Category Archives: Reality

What I want Teens to know

As a pastor I hear many stories from teenagers who struggle in different situations that they find themselves in.  Sometimes it is because of their own choices.  Other times they are in situations because of someone elses choice.  Parents, when you have kids there is more to life than thinking of yourself.  Sometimes it just works out that teens are placed in a hard situation.  Sometimes, it could be God who placed teens in a bad situation.  Just being honest. 

Here are some things I want to tell you that I wish I would have known.  I grew up in a hard situation too; and like you I did not understand why.  I was terribly angry, bitter, and hateful, toward people. 

You may find yourself being the class clown; but you know that it is not really you.  Sometimes you wonder, when nobody else is around, why you have to continue to be the person you show yourself to be.  The answer, you need to know someone pays attention to you.  What I want you to know is that God does because He has dreams for you even when others who are supposed to be important in your life don’t. 

You may find yourself alone.  You might think that nobody cares if you live or die.  Don’t fall for that!  More people do than you think, and again, God really does.  What looks like to you a situation that will never change, God knows it will.  You see the now in your life, but God sees the later (future). 

You may find yourself feeling the need to be sexually active because that is when you feel at peace and connected (I mean what seems like a good relationship because someone is listening) with someone.  Stop, because you feel worse and become angrier and more hurt.  You need to know that the other person is likely just using you which, at this point, is the last thing you need.

You may find yourself at odds with teachers and authorities who are in your life.  The problem is that they don’t realize, sometimes, how hard your life is right now.  They are trying to live their lives too.  You need to focus on the good that they give to you instead of the bad you receive.  Now consider, if you were in their place, you might bring the discipline too.  If you fight against those in authority over you, you will lose.  Don’t confuse giving respect, that is deserved, with getting pushed around some more. 

You might only have a relationship with one parent, maybe not even one, but I want you to know that this is not what God wanted for you.  Sometimes parents make mistakes, and they get caught in a cycle that keeps them from being able to change.  You might not know how hard they had it when they were in your shoes.  But God can make things happen for you, if you live for Him now.  What I mean is that if you live for Him now, He will have a better life for you later. 

I want you to know that all of the hard times that you face now will make you a strong person later.  And if you rely on God now, you will be a strong Christian later. 

I want you to know that you don’t have to choose to be uncaring.  It is okay, in fact, it is good to care even while it seems that nobody does for you.  This is character building because when things are good, it is easy to pretend to care for others. 

I want you to know your life that seem so bad now will get better.  I want you to know that I am frustrated for your sake and that I am mad with you.  But, I want you to have hope with me for your life later.  You are going to be great to your kids.  But you will have to choose it.  You have to ability to break the chain that has bound your family. 

I want you to know that not do I care for you, but God cares more than you know.  You can ask me things and you really need to ask Him things.  Read your Bible.  He is not angry with you and is not making your life hard because He doesn’t care.  He cares.  He can help you now.  Read your Bible and you will see this.

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Filed under Discouragement, Faith, God, Pain, Parenting, Reality, Youth ministry

A Sermon titled Warning that I recently preached

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, Holiness, Living it, Reality

What I wish for pastors in 2010

Some things that I have observed this last year that seem to be a good reminder for many pastors.  These thoughts have all denominations and non-denominations in mind.  Some of these I have to personally fight to remember myself. 

  1. Please Jesus.  Too many pastors focus on pleasing people.  It amazes me how many times pastors allow a project that does not mean anything to Jesus to monopolize their time and energies.  Most of the time these projects only mean something to the handful that wanted it. 
  2. Preach the Word.  This is one of your main functions as a servant for Jesus Christ.  Too many are looking for a way to get out this great opportunity.  Some even dread it.  Don’t dread it because they cannot come up with new topics and material.  Trust that God will give it to you in your studies.  STUDY.   
  3. Pray.  Another main function.  Busyness is the enemy of prayer time.  I heard somewhere that “Service is the enemy of God.”  As they say, “Too busy to pray, then you are too busy.” 
  4. Teach the Word properly.  There are many Christians, even those who have been in church for years, who do not understand the Word of God.  This happens because too many pastors teach political point of views instead of God’s.  Spend time in some books in the Bible so that you will be forced to deal with things that God is concerned about.
  5. Let Jesus inspire you.  Whatever happens in mega-churches is great.  But do not seek your inspiration from there.  It’s amazing how many sermons are preached after the mega-church pastor preached them.  It is comical guys and gals.  Your people have different needs than those who are at larger churches.  If Jesus inspires you, then that allows Him to lead instead another pastor leading through you.  
  6. Believe that Jesus wants to use you.  Do not compare yourself to other pastors!  They have their call and you have your call.  If God can use a mule, He can use you too.  If you are discouraged go back to the altar of remembrance.  In other words, remember back to the time when Jesus called you.  When I get off track, and know it, this is what I must do too.   
  7. Allow God to decide what your church should look like.  Quit trying to duplicate what everyone else is doing.  You are different and so is your church.  God is the Lord of the Harvest.  Listen to advice from others about what you should do, but ultimately allow the Holy Spirit to shape you and your church.  If God wanted His church that you pastor to look like the others, then He would have put the other pastors into your church.    
  8. Don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked with crazes.  Remember the Andy Griffith Sunday school craze?  I still kind of want to try that one.  Books that come out about things that worked in other churches are great to read.  Nevertheless, remember to look at how God worked in those books instead of simply trying to duplicate what you read.  Try to notice how the people’s faith in those churches was incorporated which allowed for success.    
  9. Focus on being you surrendered to Jesus Christ.  Too many pastors focus on being like other great leaders.  Remember God wired you the way He wanted you and you are to surrender to the Holy Spirit so that He can make you more like Christ.
  10. Don’t get caught up with awards and other types of success indicators.  Our treasures are in Heaven we cannot lose them there.  Awards and pats on the back are great and make you feel good.  Elevation in status among your peers officially, or unofficially, is great too.  However, remember that even Jesus was highly esteemed when He entered into Jerusalem for the last time.  Then the crowd turned on Him.     

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Filed under Discouragement, Faith, Leadership, Reality

Christian Kings and Queens

Sunday night after church and attending a recieving of friends service at local funeral home, my wife and I took our kids to a local McDonalds to get a quick bite to eat.  You cannot seem to do better than the McDonald’s dollar menu:)  It was around 9 pm.  This was important since Mickey D’s is a frequent stop for Christians after Sunday night church.  It has been since Acts 29.  That is a joke for those who are searching for that chapter of Acts.  So my wife an I thought we would be safe to go in.  Not!

First, to all the fast food employees out there  I want to thank you for a couple of things while I apologize to you for as many things that I can think of.   I am sorry that Christians have not been polite to you while you work to serve us.  I am sorry that you have to experience someone arguing over a couple of pennies.  I am sorry if you have mistakenly given the wrong sandwichto us and then got told off instead of simply saying that this is the wrong sandwich.   I am sorry for the glares that you have had to endure from us because you had to cook our food properly so that we will not get sick from food poisoning.  I am sorry that we do not put our trash in the trash can after we are done.  This is because we think that you are not busy enough while waiting on an enormous line.  I am sorry that none of us tell you thank you for working hard to serve us.  I am sorry, if there is some type of misunderstanding, that some of us want to see the manager instead of saying don’t worry about it.  I am sorry for the noise that you have to endure while some of us eat like Homer Simpson and his family.  I am sorry that some of us tell you the tea and ice should be filled even though you have served an enormous amount of peolpe who numbered more than what the tea canisters and ice machine can physically handle without being filled. 

To customers who are not Christians and have stumbled in on our Sunday night ritual, I am sorry if some of us have been unfriendly to you.  If some of us have bumped into you or your children while our kids destroy the place.  I am sorry if some of us have stared at you because of the clothes you wore, long hair for men, tatoos, or cigarettes that some of smoke privately.  I guess I am saying that I am sorry on account of those Christians who are judgmental. 

That is all I can think of for now, but I am sure there is more that we Christians should apologize for. 

Sunday night I experienced rude customers who were sitting at tables and booths even though they had been done eating for a while.  There was not a place to sit down.  I saw one family holding their food while waiting for a table to open up.  While this was going on, there were two kids sitting at a booth using abrasive language and throwing stuff at each other while yelling at the top of their lungs for 20 minutes that I know of.  Nobody made them mind, nobody made them move, even though a family stood with their food in their hands.  We were just going to change our order into a to-go order when an employee seemed to have enough and just peered out into the dining area with a look that said c’mon man!  Finally, one family gave up their spot for the family who was standing with their food.  My family got lucky too, because in the midst of the chaos there was a table with a bunch of trash left on it.  All I had to do was throw it away for the last person. 

This experience has caused me to think about what the Christian witness looks like.  How did we go from servants to kings and queens?  What would happen if we gave up our royalty decided to sweep up one Sunday night?  Don’t respond to this article saying that nobody works on the Sabbath either.  What if we gave up our royalty and treated customers and fast food employees, or other people in the field of service, with respect?  Wait a minute.  I think that is what Jesus did. 

How many of those Christians just attended a service and being a servant to others was a topic?  I bet they told the pastor “Amen!”  It is strange that we Christians are in the middle of celebrating the Advent and this season of giving, and this week in particular we are celebrating the Joy of being a witness for Jesus Christ.

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Filed under Holiness, Living it, Reality

Sunday Recap

This morning I spoke about the Lord being near to us when we are in tough situations.  Isaiah 55 is part of a prophecy that the prophet gave to Israel about finding God during their captivity in Babylon.  His formula for finding God was for His people to seek and call the Lord, forsake their wicked lives that led to their trouble to begin with, and then they will be found and God will be found.  

The good news for the Jews during this time was that even though they would be taken from their land and homes, and even though the Temple would be destroyed and left behind, God would go with them.  He would not be in Babylon to condemn during their time of distress, but He would be there to bring them hope and help them to become like Him.

God continued to call on the Jews to be Holy.  It is interesting that when God allows hard times, He also expects that while we navigate those times that we strive to become Holy; no matter situations are faced. 

I also shared a story about the time that I was in Boys Scouts and another kid wanted to fight with me.  Well, he was bigger than I was so I told him that I did not want to fight.  He told me that he did.  While telling you the outcome of that fight will not help anything, telling you the point will.  Christians, we may not want to take part in spiritual warfare and we may not want to think about it.  But, whether or not we want to fight, Satan does.  We are in a fight whether we want to admit it or not. 

Our church is in the middle of a spiritual battle.  Too many things are happening at once.  However, this means that God is working at our church.  If you attend my church, or if you attend another church, you should know that attending because it is the right thing to do on Sunday morning will not due.  You must stand with your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Because whether or not you like it, we are in a fight together.

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Filed under Church Health, Church news, Holiness, Living it, Reality, Unity?

Last Week’s News

  • Launched first night of Faithweaver kid’s ministry.  It went very well.  I was able to connect with some families.  All churches need to know that kids and teen ministry are important.  I don’t understand how we, Christians, become so churchy that we lose sight of the fact that most kids and teens are important to their parents.  This means that we have the opportunity to connect with families through those avenues.  Besides, I like kids and teens. 
  • Gas was high enough that I chose not to mow the church and the parsonage yards.  I know.  Pitiful ain’t it.  How’s this for irony?  Some churches are setting attendance records.  While we struggle to mow our property.  The good news is that we are going get past this in future.   When we do, everyone will know that the Lord has done great things among His people.   
  • Our local church leaders, and I, looked at our local church history together and saw that we need to adjust our emphasis to reach out to our community and world.  This was a great starting point. 
  • Someone, besides me, showed some of our board people that until we have do something with our sanctuary, we will not be able to get more than 48 people on a consistent basis to our Sunday morning services. 
  • I ran two laps around the Liberty High School track.  Whew!  How did this being out of shape happen?
  • I preached a sermon at Pelzer Wesleyan Church Sunday.  They have a good pastoral couple!  They also have a great bunch of people! This means that because they serve a great God, they are primed to do great things for His Kingdom!  This church gave out the New Testament on audio CD!  Everyone listen, we must be busying ourselves with seeding God’s fields with His Word.  It is the only hope for our community and world.  I was blessed this Sunday preaching in a different environment for a change.  I love preaching at our church, but a change up once in while is good. 
  • Pastor Jon preached a great sermon at our church while I was gone.  People, you should know that Pastor Jon is a gift from God to our church.  It is not surprising that he preached a good sermon because he has gifts and abilities that only God can give.  Plus, he obviously is not in ministry for the money, because we (our church) are not financially in a place where we can support him full-time.  If you attend Smith Chapel, then you should be praying that God will create this possibility at some point.   
  • Last week I realized that not only do we need to make our communities children a priority, and hire Pastor Jon full-time, but we also need to admit that we need to do something with our sanctuary at some point.  Simply put, we need room!  If you are not familiar with our church, it is not that we are experiencing a large church growth.  Instead, we are plateaued at a particular number right now; and have been for a while.  We need to expect that more people want to come to our church, but they do not have a place to sit, or park.  How are we going to fix these problems?  I don’t know.  But God knows, and He will do it. 

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Filed under Church news, Discouragement, Dreaming, Reality, Vision

Thoughts on a “Loss of case”

Mega-pastor Victoria Osteen has been vindicated.  Mrs. Brown failed to prove her story before a jury.  Here is the link to the latest article

Although Osteen paid a $3000 fine, she was found not guilty of assaulting Brown.  In my earlier post, I was not aware that the Osteens had their own witnesses; or I missed it.  The fact remains that Mrs. Osteen might wish that she would have simply cleaned the liquid off of her seat herself. 

It is troubling that Brown was allowed to pursue a case like this and that it only took the jury 2 hours to reach a verdict.  This might have taken 2 hours because they wanted to finish the donuts off that were given to them for snacks.  Just kidding. 

3 things should happen in my opinion. 

  1. Victoria Osteen should be careful of creating an opportunity for people to try to rip her off; she should be more self-controlled.  But who can accomplish this all of the time?
  2. Brown should be fired immediately!  She is an opportunist. 
  3. Brown should be made to give %10 of her worth to charity. 

I have been reminded by this case that pastors need to be careful when around people.  And Mrs. Brown needs to place her faith solely in Jesus Christ and not a minister or money.

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Filed under Church bashing??, Faith, Reality