Tuesday, January 29, 2013


There are people who cross our paths who are, what I call, nitpickers.  They will complain about every little thing that isn't going their way.  Now I'm not talking about things that need to be looked after or tended to, but rather little things that quite honestly don't amount to a hill of beans.  

Nitpickers, if they persist, can become "joy-suckers".  H. B. London coined this term a few years back of people who will attempt to suck the joy of the journey right out of you. These are people who are never happy or content in their own lives and they make it their personal mission to make certain others are as miserable and lacking joy as they are.

You can see it on their face.  If some of these folks smiled it would break their faces!  Somewhere along the way something zapped the joy of the Lord from their lives.  Perhaps they've allowed sin to creep in to their life that remains unconfessed.  Maybe something didn't go their way somewhere along the way and they allowed the joy to slip away.  Maybe they've never really been saved.  Whatever the reason, the joy is missing in their life.  That's sad, too.  Scripture tells us the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

I have found if Jesus is the Source of your joy, than other people cannot take that joy away.  Neither can circumstances, whatever they may be, steal that joy from you.  If, on the other hand, your so called joy is based on having things, being financially secure, everything always going smoothly and everything going your way, than you don't really have the joy the Bible talks about.  Perhaps you have some happiness or self-gratification, at best.

DON'T ALLOW ANYONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE STEAL YOUR JOY!  Don't be a nitpicker and don't allow a nitpicker to become a joy-sucker in your life.  

Walk the journey and live it out.  Walk with the Father day by day.  Allow Jesus be the center of your existence.  Not the church.  Not fellowship with other Christians. Not gospel music.  Not even preaching or teaching but rather JESUS, and JESUS ALONE.  You will find in Him all you need for a joyful journey.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Thursday, January 24, 2013


How many times have you heard the expression, "We've always done it this way?"  I've actually heard some professing Christians say, "I don't care what the Bible says, I'm going to do it my way."

The reality is so many believers are stuck in their traditions that they believe their way of doing things is the only right way.  It seems the old ways are deeply ingrained with most Christians.  Just try to bring a little freedom and liberty into their lives, based on Scripture mind you, and they dig their feet in.  I'm convinced that tradition will snuff the very life out of believers and thereby the church.

It's hard to let go of our traditions and our old ways of doing things.  However, we must completely rethink the way we've understood and experienced church if we, as believers, are to reach our full God-given potential.  

Rethink the way we understand and experience church????  I can hear some now questioning my sanity or even my salvation.   Yet, so much of our present understanding and experiences of church have absolutely no basis in the Word of God.  Oh, we say we believe the Bible, yet when it comes to these traditions we hold on to them like they are gospel, when in reality they are man-made.  

Let's take a look at what Jesus had to say about traditions.

  • Matthew 15:7-9  ...Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias (Isaiah) prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Those are strong words from the Savior.  We nullify God's Word because of our traditions!  I don't want that hanging over my head.  You see, it's not enough to act religious. It's not enough to study religion or even to study the Bible.  We must respond to God and have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Whether the traditions are church membership, the Lord's snack, staring at the back of someone else's head, watching a one man show or any other number of traditions churches have these days, don't allow so-called church traditions snuff the life out of you.  Jesus came to give life and that more abundantly (John 10:10).   God wants to give you life along with freedom and liberty in Him.  

Don't be guilty of merely acting religious.  Don't settle for merely acting religious.  Don't just honor God with your words, but rather honor Him with your life.  Flesh it out day by day hand in hand with Jesus.

Enjoy your walk with the Lord.  He has a great plan for your life.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Monday, January 21, 2013


When will they get it?  Some people just don't get it.  We do our best to minister the Word in such a way as to break the spiritual chains that bind people, yet they reject it.  It seems like they actually enjoy living in the bondage they are in.  That makes no sense to me.  Yet given the time we are living in, it shouldn't surprise me.

Paul, writing to Timothy, stated, "...in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy...".  These are strong, but true words.  It's been my experience through the years that Satan deceives people by offering a counterfeit of the real thing. I believe that Satan has a counterfeit for everything God has.  This includes the church.  

I'm not even talking about the Satanic Church or whatever they may call it. I'm talking about this corporate entity that we consider "church" today.  It deceives so many.  With it comes "membership" as if they are joining an exclusive club.  With membership, of course, comes privileges.  In these so called churches, it is the members who vote on various things.  It is the membership who makes all the important decisions regarding their version of "church".  Really, it's become nothing more than "churchianity".  I'm not sure who coined that term, but it seems applicable.

God set us in a corporate church setting 4 1/2 years ago.  He did so for a purpose.  I, personally, didn't want to go, but I did want to obey God.  I still do want to obey God.  God has used us to encourage, exhort and edify this local church body.  They had been through a terrible time.  God sent us there for a time to love them and for a healing to take place.  I have no doubt that God brought us there for this purpose.  He has also led us to preach and teach them things from His Word that would make them "free indeed".  We've done our best to be faithful to what God has led us to do.

This past Sunday we had a meeting and I recommended that we abolish formal church membership.  After searching the Scriptures and doing some historical research, I find absolutely no precedence for church membership in Scripture.  I believe if we are going to be a Bible believing church we should stick to God's Word.  Since there is no mention or precedent for formal church membership in the Bible, I believe its time to remove that chain of bondage.

This is a small congregation with nearly as many non-members as members attending.  Many of the non-members are more faithful than some of the members.  The non-members are not "joiners".  I agree with them.  My wife and I are not joiners either.  We believe one is born again into the family of God.  I also believe non-members who are active and involved with the local assembly should have input as well as those who are members.  I don't believe there are any "second class Christians" in the Kingdom of God.  When you have that member/non-member divide it has the propensity to make the non-members feel like they are less important.  This is just plain wrong!!!!

Because no one would make the motion to abolish formal church membership it fell dead without much discussion.  The few comments that were made amounted to "We've always done it this way.".  In my opinion, always having done it this way and continuing to do it this way will stifle and eventually kill any move of God in a local assembly.  We must be open to what God desires for us.  

I had the opportunity to share with the congregation that so much of what goes on in our churches (including this particular assembly) does not have its' origins in Scripture, but rather in man.  

I've come to the conclusion that either they don't get it or they simply don't care.  They are comfortable with the way things are.  That's not good enough for me.  

I suppose you've picked up on my frustration by now.  I don't see that getting any better anytime soon.  Who knows, maybe this could be the year God releases us from this assignment.  Stay tuned.

Until next time...enjoy the journey.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013


As I continue to look around at this entity we call church these days it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Many who read this blog know what I'm talking about.  Man has had his hand on things for so long that the way things are done today seem like the norm.

Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth.  God intended His church to be free.  The early church, while not without it's share of difficulties and issues to deal with, was a church that knew liberty in the Lord.  The church today knows bondage because of man.  How is that good for Christian growth?

This actually goes way back when you think about it.  Back to the time when being led by God wasn't good enough for the Israelites in the Old Testament.  Remember when they told the prophet Samuel that they wanted a king.  After all, other nations had a king.  We see that while God wanted to be all they needed (and He was all they needed) he did relent and let them have a king.  God gave them what they wanted.  The reason God didn't want them to have a king is because He didn't want to have an indirect relationship with them.

Christians today are the same way.   They want that brick and mortar building.  They think you cannot "have church" with out it.  Why?  Because it's been that way a long time.  Again, it's a man-made thing.  God desires to have this wonderful direct relationship with His people.  He desires to speak to them directly, but they want a building, a man who holds a position of pastor and all the duties and obligations that go along with it.    By the way, the "pastor", as we know it today, was foreign to the New Testament church.  There was no "one man shows" then.  It was never meant to be a position, rather a ministry gift given to the church by Jesus.  

It seems today that without man's validation of church, no church exists.  Just a reminder, God's church is not a legal entity or corporation.  Rather, it's a living, breathing organism.  Anything other than that misses the boat.

Just the ranting of a raving Christian.  

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Most believers join a church in order to be identified as a member of that particular church and/or denomination.  Some people join a church for the status symbol it provides - that is if it's the "right" church.  Some join a church because their ancestors were members of that church or they have some other family history with the church.  People "join" a church for a variety of reasons.

I want to look at the biblical aspect of church membership, as we know it today.  Is "joining" a church or "taking membership" with a church biblical?  In a word, NO!

The Scriptures speak of us, as believers, being members of one another, joint heirs with Christ, part of the Body of Christ, a church of saints, a kingdom of citizens, a building of stone, a vine of branches, a fold of sheep and even a household of children but no where does the Bible speak of "joining" a church.  I find that quite interesting.

As I researched this practice of the modern day institutional church, I found this was yet another one of these  "man made" things.  Ever since I was a youngster I've heard about the importance of church membership.  As I grew older and matured in my walk with God, I began to search this out on my own.  I do see in Scripture that we are "born again" into the family of God.  So in my mind when one is born again they belong to the Body of Christ.  We are members one of another.  We need one another on this journey.  Of that there is no doubt.  But what about this "joining" thing?

Why do we emphasize these things that have no foundation in God's Word?  Perhaps the problem is that we have no problem submitting ourselves to man made traditions.  The problem comes in surrendering and submitting ourselves to God and His Word.

Two of the churches I pastored (the two we started) didn't not have church membership.  We believed if one was born again they are part of the family of God.  If that's good enough for the Lord, that's good enough for us.  Why add anything to it?  For many, this was too far outside of their comfort zone.  As we've become comfortable with our man made traditions, the Word of God has become ineffective in our lives and our churches because of these same traditions.

It's time to let this tradition of church membership go!  It's time we get back to Bible basics.  There are no second class Christians.  When we are born again, we belong to the Church.  Period.  End of story.  There is not a class of people who are members and this other lower class of people who are not members.  At least I don't see that in the Bible.

This Sunday I am going to propose an amendment to the By-Laws of the church God has set us in, to do away with formal church membership.  We have nearly as many non-members as we do members.  It's time to tear down this wall of separation!  For some, this will no doubt be too far outside of their comfort zone.  However, the time has come.  Perhaps I'll have more to share on that later.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Saturday, January 5, 2013


I am now back in the saddle writing my blog.  This is my first blog post of the new year.  I trust it will be a blessing to you and will challenge you as you walk with the Savior.

How many of you have made New Year's resolutions in the past?  How many of you have made them for this year?  I have made them in the past and by the end of January I've broken every one of them.  Oh, I start out with good intentions, but it doesn't take much to get me derailed.  Perhaps I'm not alone there.

If we don't form some definite resolutions – make some determinations - from time to time, our lives will be devoid of sovereign purpose and therefore fruitless.

Let me share with you, if I may, some determinations I have made in my own life for this year.  I prefer to "determinations" to "resolutions".  Some would say there isn't much difference, but for me there is. Please indulge me as I share my determinations. 

First off, I determine to set Jesus ever before me. David wrote I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved ( Psalm 16:8). We should determine in every place, every condition, every circumstance, every joy, every victory we will say, “Lord, abide here before me.” Make it personal. I will practice the presence of Jesus . If we make that kind of determination in our lives, it will so revolutionize things that each of us will be able to say as David said, “I shall not be moved!”

Secondly, I determine to show myself approved unto God. This, of course, is done through the study of God's Word. Paul in writing to young Timothy said, Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15). The godly man and woman is a man and women of meditation - that is meditaion on God's Word (Ps 1:2-3). This is the key to real prosperity in your Christian walk. Joshua said, This book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make they way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (Joshua 1:8).

Picture, if you will, a ship was wrecked and began to sink. The life boats had been placed in the water and were boarded. They realized they didn't know which way to go. Two sailors rushed back to the sinking ship because they forgot the compass. As we set sail on the unknown sea of a new year, we must be sure we have the Compass. That compass is the Word of God. The psalmist wrote, Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee (Psalm 119:11).

Thirdly, I determine to take my place as a prayer warrior. Scripture tells us, Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:18). I believe the primary need of God's work today is men and women of prayer! This is even more important than sermons This is more important than any single thing we do when we gather as believers. I'm not talking about this half-hearted prayer that so many professing Christians practice today – if they practice at all. I'm talking about grabbing hold of the horns of the altar and praying until you touch heaven type of prayer. Satan laughs at our activities when Christians approach prayer half-heartedly

Joshua is a good example of one who made a determination to serve God. The Bible tells us, in part, in Joshua 24:15 ...choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!  Joshua made a determination.  As believers embarking on the dawn of a new year, we too, should make some determinations.

Who will join me in making some determinations to serve God is a greater way in 2013?  Let's be all we can be for God.  Let's allow God to be God in our lives this year - day by day.


Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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