Monday, March 31, 2014

It Is Time

'Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?' Gal. 4:16

We've all been there. We get fired up by the Holy Spirit of God. Most likely at church on Sunday, go home, decide who we're going to tell about Jesus. Knock on their door, AND....
Wait, what?!?! Jesus is everything! How in the world can't they accept a message of real, true freedom? And now, more than anything, I feel like their enemy for telling them about Jesus. We become timid, guilty, embarrassed. I know, because I've been there. Why is it that we feel like we are on God's Roller Coaster sometimes?
I can tell you this-it's not God's fault, it's ours. I need to realize that if I knock on 100 doors and 1 gives their life to Christ-it's a celebration!! But am I willing, or strong enough, to knock on 100 doors? That's really the question. I think it's time our actions start pouring out from our love for God.
Ready for some truth? We need to evangelize. Not better or more-we need to START!!
Let me see if I can get some zeal for the Almighty God rushing through your veins.
John 15:7-9 is simply awesome.
'If you abide in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.' 
God is wanting us to bear fruit. He is waiting for His army to rise and take on this world with the Good News of Jesus Christ! We are his disciples! We have a Father who loves us! Whatever we ask, it will be given to us!! And so it is time. 

Lord, we ask for revival. 

-PC (Pastor Cory)

Friday, March 28, 2014

This is Why I'm Free

This is who I am, 
It's where I stand, I won't apologize
This is why I'm free, now I believe
I will not compromise, this is who I am. 
-Colton Dixon 'This is Who I Am'

I'm beginning to understand why people take breaks from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. If you're not careful you can fall into a mode of hatred-real quick!! There have been times where I was literally frozen staring at my computer thinking, 'Did he/she really just say that?!' Sometimes it makes me wonder about where we're headed. The world, our nation, our churches, Christianity, and especially our next generation (in which I hold a special place because they are my children's era).
The problem starts to come when I start to worry. I forget so easily the passages in the Bible where Jesus says that he is a good shepherd, that he will never leave me and of course-not to worry. So how are we to live? 'The righteous will live by faith.' (Gal. 3:11) 'So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.' (Gal. 3:24)
I will be justified if I put my faith in Jesus Christ. Sounds like a simple formula. So what happens when I see all of these present-day events on the news or social media outlets that don't line up with the Law of God, and don't line up with proclaiming Jesus Christ? What am I to do?
It's difficult. We are starting to live in a culture where if you proclaim your beliefs as a Christian, then you are offending or judging someone. And the argument is usually assaulted back at Christians as, 'Jesus would have loved everyone and you are hating!' Have Christians/the Church messed up sometimes-sure. But how did Jesus handle sin?
I can't think of a better way than in John 8. A woman is caught in adultery. The pharisees most likely had already picked up some stones to kill her. They bring her to Jesus to catch him in a trap. The Law of Moses had said that they must stone her (In a way the law led this woman to Christ-literally!). They wanted Jesus to say otherwise so they could arrest him as well. Then something amazing happens. I say amazing because we don't know. Jesus bends down and writes something on the ground with his finger. The pharisees leave. The woman is saved from the stoning.
But Jesus ends this encounter by saying something very profound-'Go now and leave your life of sin.' Jesus does not mess around with sin. He fully understands sin, and he fully understands the sin that is in all of our lives. But he brings freedom. Whereas the law cannot save us, it can reveal evil. Was this woman still guilty? Yes. Is adultery bad? Yes. But it doesn't have to equal death!!

Jesus loves you so much that he wouldn't let you die in your sin. 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Self Help

Whenever I have new people come into the church and give their lives to Christ, it's a celebration! It is the fullness of what the church is about-bringing people to Jesus!! Not a church's agenda, culture, or movement they're trying to push. It's always supposed to be about Jesus.
And the obvious question that comes after this celebration is...'Well, what should I do now?'
It's a pretty simple, and understandable question to ask-what's next??
I've caught myself sometimes because I go into pastor mode too quickly and unleash this amazing package of Bible readings, our small group schedule, sign them up for our next baptism, schedule a meeting for membership, how they can help, how they can do this and that...
Have you ever read the Bible and the words convict you so much you just sit back and feel embarrassed because there's a good chance you've been doing things wrong?? Or maybe, you've just been doing things with the mentality of 'works'??
If you haven't, you need to read the book of Galatians...TODAY. It's takes 30 minutes to read.

'So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.' (Gal. 2:16)
'I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.' (Gal. 2:21)
'All who rely on observing the law are under a curse...' (Gal. 3:10)
'The righteous live by faith.' (Gal. 3:11)
The hardest one for a pastor to read, 'If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!' (Gal. 1:9)

I understand that we live in a day of 'self-improvement' or 'self help'. If something is wrong-you fix it. And I personally know good Bible believing Christians who are in the field of counseling that are doing remarkable things. The difference here is that we need to know where the healing comes from. We need to know where our salvation comes from. I believe God can use counselors, teachers, pastors, mentors, etc. to bring about change in our lives, but that's the point-GOD uses them. Let's not praise the process but instead, the source. 
And so this may be a hard way to get people more involved in church, or for better attendance, offerings, etc. But everything has to start over. We need to have a church restart. Are we doing things because of Jesus or because we feel good about our own works? I believe that if we start with Jesus, our churches would become healthier. That we become even more obedient through our love for Jesus, rather than trying to love out of obedience. 

And so today I will live by faith.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday

For most of my life I was really oblivious about Ash Wednesday. It wasn't until 2004 that it really came to my attention. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ came out on that date. A movie that accomplished  so much for Christians as well as bringing to light what Ash Wednesday was. It's a holiday (holy day) that Christians have honored for over ten centuries. It falls at the beginning of a 6 week season called Lent. It prepares us and leads us up to Easter. In the earliest centuries, Christians who had been stuck in persistent sin had ashes sprinkled on their bodies as a sign of repentance, even as Job repented in 'in dust and ashes' (Job 42:6). Around the 10th century, all believers began to signify their need for repentance by having ashes placed on their foreheads in the shape of a cross. It was to be a sign of good things to come. As we know there is an empty tomb that goes with the cross of Christ.
Which led me to think about Ash Wednesday differently, even for today. It can be taken as a 'gloomy' holiday, but it reminds that through the bad news of our sin, there is GOOD NEWS through Christ. So this Ash Wednesday I've decided to stare death in the face and acknowledge that I am mortal. But the only reason I can is because of the assurance of life, real life, eternal life that I have through Jesus. When we know our lives are in our Father's hands we can be honest about what lies ahead. We can be confident in the face of death because we serve the one who conquered death.