Pastor Mike's thoughts

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

Monday, January 29, 2007

What am I tired of?

As many of you know, I have chosen to accept the position of Pastoral Liaison for the State of California for the advocacy group, Stop the ( My job will be to organize and rally Pastors and Churches to take a more active role in fighting against the radical liberal organization, ACLU. Now having said that, why would I take this drastic step? Here's some reasons:

1. When I saw the picture of a nativity scene displayed by an ACLU fraternity with the heads cut off the Biblical figures and replaced with Karl Marx and his likes, I could no longer sit by and allow my Lord and Savior to be desecrated like this.

2. When the ACLU starts to take this country from the Biblical principles on which it was founded from our classrooms, our money, and our ability to display our symbols, then I fight. Now I know that there will be people who read this blog, who will try to claim that our founding fathers had no intentions of this being a Godly nation, but I say they are blind. When we take God out of this country, then we're done.

3. They advocate killing.....It's called abortion.

4. To many Christians are acting like there isn't a problem. I hear my fellow brothers and sister claiming that it isn't right for them to get involved. I hear Pastors say that church isn't the place for politics. Then where is the place? We need to stand up for our Christian principles before we have none.

I beg you, please do something. Visit the website and see what is happening in our nation today, and how you can fight this. Email me at if you have any questions.

Now I want to make it clear that we shouldn't hate those peole who oppose us, we need to pray for them. DON'T HATE...

Praying for the salvation of all,
Pastor Mike,

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Acts Of The Will

Yes, Lord, I will follow you (Luke 9:61, NLT).

The last couple of days we have talked about questions to ask ourselves before embarking on serving God. Today we're going to talk about our will. It's amazing how many times in the Bible that God indicates we are supposed to exercise our free wills in order to enter into an intimacy with Him.

An evangelist tells about a woman who came to him anxious about her salvation. He said to her, "Mrs. Franklin, how did you become Mrs. Franklin?"

She replied, "When the minister said, 'Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband?' I said, 'Yes.'"

The evangelist then asked her, "Did you say, 'I hope so,' or 'I'll try to'?"

The woman quickly replied, "No. I said, 'I will.'"

Then pointing her to God's Word, the evangelist said, "God is asking you if you will receive His Son as your personal Savior. What will you say to that?

The woman's face lit up, and she exclaimed, "Why, how simple that is! Why didn't I say 'yes' a long time ago?"

Two little words, "I will," spoken by both the man and the woman result in marriage. So it is in becoming a Christian, who the Bible refers to as a bride, in marrying our heavenly Bridegroom, our Savior. One does not become a Christian until he exercises his "will" to receive Christ and says, in effect, "I do." Referring to our Lord's death on the cross for our sins, Jesus always stands ready and, in effect, says, "I did."

You have heard the old expression that "whosoever will" may enter into eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:25).

God's grace, foreknowledge and predestination are all great and wonderful mysteries, and we cannot understand it all. But one thing we do know is that our will is involved, not just in receiving Christ, but in receiving all His precious promises. Even our praise to God is an act of our wills: "I WILL praise the LORD all my life; I WILL sing praise to my God as long as I live" (Psalm 146:2, NIV). Also, "I WILL bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:1, KJV).

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord, then go out and serve Him. But serve Him with power and strength. Serve Him with all of your will.

Praying that we all serve more often,
Pastor Mike

The big uestions

Psalm 25:5 Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long

The following are the next five questions to ask yourself from yesterday's blog regarding God's will to help you when facing a change in direction in your life.

Is it reasonable? God expects us to think. His guidance may transcend human reasoning, but it never excludes it. God doesn't bypass our mind; He operates through it: "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature" (1 Corinthians 14:20). We are warned in Scripture not to put our mind in neutral. We are to think and practice what we know to be true (Philippians 4:8, 9).

Does a realistic opportunity exist? Closed doors are not meant to be knocked down. If you have a hopeless scheme, let it go. If it isn't God's timing, wait. If a realistic opportunity exists, and all the other factors are in agreement, then take the plunge. God may open a window of opportunity, but it will close if not taken advantage of. The faithless man asks, "What do I stand to lose if I do?" The faithful man asks, "What do I risk losing if I don't?"

Are unbiased, spiritually sensitive associates in agreement? Be careful not to consult only those who will agree with you. Give your advisors permission to ask hard questions. Don't be afraid of "no" answers. If it isn't God's will, don't you want to know before you make the mistake of acting impulsively?

Do I have a sanctified desire? Don't think that being in the will of God must always be an unpleasant task. The joy of the Lord should be our strength. I find my greatest joy in serving God and being in His will. But don't get the idea that if everything is wonderful, you must be in the will of God. Is this a desire to satisfy a lust of the flesh or a Spirit-filled desire to see God's kingdom established and people helped?

Do I have a peace about it? This is an inner peace. Is the peace of God guarding your heart and mind?

If you have been able to answer yes to all of these deciding factors, what are you waiting for? Remember, God wants us, and needs us, to accomplish his will, so if you're feeling a call in your life, ask yourself the preceeding ten questions, then make the move. Now go, and serve with jy.

Praising God for you,
Pastor Mike

Friday, January 26, 2007

Psalm 25:4 NIV Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths

In today's and tomorrow's devotionals, I would like to share with you 10 questions you'll want to ask yourself and pray about when you're faced with a decision. The first five are generic. They represent moral issues and Godly wisdom that are normative for all times.

Have you prayed about it? Prayer was never intended to be a fourth-down punting situation in which we ask God to bail us out of our hasty decisions. It was intended to be a first-down huddle. We aren't supposed to ask God to bless our plans; we're supposed to ask God for His plans.

Is it consistent with the Word of God? In our culture, ignorance of God's Word is no excuse since resources are all around us. I believe that every home should have at least a concordance, a Bible dictionary, a topical Bible, a good commentary, and a study Bible with notes. Most pastors would love to share what God has to say about a given matter. If they wouldn't, you have called the wrong pastor!

Can I do it and be a positive Christian witness? A seminary student stopped by my friends office and told him about a job he had been offered. It would take care of his financial needs, but he had some reservations concerning the sales pitch he was required to use. My friend asked him if he could use the sales technique and be a positive witness for Christ. He didn't take the job.

Will the Lord be glorified? Can I do this and give glory to God? In doing it, would I be glorifying God in my body? Am I seeking the glory of man or the glory of God? Am I doing this to be noticed by man or am I seeking to please the Lord?

Am I acting responsibly? God doesn't bail us out of our irresponsibility. But when we are faithful in little things, He will put us in charge of greater things. Don't get ahead of God's timing or you will be over your head in responsibilities. Seek to develop your life and message, and God will expand your ministry.

Remember, when you follow God, His love will follow you.

Looking forward to tomorrow,
Pastor Mike

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stand up, Stand up for Jesus

If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 1 Peter 4:14

One of the unique aspects of writing this blog is the number of comments I get from people who don't believe in our Lord. I get what might be classified as hate mail. At first, I was kind of upset, but now I am overjoyed. I am estatic because I know that I am spreading the Word of Jesus. Throughout history, God has given special grace and courage to millions of Christians who were persecuted for the faith or who lost their lives. They were unwilling to renounce the Lord, unwilling to deny the Lord who had so radically changed their lives.

We may hear the stories of these Christians and say, “What a tragedy.” But I don’t think that’s a tragedy, because everyone has to die. These believers not only lived well, but they died well. They died for the greatest cause on the face of the earth: the cause of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we might think, I don’t know if I could handle it if my life were actually threatened for the sake of the gospel. But if God allowed you to be put into such a situation, then I am confident He would give you the strength you need to face it. He would give you the boldness and courage that you need.

Jesus told His followers, “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11–12).

This does not mean you should not be prepared for such a day. You simply should not be worried about it, knowing that God will not give you more than you can handle. He will give you just the right words for just the right situation. And not only will God give you the right words to say in a given situation, but He will give you the power to stand up for your faith—even it means harassment or hardship or persecution.

Praying for the Martyrs,
Pastor Mike

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

How real are you?

Luke 6:46 And why do you call Me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say?

Some people are excellent "fakers." Publicly, they may do an abundance of "Christian deeds" and use the right Christian language, but privately, their lives are just the opposite. They aren't listening to God. Their lives are mockeries.

A young guy who had just graduated from law school set up an office, proudly displaying his shingle out front. On his first day at work, as he sat at his desk with his door open, he was wondering how he would get his first client. Then he heard footsteps coming down the long corridor toward his office.

Not wanting this potential client to think that he would be the first, the young lawyer quickly picked up the telephone and began to talk loudly to a make-believe caller. "Oh, yes sir!" he exclaimed into the phone. "I'm very experienced in corporate law....Courtroom experience? Why, yes, I've had several cases."

The sounds of footsteps drew closer to his open door.

"I have broad experience in almost every category of legal work," he continued, loud enough for his impending visitor to hear.

Finally, with the steps right at his door, he replied, "Expensive? Oh, no sir, I'm very reasonable. I'm told my rates are among the lowest in town."

The young lawyer then excused himself from his "conversation" and covered the phone in order to respond to the prospective client who was now standing in the doorway. With his most confident voice, he said, "Yes, sir, may I help you?"

"Well, yes you can," the man said with a smirk. "I'm the telephone repairman, and I've come to hook up your phone!"

We sometimes fake the Christian life in the same way. We say we honor God, but we don't obey Him day to day. Preoccupied with self and wanting our own ways, we ignore God and pretend to be spiritual. Instead of having Christ's character imprinted on our lives, we go our own ways, and our Christianity becomes a forgery. Just remember, we can never fake God out, He knows our hearts and our thoughts, and those are what we'll be judged on.

Praying that we are all pure in heart,
Pastor Mike

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What about other faiths?

In today's politicaly correct wolrd, we have to ask ourselves, if, as the Scripture declares, Jesus is the only way to salvation, what about people in other faiths?

First, we must be clear that there is no such thing as self-salvation. Nobody can achieve salvation by his or her religion, sincerity, or good works.

Second, Jesus Christ is the only way to God and the only Savior. Our Lord Himself said: "No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). This effectively ends all argument.

Third, we do not know how much knowledge and understanding of the gospel a person needs to have in order to call upon God for mercy and be saved.

In the Old Testament, people were justified by faith even though they had little knowledge or expectation of Christ. I believe that when people become aware that they cannot save themselves and need to throw themselves upon Gods mercy, in some way God reveals Himself to them and brings them through His Son to a saving knowledge of Himself. I have met many people from other faiths who, realizing that they could not save themselves and wanting to find salvation, were amazingly led by God to a book, a leaflet, or an audiotape, that helped them understand how to come to God through Jesus. Does this mean we don't need to be concerned about presenting the gospel to people? No, it is much easier for people to believe if they have heard. God worked miraculously to bring the gospel to Cornelius. So too He will work for those who are willing to give up all ideas of saving themselves and look to Him alone for salvation.

Praying that we all share the truth of Jesus,
Pastor Mike

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Fix the leak

1 Peter 3:7 And grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life.

After watching as the marriages of numerous Christians disintegrate, I have come to some conclusions. One is that there is no such thing as a marriage blowout-only slow, small leaks. Like a tire that gradually loses air without the driver noticing, these marriages were allowed to slowly go flat. If someone checked the air pressure in the marriages he or she certainly didn't do anything to return them to acceptable, safe levels.

Every marriage is susceptible to leaks, and ours is no exception. The world lures my wife with glittery, false promises of fulfillment and true significance. If I fail to honor her and esteem her as a woman of distinction, it's just a matter of time before she will begin to wear down and look elsewhere for worth.

Following are a few techniques to honor your wife:

Learn the art of putting her on a pedestal. Capture your wife's heart by treating her with respect, tenderness and the highest esteem.

Recognize her accomplishments. Frequently I look into Carmen's eyes and verbally express my wonder at all she does. She wears many hats and is an amazingly hard worker. At other times, I stand back in awe of the woman of character she has become. Her steady walk with God is a constant stream of ministry to me.

Speak to her with respect. Without careful attention, your tongue can become caustic, searing and accusing. I work hard to honor Carmen. I'm not always as successful as I'd like to be, but I know that honor begins with an attitude.

Honor your wife by extending common courtesies. You may think that these little amenities were worthwhile only during courtship, but actually they are great ways to demonstrate respect and distinction over the long haul. Common courtesy is at the heart of servanthood; it says, "my life for yours." It bows before another to show esteem and dignity.

Why not increase the "air pressure" in your marriage today by honoring your wife?

Praying that we realize the commitment of marriage,
Pastor Mike

Friday, January 19, 2007

How strong are you?

I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need (Philippians 4:13, NLT).

Do you sometimes feel weak and inadequate, seemingly impotent against the powerful forces of life swirling all around you?

Well, in ourselves, we are weak and inadequate. However, over the years as I have better come to know our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, I have become increasingly aware of that glorious promise that all the supernatural resources of deity are available to every believer, everywhere, and at any time!

In Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). To Him God has given all authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).

And He lives within us in all His resurrection love and power!

That is the reason the Apostle Paul would dare to say, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13, NIV).

One of the most important lessons that any believer must learn is that we are no longer ordinary, mediocre human beings, but when we receive Christ, we link our lives up with the life of the infinite, creator God and all His unlimited, supernatural resources are available to us to live Godly lives and to be fruitful witnesses.

Jesus said, "You will receive power..." (Acts 1:8, NIV); "I have given you authority to ... overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you" (Luke 10:19, NIV); and "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12, NIV).

If you have received Christ and are filled with His Holy Spirit, you are no longer weak and inadequate. Within you is the power behind the whole universe -- God's power -- just waiting to be released, by faith, in your life and in your world!

Praying that we all realize our own strength
Pastor Mike

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The pressure cooker of life

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Life can be a stress, can't it? It seems like everytime we get something going well, something else comes along and messes it up. Endless waves of everyday pressure wear us down and pull us into a predictable sequence of events. So what do we do to prevent the stresses in our lives from overcoming us? We find out what's causing them in the first place. Let's identify a few things today that will cause us stress so we can try to avoid it in the future.

First, we try to accomplish too much-and end up neglecting our essential priorities. When people try to squeeze too many activities into 24 hours, something has to give. For many, it's our relationships with God, or the time we need to put into developing quality relationships with our mates and children.

Second, we aren't equipped to handle the communication and conflict problems we will inevitably encounter. Many Christians have mastered the art of appearing spiritual and happy on the outside. But once they enter their homes, they let down their guards and take out their frustrations on the people who mean the most to them.

Third, since we don't know how to deal with our relationship problems, we seek to escape from reality. We might do this by getting a job or spending more hours at work. Men can seek to escape through their pursuit of sports. Some women can escape by volunteer work. Others shop or escape to the movies, television or books.

All this puts more tension in our relationships, and eventually this leads to the ultimate escape: what I call "fantasy love." Most people who commit adultery do so to find the love and acceptance they once received from their mates.

The irony is that so many of us avoid taking the very step that would help solve our problems-prayer. After all, we have the Spirit of God living in us, available to give us the supernatural wisdom and power and peace we need to cope with whatever pressures we face (see Phil. 4:6,7). All we need to do is ask.

Praying for peace,
Pastor Mike

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This is scary

Not much to say today, other than I would like everybody to click on the link below and let me know what you think after you've watched the videos.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mad again!

Ecclesiastes 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Every day of our lives we're placed in situations that engage us with other people, whether it's in the office, our homes, or in public places. Do you remember the last time someone cut you off in traffic, or you were forced to wait in line because someone up front got held up? Maybe your employer did something that was downright unfair. Anger can result from many circumstances.

A friend once told me that anger is like warning lights on the front of your car dashboard. They signal that there's something going on under the hood, and we should take a look to examine the source of the problem. Anger can be traced to a few sources. First, when we lose control of a circumstance that we have placed certain expectations on and those expectations don't result in our desired outcome, we're tempted to get angry. The source of this type of anger is both fear and protection of personal rights. You see, when we believe we have a right to something, we have not given the Lord permission to allow an outcome different from what we want. If an outcome is different from our expectations, this may stimulate fear.

For instance, if a vendor failed to deliver an important job on time due to something out of his control, you may respond out of anger. Please know that the source of your anger is the fear of what might happen to you or what this might say about your abilities to manage a project. You no longer are in control of the circumstance and this creates fear in you.

The next time you get angry ask the Lord what is the source of that anger? Did the Lord allow that failure to let you see what is "under your hood"? God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (see 2 Tim. 1:7). Give up your rights to expectations that God never gave you. You will find a new freedom in Christ you never knew you could have.

Praying that the abger goes away,
Pastor Mike

Monday, January 15, 2007

Genesis 2:18 It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.

God created Adam in a state of isolation in the garden; he had no human counterpart. So God fashioned a woman to meet his need for intimacy. In the original text, the Hebrew word for "suitable helper" means "one matching him." Adam needed someone who could complement him because he was inadequate by himself. And this illustrates a third purpose of marriage: to complete one another.

Maybe you saw the original "Rocky" film before Sylvester Stallone started spinning off sequels left and right. Do you remember the love relationship Rocky had with Adrian in "Rocky"? She was the little wallflower who worked in the pet shop, the sister of Pauly, an insensitive goon who worked at the meat house and wanted to become a collector of debts for a loan shark.

Pauly couldn't understand why Rocky was attracted to Adrian. "I don't see it," he said. "What's the attraction?"

Do you remember Rocky's answer? I doubt that the writers had any idea what they were saying, but they perfectly exemplified the principle for a suitable helper from Genesis 2. Rocky said, "I don't know, fills gaps I guess."

"What's gaps?"

"She's got gaps, I got gaps. Together we fill gaps."

In his simple but profound way, Rocky hit on a great truth. He was saying that he and Adrian each had empty places in their lives. But when the two of them got together, they filled those blank spots in one another. And that's exactly what God did when he fashioned a helpmate suitable for Adam. She filled his empty places, and he filled hers.

Have you given much thought to the gaps you fill in your mate's life, and vice versa? There's never been any doubt in my mind that I need Carmen, that she fills my "gaps." I need her because she tells me the truth about myself, both the good, the bad and otherwise. I need Carmen to add a different perspective to relationships and people. She also adds variety and spice to my life. And that folks, is an awesome thing.

Praying that we all find a gap filler,
Pastor Mike

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jesus 101

There’s a story Jesus told about two who loved much, and
one who loved little. It’s a story that I’m particularly interested
in because I want to learn how to truly love God and love others
more. But how? Where do I start in my desire to be more loving? I
believe Jesus tells us in this story.

He told it while at a dinner party at the home of a religious
leader. A woman who had lived a sinful life came into the house to
find Jesus. She fell at His feet, weeping and wetting His feet with
her tears, then pouring some perfume on His feet and wiping them with
her hair.

The man who had invited Jesus to dinner was outraged, not so much at
the woman, but at Jesus, who would allow such a sinful woman to touch
Him. So Jesus said to the man:

“Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me teacher,” he said.

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five
hundred denarii, [a danarius was a coin worth about a day’s wages]
and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back,
so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this
woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my
feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her
hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I
entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my
head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you,
her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has
been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:40-47).

Here’s what I get from this story: how much love we have for God and
for others is directly related to how much we have been forgiven. If
we have been forgiven much, we will love much, but if we have been
forgiven little, we will love little.

So how can I begin to grow in my love for God and for others? Sin
more, so I can love more? I don’t think so! I think the place to
begin is to realize how very much we have already been forgiven.

How much is that? Enough for God to send Jesus to earth to die in
our place for the sins we’ve committed.

This is where the book of Matthew starts. After giving us a detailed
genealogy of where Jesus came from, Matthew tells us what Jesus came
for. The angel who spoke to Joseph said it best:

“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your
wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She
will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20b-21).

Jesus came to save us from our sins. God loved us so much that He
didn’t want us to die because of all that we had done wrong. If our
sins were serious enough for Jesus to have to die for them, they must
be terribly grievous to God. And if that’s true, then each of us
have already been forgiven much.

We don’t have to sin more, to be forgiven of more, in order to love
more. We just need to realize how much we’ve already sinned, how
much we’ve already been forgiven, and how much we’ve already been
loved by God. Once we realize that, I believe that love will
naturally flow out from within us, like tears mixed with perfume and
poured out at Jesus’ feet.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

How's your faith?

Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him

The life of Wilma Rudolph, the great Olympic sprinter, is a remarkable story of faith. Wilma was born with health problems that left her crippled. "Will I ever be able to run and play like the other children?" Wilma asked her parents.

"Honey, you have to believe in God and never give up hope," they responded. "If you believe, God will make it happen." Taking her parents' counsel, she painfully struggled to walk. By the time she was 12, to the delight and surprise of many, Wilma no longer needed her braces. She went on to play basketball on her championship high school team and win three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics.

When you hear inspiring stories of faith like Wilma Rudolph's, do you sometimes wonder, "What could I accomplish if I took God at His Word?" Faith is the foundational principle of the Christian life. Believing who God is, what He says, what He has done, and what He will do defines the kingdom of God.

Furthermore, faith is the essence of the Christian's day-to-day activity. Paul wrote: "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Colossians 2:6). How did you receive Christ? By faith. How then are you to walk in Him? By faith. In Scripture, walking refers to the way you conduct your everyday life. Victorious Christian living and spiritual maturity are determined by our belief in God.

We tend to think of faith as some kind of mystical quality which belongs only in the realm of the spiritual. But everybody walks by faith. It is the most basic operating principle of life. The question is, in what or in whom do you believe? We are challenged to believe in God and take His Word seriously.

Thank You, Lord, that Your Word stands forever in heaven. I can trust in You and Your Word despite my changing feelings and circumstances.

Praying for our faith to stand forever,
Pastor Mike

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A wolf in sheeps clothing

2 Peter 2:1 There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves

What comes to mind when you hear the terms false prophets and false teachers ? Many people tend to thing of Eastern mystics and gurus, the spokespersons for nonbiblical religions or dynamic cult leaders--people who are recognizably outside the boundaries of the Christian church. But the apostle Peter devoted an entire chapter in one of his letters (2 Peter 2) to false prophets and teachers who operate within the church. False teachers may operate in our churches disguised as workers of righteousness.

Notice that the lure of false teachers is not primarily their doctrine: "And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned" (verse 2). What does Peter mean by "follow their sensuality"? He is talking about Christians who evaluate a ministry based on the outward appearance and charm of its leaders. We say, "He's such a nice guy"; "She's a very charismatic person"; "He's a real dynamic speaker"; "She's so sweet and sounds so sincere." But is physical attractiveness or a syrupy personality a biblical criterion for validating a ministry or a teacher? Of course not! The issue is always truth and righteousness . A Christian leader should be identified by his commitment to the truth, his righteous life and his servant's heart.

Praying that we are not mislead,
Pastor Mike

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Forgive Us Our Debts

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. —1 John 1:8

In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts.” This word “debts” could also be translated “sins”. Jesus meant that we as Christians need to pray for forgiveness on a regular, even daily, basis.

Some of us would say, “I don’t think I need to ask God to forgive me on a daily basis. I don’t sin that often anymore.” Yet the Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

Jesus taught that we are going to sin, and one of the things that will stop our prayers from reaching God is unconfessed sin. So Jesus taught us to pray, “Lord forgive me. Cleanse me.”

As we grow as Christians, we will sin less in one sense. We are not going to do the things that we used to do. Thank God! But at the same time, we are going to be more aware of our own sinfulness. We begin to learn more and more about ourselves as we learn more and more about God.

It has been said that the greater the saint, the greater is the sense of sin and the awareness of sin within. So remember to pray, “Lord, forgive me.”

Praying that we all forgive,
Pastor Mike

Monday, January 08, 2007

Why we ask

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:19

It is really an amazing thing to consider that the all-knowing, all-powerful God who created the entire universe would have any interest in us spiritually. Why would God concern himself with our petitions?

It reminds us of the of the psalmist’s question, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4) Why is the Lord interested in us? I don’t know if I have the answer to that, but I do know this: God loves me, and He has promised to meet the needs of my life. The apostle Paul wrote, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Now He may not provide all your greeds, but He will provide all your needs.

So when we pray as Jesus taught us, “Give me this day our daily bread,” it is a request for His provision. We are literally asking God to provide for our needs. And not only are we asking God to provide for us, we are affirming that He has provided for us in the past.

Everything we have is a gift from God: The roof over our heads, the food on our tables, and even our hearts that are pumping blood and the breath in our lungs. It’s all given to us from God himself. We should remember that and not take it for granted.

Praying that we all know God loves us,
Pastor Mike

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hanging with sinners

I’ve been wrestling with something I recently heard and I’d like to share it with you. I wonder if it affects you like it affects me:

“If you’re not close to people who are far from God, you’re probably not as close to God as you think you are.”

I don’t know about you, but that makes me squirm a little bit. I’ve been a Christian for years. I run an Internet ministry that reaches thousands of people a month. But if I were to judge my relationship with God by how close I am to people who are far from Him, I don’t know that I’d score very high.

I want to win people to Christ. I want to make a difference in the world. But I can’t say that I always want to do what it takes to love people the way Christ loved them.

I was reading a letter recently from a man who actually had Jesus over to his house for dinner. It was written by a man named Matthew. He was a tax collector who lived at the same time as Jesus.

It must have been as much of a surprise to Matthew as it was to everyone else in town when Jesus walked up to Matthew and said, “Follow me.” Matthew ended up hosting a banquet at his house for Jesus.

The religious leaders were outraged. They questioned some of Jesus’ followers: “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:9-13).

I love Jesus’ response. But it nails me as much as it nailed the religious leaders of that day. I
don’t want to be a Pharisee, a Saducee, or any other kind of “-see.” I want to be like Jesus.

I want to learn how to love God more. I want to learn how to love people more. And I want to learn how to love myself more.

These are, according to Jesus, the greatest commandments:“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as
yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

Jesus gave us the best example for how to live out these commandments. That’s why I’m going to be reading Matthew’s letter again and again. Matthew covers the life of Jesus in 28 chapters, from the foretelling of His birth to His death and resurrection. Not only did Matthew have Jesus over for dinner, but he went on to spend the next three years of his life with Jesus, day and night.

Matthew watched how Jesus loved people, healed people, forgave people, taught people. Matthew watched as Jesus prayed to God, pleaded with God, submitted to God. Matthew watched as Jesus responded to His critics, walked away from His critics, and was eventuallykilled by His critics. And Matthew watched as people loved Jesus, adored Jesus, and gave up their lives for Jesus.

I love Matthew’s letter for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I put my faith in Christ twenty years ago while reading about Him in Matthew’s letter.

I’m so thankful that Jesus went out of His way to love people who didn’t yet believe in Him, who didn’t yet trust in Him, who didn’t yet live their lives for Him. I’m so thankful because I’m one of those people. And I want to be just like Him.

Prayer: “Father, we want to be more like Jesus. Help us to love You, love others, and love ourselves, more. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Praying to reach those who don't know,
Pastor Mike

Saturday, January 06, 2007


In what might prove to be the crowning achievement of an illustrious career in ministry, the 87-year-old evangelist, Billy Graham shocked The 16,300 in attendance at the Celebration of Hope crusade in New Orleans Arena on Sunday Night. Touted in advance as possibly his last Evangelistic crusade, Graham invited the packed house of evangelical Christians and the hundreds of new converts to join him on the one mile walk from the arena to New Orleans ’ infamous Bourbon Street .

“While we have seen God do tremendous things here the past couple of evenings. Yes, it is true that a great healing and a great many salvations have occurred within the confines of this auditorium. Still yet, there lies a great mountain in this city which needs to be conquered.” Then taking from the Biblical Book of Joshua Chapter 14 he read, “I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day,” his voice suddenly sounding more forceful than during his 22 minute sermon.

“I last preached in the City of New Orleans in 1954 and I felt then that there was some unfinished business. Tonight, in what very well might be my last evangelistic service, I aim to finish that business and lead as many of you that would follow me to the multitude of lost souls that fill Bourbon Street tonight. That is my mountain! That is where we shall see the harvest!” said Graham as the stadium erupted in cheers that lasted the next several minutes.

Utilizing a waiting mobility scooter, the elder Graham joined his son and heir to the ministry, Franklin across the Arena floor and through the opened doors leading towards the French Quarter. In a show of solidarity and determination reminiscent of civil rights marches of the 1960’s, nearly the entire capacity crowd joined in the 20 minute trek while singing, “When the Saints Go Marching In”. As the march crossed Canal Street and headed northward towards Bourbon Street , many onlookers stood in stunned silence as the massive crowd. Of people began singing in unison the Christian hymn, Amazing Grace.

Upon entering the west end of Bourbon Street , Billy Graham was soon recognized by partiers. Soon those joining in the march began to approach those partying on Bourbon Street with the Gospel message that they had heard preached just a half hour before. Graham himself joined with a group of local street evangelist in ministering to a man who had survived Hurricane Katrina in the lower 9th Ward.

Within 30 minutes the entirety of Bourbon Street was packed with Christians and the once blaring music of nightclubs and strip joints had been replaced by weeping and worship as people poured out their drinks and sought prayer from the Christians who were now reaching out to them.

“I have never seen anything like this in my life,” said 20 years New Orleans Police Department veteran, Tom Phillips. “This is unbelievable! We thought a riot was going to break out, but this looks more like a Revival than a riot!”

Two hours later, a glowing Graham sat back down on his scooter and smiled. “Now I know how the Apostle Paul must have felt at the end of his ministry.

Do the work of an evangelist; make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Hours later hundreds of Christians remained on the street ministering to the many people eagerly waiting to receive prayer and ministry. New Orleans will never be the same. And the press remained mute on this “news item?”

Did anyone see it on TV/hear it on radio/read it in the paper?

Why are we not surprised? Can’t have THAT just prior to a major election, now, can we? Well, just on a whim, spread the news, anyway.

It cost our elder brother, Billy Graham, more than any of us know to make that effort.

The least we can do is publicize it.

“I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t, and find out there is.”

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What a thought

Check this out. I read this article today, and would love to share it with everyone.

The following is a report on the practical applications of Zig Ziglar's recent book, Better than Good: Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live, (Integrity Publishers, 2006).

You may think that achieving a good life is the most you can manage in this stressful, challenging world. But you don’t have to settle for a life that’s merely good. God wants to give you a life that’s great!

Here’s how you can live life to the fullest:

* Discover your passion. Think and pray about what matters most to you, and why. Ask God to reveal His dreams for you. Consider what noble contributions you can make to the world to make life better not just for yourself, but for other people as well. Once you’ve found your passion, keep it alive. Regularly invest your time, talent, and money into pursuing it. Find someone who is already successful at what you’re passionate about doing, and ask that person to mentor you. Envision what you’d like to achieve, and let your imagination inspire you as you develop your passion.

* Manage stress well. Don’t let stress rob you of your passion. Wait to worry about situations until you have all the facts about them; then use that information to develop an action plan so you won’t need to worry. Learn from your failures, but leave them in the past so you can move confidently into the future. Live with integrity so you won’t have to deal with any stress arising from guilt or shame. Stay out of debt to avoid financial stress. Don’t fear the future; remember that a loving and powerful God is in control of it, and decide to trust Him. Reduce your stress with laughter as often as you can, and share the joy with others.

* Watch your thoughts. Realize that what you think powerfully impacts who you are and will become. Decide to be an optimist. Meditate on thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise. Spend time regularly reading the Bible and other inspirational books. Avoid negative material from the media and in conversations with others. Feed your mind positive thoughts, knowing that they will lead to positive actions. Embrace healthy attitudes, such as knowing that you’re never a victim of your circumstances, trusting that God will cause everything that happens to you to work together for a good purpose, and thanking God for all the gifts He has given you.

* Plan wisely. Submit all your dreams to God and ask Him to direct your steps. Ask Him to help you develop a plan to accomplish the goals He wants you to, yet still remain flexible enough to adjust the plan whenever necessary. Don’t picture the negative – what you don’t want to do. Instead, envision the positive – what you would like to achieve and what your life would like if you do. Realize that life is a journey rather than a destination. As you go through life, have faith to take action as you can, learning along the way, persevering with hope, and steadily moving forward toward the future God has for you. Trust that fulfillment will through the process rather than the results. Regularly review your progress on your way to your goals, and stay focused on God and His guidance. Use the resources He has given you wisely to accomplish your goals. Remember that He wants you succeed.

* Don’t let failure stop you. Accept the fact that failure is an inevitable part of life. But realize that it is also a valuable learning tool. Understand that experiencing failure doesn’t mean that you’re a failure as a person; it simply means you tried something that didn’t work at a particular moment in time. Study what went wrong to see what you can learn from the experience. Remember that failure can teach you: to depend on God, to be humble, that you can’t always get what you want, to correct your course of action, to have strong character, to persevere, and to realize that you can survive. After failing, try again, and keep trying as long as God urges you to do so. Remember that you may be just one more effort away from success.

* Cultivate healthy habits. Build these habits into your life: staying motivated, listening, learning, reading, redeeming downtime by using it to be productive, doing your best in every situation, exercising, getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, drinking lots of water, praying often, reading the Bible regularly, holding yourself accountable to others you trust, setting goals, rewarding yourself for a job well done, going the extra mile on tasks, and thinking pure thoughts. Seek healing to break free of negative habits, and trust that starting positive habits will replace negative habits in your life over time.

* Recognize the power of grit. Ask God to give you the grit – determination and persistence – you’ll need to accomplish your goals. When you encounter criticism, consider the source. If it’s coming from a wise, credible person who means well, learn from it. If not, don’t let the criticism squelch your determination. Be patient over the long haul as your dreams finally become reality. Ask God to give you His eternal perspective on your life.

* Redefine success. Understand that God’s definition of success differs from the world’s view of it. Know that true success is losing yourself in a life’s work that is bigger than you and that brings glory to God. Realize that success shouldn’t ever come at the price of damaging your relationships with God, your family, or friends. Ask God to help you balance your life so you can place relationships first while pursuing your goals. Don’t let obstacles limit you; rely on God’s unlimited power to help you through. Strive to develop strong character based on biblical virtues, which will lead to true success. Be discerning; don’t tolerate unethical behavior as you pursue success. Do your best to be a positive role model to others.

* Discover your purpose. Know that God has created you to accomplish something wonderful. Ask Him to reveal your calling to you. Every day, consider what activities fulfill you the most, and bless others as well. Be sensitive to what God wants to show you about your calling. Recognize that, just because opportunities present themselves, that doesn’t mean you’re called to pursue them. Measure opportunities against your purpose by considering whether or not God is truly compelling you to embrace them. Take whatever steps you can to have your calling and career overlap, so you’re paid to do what you’ve been made to do. Be trustworthy and loyal so you can build winning relationships to help fulfill your purpose. Seek to constantly learn something new, your whole life long.

* Change the world. Realize that you can change the world for the better, one act of kindness at a time. Every day, do your best to love others, set a good example, smile, speak encouraging words, show a biblical worldview, and help others through service. Ask God to constantly guide you toward people whom He wants to touch with His love, expressed through you. Be alert to opportunities to show His love to others.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Is this a God thing?

Key Verse: Proverbs 21:2, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” (NAS)

I love the beginning of new things – a new school year, the beginning of a new season, and the start of a new year. Maybe it’s the chance to start fresh that appeals to me. Fresh starts must appeal to many people, for most of us have made New Year’s Resolutions at one time or another.

I’ve certainly had many good plans over the years. I’m going to read the Bible in a year… lead a Bible study in my neighborhood… have family devotions… exercise at least three times a week…improve my attitude… or many other resolutions that we all do every year.

These have all been good plans, but I’m learning that good plans are not necessarily God’s plans. I so easily think that if something is good, then surely God wants me to do it. For example, starting a new prayer ministry at church would be a great thing, but God wants us to consult Him first. Before we start making our own plans, God wants us to pray and to ask Him if it’s what He wants for us.

When we’re excited about an idea, it’s easy to get carried away and run full steam ahead with our own plans. Also, when we’re talented in a certain area, it’s easy to think, Surely God wants me to apply my talents in this situation. Or if we see a need, we think we’re the one who has to fill it.

There’s a good chance God will say, “Yes, go ahead.” But there’s also the chance that this is not the right time for you to take on something new. I see so many people today filling their schedules with way too much – too many good activities, which prevent us from walking in God’s plans. Sometimes our schedules are so full of our own plans that we just don’t have room for God’s plans.

So as this New Year begins, let’s adopt at least one New Year’s Resolution: Before committing to anything, let’s ask God; Is this a good thing or a God thing?

Praying that we all follow God's will this year,
Pastor Mike