Thursday, February 28, 2013


Ephesians 5:16 “Redeeming the time because the days are evil”

Amplified “Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil”

The Message “So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!”

We need need a sense of urgency in making our lives count for Jesus because we are living in difficult times. Serving God is the responsibility of every believer. He's done so much for each of us. Why wouldn't we want to serve Him?

Salvation is free, but discipleship, on the other hand, is costly. We need to make our time on earth count for the cause of Jesus Christ. What we do matters. How we do it matters, as well. We need to make our time, talents, our testimony and our lives count for Jesus.

How do we do that? Well, we start with making our time count. We all have the same amount of time in each day. 60 seconds in minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours in a day. 7 days in a week. 52 weeks in a year. What are we doing with the time we have?

Is the time we spend in this world going to make it a better place? Too often, we don't want to take the time to even gather with our brothers and sisters. Ideally, no two meetings are alike. If you are coming only on Sunday morning, you are missing out on some things. Sunday night is different than Sunday morning. Wednesday night is different from Sunday morning and Sunday evening

Are you spending quality time with God each day? Don't give God second best. Don't give God what's left over! You may have to get up earlier or stay up later to have that one-on-one time with Jesus.

We all have talents or gifts that God has blessed us with. If God has given you a talent make it count for Him! If you don't use the talents God gives you, you may well lose them. God may give your talent to someone else who will use it for Him. Everyone is talented in some area. We don't all have the same talents. The local assembly will be properly balanced when each person uses their God given talents/gifts for Him. It takes us all doing our part in order for us to be the church God called us to be.

Make your testimony count for Jesus. People are watching your life. How you respond to situations and challenges you encounter makes an impact on others. Is your testimony one that honors God? Can someone look at how you respond to the circumstances life throws your way and say, “I want what they have”? People are watching your life – guaranteed! If those around you were asked about your life, what would they say? Are you known as a Christian? Are you known as a person of faith?

Oftentimes people desire to leave a legacy. What a legacy we would leave if we make our life count for Jesus! There's an old song that says, “Only one life, so soon it will pass, only what's done for Christ will last”. Are you making a difference in the lives of those around you?

Life is but a vapor (James 4:14) – we're here for just a short time. Life is short, no matter how long we have. Don't be deceived into thinking you have lots of time remaining to live for Jesus. Don't be deceived into thinking you have lots of time remaining to do what you know you should do. Live for God today! Then no matter when your life ends, you will have fulfilled God's plan for your life

It doesn't matter the number of years you have in this life, what matters is how you spend those years. We must keep our standards high, act wisely and do good whenever we can. Make your time count for Jesus. Make your talents count for Jesus. Make your testimony count for Jesus. Make your your life count for Jesus. We should be all that He desires us to be.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Life is sufficiently turbulent, at times, to be compared to a storm. The wind blows, the rain falls and the elements rage. Sometimes we feel like we're being tossed around by the storms of life we encounter on our journey.

Each one of us will face storms in our lives. These storms are much worse for some than for others. They come in various forms. Money runs out. We lose a loved one. Problems at work. Depression. Marriage problems. Your children disappoint you. Perhaps you've had a failure in some endeavor. Even emotional upset.

God will take you out of the storm eventually. God's timing is not our timing. He works in His time. God will make the storm stop. The disciples serve as a good example of this (Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 4:35-41). This very often happens. God will see you through the storms. You will often have the opportunity to see God's faithfulness. He knows where you are! He is present even though you can't see Him or sense Him at times. He knows just how much you can handle. He has promised not to give you more than you can handle. He is honor bound to intervene. No boat He was in ever in sank! He won't allow you to be overwhelmed. The storms can get pretty wild at times. Always remember, God cares and can stop a storm at will. You can only be overwhelmed if you choose to be. He wants to show Himself to be God to and for you. The storm often gives Him opportunity. Peter wouldn't have missed this storm for anything. It gave him opportunity to do what none of the others would do.

God wants to grow you spiritually. We grow through the trials and storms we go through. We can't get strong without pressure. God wants to do some miracles. The storms we face are often launch-pads for miracles. Just because you are facing a storm doesn't necessarily mean you are out of God's will. You are to experience faith in the storm. The rebukes that came were because of failure of faith on the part of the disciples. All other factors should make faith easier. The more often we see God work the more it increases our faith. When you get through the storm you'll love Him more! This is true of individual storms we encounter This is true of a group storm. This is true of life in general.

Accept the real facts as they are – storms are real! Trust God completely. Stay where you are – let Him move you. Get to know Him better. Refuse to panic. Expect God to do great things

When the storms of life come raging your way, praise God anyway! When you don't know what to do, praise God anyway! When you don't know which way to turn, praise God anyway!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013


A number of years ago there was a popular gospel song titled “Let The Church Be The Church”. Unfortunately, the church, as we know it today, is no longer the church of the New Testament. In order to have the impact on the world the New Testament church had on the world some changes need to be made. We desperately need to get back to the pattern of the New Testament church

There are two distinctions of the word “church”. First of all there's the church – the corporate body of Christ. Secondly, there's the local gathering of believers. There are more than 110 New Testament references to the church. Ninety of these refer to the local body or gathering of believers.

What is the origins of the New Testament church? When did the church begin? Opinions vary on this. Some say the church began at the time of Peter's statement to Jesus – Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16). Others say the church began at the cross. Some say at the resurrection. While others say the church began at Pentecost. God's church, corporate Body of Christ, and the local assembly, likely began at the same time. When people came to know Jesus they would gather with other believers.

Jesus established His church. The Holy Spirit built (and continues to build) it. The apostles promoted it – spreading the gospel every where they went. The Bible regulates it. The local church is voluntary, but not optional. We are to gather with our brothers and sisters for instruction, teaching and body ministry. The local church gathering of believers need not be an organized group. Since we, as Christians, are the church, we can gather anywhere at anytime. Numbers aren't important

Recent polls, both secular as well as Christian, tell us that many people are leaving the organized church, today for their own spiritual welfare. They are literally dying spiritually sitting there in the pew. When they leave for the right reasons, “out of church” Christians will thrive when they escape the chains of bondage organized religion puts them in.

There is something drastically wrong with the local organized church, as we know it today. Jesus is no longer the Head! Men have replaced Jesus as head of the church. Programs have replaced the Holy Spirit in an attempt to build the church.

Jesus gave the church its authority. It has authority to deal with its own problems in accordance to Scripture. The church can even care for certain legal matters (1 Cor 6:1-8). The church has specific areas of authority. That authority is God-given. This authority is vested in the church, not in the pastor. The Bible lays out and even defines the limit of that authority

The church is sometimes looked upon as a problem in today's society. It just doesn't fit in to what we want to do today. It appears better suited for New Testament times than for today. It runs against the grain of much of today's thinking. The church is considered outdated by many. In reality, most churches have compromised to better fit in to today's society

Rest assured the church, today, is still relevant! The church is a shelter from the world. It's a loving fellowship of believers. It's a place of genuine concern for one another. It's a place we come to minister and be ministered to – it's a body ministry.

We need to settle some issues regarding the church. It's not an institution, but rather an organic expression of church life that we should be looking for. Our greatest need, today, is to let the church be the church God ordained us to be.

If you want to be a part of the church Jesus is building then you need to get away from the one man is building.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Monday, February 18, 2013


What is the focal point of most church services?  In most institutional church settings it is the sermon that is the central focus of the service.  Some preachers are even called "preaching machines".  Today, we'll the preacher The Sermonator.

The pastor is expected to have a timely message that will tickle the ears of most of the people.  It seems very few want their toes stepped on.  There's a lot of "fluff" being preached today.  Most people leave these meetings unchallenged to move on and grow in their spiritual lives.  Ask most what the sermon was about and they would not even be able to tell you.

Is this the way it's always been?  What about the New Testament church?  How was the sermon and the preaching perceived in the New Testament church?  Let's take a look at that.

First of all, preaching or proclaiming the gospel was done outside the walls of the church to non-believers.  Evangelistic messages were preached to those in other cities, communities and gatherings for the purpose of bringing people to a saving knowledge of Jesus.  Read through the Book of Acts and you will see this to be true.  

On the other hand, in the New Testament church the church gatherings were for the benefit of the believers.  There would be teaching and instruction along with the body sharing with one another.  There would be dialog where discussion could take place and questions could be asked.  It was a body ministry then unlike today.  The early church gathered to spur one another on in their walk with Jesus. 

These were not evangelistic meetings in the church.  They were for the benefit of the believers.  You see, it was the responsibility of every believer to go out and share the gospel with others and lead non-believers to Jesus.  As a rule, non-believers did not come to the church meetings and get saved.  Rather they would become part of a local gathering of believers after they were saved.  Looks like we have that backwards today.

Today we go to church, sit in a pew, and listen to a preacher preach a sermon.  All the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the sermonator!   This is someone we hire to do this work.  We feel good about it because we have a sermonator.  This takes the responsibility off of the individual Christian.  Right?  I beg to differ.  It is my responsibility as well as your responsibility to win others to Jesus.  Then we bring them into the church for teaching, instruction and to spur them on in their walk with God.

Do you think we'll ever get back to Bible basics?  Will we ever get it?  Let's be the church God intends for us to be and not the church man wants us to be.  I read a statement recently I would like to share with you:  If you want to be part of the church Jesus is building then you need to get away from the one man is building.  Food for thought.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Friday, February 15, 2013


What we have come to know as "church", today, would be better termed entertainment.  From the first music note to the final amen we think we have to do something to keep the congregation entertained.

We have children's church to keep the children entertained while the adults are being entertained in the sanctuary.  The music entertains.  The special singing entertains.  Even the preacher has become an entertainer in his or her own right - a Preachertainer, if you will.

Some come to the Sunday meeting to watch and see what the preacher will do next and how he or she will do it.  Some preachers who only read their messages in a monotone voice are considered dead, dull and boring while others who rant and rave making use of the entire platform are certainly more entertaining.  Some use props to get their points across.  Then there are the power point presentations to go along with the sermons.  It appears Christians attending these meetings have gotten so lazy that they won't even open their Bible to follow along with the reading of God's Word.  So what do we do?  We become enablers via a power point presentation so the congregation can read the text and even the outline on the screen or wall.  Some churches actually have a multi-media department!

Now there is nothing wrong with good Christian entertainment if that is what you are looking for.  It has it's place   However, is this what we want when we gather?  Is that what God intended for the gathering of His people?  I prefer ministry as opposed to entertainment.  

I don't see the New Testament church being a church of entertainment.  Actually, quite the opposite is true.  They ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit outside the church walls to non-Christians.  When the church gathered, it was not an evangelistic message that was brought.  If there was any ministering done by a single person it was for the purpose of teaching and instruction and the environment was such that questions could be asked.  Oftentimes the body would minister to the body.  This seems to be a foreign concept today.  You see, there were no preachertainers in the New Testament church.

If we desire to have New Testament results we need to get back to the basics of being a New Testament church.  Some aren't interested in doing this.  They are comfortable with the way things are.  Leave it to the preacher and it's not their responsibility   IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE!  Let's return to Bible basics and see what God will do.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Many of the major battles in the church world today revolve around a single word – traditions. Music, styles of worship, approaches to ministry, and a host of other issues are sources of conflict. Most of this conflict has very little to do with Scripture. The real underlying problem is tradition.

What is tradition? By definition, tradition is the handing down of information, beliefs and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to the next. This is usually done without written instructions. Anything put is writing is usually put on paper after the tradition has been in place for some time. Hence the idea “But we've always done it this way!”

What are some traditions we see today? In all honesty, most of the forms or structures held in the church today would qualify as traditions. This would include such things as: scheduled times of worship, styles of worship, order of worship, membership, the church bulletin, whether or not to use instruments and if so which ones, specific dress codes, the invitation/altar call, frequency of communion, styles of music played and sang, committees, boards and on and on the list can go.

How are traditions formed? They generally begin with someone who is truly sincere, That person wants to serve more effectively. A method, application or interpretation is turned in to a rule. Some form of Scriptural support is found for the new rule. The Scripture is usually taken out of context in order to make it fit the new rule. This approach or method is then repeated until it becomes part of the church culture.

What good are traditions? They help us somewhat to bring order to our lives. They provide sameness, security and stability in our lives. Many people have family traditions. Some have certain holiday traditions. There's nothing wrong with that. But in the church, traditions kill. They will snuff the life out of a church body

What are the dangers of church traditions? Read Mark 7:1-23 and you will see some of the dangers of church traditions. From this Scripture we learn traditions can encourage hypocrisy. You see, traditions are usually easier to obey than truth. When we have a “we've always done it this way mentality” there are others who have grasped that same mentality. Therefore, others are holding to those same traditions as you are. It's much more comfortable that way. Tradition focuses on our action. Truth, on the other hand, focuses on attitudes that produce actions. Traditions can supplant – take the place of - Scripture (Mark 7:9-12). Traditions make obedience easier in that it need not come from the heart. Instead of obeying God from the heart we are going along with the tradition that has always been in place. Tradition tends toward conformity to make it appear that there is obedience. We often hold to tradition while ignoring Scripture. When tradition takes the place of Scripture there's a big problem! Tradition can twist Bible doctrine (Mark 7:14-16, 21-23). They can twist depravity by allowing a focus on externals rather than heart realities. Traditions lower the standard of righteousness to merely following a list. It turns the fear of God into a fear of what has become church culture. They can contribute to spiritual blindness (Matt 15:12-14)

Matt 15:12-14 Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But He answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hat not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch

I find it interesting that Jesus didn't seem to be concerned with offending the religious people of His day. The fact is, truth will offend at times.

People get emotional about their traditions. They get riled up when they are challenged. Trust me, I know from experience. Emotional reactions oftentimes reveal the inner working of the heart. Beware when intense emotions arise over non-biblical matters. Beware of leaders who lead by tradition or by an appeal to tradition. Without a doubt, traditions can stifle a ministry (Mark 7:17-20). Traditions can kill a move of God by hindering what He desires to do. Too often we have a “Don't upset my applecart” mentality. Perhaps we need out apple carts turned over!

If we find ourselves bound up by tradition, how should we handle it? First and foremost we must realize and acknowledge it's all about JESUS – not traditions. If we can't acknowledge and agree on that then there are even more underlying spiritual issues to deal with. We must reaffirm our commitment to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. We must distinguish the difference between tradition and truth. We must reject those traditions (methods and ways of doing things) that contradict God's Word or have no basis in Scripture. We must allow room for others to share what God has laid on their heart. No one person has the corner on hearing from God! We need to let go of those traditions that keep people in their seats. We must refuse to be bound by traditional methods of doing things. We must refuse to bind others with the chains of tradition. We must develop a growing, discerning life of spiritual reality if we are to break free and walk and live in the freedom and liberty God has for us.

Tradition has it's place. Just not in the church. We mustn't allow the Christian community to be divided by tradition. It just isn't Scriptural, even though it is often held as if it were.

God desires His people to be free indeed.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Wednesday, February 6, 2013


We've never done it that way before! or But we've always done it this way!  Perhaps these words have come through your lips in the past.  Maybe that's the way you feel right now.  Why do we need to change?  We've always done things this way.  I like knowing what to expect.  I'm comfortable with the way things are.  I don't adapt well to change.

I think, perhaps many feel this way.  I know it seems like that's what I've been writing about in my blog of late.  I told my wife earlier this week that life would be a lot easier for me if I would leave this subject alone and quit writing about it.  However, I can not and will not compromise what God has put on my heart.  I figure He has laid these things on my heart for a reason.  Maybe some of you reading this blog are the very reason God has moved me to write these things.

I do think we get too comfortable with the status quo.  We really don't like things to change that much in our lives.  That goes for both the natural things as well as the spiritual things.  But for the purpose of this blog I am looking at the spiritual things.  We often find ourselves in somewhat of a rut.  Yes, I said it.  Church life can become a mundane thing in the best of institutional church settings.  Think about it.  In the typical church service of any institutional church setting you have certain things that will always happen and most often in the same order week after week.  How boring does that get?  For me, personally, I get bored quite easily in this setting.

I believe church life should be organic.  Organic church life is spontaneous, liberating and life-giving.  It should bring with it the assurance that God is in control when we gather.  We shouldn't know whom, if anyone, God will move on to minister to the church body when we gather.  It should be an unstructured gathering - nothing scripted.  Dare I say it?  No bulletin!  Wow!  Some of you now are ready to call me a heretic!

Ministry gifts are just that - ministry gifts.  The apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are gifts Jesus gave to His church (Ephesians 4:11-16).  The purposes of these gifts are for the maturing of the believers and bringing them into unity.  These are gifts, not positions in the church.  We've had wrong thinking about that for many years.

God desires to bring us out of our comfort zones and into His presence.  Think about it.  Holy Spirit led Christians gathering together in the Name of Jesus are a Holy Spirit led church!  Wow!  Consider the possibilities in God!

If, on the other hand, you are interested in killing your church and stifling any move of God just continue to say those seven words that can kill and church...We've never done it that way before!

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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