Showing posts from September, 2017

A REAL Worship Service...

Nehemiah 8:1-9 describes an interesting scene that would be quite foreign, and even rejected, in most American churches today. At the start of the worship service, "the people gathered together as one man (v.1)," a unified body of God's people who came to worship. There was a "platform of wood (v.4)," or great stage, built and Ezra the priest (or preacher) and 13 other worship leaders took the stage. So far, this seems pretty typical of our average church services. Ezra start ed preaching from God's Word, preaching expositionally, verse by verse, explaining the text. He and the other leaders preached and taught from the Word, "and they gave sense and helped the people understand the reading (v.8)." Not only did they preach and teach in this style, but they did it "from morning until midday (v.3)" while the people stood with "attentive ears (v.3, 5)." What we're talking about here is roughly a 6-hour prea

God's People are Weird...

Have you ever heard this statement made before about the Church?  Christians?  The statement being that 'the Church' or 'Christians' are weird?  Maybe you've even thought that at one point or another.  The truth of the matter is, if the Church/Christians aren't seen as weird in our world, then something is wrong.  Christians and their local congregations are supposed to be weird in comparison to the culture, the lost, and the worldview of the day - it's downright biblical and, quite frankly, non-negotiable. What do I mean then by being "weird?"  This is not to say that Christians and local churches should purposefully act, talk and live in a strange manner for the sake of being 'in but not of the world', or however one would like to look at it.  What I mean by being weird, and more importantly, what the Bible means about Christians and the Church being "weird" in this world, is that we should be living for the Lord.  We should b

Why is this happening and where is God?

" A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones. "  - Proverbs 17:22 I was prompted to write about this topic after reading the Facebook status of a dear friend, mentor and pastor who shared of his continued suffering.  As a senior adult, he suffers from several health concerns, one of which is severe loss of eyesight.  As a pastor (and he continues to pastor well into his 80s), he has to preach from memory at this stage in his life, which is remarkable!  This pastor friend shared that he's been dealing with an issue that kept him from sleep.  The part that led me to ask the title question above and to write briefly was his statement that he had prayed for the Lord to bring relief so that he could sleep but the pain continued on through the night and into the following day.  He said he would continue to pray for the Lord's healing. Another story: My grandfather served as a pastor, missionary, and director of missions for decades.  A


"So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them." -Genesis 1:27 One of the biggest battles of our day, Christian or not, is the battle of identity. For the majority of people in our culture, identity is found in who others say we are. We are defined by others in a number of ways: hobbies, interests, jobs, relationships, accomplishments, mistakes, etc. So many people spend their entire lives trying to live up to o r live down an identity that was forced upon them by others or by the culture. Your true identity has already been defined and settled by God in the beginning and identity finds its fullest fulfillment in a relationship with Jesus Christ: "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with..." -Romans 6:6 You are not your job. You are not your circumstances. You are not your handicaps. You are not your weaknesses. You

What does Jeremiah 29:11 really mean for me?

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most, if not the most, misquoted and misrepresented verses in all of Scripture today. It was never meant to be read for individuals, speaking 'to me' as a promise 'to me,' but rather the context was to the Israelites who were going to endure Babylonian captivity via the judgment of God for their many ongoing sins. God promised them a future and a hope, guaranteed, even promising to "prosper" them as a nation, BUT not until after 70 years of heartache, pain, and captivity (read Jeremiah 29:10). Now, does God have "plans to prosper" and "thoughts of peace" toward His people today, the Church, even plans to "give us a future and a hope?" Certainly, it's the very thing Jesus guaranteed. But this promise is future and it is for the whole. This isn't a promise to be taken for me or for an individual person. The Christian life, more times than not, involves more suffering and hea

If Jesus hadn't come...

This is a thought that makes me shudder and, quite frankly, lose all hope - what if Jesus had not come to fulfill the will of God?  What if Jesus did come to earth but chose to go rogue somewhere in the middle of the plan?  The bottom line is - we would have no hope or prayer of escaping the judgment and wrath of God against our sins - if Jesus hadn't come... I'm currently reading through Ezekiel and I found myself in chapter 22 this morning.  Specifically, in Ezekiel 22:30-31 God said, "So I sought for a man among them (Israel) who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.  Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,' says the Lord God." The both chilling and revealing statement here is " but I found no one."   Israel had come under judgment for ignoring God