Thursday, December 9, 2010

Good People In Heaven

I really enjoy hanging out with lots of different people. Often times when guys figure out that I am a pastor they get defensive, they apologize for cussing or tell me where they go to church. But the real concern came just last week when I was hanging out with a group of guys and after about an hour it was brought up that I was a pastor. One of the men said this, and I quote "I know I am going to heaven because I am a good person." Now his idea was based on what the world also thinks. Good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. This type of thinking is very dangerous and extremely wrong in several ways.

1. Who gets to determine the definition of "good people?"

In the worlds eyes good people don't murder or steal, they check off a list of things that make them good. This creates two things, first it creates pride, "look what I have done" and second it creates despair "look what I can't do."

In the eyes of Christ there is no one good, we all are sinners and need to be rescued.

2. If you can be "good" and get into heaven then you have no need of a Savior.

In other words Christ died for no reason.

The Bible teaches us that "while we are sinners, Christ died for us." This means that we don't have to clean up before Christ will rescue us, in fact we can't clean up. When we come to Christ this does not mean that we no longer sin and suddenly become "good people." We will continue to sin but now the payment of sin has been paid.

Often times people turn their life over to Christ and bite their teeth and squeeze their fist in a vain attempt to be "good." When they fail, and they will, they often doubt their salvation. They think that Christ was gonna knock this addiction out of them and now that they have slipped into sin Christ must have left them. Don't allow Satan to put this doubt in your mind. Have faith that if you are a child of God he will never leave you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hunting Before God

There is nothing I enjoy more than Nov. deer hunting. Bucks are on the move, the rut is on, what more can a hunter want. As a passionate deer hunter I can't wait for this time, but it can be very dangerous. The past couple of weeks my passion has turned into an obsession. It was all I could think about and all I could talk about. If I was not in the woods I was looking at hunting blogs and forums on the Internet. Slowly things started becoming effected because of my obsession. My mood and my children were the first things I noticed, then my personal time and marriage. I was reminded as I looked in the mirror that I was placing hunting on the throne in my life where Christ needed to be. So what am I doing to "dethrone" hunting?
1. I am going on a hunting fast. This means for 7 days I am not going into the woods at all. This may seem trivial to some but I have been hunting morning and evening for the past 2 months.
2. When I have the urge to look at hunting blogs or go hunting the next 7 days I will turn to prayer.
3. I am spending my time now showing my wife and kids and most importantly God that things are going to be different.

It is not good enough to just know you have a problem you must do something about it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bite and Devour!

This is not the sight you want to see after recovery that big deer you shot. There is nothing more depressing than finding your trophy only to see that it has been tore apart by wild beast. I am sure this is what Christ thinks about when he see His church tearing apart one another. The Apostle Paul reminds his readers of this in Galatians 5:15. The churches in Galatia were struggling with legalism (man made religion that takes the focus off of God and on to man) Paul has reminded them several times that there is no other Gospel other than that of Christ. Often times we in the church forget what we are doing. We have great programs and we draw a crowd, but we forget Christ. In Revelation 3:20 Christ says "behold I stand at the door and knock" what he is saying is that the church has put him on the outside! He is standing outside knocking to come back in. To often we turn from the cross and turn to ourselves. Paul warns us here that if we do that we will only eat one another! This is what he says "If you bite and devour one another beware lest you be consumed by one another." This is a warning for all of us, what ever we do in the church or in your home do it because you love Jesus and you desire to see His Kingdom expand. If you do it for selfish gain then before long you will turn on those around you. No hunter wants to see his deer consumed by wild beast, and Christ does not want to see His bride (the church) consumed by His people.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Comeback Kiddos

Being a father is one of the most important things in my life. I am the proud dad of 4 boys, and things are always CRAZY. In the fast pace of life that goes on today we as parents tend to let the T.V. raise our kids. It is the easy way out, we sit with them and play video games and pass that off as "quality time." One of the most rewarding things to do with your children is to get them involved in the outdoors. Take them camping or fishing, introduce them to what God has given to us. Too many dads are not involved in the raising of their kids, they simply take the back seat to mom and allow her to teach the boys how to be a man? How involved are you? Why not take some time during the week to turn off the T.V. and spend some real quality time with your kids. This will be a tuff time for some of us because we have allowed the T.V. to take over for so long, and the kids will complain and get bored, but hang in there and take back your children.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Running the Race!

I know that I have written about this before but I think that it is imperative that we understand the need of the running! Here recently I have jumped on the ban wagon of the newest fitness fad around, P90X. Does it work? You better believe it does, but it is hard and takes commitment in order to see results. Just simply getting the videos does nothing, you must push play and make it a part of your life in order to see the changes you want. So far I have lost 22lbs! I am determined to change my lifestyle and to run the race the best that I can.

The writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." In this verse we can see a few important steps to take in order to run the race.

1. Surround yourself with godly people.

This is very important, because these are the ones that are going to motivate you and keep you running. My lovely wife works out with me in the P90X program and tells me how good I am doing.

2. Shed the hangups that keep you from running. This I think will help you run better and faster in this godly race. The things we need to shed are the sins "that so easily entangle us." How can we ever run if we are tangled up? Have you ever tried to work out with jeans on? It is very hard to do. Get rid of those sins that are keeping you from God.

3. Don't Quit! "Run with perseverance" that means in spite of the ungodly world we live in, don't stop running. Things are going to "pop" up to slow you down, but we must push through.

Be encouraged all of you! Verse 3 says "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and loose heart.

God Bless!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Snake in the Grass!

I can remember when I was a boy and my father would take me deer hunting at Table Rock Mountain in NC. We shared some great memories on that mountain and one in particular stands out in my mind today. It was the morning hunt and it was early Sept when the temps are still high enough for snakes to be out. Dad and I had walked to our stands. His stand was first so I had to make the next 400-500yd walk on my own. (when your 10 and 11 it was scary walking alone in the dark!) I came to my tree stand and climbed in. At lunch time I always met my dad and we had lunch before the evening hunt. As I was walking to dad's stand the thought of my ham sandwich was on my mind when the ground below me came to life. I froze mid step and noticed a large copperhead snake at my feet.(The copperhead snake is very poisonous) I only had a bow and arrow no gun so I did not know what to do. After what seemed like 20mins I just ran, I passed my dad who joined me running because he though a bear was chasing me. When we got to the truck both of us were breathing hard I told dad what had happened. We still laugh about it to this day. I say all that to say this, we never know when the devil is going to try and attack us. Sometimes we are just walking along thinking of a ham sandwich and boom were are in his trap. The bible tells us that the devil is like a "roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Keep your eyes open and be ready for the snake in the grass.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Get Busy!

Lots of times through our day to day walk with Jesus we get side tracked with our own priorities. I once heard "if God answered all you request in your prayers would you see a difference in your world or in every ones world?" Time and time again we are told in the Scriptures to be people of action or what James calls "doers". Do you do things for others with nothing in return? What a joy and blessing it is to serve others. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:10 that "each has received a gift, use it to serve one another." What Peter is saying is that every person has a gift from God, a talent, maybe its baking or singing whatever it is God has given it to you. Peter goes on to say that we serve others "so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ." Enough said! Get Busy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Only Way In!

I had spent the entire summer scouting out a new hunting area and I could not wait till fall. As the leaves stared to change colors I knew it was getting time to go to that spot where I had scouted earlier. One afternoon I was able to take off early and hit the woods. As I pulled my truck off the road I loaded my treestand on my back grabbed my bow and started thought the woods. As I got closer the woods got thicker and thicker until I could not go any further. I needed to get through all this thick stuff in order to get to that perfect spot so I tried to walk around it with no luck, I tried to go through it but it was impossible with the treestand on my back. The only way I was getting through was leaving all my stuff behind and crawling through.

This is the way Christ explains entering into the Kingdom of heaven, He says " Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and few find it." (Matt. 7: 13-14)

Christ is making it clear that only a few will find the narrow door and that we must strive to enter through it. This means that its not easy. A rich man asked Christ how he could enter and Jesus told him to sell all that he had but the man could not do it. He wanted to enter in with all his "stuff." We need to set our own "stuff" aside and let Christ conform our lives.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who Do You Worship?

Did you know that we are created to worship? When God created man He created him to worship and obey, and not only that but God told Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply"(Gen. 1:22) meaning to fill the earth with worshipers! Did you ever look at it that way? We are to have children and to make disciples of them, talking with them about God "when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deut. 6:7b) In other words what we say and what we do show our kids how much we love and trust God. What does your actions say? Getting back to the point, we are created to worship and most of us worship without ever knowing it. We choose to worship ourselves by chasing money and fame and our lustful desires and put God on the back burner. If you are living a life of self worship you are called to repent (change the way you are living) and worship God only! Stand up like Joshua and shout out "as for me and my house, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!" (Joshua 24:15b) Now is the time to start and its never to late to return, run to King Jesus and choose to worship Him!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Consequences of Sin

Sin, if we get right down to is nothing but selfishness! We act in a way that is pleasing to our self with no regard to those that our sin will effect. But the sins that we commit don't only hurt us but those around us as well. Many times in my past I have committed sins that "rocked" my whole household, at the time I acted on these sins I was only thinking of myself and not the ones that were innocent but yet suffered. There is a clear outline of this in 2 Samuel 11, here we see selfishness rise up in king David.
The Sin
It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said "Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, "I am pregnant. (2 Sam 11:2-5)
Wow this wonderful man of God has fallen into the trap of selfish sin. And his sinful behavior would effect everyone around him. After David tried to cover up his actions he murders the husband of Bathsheba, and the child that was conceived as a result of the sin was also effected with death. What had David done? What could David do? Well from time to time we all find our self in David's position, it might not be as bad as committing adultery, but we all will find that our sins lead us down a path of separation from God. David did what we also should do, he returned to the loving arms of God. Psalm 51 records David's prayer after he had sinned with Bathsheba.
In his prayer he pleads to God to wash him clean from his sins, and to restore in him a clean heart. This is what we need to do, we don't just say "I'm sorry" and go on like nothing happened. We must return to the loving arms of King Jesus, he is waiting for you. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Running the Race

I am not a big fan of running, but I know lots of people who do enjoy it. I do know that when someone goes out to run they do not load up their pants with weights and run in heavy boots, instead they wear light weight clothes and light running shoes. Why? Because the lighter you are the faster and longer you can run. The writer of Hebrews talks to his readers about running the race, listen to what he says, " let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily enslaves us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." (Hebrews 12:1b-2) What is weighing you down as you run the race? What sins are enslaving you? Do you know that we have freedom from the bondage of sin through Jesus Christ? We are called to live holy lives, meaning lives that are different from the world and here in this text we see that we are to look to Christ as our example, we are to strive to be Christ like!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Overcoming the World

How many times do you feel pressured into doing what everybody else is doing? Does your life revolve around keeping up with those around you? We live in a fast paced world, that demands all of our time, are you finding it hard to keep up? Why don't you try being different from the world, do things God's way. Don't hear me wrong I am not saying when you follow Christ that you won't face any problems, in fact Christ says the opposite. He says in Luke 14:27 that "whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." The faithful follower Peter states "let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good." (1 Peter 4:19) We are called as Christians to live a life different from the world, are you? Are you different from the world? Listen to what John says "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17) Are you overcoming the world or simply conforming with it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Concern For the Lost.

How often do you share your faith with others? Are you concerned about the lost and unchurched people in the world? There are people all around us that need to hear the Good News that the gospel teaches, "That while we were sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). As Christians we are commanded by Christ to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19-20).

Christ is counting on us to take His message to all the nations, to the ends of the earth. If you are a Christian you should have a great concern for the lost people around you, those that work with you, those that live in your town, state, country and world. Christ had great concern for those that were lost. So many times we count on the pastor or a select few in the church to bring others to Christ, but it is the duty of all Christians. We should all be striving to become more Christ like and that means that we ALL should be taking the gospel to everyone and every country.

How I can help? What can I do? These are questions most of us face when looking at the number of unreached people in our world. There are lots of things that all of us can do. Here is a list of just a few things that we can do.

  • PRAY- pray for those that are lost, pray for those that are on the mission field, pray for God to send workers to the nations.
  • Give- you can give money to mission programs such as Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. You can also give to your local mission centers like Pregnancy Care Centers.
  • Get Involved- You can go to the nations, let God use you to deliver the Good News to the lost people. You can get involved in local mission projects, donating time and talents to your local missions.

People are waiting to hear the Good News, they are waiting for someone to tell them about the love of Jesus. Will you tell them?

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