Pastor Mike's thoughts

Thoughts on today's Christian world and how it fits into secular society.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sorry Guys

Hello everyone. Sorry for not posting any new blogs, but we're having serious phone line problems and most likely won't be on until after the phone company comes this Saturday to hopefully fix the problem. We look forward to seeing you then.

Pray for our phone....:)
Pastor Mike

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Not Alone

Lord, You have searched me and known me.
—Psalm 139:1

Did you know that your shortcomings and failures come as no surprise to God? He is all-knowing. God knows everything about you. Jesus Christ knows you better than you know yourself. So it came as no shock to the Lord when Peter failed. But Jesus loved that man, just as He loves you.

Jesus even gave Peter a second chance. The disciples were sitting in the Upper Room when Jesus turned to Simon Peter and said something that must have shocked this man to the core:
" ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you…’ " (see Luke 22:31).

Can you imagine if He said that to you? There you are. Your heart is filled with love for Him. You can’t think of anyone you love more. And suddenly, Jesus turns to you and says, "Satan has been asking for you."
But I love the next verse. Jesus said to Peter, " ‘But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail’ " (Luke 22:32). Think of that. Jesus was praying for Peter, just as He is praying for you. If you knew that Jesus was in this room right now, praying for you specifically by name, would that give you courage? Would that give you strength? Would that encourage you?

Let me say this. Right now Jesus Christ is praying for you. We know that because the Bible says, "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

Just as surely as Jesus was standing in the gap for Peter, He is standing there for you. He knows you, and He is praying for you. You are not alone.

Pastor Mike

Friday, May 26, 2006

No Standing Still

Beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. —2 Peter 3:17–18

Backslider is a harsh word. When we think of a backslider, we think of someone who has really blown it, whose life is in the pit. But did you know that you can come to church every Sunday and still be a backslider? That’s because backsliding is a matter of the heart.

Now you might say, "I still go to church, when I can find the time. I still read the Bible, if I get around to it. And I still obey God, unless it conflicts with what I want. But I wouldn’t describe it as backsliding. I’m just not as active spiritually as I once was."

Consider this: the moment that you cease to progress as a Christian is the moment when the process of backsliding will potentially begin. When you cease to go forward, it’s only going to be a matter of time until you start going backward.

We as Christians constantly need to be aware of falling away and backsliding. The Bible warns that in the last days there will be many who will fall away. I have to keep my guard up, because if I am not moving forward as a Christian, I will be moving backward. There is no standing still. It would be like parking your car on a hill and putting it in neutral. In the same way, if I put my Christian life in neutral, if I stop seeking to learn and grow as a believer, I will naturally go the wrong way. I will go backwards. I will go down. Don’t lean on your own understanding, keep the faith and keep eternal life.

Praying that we all remain steadfast
Pastor Mike

Airline Rage . . . .

As a guy takes his seat on an airplane, he is surprised to find a parrot strapped in next to him. After taking off, the flight attendant comes around to serve the passengers on the plane. The guy asks the flight attendant for a coffee and the parrot squawks: "And get ME a coke...NOW!"

The flight attendant, flustered by the parrot's attitude, brings back a coke for the parrot. However, she forgets the coffee for the guy.

As the guy points this out, the parrot drains his glass and screams:
"Get me another coke or I'll really create a scene!"

Quite upset, the attendant comes back shaking, with another coke, but still no coffee.

Irritated at her forgetfulness, the man decides to try the parrot's approach. "I've asked you twice for a coffee. Go and get it right now, or I'll create a scene that will make HIS look like a Victorian tea party!"

The next moment, both the guy and the parrot are grabbed and thrown out of the emergency exit by two burly security guards.

Hurtling towards earth, the parrot turns to him and says: . . . "You're pretty cheeky for a guy who can't fly!"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

God’s Helpers

This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you (2 Corinthians 5:19-20, NLT).

God's decision to allow imperfect people to help Him build His Kingdom is a constant source of amazement.

God’s omnipotent. He can do anything, anytime, anywhere, without limit. He has all the angels He needs, each of whom has great power. He could use one, or a million, to do whatever He wants done.

Yet he chooses little ol us, finite, earth-dwellers, made of clay, sin-prone and mistake-prone. Why?

It helps us to understand if we consider His fatherly relationship with us. Leadership magazine tells the story of Rusty Stephens, a Navigators director in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Rusty relates:

"As I feverishly pushed the lawn mower around our yard, I wondered if I'd finish before dinner. Mikey, our six year old, walked up and without even asking, stepped in front of me and placed his hands on the mower handle. Knowing that he wanted to help me, I quit pushing. The mower quickly slowed to a stop. Chuckling inwardly at his struggles, I resisted the urge to say, 'Get out of here, kid. You're in my way,' and said instead, 'Here, son, I'll help you.' As I resumed pushing, I bowed my back, leaned forward, and walked spread-legged to avoid colliding with Mikey. The grass cutting continued, but more slowly and less efficiently than before, because Mikey was 'helping' me. Suddenly, tears came to my eyes as it hit me: This is the way my heavenly Father allows me to 'help' him build his kingdom! I pictured my heavenly Father at work seeking, saving, and transforming the lost, and there I was, with my weak hands, 'helping.' My Father could do the work by himself, but He doesn't. He chooses to stoop graciously to allow me to co-labor with Him. Why? For my sake, because he wants me to have the privilege of ministering with him."

What a beautiful analogy! God has chosen to use us to help Him. Paul wrote, "We are God's fellow workers" (1 Corinthians 3:9, NKJV).

Paul also wrote: "We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you." (2 Corinthians 5:20, NLT).

By assigning to us the Great Commission, and entrusting to us "the message of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:19), God is allowing us to help Him populate heaven for all eternity!

Looking forward to serving the Lord to further His kingdom
Pastor Mike

You get what you ask for.

A young man drove his minibike in to a gas station and dismounted.

"I'll need about a pint of gas," he said to the attendant, "and a few ounces of oil for the motor."

"Certainly sir," the attendant said, "And would you also like me to cough into your tires?"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Nation in Need

2 Chronicles 34:19 When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes.

Josiah was a godly king in Israel. However, before he came to power, the nation had fallen into all kinds of evil. One man, Manasseh, had brought the nation to a condition of inexorable evil. God finally had enough.

Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down (2 Kings 21:12-13).

Josiah came into power just before this judgment. He began to clean up the evil by burning all the idolatrous temples, ridding prostitution and homosexuality from the streets, and destroying occult shrines. He did this without the benefit of even reading God's Word, but through the Holy Spirit working in his heart. Then one day the ancient Scriptures were discovered in the temple that had been there for years. They had a profound impact on King Josiah.

When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king's attendant: "Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the remnant in Israel and Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord's anger that is poured out on us because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book" (2 Chronicles 34:19-21).

Josiah was broken. He tore his robes in repentance. He fell to his knees and repented for the evil of his nation. He stood in the gap and God honored Josiah; however, it wasn't enough. God still had to judge the nation for its previous wickedness under the reign of Manasseh.

"Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what He spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before Me and tore your robes and wept in My presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. Now I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here." ... (2 Chronicles 34:27-28).

God spared Josiah during his reign, but after he died judgment came upon the nation.

No nation is immune from God's judgment. Pray for your nation today. Pray that your nation will have a repentant heart among the leaders and the people.

Praying for our nation to return to its Christian roots
Pastor Mike

Looking for the lift

As a concierge at a posh resort, I was often asked about the ski facilities. One day a couple who had just checked in after a long flight came by and asked me where the lift was.

"Go down the hill," I told them, "out the door, past the pool, 200 yards down the block, and you'll see it on your right."

Their tired faces suddenly looked even more exhausted, until the man behind them spoke up. "These folks are from England," he said. "I think they're looking for the elevator."

Monday, May 22, 2006

What’s behind a lie?

Have you ever heard the phrase, "a little white lie?" Is there such a thing? What harm is there in stretching the truth a bit? These are all questions that have been asked for many years, but rarely get an answer deeper than a shoulder shrug. Having said that, let’s take a look at what’s in a lie, no matter how big, or how small.

Acts 5:3 Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?

Satan's primary strategy is deception. He’ll introduce his thoughts and ideas into your mind and deceive you into believing that they’re yours. It happened to King David. Satan "moved David to number Israel" (1 Chronicles 21:1), an act God had forbidden, and David acted on Satan's idea. Did Satan walk up to David one day and say, "I want you to number Israel"? I doubt it. David was a godly man and he wouldn't have obeyed Satan. But what if Satan slipped the idea into David's mind in first-person singular? What if the thought came to David as "I need to know how large my army is; I think I'll count the troops"?

If Satan can place a thought in your mind, and he can, it isn't much more of a trick for him to make you think it's your idea. If you knew it was Satan, you'd reject the thought, wouldn't you? But when he disguises his suggestion as your idea, you’re more likely to accept it. That is his primary deception. If you knew where the thought came from, you wouldn't be deceived.

I don't think Judas realized that it was Satan's idea to betray Jesus (John 13:2). It probably came to him as a way to prompt Jesus to deliver Israel from the Romans. Ananias and Sapphira might have thought that it was their idea to withhold some of their offering while getting the strokes and attention from others who believed they had given everything. If they knew that it was Satan's idea, they probably wouldn't have done it (Acts 5:1-3). If Satan can get you to believe a lie, he can control your life. That's why it is truth that sets you free (John 8:32).

There is one common characteristic shared by everyone in bondage: They all lie. The alcoholic lies about his drinking. The anorexic lies about her eating. The first step to recovery is to get out of denial, stop lying and start telling the truth.

Hoping all will be exposed to the truth
Pastor Mike


The following was overheard at a recent high society party...

"My ancestry goes all the way back to Alexander the Great," said one lady. She then turned to a second woman and asked, "How far does your family go back?"

"I don't know," was the reply. "All of our records were lost in the flood."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Coming into the darkness

Have you ever wondered why more people don’t follow God more closely? What is it that keeps them from giving their lives over to him completely?

Exodus 20:21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

Like the nation of Israel, we’re all called to the mountain of God, but few are willing to pass through the darkness to get there. God wanted to reveal His glory to the children of Israel, but they were afraid to enter into His presence. They only wanted to know about God, rather than know him personally like Moses did. This grieved the heart of God.

Why wouldn't the people of Israel risk entering the darkness if it meant being in the presence of God? What did the people fear? What do we fear?

Perhaps they had fears like each of us. The fear of the unknown. The fear of what might happen. The fear that God might not like what He sees. Or, perhaps even the greatest fear: the fear of darkness itself and what lies behind that darkness.

Many of us have been satisfied to hear about God from God's messengers. But there is a greater calling for each of us, a calling to enter into His presence. Sometimes entering into His presence means we enter through an unexpected door-a door that appears to have nothing good behind it.

We don’t need to fear entering the presence of God even if it means entering through a period of darkness. Above all else we must believe that God is a God of love. If He calls us into darkness in order to enter His presence, then that darkness will become an entry to new levels of relationship with a God who longs for fellowship with you and me.

Not afraid of the dark
Pastor Mike

Procrastinator's Creed

I believe that if anything is worth doing, it would have been done already.

I shall never move quickly, except to avoid more work or find excuses.

I will never rush into a job without a lifetime of consideration.

I shall meet all of my deadlines directly in proportion to the amount of bodily injury I could expect to receive from missing them.

I firmly believe that tomorrow holds the possibility for new technologies, astounding discoveries, and a reprieve from my obligations.

I truly believe that all deadlines are unreasonable regardless of the amount of time given.

If at first I don't succeed, there is always next year.

I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.

I shall always begin, start, initiate, take the first step, and/or write the first word, when I get around to it.

I obey the law of inverse excuses which demands that the greater the task to be done, the more insignificant the work that must be done prior to beginning the greater task.

I know that the work cycle is not plan/start/finish, but is wait/plan/plan.

I will never put off until tomorrow, what I can forget about forever.

I will become a member of the ancient Order of Two-Headed Turtles (the Procrastinator's Society) if they ever get it organized.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

You are Not Alone!

Even for those with great family and even better friends there can be times of extreme loneliness. There are times when others don't understand the pressure of the decisions we have to make. There may be moments when others can't understand the hurts we feel. Sometimes we’re too ashamed of ourselves to let others see us as we really are. We may feel totally inadequate in the midst of more educated or successful people. It seems that acceptance is rarely gotten.

"The heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy." (Proverbs 14:10) Hearts that aren’t hurting in some way are the exception, not the rule. Not all of us suffer the same losses or trouble, but we do all suffer in ways others may not understand.

On the other hand, each person also has his or her own joys. Some find a special joy in their jobs, some in their hobbies, and some in their families or friends. Each heart has its sorrows and joys. Someone can tell you about his bitterness, but he can't give you his bitterness. A person can explain to you why she has joy, but she can't give you her joy. At the dedication of the Lord's temple, Solomon asked God on behalf of those going there to pray, "each one knows the plague of his own heart.¨ Imploring the Lord further, he added, "for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men.¨ (1 Kings 8:38-39). Rest assured: God knows your bitterness and your joy. You’re not alone!

All people want to be accepted and loved. The words in Isaiah 43:1 invite the lonely and isolated into God's family to enjoy His acceptance. "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine." The same message is emphasized in 1 Peter 2:9-10, because of Jesus, God accepts us as His children: "But ye are a chosen generation...which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God. ¨ Jesus became like us. He was so alone that He had no place to call "home." He suffered loneliness to bring us to fellowship. Though we often don’t feel accepted in the world, Jesus Christ offers a free, indestructible gift of unconditional acceptance. He is a friend and constant companion. Fear not! In a world of isolation, silence, and loneliness, you belong to God - you are His!

Pastor Mike

Friday, May 19, 2006

Our kids, Satan’s targets

Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons.

Christian children and teenagers going to our schools, attending our churches, and living in our homes are the targets of Satan's deceitful ways. Many Christian young people hear voices as if a subconscious self is talking to them. Satan seeks to destroy our families and churches by seducing our children away from their parents and from God (1 Timothy 4:1).

Is every evil thought in our mind the "voice" of Satan or a demon? No, the flesh--that part of our brain that convinces us to operate apart from God and to center our interests on ourselves--also introduces sinful thoughts and makes us think about things that may lead us down the wrong path. To add insult to injury, input from worldly movies, music, books, TV, etc. also introduces evil ideas into our minds. As we grow in Christ, we learn to say no to the deeds of the flesh and walk in the Spirit.

But the world and the flesh are not the only culprits, even though we tend to place most of the blame on them. The devil and "spiritual forces of wickedness" (Ephesians 6:12) are at work introducing suggestions as thoughts or inner voices. Just as we learn to deal with worldly and fleshly influences, we also have to learn to tell the difference between Satan's subtle, personal influence and resist him, and we must teach our kids to do the same. Whether your child's misguided thoughts are coming from the world, the flesh, or the devil, you need to help him bring "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Our kids aren't saying much about Satan's seduction in their lives because most of them don't know that he's at the heart of it. Satan is the great liar. He doesn't march into their lives with a brass band. He sneaks his way in through the opportunities they and we give him. And since kids haven't been taught what the Bible says about Satan's strategies, they blame themselves, and their sense of guilt and fear of punishment further contributes to their silence, and in this case, silence is not golden.

Praying for all who are being seduced by Satan
Pastor Mike

Ode to Henry Ford

The fourth-grade class was studying the development of the auto industry. The teacher had emphasized the role played by Henry Ford, whose assembly lines decreased production costs.

At the end of the unit, she gave a test including the question: "What did Henry Ford invent that made buying a car more affordable?"

One of the students wrote: "0% financing."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Overcoming All Odds

Isaiah 37:21 ..."Because you have prayed to Me...."

Have you ever had your back against the wall so bad that if something didn't happen to change your situation, you were sunk? King Hezekiah was one of Israel's greatest godly kings. One of the greatest challenges to his reign came when the king of Assyria threatened to attack Israel and wipe them out. The Assyrians were the local bullies of the region and had wiped out all other enemies in their region.

They laughed at the idea of having a God who could save them.

Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He can’t deliver you! Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, "The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria" (Isaiah 36:14b-15).

The marketplace is full of "Assyrian kings" who laugh at the idea of a God who delivers. Without God's help, Israel wouldn’t have overcome. Their backs were against the wall. They’d be destroyed.

King Hezekiah saved Israel because of one act. He prayed; and because he prayed, God moved on his behalf. In fact, God moved so powerfully that Hezekiah didn’t even have to fight the battle.

Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning-there were all the dead bodies! (Isaiah 37:36)

The king of Assyria was even murdered by his own sons. Imagine seeing your enemy totally destroyed without one hand raised in battle!

God wants to act on behalf of His followers if they will call on Him. One of the motives Hezekiah had in seeking God's help was "so that all kingdoms on earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God" (Is. 37:20). This is what happened. God was glorified.

God wants to let you know that God is a living God. He can deliver. Look for Him today for the crisis in your life. Keep your motive pure and God will surely answer.

Praying for the impossible
Pastor Mike

Trouble at Home?

As he was standing in line at the grocery store checkout counter, a friend of John's noticed he was purchasing a dozen roses and a card.
"You in trouble with Jill?" the friend asked John.
"Nope!" was John's reply. "Preventive maintenance."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Meeting Faith With Deeds

Faith. It’s one of the hardest things that we have to face. It’s so much easier to just give up than it is to keep going. Today I want us to take a look at faith in action by reading:

2 Kings 4:2 "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil."

Her husband had died. There was no way to pay off her debts. Her creditors decided to take her two sons as slaves for payment of the obligations that still remained. She pleaded for assistance with the only man of God she knew.

"Is there anything in your house?" Elisha asked.

"Nothing at all," she said, "except a little oil."
Elisha then told her to go and collect all the empty jars that her neighbors might have. "Ask for as many as you can," he told her.

When the jars were collected, he told her to pour what little oil she had into the jars. The oil was more than enough to fill the jars. In fact, there was more oil than jars to fill. "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left" (2 Kings 4:7b).

God often mixes faith with the tangible. The widow didn’t think that she had the resources to meet her needs, but God said she had more than enough resources. She didn’t see the one jar of oil as a resource. It didn’t become a resource until it was mixed with faith. Her need was met when her faith was mixed with the practical step of going into the marketplace to sell what she had in order to receive her needed income. In fact, there was so much income she was able to pay her debts and live on the money that came from the sale.

We often forget that God works through commerce to provide for our needs. It’s wrong to place total trust in commerce without faith in God. God often requires simple obedience to an act that seems ridiculous to the logical mind. It is this faith mixed with the practical that God honors.

Do you have a problem that’s confusing to you? Do you see no way of meeting your need? God may have already given you the skills and talents to meet your need. However, He may be waiting for you to mix them with faith. Ask God to show you the steps necessary to solve your problem. Be willing to take the next step.

Praying for more faith daily
Pastor Mike

Cure For Lateness

Bob had this problem of getting up late in the morning and was always late for work.
After a few weeks of this, his boss was mad and threatened to fire him if he didn't do something about it.
So Bob went to his doctor, who gave him a pill and told him to take it before he went to bed. He got a great night's sleep and actually beat the alarm in the morning. After a leisurely breakfast, he cheerfully drove to work.
"Boss," he said, "The pill my doctor subscribed me actually worked!"
"That's all fine," said the boss, "But where were you yesterday?"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

All together

Have you noticed the lives of the prophets or the apostles -- Jeremiah, Amos, Peter, John? All were ordinary people living lives outside of the box. You may be in a position where you feel unimportant - wondering how you can make a difference in a world of billions?Don't despise the day of small things as you are a vital part of God's plan! (Zechariah 4:10)

"His lord said unto him, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.'" Matthew 25:21

You may have heard the story of a heavy bronze bell that had sunk into a river in China. The efforts of different engineers to raise it had been in vain. A man coming up to them asking, "If I raise the bell, may I have it for my church?" The reply was "Yes, since we have to leave it - it is yours."

He then had his helpers gather a huge number of bamboo rods - hollow, light, and practically unsinkable. Taken down by divers, they were fastened, one by one, to the bell. After many had been fastened, the bell began to move, and when the last one had been added, the buoyancy of the rods was so great, the gigantic bronze bell was brought to the surface.

Some thought bamboo rods were too small and insignificant to move a huge bell, but enough of them working together made a difference. You may think you are irrelevant in the big scheme of things, but God wants you to share the gifts He has given you. If we fail to exercise our unique gifts, we not only fail God, but we fail the body. When joined together with other believers in Him -- we will make a difference!

"And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary." 1 Corinthians 12:21-22

Our lives can make a difference! The fact is that God can do a lot with a little. God is looking for that one who can make his or her mark. Will you be that one person?

When God chooses to do His work, He doesn't just pick members from society's elite. He can use the nobility of the royal or the wisdom of the scholars, but they are in the minority. So who are the majority that God uses?

Have you ever tried to drink water from a fire hydrant? Ever thought of dishing up a whale for dinner? I know what you're thinking: "Too much." That's often what comes to mind when we think of Jesus' words: "Make disciples of all the nations" (Matthew 28:19). At last count, the world population had topped six billion. It makes you wonder how you could ever do enough to spread the gospel.

If you want to make sure that your plants will spread out or climb arbors or sprout buds, you've got to read those little pieces of plastic in the dirt next to them. If you don't follow the pickets, your greens could shrivel and wither and brown. In the same way, every single person in your home and every single person you meet has his or her own picket of instructions-specific things that promote the best growth.

Growing together
Pastor Mike

The World's First Professional

A doctor, an engineer, a rabbi and a lawyer were debating who was the world's first professional.
The doctor said, "It must have been a doctor. Who else could have helped with the world's first surgery of taking a rib from Adam to create Eve, the first woman?"

"No," said the rabbi. ''It must have been a rabbi, since the Lord needed someone to help preach his message to Adam and the world."

"Wait," said the engineer, "The world was created in six days from nothing. Do you know what a master engineering feat that must have been to create the whole world into an organized, civilized place from utter chaos?"

"Yes, but who created the chaos?" asked the lawyer...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

I was all ready to write this beautiful thought about mothers today, but my thunder was stolen when I had an article sent to me written by a woman who brought a lump to my throat when she spoke of her personal experiences and thoughts on being a mother. Please read over the following devotional for women and pray for this powerful woman’s ministry. And most of all, remember to honor your mother and father.

Praying and praising the mothers of today,
Pastor Mike

"Spiritual Motherhood"
Susanne Scheppmann, Co-Editor of Online Devotions, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

Key Verse:
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, "But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." (NIV)

My long sullen face refused to smile, even though Kay was making me laugh on the inside. She continued to scrape out the pumpkins and throw the stringy pungent seeds at the five kids seated around the table. Kay chortled as one hit my nose and hung down.

I was fourteen and motherless. My mother died the previous August and anger raged in me. I remember thinking, "I shouldn't have a good time with this woman." The notion of betrayal seemed to lurk deep inside of me anytime I began to experience affection for Kay.

Kay continued to love me through all my ugly teen angst. She proved the love of Jesus Christ to me through her unfailing love. Kay is now my stepmother. She eventually led me to accept Jesus as my own personal Savior. Although Kay is not my biological mother, she is my spiritual mother.

It reminds me of the story of Naomi and Ruth. Naomi was Ruth's mother-in-law. Naomi soon found herself a widow and both of her sons died. After all this tragedy, she decided to go back to her hometown. Naomi advised both of her widowed daughter-in-laws to go back to their own towns and find new husbands.

But Ruth loved Naomi as her mother-in-law and spiritual mentor. She did not want to be separated from Naomi or her God. So Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16 NIV).

Naomi and Ruth travel not only the road back to Bethlehem, but they journeyed on the path of life together. Their story continues with Naomi advising Ruth on matters of love and marriage. Their tale ends happily ever after with these words:

The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth" (Ruth 4:14-15 NIV).

Spiritual motherhood holds many benefits. I profited eternally from Kay's spiritual teaching. Also, God has allowed me the same opportunities as Ruth and Naomi. I am the biological mother of two sons and I now have two wonderful daughter-in-laws. I pray I can exhibit the example of a godly woman to them. God allowed me the honor of leading my own stepdaughter to accept Him as her Savior. And if that wasn't enough blessings, He grants me the privilege to help serve women through my home church and Proverbs 31 Ministries.

So many times, I feel the motherly emotions of our Key Verse, "But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 NIV)."

Indeed, spiritual motherhood is one of the greatest blessings of my life. I would like to encourage you to search for women who need a spiritual mom. I promise it will be a blessed experience for you. You just might say, "It's the best Mother's Day ever!"

Verses on the subject of motherhood and mentoring

Titus 2:3-5, "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." (NIV)

Proverbs 16:20-21, "Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction." (NIV)

Proverbs 31:26, "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." (NIV)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"If life is a bowl of cherries-What am I doing in the pits?"

Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt like nothing was going right? Have you hit a rough spot in the road lately and wondered why bad things happen to good people? Well, you certainly aren’t alone. Today we’ll look at someone who had it pretty rough.

Job 42:3 Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

If there was any one man on earth who had reason to question God's love, it was Job. He lost his family, his health, and his wealth-all at the same time. His friends only came to his side only to question his spirituality. God had already answered the question of his integrity. Job was described in the opening verses of the book as "blameless and upright" (see Job 1:1). The situation that he found himself didn’t come from sin. Job recognized and acknowledged God's right to do anything in his life until one day he could take it no longer. He questioned God's motives.

God answered Job, but not in the way he wanted to hear. God answered him with a series of questions that represents the most incredible conversation of correction by God to any human being. Three chapters later, Job realized that he had questioned the motives of the Creator of the universe, the Creator of love. He fell flat before his God and realized his total sinfulness. "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know."

Have you ever questioned God's activity in your life? Have you questioned His love for you based on circumstances that came your way? The cross at Calvary answers the love question. He sent His own Son in replacement for your sin. If you were the only person on earth, He would have done the same. His ways cannot always be understood or reconciled in our human minds. That must be left for a future time when all will be understood. For now, entrust your life to Him completely. Embrace Him in the hard times and the good.

Wakka Wakka
Walking my way through this world with faith,
Pastor Mike

A Mother's Resolutions
Mother's Day Teddy
When I forget to go to the grocery store, I will not boil the macaroni necklaces my Children made for me in preschool.

I will pack the kids' lunch boxes the night before so I don't throw in a slab of frozen lasagna as they're running for the bus. "It'll defrost by lunch. If not, you can suck it like an ice pop."
I will resist the urge to explain to strangers why my son is wearing winter boots, a bathing suit bottom, and an inside-out and backward pajama top. I will be grateful that he is able to dress himself.

I will not tell my children that the Play-Doh dried up just because I don't feel like cleaning up after they use it, even though I know it means I'll spend the evening harvesting the colored stuff from the carpet fibers, chair cushions and the dog's fur.

I will always protect the rights of my children, especially their right to remain silent.

I will learn to accept the outbursts and tantrums as a part of life. After all, I promised to love my husband for better or worse.

When my husband and I go to a restaurant without the kids, I will not roll up his sleeves or move the knives from his reach. I will not accompany him to the bathroom and remind him to wash his hands with soap. If my husband wants dessert at the end of the meal, I will not tell him it depends on his behavior.

When I'm tired of hearing "mommieeeeee!" a thousand times each day, I will resist changing my name to "Please pass the spinach" or "TV is boring, I'd rather read."

I will develop an ability to have a conversation with an adult that doesn't revolve around labor pains or children's toilet habits. I will feel comfortable in the silence that ensues when neither of us can think of any other topic to discuss or remember we can always discuss the weather.

I will be more flexible about children's nutritional requirements by counting the ketchup and green crayon as vegetables.

When my children beg for a pet, I will buy them each a hutch for the dust bunnies that have multiplied under their beds. I will let them name each dust bunny.

I will count how often I repeat the phrase "You'd better listen because I will not repeat myself", until my children actually notice that I have spoken. I will not raise my voice until I have said it at least that many times.

When my kids are older (at least 50), I will explain why they never have any chocolate candy left after Mommy and Daddy "check" their Halloween bags.

I will be a good, fair and loving parent to my children. I will provide them with enriching experiences and opportunities. I will give them a solid foundation on which to build a useful life. After all, they may eventually be responsible for choosing a nursing home for me to live out my final days.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Pride Ain't Good

Pride is one of the biggest issues that keep people from a close relationship with Jesus. Pride has a long history. It’s the one that came before Adam and Eve. It’s not only the earliest sin, but it’s at the core, the basis of all sin. From God's perspective, pride seems to be the most serious of all sins. When His Word reveals those things "that the Lord hates" and "that are an abomination to him," it is man's proud look that heads up the list (Proverbs 6:16-17).

God clearly speaks out in Proverbs 8:13: "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate." And consider the divine perspective on pride revealed in Proverbs 16:5: "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished."

God wants us to be humble and tells us in Matthew 23:12 "whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" and in Matthew 18:4, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

So what does God want from us? Micah 6:8 tells us, "what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." The psalm said that the Lord is good and upright and "therefore will He teach sinners in the way. The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way." Psalm 25:8-9 There’s power in the example of an ordinary life lived with knowledge of God's power - seeing Him in everything we do, and doing all things for Him. That’s the mark of the mature believer, quietly and humbly going about ordinary tasks, living in happiness, and leaving behind the memories of Jesus' love.

Scripture that is harder to understand is Proverbs 16:19: "Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." The focus of this proverb is not on whether someone gets or loses things, or whether one gets victimized. It's about being humble in spirit over being proud. The proverb doesn’t say it's better not to have nice things than to have them. It says is that it's far better to be humble and struggle in this life than to be proud and have it easy. Pride has such serious consequences that even a comfortable life won't make up for it. You’re better off being humble and poor than proud and comfortable. But let me emphasize that by the same token, it’s perfectly acceptable to be blessed with a great income or retirement as long as you realize that you were blessed because of God’s generosity. Either scenario is great, as long as we remain humble. Remember that God requires justice, mercy, and humility - no matter where we live.

Why does God hate pride and arrogance so passionately? Pride is when sinful human beings want to be elevated to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him. (Remind you of Lucifer and his horde?) A proud person refuses to accept help from another, even from God, so they won’t accept salvation in Christ. But a humble person recognizes their dependence and gladly receives salvation. God will not deny a broken heart and a contrite spirit so come to Him, just as the woman with the alabaster box, humble and giving the Lord the thing He wants most - our heart.

Trying to humble myself to the end,
Pastor Mike

What The Doctor Really Means

"Well, what have we here...?"
He has no idea and is hoping you'll give him a clue.

"Well, we're not feeling so well today, are we...?"
I'm stalling for time.

"If it doesn't clear up in a week, give me a call."
I don't know what it is. Maybe it will go away by itself.

"Let me check your medical history."
I want to see if you've paid your last bill before spending anymore time with you.

"Well, now, we have some good news and some bad news."
The good news is, I'm going to buy that new BMW. The bad news is, you're going to pay for it.

"This should be taken care of right away."

I'd planned a trip to Hawaii next month but this is so easy and profitable that I want to fix it before it cures itself.

"Let me schedule you for some lab tests."
I have a forty percent interest in the lab.

"Let's see how it develops."
Maybe in a few days it will grow into something that really needs to be cured.

"I'd like to prescribe a new drug."
I'm writing a paper and would like to use you for a guinea pig.

"That's quite a nasty looking wound."
I think I'm going to throw up.

"This may smart a little."
Last week two patients almost bit off their tongues.

"This should fix you up."
The drug company slipped me some big bucks to prescribe this stuff. Hope it works...

"Everything seems to be normal."
Rats! I guess I can't buy that new beach condo after all.

"I'd like to run some more tests."
I can't figure out what's wrong. Maybe the kid in the lab can solve this one.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wise Leaders Read The Bible

My words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight (Psalm 49:3, NLT).

Great leaders, who are wise, regularly turn to the Bible.

Feeling uneasy one evening before a major battle in the Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur turned to his Bible, which was his regular practice, and read until he felt at peace.
Then the general went to bed, even though the battle the next day would play a significant role in the course of World War II.

General George Washington, our first President and father of our country, said, "It is impossible to rightly govern... without God and the Bible." The first time I visited his Mount Vernon home, the guide took me to the place where morning and evening General Washington knelt to read his Bible and pray.

Another general, Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President, said, "I believe in the Holy Scriptures, and who so lives by them will be benefited thereby..."

General Andrew Jackson, who became our seventh President, in referring to the Bible, stated, "That book, Sir, is the Rock upon which our republic rests."

Why did these and thousands of other leaders, and also scholars and vast numbers of lay people, choose the Bible? Why not Shakespeare, or a great novel, or a discourse on philosophy?

The answer is clear: The Bible is God's Word to man. It has the power to bring peace, happiness, comfort and guidance as no other book in the world can do. Generals Washington, MacArthur, Grant and Jackson knew this, as have many great leaders and others down throughout history.

If the Bible is so vital that even great leaders turn to it in times of crisis, all of us should no less turn to it in our everyday lives.

About itself, the Bible says:

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right" (2 Timothy 3:16, NLT).

"All your words are true" (Psalm 119:160, NLT).

"Every word of God proves true" (Proverbs 30:5, NLT).

"The Scriptures cannot be altered" (John 10:35, NLT).

"Forever, O LORD, your word stands firm in heaven" (Psalm 119:89, NLT).

Thank God for giving us the Bible. Through it, God has revealed Himself, His own thoughts, attributes, commandments, promises, plan of redemption, and the future, as well as many other things.

I cannot imagine what life would be like without God's holy inspired Word.

Thankfully, we do not have to find out.

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

When will Jesus return?

One of the most commonly asked questions that a Pastor faces is "when will Jesus return?" This isn’t a question that man can answer. You find people everywhere you go that have their opinions based on world events, but the reality is, "only the Father will know." The bottom line is that we should be more concerned about how we’re acting when Christ returns rather than being so concerned about when He returns. Take a look at this passage:

Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.-1 John 3:2

It's worth noting that whenever the subject of the Lord's return comes up in Scripture, it is usually connected to a command, or suggestion, to take action as a result.

For example, 2 Peter 3:10 tells us, "But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and everything in them will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be exposed to judgment."

We might ask, "So what? What does that mean to me?" Peter continues, "Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living!" (verse 11). You see, it should affect us because when Jesus does return, we’ll be judged on our actions, not on whether or not we were right about when He returned.

But nowhere in the Bible are we told to quit our jobs and sit on a rooftop or hide out in the mountains as we wait for the Lord's return. Rather, the Bible constantly tells believers to live godly lives. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5, "But you aren't in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won't be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. . . . So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be sober" (verses 4, 6).

In speaking of Christ's return, John tells us in his epistle, "And all who believe this will keep themselves pure, just as Christ is pure." Yes, Jesus is coming. And if we believe that, it should impact the way we live. It should give us the desire to live a holier life. It should give us the desire to always be working towards cleaning up our hearts so Christ will have a clean place to live.

Our lives are filled with trials and troubles. Each step we take towards Jesus becomes harder because Satan will throw anything he can in our way to distract us. Satan uses these sort of arguments and distractions to keep us from being ready when the Lord does come. So don’t worry about the whens, be concerned about the Hows (how ready is your heart?).

Live as if today were the last
Pastor Mike

Only a Mother

Can listen to the same knock-knock joke 27 times without hollering "Nobody's Home."

Will be a Scrabble partner with a kid who thinks "cookie" begins with "k."

Will unwind 56 feet of toilet paper so her little darling can have the empty make a Mother's Day present.

Knows the location of every drive-through window in town.

Will try to hide a leafy green vegetable in a cookie. s the exact temperature a crayon will melt on the dashboard.

Knows the secret to happy grocery shopping with a toddler...visit the bakery aisle first and plug his lips with a big cream horn.

Can cherish the 1,000th bleating of "Twinkle, Twinkle" from a budding violinist.

Sees a Picasso in those scribbles decorating the fridge.

Knows all the verses to "This Old Man."

Can deal out emergency lunch money from the dryer lint filter.

Can find her last good pair of panty hose hitching a wagon to a tricycle.

Knows the sure-fire way to get three kids to eat carrots... buy two carrots.

Is limber enough to wrestle a fitted sheet onto the top bunk bed.

Invests fifty dollars in stale macaroons to help send the French Club to Disneyland.

Will attempt to grow hydroponic tomatoes in one night for a last-minute science project.

Can see across town and locate a missing shoe from her office desk phone.

Can switch from cook to catcher in an instant.

Has a bathtub that's filled with little yellow duckies.

Seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Illegal Immigration: A Biblical Perspective

The past few weeks has been full of huge debates regarding the Illegal immigrant situation. I recently ran across the following article regarding this topic, and would like to pass it on to all of you. Please read it, and I would love to get some feedback from you. No matter how you think, it’s sure a hot topic, and I wrestle with it daily. I look forward to your feedback.

Pastor Mike

Illegal Immigration: A Biblical Perspective
Note: This commentary was delivered by Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley.

Throughout America last week, more than a million illegal immigrants poured into the streets. They took the day off from work, forcing many businesses to close for the day.

They got everyone's attention. However, it appears they only inflamed an already overheated debate. And the early polls are not showing any change in public opinion.

We need to pause and take a good look at the roles of the Church and the government here. They are different and, in some ways, conflicting. But this is not the first time such a conflict has arisen, and it is possible to formulate a thoughtful Christian perspective that takes both roles into account. Many Christians are giving it serious thought and coming up with good analyses.

First of all, as Christians, we are to care about the poor, widows, orphans, strangers, and that means aliens in our land. That's explicitly commanded in God's Word. Leviticus 19:33-34 is a good example. It says, "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born."

That settles the question of how we personally, as Christians, and how the Church at-large treats illegal aliens in our midst. But what about the other question of their legal status in the country? Those are two different things.

The Bible has something here to say as well. It states that government's job is to preserve order and do justice. St. Augustine famously said that peace flows from order. As a former attorney general, I can tell you that enforcing the rule of law is very important to order and peace.

Congress needs to provide the resources for proper immigration control and establish a program that enables us to process those who have earned the legal right to stay as citizens. In the meantime, we must abide by the law. If thirty years of prison ministry have taught us anything, it's that we can't cave in to those who take the law into their own hands. Such disrespect for the law sets a terrible example to everyone. We have to look at what the law says and enforce it.

The hard truth is, if people come here illegally, they cannot be granted amnesty. That simply encourages millions more to cross our borders. Of course, securing the borders is vital to national security. It's also important that immigrants come here, but through an orderly, established legal process. And employers cannot be allowed to continue to ignore the law against hiring illegal aliens. If we do not enforce the law, we are teaching millions a terrible lesson. We are telling them the law does not matter.

Failure to enforce the law has created this problem, and the ironic aspect is that the very blessing illegal aliens come here to secure for themselves is precisely a result of an economy and society made strong by the rule of law.

It's true that an unjust law is no law at all, as Martin Luther King famously said. But this is not a case of an unjust law. To secure our borders and to provide for an orderly process of immigrants is a just law, and the Church needs to respect that law even while it administers aid, compassion, and love to those in our midst.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Still Counting - Subtraction

We as Christians love to add to our lives. We like to add books, devotionals, prayers, and all of these things are good, but what about the other part of the equation-subtraction. Learning to take things out (subtracting) of our lives? Let’s take a look at subtraction in the life of a believer.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away (subtracts) the sin of the world! John 1:29

To most people, math is no fun. We tend to think of it as the subject in school that was just there to bring our GPA down. But math is important-especially in God's equation for our lives. He uses math in our lives to work out his supernatural equation.

When it comes to applying God's math to our lives, most of us don't mind adding. We love to add new things because it can make life exciting and new. Far too often, though, we forget that addition is not the only part of God's equation. He also tells us that we need to occasionally take things away from our lives. But we tend to resist applying subtraction to life.

What we need to understand is that subtraction is just as important in God's math as addition is. God doesn’t always ask us, "What are you doing?" Many times he asks us, "What are you not doing that you were doing before?" He wants us to subtract those things from our lives that are hurtful or unproductive. God tells us that subtraction is vital for our growth.

What is God telling you to subtract from your life? Is it a harmful habit or a draining relationship? Whatever it is, God wants you to subtract it from your life so that you can grow. This week, listen to God's instruction and apply his mathematical equation. Don't just focus addition-remember that subtraction is just as important.

Looking forward to having less tomorrow

Pastor Mike

What's in a Word?

Old Rev. Johnson was begging his board of directors to buy a new chandelier for the church.
Pleading for more than an hour, he sat down sullen and hopeless in his ambition to acquire a chandelier.
Then the elder president of the board stood up. "What're we wasting time talkin' for?" he said rhetorically.
"Foist of all, a chandelier, .. we ain't got nobody who could even spell it.
Second, we ain't got nobody who could even play it.
And third, what we need most in the church is more light!"

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Moses: a person just like us.

One of the greatest leaders in Biblical history was Moses. Even people who don't know the Lord know the name of Moses. He's just that famous. He's known as a great man of strength by most, but if you read The Book of Exodus, you'll see a man that faced the same challenges and insecurities as we do.

Moses had an amazing early childhood. Born in secret, abandonded by his mother so he could live, saved by divine intervention by the daughter of his people's enemy, and raised by the people that enslaved his family. Moses seems in the bible as a person with an incredibly varied past. The mystery that surrounds Moses' growth to adulthood offers hardly any clues, but the man who eventually served as God's chosen leader of the chosen people was more prepared to lead than he realized.

Moses lived to be 120 years old. The first 40 years were spent learning Egyptian academics and leadership roles. The second 40 years were spent leading sheep through the desert (which would later help him lead his people through the same terrain, which made him more prepared to be a leader than he realized). The final 40 years were spent in the stressful role of being a Prophet and the leader of God's people on the move.

Each phase in Moses' life started with a crisis. By the time he was 40, his instincts to protect his people were well meant, but poorly timed (Exodus 2:11-15). He killed an Egyptian guard and had to run for his life into the desert. He stayed there until God called him. That call (Exodus 3:1-4:17) shows us a lot about the character of Moses. He questioned, avoided, and resisted God's calling (sound familiar?). He had lived with the failure and shame of what he had done in Egypt for almost 40 years. He had grown used to a life that was filled with mediocrity. But God had plans for Moses' combination of ability and insecurity, a combination that made Moses a humble man.

God used Moses' experiences to hone his abilities and shape his character. Moses' training improved his gifts, his failures deepened his dependence on God, and God made a loving effort to convince Moses of His plans.

God can use our insecurities and uncertainties as tools in our lives that will further and strengthen His Kingdom. They can, and will, make us useful in His service. God can make strengths out of weaknesses. We might allow them to come between God and us, but God transforms them into a bridge that connects us with the One that loves us most of all.

If you look at yourself in the mirror every day and don't think that God has a plan, or a use, for you, then you need to look at the story of Moses and see how one of the most important leaders in the Bible had the same thoughts and excuses just like we do. God used him, and he can use us.

Looking forward to talking to you tomorrow,
In him,
Pastor Mike.

If Biblical Headlines were written by Today's Liberal Media

On Red Sea crossing:
Pursuing Environmentalists Killed

On David vs. Goliath:
Psychologist Questions Influence of Rock

On Elijah on Mt. Carmel:
400 Killed

On the birth of Christ:
Animal Rights Activists Enraged by Insensitive Couple

On feeding the 5,000:
Disciples Mystified Over Behavior

On healing the 10 lepers:
"Faith Healer" Causes Bankruptcy

On healing of the Gadarene demoniac:
Local Farmer's Investment Lost

On raising Lazarus from the dead:
Will Reading to be Delayed

Saturday, May 06, 2006

How do you see yourself?

I was recently looking through a Christian bookstore, when I noticed how large the "self-help" section had become. The part that really discouraged me though was how small the area of theology and doctrine had become. Now don't get me wrong, I think that self-improvement is a great thing, but when you spend time in the Bible, you'll see where your real self-esteem comes from. Now once again, I want to emphasize that the writers of these books are doing nothing wrong when they're trying to teach people how to see themselves in a positive light through the word of God, but with the business of the world today, people are spending more time in these sort of books than the Bible. If you really want to see how God sees you, and how you should see yourself, then read what your creator wrote first,.

Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT).

There's a new technology that combines photography and the computer to create a picture of a girl looking into a mirror. It produces a funny and distorted amusement-park type reflection without the girl having to be present.

This reminds me of the picture we often get when we try to imagine how God sees us. The image is distorted, but in this case it's not very amusing.

Because knowledge of our sins and shortcomings creates a sense of guilt in us, our spiritual vision is blurred, and we can't see ourselves as clearly as God sees us.

The vision of ourselves can be blurred by either a lack of knowledge of what God says about us, or disbelief in what He says about us.

It is only from God's Word that we can find a true picture of ourselves, as God see us. All else is distorted. The key for a person having a proper self-image is to discover what God says about us. We find this in His holy Word, the Bible.

In the Bible, the sinner sees that he is a sinner and spiritually lost. He also discovers how to solve that problem, find forgiveness and eternal life through God's great love and forgiveness in His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In the Bible, the Christian discovers his new identity as well as his self-worth. Here are some examples:

1. He finds that he is a child of God. (John 1:12.)

2. He finds he is a new creature, and the old has passed away. (2 Corinthians 5:17.)

3. He finds that he has been redeemed from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13.)

4. He finds that he now has peace with God. (Romans 5:1.)

5. He finds he is no longer under condemnation. (Romans 8:1.)

6. He finds that he already has (present tense) eternal life. (John 3:36.)

7. He finds that, in God's eyes, he is already sitting with Christ in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6.)

8. He finds that he can have supernatural power to do God's will. (Acts 1:8.)

9. He finds he has power over the devil. (Luke 10:19.)

10. He finds that as God's child he can ask his Father for anything within His will and he can have it. (1 John 5:14-15.)

11. He discovers that he has been chosen to be an ambassador for Christ, with God's message (2 Corinthians 5:20.)

12. He discovers that he can claim the promise of Jesus for great and mighty things. "The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. Yes, ask anything in my name, and I will do it!" (John 14:12-14, NLT).

I myself love to read some of the great authors of our times in regards to Christian psychology and counceling. These subjects are of great service to our community, but should never be seperate from the word of God. If you seek true self-worth and esteem, just remember that you were created in the image of God. Now that's powerful.

Yours for helping to fulfill the Great Commission
each year until our Lord returns,

Pastor Mike

One for the books

Two tourists were driving through Louisiana. As they approached Natchitoches, they started arguing about the pronunciation of the town. They argued back and forth until they finally stopped for lunch.

As they stood at the counter, one tourist asked the blonde employee, "Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are . . . very slowly?"

The blonde girl leaned over the counter and said,
"Burrrrrrrr, gerrrrrrr, Kiiiiing."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Lean On Me

Ecclesiastes 4:9
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.

Have you discovered yet that you are incomplete by yourself? During my "warrior" stage of life you would have been hard-pressed to convince me that I needed you or anyone else. I know few people willing to admit their need for others, but many who live according to this principle. However, sooner or later we discover God's truth regarding our need for others.

God made us to need others. We may not discover this until we fail-fail in a business, a marriage, a close friendship, and a client relationship. We are incomplete without the ongoing input from others into our lives. An independent spirit is one of the most detestable sins from God's viewpoint. It is the highest form of pride. "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice" (Prov. 13:10).

God has made each of us so that we have only so many gifts. He did not give any of us all the available gifts. Hence, we learn to depend on others and to humbly trust others to complete us where we are deficient.

David had Jonathan. Paul had Silas. John Wesley had George Whitefield. Martin Luther had Philip Melanchthon, who was 14 years younger. Martin Luther learned that he needed someone in his life to complete the work God called him to do. Luther had the greatest respect for this friend who helped him reform the Church of their day, and the Church, as we know it at present. Luther learned a great deal from Melanchthon, who was a great scholar at a young age. He could speak several languages, and he became Professor of Greek at the new University of Wittenberg at 21 years of age. This was ten months after Luther posted his famous theses on the church door in Wittenberg. Melanchthon helped shape the Protestant movement of the sixteenth century through his research, writings, morals, and religious conscience. Luther and Melanchthon became inseparable, and when they died, they were buried next to each other.

Who has God placed in your life to complete you? Perhaps it is a mate. Perhaps it is a close friend. Perhaps it is a business partner. If you lack this in your life, I encourage you to seek someone out who can speak into your life. If you have someone like this, tell him or her how much you appreciate the role he or she plays in your life.

Remember, as Christians, we’re called to support and love each other. Lift someone up today.

Looking forward to growing together in the name of the Lord,
Pastor Mike

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Where are you looking?

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105, NLT).

A famous comedy skit by German comedian Karl Vallentin cleverly illustrates the folly of contemporary man's search for answers.

Imagine a dark stage illuminated by only a small circle of light on one side of the stage. The rest of the stage is dark. In the skit, the comic comes onto the stage. He paces around and around this lighted circle with a worried face. He’s searching for something.

After a while, a policeman joins him and asks what he has lost. "I've lost the key to my house," Vallentin answers. The policeman joins the hunt, but the search eventually appears useless. "Are you sure you lost it here?" asks the policeman. "Oh, no!" says Vallentin, pointing to a dark corner." "It was over there." "Then why are you looking for it here?" "There's no light over there," answers the comic.

Mankind, like Vallentin, is still looking in the wrong places for answers to its problems. People look to science, psychology, philosophy, politics, materialism, and all manner of places, but truth isn’t there.

Paul wrote: "Don't let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ" (Colossians 2:8, NLT).

Human thinking has no answers to questions such as:

Who am I?
Where did I come from?
Where am I going when I die?

The answers are in God's holy, inspired Word, the Bible. Those who scoff at God's Word and do not believe it will never find the answers. Those who seek truth in God's Word will find their answers.

Referring to God's Words, the Bible says of itself, "They are life to those who find them..." (Proverbs 4:22, NIV). But in the immediately preceding passage, God says: "My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart..." (vs. 20-21).

We must pay attention to what God says, not let His words out of sight, and keep them within our hearts.

Karl Vallentin's car keys were in the dark, but he was foolishly looking in the light. It is just the reverse for us. Truth is in the light of God's Word. Most people are looking for it in the dark.

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Being a Vessel to Bless Others

Proverbs 11:24-25 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

One of the reasons God gives money to us is to bless other Christians by meeting their needs. God uses the transfer of money within the Body of Christ to build unity among Christians. Sometimes we withhold money that God has designated for someone else. He wants to bless through us, but His will cannot be accomplished through us if we are disobedient.

This was the case for a business owner who tells of the time when God told him to forego a company bonus one year. God directed him to share his year-end bonus with an employee to show his appreciation for him. He wrestled with God for three full days before obeying the Lord on the matter. When he finally met with the employee to give him his check, the man said he had been praying about a financial need he had three days earlier. He had decided to borrow the money to meet his need. The amount of money he borrowed was the exact amount the business owner gave him.

God had already planned to provide for the employee through the business owner, but because he was hesitant, he almost missed the opportunity to be an instrument of God in this man's life. Even so, he could have prevented the man from having to borrow money. It was an important lesson for the business owner.

How many people do we let down because we feel the "harvest" God provides is all ours? In America the pressure is always on to move up the ladder of material accumulation. Jesus warned us about this. If our focus is on accumulation, we will not look for opportunities to be God's vessels of financial blessing to others. Ask the Lord if you have an open hand when it comes to finances.

Praying to help others,
Pastor Mike

Just another thought on the subject!

A businessman who needed millions of dollars to clinch an important deal went to church to pray for the money. By chance he knelt next to a man who was praying for $100 to pay an urgent debt.

The businessman took out his wallet and pressed $100 into the other man's hand. Overjoyed, the man got up and left the church.

The businessman then closed his eyes and prayed: "And now, Lord, that I have your undivided attention..."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How to do the math

One of the biggest reasons that Christianity is losing ground to the Islamic faith is the difference between the believers. Most Christians today are leaving the spreading of the Gospel strictly up to the Missionaries and Pastors. We as a faith have become complacent, and we couldn't be more wrong. All Christians should be out there spreading the word of Jesus to everyone they know, and even those they don't. Apathy should not be a part of our language, but for some reason that's what it has become today, even in our churches. Can you imagine how fast the news of Jesus would spread if EVERYONE took their faith as seriously as the Muslims? It wouldn't even be a race. So why don't more people follow this Biblical calling? Because most don't know the scripture that we're going to look at today.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19

Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus gave us a math problem that centered on multiplication. In this equation, he talked about multiplying new believers. He didn't take on the word problem himself. Amazingly, he left the math up to a hand full of humans. He left it up to you and me.

To help complete this math problem, we need to be able to see people in our lives that need Christ present in their lives. We need to see who we can share our faith with. But that is not always an easy thing for us to do. In order for us to see these people, we may need to look at our lives through a different lens, through a different perspective. We need to put on polarized glasses.

Polarized sunglasses are amazing. When you are out on a lake or skiing down the slopes, these glasses help you to see more clearly. They allow you to be able to see things around you that you could not have seen without them.

The same thing needs to happen in your life and mine. But to gain that new perspective, we need to ask God to give us those polarized glasses. We need to ask God to give us x-treme insight to be able to see those around us that need Christ in their lives.

This week, ask God to give you x-treme insight. Just say to him, "God, show me someone in my life that I need to invite to church or share you with." God wants you to be his witness. Look for the people in you life that need him, and then be a witness to what God has done in your life. Help finish God's equation of multiplying new believers.

Praying to reach someone new for the Lord today

Pastor Mike

Today's latest "joke"

There was a farmer who raised watermelons. He was doing pretty well but he was disturbed by some local kids who would sneak into his watermelon patch at night and eat watermelons. After some careful thought he came up with a clever idea that he thought would scare the kids away for sure.

So he made up the sign and posted it in the field. The next day the kids show up and they see this sign, it says, "Warning, one of the watermelons in this field has been injected with cyanide."

So the kids run off, make up their own sign and post it next to the sign that the farmer made. The farmer shows up the next week and when he looks over the field he notices that no watermelons are missing but he notices a new sign next to his. He drives up to the sign which read:

"Now there are two".