Posts Tagged With: faith

Fish Out!

Webster’s Dictionary defines the term “Fish Out” as: Depleting a body of water by overly fishing. As followers of Christ, Jesus instructed us to, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17-18). Yet, we look around today and there are many ponds, lakes, and oceans still overflowing with fish waiting to be caught. Is there a problem with our fishing gear, or is it that we’re simply not being shown how to fish correctly?

It is said that if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach him how to fish, you’ll feed him for a lifetime. The idea behind fishing is to know the fish you are looking for and attract them with bait that they’re unable to resist. As technology has advanced in the sport of fishing, shiny spinners and flashy bait that swims on their own have seemed to take the focus off the fact that a plain old worm on a hook with a weight and bobber still catches more fish. That’s the mindset today in the American church. More focus seems to be going into distracting light shows, pyrotechnics, and rock-concert stage antics, all in an effort to lead people to Christ. However, these churches are left with a troubling anomaly. Do they focus more on those they’re trying to reach or do they focus on those they’re trying to keep? This is the decision all churches are faced with; “Do we want to be fishers of men or just keepers of the aquarium?”

People today have been enticed by the trappings of this world. In truth, we spend more time looking at our iPhones, than focusing our eyes upon God. Why? Because we’ve become a culture with an incestuous need for entertainment and self-indulgence. With this, have come churches more concerned with catering to the personal preferences of the few, rather than pursuing the salvation of the many. More time seems to go into becoming the “Next Big Thing” in ministry, than our obligation to preaching the objective truth of God’s Word. The result, a room full of “Lukewarm Christians” looking for entertainment, while occupying the seats of people that really need to be sitting there and getting saved. You may be saying to yourself, “Why can’t the church have both types of people?” The truth is you actually can. By shifting the attention to the people the church wants to reach, the people you want to keep will end up staying; and then those believers that come and go like the ocean tide will find a church somewhere else to drift to and fro.

In the Bible, while Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee He came upon two men, Simon Peter and Andrew. These men were casting their nets into the water, for they were fisherman. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:17-18). While I realize the fishing that Simon Peter and Andrew were doing involved nets and not a pole and reel, let’s break that mold and talk about fishing in today’s terms. The basic idea behind fishing is simple. It’s knowing what bait attracts fish and then cast it out in hopes of fish taking the bait. Along with this comes learning the area in which to fish, the depth of the water, and what type of equipment is best to use. While these are the basic principles for catching fish, in the context of Christ’s word, how do we apply these principles to become fishers of men?

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles. –Doug Larson. Just as a fisherman carefully selects his equipment for his battle between fish and man, we too need to be choosey in the equipment we select to be fishers of men. It starts by being ready for the fishing excursion before we ever leave the house. Choosing to put on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) is one of the best ways to insure we have the proper equipment and are ready for whatever lies ahead. Particularly important are the Sword of the Spirit; which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), and the Shield of Faith; useful in deflecting the fiery arrows of demonic forces who don’t want men saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:16). Unless we equip ourselves with these two pieces of equipment, fishing for men’s souls will become virtually impossible.

Don’t tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish. –Mark Twain. While having the right equipment is important to our fishing excursion, we must also become aquatinted with the fish we’re trying to lure in. Unless we study and become knowledgeable about the people around us and their condition, we will never “reel in” these fish on our own; no matter how good of a fisherman you claim to be. Rather we will become fatigued from unsuccessful attempts. Because, “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Just like fish, he drives them farther into the depths where the light of the gospel becomes harder to penetrate. Yet, while the deeper Satan tries to drive them, our Heavenly Father already knows which “fish” are already His. Thus, He uses some of us as His best anglers to penetrate the darkness, and bring light to a forever-dimming world.

Never throw a long line when a short one will serve your purpose. –Richard Penn. While shiny spinners and flashy bait has seemed to become the desired choice of many anglers, we must never fall to modern day consumerism. For the plain old worm on a hook still catches more fish; and so does the only effective bait—the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel has the transforming power to change lives, deliver those from darkness into light, and triumph over every obstacle bringing us to eternal joy. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). It is the power by which no other message, no other “bait” can reel in the fish of God. The same message that Jesus spoke to Simon Peter and Andrew that is still spoken today; and the message of any successful angler fishing the waters for Christ. With heavenly authority, we cast out our nets while declaring, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Unfortunately today, the vast majority of churches aren’t willing to teach people how to fish. At times it appears that more concern goes into building the congregation (the fish), rather than building up its members (the fisherman). An atmosphere of no accountability or true church family exists. People begin to enjoy the freedom of being part of the crowd; yet don’t reap the benefits of being a member of the church. In the end, what is found is continuous turnover because while the church says they want to reach people, in reality they’re more focused on preservation rather than expansion.

Yet, even with the greatest knowledge of how to fish, many times we’re simply left scratching our heads because we don’t know where to begin fishing. But thankfully, we serve a God who does, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat,” He told them, “and you’ll find some.” So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish” (John 21:6). We must patiently wait on the Lord like we would when sitting on the shore waiting for those fish to bite. Have our lines ready to cast out, and He will guide our steps to the place where fish are frantically biting. Of course, there will be times where God leads us to fish in areas that may not seem acceptable to us. It is in these moments that we must make a decision. Are we going to follow Jesus like He told Simon Peter and Andrew, or are we going to go fish on our own and come up empty (John 21:3)? It’s your choice; will you become true fishers of men? Or be left telling one of those big fish stories about “The one that got away…”

In closing, when Jesus proclaimed, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” notice He made this statement in future tense. Like you, Jesus saw the potential in their lives before that potential was ever revealed. Many of us live in doubt of our true capabilities and talents provided by God. The fact is, even though you may doubt your abilities, Jesus has already equipped you (Acts 1:8). So grab your nets and head for the largest body of water you can possibly find. Place your faith in Jesus to show you where to fish and go for it! Don’t settle for catching a few little fish in a pond. Run to the oceans and keep casting your net, hand over fist, until you can proudly proclaim… Fish Out!

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Daily Living | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Taking Back America: One Chicken Sandwich at a Time…

On August 1, 2012, Christians and same-sex marriage opponents took the streets and made there way to the nearest Chick-fil-A restaurant. While going to a fast-food restaurant usually means that you are just simply hungry, this day was to become symbolic for the day Americans across the nation decided it was now time to start taking America back. Whether they waited in the drive-thru traffic jam or stood in snaking lines leading up to the counter, each person enthusiastically awaited their turn to show their support for a company not willing to cower to political correctness.

“Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” as it was dubbed, was the idea of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The concept was simple. Since the CEO of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy said in an interview that he was a firm backer of traditional marriage, gay rights activists condemned him and asked for their supporters to boycott the fast-food chain. To counter these boycotts, Huckabee wrote on his Facebook page, “Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.” The result, people flooded Chick-fil-A locations across the country and used their wallets to vote showing where they stood on the same-sex marriage debate; a move that Chick-fil-A representatives now claim to be their highest grossing sales day of all time.

In a day and age where it seems that social issues are now more valued than moralistic principles, the events of this day speaks volumes to where we really are as a country. From Internet media to print newspapers, polls have been construed in an effort to mislead the facts. Readers have been deceived by polls stating “65% of Americans support gay marriage,” or even more misleading are the onslaught of Hollywood media (television, movies, etc.) shoving the gay agenda down our throats. As they try to allude to, it seems like there is this big glass of “Gay Kool-Aid” being passed around and everyone is turning gay. But what are the facts? As GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) states on their own website, “The Williams Institute released new research this week, estimating that around three and a half percent of Americans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” Source: http://www.glaad.org/2011/04/08/ap-quotes-anti-gay-activist-in-lgbt-population-story. So through their own admission, GLADD affirms that only a little over 3% of Americans are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. But that’s not how the media tries to convey it… now is it?

So what’s my point? Before I continue, yes, there are many rabbit-holes that this topic can lead down. And let me also state that if you are gay, lesbian, or transgendered I love you as God calls me to. But, just like a murderer, thief, adulterer etc. I do not condone your sinning ways. And no matter how you want to twist scripture to try and condone your lifestyle, the Bible is infallible. God would never declare something specifically as an abomination to Him in one book, yet mislead you to believe that an unspecific scripture can be used to wipe out the other. And just as I would say to the aforementioned people, “Then neither do I condemn you,” as Jesus declared, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).

The reason I entitled this article, “Taking Back America: One Chicken Sandwich at a Time…” is because I think that many Americans have come to the point that they feel like the future of this country is bleak. But if you are reading this, I want to encourage you. In biblical history, there is a great story of hope. In the days of the prophet Jonah, a revival broke out when he began preaching in Nineveh. At first, the revival started small with only the people. When it was all said and done, the king himself was eventually affected and joined in. No matter where you are politically, electing a new president or passing a new law will not bring a sense of revival to our great nation. Revival needs to start with us, God’s people. And what occurred at Chick-fil-A restaurants all over America on August 1st was a wake up call to what it means to be real followers of Jesus Christ. And how America has the capability to harness a revival in these days ahead. Essentially, with just their delicious chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A has led the way for the next chapter to begin in America. Where we take back the values that we have slowly forgotten over the years.

But let’s not get confused. We can’t make a revival “just happen.” Revival is a work of the Holy Spirit; that’s God’s responsibility. That’s why Christ called us to, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). We are responsible for evangelism. And preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is our responsibility. Therefore in these days ahead, we should be praying for an awakening in our country where America turns back to God. Not the “God loves me no matter what I do” type of God that man has created, but the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the true God that we find in the pages of the Bible.The God that cared so much for us that He was willing to send His Son Jesus Christ to die a horrible death, and rise again from the dead three days later.

America… it’s not too late to turn back to the Lord! As evidence of the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” shows, Americans still care for the moral well being of this country. A country founded upon Christian values and the covering of a flag that proudly waves under the motto, “In God we trust.” It is time for a spiritual awakening, and this needs to continue to be our prayer. But we need to take action and be deliberate about the work that God has given to us to do. While we may not be able to make a revival happen, we can however light the fire of evangelism; igniting the flames in our lives, in our workplace, in our schools, and in our homes. We can start asking those door-opening questions and share the love of Christ; even with those that feel we are nothing but a bunch of bigots with an archaic mindset.

Many people where misled 4-years ago by slogans we heard like, “Yes We can” or “Change We Can Believe In.” But as time has proven, these have been nothing more than empty promises and an assault on the values that this great nation was founded upon. We as followers of Christ know that we serve “The” Commander and Chief, and His promises declare, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). So in the days ahead, let’s pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Begin to fervently pray for God to do a great work of revival in our great country. And take back this nation by turning away from the dishonoring spirit that America has adopted, and refocus our eyes upon the Lord. For with Him, we know that “Yes We Can” overcome, and He offers real “Change We Can Believe In.”

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: National Headlines | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s Never Said at a Funeral… But Christians are Thinking it

The passing of a loved one marks a very difficult time for those who are experiencing a loss of a beloved family member or friend. As a pastor, I have attended more than my share of funeral services. These vary from the most conservative Christian ceremonies, to the ceremony that God is never even mentioned. However, it seems that no matter what the setting, I’m assured to hear one statement being tossed around more than any other. You know the one, that infamous, “Well, at least they’re in a better place.” Brushing all political correctness aside, let’s be honest, if you’re a Christian who knows God’s Word you’re not really thinking that when someone makes that claim about an unbeliever. Let me paraphrase what most of us our actually thinking, “You’re loved one is eternally burning in a lake of fire, tormented day and night, with no escape.”

Now that statement may seem brash to some reading this. But the fact is, it’s the truth! The Bible states two very important facts about Hell. First, Hell is conscious torment. It is described as a “Furnace of fire…where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50). And its inhabitants, “Will be tormented with fire and brimstone” (Revelations 14:10). Second, Hell is not some temporary weekend stay at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons. The Bible says that Hell is eternal and irreversible. “The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night” (Revelation 14:11). “Anyone’s name not found written in the book of life, will be thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

Unfortunately, conventional wisdom has interceded and watered down biblical truth. Atheists and agnostics aside; the majority of people if asked today what happens when they die believes in the good person/bad person consequence. The belief that when you die, you will stand before God, and as long as you’ve done enough good things that outweigh the bad things, then you get into Heaven. Because only good people go to Heaven, and Heaven is for good people, right? On the flipside, the belief also asserts that if you’ve done enough bad things, which outweigh your good ones, then you will go to Hell, because Hell is only for bad people. Essentially the belief is: Heaven is for good people who get in by doing good things, while Hell is for bad people who have done too many bad things.

Almost everyone believes they are good person… but the real question you should be asking yourself is Am I good enough to get into heaven? How do you know? The Bible says that each one of us, “Will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Romans 14:10). If this philosophy is true, then by who’s standards are you measuring your eternity? God’s Law is the Ten Commandments. And even Mother Teresa herself said she was unable to keep them. So ask yourself this. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen… anything? What about that hot guy or girl you see at the gym… ever lusted over them? Then you assuredly have broken one of these; and these are only 3 of the 10 Commandments. Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Well compared to some people I’m a saint.” But the standard which we are measured against is God’s Law; not other people’s. Take for instance if you’ve sinned just once a day in your life. That’s 365 sins in one year. If you live to be 80, you will have broken God’s Law 29,200 times. And you will have to answer to God for each one of these sins you have committed. If breaking God’s law just once keeps you from going to Heaven, do you think that being a good person is going to help you now?

I once knew a friend who was raised in a Christian home. And all though brought up well, rebelled against God for most of his life. Often I would try and have a serious discussion about life or it’s meaning, and whether he understood God and His plans for our afterlife. To this I was always met with him saying, “I don’t want to talk about it.” One day God impressed upon my heart that I needed to go minister to him again. So I went to see him and said, “I want to talk to you about the meaning of life and what happens after we die.” Once again I got, “I don’t want to talk about it.” This time I said, “No today, we are going to talk about it.” And we finally got to really talk about life and God’s plan for us. As a result, He committed his life to the Lord. It was only a month later that He was unexpectedly killed in a tragic car accident. I am so glad that while the conversation was not an easy one, I didn’t take “no” for an answer that day.

A funeral is a time when man comes face to face with their own mortality… and morality. While you may think you are doing the right thing by stating politically correct words of condolence; you are actually doing them an eternal disservice. I’m not saying that we need to confront people at their weakest moments with in your face comments like; “Sorry to tell you, but Johnny is burning in Hell.” To be honest, once a person is gone, the Bible does not say that those left behind can pray their loved ones back into Heaven. But we should be using it as a time to aid those who still have a chance.

The Bible is clear, everyone will exist eternally either in Heaven or Hell (Matthew 25:46, John 5:28). And each one of us will become responsible for which one of those places we eventually wind up in. Still think that if you’re a “good person” you’ll just squeak by into heaven? This way of thinking is completely inconsistent with what the Bible teaches. On the contrary, the Bible tells us that Hell has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41); it was never prepared for bad people at all. Likewise, Heaven is the dwelling place of the Godly. When you stand before God and He makes the decision if you get into Heaven or are cast down into Hell, His deepest concern is not whether you were good or bad. The pressing question on God’s mind will be, “Did you believe in My Son Jesus Christ?

The assurance that we will go to Heaven because we are a “good person” is not as our culture often tries to convey. Our assurance lies within the pages of the Bible and what God teaches; not man. It a Son question—not a Sin question. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Good News is that it is never too late. Even if you have lived a sinfully wicked life up to this point, all you need to do is call out to the Lord Jesus Christ in genuine repentance, and you will be assured a place in Heaven.However, if you are still living in a cloud of disbelief that you are relatively a “good person” who lives morally and does good deeds, yet have never put your faith in Jesus Christ, then you will not go to Heaven. Oh and by the way, there is no measurement of good works that would ever outweigh your bad works in God’s eyes. I’m so thankful that’s not what we’ll all eventually be judged by.

Maybe you’re sitting here reading this saying to yourself, “I’ll get right with God one day.” Well, what happens if you’re like my friend I spoke of earlier and are killed in a tragic car accident on your way to work? The Bible says, “Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Are you really willing to put your eternal salvation into the hands of a day that has not yet been promised?

Make the commitment right now! Now with all your heart, turn away from your sin, and surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Please don’t put it off. You may die today and then it will be too late. Put your faith and trust in Him today. God doesn’t want you to go to Hell. And neither do you want to go there; so confess your sins to God right now, put your trust in Jesus to save you, and you will pass from death to life. When your day comes, won’t you be glad that you know you are going to Heaven; rather than hoping you’ve done enough good deeds?

In closing, I know that death is a topic that many try to avoid; likewise, the reality about a person’s salvation. And it’s even harder when it’s a family member. Maybe you don’t know how to lead someone to Christ; or don’t know what to do yourself. Look, it’s not some big spectacle at a church where it needs to take place. Your eternal security can be changed, right here… right now as you read this. And it begins by praying something like this to God:

“Dear God, today I turn away from all of my sins (name them). This day I put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He is the only way for me to be saved. He is ‘The way, the truth, and the life.’ Please forgive me, change my heart, and grant me Your gift of everlasting life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

If you’ve taken the time to say this prayer I would like to congratulate you for making the commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Your obedience to God is proof of your love for His Son. From here you should go out and find a good church to help you grow. Don’t wait for an invite; iIf you have questions, call a local church and ask to speak to a pastor. The decision you have just made is not taken lightly, and it comes with eternal rewards. As the Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). For now when that day comes and people are speaking about you at your funeral, and someone says, “Well, at least they’re in a better place;” you have the knowledge of knowing… you really are.

If you’ve made the decision to commit your life to Christ or have questions, please use the contact me form at http://pastordodd.com/about/contact-me/ to reach out and let me know.

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

They Can Never Escape Your Prayers

If you’ve taken the time to read my testimony, you already know that my coming to know Christ was not a road I would wish anyone to travel. Having grown up in the textbook definition of a “bible banging” Christian home, you might think that my future had already been mapped out for me. I mean come on, my grandmother was a church leader and my grandfather eventually built the church we would one day call our home church. The Gospel was force-fed through and through. Even though it seems like so long ago, I can still remember sitting with my grandmother at her dining room table when I was 8-years old. That was the day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.

As years past, my walk with Christ seemed unshakeable. But suddenly, just after turning 10, my life would change; something so horrific was about to unknowingly rule most of my adult life. It was the summer of 1980, and a good friend named Ritchie had invited me to a church summer camp. I felt great, I was making lots of friends and everything was going good until my second night there. As I lay fast asleep in the bottom bunk of my bed, I was startled to find my Christian pastor standing over me. Then that’s when it happened. I don’t really recall that many details; but I know he touched me in a way that no child should ever be touched. To this day I remember his obscene jokes as he whispered them into my ears. That night, he took my innocence; and forever changed my outlook on someone in his position of trust. Now that’s a lot for a 10-year old boy to deal with. I’m not sure if I was suppressing it or just trying to forget. But one thing I knew, my God had let me down and I didn’t want anything to do with Him or the church ever again.

For a number of years following the incident, I kept this deep dark secret suppressed. On the outside my life seemed the same; but on the inside, the more I was around the Christian faith the more I felt like a hypocrite. Without knowledge of what had transpired, my devout grandmother would constantly pray with my brother and I. She would often sit us down on her bed and try her best to reach our hearts with words that, honestly, fell on deaf ears. This proved to be a tremendous test of her faith. Again and again, I routinely nodded in outward agreement while staring out the window, all the while wishing it would end. I learned that if I wanted to get it over quickly, it was best not to disagree or raise opposition, or the prolonged torture would never cease.

This went on until I left for military service just after turning 18. The distance apart made it much easier to have no accountability for not attending church. Not to mention escaping the constant interrogation from my grandmother; which always ended with that oh so familiar question, “When are you going to get back in church?” As time passed, the questions came fewer and far between. Then one day, it dawned on me; my grandmother had quit her onslaught of lectures. I was like, “Finally!” What a relief; no more lengthy discussions, no more feelings of convictions. “Whew!” I had escaped her persistent pleading! What I didn’t realize at the time was that while I had escaped her pleading with me, I hadn’t escaped her pleading with God.

28-years had passed since that fateful day. Many mistakes and regrets had occurred a long the way. I went from blaming God for what I thought He allowed to happen to me, to thanking Him for what He used to perfect me though. After I gave God control of my life and was reborn, I couldn’t wait to call my grandmother; the same grandmother who sat at a small kitchen table with me as I gave my life to Christ 28-years prior. When I told her of the Good-News she began to cry. She told me that God had finally answered her prayers. I was shocked to find out that my grandparents had never stopped praying for me. My grandmother revealed how she had determined to quit talking and instead begin to diligently pray that I would return to our Father and be saved. She and my grandfather prayed for God to bring me back to Him for over twenty-years. What a testament of perseverance; twenty-years went by and they never gave up on me. Why? Because they knew of the redeeming power that God provides to us all. What I came to learn from this ordeal was that it wasn’t God to blame for what happened to me as a small child; it was Satan. For Satan knew that if he did not try and separate me from my Savior, I too would become a force to be reckoned with for building God’s Kingdom. My life had become a testament to the verse, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). And this is why my catch phrase is “Building His Kingdom one soul at a time…” It only takes a small stone to make a ripple in a large pond. We all have past issues that seem disheartening. Whether it is abuse, drugs, crime, whatever; always live your life with one thought in mind. “Do not allow your past to become a crutch… Use it as a ladder to elevate your future!”

I share this with you today and pray that it may serve as encouragement to all you parents and grandparents who have children that seem to have no interest and at times may even seem hostile to your faith. I know on the surface things may look hopeless. And you may even begin to question if God is even listening to your prayers. But let me assure you, I would not be the man I am today had my grandparents stopped praying for this once lost child. So let me challenge you, who may be weary and are having feelings of despair, don’t give up! Though it may seem like there is no hope in sight, and you may feel like God is not at work, know that He is—in ways you can’t always see. Most of us have spent our lives trying to take care of things our way, but when we accept Christ as our Savior, we must learn to trust our lives to His care and in His timing. When we seek to do so, we can say with the psalmist, … “I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands…” (Psalm 31:14-15). It is in these moments that we will come to know with all certainty that our prayers will be answered according to the will of God.

I pray that through my testimony it will inspire you to not lose heart in your situation with regards to your children. I pray you will keep seeking, keep knocking, and keep asking! “Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). It is when we put our trust in God for their salvation, and feel comfort that all is done in God’s timing that we will see God move in our situation. And remember, your children may be able to escape your preaching, but they can never escape your prayers.

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Marriage and Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do People Know You’re a Christian?

What do Tim Tebow, Kirk Cameron, and Amy Grant have in common? What about Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, and Charlie Sheen? The answer… all of these people claim to be followers of Christ. I’m pretty sure the first three people came as no surprise since they have all been outspoken about their Christian faith. However, the last three people probably caught most of you off-guard since it seems like we hear more about the scandals and controversies they are involved in rather than how they strive to live a spirit-filled life.

In my circle of friends, often when a celebrity dies we find ourselves asking, “Were they a Christian?” In fact, just a few months ago with Dick Clark’s passing I personally found myself Googling his information. As I sat there reading Dick’s biography (the answer is yes by the way), I was taken back that I actually had to look it up. What I came to realize is this. If how we live our lives is not evidence enough about our walk with Christ, what does this say about us who call ourselves Christians?

The Bible is pretty clear on this subject. Being a Christian is not about blending in with the crowd or striving for the trappings of this world. On the contrary, the Bible tells us that although we have to live in the world, being a Christ follower, “Is not of the world” (John 15:19). For we are called to live set apart lives, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1 Peter 1:15). Unfortunately today, there are many people that claim to be a Christian, yet it’s hard to find any distinction between them or the other unbeliever on the street; they simply blend in with the rest of the crowd. I believe this is the primary reason that so many people scoff at Christianity today. If we are called to be “set apart,” then why are we more concerned with blending in with the crowd?

If we truly believe what Paul tells us in Ephesians, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works” (Ephesians 2:8-9), then why are we not accomplishing the good works that God prepared in advance for us to do? As true Christ followers, we should not be worried about obtaining that new car or the great new promotion our neighbor just received. Do you actually believe that gets God’s attention? No! What gets God’s attention is being such a witness for Jesus Christ that people stop and take notice. Not because we’re standing on a street corner wearing a neon sign while yelling, “Jesus loves you!” but because we actually “walk the walk.” We not only say we’re Christians, but we live what we preach and preach what we live. All of this adds up to a life-style that is distinctly different from that of our non-believing secular neighbor’s. As I close let me leave you with this thought. If you have friends or co-workers that would be shocked to find out that you are a Christian, maybe its time you quit putting on a fake look. Think about it, isn’t there a problem when people only know you’re a Christian based upon what you post on Facebook?

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

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