Thursday, August 23, 2007

Surprise!


OK... here we go again....

When did God's children (Born Again Believers, Christians) forget that pastors usually follow the Biblical examples of Jesus and His apostles? Recently people have approached me about marriage. In three separate cases, there has been one thing in common; a Christian marrying a non-Christian. I told all three of them that I'm bound by Biblical mandate not to marry couples who are not equally yoked. Each of the inquiring parties seemed utterly surprised that I wouldn't even consider their request. I did tell all of them that I would consider the possibility of leading them through 6 to 8 weeks of pre-marital counseling, but I could not marry them in the eyes of the congregation and God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. On second examination, each of the couples in question back peddled and mentioned that their significant other person did have some Catholic or other religious background but hadn't attended church or mosque in quite some time. One of them even mentioned that they live with there boyfriend, but do not engage in anything improper.

Don't get me wrong, I love each of the people that have talked to me. In fact, I love them all so much it makes me want to help them see truth through the eyes of the Bible and Jesus Christ. I desperately want them to know why the Bible has such high standards for Christians and the life God has in mind for them. I want them to understand that I will not help them live in blatant disregard for Biblical truth only to have them suffer throughout the rest of their marriage and possibly the rest of their lives because I endorsed something unendorsable in the eyes of God. That is why it is so hard to not help them as they think I should. I am not judging any of them on any basis but Scripture and their words and admissions. I'm not saying that they are bad people, I'm just saying that if what they told me is true, then there is no way I can help them the way they want me to.

Since I made a commitment to allow Jesus Christ to rule my life, I gave up the right to make my own decisions in regards to doing what I want to do. I want to do the things asked of me by people, especially people I like and love, but I can not do anything that goes against what I already said I would do for my Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.

I love you guys to much to be a part of leading you away from God's explicit, revealed truth. I'm still not sure why that is so surprising...?...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I've tried to write this blog about 10 different times. I think I really have something to say, but I'm just not sure how to say it. I don't want anyone I've spoken with over the last six months to think that I'm talking about any of them in particular. So here goes...

There are so many Christians out there that are desperately seeking God's will for your lives. You pray and pray that He will show you what you should do when you grow up and how to live until then. But here's the thing... You will never understand God's special revelation about your life if you do not follow His written and revealed will about you first. Think about it... If you really want to understand why you're having such an awful time with your relationship with your boyfriend, stop living with him. If you want to change your financial situation, then start tithing. If you want to get a better job, then work really hard at the one you already have. You see, all three of these things are discussed in the Bible, so you already know God's will. It's all there. And so much more.

It still just amazes me that some Christians are clueless about why they just aren't hearing from God to deliver them from the jam that they are currently in. Believe it or not, God will always allow your will to supersede His. You can do anything you want, and He'll never stop you. He just won't. He wants you to allow Him to work within your heart, but He will never force you to do His bidding, which also means He won't force you to do something you don't want to do. But... you will live the consequences of the choices you make. If there is total sincerity in your confession and apology, God will forgive you, but He will most likely allow the consequences to happen. You will then have to trust Him that He will take care of you anyway. I guarantee, for example, that if you start tithing, you will see God take care of your needs (food, rent, doctor's bills) not necessarily your wants (cable TV, high speed Internet access, cigarettes).

So, I contend that most of the problems you face are most likely consequences of your own choices or choices of the people you hang around with. I also contend that you will never know the unrevealed, abundant life that God has in mind for you until you start living in the revealed will of God found in the Scriptures. God doesn't take control of your life unless you are willing to be obedient to what He has already told you to do if you are a Christian.


'Nough said.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Passion


Today was a great day! I invited all of our ministry leaders to say a little something about the ministries they lead. All of them did just awesome! Each one of them told our congregation about the new programs that they are launching in September and how the congregation can get involved. Each one of them shared that they were not just leading these ministries, but that they felt called by God to fulfill their purpose. I love that! Every one of the people who spoke made it very clear that God had developed a deep passion for the ministries that they lead. Each one of them described how they felt compelled to do what God told them to do. That was really cool! You see, at Willow Community Church we believe that every person has a purpose to be on this planet. We believe the everybody has a reason to be here, and these people have found their purpose.

It was just incredible to hear all them speak, but one lady, in particular, really touched my heart. Heather has been coming to Willow for about two years. She has a Catholic background, but married a wonderful man who has a Protestant background. So, when they moved to Lansing to attend MSU they found Willow. It has been really cool to see how Heather has grown! When I first met her she was a little shy and didn't seem to know where to fit in at Willow. In fact, on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being unchurched without much knowledge of God or Jesus, 5 being a fully devoted, reproducing Christian) she would have fallen squarely in the 3's. She knew Jesus and understood His work on the Cross and considered herself a Believer. But over the last several months, she has sensed God calling her to go deeper with Him. She had been feeling that she needed to make prayer more important in her life and is now leading the front for a movement of prayer for our entire congregation! She has moved from a 3 to 41/2 in just few short months. She has gone from showing up on Sunday to leading one of the most critical ministries any church could every have.

I'm not sure where the church got this idea of producing a bunch of programs and then struggle to find people to lead them or even just work in them. I have found that the most effective churches pray and ask God to raise up people with passion for things that the church must do. If your church needs a children's ministry then God will bring you children's coordinator or a children's pastor. If your church needs a trustee to keep the building together, then God will bring a handi-man. You see, effective churches ask what a person is passionate about or what do they think God is calling them to do and then helps them fulfill that purpose. Philippians 4 makes it very clear that Christians are all called to serve in expanding the Kingdom of God on earth. But the church must help God's people discover their purpose and prepare them for works of service.

Seeing people discover what they were created for is the biggest kick I get out of pastoring! I love knowing that Willow is helping our people fulfill God's purpose for there lives. Today was just about as big a day for me, personally, than just about anything I have ever experienced!!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Ok, Ok, Ok, I have heard your cry for more from yours truly! I'll start crankin' stuff out very soon! Please let me know that you're reading (it really does motivate me to write more!).