at the coffee sop I get to stop and these people help me to regain my mind so I can go out and hopefully make a difference.

LIKE A ROTTWEILER IN A CAT POUND

I was down in Orlando one time and I’m telling you!! Three lanes of traffic and the “elderly person” in the far left, high speed, “what-the-heck-are-you-doing-in-this-lane-lady?” lane, realized at the last second, that she was AT her exit!!! She slammed on the brake and completely stopped in order to let traffic stop, or thin out, or dissipate, so she could drive laterally across three lanes of traffic to that exit. I’m telling you all those tires sounded like a Rottweiler in a cat pound! Boomer and AvaThere was more squalling, bawling, and screeching then a Haunted house at Halloween full of middle school girls. In my mind, every one spilled their morning coffee in their laps. I can only imagine that even the most pious of drivers was inflicting this person with thoughts and descriptions, as well as questions, concerning the Underworld, and the legitimacy of someone’s birth.

That lady stopped, for all the wrong reasons she stopped. All the world, that was on that highway, at that moment, had no choice, they stopped with her! (you are making stopping and screeching noises in your head right now aren’t you, come on, admit it!!)

DON’T BELIEVE THE LIE

We often are sold into the lie that there is nothing we can do, or we are too busy, or it won’t matter. I want to assure you that it is a lie. Just like that lady in Orlando, if you do in fact choose to stop, I promise you that you will affect the lives of the people around you.

I felt the same way about the whole Planned Parenthood video debacle. Inside my heart I want to scathe, flay, and/ or eviscerate this organization. Not the people, that would be un-Christian: the organization and the activity, definitely. That desire coupled with social media can raise awareness, but sooner or later we have to actually DO something. I mean, stop complaining, stop shaking our fists at the computer screen, stop screaming for all in our cubicles to hear, and actually do something.

I had an epiphany a couple weeks ago. (when I was little I used to think an epiphany was like a symphony, some kind of orchestra thing) Sitting at my computer with my blood boiling, my sarcasm working it’s way up my throat, going back and forth with some of my own family even, I believe the Lord spoke to me, to my heart. He didn’t speak to me like he did to Charlton Heston in 1956 when he said, “Let my people go!” No, he simply spoke to me and asked me what I was going to DO about it. I did the usually dance; “There is nothing I can do but keep it in the forefront Lord.” He pushed me and pushed me. I ended up going down to the Pregnancy Help Center in Richmond Kentucky and talking to the Director there, her name is Heather and she has an excellent staff.

They are trying to open a clinic with an ultra sound machine so they can help care for pregnant, wed and unwed mothers. They are training parents together and separate on parenting, and the skills needed to raise a child. They provide care, material care, and support for these people. They are showing them the life giving, sparing, and life saving options that are available, other than to end the child’s life. They are making a difference.

clear-vue-350-clearvue-350-clearvue350So, they are making a difference, I want to make a difference, our church wants to make a difference. EPHIPHANY!! We could do something together, like get this clinic up and running. $13,000.00 is all they have left to raise for this project. One the one had, you stop and say, “Whoa, $13,000.00, that’s a ton of money. It would in fact buy a real nice car, I’m not gonna lie. And maybe you are saying, “I don’t have that much money to give.” I think it needs to happen, but we can all own it. I think that our community can get together across denominational, religious or societal lines and we can make this happen. Think about it, this is your chance to DO something instead of TALK ABOUT something. I’m talking about each of us in our community stretching ourselves for $25 each. (More if you can, but no pressure)

What if we all came together and knew that because we chose to stop and do something, lives were spared, lives were made whole and wholesome, families were cared for and loved on. What if you were to look at the picture and realize that your gift, regardless of size, helped get that tool into the hands of people on the front lines of saving little people’s lives. You CAN do THAT!!

GIVE A LITTLE BIT, GIVE A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR LOVE …

Go to this site, click on what ever sized gift you would like to give and then designate it to the “Operation Ultra Sound.”

https://connect.egiving.com/operation-ultrasound/madison-county-pregnancy-help-center-inc

Today, when you think there is nothing you can do, go ahead and stop what you aer doing, where you are going and make a difference. It may be something entirely different that this particular project. Maybe you just need to love on some one, pray for someone, encourage someone, buy a meal, a tank of gas, what ever.

If you will STOP, we can change the world. BE intentional!

#changetheworld

PATHS

PATHS

Dangerous path 2

Paths come in many forms. There is path of thought, a path of emotion, a path of friendship, there are even paths through the sky and paths through the ocean. I heard someone say something about a path to someone’s heart. I have walked many paths in my life, probably the single most fulfilling of them all is this path called “Pastor.”
Not all of my paths have been healthy, or wholesome. Early in my life I was on a dark path. This was a path that I inherited, the path of the world, a path of men.

GOOD PATH

When I was 17 I started on another path, a good path, a path of light. I didn’t do real well at first, but I walked nonetheless. As I walked the path seemed easier. I still stumble once in a while but I get back up and I get on with the walk. I like this path. This path led me to the path of Husband-hood, then to the path of fatherhood.

This path has drawn me along various opportunities. This path had me working for a major research and development firm, then for a big printing company, then for myself. Then I heard a voice. It was the voice that called me to the path I was walking upon. This voice called me to a new path that I am presently on.

I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of different things in my life. Things like, motorcycling, hunting, fishing, drawing, painting, leading people, caring for people, camping, and hiking. I have learned to drive a car, operate a tractor, ride horses, rope cattle and even train animals. I have had the pleasure of breaking horses via John Lyons, I trained a dog to work cattle, another one to pull my grandchildren around in a cart. I even had the joy for 30 years of training hawks and falcons to allow me to hunt as their partners.

The paths I have walked have had some wonderful views.

path to the oceanThe paths I have walked have had some wonderful views. From the ocean in Maine, to Washington State, from Key West, Florida to the L.A. Freeway at rush hour and all kinds of places in between; this path of life has had some incredible views. I have seen some of the castles in Germany and Spain, and played as a child in downtown Madrid.

The great thing about a path is that it is going somewhere. It leads to somewhere. Whether it is the path of life or the literal path that you are walking on in the woods, that path leads to something. Something you want to see right?

Amidst all this walking down the path, I am heading somewhere. I have never been there before, but that is the case with most of the paths I travel. This path is leading me closer to what I call home. It is metaphorically the path that leads me up the walk to my real home; what some call “Heaven.”

HEAVEN

I am looking forward to the view. I am looking forward to seeing some of the people that are there. I know some of them; others will be new friends once I get there. But more than anything, I know that God is there. I know that his son Jesus is there. I just know it. Seriously, I would not have walked this path I am on, through all that we have been through, if I did not believe this to be true with all of my heart and all of my soul.

This path has my family interacting in positive ways with other people. We walk together independently. We are involved in trying to help other people see a better life and begin a journey upon this same path.

This path is a path of peace, and a path of love. It is also a path of truth and this path cannot be deviated from, nor can it be changed to suit individual “need” or “want.” The path is established, all we do is walk it.

Dark Path ForestI walked a path once that took me into a deep dark cavern. It was up in Ohio and my friend and I wanted to go down into the cavern. It is a well known Cavern in southeast Ohio. We went down there and the young man leading us, stopped us on the path, and then turned out the lights. It was dark. No, I mean it was D.A.R.K. dark!

You could almost feel the dark. Now, we were still on the path, the right path, but we couldn’t see it. Why would you want to walk down a dark path that you can’t see? Eventually you will be off the path and just wandering aimlessly in the dark.

That describes a lot of people in our world. Not because they are wicked. No, because they can’t find purpose in money, cars, things, or relationship or the pleasures that this world has to offer.

No amount of sex, however wild, no amount of money, and no amount of power, and fame is going to help you be someone purpose on this planet. No, purpose comes from understanding where you came from, why you are here and where you are going when it is all over.

Micah 4:2b
“He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”

God spoke through the prophet Micah and shared the key to a real life with you and I: He will teach us, but we need to stay on his path. Do things his way. What does that mean to you today?
walkingWhat does that say about where you are, what path you are presently walking?
Are you tired of the dark?
Are you tired of stumbling yet?
God made you a promise; he would teach you if you let him, but you have to choose to get up on the path.

God is not mad at you, he loves you and he is a prayer away with his arms wide open. No concern for anything except you being free from the struggle and the sin.

AN INVITATION FROM GOD

Eagle Landing at Nest LRPP1

Psalm 36 (NIV)
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord.
1 I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
4 Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.

As we read this Psalm David speaks of evil persons in the world: “The Wicked” he calls them. They appear to be marked in this particular Psalm by a number of characteristics:

-There is no fear of God in their eyes.
-A narcissism that causes blandness to his own sin
-A filthy pattern of speech and lies
-A failure to act wisely or do good
-He is committed to an active sinful course
-Finally, he does not reject what is wrong.

Admit it, the world isn’t getting better

Let’s admit it, this world isn’t getting better. When you look at corporate greed, self-actualization, narcissism, violence, abuse, racism, sexism, this list can keep going for say, about a week? What humanity chooses to do to each other is very sad. The manner in which we can hurt one another and the reasons we have for doing so are heartbreaking. We haven’t even begun to describe what our humanity is doing to the Earth.

The “Wicked”

David initially describes the “wicked” as those who do not fear God. He is speaking of a very proud man. Notice it doesn’t say that there is no knowledge of God, nor does he say that the man doesn’t believe in God. What David says is that the man does not have a respect or honor for God. He very well may believe in him, the point is that he shakes his fist in the face of God. He will not bow down, or yield to God as ruler.

That is a tough place to be, but let’s not be too proud to admit that we may have been there ourselves a time or two. You may be reading this and find yourself mad, or shaking your fist in the face of God right now. Take a breath and ask him to be your God and then let him be your God.

Love is a great answer to the evil around you

David ends this part of the passage by describing the wicked as “not rejecting what is wrong.” David is saying he doesn’t do anything about the problems, the sin, in his life. It can also be understood that he is speaking of the fact that a wicked man doesn’t do anything about the evil and sin around him.

Love is a great answer to the evil around you. Love is the nemesis of the evil around you, the archenemy of all that is bad in the world. In an entertainment world ripe with superheroes, Jesus is my superhero of Love. Love is a verb; an action; a movement. It is what you DO not what you say.passion-of-the-christ-nail

David describes God love as unfailing. He can do that because God IS love. He is not loving, or lovely, rather he is love. Christ proved that when he went to die on the cross for you and my sins.

If love is an action that is taken on your behalf, then Calvary was the greatest. When someone who owed nothing died for people who owed everything, well, you get it.

Look at what David goes on to say in Psalm 36:

Psalm 36:7-9 (NIV)
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

David says we feast on the abundance of God’s house. I don’t know what you think of when you think about the abundance of God’s house, I think of abundantly abundant. For some reason my mind goes to leftovers, but that isn’t what it says, it says it is the abundance.

There is plenty of food iKings feastn my house. Sometimes we come in and there is enough food that we cannot decide what to eat. Other times there is food but not what we want. In both cases there is ample food. God has ABUNDANCE to feast upon. That word abundance is “midesen” and it refers to the “fatness” of God’s possession and provision.

Today I want you to focus on a God who himself, through the Prophet King David, Says you get to eat his abundance and drink from his RIVER OF DELIGHTS. Bring it on Tuesday, you are mine!!!