Thursday, December 24, 2015

No Room...

Every year I read the Christmas story it seems something different stands out to me. This year is no different. As I was reading Luke's account of the birth of Christ the phrase "no room in the inn" stood out. This by no means is a new concept or thing to ponder, however, I began to ask myself if this statement would be true in my home. Scary to think that in a pastor's home there would be no room for Christ, the Son of God; especially at Christmas!

I have pondered this question quite a bit this season. Is Christ just a part of why I am celebrating or is He the reason I am celebrating? Do we rush through the story of His birth to feel better about ourselves as we "move on" with the day. Amidst the schedules, parties, and church events have we lost room in our hearts to focus on Him?

I love word studies so I did one on the "inn" mentioned in Luke 2:7. The Greek for this word is κατάλυμα "katalyma" meaning  (lodging place; guest room; inn; lodging). It is interesting the only other place this word is used is when Jesus ask His disciples to find a "guest room" for them to celebrate the Passover and see if it was ready Luke 22:11. An "inn" or "guest room", either place is a place designated to bring someone in. John 1:14 says that the Word became flesh and "dwelt" among us! To dwell is to live, take up residence, encamp or pitch a tent. In the Old Testament God came and Tabernacled with His people Israel. He "dwelt" among them. This tent of worship was distant for some, not personal. Christ has come to dwell with us... we have the option to allow Him to live and take up residence or encamp and pitch a tent at a distance. 

With the Christmas holiday we had to get our guest room ready again. It never fails to amaze me how that room can build up clutter, we tend to not change the sheets until the last minute. This can be true in our lives as well. We can allow that "lodging place" where Christ should dwell in our lives to begin to fill up with clutter, we can leave things not taken care of in our hearts, or allowing our lives to clutter up with being busy so that we end up pushing Christ out of our lives to the outskirts, to a tent in the yard or a stable by the inn.  

This Christmas, let's allow Christ to take up residence. It amazes me that He gives us the promise of never leaving us, even when we push Him away so far and give Him no room in our lives. What a gift. This Christmas and each day that follows, let's draw close to Him and prepare a place for Him in our lives as He prepares a place for us in Heaven!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Moment...

As I sit here pondering some lower moments in ministry, watching the sun set on a clear sky, and sipping a cup of coffee I was tempted to get discouraged. These times come. Not often usually, but they do come. As I sat down to begin to feel down about some events, I turned on my iPad and started the music. Amazingly it started playing some old hymns I love and I began to change my focus as I sat there enjoying my coffee.

Moments... they do occur. Some moments last longer than others, but all do pass. This is hard to remember some times when we have a discouraging moment. We quickly forget that God is the One in control, and nothing takes Him by surprise. As a pastor I know this, teach this, and even believe this! However, when those discouraging moments in ministry come, I often forget this.

Let me paraphrase some of the insightful thoughts C.S. Lewis had in his book "Scewtape Letters" in chapter 15 where he addresses the line of thought that humans live within time but God lives outside of time and destines us to live for eternity! God wants us to focus on eternity and that point in time which time touches eternity, which is the present. We cannot change what has happened only learn from it, and the future is not worth worrying about! The present is the only opportunity we have to impact eternity!

And might I add the present is only here for a moment! I have nothing deep to share on this point. This is just a reminder to not allow these discouraging moments to drag you down too far. During those discouraging times remember to take a moment to pause and reflect on who God is, what He has done, and what He is capable of. Besides as I look back through many moments in ministry it was usually through the tougher moments that God was doing something in someone’s life that I could not see at the moment. Thank you for taking a moment to allow me to ponder on this thought!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Milk or Meat? What are You Serving?

As I was contemplating the passage in Hebrews 5:11-6:1, which speaks on the maturity of the believer, I began to consider how it relates to the family. As parents we see our children born! This is an amazing time of joy as is seeing someone come to a personal relationship with Christ! As parents we nurture, and care for our child, we begin to feed them milk. Now, as a father and husband... if all I had to nourish me was milk I would be very hungry and wanting more. Same goes with our child. As they grow they desire more! Soon we are slowly feeding them from what we eat in bites they can handle, and before we know it they are eating steak and potatoes with a fork and knife on their own. If they are a teenager they are probably asking for more!
So how is it then that we can all understand this basic concept of getting our kids to eat food on their own yet in the area of the scriptures we seem to let them get by with just milk? So often we make sure they know how they are sinners (this needs very little explanation) and how they can have a relationship with Christ. Once they come to a personal understanding of this, we as parents feel better and feel we have done our job. Now it is time for the church to teach them more.
I tend to think that the number one reason we fail to go deeper with our own kids is that we ourselves don't know how to be more mature in the Word. The writer of Hebrews challenges the readers that they should be teaching by now. These believers not only needed to be taught, but they needed to be taught again things they had already learned! Let me encourage you to develop yourself as a mature believer and then teach your own children to do the same. What an amazing thing it would be to see our young people be able to take God's Word and be able to study it for themselves and apply its teaching their own lives!

Please leave some thoughts on this topic of how you have worked to help your child develop in the area of feeding themselves spiritually. We are all in this together!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Break Ideas!!!

As family life pastor I decided to try to write a blog to help us as families come up with good ideas for Spring Break activities. Being new to the area I don't know a lot of ideas, but here is what I've got... Please feel free to add your ideas in the comments!
  • Bike rides as a family
  • Camping trip
  • Fishing in local lakes or the river
  • Get a garden started
  • Do a family board game marathon
  • Build a huge town of Legos with ALL your pieces (this may be difficult depending on how many pieces you have)
  • Now give your ideas... 

My Vacation Plans... Where are You Going?

I know three friends going to Hawaii for vacations; others have amazing plans for spring break. The bummer is that none of them invited me to come! So I felt the need to share what I am excited for! I am so excited that at any moment Christ has said He could return to take me to my heavenly home! This is a trip that requires you to travel standby. So I am ready at any given moment. The cool thing is that I can take friends with me! All that is required is for me to share this amazing message of Christ with as many as I can. Then any who believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior can go too! Sound too simple? Jesus made this gift of salvation so simple my 6 year old understands!  

So are you ready? Or better yet being ready are you sharing this with as many as you possibly can? We are told in Matthew 28:19-20 that we are to GO (which means we need to take action) and make disciples or learners of His gospel message! So what are you DOING? Or are you content to sit in your seat waiting for your flight home, not willing to take anyone else.

So many of us are comfortable sitting in our seats at church, at the office, in our school, on the couch and never DO anything to proclaim this amazing message! let me encourage you to share with others where you are going, just as you would if you got to go to Hawaii, and then invite them to join you!

It would be so amazing if we would share where we are going for eternity as often as we share where we are going for vacation!

Friday, March 9, 2012

What is family? Part 1

I have decided to write a brief series on family. As I begin to write this series on family I want to look at several aspects:

1. A family defined
2. A family broken
3. A family restored
4. A family purpose

Looking at these areas I hope to help us all see God's intent and purpose. Yeah I am bringing God into this equation. I mean, after all He did establish the family! In fact that is a great place to begin as we define what family is and is not.

We first see structure. God creates things in a precise order. When God created the concept of family He had an order in which we learn, grow, correct, and repeat. He also created roles for those in the family. We have parents, children, grandparents and for a few fortunate ones great grandparents. We then add aunts, uncles, cousins and so on! This thing gets big fast! But for all intents and purposes let’s look at the local family unit living under one roof. We will look at God's plan in coming post.

A family begins when two people from separate families come together in marriage. They bring with them love, desires, hurts, secrets, baggage, traditions, habits, sins, hopes, expectations, and so forth. See any possible concerns? Hopfully they are brining God into this marriage as well. This is not always the case, even in "christian" homes. Then at some point they plan, or sometimes unplanned, to have kids. These two individuals, still trying to figure each other out are now raising a child. Raising this child requires time, energy, nurturing, guiding, mentoring, loving, disciplining, sacrifice, and a hundred other things all 24/7!

Here is how Webster defines the family:

1 fam·i·ly, plural fam·i·lies
1 a: a group of people who are related to each other *This sense of family can refer to a group that consists of parents and their children or it can refer to a bigger group of related people including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. It is often used specifically of a group of related people who live together in one house

His definition is a little more concise! Let me make two quick obvious observations concerning defining the family. 1) We do not get to choose the family we get when we enter this world. You may think this is a "well duh" statement, but remember this as our children are coming into this world. What is it that they are getting in to that they had no choice in the matter? 2) We do get to have a choice in how we raise our family! It is in the area of our choices that we will look at as we look deeper into this crazy thing we call family.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Currently our youth are going through our churches doctrine! This has been exciting for me because I have seen them come alive with solid questions, and a genuine interest to go deeper into God's Word! I have watched as some who never brought their Bible to church are now bringing it and showing a renewed interest in this faith they claim is their own! I whole heartedly believe that our youth will rise to the expectations we have and then exceed them! So let me pose the question... What do we really expect from our youth? Not what are our verbal expectations, but rather our attitude expectations. Our youth today will look past what is said to what is expressed. I want to challenge you to have a higher expectation of our young people.