Monday, February 24, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, February 24, 2014

Last week we wrote about the Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia.  Sadly, while the world watched these awesome displays of athletic prowess, people were dying in the Ukraine.  The fighting groups threatened civil war before a fragile peace was established.  This conflict is only symptomatic of the countless wars being fought all over the world.  Rebel groups are vying for power, while historical regimes try to keep control.
It is agonizing knowing that while people are looking for a peaceful coexistence, others are looking to impose their will and they do not care how many people are destroyed to establish their rule. This should not surprise us.  Jesus tells us that in the world we are going to always have trouble, but we have peace in Him (John 16:33).
In Mark 4, Jesus was with the disciples in a boat (Mark 4:35-41).  While He slept, the wind and the rains arose and the ship was in danger of capsizing.  Terrified, the disciples awoke Jesus, and asked Him if He cared that they were about to die. Jesus said the words that have resonated down through the centuries, Peace, be still (Mark 4:39) and the wind stopped blowing and everything was calm.
You may be involved in terrible situations.  You may feel that you are surrounded by enemies and destructive forces are about to defeat you.  Do not worry about a thing because He has overcome the worlds destruction.  We can find peace in Him because He will keep us in His perfect peace if we keep our mind fixed and focused upon Him (Isaiah 26:3).  Let us ask God to give us His peace that passes all of our understanding (Philippians 4:7).
Please comment below and share how you allowed Gods peace to rule your life.  Your comments may bless others to follow your example.
John 16:33
New International Version (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Isaiah 26:3
New Century Version (NCV)
3 You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on you, because they trust you.

Philippians 4:7
New International Version (NIV)
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings February 17, 2014

Victory with Jesus Christ

We are in the full swing of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It is amazing watching all of the skilled athletes at the top of their game striving for medals. We are all watching as they smile in victory or grimace in defeat. Regardless of the outcome, we are proud of these talented few who have made it to the Olympics.

Meanwhile, there are others athletes at home that may have decided for one reason or another that they could not spend the time or energy required to reach that level of success. It may not have seemed worth the cost of sacrificing one’s life just for the temporary glory of competing on the world’s stage.

While we may not be as talented as those competing in Sochi or as willing to put forth the effort, there is another important arena and an honor with your name on it! The Judgment Seat of Christ is where we all must give an account of our lives to Christ. This is where we get our crowns for good service to God. Did we take the easy way? Did we just do enough to get to heaven? Did we strive and do everything that we could to please our Savior?

 The Bible speaks of several crowns that will be given:[1]
·  The Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25), is a special crown given for faithfulness
·  The Crown of Exultation or Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19; Philippians. 4:1) is for sharing the Gospel, follow-up, and ministry to others
·  The Crown of Life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) for enduring trials and overcoming temptation.
·  The Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy. 4:8) is given for faithfulness to use our gifts and opportunities in the service of the Lord and for loving His appearing.
·  The Crown of Glory (1 Peter. 5:4) is for pastors for their faithfulness in completing their responsibilities in shepherding the people.

We are so very happy for all of those who participated in the Olympics and all of those who prepared through the trials, but most of all, we want to get our crowns at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We are looking for Jesus to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23). 

Please comment below and share how you decided that, most of all, you wanted God’s rewards and encourage others to look for and work toward God’s eternal crowns of victory.

2 Corinthians 5:9-11
New International Version (NIV) 
9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.

Revelation 22:12
New International Version (NIV) 
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

Matthew 25:23 (NIV) 
New International Version (NIV) 
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’


Monday, February 10, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, February 10, 2014


Robert Heinlein, a popular and influential author of science fiction, in the book, Time Enough for Love wrote, “Progress doesn't come from early risers— progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.”  Another person wrote, “Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.” There is something very gratifying about the lazy days and lazy ways.  These are times when one has nothing to do and all of the day to do it. 

However, the Bible calls lazy people sluggards and it is clear that God is not pleased with them.  In a passage in Proverbs, the author concludes that because of laziness, poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 24:34 NIV).”  Moreover, in the Parable of the Talents, a man is very pleased with how his industrious servants had increased his money and rewards them with more authority, but tells his other servants to punish the servant who simply hid the man’s money in the ground and refused to work to invest it (Matthew 25:14-30).  

It is easy to take the lazy way or the easy way.  But I believe that God is calling for people to be industrious and accomplish His goals during our lifetime.  The Bible says diligent people shall serve kings (Proverbs 22:29).  “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor (Proverbs 12:24 NIV).”

It is really important that we daily dedicate ourselves to diligently doing what God has called us to do this year because a sluggard’s appetite is never filled and God wants His children to be fully satisfied (Proverbs 13:4). Let us aim to be fully satisfied today.

Please comment below and share how you have made a decision to follow His direction diligently and were blessed when you could have been lazy, and encourage others to be diligent about Gods direction in their life.

Proverbs 24:30-34
New International Version (NIV)
30 I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
31 thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 13:4
New International Version (NIV)
4 A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, February 3, 2014

Casting Down Our Nets

During the recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke about the US economy stating, "But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by - let alone get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all." These financial challenges are evident from stories that we hear from those around us and perhaps even from our own lives.

During the biblical times, Simon Peter and his companions also faced trying times. As fishermen, their livelihood depended on having a good harvest. Unfortunately they had worked all night and had been unsuccessful. But Jesus told them to try again and when they did, they were very successful (Luke 5:4-9a).

Many of us have tried various strategies to get ahead. We have moved to new cities, tried new jobs, or started new businesses but still have not prospered. But Simon Peter said something that we all should consider, "... But because you say so, I will let down the nets (Luke 5:5)."

Speaking to God in prayer is important for our financial blessings (Matthew 21:22). This is the year to say, in spite of our failures or missed opportunities, because Jesus said so, we ought to follow His direction and we will be blessed. Your prosperity may come from going to another bank to finance your business, it may be to return to community college for training, it may be to ask for a promotion at your current job, or whatever the Lord Jesus tells us to do.

Please comment below 
and share how you have made a decision to follow His direction and were financially blessed and encourage others to become prosperous by praying to and listening from God.

Luke 5:4-9a
New International Version (NIV)
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,…
Matthew 21:22
New International Version (NIV)
22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.