April 30

This time of year a lot of folks are getting their yards cleaned up. I know this past Saturday as I mowed our yard, many of my neighbors were out doing the same. My daughter sent me pictures of her flower beds following hours of clean up, preparation and planting. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just mow your grass once a year and it would be set for the rest of the summer? But you and I know that’s not a reality. If you don’t stay up to date each week, it can get away from you. It deserves regular attention.

The same can be said about house work. It would be so much better if you only had to dust, vacuum, mop, and clean your house once a year. It would make things so much easier. However, if you don’t keep up to date on your cleaning, it can quickly get away from you. It deserves regular attention.

The same principle is true in our spiritual life as well. You can’t just talk to God once a year and expect that relationship to be what it’s designed to be. You have to grow in your knowledge of Him each and every day. We must spend time in his word and in prayer. If not, our lives will quickly get away from us. It deserves regular attention. Godspeed my friends.

 

April 29

I have watched in amazement as a Jehovah’s Witness has worn out the soles of their shoes going from house to house. I have sat in my chair speechless, as an Islamic Terrorist has taken the lives of many as well as their own. I seen members of a cult barricade themselves in a compound for a cause I know is false. And yet, we as Christians won’t walk across the street for what we know is true.  And we wonder why our world is in the shape it is today and why the church has such little influence on society. It’s not that we have become overtly evil, but rather apathetic. Maybe it’s time we put action into our faith and started making a difference where we live. It starts today with a change of heart and a change of priorities. Godspeed my friends.

 

April 28

Each and every day there are life lessons we can learn if our eyes, ears, and minds are open and receptive. The problem for many of us, including me, is we just miss them because we’re not seeing what God is teaching us at the moment. This morning, for me, was a gentle reminder for me about how one feels. It’s not always accurate.

As a rule, my morning routine is to run four or five days a week. Due to the weather and other circumstances, this week I had only run twice going into this morning. When I woke up, I just didn’t feel right. It wouldn’t have taken much talking to convince me to stay in bed. But I got up and got my running clothes on. As I stretched and prepared for my run, I told myself: “Let’s run slow and maybe rather than 4 miles, I’ll run three.” I never looked at my watch nor my pace, but we pushed through until 4 miles was completed. When I looked at my watch and my pace, it was faster than I had run in a while. Who would have imagined?

But life is like that. How we feel isn’t always a good indicator in life. For instance, aren’t there times when you don’t feel like going to work. But you do and you have the most productive day you’ve had in weeks. There are moments when you don’t feel like going to church. But you do and God blesses you more than you expected.

I don’t always feel like a Christian. But my faith isn’t based on how I feel but rather who I know. Remember, feeling aren’t always a good indicator. I was reminded of this today. Maybe it would be good for you to think on this today. Godspeed my friends.

 

April 27

It’s not always easy to be the bigger person. To be the one who’s first to say I’m sorry. To make the concession, to slip into the background. It’s especially hard when you haven’t really done anything wrong. But out of humility and service, you take the bow. It’s not easy, but it is Godly.

I’ve watched individuals who have swallowed their pride for the sake of peace. They look at a situation and rather than getting their point across, they take the road less traveled, or the narrow path. As a pastor, when you see such love and strength in one of your members, it’s a spiritual validation that some folks actually “get it”. These individuals fully understand that it’s not always about who’s right, but rather, who gets hurt.

Maybe we all need to be reminded of this lesson in our own spiritual journey. As James in his short epistle reminds us: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” When we put this into practice, relationships are saved and the Kingdom is advanced. Well done! Godspeed.

 

April 26

Do you really want to know God, or is religion and Christianity something you just do? Are you passionately pursuing Christ and desiring an intimate relationship with him, or is he something you take out of the box in times of personal struggles? Do you give the Lord the best part of your life, or just the leftovers? These are questions you need to answer and settle in your own life. God desires the best of you for the rest of your life. So what’s stopping you from giving it to Him? It simply boils down to two things.

First, do you really believe what you profess to believe? If so, you already understand that a life of following Christ is one of service and surrender. So, each and every day you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him.

Second, it really a matter of priorities. What you prize you will praise, what you praise you will worship. In the list of priorities in your life, where does God fit? Maybe it’s time for an adjustment. He’s waiting to get top billing in your life. Don’t you think he deserves it? Godspeed.

 

April 25

As the years pass by in my ministry, I’ve come to realize that I’m part of a dying breed. A dinosaur if you will. At least 2-3 times a month, we go out on what use to be called visitation or outreach. If you visit our church, more than likely you can expect a visit from our outreach team. I know that current trends suggest that church prospects don’t like cold calls and visitors just showing up unannounced at their home, but it’s still the most effective method of outreach I know.

We never assume that everyone who visits our church is a born again Christian. One of the first questions I ask a prospect is: “Have you received Christ as your personal Savior?” Because of this method, we’ve had the opportunity to lead several individuals to faith in Christ. For me, it’s worth the risk of making that cold call.

Second, when we visit prospects, it not only gives us an opportunity to share our faith, but it gives us a opportunity to find out what we’re doing right or wrong as a church. In this day and time, people will be brutally honest about their worship time at your church.

The other night, while making an in home visit, I asked the couple we were visiting about their time with us. The husband without hesitation said: “When you preach, you don’t sugarcoat it. You’re pretty blunt!” At that moment I thought: “Well, we might have lost these two.” He went on to say: “It’s about time someone has the nerves to tell it like it is! We’ll see you this Sunday.” You never know what you’ll find out when you ask. Me blunt? Hum, didn’t see that coming.

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