Pastor’s Pen

One powerful reason to forgive

Hey Church Family:  Do you want the Lord to forgive you of your sins?  Then forgive everyone who has sinned against you, says Jesus.
You know when you pray the Lord’s Prayer and you get to the part that says, “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12)?  Have you ever paused for a moment and thought about what you are really asking?  As we pray the prayer that Jesus gave us as an example of how to pray, in Matthew 6, He is showing us the law of forgiveness.  He is calling His disciples to be disciples who forgive continuously.  The Lord wants us to understand that forgiveness of all of our many sins that we have committed against Him will be forgiven in the the exact same way that we forgive others who are sinning against us.  This is His promise to His disciples.  We can summarize Jesus’ point this way, if we do not forgive those who have sinned against us then we will not be forgiven.  Wow!  That law of forgiveness deserves pause for us to consider those in our lives who we are presently withholding forgiveness.  One of my favorite Puritans, Thomas Watson, said it this way, “A man can as well go to hell for not forgiving as for not believing.”  In Luke 6:37, where we will be this Sunday, Jesus simply says it this way, “forgive, and you will be forgiven.” 

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Our God listens – understands – acts – rescues

Hello Church Family:   We worship the One true God who listens to us in our time of greatest need and in times of not so great need.  Basically, our God hears us, He listens to us, He leans into us as we call out to Him.  He hears our cries.  Our God who listens also understands.  He understands the entire situation.  There are no surprises to our God.  And since our God listens and understands He also acts.  As believers, followers, lovers of the One true God, He has promised to listen, understand and to act on our behalf and for our good always in every situation no matter what.  That is a promise from God Himself.  Even when we are in life’s struggles when, as the Psalmist says, he feels like “the snares of death encompassed me; the pains of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish” (Psalm 116:3).  Have you ever felt that way?
 

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Hey! Don’t Judge Me!

Hey GCT:
As you live in America today and watch people live out their own self-established standards of life and engage in a specific lifestyle, the worst thing that anybody could ever do at any given moment when interacting with them is “judge them.”  If you would ever hint that you disagree with their lifestyle you will get a quick response of condemnation towards your discernment. The American norm today is to set your own standards.  We live in our own self-established authority that sounds like this, “This is what I believe is right about my life.  I believe I can live like this because this is my standard.  So don’t judge me.”  
In other words, what many are really saying is “leave me alone this is none of your business in fact you are the one with the problem not me.” Some will even be ready to quote the one verse that they know from the Bible.  They may not know that the Bible even has an Old and New Testament but they will know this one verse.  They wont know that Jesus is the one speaking or any of the other verses that come before it or after it but they will know that somewhere in that book is the phrase, “Judge not and you will not be judged” (Luke 6:37).

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Let’s try this again… Take 2!

Dear Loving, Wonderful, Awesome Church Family, Thank you for your patience and bearing with me as I am recovering from this concussion. I never knew a concussion would be like this.  We were hopeful recovery would be faster than this but it is dragging on. I saw a neurologist today who said some brains heal more slowly.  I have always been on the slow brain spectrum, lol. It seems my Meniere’s disease may be slowing my progress as it has caused persistent vertigo and mental struggle in conversations. Basically, conversations wear me out and cause worsened headaches. I am also highly sensitive to noise and light. I am told all this will go away in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you for praying for me… and Stacey. This week I am going to do my best to pick back up where we left off in Luke 6, where Jesus tells His disciples and us to love our enemies!  Each person in our life that we are at odds with is only to receive love from us… that is difficult!  Personally, I immediately think of the lady scrolling through her latest social media posts on her phone while driving 55 mph who nailed us from behind as we sat in our car at the stoplight on Hwy. 17.  I am commanded to have love for her personally.  That is difficult.  (Btw, That does not mean she should not be prosecuted by the law for her carelessness, Romans 13.)

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How to respond to those who are throwing hate your way

Hey GCT:  Do you have your own personal, individual enemy?  I am not talking about enemies of the USA.  I am talking about a specific person whom you are at odds with.  An enemy is usually someone who you are at enmity with.  There is hostility in the relationship and many times even hatred.  There is a quarrelsome and contentious spirit where neither person wants to be around the other and there is a quickness to take offense to most anything that is spoken or accomplished.  Do you have an enemy?  How did this person become your enemy?  How does the world tell us to respond to our enemy?  The world says return evil with evil and return good with good. 

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Speaking in a Tongue – Known Language or Unknown – Private Use or Public Use – For Building You Up or the Church – For Believer or Unbeliever – For the Apostles or for Today?

Hey GCT:  Have you ever looked deeply into Scripture, putting aside your own traditions, and sought out what are the biblical tongues of the Bible?  We cannot do an exhaustive study in this email but here is a synopsis.  There seems to be two types of tongues in the Bible.  When your Bible uses the word “tongues,” it means, literally, languages. The Greek word (glossa) that’s translated “tongues” in the English translation actually means languages – and so there are various languages in this world, right?  How many tongues of different nations are there in this world?  There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today. About 2,000 of those languages have fewer than 1,000 people speaking that language.  The most popular language in the world is Mandarin Chinese. There are 1,213,000,000 people in the world that speak that language.

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