Seek God With Joy!

So today I have begun video taping my thoughts as well. However, for some bonus content please read on. As the video began to discuss 1 Cor. 2:9 about chasing God with Joy. We should seek God like a kid seeks candy or a trip to Chuck E Cheeses or like one on Christmas Day. There should be nothing in our lives which impede our walk with Christ, if so it’s now an idol. Many people look around and thing idols as a physical thing which people often worship, but it’s much more than that it’s anything of the world which impedes your discipleship. I know for a little bit there even on this blog I was letting politics get in my way of my relationship with God which is why I no longer post political content unless necessary. One of my goals for this blog is to make it an arrow and arrow pointing straight to God.

20170422_072701Were all presented a path to walk in our lives. Our spiritual walk will lead us many places. God leads us down many roads, twist, and turns. We are present with choices and are given the choice between flowing with traffic and going with the will of God, or turning the other way. When we drive into traffic at best were going to make the people around us uneasy and get honked at, but if we continue to move in that direction then the result will likely be our demise. We don’t have the ability to keep our eyes off the prize. Think of an Olympic athlete who has trained for years and years. Their goal is the gold. While they are happy with being at the Olympics very few of them will say I don’t want to medal. It’s silly to think that. A gold medal is the peak of achievement for an Olympian. We can not get stuck in the mentality of “I’m happy to just be here.” If we have that mentality with God we miss out on so much around us. God’s blessing do not stop because we have become content with our situation. We need to seek as much of God as He will give to us. We need to have the mentality of Michael Phelps who continued to go back for more and more. We have to be hungry to win with God. When it comes to God we need to say I want gold and I want more. The Holy Spirit operates by invitation our spirits are like a car in the sense we need to come back and be refilled every couple of miles. We need to continue to see more and more of God.

If you like the video please comment and let me know. Peace and Blessings Always my Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

 

 

What is Love?

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13

love-valentines-day-791xAbove is bar none my favorite Bible verse, and most of you know it, but it’s just so simple, truthful, and powerful.  Paul is writing to the Corinthian church, and teaching them about love, love as we all know is the most important thing we can do in our existence. The most important commandment God has given us is the love the Lord God with all our hearts, minds, and soul. The second is the love our neighbors as ourselves. We are nothing without love as Paul teaches us. Love is so beautiful, we love, we want to be loved, and love makes the world go round. There is something about love that gets the best of all of us. We all love a good love story. Many of our best movies revolve around love. While may people look to the verse about loving our spouses, it’s not just limited to this. This is a blanket verse which covers all of our love. You do not have to be married to love, and love should be shown to all we encounter. Love is something we should show even to our worst enemy because this is what our Lord has commanded us to do. We can look at the verse and get all warm and fuzzy inside, but unless we put this feeling the practice we become many of the negative which Paul list. We like to live in this bubble because in this bubble we are safe, we have shelter, and inside our bubble all is well. Who doesn’t like bubbles either, but the issues as any three-year-old can tell you is they pop. I hate to pop your bubble here, but we are the body and our hands can not reach inside of a bubble. Being in this bubble prevents us from being the hands of the Body that reach out because we fear to pop the bubble afraid of the reality outside of it.

The Apostle Paul provides the textbook definition on how love should look. I teach Sunday school and have the pre-schoolers and it is such an amazing thing to see is how curious and hungry for knowledge theses children are. We need to seek God with a childlike wonder. I see them and they are there reliant on the things I do. One of their favorite things obviously is snack time, its one of the few times they are all in agreement on what they want to do. As soon as the church crackers come out their little feet patter to the mat and they all sit anxiously waiting for these crackers which most of us would overlook in our adult years. However, love is just that the cracker for our soul. It’s simple, its basic, and makes us full. Our souls need nourishing. We can seek for things which we think may be better, but nothing is better than love. Nothing is better than meeting the needs we have. Ok, I will concede there are much better foods than crackers, but that’s not the point of this analogy.  What makes it such a good analogy though is that often we struggle to accept love. Many of us today make it hard for others to love us, and in this sense, we do not want this cracker which we need to love. We reject it thinking either we don’t deserve the love. So instead of seeking love, we seek things of the flesh and we fall.

Let’ts look at this a little closer, If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. Paul gets to the point we can speak as much as we want, but our words have no meaning without love. Part of this in my view is that we can say we love someone, but in order to show love takes commitment, time, and effort. Love is not something to be taken lightly. Love is about respect, honor, and commitment. I know in my marriage it starts with respect. We need to respect each other, our boundaries, and each other’s needs. Marriage is so powerful because it shapes us to love. Marriage is a powerful tool of commitment. I know I wrote about it a little bit ago, but to draw back on this. We can say we love our spouse, but it’s not enough to say we love them. Show them your love, respect, and care this is not something that cost money, but time. Dr. Gary Chapman writes about our love languages and one of the things that are important is knowing your spouses so you know how to love them. Not every person is a gifted person, not everyone responds to how you want to show love. The key to loving someone is to love them how they want to be loved. Your relationships should be a constant quest to learn about them.

 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. Sometimes we give far too much value into what we know. We can be sharp as a tack in terms of knowledge, but if we do not know how to put it into action. Like that tack it only has so many uses, it can hold up a paper, make a hole, and some of the stronger ones maybe hold up a slightly larger item. However, we put too much weight on that tack gravity pulls it down. We can believe we are in the right all we want.  Anyone who has been married, and again I use marriage because this is something I know a lot about, knows that marriage is not about being right. If you argue about who’s right eventually the topic veers away from the original issue, skeletons come out, and it’s just a nightmare. Every marriage, occasionally mine as well, ends up in a war of wits, but it leads nowhere. It takes strength to have the wisdom to fight your battles wisely. Now before I go too far down this road, this is not exactly what Paul is saying here, but its more or less a road which eventually intersects it.
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. It’s interesting how many people try to minimize Christianity as a body of “do-gooders” regulated by a set of standards. They try to make Christianity merely a body of rules to hold people in check. I feel here Paul shoots this down in one sentence. We can do all the good in the world and behave well, but what do we gain a firm pat on the back. When we do not do things out of love or for a purpose nothing is gained. Likewise, let’s look at the woman who gave it all, which seemed like a small amount, but it was all she had. She did so out of love. Doing good is the right thing, but love is stronger. Love is not something that you do it’s given.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

This is really the meat and potatoes of this verse. This exemplifies love and how we should conduct ourselves. Love is patient and in life, we need a lot of it. Love is kind and it seems so self-explanatory but in the grind of the day, we can tend fo forget it. Anyone in a marriage or at least a stable one can tell you pride gets you nowhere. It’s a fork which the devil puts in between you and love. Everyone want to be right but sometimes you have to put yourself aside. Jesus tells us to put ourselves aside. Pride is such a powerful sin, and it allows us to feel better than what we are. When my wife and I were preparing to get married we went through counseling as a pre-check to getting married in our church. We were wisely told that all couples fight, but if you do you need to fight fair. One of those aspects is that you leave the past in the past. It’s not ammunition we all mistakes. Any sort of conflict you may have had for the day ends at goodnight. Love never fails, but people sometimes do, and when we love we can overcome and persevere.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I could go on about this verse all day, but I want to get to the conclusion of this verse because it says it all. Love is so important. Love trumps everything, nothing is greater than love. Jesus tells us this time and time again. You want to know how to check an authentic Biblical text analyze first does this lead me to love, if the answer is no then it’s likely a fake. Now don’t get me wrong not every verse does so but each book of the Bible does. The NIV which is my favorite translation list the word LOVE 551 times, yes, it’s that important. Like your teachers taught you in the first grade if I repeat it’s important. I think 551 times passes this importance test. The greatest thing we can do is love the Lord with all our hearts, and the second is love thy neighbor as thyself. I think a lot of us forget this once in a while. Stop kidding yourself and love more, love better, love all the time. Peace and blessings to you all my brothers and sisters in Christ.

One With the Lord

But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.

— 1 Corinthians 6:17

ca7f0bc21feb3a7fe97a14c1ecaccd25We look at 1 Corinthians 6:17 today which speaks a simple truth, the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. I look at this verse and think about how nice that must be, for us to be one with the Lord, it seems peaceful and wonderful. When we are with the Lord as Romans would teach us and He is with us then who can be against us. Nothing can stop us if God is with us. There is nothing on this Earth which will ever compare to the greatness of out God. To be joined is defined as become linked or connected to. As a sailor I can thing about one common link. I can tell you those little links play such an important role. No ship is without it’s anchor a ship with it’s anchor is a ship which can perform it’s task when called upon no matter the situation. Anchorage is not always for convince, but often comes out of necessity. An anchor can be the difference between running aground or colliding with another vessel and getting home safely. Thousands of chain links work as a unit to keep the ship and the anchor connected. We are like that anchor, without our ship (God) we serve no purpose. If we do not seek him our chain does not bind us, but essentially ceases to exist. Without God we are useless to a point, yeah we look cool as a decoration on someones lawn or in front of a building, but were not doing what we were designed to do. Like an anchor serves it’s ship and seeks to be a part of the body, we are destined to serve the Lord. A ship must do maintenance on the anchor and the chain to ensure that they stay linked. We must do the same, we must maintain strong faith, but do good works. It’s simply not enough to say I am an anchor, but act as a helm. We are not in charge of our course, we must hold strong and serve our Lord to the purpose He has put us here for. Without that link we could be at risk of severing that link and sinking to the bottom.

I Choose Jesus

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

-Colossians 3:17

blogpic.jpg.png.jpgIn a time where there is so much cluster in our lives we more than ever need to choose Jesus, because we have to wonder how many times we have chosen the word of man over the word of God. Many of the non-believers in this world have chose to judge the church over the word of man, but do not take the time to see is this what Jesus is about. I am here to tell you there is not a single soul on this planet who is a direct representation of Jesus. No human, place, organization, nor religion will ever measure up to the greatness of our God! We are all imperfect rather than looking at each others flaws love the perfection of God, and love the imperfect beings around you. We must attend weekly services to make ourselves better. The facility we all know as church is not “the Church” and we need to realized the place we choose to gather on Sunday or whatever day we chose to attend service is merely a facility to our need to gather as Christians. We need to surround our selves with like minded individuals who will challenge out minds and out thoughts so that we can one day draw closer to who the real God is. We have a journey in life, and that journey is a relationship with Christ. We must honor him in all we do.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

-1 Corinthians 12:27

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

-1 John 2:6

I find it interesting how today so few people know who the real Jesus is, and I my self can not say I truly know who He is. It’s been thousands of years since he walked this Earth, and its so hard to say who he truly was, a lot of people can try to speak for Jesus, but all we know is this Jesus was fully man, fully human, He was perfect, He is Love, and He died for us. Those things right there should be a tremendous hope for us, but so many “Christians” today do not live as if he existed. I write about it all the time, we must live as Christians, walk as Christians, votes as Christians, and beg for forgiveness when we fail. We have to be the living example of Christ. We all have different strengths and that’s how God made us. We are all part of the body, a hand is no good without an arm, a mouth is no good without a tongue or the teeth. We all have a role and we must honor Him with that role. We have to live as Jesus did so that others may see the light He can have on all of our lives.

“The truth is, God doesn’t just want your ‘Christian’ things. He wants it all. When we realize the beauty of God’s grace in the mundane, not just the religious, that’s when we will begin to see him correctly.”                                                                                                                     -Jefferson Bethke

 

 

 

 

 

Be Objective its Called Christianity not Capitalism

I watch ablogpic.jpg lot of TV, and it’s not really uncommon now a days for people to do this. Who knew we were so plugged in. I flip through the channels and I occasionally like to watch church programming on TV, and by church programing I am talking about Creflo Dollar and other televangelist. There are many who mean well, but others know so much. I am not a huge fan of theirs, but our faith is not measured by the people you can attract to a building. I want to look more so to see where their values are lying. They have such a burden on their shoulders and they entrusted with millions of people’s faith, but one has to wonder are they giving the gospel justice? I mean they are wealthy preachers standing on the pulpit in lavishing suits, fancy rings, and flying in private jets, none of which Jesus owned. However, I don’t want to make this post about this matter, I want to get to the root of the problem here, is their message wholesome? Are they giving the gospel justice or are they simply becoming Cristo-Capitalist?

Before we go too far into this, this is not a post that here to call our televangelist, nor am I telling you to not follow some of them, but I do ask you to think about it before doing so, but you should do this when listening to anyone talking about our God. When you stand on the pulpit and speak about God you can simply chose not to preach about one thing because it’s more appealing. Jesus is not a take some and leave the rest. Ministry is not about making friends its about making Christians, and believers. Ministry is not about money, it’s about providing endless values. Now I know many of you are thinking in the back of your mind, and I hope you are thinking this, pastors are just normal people. They indeed are normal people with an extraordinary calling. However, many of these televangelist settle for an ordinary watered down version of Christianity. Wherever their heart may lie, I am not here to judge, but I am looking simply at the message they send to their congregation.

Book after book fly on the shelf, and they are feel good books by these men, Christianity should be feel good, but when I read many of theses televangelist books I don’t get a sense of fear of God that we need. I will hand it to Billy Graham, who does this. Billy Graham is the great evangelist for a reason, because he was pure to the gospel. Every story can not be felt good, and have a good ending. If you think life is going to be all sunshines and daisy’s you’re in for a world of hurt. There is a heaven and there is a hell, God deeply wants you in heaven, not the other way. There are bad things in this world, and if you think God is going to give you everything under the sun your deeply confused. We need to preach about them.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

-2 Peter 1:3

Peter speaks about this, God gives us what we need. God gives us life for a knowledge of Him. So if you’re praying for that new Lexus, you might want to simply set the bar lower, and pray for a vehicle that simply works and can get you you work. God will not give us everything because we do not need everything. I hear about explosive blessings and other wonderful word, but I am not in church for a motivational speech. While some of these televangelist message’s have value, understand their view is not always the best.

There are televangelists in it for all the wrong reasons, and even if their message is not saying I love money, their actions do. One of the biggest frauds in my opinion is Creflo Dollar, are his sermons moving? They can be, but the words coming from his mouth, and his actions tell two different stories. Sometimes, his words tell on him. In 2015, Creflo Dollar started a fundraiser to provide himself a private jet. A private jet folks, no one need a private jet, Jesus walked everywhere. Jesus would not require a private jet today. Mr. Dollar is a riot to me because his name is not even Creflo Dollar, he was born Michael Smith. I mean, come on!

It’s time for people to wake up and stop being stupid! Excuse me for being so blunt, but some of these bozo’s own million dollar homes, there is nothing biblical about this. If they are making so much money, why not build homeless shelters. Is it going to kill you to live in a $200,000 home? I’ve seen some pretty nice $200,000 homes. “Ministers” such as Creflo Dollar drive Rolls Royce cars, this message he sends to his congregation is one of idolatry. Mr. Dollar if you love God you would take that $65 million your asking for and build a homeless shelter, more outreach ministries, simply donate that money to a worthy cause. Find ways to feed starving children, it does not matter, but if you are in the Gospel then money does not matter.

“Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

–Matthew 19-24

Many of these people do not go to seminary and they are ordained on their own authority or human authority. They are never challenged and are out there putting their own twist on the Gospel. I am currently saying this from a lay opinion, in the process of becoming ordained. However, every pastor needs to go to seminary because it separates the misconceptions. It challenges them, and it makes them better. It forces them to thirst for the Gospel.

These men and women bring millions of people to their church, but we are the church. The church is not a building it’s a group of people to honor the word of God. WE ARE THE CHURCH, so we go out and are a direct representation of our gathering location. Church is not just a Sunday thing, it’s a 24/7 thing.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

-1 Corinthians 12:27

I don’t want this to be a giant bash session, but I do want you to thoroughly review the source you’re getting your preaching from. Do they line up with the Gospel or do they make you feel good? If they simply make you feel good, and do not accurately represent the Gospel they make it’s time to change your congregation. Christianity is not about what God gives you, it’s about a relationship, and what you can give God. God does not need us, but we will always need him.

Now listen folks there is nothing wrong with televangelist, but when people like Mr. Dollar make claims like he had in the past it make believers skeptical. Now, on that note there are some good ones out there. I had mentioned Billy Graham. Joel Osteen does not take salary from Lakewood which believe it or not is huge, and there are plenty who have a sincere meaning. However, we as Christians need to be on the look out for those corrupting the church.

 

Eyes on the Prize: Faith and Patience Win the Race

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

A couple years back the NFL produced a commercial which featured a number of ecstatic coaches where they were celebrating tomorrow. They will be all overjoyed about tomorrow, why, you may ask, some of you may know, but they day after the Super Bowl everyone is undefeated. The day the Super Bowl passes is a day of celebration for the champions, but also marks the day the season begins. Every team around the league starts their season at that precise moment. The planning begins and the teams who did not wintry to pinpoint how they can reach this point, It is everyone’s goal to get to the championship game and win their prize. For some franchises, winning a championship is like clockwork, while others even making the playoffs is a major victory. We see this in all sports, look at March Madness the world loves the underdog.

Remaining with the football theme in 1991 the Green Bay Packers hired a personnel man by the name of Ron Wolf. He was brought in from the Oakland Raiders with a strong reputation for developing the Raiders. Wolf was given control of all personnel decisions and quickly began to go to work. Wolf’s first major move was to remove Lindy Infante as the head coach of the Packers and hire the 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren. Holmgren was known for his success in developing quarterbacks, and was about to get one of his biggest challenges yet. That challenge was not immediately present when Holmgren took over.

Much like your life long faith building a championship contender is a journey and along the way you find the pieces to the puzzle. While Ron Wolf may have had his coach he was still miles from the finish line. After doing his homework and looking around his vision lead to one of his biggest, rolling the dice on a quarterback out of Southern Mississippi. Most of us know this story, but Ron had his prize in mind. He took a gamble and offered a 1st round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for their backup quarterback who was taken in the 2nd round one year earlier. This was the defining moment of Wolf’s career, had this quarterback not panned out, he would have been rushed out of town, and the Packers history would have never been the same. However, he saw the potential that the young gunslinger had, and was fascinated by his arm strength. Wolf placed his faith in a young quarterback Brett Favre, and his young coach to make his team a contender. It would not be long before Brett Favre would get his chance the Packers starter would get injured and the rest would be history.

The puzzle had its edges laid out, but it was not complete, Green Bay was still a dead zone for free agents, but Wolf was dauntless in his quest to win. Wolf went shopping and landed himself one of the greatest defensive players of all time in Reggie White. White was the last big piece as he solidified their defense. The Packers landed their guy and suddenly other players wanted to go to Green Bay as well. Along with White came Gilbert Brown a powerful run stopper. Santana Dotson and Sean Jones followed. The core of the Packers defense was built and the Packers started winning. Finally, on January 26, 1997, the Packers were in the big game and won. The championship drought in Green Bay had ended and the Lombardi Trophy was coming home to Titletown. The moves Wolf made not only made the Packers a success during his run with the Packers, but set the foundation for the Packers to continue their success to the present day.

Ron Wolf ran towards the prize, and sometimes that takes risks. Like the championship is a prize for a sports team, eternal life and God’s love is the prize for us. If we continue to search ways to serve him and honor him we can one day hoist our personal trophy which will supersede any earthly possession. Wolf had focus and it took time for the Packers to win. However, with due diligence the Packers became contenders leading to Wolf’s eventual induction to the Hall of Fame. We cannot look at life as a meaningless, but as an ever going race to the finish line. God’s grace is waiting for us at the finish line and we all can win. We can all share the joy of making it to his kingdom. While we may take risks we must always trust that God will have our best interest. While the moves may not seem like they make sense at the time we all need to take a chance and trade for a Favre.

We need to find ways to make sure the sure things are taken in to open the door for more opportunities. The Packers were not an overnight success, it was a little over six years from the day Wolf was hired before he cross the finish line with his Packers. It took a almost three years after the addition of Reggie White, and over five after adding Brett Favre. Along the way we will take our lumps, but we have to keep our eyes on the prize. While it may not seem like things are going your way winds can change if we keep our faith in God somewhat like Ron Wolf kept his faith in his plan. Each year leading up to their Super Bowl win the Packers progressively got better. This is how we should view life and make each day progressively better. We must do things the right way and one day we will be with God in His kingdom.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, We thank You for making today possible and allowing us to have a prize. We thank You for Your son’s sacrifice so that we can have something to strive for. Lord, thank You for giving us a finish line to seek. While things may look tough to be with us always so that we can stay on track. Allow us always to have faith in your plan so that we can achieve incredible things in your name. This we pray to You in Jesus Name, Amen!