Oct 31 2019

Trick or Treat

Every year at this time churches all over the planet have their annual harvest festivals to give kids an alternative to Halloween.  There’s this notion that Christian kids shouldn’t participate in Halloween festivities because it represents evil.  I get it; to some people Halloween represents evil.  They wear crazy costumes to scare people and some of them even go so far as to plan some crazy rituals.  But we shouldn’t let crazy people keep us from having fun.  Listen, I love candy; especially when it’s free and especially if it involves chocolate.  If you want to give me a free fun sized almond joy, I won’t turn it down!

But I don’t like the trick or treat phrase because trickery is opposite of the heart of God.  God doesn’t want to trick you, he wants to bless you!  It is his heart to bless everyone on this planet.  His word says “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard…all that God has prepared for those who love him.”  We can’t begin to imagine what God has planned for us and I have a feeling that when we get to heaven there will be a lot of free candy.  So go get some free candy at church and from your neighbors.  And feel free to send a few pieces my way!


Oct 18 2019

Discipleship, identity, and accountability

There are 3 primary issues within the church today that need to be transformed if we want to see greater moves of God in our cities and around the world: discipleship, identity, and accountability. And if we can fix discipleship, the other two will no longer be issues. You see, good discipleship teaches us how to follow Jesus in every area of our lives and how to avoid traps that get us off track. Without it, we are in danger of not knowing our true identity in Christ. Now, some people may cringe at the idea of accountability because it sounds a little like judgement. So, let’s deal with that right up front. The Bible is very clear on the responsibility of believers to hold each other accountable. We see this in Galatians 6:1, Luke 17:3, and Matt 18:15, and we need to recognize that it is important because it puts us in a place to protect each other’s souls and keep each other moving in the right direction. The prophets had the responsibility of holding believers accountable in the Old Testament, because they were the ones the Spirit of God rested upon. But in the New Testament, that role expanded to all believers because the Spirit of God is inside of all of us. If I am headed in the wrong direction, I want someone to tell me so that I don’t end up in deception and veer off into territory that is ungodly. But I also realize that good discipleship can eliminate many of the accountability issues because believers can more easily parry the enemy’s tactics when they are grounded in the truth.

That brings us back to discipleship, and the major problem I see is that there is not a lot of real discipleship in churches today. Unfortunately, the fear of offending someone has crept into the church and caused many of the week to week teachings to be surface level teachings that are not equipping believers to fulfill their purpose, which Ephesians 4 tells us is the primary role of pastors, teachers, etc. I was in a gathering with other pastors a few days ago and several prominent long-time pastors in our region mentioned that we need to do a better job at discipleship. They were encouraging the other pastors in the room to be more proactive at discipling others. I was so happy to hear this because it is something the Lord put on my heart more than a year ago, and something we are very focused on doing every day. I believe that if we properly disciple people, the church will line up with the model our King gave to us, believers will come into a realization of their true identity, be actively equipped to change the world, be postured to partner with God in supernatural ways, and be will accept the need to remain accountable to fellow believers. Good discipleship can fix the other two issues and put the church back in a place of impacting society instead of the other way around.

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Oct 11 2019

Forgiveness

Did you ever wonder what happens when you hold a grudge against someone?  Did you ever wonder if by holding a grudge you are causing pain to the person you have chosen not to forgive?  Here’s a news flash for you, unforgiveness only hurts the person not willing to forgive. I doubt many people sit up at night wondering why someone hasn’t forgiven them and most of the time they probably don’t even know someone is still unwilling to forgive.  Grudges really are silly when you think about it.  They serve no worthwhile purpose and just breed anger and frustration inside of the person holding the grudge.  I think some people even enjoy it when others are mad at them because they get some kind of pleasure in knowing that they affected that person.  And to make matters worse, bitterness can sometimes cause physical pains that don’t have any medical explanation.  So let go of those grudges and move on.  You’ll feel a lot better if you do.