Are you like Jesus?

I once read this and I think many people feel the same way today because it seems that I hear it from people that I have invited to church.

Gandhi said, “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.

Honestly, we are exactly like that. We claim to know Jesus and have Him in our heart, but to people that we don’t know or are new to our church we are more like the Pharisees than we are Jesus. We tend to judge people by the way they are dressed or by what someone said about them in a whisper when they came in and sat down. What if you are judged in that way when you are standing in front of God? How would you like to be judged by the measure that you use every day?

It is true that people in the church can be much like children when someone new shows up. Children are mean. The words which many people in church use toward someone who NEEDS Jesus can be very hurtful and mean too! I don’t mean that every church is this way nor are all the people in each church this way, but the ones that we hear about certainly are!

In spite of the childish rhyme which goes: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me”.  This is patently WRONG and most adults know it, but they teach this to their kids anyway. Words do hurt, many times more deeply and for a much longer period than sticks and stones.

Why do we do this? This kind of behavior is not what Jesus would do nor would He allow His disciples to act like this! “Church people” have always had a kind of “better than you” attitude and unfortunately it doesn’t do much for the membership of the church. Many of them would really get offended if you told them this too. So, how can it be fixed? Well…there will be some hurt feelings and some will get angry with the pastor if he is the one pointing it out, but you can’t get rid of a behavior if you don’t know it is there.

An addict won’t try to change their life until they recognize that they are addicted to whatever it may be. Although, I am not saying that we, as Christians, are addicted to this type of behavior but it does tend to happen more often in larger churches or in city churches, at least in my experience. Small country churches may notice new people but most don’t turn a judging eye to a new person until they get to know them or hear some gossip about them. Even then it is the wrong thing to do.

We are all sinners in God’s sight, but if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior then your sins are covered by His blood and forgiven. So the drug addict or alcoholic who shows up on Sunday and sits in the back is no different from the preacher who is bringing the message. Jesus loves them both and if they are Christian and have accepted Him as their Savior then their sins are forgiven. Even if they fail occasionally and sin again, Jesus still loves them and if they come in repentance to Him they are still forgiven.

We are all human and in God’s sight, a sin is a sin. There are no BIG ones or small ones. This is why Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors, whether they were accepted by the Pharisees or not and most weren’t. Jesus brought His message of God’s love to everyone, whether they were sinners, saint or adulterer or prostitute, and murderous thieves like the ones who were crucified with Him. Why can’t we do the same?

Because most church-going Christians think that they are better than others, but the ground is level and God’s grace and love are given free to all at the foot of the Cross. Only through the belief in and acceptance of Jesus as your Savior is salvation purchased by His blood and not your own works.

Words and learning

TaketheGospeltoAllIn the Bible, there are many words. None quite as omnipotent as believe although faith comes in really close. Depending upon which term that you look for or even which translation you are using, they will show up more in one or less in another. My point is this: the words that we should be using and allowing to help us to grow our relationship with Jesus are not important.

The real clincher is your attitude in your relationship with Him! Do you take it seriously? Do you take the Bible seriously and as the Truth? Finally and most important, do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit to be written by men? If your belief in God’s Word and it’s inspiration by the Holy Spirit is strong and you have your faith in Jesus as the Son of God and your Savior then go out and tell the rest of the world!!

The time that we live in is filled with those who deny that Jesus is the Son of God and those who deny that the Bible is truly the Word of God. Yet, nearly seventy percent of Americans claim to be Christian in their faith. If that were true, why do so many churches have so few people in them on Sunday morning?

There are many studies about the decline of churches and church attendance in America and around the world. One startling outcome is that America is actually behind India and China in attendance! What happened? At the beginning of the 20th century there were 27 churches for every 10,000 people in America, now we are down to 11 per 10,000. And those eleven aren’t full on Sunday morning, so what has happened?

While it is true that the book of Revelation speaks of a falling away in the faith by the faithful, I don’t believe that this is happening at this time. It seems that we need fresh ideas in the church to draw more people to church, but most importantly we need to get back to the Bible and study in it’s wisdom. Teaching our congregations more thoroughly about Jesus and His Father. We don’t need social media nights or fireworks or “eating meetings” to bring people in because the Bread that they need to be digesting is the Word of God! The Bread of Life itself!!

Bible school and teaching teens about Jesus is wonderful and it should be done during the summer. But, we should also have a night or two during the week to teach parents and grandparents about Jesus, not just during one twenty-five minute sermon on Sunday morning. After all, they are raising or helping to raise the next generation coming into the church, so they need to learn just as much or more than the young people do.

Is it possible to teach parents and grandparents about Jesus and God and the wisdom found in the Bible? Of course it is, if they will attend and come to learn. The churches are becoming sparse and many people in the next generation won’t be coming or even be a member of a church if we don’t teach them more about Jesus and why He came to save us! He didn’t do it because it was going to be fun, He came because He loves each and every person on Earth so deeply that He was willing to give His life for each of them!IamtheWay

Just a thought…

Maybe more than one…I saw this on another site or maybe in an email and considered that it was worthy of placing here:Listen and silent

So much of the life and the times in which we live is part of the prophesied times told of in the Bible. The books of Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel all have some points which give us some insight into the times in which we live right now. So what is the point of the words “listen” and “silent”? Simply this: you must be silent in order to listen and you need to listen in order to understand. In order to understand the wisdom of God, you need to learn to listen to Him and what better way to do that than to read His Word so you will know His voice when He speaks? If you don’t know someone’s voice, you can’t pick them out in a crowd of people, and that is what we have to do in order to hear God.

There is so much going on around us today until it is extremely hard to pick out relevant information, let alone the actual Truth of God. It just gets drowned out in the background until you can’t hear it well enough to know what is being said. Daily living with God’s Word, not just once or twice a week, is what is truly necessary for all of us who wish to know Him and be known by Him.

Seek His guidance in all of life’s problems and triumphs, the good and the bad times, and everything in between. Why? Because that is how the relationship between us and God was supposed to work in the beginning! Walking, talking and learning from Him was the normal and the only way for Adam and Eve to learn the things needed to be caretakers of the Garden. It is very sad that we fell from His grace so soon, but it didn’t surprise God. He knew that it was coming and what brought it about as well as who was responsible, just as the rebellion in the ranks of the angels didn’t surprise Him.

Silent and quiet times are few and far between, but we need to try to have those with God. Because, Jesus made sure in His ministry to do just that and He did it often, not just when He needed some advice or inspiration. We should do the same. Seek Him out so that you can learn from the Creator, He really is the best teacher.





Wisdom, where does it come from?

Some people say that wisdom comes with age, but I have seen some older people do some strange things that don’t seem to bear this out. I am not giving any examples here, but I think you know who you are. Some novels contain some interesting wisdom or at least some sayings which people like to quote or post on Facebook.

But…the greatest wisdom that I have ever read is contained in the Bible. Yep…that’s what I said, the Bible! In many ways most of our “wisdom” has come from God’s Word at some point, whether we heard it from our grandparents or parents. Sometimes, they don’t ever realize that much of their sayings are actually re-worded quotes from the Bible.

Why do I say that wisdom comes from God? Because He is our Creator, so don’t you think He is wise beyond our measure? He lives outside of time and space and He can see all parts of your life and mine from beginning to end.

We can’t understand Him, except by reading and studying His Word and even then we won’t understand Him even as much as we can each other. God is far above us in all ways, yet He loves us so dearly that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins. Why would God do this? Because of His love for us that is why. Trying to reason out God’s ways with the wisdom of man doesn’t work.

His wisdom is only gained by reading His Word and by faith in Him. To the world and to those who have not accepted Him as Savior, God’s wisdom and His Word is just foolishness and can’t be understood. Without faith and belief in Him, it can’t be but God only asks that we believe in Jesus as our Savior and the faith which brings us to that point will allow us to see the wisdom in His Word. In this life, we won’t understand it, but we can at least live our lives as His servants and help the rest of the world to know Him.

So much to do…

Being a pastor, even of a small church, is a big responsibility. The sermon preparation sometimes takes days, many times more than a few days. Then, sometimes God will lead me to change the subject and the passage that my sermon is based on, even as late as Saturday night or Sunday morning!

Getting the gospel to the people who come to church isn’t hard work, since God gives me the strength and the words to do it but sometimes it feels overwhelming. Those are the days that I have to lean into the Word and seek His guidance and direction. Sometimes, life gets in the way with things like paying bills, grocery shopping, going to a movie with my son, but then sometimes one of those will also prompt me or give me an idea for a sermon.

Jesus worked in His ministry for a little more than three years, but the impact that He had on the lives of a total of 14 men and the impact that they have had on the world is nothing short of miraculous. Fourteen men, the original 12, then Judas Iscariot hanged himself, then he was replaced with another, then Paul (Saul) became a convert/disciple, these are the fourteen that I am speaking of. Yes, there were others who were added later, but these were the closest to Him, even Saul.

Why do I bring this up? Mainly because of the impact that Jesus and all of these men had on their world and the people in it. This impact has spread much farther than any of them could’ve imagined and it is still spreading today! God is doing this, the church and its members are taking their witness to places which it might never have been before. The Internet, satellite television, books, Bibles, all of this is part of the mission and yet, there is still so much to do. So, how many are willing to do the work that needs doing?

I don’t know. There are many who come to church on Sunday morning and never open a Bible. Many don’t even bring one with them. If you are not interested in the Word and its message, to learn about Him and what He has said to us and to the believers which began the church during that first century, then why come at all?

I am not telling people to not attend but you at least be engaged in the learning part of church just as if you were in school, because that is exactly what church is! I am not claiming to know all about the Bible or everything about Jesus but the messages that is spoken in church or written here is just as important, but if you aren’t willing to do the work of reading God’s Word and learning more about Him, then why claim to be a Christian in the first place?