It Just Hit The Spot!!

It Just Hit The Spot!!

My parents were pastor’s for over 40 yrs before my dad passed away and they use to tell a story that happened at one of the first churches they pastored, there was one particular member of the congregation who had such a generous heart of sharing and blessing them with food she would bring over something to them all the time, from baked goods to full meals. She was always blessing my parents with food that she had made. The only problem with this situation was that as sweet as this lady was she didn’t know how to cook. In fact my parents told stories of one time, she baked a cake without any sugar in it and as best they could tell, they think she used salt instead. 

 

Apparently, as the story goes,  I am told, at that point my parents had to decide to do something that would not only keep them and their intestines safe, but protect this ladies feelings as well. So they came up with a plan that would not offend the sweet lady.or kill them. They decided to name their trash can “Spot” and every time this sweet little lady would bring mom and dad something that they couldn’t eat, they just threw it in the trash can and told the sweet lady “It  Just Hit the Spot” the next time they saw her in to acknowledgement of their appreciation for her effort. 

 

So for years at our home you couldn’t say “That just hit the spot” around the dinner table, without everyone bursting into laughter. My parents did this to preserve the sweet little ladies feelings. Some might call this a little white lie, others would say it wasn’t because the trash can now had an affectionate name called the Spot! So whatever you deem it as, it really doesn’t matter because mom and dad have since gone on to meet God and I am pretty sure out of everything they did in life, that did not keep them from heaven. 

 

My parents served in many churches over their years of ministry many times we didn’t stay more than 3 or so years because it seemed every church my parents went to were one of those so called “difficult” churches,  especially in their later years of ministry. Mom and dad would go in to the church, take care of the problems that had been left behind and then move on to the next church. 

 

One particular church my parents pastored was a church where the previous pastor had an affair with one of the deacons wives and had spent so much of the churches money that the church could barely pay their bills. I am told that the treasurer of the church couldn’t even stay at home in the evening because local bill collectors would come knocking on his door for the churches bills.

 

This is the kind of dirt that often times the church doesn’t want to talk about. It is also the kind of dirt and problems that run people away from the church. For some reason the world looks at the church as a place that is for perfect people when Jesus told us in Mark chapter 2:17 

Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

 

For far too long the church has put on this front that we are better than the world. For years the church has had a list of don’ts that is far longer than their list of the do’s. We have looked down on people who aren’t like us instead of being like Jesus and sitting with sinners. 

 

The verse above in Mark 2 follows the story where Jesus is hanging out with well known sinners and the Pharisee or what we would call today,church people, are judging Him in their hearts and He calls them out on it and tells them, in a roundabout way, that I am and the church is for the sick not the healthy. Jesus himself said that He came for the lost. 

 

If the church today is going to be what God has called us to be, we need to realize that living a life for Christ isn’t about doing, doing this or doing that. It is about being! Being the only Jesus in many cases that people will see. Loving people like Jesus loved them. He loved them into His way of life, not criticizing or looking down on others because they weren’t just like Him. We as believers just need to accept the love that has so freely been given to us while we were still a mess and extend that grace to others while they are still in their mess. 

 

When we look down on people because they are different than us, we forget that God also told us in Matthew chapter 7 that the same way we judge others we will be judged. Now that doesn’t mean because we don’t sin like someone else that when judge them that makes it okay. No! It means that with the same severity that we judge others we will be judged. 

 

Rick Warren author of The Purpose Driven Life says “ “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

 

Christ didn’t compromise His convictions when He sat around and ate with sinners or hung out with prostitutes! So what makes us think we have too.

 

You know what my mom and dad did as they named the trash can “Spot”,  they were being a friend, they were being, instead of doing. They could have scorned this woman and told her they appreciated the effort but wasn’t really interested in her kind of cooking, they could have said they didn’t like her food and shunned her. But they just loved her and she didn’t walk away with her feelings being hurt, but she was made to feel loved and valued.

 

If my parents had done anything less, it could have wounded this person and she may never of darkened the door of a church again, Is one cake really worth that? Nothing! Absolutely Nothing! Is worth the loss of a soul. Because that one soul can affect generations of others who will not darken the door of the church, if we wound a tender soul. We as Christians can put such a sour taste in someones mouth, we can turn people away from God because we aren’t loving people like Jesus did and still does. 

 

It is God’s call to all of us to love. The bible says Jesus is Love and we are responsible to love everyone and show them Christ’s love. Will your life be that today? When we remember what we have been saved from, then it is a lot easier to love others who aren’t just like us, because one thing is certain. There but for the grace of God goes any of us! Let’s show the grace to others that we have been given by the almighty Creator of the Universe. Because He loves every single one of us and let’s never forget at the foot of the cross it is all level ground!  

 

Divine Command

Divine Command

“Deut 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

 

This scripture give us as parents a divine command to teach our children in the way they should live. In a world where parents are more concerned with being their kids friends and often spend more time at work or away from our kids. We are failing at this whole parenting thing.

 

This past weekend was Mother’s Day and my children held their traditional Mother’s Day card competition. Where they try to pick the most sentimental card that will make me cry. They find great pleasure in being the first one to make me cry. My oldest gave me a card that as I pulled it out of the envelope and began to read the first line, I totally choked and couldn’t get the words out loud. It said “I know times have been hard…” As I read the that line my mind flashed to all the hard times we have had in our life that he has lived through, many we tried to hide from him or we prayed he was just too little to remember. Our Homelessness, Joblessness, Lost of Loved Ones, Mean church Members. Through each one I pray our son has seen God’s love through us in all our mess.

 

Satan has one purpose and that is to destroy this nation, and if he can destroy the family he can destroy the church if can destroy the church, then he can destroy this nation.

 

I heard someone say this past week  “Christianity is just one generation from extinction”.  The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Will we be that generation?” Will we be the generation that fails to teach our children what God has done for us? Will it be on our watch,  that the next generation will lose the understanding and knowledge of God’s love?

 

As parents we have to realize we have a real responsibility greater than clothing and feeding our children, but it is our responsibility to bring them to the understanding of the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. If we fail to live that life everyday, if we fail to take them to church so they will know we weren’t made to do life, by ourselves. We are failing them.

 

We need to talk about God’s love, when we drive down the road in our car, we need to talk about the goodness of God at the mealtime with our kids, We need to not be scared to let are kids know, we are going through a tough time, and at the same time, show/tell them how much we are trusting in God to get us through. Then when he comes through, we need to rejoice in that as well with them.

 

The problem is we aren’t spending a lot of time with our kids, we have bought the lie that says, Quality is more important than Quantity. We must be intentional about spending time with our kids and living a life that is pleasing before God. So what if you have made mistakes don’t be afraid to tell them you did and don’t buy into the lie that says “ I can’t tell my kid they can’t do (fill in the blank) because I did it when I was their age and you know what, that is probably why you are partly missed up today. So you are the perfect one to tell you kids not to do that, especially if you have experience with it.

 

God may of had you walk that path because to protect your kid from walking through it but if you are too concerned with being a hypocrite instead of being concern your kid could die and go to hell.

 

With graduation weekend, many parents are taking a deep breath and thinking “Okay, we got them raised, Now we can move on with our lives.” But are we worried whether or not our kids are going to heaven or hell?


The bottom line is we have our priorities messed up, we are more concerned with our kids being on the track team or the volleyball team. Than in Sunday School on Sundays. Our kids can’t hide God’s word in their heart, if they aren’t being taught it. Psalms 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

 

Let’s make this summer a time when we prioritizes our children and their relationship with God. Maybe as a parent or grandparent we need to re-prioritize our relationship with God ourselves so we can lead the children God has placed in our lives according with what His word says.

Now ya know!

Now ya know!

It was probably about 22 years ago, that I started homeschooling our oldest son. When I started homeschooling him one problem I never expected was how frustrated he would get because he didn’t know what he had not been taught yet. Yes, you heard me right. Lee for some reason put so much pressure on himself that he got very upset when he didn’t know what he hadn’t been taught yet. I finally sat him down and said “Lee, this is school, you aren’t suppose to know what to do in your assignments before you are taught”. I had to remind him that was why he went to school was to learn. He didn’t need to come to class knowing everything before he got there.

You know that reminds me of some people, who think they need to know everything in the bible, before they come to church. Some think they need to clean up their life before they give their life to Christ and none of that is true. They are confused like our son. It’s what my daddy use to call “Getting the cart before the horse”.  You would never put a cart in front of the horse and tell him to pull it.

This week we celebrate the most Holy Week in the Church year. This week started off with remembering the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city we call it Palm Sunday, and through out the week we are encouraged to reflect on many things that happened the week before Christ gave His life for us. In fact in the Old Testament, that was written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, it contains over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled through His life, death and resurrection.

Mathematically speaking, the odds of anyone fulfilling this amount of prophecy are staggering. Mathematicians put it this way: 1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power 1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Only Jesus!

Isn’t it wonderful, you don’t need to know these facts and statistics before you come to Christ? In fact all a person needs to know is that, they are a sinner and that Christ died for those sins. But most of all I hope you know the Creator of the Universe loves you. I hope you see that love in people who claim to follow Him everyday. I pray you are shown the same grace by those people that was given to them.

See because that’s what Christ did for us as He hung on the cross. We were not deserving of His love and forgiveness. But yet the bible says, While we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. We were shown undeserved favor. Christ knew we would reject Him but yet He still gave His life for us. The bible says we are all sinners, (Romans 3:23)

Lee had to learn that I didn’t expect him to know everything before coming to class and I hope you know that the most important thing that Christ’s wants you to know is that He loves you. Just like I loved Lee, I wasn’t going to punish him for not knowing. In the same way God doesn’t punish us for not knowing everything in the bible before we come to Him. But what God does want is a relationship with you. He wants one so much He sent His only son to die for us. So we would be able to come directly to Him. His son died and rose again 3 days later so we can be with Him again one day.

Are you ready for that? Now that you know, are you assured that if you took your last breath today or if Christ came today you would be caught away with Him? I encourage you, to make sure. Make sure you have admitted to God that you are a sinner as the bible says. Believe on the Lord and His word says you will be saved. (Acts 16:31) Then find a church, (this Sunday is a great time to start) and get involved. The church is a place for you to grow in your relationship with Him, it gives you 2 opportunities. First to grow in your understanding of the bible which is His last letter to us. Second it should be a place where you know you can go, when you are not okay, because there are people there that will hold you up and encourage you.

The Bible also says “…… From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48 in essence it says  “Much known, Much required” and today you have read what God requires from you.

So now ya know!

And now that ya know, are you going to do something about it?  Because when you do, this Sunday is going to be more special to you than you ever thought it could be. Because the God we serve, is not dead. “For He Is Risen” Matt 28:6. Maybe you already know Him, if so then you also know, He as called you to go and tell others. (Matt 28:7, Mark 16:15, Luke 14:23, Matt 28:19-20 & Acts 1:7-8)  and since He said it so many times in His bible I am pretty sure He was serious about it.

My oldest soon learned how to learn and went on to get his Master’s Degree in Family and Marriage Therapy. He learned it so well, He became the student academic adviser for his college campus, I am talking the student over all the other student advisers, they gave him an office and everything. Why? because he learned it was okay not to know, but it wasn’t okay to stay there. He learned how to learn and then went on to helped others do the same.

So now that ya know, What are you going to do about it?

 

 

 

Getting to Heaven is no Popularity Contest!

Getting to Heaven is no Popularity Contest!

Nov 7th was election day. I questioned if there is even was an election because I couldn’t remember if I had seen anything anywhere around town about it.  I almost didn’t even go vote, but then saw a few of my friends post on Facebook they had voted.  I decided to do my duty as an American citizen and honor the right that I have to make a difference in my community.

As I entered the building I was greeted by the nice ladies there, it wasn’t busy at all and in fact, they looked a little bored. I showed my license and signed my name, was handed a ballot and proceeded to the voting box. As I looked over the ballot, I saw there was the nominees for Hospital Board, School Board, and City Council Members, elections

But what I didn’t see was many names that I recognized. I mean I have heard of a few but considering this was an election and typically people who want you to vote for them make it a point to go out of there way to make sure you know what they believe and what they will be standing for as they represent you.  I had no recollection of any of that. In fact, it hit me, as I stood there looking at the ballot, that I hadn’t seen a sign anywhere in town or any articles in the paper from candidates promising to do anything or standing for anything or for that matter even saying they were running.

Now I understand this is a small town and as I did further research I found that in most cases there was barely enough willing to serve the positions so I guess because of the lack of competition they didn’t feel they needed to campaign.

But all this got me thinking……. What if we lived our life, the way these people campaigned? I  guess what I am asking here is, what do people know about your life? Do they know you are a follower or Christ? I mean besides the fact they know you”go” to church? Is your life, and how you conduct your business, as well as how, you treat others an example of what God would do?

Because I am thinking that if we live our lives for Christ like these people campaigned for these positions we are in trouble. See, I couldn’t vote for most of these positions because I didn’t know the people running for them. Oh! I might have heard their name, I might have even met them once or twice but I didn’t know what these people stood for, what their hopes and dreams for this city were? In fact, to me, without that knowledge, it seemed more like a popularity contest instead of an actual election.

Of course, for some of those being elected, it didn’t matter if they had one vote or a hundred. there was no one running against them so they were a shoe-in. Well,  Let me tell you something, it isn’t about a popularity contest to get to heaven and there is no shoe-ins to get there.

The bible says that there is only one way to heaven.  John 14:6 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. That means, going to Heaven doesn’t just happen because your name is on the membership list at the church.  Salvation only comes from surrendering your life to Christ. Then once, we give our lives to Christ, God calls us as His disciples to 15 …….“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15 (NKJV) You don’t have to be a graduate of a seminary to preach. Your very life is a sermon the only question is. What is it saying?

Your very life is a sermon the only question is, What is it saying?

 

When we are silent about our faith in Christ, and our lives don’t reflex Him. Then we have missed the very opportunity that God created us for. All too often we just fail to even show up, to what God has called us to do and we miss the honor of serving Him. Our community needs more people that will get involved and serve the local positions here because I am sure there is plenty that complains, but most are unwilling to serve. But just like serving as an elected official, we have an obligation as followers of Christ,  but not to the audience of the some 770 people that live here in Greensburg. Our only audience is for one. Jesus Christ, the funny thing is, when we really live for Him, then everyone is gonna notice because that means you are different than the world. So the question is, is your life, a living campaign for Jesus? Because if people don’t know what you stand for you are probably need to reconsider who you are working for, Christ or yourself?  God expects us to “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matt 5:16 (ESV)

I wasn’t aware of what these candidates wanted to do for this community, but we all need to makes sure that those around us can see the love of Christ in us. Because it isn’t a popularity contest to get to heaven and there are no shoe-ins to get there either. We must show up and show out God’s love if we are true followers of Christ. Because that is the most important campaign we will ever participate in,  and we are all running in that election but, thankfully if we follow God’s word we all get elected!

 

 

 

 

AUCTION!

AUCTION!

auctionI love to go to auctions! Why? Because I can usually get some great deals there – like, a dresser for $5, a couch for $10, a box of miscellaneous items for $1! I love going! It is like being on a treasure hunt! So imagine my excitement when I heard the Christian College in the little town next to us was having an auction. I put the date on my calendar, made plans to attend, and, with all the excitement and buzz about it in the community, I just knew it was going to be a good one! I anticipated the deals I might find: the antiques and the donated craft items! Being new to the area, I had been told this was going to be the best one around. It was the talk of the whole community. People were coming in from all over the area; alumni were coming back in from out of town, just for this event. In this little community of about 700 people the anticipation was overwhelming!

When I walked into the gym where the auction was being held, the auctioneer had already started his spiel, “Who will give me a hundred? A hundred and a quarter?” And so on. I didn’t have to be there long before I realized this was no normal auction. There were not going to be any “great deals!” A piece of cheesecake went for $110.00; a quilt was being bid up in the thousands of dollars!

It was obvious that the people attending this auction did not come for a deal. NO, they came to spend! Why? Because they love this small town college and they want to see that it continues to operate. They are dedicated to its mission and are willing to do whatever it takes keep it going. That got me thinking . . . How dedicated are WE to the mission of God? Are we in it only for the “good deal” of getting into heaven? Is that the only reason we follow God?  Have we seriously considered what God has called us to do? Mark 16:15 says that God has called us to  . . .”Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” and Matthew 5:16 tells us to “Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Have we considered the sacrifice that it is going to take on our part to serve Christ? Because, let me tell you, there was no doubt that the people at this auction had considered the sacrifices! They were going to do whatever they needed to do; they were willing to give everything they had, because they love this college so much. None of these people drove up in Rolls-Royces or Ferrari’s. No, these were simple farmers, pastors, and everyday people who look just like you and me. Some even wore straw hats and overalls. They had obviously saved up since the last auction so they could come back and give, all over again!

I wonder: Are WE that willing to see the cause of Christ go forward? These people sure were! It made me evaluate my own life and dedication! I am certain that these people had sacrificed things they desired for themselves, in order to give to this college. It reminds me of the last moments before Christ was taken into custody, giving His life for ours. He asked His dad (GOD!) if there was any other way to do this and then, knowing there wasn’t, He laid down His life for us!  And now, we think if we have to give up our Starbucks coffee for a week, or do without a manicure, we think we are just about living on the edge of disaster.

When we seriously consider the amazing act of love that was shown to us through Christ Jesus – the sacrifice He made by giving His life – or just the sheer act of not striking us down dead some days for our own stupidity . . . ! But, you know, He loves us so much! We are valued, and uniquely designed, by the Creator of the universe. When we consider just how much love He has shown us, should we not desire to reciprocate that love back to Him?

I don’t know about you, but when someone shows me kindness, especially undeserved kindness, I am often overwhelmed by the blessing that has been given to me.

Today, I wonder if you will consider just how good God has been to you; if you will remember the price He paid for you to have eternal life, and just what that means to you in the realm of eternity. The Bible says He loved us BEFORE we loved Him (1 John 4:19). Just like these individuals were willing to give their all to insure that this college continues on, we have a Savior who was willing to give His all for us. How can we give Him any less?

You see, our relationship with Christ should never be looked at as a bargain, but as a priceless gift of which we are undeserving. It is then and only then, that we will realize just exactly how much we have been forgiven. And she, who has been forgiven much, loves much! (Luke 7:47)

Won’t you love today?