Pastor’s Pen

Delighting, Expectant Prayer with The Father

Hello Church Family: When you think about prayer do you think about it as some abstract practice that Christians are just supposed to do? And then one day you think, “I need to get better at praying, how can I get better at praying?” And then you come up with certain techniques on how to have a better prayer life. OK, stop, let me be clear… that is not what this summer series on prayer is about – just getting better techniques for praying. Techniques will always let you down. Do you remember in Isaiah 29:13, when the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me…” Prayer is not to be some abstract thing that “we do” as Christians but a heart engaging with our Heavenly Father.

Read more...

How to be Rewarded Daily by the Creator of the Universe

Church family: Every generation since Jesus Christ has been taught how to pray by Jesus through His model prayer. That is such an amazing thought to me. That means that if I could take a time capsule back to any period of time in the last two thousand years, in whatever time period I would end up, the believers would have the same model of prayer that we would together be engaging the Father in prayer.

Have you ever asked Jesus to teach you to pray? If you ask Jesus to teach you to pray we know what His answer would be, The Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s prayer can be found in Mathew 6 or in Luke 11 where you will find the shorter version. Whenever we learn something new in our lives, part of that teaching is learning what not to do. For example, when bagging groceries we are told not to put bread or vegetables under the jar of pickles or under the gallon of milk, right? Things don’t turn out so great when you get home if you do that. When Jesus teaches His disciples, and us, to pray, He starts out, “When you pray do not be like the hypocrites!” (Matthew 6:5)

Read more...

One Thing Necessary… During a Pandemic

Hello Church Family:
 
Have you ever noticed how quickly our delightful duty in the Lord can turn into bitter frustration with Him? In Luke 10, Martha shows us that life-altering frustrated self-pity can happen in about the time it takes to prepare and cook a meal.
 
Can you imagine the Son of God physically coming to your home? What would you do? What would you think Jesus, Himself, would expect you to do? Well, we know that Martha’s expectations were not Jesus’ expectations, but Mary did get it right. And by Mary choosing the correct response, she did not help Martha with all that Martha considered priority. And guess what happened?

Read more...

Pandemic Neighboring

Hello Church Family:
Throughout Scripture, we as believers are called to love our neighbors. In fact, Jesus says that the entire Law and the Prophets can be summed up in two commandments, love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). Then in Luke 10, Jesus was asked by an Old Testament lawyer, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” What was Jesus’ answer? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). God has taught His people to love their neighbor ever since the days of Abraham and Moses. Loving our neighbor is a big deal! Not loving our neighbor makes us a “goat” separated from the “sheep” in Matthew 25. The outcome is not good for goats, go read the chapter.

Read more...

Do you rejoice in what YOU DO or who YOU ARE?

Hey Church Family:
Do you rejoice in what YOU DO or who YOU ARE? Followers of Christ, your name is already written in heaven! In Luke 10:17, the 72 disciples come back from an amazing time of being used by god to declare that King Jesus has come. They announced in many villages and towns that The King is near and He is coming to their town. They announced that the Son of God put on flesh and came to earth to be the last sacrifice for sins and final redemption for those who believe. This Announcement affects everyone-always-everywhere. Everyone must respond to this announcement, either by faith and repentance or by denial and rejection.

Read more...

Fit for the Kingdom of God

Hey there Church Family: Can you imagine getting a letter from Jesus saying, “Hey, I know that you think that you are following Me, but you really are not following Me, this is what I need you to do to be My follower, one of My Disciples, fit for the Kingdom of God.” Would you listen? Would you make changes to be fit for the Kingdom of God?
 
This is exactly what happens to several people who wanted to be followers of Jesus in the end of Luke 9. The last verses of Luke chapter 9, are sprinkled with difficult and sometimes strange teachings of Jesus. These stories are for our understanding of Jesus’ requirements to be His disciples. What Jesus is saying in these verses is that Faith in Him as the Son of God incarnate, to take the sins of the world, results in following Him that looks like this. And then He gives several examples.
 
Let’s just look at just one today. This coming Sunday we will look at seven. Jesus wants us to understand that being His disciple means to see Him as the embodiment of the Kingdom of God. Jesus brought the Kingdom of God to earth so that He would reign in the hearts of men. What that means is that Jesus has been setting up His kingdom in the hearts of man until His return when His Kingdom will be fully realized. So, today King Jesus has a desire to reign in our hearts. When we make Him King of our hearts we are called His disciples. When Jesus is reigning in our hearts we let go of our own preferences and conditions to follow-ship. You know, conditions like, “I will follow you if…,” or “I will follow you but first…,” or I will follow you but maybe later when I let this sin go or break this relationship off…”or “I will follow you if only you will do this or that…,” and the list goes on with conditions we can make as potential disciples. In Luke 9:57-62, three men want to be disciples, “fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62), but they all three had their own conditions to their obedience in following Jesus, and He said boldly, hit the road Jack, you are not fit for the Kingdom of God.

Read more...