Come Back!

People have been asking about my blog and have been asking me to blog on certain topics.  Today is that day when I will begin to blog again.  One of the topics that I have been asked to address scripturally is the return of a back-slidden believer.  I struggle with this because we are all “works in progress.”  None of us are perfect and assuming the desire to be like Christ, we all need, at times, a way back to the Father in our daily lives.  

This morning in my daily reading, I read Psalm 51 – David’s cry to the Father for forgiveness and mercy for his sin – and I couldn’t help but write about what God taught me! (A lesson I so desperately needed to hear today)

I believe that this Psalm can be viewed as a pattern for the experience of a sinning believer who comes back to full communion and service.  The steps are as follows…

1. Sin is thoroughly judged before God (1-6)  

2. Forgiveness and cleansing through the blood (7)

3. Cleansing (7-10)

4. Spirit-filled for joy and power (11-12)

5. Service (13)

6. Worship (14-17)

7. The restored believer in fellowship with God.

We all need restoration.  We all stray from our relationship with God.  Thankfully He provides the blueprint for making the relationship right!  I pray this scripture helps you.  It helps me!

Confessions of a Husband, Father, Pastor and Would-Be Worshipper

I love to preach.  I love everything about it.  I love the studying.  I love the preparation.  I love the presenting.  I love the rapport with the congregation.  Every week when I begin to put together the sermon for the week, I pray that God will challenge me and teach me.  I figure that the best way to convey a challenge to a congregation is to have dealt with the challenge myself.  It makes the message more authentic and I desire to be transparent with those to whom I am speaking.

This week God certainly answered that prayer and on the Monday following the preaching of that message, I am still dealing with the subject matter.

I preached this past Sunday from John 12 where Mary anoints Jesus with the perfume.  I challenged our people that giving is an important part of our worship.  I talked about the way that we give of our time, talents and resources indicate our level of worship and commitment to living a life of worship.

The points of the sermon were simple. 1.  Everything we have comes from God!  2. We should give out of a heart of gratitude!  3.  Our giving should cost us something!

So I find myself having to confess that I may say I worship Jesus with my mouth, and I probably “do” more than a lot of people in regards to my time and talents (I am a pastor after all), and I even give of my resources to a certain extent…I wonder how much of any of what I do or give actually costs me anything.  Man, this is tough.

So I confess to you who are reading this that I have not come close to worshiping God by sacrificing.  Very little of what I do costs me anything.  I am struggling with this reality because when I begin to live Romans 12:1 in my marriage and as a father and especially as a pastor, life is about to get difficult.  But I also realize that there is no other option. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 

I have been bought by the blood of Christ.  His sacrifice cost Him EVERYTHING!  How can I live a lackluster life any longer.

Pray for me on this journey to become more sacrificial in my life-worship.  I pray that I will give till it hurts, just like Mary did or even greater than that – like Jesus did.  I will pray for you too!

Tolerance, Jesus and Chick Fil A

I shared this Sunday with my congregation and in light of the events of the day thought I would share with you…

Not long ago, the word ‘tolerance’ meant ‘bearing or putting up with someone or something not especially liked.’ But, now the word has been redefined to ‘all values, all beliefs, all lifestyles, all truth claims are equal’.
Denying this makes a person ‘intolerant’, and so worthy of contempt!
So where does this leave Christians?
John 14:6 Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me!
Acts 4:10-12 It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’[a]
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
This week a person made some statements about same sex marriage and his personal, Biblically based beliefs. President of Chick Fil A Dan Cathy simply voiced his opinion which is based on the truth of the Word of God. The result is a backlash from gay rights activists and mayors of cities and so on and so forth.
What happened? A man gave his opinion that differed with the politically correct view of the day and now he and his company is being vilified! Simply for having an opinion! I have read over and over this week from people in media and on fb and twitter and even friends of mine that are homosexual – they all basically say that this man and anyone who believes like him is crazy and has been living in a cave for our whole lives. That Jesus was tolerant and loving of all people!
Now don’t get me wrong. GOD is LOVE! But God is anything but tolerant!
Romans 5:8 reminds us But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. So while I do agree that God loves everyone and so therefore so should I – I don’t agree that God is tolerant and everyone’s choice is ok with him! The Bible is clear that Christianity is a relationship of love and INTOLERANCE! Sin is sin. While I love those who differ in their opinion on marriage and defend their right to believe it, I don’t have to agree with them just because it is “politically correct to do so.”
Remembering what Paul said in Ephesians, we have to remember where are battle is (not against flesh and blood) so we must also model Jesus as we defend truth. We must do it in love but with conviction! Just because I don’t agree with your position doesn’t mean I don’t love you! REALLY! I do love you!
Those claiming a loving, tolerant Jesus simply don’t know and understand scripture! The Jesus I see working in scripture loved all – hung out with all – ministered to all – but he also caused CHANGE in people – and that is what our society today misses! He didn’t “tolerate” everyone’s belief – he changed them to where they believe in HIM! (Zacheeus, woman at well, woman caught in adultery…)
We are living in a time when we must put on the armor of God – which includes the belt of TRUTH and we must love without prejudice, but we must not tolerate things that are in direct opposition to God and His Word!
Paul’s instruction for his friend and fellow pastor, Timothy, are words that we must all heed today.
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction.”

LSU/ALA, Sharks/Surfers and a little thing called PERSPECTIVE

As I watched the LSU/ALABAMA game unfold last night, I couldn’t help but be sad.  I was sad because LSU lost, of course, but I also began to think about the opportunity to play and win a National Championship that had come and gone (at least until next year! GEAUX TIGERS).  I began to think about the seniors who would never have that chance again.  They had played their last down of football.  I can’t even imagine the feelings that were charging through their heart and minds during that time.  For many of them, last night must have been a difficult night.  This morning, I woke up and saw the picture below of the Birmingham News and the New Orleans Advocate and it got me thinking about how we view things is everything! ImageWhen we go through difficult circumstances, we must remember that PERSPECTIVE is everything.  Have you ever heard someone say, “it’s all in how you look at it”?  This is perspective.  How do you choose to look at the circumstances of your life?  Many times, like the photo, we look at situations AS WE GO THROUGH them and that causes us to see things in an immediate, sometimes helpless fashion.  I bet though, there are situations that you can look back on in your life, that once you had gone through them, you look at differently now than you did then.  Am I right?  I encourage you to keep the situations of your life in perspective.  You may be going through things right now that you absolutely don’t understand but, hold on my friend, because one day it will all make sense!  1 Corinthians 13:12 tells us  Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  I know what you are thinking, though…”that doesn’t help right now!”  You are right.  The truth is there are things in our lives that don’t makes sense and that we don’t know what to do with, but we have to remember that word…perspective.

Soul Surfer is the movie about the life of Pro Surfer Bethany Hamilton.  It is an incredible journey of faith as Bethany, a Christ-follower, has her arm bitten off at the shoulder by a shark.  During the movie she struggles with why this happened to her.  She went to visit her youth minister who encouraged her to seek God’s perspective, even though she didn’t understand it and she knew it would be more difficult to see then anything ever in her life.  

During the course of time, Bethany finds herself on a mission trip to Thailand after the horrible tsunami that destroyed much of that land.  She is ministering to people down by the ocean when she notices that no one is in the water.  She finds a surf board laying around and goes out into the ocean and begins to teach a young boy to surf and to show him that he had nothing to fear.  Her voice then comes over and she says something about God’s perspective… “I had to come all the way to Thailand to teach someone how to surf to realize that surfing is not the most important thing!”  She now is a full time surfer who is making a difference for Christ because of the amazing perspective that He gave her as she put someone else’s needs ahead of her own.

Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose!”  So often we confuse the language of that verse to read that all things will be good.  The scripture is clear that all things that happen to us may not be good but they will work out for our good in time as we love God and are faithful to His purpose for our lives.  

I don’t know what is going on in your world today.  I do know what is going on in mine, though.  I can imagine that most of us are facing tough decisions or circumstances that we aren’t sure about.  I pray that this helps you back up and look at your particular situation from the perspective of God and His Word!  

Ephesians 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 

Peace to You,

Kevin

New stuff

I’ve been praying about a new direction to go with these blogs for a while.  I would like to explore different issues and see what the Bible has to say about them and what you opinions you have about them and along the way, I’m sure I will give my opinion as well.  See you tomorrow and I hope you enjoy!