Tag Archives: Respect

Seasons of Change

Seasons of Change

The leaves are falling.  Soon the snow will be flying.  Before long, the grass will shove through the earth and the flowers will blossom.  The heat of summer will emerge, and the fall will be here before we know it.  Seasons make the year interesting.  Just as with the seasons and natural progression of hot and cold that God established, the Christian life and God’s church also goes through changes.

Change is something that human nature is resistant to.  We get comfortable.  We become accustomed.  What is “Normal” is what we have known to this specific point in our lives.  We can arrive at “new normal” when we willingly adjust our expectations.

Change in the Bible is good.  If you are a Christian, the specific moment you trusted Jesus for salvation, a big change took place.  You passed from “death unto life!” In John 5:24 Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Change for the Christian is good. For example: we are to be “transformed” (Changed from the inside out) by the renewing of our minds in Romans 12:1-2.

The Christian is to be continually changing to look more like Jesus.  In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul teaches, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Change is good.  Individual Christians are changing to look more like Jesus.  Churches also go through changes.  One preacher aptly stated: “Churches are always in transition.”  Very true.

A local church cannot remain stagnant.  A church must strive to be vibrant, meeting the edification needs for its members and the evangelism needs of its community.

Here are three areas a church can benefit from change:

  1. A renewed spirit of unity. We are to strive together to fulfill the Great Commission. We are unified by Christ around the Gospel.  Philippians 1:27, commands, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Perhaps this humorous story will help: “Intending to raise cattle, a family from New York bought a ranch out West. When their friends visited and inquired about the ranch’s name, the would be rancher replied: “I wanted to name it the Bar-J. My wife favored Suzy-Q, one of our sons wanted the Flying-W, and the other liked the Lazy-Y. So we’re calling it the BAr-J-Suzy-Q-Flying-W-Lazy-Y.”

“But where are all your cattle?” the friends asked.

“None survived the branding.””

There are casualties in a church when the members are not united around the main thing. Don’t be distracted in your service to the Lord!  Preferences, nuances, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” And personality issues should not divert your attention.  Keep serving Jesus.  Stay united to the cause of Christ and do not allow side issues to get your eyes off Jesus.

  1. A restored community of trust. Paul’s ministry even encountered seasons of disunity and discouragement.  When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, some of the believers were divided.  Read 1 Corinthians 1 for more details.  Some liked Paul’s preaching, others preferred Apollos (A great orator), and others enjoyed the passion of Peter.  The division was causing problems in the church.

Paul makes a hasty trip to Corinth in between these letters to try to resolve their issues.

Later, in 2 Corinthians, we find Paul sending another letter, not to elevate himself, but to elevate Jesus and help the people start to trust God again.

2 Corinthians 3:1-5 says, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles (letters) of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

The church belongs to Jesus.  He purchased her with His own blood.  We can trust the church to God.  Jesus can overcome any doctrinal, personal, or preferential problems a church may face.  Paul knew that he was not sufficient to solve the division, but Jesus was (and is) sufficient.   Paul was not boasting in his ability, but in the fact that these Christians had started to yield their sin, personalities, and problems to the Lord and God healed their church.  Jesus said: “I will build my church.”  We can trust Him!

  1. A revived attitude of respect. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 instructs, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.”

Pastors are not dictators.  If pastors were dictators, then no church member would ever miss a service, and no one would ever not bring their tithe to church, and members would bring Snickers candy bars to every church function. Lol… if you like.  The role of pastor is that of “Servant – Leader.”  It is an accurate and healthy description.

Pastors are to be gentle shepherds leading and feeding the flock.  Sometimes that includes protecting the sheep from wolves (in sheep’s clothing), false doctrine (bad spiritual food to eat), and dangerous pasture fields (emergent church models).

There should be a mutual respect among the members of a congregation for one another.  Church members should be trusting the deacons.  Church members and deacons should have an attitude of trust with the pastoral staff as well.

One service I was preaching through this passage in 1 Thessalonians 5, and suggested that it helps the pastor of the church when the church members are not fighting or bickering and that when a church was at peace, the true work of the ministry can thrive.  It is a true thought.

A thoughtful man, a genuine student of the Bible, suggested to me that the peace among the members was also connected to their respect or lack of respect for the pastor.  Read that verse again please.

“Esteem” means to “deem, consider, or count.”  A faithful church member must be able to count the pastor as respectful and worthy or he will not be able to learn, grow, or develop in that church.  A result of disrespect is that the pastor is not able to lead as effectively as he should.  Why can he not lead effectively?  Because of the lack of peace.  A pastor constantly putting out fires cannot commit the time called for – for the actual work of the ministry.  It could look like this old saying: “Too many chiefs – not enough Indians.”  Let the pastor be the “Servant – Leader” overseeing the overall work of the church.

These are 3 examples where change is good!  If these areas are lacking – Change!  Change to the glory of God.

  • Are you united with your church family in the purpose of the Gospel?
  • Do you have an attitude of trust for the other members, deacons, and pastoral staff?
  • Is there a mutual respect that you have for the church leadership that creates a peaceful environment?

Change is good.  Christians as well as churches go through “Seasons of change.”  Transitions and changes are sometimes difficult and even turbulent because human nature does not like change; but when we see Jesus – it will be worth it all.  When we make the needed adjustments as individuals and as a church, the Lord is glorified.

And. His. Work. Will. Continue.

 

 

 

 

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The Politics Do Not Matter

The Politics Do Not Matter

Kneeling during the Anthem, drinking Gatorade in the locker room during the unfurling of the flag, and protesting on team time is a growing trend among many American athletes today.

When it comes to the interaction of the citizen and the government leaders of a country, respect must be the underlying principle.  As our country becomes increasingly sinful, some have suggested that the Constitution is out of date or is no longer useful.  Quite the contrary; the Constitution is not broken, the people are.  Our nation, like every other nation in history is following a path to destruction because we have, as a whole, denied the truth.  Human nature is full of sin, rebellion, and selfishness.  The main reason things are the way they are is because we are… people.  Whenever a group of people no longer fear God, read the Bible, or have respect for Biblical values, there will be an increase in troubles.

Back to the flag, kneeling, and protesting on team (company) time.  The Bible says that Christians are to respect the government and governmental leaders.  Subjection, while unnatural to a man full of pride, should be the goal of the Christian filled with the Spirit of God.

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians about their relationships towards their government:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Romans 13:1-4

It is apparent that the Lord wants to save the lost leaders from their sin just as much as He saved the Christian from his sins.  The Lord can even use the believers response and attitude of respect to challenge, encourage, and convict a leader of his need for Jesus.

Our respecting of leaders is demanded and has nothing to do with policy.  Our submission has nothing to do with policies or political party.  Our attitude towards leaders is not to be impacted by the leader’s personality, brashness, or decisions.

Do you know the cultural and societal insanities that were being projected upon the people when Paul wrote to the Roman Christians?

  • Criminals were many times tortured to death in the coliseum.
  • Christians were fed to the lions.
  • Some Christians were burned alive for their faith.
  • The shedding of blood was a popular sport that people would flock to see in the coliseum.
  • Some Roman Emperors even demanded people to worship them as a deity.

No matter how bad some suggest living in America is – we are still living in the most just, least prejudiced, and most advantageous (to personal success) country in the world.  We still have a very relaxed legal system compared to most other countries today.  It is even harder for an American to enter and try to live in other countries of the world.  Proof of work and a verification that you are not taking jobs away from another countries citizen is a general requirement.  Things are relatively easy in America.

Those who complain about poverty are probably more-wealthy than most people in many places of the world.

Work ethic, respect for others, personal discipline, and a peaceful existence lends itself to a more productive life than protesting, walking around streets late at night, inciting riots, and sitting around complaining on the internet.

I encourage you to pray for our leaders. Respect those the Lord has placed over us.  Participate in government with a good attitude.  Work at loving your neighbor.

The political party nor the particular person does not diminish the Lord’s command to be subject to and show honor to our leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responding to Our Public Leaders

Responding to our Public Leaders

Romans 13:1-7 is a passage of Scripture devoted to the Christian response to our governmental leaders.  No matter which side if the isle and what model of leadership they offer, the Bible has a “one size fits all” approach the Christian should consider for his response to our public leaders.  Note the following Scripture:

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Application from Romans 13:1-7 includes:

  1. Be a Good Subject. We do not have kings in America, but we do have leaders that God has appointed to lead us.  Even if we disagree with the leader, it is God who has placed him there.
  2. Do Good Works. A citizen who is not breaking the law should have no fear of the government.  The government does not terrorize law abiding citizens.  Law breakers should be fearful of the consequences of their breaking the law.  The government was appointed by God to “bear the sword” or enforce the rules of the land.  People doing good should have nothing to fear.
  3. Have a Clear Conscience. The leaders are held accountable to God, by God.  We can vote people in or out of office, but ultimately any leader answers the God. We can have a clear conscience in the areas of showing respect, observing the law, and being proper in our response to the leaders.
  4. Show Honor. I have heard many “Good people” say jokes about various presidents or other political leaders.  It is not right to mock authority.  We are to show honor.  Even if the person is no longer respectable because of scandal, impeachment, or some other cloud hanging over them, the position they hold should be revered and respected.  God established and ordained the position they are holding. God put them in that position.  It is right to show honor, not name calling, mocking, or scorning.  Most people need to learn to disagree with grace.

Praying for our leaders is one final admonition for this post.  No matter if in “my” party, the “other” or no party, our leaders need our prayers.  We are on the same national team. It is God who “holds the Kings Heart.”  It is God who can work despite sinful men.  It is the Lord who shows mercy and grace every day.  We are to pray.  1 Timothy 2:1-2 declares: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

Have you prayed for our nation today?  Have you prayed for the outgoing and incoming president?  Posting to social media is not as important as praying to God on behalf of our leaders.  Will you have a proper Christian response to our leaders?

Life Lessons From Mother

Recently I came across the following in a message illustration file…

‘My mother taught me to appreciate a job well done. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.” 

My mother taught me religion. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

My mother taught me logic. “Because I said so, that’s why.”

My mother taught me more logic. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

My mother taught me irony. “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

My mother taught me about the science of osmosis. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

My mother taught me about stamina. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

My mother taught me about weather. “This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”

My mother taught me about hypocrisy. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!”

My mother taught me about envy. “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

My mother taught me about anticipation. “Just wait until your father gets home.”

My mother taught me medical advice. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”

My mother taught me humor. “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

My mother taught me about my roots. “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

My mother taught me wisdom. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

My mother taught me about justice. “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.”’

Did you enjoy those sayings?  Perhaps your mother spoke some of these things to you too!

Today, thank the Lord for your mother.  Determine to show her honor and respect.  Recall and remember the instruction she gave to you.  There are many serious lessons she taught you during your childhood.  Some were verbal lessons while many were demonstration lessons given in everyday life.

Much of how you act, behave, speak, and even what you accomplish in life has been impacted by your mother. Don’t forsake the lessons she gave.  Take them with you.

Proverbs 1:8-9 says, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”

Mom, I love you.  Thank you for the life lessons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wimps, Women, and Children

Wimps, Women, and Children

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.  I Timothy 5:8

The Lord has given and set in order His own design for the home.  The first example is Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  They loved and nurtured each other in the presence of the Lord.  When sin entered into their world, it caused grief, guilt, discord and death.

After original sin, the husband and wife would struggle to live and would both endure a curse on the ground and on their bodies.  Marriage is tough.  Being a married couple for any amount of time is a big deal.  Leaving father and mother and cleaving to your spouse as the Lord ordered the home, is important.

The context of this verse is caring for others.  In particular a widow must be cared for by her immediate family.  A son should take the lead to ensure his mom has what she needs after the husband has passed away.  Other relationships in context include: sisters, nieces, nephews, and fathers.  Think about the immediate family: Husband – wife – children.  Let’s make application in this context.

The man is to take the lead and provide for the household the Lord has entrusted to him.  There are several ways in which the man can lead.  At first I called this article: “The Providing Man” then realized that a much better title that describes many Christian men today would be “Wimps, Women, and Children.”  I along with others have struggled with this.  Men, we can be wimps.  “Wimp” is defined by Encarta as “an offensive term that deliberately insults somebody regarded as weak, timid, unassertive, or ineffectual.”  I don’t want to be a wimp, and neither do you.  Men seeking excellence as a man do not want to be ineffectual or unassertive.  When the temptation to not provide the leadership God has called you provide to knocks on your door, remember these following truths.

The man should provide for physical needs.  If a child is hungry, he should be fed.  The father is working a job in order to provide the basic physical needs.  Food, shelter, and clothing, are the basics every person needs.  An infant, toddler, primary, elementary student or even a teenager are not charged with the responsibility to care for their own physical necessities.  It is the husband or father.  This verse is written in a way emphasizing the masculine to demonstrate the calling of God on the man to provide.  All men are called to work some kind of job to earn a living.  The wife can work if she likes, but the man should be treating her like royalty in the manner he provides.  The Proverbs 31 woman is a good example for the lady of the home. She must also have initiative and minister to those in her care.

The man should provide for emotional needs.  Relational needs go right along with this.  The wife needs to know she is cherished.  Also the sons and daughters needs to know they are valued by the father.  This must be communicated in word and in action.  Quality time spent together, deep conversations enjoyed, playful moments, playing a game, teaching moments, prayerful moments must be shared.  The man is instructed to dwell with his wife “according to knowledge.”  Some men know “What buttons to push” to make others react and become angry.  This is not right.  The man should know what emotional encouragement his wife and children have and then meet it.  The family should feel safe and secure in relational and emotional ways with the husband and father.  The man of the home should not play games with the emotions of his wife or children.  He needs to be a steady leader.  Avoid the “roller coaster” affect some strive for in manipulating emotions.

The man should provide for spiritual needs.  Called to provide leadership, the man should take the spiritual initiative in the home.  Like the Dodge truck slogan “Grab Life by the Horns” a man should grab hold of his spiritual responsibility.  Many times a mother brings the kids to church and the father is reluctant to attend.  Men in that frame of mind are not the spiritual leaders God wants for them to be.  Men who are afraid to pray, afraid to participate in the life of the church, or afraid to talk of spiritual things need to “grow up” and mature in these areas.  The husband should say “Let’s go to church – be sure to bring your Bible.”  The man should foster a love for God in his children by the example of his spiritual leadership.

As you read this do you get the idea that the leader is the servant?  Jesus in Luke 22:26 said, “He that is greatest among you… let him be as he that doth serve”  Men – lead by serving. Instead of “Wimps, Women and Children” with consistent work and the help of the Lord, you could change the title of your life to “The Providing Man.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunrises & Sunsets

Sunrises & Sunsets

They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.  Psalm 65:8

We love the mountains; from the Appalachian mountain range, and the Catskills in New York, to the Rockies in the West, the mountains God gave the USA are majestic.  Other nations have majestic mountain ranges as well with terrific scenes such as the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains of Australia.

We also love the waves of the ocean.  Have you ever fought with a wave while on a boat?  Has a wave ever tipped your boat over?  Waves are powerful.  During storms along the coast, many people would testify to the great power of the waves.  “It is said that from about 500 BC to 1967, there were 286 instances of devastating tsunami or tidal waves. The highest recorded tsunami was off Valdez, Alaska, after the great Prince William Sound earthquake of 1964. That giant went up to 200 feet high.” (Signs of the Times)  Waves can be devastatingly powerful.  The largest wave ever recorded was on July 9, 1958 in Alaska’s Lituya Bay.  The wave reached elevations as high as 1720 feet!  (geology.com)

As David is inspired of the Lord to pen Psalm 65, he begins by declaring that he wants to “pay his vows” to the Lord.  David is a man of his word and he wants to praise the Lord with his faithful actions.  He goes on to describe how the Lord will deliver him from evil people.  He states that blessing comes from the Lord and that salvation is from God.  He portrays the Lord as the one Who formed all the large mountains and Who is in charge of all the seas, the massive waves, and even the people of the earth.  The Lord is worthy to be praised in our daily lives!  In the rest of the passage, David, tells of the Lord’s work in the fields of agriculture, meteorology, and geology.  All the while, the people are to shout and sing for joy!

In verse 8, David speaks about the people of the earth fearing the Lord because of His “tokens.”   This word “token” has to do with evidence and signs.  As David was looking around him, he saw the evidence of the God who loves, cares, and created the earth.  This is Who the God of the Bible is.  We must recognize the Lord for Who His is, His power, and His might.  The Lord is to be respected and we should stand in “awe” of Him.  His majesty is evident in the mountains and His power is clear as we see the waves of the sea.  Both are too great for us as humans, but very small to the Lord.

David then describes the outgoings of the morning and the outgoings of the evening.  He says that they are caused to rejoice by the Lord.  The Sunset and the Sunrise are an expression of the rejoicing of the Lord in His creation and His world.  What a wonderful Lord we have!  Every time you see the sun go up or the sun go down – be reminded to rejoice in the Lord.  Praise His name.

This offers us an opportunity to praise the Lord every day.  No matter what is happening in your life or mine, we can praise the Lord in the morning and in the evening.   Get near a window or go outside for a while in the morning or the evening.  Look up and see the “heavens” declaring the glory of God in the sunrise and sunset.

Could we make it a practice to meet with the Lord in both AM and PM to pause and praise Him for something He has done or is doing in our lives?  In the next several weeks our church is conducting what we are calling “20 Days of Praise.”  Each day, we are starting the morning with the Lord and His Word.  We are considering something that the Lord can be praised for from Scripture then writing it down on paper.  This will set a tone of praising the Lord for the rest of our day.  Then, as the day rounds out and the sun goes down, we are meeting with the Lord again and giving thanks for something that He did in our lives throughout that day.

You can join us in the “20 Days of Praise” campaign.  If we are consistent with this, it will become a lifestyle pattern of being thankful, having proper respect, and praising the Lord in each and every day He gives.