Monday, September 26, 2016

You can mess up God's plan for your life



I recently read a post that said, “If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this. You, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful.”

I wanted to write back and say, "You, my beautiful friend, are that powerful."

This sounds great but unless you are a staunch 5 point Calvinist, you can not say this is true. Yes, I wish it was and no I am not diminishing God’s redemptive power to turn “all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). However, for one example, it is God’s will that no one would be lost, but again Jesus clearly says that many will be. 

Why? 

God gave us free will.

And if going to hell isn’t ruining God’s plan for your life then what is?

Like I mentioned before, God has promised to work things together for good, but not all things that happen to us are God’s will. God didn’t want a nurse to murder my grandmother, but he did want me to forgive and teach others to do so also. God didn’t want me to get myself tied up in debt so that I can’t do or give like I would if I wasn’t in debt. However, God does want me to learn from this and again encourage and teach other who might be in the same place.


God knows the beginning from the end and in some mysterious way for him everything is already established, but for me here and now, I do have to power to mess things up, not to a point that life is irredeemable if given to Jesus and that can give us hope. The truth that God can and will work all things together for the good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. 

Turn your life over to God he can redeem it. 

If you don't then it is ruined even if you're called successful by everyone around you.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Hospice for Sinners



I was talking to a friend about what a church is supposed to be and he threw out the line that many of us in the church have heard, “The church isn’t a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.”

I understand that statement and mostly agree, but that is not what this post is about. This post is about something that came rolling out of my mouth that I did not expect. It was it was sad that Too many churches have gone from being a hospital for sinners to a hospice who give pain medication but doesn’t treat the sin in their lives.

The comment so struck me that I wrote it down. 

My friend commented, “That will be tweeted out later today.” 

It wasn’t I thought about it for a few days before I tweeted and made a few adjustments until I tweeted out: 

Too many churches have gone from being a hospital for sinners to a hospice that only medicates a sinner's guilt.” 

There are a lot of people out there who will criticize ministers who seem only to preach good news and positive messages but these messages are important for us as believers. The problem arises when the culture of a church goes from helping people find Christ and begin living a transformed life to a church where sin is downplayed and transformation is actually discouraged. 

There are churches who celebrate people staying in the same state as they have always been in. There is no call for a deeper walk or for becoming more like Christ. Most people will immediately think of the churches that no longer believe in sin and accept anyone as a Christian no matter their lifestyle. However, there are churches that preach against sin, or perhaps I should say certain sins, and ignore the ones going on in their midst. The inner city church that decries the wealth and indulgence of the suburb, yet ignores the sins that are trapping people in poverty. The church in the country that cries out against lazy people on welfare but tolerates gossip and selfish power plays.


These churches claim they are helping the sinners, but in truth, they are giving the people in the church the wrong medication. Their lack of looking inward causes them to feel healthy when they are actually dying. 

So what do you do?

As a pastor, my job is to allow the Spirit of God to reveal the needs of my congregation and preach to those concerns. No, not every message is or should be a chance to knock the people in line, but they should be relevant to where they live. The messages should not be directed at Washington, other churches, or the political parties. They need to be true to the people where they live.

If you're in church leadership, talk to your pastor or preaching staff and ask them. Why they preach the way they do.

If your just a member then pray. Don’t wait for the preacher to point out what you need to be dealing with in your life, ask God he knows exactly what is wrong in your life. You can also pray for your leadership. 

Finally, this post may seem to be pointing out at other people and in some way it is but it is also a reminder to me and to my church to help those who are in need where we are, don’t medicate the conscious of a sinner. Bring them to the place where God can transform them.  



Monday, September 12, 2016

Getting Knocked Down Is Proof You Were Standing!

Getting Knocked Down Is Proof You Were Standing!

Getting knocked down is just proof you were standing up in the first place. from Twitter by Jon Acuff

I could not help but laugh when I read this tweet from Jon Acuff. It is so obvious. If you are knocked down you had to be knocked down from somewhere. This being said there was a moment when you were standing up. (deep stuff here, right?)

I realize most of you are possibly wondering where I might be going here, but others may already see. Too often when we are down we feel like we have never done anything right. However, the fact that we were knocked down is PROOF that  we were at one point were standing and planning to move in the right direction. It means we haven’t always been down and hopeless. 

The fact that we were (maybe only in our minds) taking the first step to change our lives, to do what is right, or whatever it might have been says we can get there again. 

The question is do we have to courage to stand back up and try again. 

Solomon penned "For a righteous man(woman) may fall seven times And rise again."

Good people get knocked down all the time, yet they get back up. Maybe not always quickly, it may be a slow process, but they get back up. So can you.

Does it mean we aren’t scared? NO. 

Tough guy actor John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”


So let’s saddle up. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

#1 way to change your culture

The Number One Way to Change Your Culture

Steve Keating recently tweeted;
“The three most valuable brand names on earth Marlboro, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.” (Steve Keating ‏@LeadToday  Aug 27)
When I read these words it caused me the think what does this say about us. We are the people which give these brands their value. You might want to argue but in truth, none of these (cigarettes, soda, or beer) add any real value to our physical bodies and very little nutritional value. In truth, usually these thing only add trouble if not death. 

I remember hearing Dave Ramsey say on his radio program that the average American has too much debt, spends more than they make, and does not live on a budget and yet we are surprised when our elected officials do the same thing. 

The truth is when we look around at the problems in our culture, the root of most if not all of it is that we are the problem. We want other people to change but we don’t want to. 

Yet, if we examine the teaching of Christ and the Bible, we see that God calls for us to be transformed before we try and change others. We want the rich or the lazy or the bigot to change first. We think we are okay or at least better than others and if they (Liberal, Conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, or whoever you pick) do better then and only then will life become better. The truth is that if we want the world to change we have to take the steps we need to and let God worry about other people.

The longer I live the more I realize it's not someone else that has to make the changes, I have too. If you want to change the culture the number one thing you have to do is to change yourself. 

Now you might say, then why are you writing this if it's you that needs to change? 

My answer is when I write, I write first for God and myself. At the end of the day even if no one reads this it is important that I write it, for me. If writing, even if not perfectly, is one of my gifts then I have to use it. What you do about this isn’t my problem it’s yours. What I do about these words is my problem and I am reminded that if I want the world to change, I have to change. Culture is formed by the thoughts and actions of its people, so if I want it changed, I have to change. 


After all when all is said and done. I am the only person I can control.   

Friday, September 2, 2016

The #1 Troublemaker (or Who is to Blame?)

Who is to Blame?



"God’s wrath is seen not so much in what he does, but in what he allows to happen.” Ben Witherington III

When I read this it reminded me of the old warning, "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it." The reason for this warning is there are strings attached to anything we want and not all of them are good. 

Many people talk about God's wrath hitting people or countries and others, on the other hand, who make fun of any idea of God's wrath falling in the world today. The truth is, that for most people the problems they face are because God has allowed them to get exactly what they wanted.

The reason I bring this up is for most people the problems they face are a result of actions they have taken in the past. I have a weight problem and though my genetics and body type are against me, it is my eating that keeps me overweight. My reason for sharing this is because we all have things in our life that we perpetuate by our own actions and then we want to blame God or someone else when we face the consequences.

Another example, I have credit card debt (that I am paying off). No one put a gun to my head and forced me to get a credit card, let alone use it.

So who is to blame? The credit card company? Congress? Those rich bankers? 

NO!

It is my fault. God let me have what I wanted and now I am paying for it. 

It is like building a home on a flood plane and then blaming God or the government for the flood. I doubt you were forced to live there and the danger of living there is the flood. Other people have different issues, however, we need to realize who is the person responsible.

God can help all of us, but unless we admit to being the problem, he can't. 

Finally, even if what has a has happened is in no way your fault, and there are times when it isn't, we are still responsible for how we respond. That, however, is a different discussion for another day. 

REMEMBER: There are things that happen that are not because of our actions, but for most of us there is only ourselves to blame.