Sermons and Meals

I usually HATE forwards. And as a pastor, I get a bunch of cheesy stuff… let me tell you…
Though the forward below is one that I didn’t really feel like reading, I felt it worth my while and wanted to share it with you.

God bless you! Have a great WEEK!

Why Go To Church?

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained
that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I’ve gone for 30 years
now,” he wrote,” and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”

This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked
some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu
for a single one of those meals. But I do know this. They all nourished me and
gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these
meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to
church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

When you are DOWN to nothing….. God is UP to something!

Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible!

Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do you hate your job too?

Many people come to me talking about how they hate their jobs; how they don’t like the way their bosses treat them or how the other employees drive them nuts ūüôā

Thankfully I don’t have this issue. Even at the hardest day at church I go home with a sense of satisfaction because I simply love what I do. That doesn’t mean that everything about my job is perfect… it definitely isn’t. But it doesn’t make me go home and wish I didn’t have to go back tomorrow.

Over the last 25 years, the well-known Gallup Organization, which provides survey research results to organizations, has interviewed more than 1 million employees, asking hundreds of different questions on every aspect of their work. Searching for patterns in their research, Gallup identified several questions that best measure the strength of a workplace. In other words, what do staff look for in meaningful work and a healthy place in which to do that work? Your answers to the following 8 questions probably are the reasons you hate your job (or that your employees hate working for your company).

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission/purpose of the company make me feel important?

Be nice to your bosses, some of them have no idea what their doing being your boss. Maybe you should print this list of questions (secretively) and put on their desks (not on mine, please :). Maybe they will help your boss, your organization, or you!

PS: praise God you have a job and make a difference in your job.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What to do when you don’t know what to do…

Some things just haven’t worked the way I planned or wished for. As a matter of fact, most things don’t work out the way we hope they will because we are almost always hoping (and sometimes working) for the best. I’m speaking abstractly here because I don’t want to get in details, but you know what I’m talking about… it’s happening to you too. Your ministry/job/career may not be going the way you want it to, your relationships may be hurting a little here and there, you may not like what you see in the mirror every morning, and your bank account might not have as much in there as you thought or hoped there would be. Yep… it’s life.

It’s unfortunate that we can’t have a perfect life here and now… no matter what Joel Osteen says… but at the same time it’s because earth’s imperfections that we so look forward to life in heaven.

When Leah was given to Jacob to be his wife by her dad Laban, she wasn’t the one Jacob was hoping for or working towards. His dream girl was Rachel–Laban’s other daughter–who he would only get as a wife after another 7 years of working for Laban.

Leah and Jacob, however, lived a life of husband and wife but at first Jacob had a hard time loving Leah. However, God blessed Leah (the unloved) by giving her the gift of fertility. And with every child she had, she hoped that her husband would love her for giving him a child. She tried 3 times (Reuben, Simeon, and Levi), but Jacob’s love for Leah still didn’t increase. He was in love with his other wife, Rachel (who was still childless). With Leah’s 4th pregnancy and delivery, she had a change of heart. At the birth of her 4th son–Judah–Leah decided that this time she will praise the Lord!

Sometimes I feel like Leah. I try to make things work by taking matters into my own hands. Yes, I trust in God, but I want to be in charge instead of letting Him take charge. And I end up being in His way. And unfortunately, I’m limited and human and because of that things don’t turn out the way that I hope for or work so hard for.

What I am learning to do is to WORSHIP and PRAISE God when things go wrong! And by doing so, I see and will continue to see God turn disasters to successes, ashes to beauty, and failures to victories.

Because Leah DECIDED to give praise to God, things just fell into place for her. At her death, Jacob buried Leah where Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac and Rebecka were buried. And at his death, Jacob asked his sons to bury him by his wife Leah along with his fathers. This is a symbol of great honor in those days.

God honored Leah for her act of surrender and praise. God will honor you and me for choosing to praise Him instead of our selfish (earthly) ambitions.

When you don’t know what to do… WORSHIP and PRAISE God!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1000 years later…

If you haven’t had a chance to compare these two texts please take a look below. It’s great stuff. And even if you have¬†take a few minutes and look again. You’ll find¬†that the Worship of David (Psalm 22)¬†and the Worship of Christ (Mark 15:34)¬†were the same 1000 years apart, they are the same.

As you read through these two passages. Look at the similarities. The suffering that David is writing about is prophetic. And it comes to pass 1000 years later with Jesus.

Interesting that the only words recorded of Christ on the cross in Matthew and Mark¬†are “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” These are the first words to David’s hymn that the Jewish people mocking Jesus around the cross would be familiar with.

First the crucifixion Mark 15:27-34
27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. 29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‚ÄúSo! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!‚ÄĚ 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. ‚ÄúHe saved others,‚ÄĚ they said, ‚Äúbut he can‚Äôt save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.‚ÄĚ Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. 33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‚ÄúEloi, Eloi, lema¬†sabachthani?‚ÄĚ (which means ‚ÄúMy God, my God, why have you forsaken me?‚ÄĚ).

Now Psalm 22
For the director of music. To the tune of ‚ÄúThe Doe of the Morning.‚ÄĚ A psalm of David.¬†
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
   Why are you so far from saving me,
   so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
   by night, but I find no rest.
 3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
   you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
   they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
   in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
 6 But I am a worm and not a man,
   scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
   they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 ‚ÄúHe trusts in the LORD,‚ÄĚ they say,
   “let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
¬†¬†¬†since he delights in him.‚ÄĚ

16-18 16 Dogs surround me,
   a pack of villains encircles me;
   they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
   people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
   and cast lots for my garment.

2424 For he has not despised or scorned
   the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
   but has listened to his cry for help.

27-2827 All the ends of the earth
   will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
   will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the LORD
   and he rules over the nations.

3131 They will proclaim his righteousness,
   declaring to a people yet unborn:
   He has done it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’ll be fasting until Christ returns!

‚ÄúThe man who never fasts is no more in the way to heaven than the man who never prays.‚ÄĚ John Wesley

Today we look at another New Testament passage on fasting.

¬†Matthew 9:14-17 ‚Äď ‚Äú14 Then John‚Äôs disciples came and asked him, ‚ÄúHow is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?‚ÄĚ 15 Jesus answered, ‚ÄúHow can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. 16¬†‚ÄúNo one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17¬†Neither do people pour¬†new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins¬†will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.‚ÄĚ

Jesus’ disciples had not been taught to fast because Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, was still with them.¬†¬†He was in the process of establishing a new covenant, inaugurating a new relationship between God and humanity.¬† As a result, spiritual practices like fasting would take on a new perspective.¬† That‚Äôs why Jesus uses the new wine, old wineskins analogy.

So brothers and sisters,¬†a new day has dawned.¬† The kingdom of God has drawn near.¬† The old order with its rites and ceremonies and legal bondage has gone forever.¬†¬†Christ has made all things new,¬†there is¬†no return to the legalism and asceticism of the old order.¬†¬†Christ’s disciples¬†fast for different reasons and in a different¬†SPIRIT from that which characterized the fasting of the Pharisees and even John the Baptist.¬† As Jesus¬†explained, the old Judaistic wineskin was not a suitable receptacle for the wine of the Spirit.

So Christ EXPECTS us to be fasting while he is away from us. The time for fasting is between his ascension and his return. The time to fast is NOW, during the church age. 

Fasting today is a sign (and reason) of our desperate desire to be with Christ.

‚ÄúThe absence of fasting is the measure of our contentment with the absence of Christ.‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒJohn Piper

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We MUST fast! (follow up)

I’ve been told that the success to blogging is to do it consistently. Well, I’ve been failing lately ūüôā But I’m thankful to many of you who have not lost hope in me and have been visiting my blog frequently through the last two weeks when I didn’t blog at all. Thanks for reading!

‚ÄúSome have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason; and others have utterly disregarded it.‚ÄĚ – John Wesley

 

‚ÄúWe have no more reason to exclude fasting from the teaching (Matt. 6) than we do giving or praying.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúFasting can bring breakthroughs in the spiritual realm that will never happen in any other way.¬† It is a means of God‚Äôs grace and blessing that should not be neglected any longer.‚ÄĚ

– Richard Foster

 

o   Fasting mentioned approximately 20x in the Old Testament. Often in the case of a national emergency or in the context of a call to national repentance.

o   Fasting is common in other religions. Hindus, Moslems (Ramadan)

o   Two key NT passages (Matthew 6:16-18 & Matthew 9:14-17) which underscore the importance of fasting

o   The spiritual power of fasting is sacrifice. A response to Christ’s death and sacrifice.

 

Matthew 6:16-18– “16When you fast (not ‘if you fast’), do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.‚ÄĚ

 

          This passage found in the Sermon on the Mount. 

          Jesus is contrasting the righteousness of the Pharisees with the Righteousness of his disciples. Fasting is an important element of Christian holiness.

          In each case fasting for the Pharisees is for human admiration, to impress others.  Jesus says don’t be like that.  Do your works of righteousness in secret. Concern to be seen by God, not other people.

 

Jesus talks first about giving sacrificially to the needs of others. Then about prayer.¬†Then talks about fasting.¬† The interesting thing is¬†that most Christians recognize the importance of the first two‚ÄĒsacrificial giving and prayer.¬† Yet seem to completely ignore the third‚ÄĒfasting.¬† But if you‚Äôre going to accept the first two, how can you neglect the last.¬† In this context, all three are of equal importance.

 

‚ÄúHere is a passage of Scripture which is commonly ignored.¬† I suspect that some of us live our Christian lives as if these verses had been torn out of our Bibles.¬† Most Christians lay stress on daily prayer and sacrificial giving, but few put any stress on fasting.‚ÄĚ John Stott

 More on fasting tomorrow! (how to)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fasting is Sacrifice!

Fasting is one of the most neglected and misunderstood practices in Christianity. Many who are called Christians simply do not practice the discipline of fasting and are missing out on Christ’s expectation¬†for every disciple.

I believe that one of the main¬†reasons people don’t fast is because it is so hard to abstain from eating since it’s¬†both a necessity and pleasure for our bodies. But¬†this is the same reason that fasting is so¬†important. When we¬†give up eating, we¬†become physically weak¬†and¬†often light-headed which can¬†effect¬†our thinking. But¬†in the midst of our¬†physical suffering our prayer strengthens, our hunger for the¬†Word of God¬†grows deeper, our desire to see God at work¬†consumes us, and¬†the Spirit of God becomes the only nurturing that we get.¬†

Lent is usually¬†a period of fasting for Christians.¬†It is a¬†period that we prepare ourselves to celebrate Easter and by doing so we join Christ in His suffering and mourn the fact that He was beaten and killed. Fasting through Lent is a way for Christians to intensify prayer, repentance, and self-denial as we take part in Christ’s journey toward the cross.

My challenge through Lent this year is to choose one, two, or three days per week to fast completely from food. I don’t believe that choosing a couple of items to stay away from during Lent is what biblical fasting teaches. Therefore, I’d encourage you to join me in this sacrifice of fasting as we intentionally pray more, repent often, and worship Christ through self-denial in preparation for Holy Week when we’ll celebrate Christ’s Passion and Resurrection.

Stay tuned for more on fasting… We’ll be talking about the two major New Testament passages on fasting: Matthew 6:16-18¬†and Matthew 9:14-17)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment