Pastor Mike's thoughts

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

Friday, June 30, 2006

Two important facts

While I was in seminary, we took a class called Pastoral ethics. It was a great class that really made you think about what was right and what was wrong. It challenged us to learn to walk the line, but not to cross it.

One of the subjects we covered in the class discussed lying so you wouldn’t hurt somebody. This dicussion brings up the question, "when is a lie OK?" Is a lie ever OK?

Proverbs 6:12-19"There are six things the Lord hates ' a false witness who pours out lies '" (vv.16, 19)

What if someone came to your house to murder a member of your family and asked if that person was in? Would it not be right to lie in such circumstances?

The "situational ethics" people would say "Yes." The Bible, in my opinion, says, "No." This may seem harsh, but hear me out.

Situational ethics is notorious for coming up with hypothetical situations in which a person must sin because that is what ought to be done. But once we view sin as a "must" and an "ought," we’re finished. This is just the wrong way to think.

A Christian view of ethics rejects every constructed situation which the situational ethics people make up because it fails to take into account two important biblical facts.

First - God's sovereignty. God will always make a way for His people to avoid sinning. We have to stop testing God on a situation that "might" happen.

Second - the Holy Spirit's power. The believer is encouraged not to worry about what to say in difficult situations. "At that time you will be given what to say" (Matt. 10:19). Also, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Prov. 3:5).

God isn’t ignorant or stupid. He didn’t fail to see that sometimes His laws would seem to contradict one another. He knew full well that there would be occasions when it might seem OK from a human point of view to disobey one of His commandments, therefore His promise to us in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Those who try to excuse the breaking of any of God's moral laws on the pretext that it feels "right" or seems "good" sow the seeds of disruption in their own inner being. It is not the way of wisdom.

Praying that we all SEE the truth
Pastor Mike

Political Correctness For Kids

Your bedroom isn't cluttered; it's "passage-restrictive."

Kids don't get in trouble anymore. They merely hit "social speed bumps."

You're not having a bad hair day; you're suffering from "rebellious follicle syndrome."

No one's tall anymore. They're "vertically enhanced."

You're not shy. You're "conversationally selective."

You don't talk a lot. You're just "abundantly verbal."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Shoe Salesman

What are you doing to expand the Kingdom of God? Do you think that there's nothing you can do because you don't feel called? Don't worry, God has a plan for each and every one of us. If you feel like you're not doing enough, then you're probably not.

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Dwight L. Moody was an uneducated, unordained, shoe salesman who felt God's call to preach the gospel. Early one morning he and some friends gathered in a hay field for a season of prayer, confession, and commitment. His friend Henry Varley said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him." Moody was moved by these words. He later went to a meeting where Charles Spurgeon was speaking. In that meeting Moody remembered the words his friend had told him, "The world had yet to see!...with and for and through and in!...A man!" Varley meant any man! Varley didn't say he had to be educated, or brilliant, or anything else. Just a man! Well, by the Holy Spirit in him, he'd be one of those men. Then all of a sudden, in the high gallery, he saw something he'd never realized before. It was not Mr. Spurgeon, after all, who was doing that work; it was God. And if God could use Mr. Spurgeon, why should He not use the rest of us, and why should we not all just lay ourselves at the Lord's feet and say to Him, "Send me! Use me!"
D.L. Moody was an ordinary man who sought to be fully and totally committed to Christ. God did extraordinary things through this ordinary man. Moody became one of the great evangelists of modern times. He founded a Bible college, Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, that sends out men and women trained in service for God.

Are you an ordinary man or woman in whom God wants to do extraordinary things? God desires that for every child of His. Ask God to do extraordinary things in your life. Begin today to trust Him to accomplish great things for His Kingdom through you.

Praying that we ALL accept the call
Pastor Mike

*Actual Hiker Comments*

These are actual comments left last year on Forest Service registration sheets and comment cards by backpackers completing wilderness camping trips:

"A small deer came into my camp and stole my bag of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call."

"Escalators would help on steep uphill sections."

"Instead of a permit system or regulations, the Forest Service needs to reduce worldwide population growth to limit the number of visitors to wilderness."

"Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands."

"Ban walking sticks in wilderness. Hikers that use walking sticks are more likely to chase animals."

"All the mile markers are missing this year."

"Found a smoldering cigarette left by a horse."

"Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill."

"Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid the area of these pests."

"Please pave the trails so they can be plowed of snow in the winter."

"Chair lifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them."

"The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals."

"Reflectors need to be placed on trees every 50 feet so people can hike at night with flashlights."
"Need more signs to keep area pristine."

"A McDonald's would be nice at the trail head."

"The places where trails do not exist are not well marked."

"Too many rocks in the mountains."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Why Jesus came

One of the deepest questions a person can ask is, why? Our nature is to question everything that we don't totally understand. Knowing the reason for Christ is one of the biggest questions that most of us have. Having said that, why did Jesus come here?

My purpose is to give life in all its fullness (John 10:10, NLT).

One winter during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), Jesus was walking in Solomon's Colonnade of the temple in Jerusalem. A crowd gathered around Him demanding:

"How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
"I did tell you," He answered, "but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me...I and the Father are one" (John 10:22-25,30, NIV).

Our Lord's claim is reinforced by the fact that He fulfilled prophecy. Hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth, various prophets of Israel foretold His miraculous birth, the place of His birth, His divine character, the purpose of His ministry, how He would die, and that He would be raised to life. These prophecies represent only a few of the many predictions made about Jesus' life, ministry, death, and resurrection. And He fulfilled every one down to the very last detail.

After His cruel crucifixion, Jesus demonstrated that He was God by rising from death and appearing over a period of forty days to hundreds of people, as many as five hundred in a single meeting. Then, as His followers watched in wonder, Jesus returned to heaven, having promised a continuing relationship with those who love Him.

God's holy, inspired Word also affirms Jesus' claim. The apostle Paul records, "He promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 1:2-4, NIV).

Jesus didn't live on earth just to prove He is God. He came to give you eternal life, to offer you forgiveness and set you free from sin and guilt, to give you a full and meaningful life here on earth. And it's because Jesus is God that He can provide forgiveness from sin and enable you to live abundantly.

In a conversation with a religious leader of His day, Jesus said, "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:16-17, NIV).

Paul wrote, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1-2, NIV).

A rich and satisfying life is the heritage of every Christian. Jesus intended the Christian life to be an exciting, abundant adventure.

Praying that we all live the life of fullness we deserve
Pastor Mike

A Really Serious Mistake

During the course of being interviewed by the press, the noted famous doctor was asked by a reporter:

"Tell me, Doctor, did you ever make any really serious mistakes in your career?"

"Yes, I did," came the doctor's reply with a heavy sigh . . . .

. . . . "I once cured a millionaire in one visit."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Seminary Student Gets Beat Up!

Do you harbor a grudge today? Is there someone you just cannot find it in your heart to forgive? Why should you?

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15, NLT).

The Old Testament story of Joseph is one of the most moving stories in the Bible and in the history of the world.

Joseph was really a great and godly man, who suffered beyond belief, was misunderstood, but was faithful to God. The late Dr. J. Vernon McGee counted many ways in which the details of Joseph's life were events that were a preview and a symbol of the life of Christ.

When Joseph's brothers came before him in Egypt asking for food, he faced a stiff test. Years before, they had threatened to kill him, and then they sold him into slavery.

But now, years later, Joseph forgave them. After their father Jacob died, they feared Joseph might take revenge, but he assured them of his complete forgiveness.

Chuck Swindoll reports that a seminary student in Chicago faced a similar forgiveness test. Although he preferred to work in some kind of ministry, the only job he could find was driving a bus on Chicago's south side.

One day a gang of tough teens got on board and refused to pay the fare. After a few days of this, the seminarian spotted a policeman on the corner, stopped the bus and reported them. The officer made them pay, but then he got off. When the bus rounded a corner, the gang robbed the seminarian and beat him severely. He pressed charges and the gang was rounded up. They were found guilty. But as soon as the jail sentences were given the young Christian saw their spiritual need and felt pity for them. So he asked the judge if he could serve their sentences for them.

The gang members and the judge were dumfounded. "It's because I forgive you," he explained. His request was denied but he visited the young men in jail and led several of them to faith in Christ.

As with Joseph and the seminarian, if we are wronged, may we be quick to forgive and allow God to use the situation for His redemptive purposes.

"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:14-15, NLT).

Praying that we all empty our hearts of bitterness
Pastor Mike

Giving Shots

A pediatric nurse, had the difficult assignment of giving immunization shots to children. One day she entered the examining room to give four-year-old Lizzie her shot.

"NO!! NO!! NO!!" she screamed.

"Lizzie," her mother scolded. "That's not polite behavior."

At that, the girl yelled even louder,


Monday, June 26, 2006

Laughter is not a bad thing

I was recently told that I am always laughing. I't true. I love to laugh, While I was at Seminary, there was a group of us that went everywhere together. When others needed a laugh, they just hung out with us. But it's amazing how many Christians take life too seriously. What I mean by this is that when confronted with obstacles, don't worry, be happy. Learn to laugh in the face of adversity.

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Seriously, I like to laugh. Someone has said laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it in one place. Laughter is one of God's lubricants for life.

Spiritual giants such as C. H. Spurgeon and Martin Luther were hooked on the stuff. Luther once kidded, "If they don't allow laughter in heaven, then I don't want to go there." He went on to add, "If the earth is fit for laughter then surely heaven is filled with it. Heaven is the birthplace of laughter." When Spurgeon's elders asked him to "tone down" his humor from the pulpit, he replied, "If only you knew how much I held back, you would commend me."

But the way some Christians live, you'd think God had neglected to create a giggle-box. They act as though enjoying a couple of laughs a week is really excessive.

We shouldn't take things so seriously that we think everything depends on us. We shouldn't get too busy to have fun. We shouldn't become so goal-oriented that we subtly begin to think that people-especially our family members-are "in the way."

When was the last time you got down on all fours and "ate" your baby's tummy? Or wrestled with your teen? Or did something really rowdy or goofy at the dinner table? Just look back at all of the funny things in your life and see what kind of feelings they stir up within you.

Life wasn't created by God to be friction-free. Laughter doesn't level life's obstacles, but it does make the climb easier.

Laughing all the time
Pastor Mike

And you MUST read this....:)

Heavenly Clocks

A man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.

He asked, "What are all those clocks?"

St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move."

"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?" "That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Incredible," said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"

St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told
only two lies in his entire life."

"Where's Sen. Clinton's clock?" asked the man.

"Sen. Clinton's clock is in Jesus' office. He's using it as a ceiling fan!"

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I need glasses!

So many people today need spiritual glasses. We need glasses because we fail to see what God has truly given us. We don't include His plans in our lives, then we wonder why we don't do better in our daily pursuits. We have to see God in everything we do in order to see clearly where we need to go in life.

Amos 3:7 Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.

God still uses His prophets today to reveal His plans in the lives of His people. I have seen this Scripture proved over and over in the lives of people. It is as though God sends out His "scouts" to inform His servants what is ahead for them. Sometimes He does this because He knows the event will require such changes in that person's life and so He wants to assure them of His love. I have experienced the Lord using me in this way in the life of other individuals. God did this in the life of Moses. He came to Moses at the burning bush to reveal His purposes for the people of Israel and His call on Moses to free them. The apostle Paul had Cornelius come to him to let him know God had called him to preach to the Gentiles.

Has God placed individuals in your life to speak His plans for you? Are your eyes and ears spiritually sensitive so that you will know who are messengers of God? Elisha had a servant who could not see or hear with spiritual eyes and ears until Elisha prayed they would be opened. Then the servant could see the great army of God protecting them (see 2 Kings 6:17). Pray that you might see and hear with the Spirit. He may desire to reveal His purposes and plans through another individual.

Praying that we all see more clearly
Pastor Mike

Ten Dog Rules

1. The dog is not allowed in the house.
2. Okay, the dog is allowed in the house, but only in certain rooms.
3. Ok, fine, the dog is allowed in all rooms, but has to stay off the furniture.
4. The dog can get on the old furniture only.
5. Fine, the dog is allowed on all the furniture, but is not allowed to sleep with the humans on the bed.
6. Okay, the dog is allowed on the bed, but only by invitation.
7. The dog can sleep on the bed whenever he wants, but not under the covers.
8. The dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only!
9. The dog can sleep under the covers every night.
10. Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Causes of Procrastination

How many of us read the Bible, then put what we read into place right away? Not many! Most of us read what we're supposed to do, then think about it for a few days, then plan how we're going to do it, then try to live our lives accordingly. The problem is, there will be a thousand distractions between the time we read what to do, and the time that we are going to start doing it. This lapse in time decreases the chances of us really making a positive change. What we need to do is to just get started NOW.

Psalm 119:97-104

Ever wonder why you don't make that crucial decision in your life? Or what keeps you from following through on chores at home or projects at work? The most common excuse for procrastinating is, “I’m too busy right now.” The real reasons for repeated delays come not from an outside source but from our own thinking. Procrastination occurs when we want to avoid discomfort or self-doubt.

Let’s consider two areas where Christians commonly procrastinate. The first is Scripture reading. For some of us, uncertainty about where to begin or what method to follow can make us feel inadequate. To avoid this uncomfortable emotion, we may stop trying to figure it out. Or, if we do meditate on a Bible passage, the Holy Spirit might point out ungodly attitudes and behaviors in our lives that the Lord wants to change. Then emotions of embarrassment, inadequacy, or shame can surface. To get rid of such uneasy feelings, we simply stop reading.

Avoidance is also too common a practice in the area of tithing. Giving generously to God usually means cutting back on some areas of spending. That can make us feel insecure because we think, How will I live without ___? Most of us wish we had more disposable income, not less; so our mind plays a little trick and tells us, It will be easier to do it next week. But seven days later, it is the same story.

Think about the things you’ve been putting off. Ask yourself, How competent do I feel to do those jobs? and What negative emotions do I feel in connection with them? Then pray for God to direct you.

Praying that we all take action sooner,
Pastor Mike

I'm a Boy Baby!

In the maternity ward of a hospital, new-born girl baby looks over at new-born boy baby and asks, "Are you a girl baby or a boy baby?"
The boy baby quickly chirps up, "I'm a boy baby!"

"How can you tell?" asks girl baby.

"Easy," says boy baby. And, with that, he threw off the blankets, hoisted up his itty-bitty night-shirt and proudly pointed downward. " booties"

Friday, June 23, 2006

When Trouble Comes

Life! It sure can be a real ride sometimes. I don't think there's a day that goes by that I don't hear someone who is going through a tragedy in their life. Sometimes the things I hear just break my heart. I'm asked what they should do, but the real question is what should they do. They should turn to the Lord.

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
—Psalm 61:2

I've come to realize that when I'm seeking to walk in the will of God and when I'm engaging in the things of God, then I can expect opposition from the enemy of God, the devil.

Sometimes afflictions don't come into our lives because of our disobedience, but just the opposite. Our afflictions, our troubles, and our hardships can come because we are obedient to God.

Remember Job and all of the hardship that came upon him because he was a perfect and an upright man, a man who feared God and turned away evil.

Then there was Nehemiah, who went out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that had been torn down and were lying in rubble. God had directed him to do this, but as soon as he started this great work for the Lord, a man named Sanballat opposed him and threatened him.

What did Nehemiah do? Did he get a restraining order against Sanballat? Did he immediately stop what he was doing and run and hide? No. Instead, Nehemiah did what James says we should do when we are afflicted or when we're in trouble. He prayed. He said, “Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, for they have provoked You to anger before the builders” (Nehemiah 4:4–5). Nehemiah cried out to God and brought his problems to Him.

As 1 Peter 5:7 reminds us, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” So when trouble comes, pray. Bring your troubles, your problems, and your cares to God. Stop trying to do it on your own. That's what Jesus died for.

Remember where to go when you've had enough
Pastor Mike

*It's Not A Cat*

A small, four-legged, fur-bearing extortionist.

A wildlife control expert impersonator.

An un-programmable animal.

A four footed allergen.

A hair relocation expert.

A treat-seeking missile.

A lap-warmer with a built-in buzzer.

A small, furry lap fungus.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Gold, Not Dirt

Your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold (1 Peter 1:7, NLT).

The story is told about Andrew Carnegie, who at one time was the wealthiest man in America.

Carnegie came to America from his native Scotland when he was a kid, did a variety of odd jobs, and eventually ended up as the largest steel maker in the US. At one time it's said that he had 43 millionaires working for him! In those days a millionaire was an extremely rare person, because $1 million in his day would be equivalent to a lot more than that today, maybe even $100 million or more.

A reporter once asked Carnegie how he had hired 43 millionaires. Carnegie responded that those men had not been millionaires when they started working for him, but became millionaires after he had hired them.

The reporter's next question was, "How did you develop these men to become so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?"

Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn't go into the mine looking for dirt. One goes in looking for gold.

Isn't that the way our Lord looks at us? "He knows we're only dust (dirt)" (Psalm 103:14, NLT), but He sees more than that in us. He looks beyond the dirt and sees what's actually greater than gold -- that which He's refining by the tests of faith that come to us in this world. He's preparing us for eternity.

"These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold -- and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold" (1 Peter 1:7, NLT).

He says we're even more precious to Him than gold! Actually, gold is a common item in heaven, so common it is used as street pavement! (Revelation 21:21).

Thank God that when He looks at us with His eternal eyesight through the blood-stained glasses, stained by the blood of Jesus, He doesn't see our dirt, he sees something more valuable than gold.

Our wonderful Lord is worthy of all praise, and honor, and glory.

Thanking God that He loves us no matter what
Pastor Mike

*Dieting Buddies*

Mary announced that she was going to start a diet to lose some pounds she had put on recently.

"Great," Sue exclaimed. "I'm ready to start a diet too. We can be dieting buddies and help each other out. And when I feel the urge to drive out and get a burger and fries, I'll call you first."

"Wonderful," Mary replied. "I'll go with you."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Walking with true sight

Have you ever known anybody that was blind? Sometimes they truly see better than those with sight. They learn to literally walk in faith. They learn to use the senses that many of us forget we have. It's just like our walk with the Lord.

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Helen Keller was once asked, "Is there anything worse than being blind?"

"Yes," she replied, "the most pathetic person in the whole world is someone who has sight but no vision."

Vision is possessing a sense of purpose in life. And mankind's purpose is found in the Scriptures.

God has a plan for each believer's life, and it is our responsibility to walk by faith, totally dependent upon Him to fulfill His purpose in and through us.

God has chosen you to fulfill His plan in your world. Have you caught that vision? Has your brother and sisters?

Americans live for the moment, not thinking about of the future. We want satisfaction now. We don't want to plant seeds that grow oak trees; we want to plant seeds today and harvest the trees tomorrow!

Many individuals, and most people, are not asking enough questions about life. Caught up in the rush of living, they seldom take time to step out of the mainstream long enough to take a look at where they are going. Seneca,the Roman philosopher, said, "You must know for which harbor you are headed if you are to catch the right wind to take you there."

Allowing the Lord to give me sight
Pastor Mike

Rules Of Thumb for Writers

Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.

Eschew obfuscation.

A writer mustn't shift your point of view.

About them sentence fragments.

As far as incomplete constructions, they are wrong.

Check to see if you have any words out.

Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Spiritual Thirst

What brought you to Jesus? Have you ever met someone that made such an impact in your life that you just had to know more about Jesus?

I s
pread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land.
—Psalm 143:6

One of the most attractive things about those who live the Christian life is their lifestyle. And there are unbelievers who are watching Christians, looking at the way they live. In fact, I came to know Christ because I watched the Christians at a church across from a bar. They would get together before services and have times of prayer. They would carry their Bibles around with them. They would say things like, “Praise the Lord!” and “God bless you.” They would hug each other after classes. They had such a great time together.

I saw real brotherhood in these Christians. I saw real love, not a cheap imitation. And that intrigued me. That got my attention. Essentially, it got me interested in their message.

That is what happened to the prodigal son. He said,
“How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 15:17–18).

Jesus told us that as Christians, we are to be both salt and light in this world. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). But we are also to be salt. What does that mean? Well, among other things, salt stimulates thirst. And when you are living a godly life, you will stimulate a spiritual thirst in the lives of others. They will see you have something they don’t.

Praying that we all become good examples
Pastor Mike

*Textbook For Sale*

Cards offering used textbooks for sale are posted on the college notice board at the beginning of each semester. One read: "Introduction to Psychology, $8, never used." The card was signed, "Must sell."

The next day a note had been added: "Good price. Are you sure it's never been used?" Signed, "Prospective buyer."

Below in a different hand was: "Positive!" Signed, "Professor who graded his exam."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Discovering the Source of Problems

Are you looking around at your life today wondering why everything seems so wrong? Does it seem like some people put out less effort than you in life but get more? How could a loving God possibly allow this sort of thing to happen?

2 Samuel 21:14 After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.

During the reign of Da
vid, there was a famine in the land for three very long years. So David looked for the Lord regarding this famine, "Why is there famine on this land?" The Lord answered David, "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death" (2 Sam. 21:1b).

Years earlier, Joshua made a peace treaty with the Gibeonites. This was also an act of disobedience. When God called Israel to come into the Promised Land, they were to destroy all the enemies of God. Joshua fail
ed to see through the false face of deception when the Gibeonites made themselves look like travelers. The Israelites signed a peace treaty only to find out who the Gibeonites were after they signed it. Now they had to honor the treaty. However, this led to intermarriages and a whole lot of sorrow for Israel. Years later, Saul made a decision to kill the Gibeonites.

The nation was now regretting the punishment for their sin of disobedience through a famine. David knew that famines could have a spiritual source, so he asked God and God answered. The reason for the famine was Saul's murder of the Gibeonites. Once David knew the source of the problem, he took action. He re
pented on behalf of the nation and made restitution. The famine was then lifted.

Do you have a problem that seems to be a continually unresolved issue? Have you asked God to tell you the reason for the problem? It may have a spiritual cause that's still unresolved with God. He may be allowing this pressure to bring attention to an issue He wants you to take care of. Ask the Lord today to give you revelation on your problem. As a loving Father, He wants to make known anything that stands in the way of fellowship between you and Him. However, His righteousness must always be upheld.

Praying that we all get our unresolved issues straight with God
Pastor Mike

Three Nurses

Three nurses arrive at the pearly gates. St. Peter asks the first why he should admit her.
She replies that she has been an emergency room nurse and has saved thousands and thousands of lives.

"OK", he says, "Come on in!"

The second reports that he has been an ICU nurse and he, too, has saved thousands and thousands of lives. St. Peter lets him in, too.

St. Peter asks the third nurse the same question. She replies that she has been an HMO care nurse and has saved thousands and thousands of dollars for the insurance company.

St. Peter replies, "OK. Come on in. But you can only stay three days. And then . . . "

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The spiritual self

How should we act as Christians? How do we keep our thoughts and desires from taking over? These are questions that have been going through the mind of man for many years. Most of the time we know what is right and wrong, but we fall prey to the flesh. O how do we change? We adopt the fruits of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22, 23
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law

The spiritual person also has a body, soul and spirit. But this individual has been remarkably transformed from the natural person he was before spiritual birth. At conversion, his spirit became united with God's Spirit. The spiritual life which resulted from this union is characterized by forgiveness of sin, acceptance in God's family, and the realization of personal worth.

The soul of the spiritual person also reflects a change produced by spiritual birth. He can now receive his calling from the Spirit, not just from the person. His mind is being renewed and transformed. His emotions are governed by peace and joy instead of turmoil. It's our responsibility to choose not to walk according to the flesh, but to walk according to the Spirit. As the spiritual person chooses his choice to live in the Spirit, his life bears the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23).

As a spiritual person, your body is the living temple of God. We should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice of worship and service to Him. The flesh, conditioned to live apart from God under the old self, is still present in the spiritual person. But he responsibly subdues the flesh and its sinful nature daily as he considers himself dead to sin.

"That all looks and sounds great," you may say. "But I'm a Christian and I still have some problems. I know I'm spiritually alive, but sometimes my mind gets stuck on the wrong kinds of thoughts. Sometimes I give in to the desires of the flesh. Sometimes I think to much about the desires of the flesh instead of crucifying them."

The description of the spiritual person is the ideal. It's the model of maturity that we are all growing towards. God has made every way for you to experience personally the description of the spiritual person in His Word (2 Peter 1:3). You will grow as a spiritual person and glorify God in your body as you learn to subdue the flesh and be filled by the spirit.

Praying for all of us to resist the flesh
Pastor Mike

A Letter from a College Student

The parents of a Univ. of Virginia student who just headed back from holiday received this letter:
Dear Mom and Dad:

University life is so wonderful! Classes this session are interesting, my classmates are the best!

But after spending all my cash on Christmas presents, I am in a little need for some spending money for books and such. But don't want to send the wrong signals home.

Your son

After deliberating a while, this was the draft of their appropriate response:

Dear Son:

NOt much to NOtice here on the NOrth side of town since you left for school. NObody doing NOthing NOble.

Enjoyed having you home for Thanksgiving in NOvember and Christmas. NOthing is the same since you left.

Loved your NOte; write aNOther one when you have time.

Have to go NOw.

Mom & Dad

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The greatest defense attorney

Have you ever felt like God had left you alone to fend for yourself? Does it sometime seem like there's nobody around that cares? You couldn't be more wrong.

There is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ.... (1 John 2:1, NLT).

The story is told that one day Frederick the Great, who ruled the eastern German state of Prussia from 1740-1786, visited a prison and talked with each of the inmates. There were endless tales of innocence, of misunderstood motives, and of excuses.

Finally the king stopped at the cell of a convict who remained silent. "Well," remarked King Frederick, "I suppose you're an innocent victim too?"

"No, sir, I'm not," replied the man. "I'm guilty and deserve my punishment."

Turning to the warden, the king said, "Here, release this rascal before he corrupts all these fine innocent people in here!"

It seems that most guilty people state their innocence, or claim that they're victims of someone else's wrongdoings, especially in our modern society where so many people have a "victim mentality." The guilty hire lawyers to try to prove their innocence, and the defense lawyers often distort the facts or totally make up arguments to obtain an innocent verdict for their clients. In many cases, our courts have become games to see who can tell the biggest and most believable lies.

Man doesn't like to admit his sinfulness. He's much more comfortable discussing "imperfections, weaknesses, mistakes, and errors in judgment." These terms are socially acceptable, and almost everyone can relate to them.

Man almost always takes part in self-justification, regardless of the truth. And an outright acknowledgment of guilt before our holy God is something many people want to avoid. Yet this kind of honesty is the first step to the freedom from sin and guilt that God longs to give us and has provided in the death of Christ.

This kind of honesty is also a work of the Holy Spirit, who Jesus said would come to "convince the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment" (John 16:8, NLT).

Christians don't have to falsely proclaim their innocence, but be honest with God and receive His forgiveness and cleansing according to 1 John 1:9-10: "If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts" (NLT).

When we confess our sins, "We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1, KJV). The word "advocate" here means "one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense."

Thankfully, we have the greatest Defense Lawyer in the universe! He wins every case, truthfully!

Praying for us all to realize our true defense,
Pastor Mike

*Take Fore*

A golfer hooked his tee shot over a hill and onto the next fairway. Walking toward his ball, he saw a man lying on the ground, groaning with pain.

"I'm an attorney," the wincing man said, "and this is going to cost you five grand!"

"I'm sorry, I'm really sorry," the concerned golfer replied. "But I did yell 'fore'."

"I'll take it," the attorney said.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Giving God His due

It occurred to me one day that God can do more in one second than man can do in a thousand years, or a million years.

Trying to do things with our own strength and wisdom can be time-wasting.

Many successful people have recognized in their memoirs that whenever they came to an stand-still in their work and were completely baffled, they looked to wisdom from the Lord.

Abraham Lincoln once told an ivery good newspaper friend, Noah Brooks, "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go."

This was also true in the life of the famous inventor of the telegraph, Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872). In an interview, he was once asked, "Professor Morse, when you were making your experiments at the university, did you ever come to a standstill, not knowing what to do next?"

"I've never discussed this with anyone, so the public knows nothing about it. But now that you ask me, I'll tell you frankly -- I prayed for more light."

"And did God give you the wisdom and knowledge you needed?"

"Yes, He did," said Morse. "That's why I never felt I deserved the honors that came to me from America and Europe because of the invention associated with my name. I had made a valuable application of the use of electrical power, but it was all through God's help. It wasn't because I was superior to other scientists. When the Lord wanted to bestow this gift on mankind, He had to use someone. I'm just grateful He chose to reveal it to me."

In view of these facts, it's not surprising that the inventor's first message over the telegraph -- the very first transmitted message in history -- was: "What hath God wrought!"

Every time you face a serious problem, look for wisdom from above. And when the answer comes, always be sure to thank God and give Him all the glory.

"If you need wisdom -- if you want to know what God wants you to do -- ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not get mad because you asked. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. They can't make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do (James 1:5-8, NLT).

Knowing that God gives us all
Pastor Mike

Legal Advice . . .

The young lawyer was desperate for business, and was happy to be appointed by the court to defend an indigent defendant.
The judge ordered the young attorney, "You are to confer with the defendant in the hallway, and give him the best legal advice you can."

After a time, the lawyer re-entered the courtroom alone.

When the judge asked where the defendant had gone, the attorney replied, "You asked me to give him good advice. I found out that he was guilty . . .

. . so I told him to split."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Always accepted

How close can we really get to God? When you think of our father, do you think of Him as a place to go when you need Him, or do you go to Him with a heart of devotion? What is Christian fellowship really all about?

1 John 1:7 If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin

Fellowship with God is not some strange theological concept, but a living relationship. Living in continuous agreement with God is to walk in the light. Satan can’t accuse me if I live in the light, but walking in the light is not moral perfection (1 John 1:8). We are not sinless, but the confession mentioned in 1 John 1:9 brings us into agreement with God about our present moral condition before Him.

What makes it possible to be this open with God about our condition is the fact that we're already His children. Our eternal state is not at stake, only our daily victory. We don’t have to pretend with God in the hope that He'll accept us. As His children we’re already accepted, so we're free to be honest with Him. We have no relationship to lose, only fellowship to gain. Knowing that we’re secure in Christ, we can express ourselves honestly to Him. He already knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).

Knowing that we're forgiven, let’s come before Him with thanksgiving. God is our Father, and like any parent He doesn’t appreciate grumbling, complaining children, especially since this Father sacrificed His only begotten Son for us. He'll not be very interested in our list of demands if we haven’t been obedient to Him. I also don’t think He's going to be very interested in helping us develop our own kingdoms when we're to work at establishing the only one that will last, His!

To sit in the presence of my Father who loves me, who has made an incredible sacrifice so I can be there, doesn’t have to be a miserable, failing experience. He invites us into His presence just as we are, because in Christ our weakness and sin have been covered: "Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience" (Hebrews 10:22).

Praying that we all become closer
Pastor Mike

*What He Says - What He Means*

"I'm going fishing."
Really means: "I'm going to stand by a stream with a stick in my hand all day, while the fish swim by in complete safety."

"It's a guy thing."
Really means: "There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical."

"Can I help with dinner?"
Really means: "Why isn't it already on the table?"

"Uh-huh." "Sure, honey." "Yes, dear."
Really means: Absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response.

"It would take too long to explain."
Really means: "I have no idea how it works."

"We're going to be late."
Really means: "Now I have a legitimate excuse to drive like a maniac."

"Take a break, honey, you're working too hard."
Really means: "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."

"That's interesting, dear."
Really means: "Are you still talking?"

"Hey, I've got my reasons for what I'm doing."
Really means: "And I sure hope I think of some pretty soon."

"I can't find it."
Really means: "It didn't fall into my outstretched hands, so I'm completely clueless."

"You know I could never love anyone else."
Really means: "I am used to the way you yell at me and realize it could be worse."

"You look terrific."
Really means: "Please don't try on one more outfit. I'm starving."

"I'm not lost. I know exactly where we are."
Really means: "No one will ever see us alive again."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Is trust idealistic?

Have you ever thought about what complete and total trust is? It's not something we can buy, or even steal. it's something that comes from a deeper relationship with God. Now many people will say that they've been hurt to ever trust someone again, but that's a wrong attitude to take. What's the Bible say about our ability to trust?

Proverbs 29:19-27 "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." (v.25)

Sometimes someone says to me: "Isn't it idealistic to expect me to open up to more hurt after I have been let down and betrayed?" My answer is to point them to Jesus. If He can do it, then so can we - providing we depend on His strength and not ours.

Our Lord knows better than anyone what it means to be let down and betrayed. In all the heaped up pain of His passion, few things would have hurt Him more than being betrayed by His disciples.

Did our Lord's experience of Peter's denial cause Him to decide: "Never again will I trust that man"? Come with me to Galilee and let's see. Simon Peter, no doubt feeling a little confused, returns to his career as a fisherman, where Jesus looks for him and puts Himself in a position of being hurt once again. He says to Peter, "Do you love Me?" using the strong Greek word for love - agape. Peter responds, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You," using the weaker Greek word for love - philia (John 21:1516, NKJV).

How would you feel, do you think, if you had gotten up the courage to say to someone who had already let you down. "Do you love me?" and he or she responded: "Well, I like you." Would you not feel hurt, wounded, perhaps slightly rejected? I think Jesus must have felt most keenly the thrust of Peter's words, yet He did not allow it to deter Him from continuing, even pursuing, the relationship. That's what I mean by vulnerability. That's what I mean by love.

Praying that people get over their pain
Pastor Mike

Join the Band

A musical director was having a lot of trouble with one drummer. He talked and talked and talked with the drummer, but his performance simply didn't improve.
Finally, before the whole orchestra, he said, "When a musician just can't handle his instrument and doesn't improve when given help, they take away the instrument, and give him two sticks, and make him a drummer."

A stage whisper was heard from the percussion section: "And if he can't handle even that, they take away one of his sticks and make him a conductor."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


As many of you know, I'm now doing work for the Hospice. Last week I started training, and was overwhelmed with what I saw. Many of these people who were dying were filled with more life than many healthy people. Hospice has a program that is called living memories. They make a video of the patients life from start to finish and put it on a DVD. It's truly amazing to see these people stare in the face of death and smile. The beautiful part of this mission field is that I get the chance to witness to these people before they meet the Lord. These people reflect the true attitude towards death that every Christian should hold. What an opportunity. Bust what does the Bible say about our attitude towards an impending death?

1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

Most fears can be reduced to a fear of man or death. Death looms over many as the ultimate fear-object. The fact that death is imminent is clearly established in Scripture: "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

But Christians don't have to fear death. Jesus removed death as a legitimate fear-object by taking away its power when He died for our sins. Jesus Himself said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25, 26). Even though we will eventually die physically, we'll continue to live spiritually.

Every person of God is spiritually alive, and even physical death can't separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). Paul says, "For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Why? When we physically die, we'll receive a resurrected body and be far better off than we are today. Try putting something else into Paul's formula; for instance, "For me to live is success." Then to die would be what? Loss! "For me to live is a good physical body." Again, to die would be loss.

I often ask people, "What is the worst thing that could happen to you?" "Well, I could die," they answer. To which I respond, "Then you have nothing to fear, since the Bible says death may be the best thing that could happen to you!" The ultimate value is not physical life but spiritual life. If our life is hidden in Christ, then we won't suffer loss when we physically die. We can only gain. We can say confidently with Paul, "O death where is your sting?" The person who is free from the fear of death is free to live today.

Living with no fear
Pastor Mike

*Strangest Dream*

"I had the strangest dream last night," a man was telling his psychiatrist.

"I saw my mother, but when she turned around to look at me, I noticed that she had your face. You can imagine, I found this very disturbing, and in fact I woke up immediately, and couldn't get back to sleep. I just lay there in bed waiting for morning to come, and then I got up, drank a Coke, and came right over here for my appointment. I thought you could help me explain the meaning of this strange dream."

The psychiatrist was silent for a full minute before responding:

"A Coke? You call that a breakfast?"

Monday, June 12, 2006

Are you ready?

Remember the New Testament story in which Jesus sent His disciples across the Sea of Galilee? The Bible says that He waited on the shore and was up on a mountain praying. As the disciples were making their way across, a great storm began to rage, and they thought they were going to die. They rowed hard to try to get back to land, but without success. Then we read that at the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the water. The fourth watch would be the time just before the dawn. This means that Jesus came to them after they had been at sea for nine hours. Then He came and rescued them.

Some of us may feel like the disciples did. We might be saying, “Lord, we have been battling away in this world. When are you going to come again? Are you paying attention to what is going on?” Of course He is. God is aware of everything that is happening. And know this: God is not late; He is always on time. The Bible says, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV). The only reason the Lord has not already come is because He wants more people to come into His kingdom.

We’ve never been closer to the return of Jesus Christ than we are now. Even if He comes in the “fourth watch,” we’re to be ready. We don't want to be like the lost servant in another New Testament story who thought, “ ‘My master is delaying his coming' ” (Luke 12:45 NKJV). With this in mind, we need to be about our Master's business. So what are we to do, specifically?

First, we should be watching for Him. We should be paying attention and taking note of what is going on in the world right now. In the Book of Daniel, King Belshazzar faced judgment because he didn’t respond to the writing on the wall (see Daniel 5). All around us are signs of the times, reminders that Jesus is coming back. Watch for Him.

Second, we should be ready to go. If I’m going to travel somewhere by plane, I pack my bags the night before. Most of my flights are early in the morning. With all of the increased security now, I need to get to the airport well in advance. I get ready ahead of time so I’m prepared to go on the trip. In the same way, we need to be ready and prepared to meet the Lord when He returns. It is wise thing to ask yourself, “Am I living in such a way that I would be doing something I would be ashamed of if the Lord were to come back?” Living in the reality of Christ's return should make a difference in our behavior.

Third, we should be anxiously awaiting His return. My dog sleeps outside of my room at night.. When morning comes and I open the door, she’s so excited that she runs around in circles. That's how we should be. We should be anxiously awaiting the Lord's return.

Fourth, we should be working. Luke 12:43 says, “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes” (NKJV). If watching is the evidence of faith, then working is the evidence of faith in action. Watching for the Lord's return will help us prepare our own lives. Working will ensure that we bring others with us. That is the plan.

Jesus said, “ ‘Surely I am coming quickly.' ” The answer of the true Christian will always be, along with the apostle John, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20 NKJV). Anything that would prevent us from that answer or make it hard to say reveals something that is out of place in our lives. Therefore, we must periodically examine all of our ambitions, pursuits, hopes, dreams, and plans by this truth of the Lord's imminent return.

Jesus is coming back again. It might be sooner than some of us may think. Let's be ready.

Praying that we’re all ready
Pastor Mike

Boat 99!

At a boat-rental concession, the manager went to the lake's edge and yelled through his megaphone, "Number 99, come in, please. Your time is up." Several minutes passed, but the boat didn't return. "Boat number 99," he again hollered, "return to the dock immediately or I'll have to charge you overtime."

"Something is wrong here, boss," his assistant said. "We only have 75 boats. There is no number 99."

The manager thought for a moment and then raised his mega-phone: "Boat number 66," he yelled. "Are you having trouble out there?"

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Time to get sharp!

Have you ever gotten to a point in your life where you feel like you've learned enough and just wanted to relax for a while? It happens far to often in the world of Christians. Far too often, we become complacent and allow ourselves to stagnate. We need to compare ourselves to an athlete. You never see a professional basketball player taking time off before the playoffs. We need to be constantly sharpening ourselves for the fight against Satan. So how do we do this?

Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18, NLT).

Do you sometimes find yourself trying to do more and more for the Lord but with lesser and lesser results?

You may be like the guy I heard about who applied for a job as a logger. The foreman said, "I don't know. Let me see how long it takes you to cut down this tree."

In a rush to show off his ability and strength, the guy cut down the big tree in record time. The foreman was very impressed, and said, "You can start tomorrow!"

The guy started the job right away and worked hard for just a few days. Then the foreman came up to him and said, "This is your last day. Please pick up your paycheck when you leave."

Stunned at this news, the young man asked, "What did I do wrong?"

The foreman replied, "We're letting you go today because you've fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you've dropped from first place when you arrived until now you are in last place."

"But I don't understand," the young man objected. "I get here before anyone else, I don't leave until after everyone else is gone, and I know I work as hard as anyone else."

The tough old foreman, feeling a moment of sympathy for the young man, thought for a moment and asked, "How often have you sharpened your ax?"

The young man replied, "None, really. I've been working so hard that I have not had the time to sharpen it."

This sad story can be so true of many Christians in their walk and ministry. They mean well and they work very hard and conscientiously, but because they fail to keep their ax sharpened, their results are lacking.

Our ax is our time spent reading and studying God's Word, the Bible, and our times of prayer.

Our Lord Jesus set the example and prayed constantly, and He asked us to pray. And the apostle Paul wrote, "Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere" (Ephesians 6:18, NLT).

Studying the Bible is important because "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. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do" (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT).

If prayer and God's Word were important for and needed by the Son of God and for the great apostle Paul, how much more do we need it?

Let’s never be too busy to pray and read God's Word, and under gird all that we do with prayer and God's Word. Otherwise, the more work we do, the duller we'll get!

Praying for all of us to be sharpened
Pastor Mike

Today's moaner joke

Failing Radiology Class

The medical student was shocked when he received a failing grade in radiology. Approaching the professor, he demanded to know the reason for the grade.

"You know the self X-ray you took?" asked the professor.

"I do." said the student.

"A fine picture," the professor said, "of your lungs, stomach, and liver."

"If it's a fine picture, then why did you give me an F?" asked the student

"I had no choice," said the professor. "You didn't put your heart into it."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Where is God in your day?

What do you do when you wake up in the morning? Strange question isn't it? I ask because as I woke up this morning, all I could think about was coffee, the day ahead, and how I was going to face it. I laugh at my actions because the first thing we all should think about in the morning is how we can glorify God through our work, or our daily routine. We need to go out and do whatever it is we do with the passion of Christ. If God isn't in the middle of whatever we're doing, then we need to go back to bed and try again.

Exodus 33:15 Then Moses said to him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."

Moses was in the middle of his journey through the wilderness, leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. The people had just sinned by worshiping the golden calf. Moses went to bat for them and God spared them their lives. Moses then talked one on one with the Lord. He knew he could not lead this stubborn group of people without God's presence. He had come to realize that without God's presence, he couldn't do anything.

How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth? (Exodus 33:16)

Moses didn't want to move farther without the assurance that God was moving with him. He knew it was a life-and-death situation. He sought the Lord with his whole heart on this one matter.

The question is a good one. If we're to be effective in anything we do for the Lord, the Lord must be in the middle of it. Unless the Lord's power is seen among us, we will be just another person who has religion. Unless our actions show His life to others, they'll see only good behavior that is easily faked by what seem to be moral people.

Moving out in assumption will end in failure and frustration. Ask the Lord today to assure you of His presence and power in your activities. Then you'll be assured that you will be distinguished among all the other people on the face of the earth.

Praying to see Jesus in everything I do,
Pastor Mike

You Know You've Had Too Much Coffee When . . .

* You can type sixty words a minute with your feet.
* Instant coffee takes too long.
* You chew on other people's fingernails.
* You answer the door, before people knock.
* You sleep with your eyes open.
* You go to sleep, just so you can wake up and smell the coffee.
* You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.
* You're the employee of the month at Starbucks - and you don't even work there.
* You help your dog chase its tail.
* You lick your coffeepot clean.
* You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.
* You're so wired you pick up FM radio.
* You have a picture of your coffee mug, on your coffee mug.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Redefining Christianity

Today we live in an age of mysticism where people look for spiritual reality and spiritual experiences. The danger is that unbiblical practices will give people a real spiritual experience, but it will not be from God. For our own protection, He puts a boundary around the way we approach Him and grow in Him. If we ignore the boundary set by Biblical guidelines, deception is the likely outcome. "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." Hebrews 13:9

If, however, we come to God on His terms, knowing we have a High Priest at the right hand of God, and that we have access through His blood, we can be assured we cannot be any closer to God this side of heaven! As believers, we are to come to Him by grace, boldly to His throne (Hebrews 4:16). No stillness, no clearing the mind, no mantras, breath prayers or rituals. Our personal relationship is based on His faithfulness, His love and His offer that we come to Him through the blood of Jesus. We don't need mystical practices to become more like Christ or to get closer to Him. The Bible warns against insincere repetitions such as mantras and divination.

We can follow Christ's example of silence and solitude. He went to the desert to pray (Matthew 4:1), He woke up early in the early morning and prayed in solitude (Mark 1:35), and He repeatedly left the multitudes to pray in solitude and silence. The notion that we should enter into "silence" or an altered state of consciousness to hear God is unscriptural and extremely dangerous. Did Jesus instruct His followers to empty their minds through contemplative prayer? It was just the opposite, He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your MIND." (Matthew 22:37) It’s clear that the Word of God is living and active, and it’s by filling our minds with His Word that we come to love Him.

Paul wrote against self-centered attitudes and thoughts. "Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-'Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,' which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." (Colossians 2:20-23) Paul rejected the idea that we are saved by grace and perfected by works. We are saved by grace and we grow by grace. "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3)

He also warned of a time when people would no longer "endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears away from the truth." 2 Timothy 4:2-4

We ashouldn’t be associated with popular movements related to relaxed spirituality, Eastern religions or a 'redefined' Christianity. Watch out for those people promoting 'a new and different way' to do anything which deviates from what God Himself has laid out in His Word! Beware of wolves in sheeps clothing.

Keeping an eye out for Satan,
Pastor Mike

*Find and Replace*

The age of the computer brings much ease and expertise to the preparation of the worship folders. Some churches which use the same basic format each week can simply call up the form on the computer screen, make a few necessary changes, and presto, it's done.

But it can be tricky.

In one church I know, they use the same format for funeral services. And when a person dies and a funeral service is prepared, the secretary simply uses the word-search-and-replace process and changes the name of the deceased from the previous service to the name of the deceased who has just passed away.

Very simple.

So when Edna died, the pastor instructed the secretary to prepare the service for her by following the above mentioned process. The last person who died was Mary. So the secretary instructed the computer to change all "Marys" to Ednas." And so it was.

Imagine the surprise of the attendees when they recited the Apostles Creed and read:

"He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Edna..."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Make up your mind!

My oh my, what a week it has been. It seems like everywhere I turn, there's someone (including myself) who is struggling with making a major decision, or trying to understand which path of least resistance they should take. Decisions are hard to make because we're always afraid that we'll make the wrong one. Then we'll have to face the consequences alone. The reality is that no matter what decision we make, God will be there to get us out of any mess we may get ourselves into. Just because we make the wrong decision doesn't mean God will turn His back on us.

James 1:5 says; If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

People admire wisdom in others. Wise people have the proper perspective and can make sensible and sensitive decisions. These kind of people seem to be few and far between, Among believers, however, the percentage of should be high because James writes, "and it will be given him." According to this passage in God's Word, if we ask, then we will get the wisdom we're looking for. So why do we still make the wrong ones so many times then?

Wisdom begins with God, who is its source. The first step of wisdom is having the right amount of awe and respect for God, and to trust Him with your life. We get wiser as we become more like Christlike. God's wisdom is "pure, the peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocricy" (James 3:17). God doesn't give the ability to make a Godly, or easy, decision to some people while making others struggle, even though it may seem like it sometimes. His Word doesn't say that he blesses some people with more wisdom than others, it says that we need to ask, and He gives it without partiality. The key is to ask, but don't feel like God's letting you down if things don't go exactly like you think they should (that's a whole different topic).

As we study God's word, and grow in the Lord each day we become wiser. As we become wiser, life's decisions become easier and more Christlike. So consider each decision a chance to grow and rely on the Lord. Don't worry and anguish over what might or might not happen, relish the fact that no matter what happens in this life, we have God. Ask God for wisdom today, and his Word promises it will be given, and God never goes back on His Word.

Praying for the wisdom to do God's will for His Kingdom,
Pastor Mike

*Blood Flow*

A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, "Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face."

"Yes," the class said.

"Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn't run into my feet?"

A little fellow shouted, "Cause your feet ain't empty."