Tragedy & Suffering Has Drawn Our Community to God

This week 1000′s of hearts have been drawn to God through tragedy and suffering. Olivia Mills’ life of commitment to Christ Jesus before her accident has given God a launching board to proclaim His glory. Over 36,000 are following Pray for Olivia Mills and 1000′s more will probably follow. Some things to think about.
1. God is drawing masses of people to Himself. (John 6:44)
2. If you are not a believer, God is drawing you to salvation that can only be found in Christ Jesus. (Luke 19:10).
3. If you are a believer that has drifted away, God is calling you back to Himself through Christ Jesus. (Rev 2:4-5)
4. If you are a believer walking in a love relationship with Christ Jesus, talk with those being drawn about their relationship with Christ Jesus. (Matt. 28:19-20)

May we all continue to fast and pray and believe.

Church, We Have A Problem

The line, “Houston, we have a problem!” Will forever be remember.

Swigert and then Lovell (almost) used the phrase to report a major technical fault in the electrical system of one of the Service Module’s oxygen tanks:

Swigert: ‘Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.’
Houston: ‘This is Houston. Say again please.’
Lovell: ‘Houston, we’ve had a problem. We’ve had a main B bus undervolt.’1

Dan: “Okay, Church, we have a problem here.”

Church: “This is Church, Say again please.”

Dan: “Church, we’ve had a problem. We’ve had a mistaken identity”

The election is over and some are excited Obama won and others are worried because Obama won. The problems that address us this morning are not political in nature but have been brought to light through the political process. Twenty-percent of American now professes no religious affiliation. Christians are divided over social issues. Many Republican Christians say you can’t be Democrat and Christian. Democrat Christians say Republican Christians are insensitive toward the hurting in America. Democrats are intolerant of Republicans and Republicans are intolerant of Democrats. No one can really doubt that American has some major issues that must be addressed. The economy is bad, unemployment is up, abortion is still rampant, teen sex, pregnancy, and suicide are up, injustice happens, our country is divided and hurting. Here is the problem that must be addressed. This is where you and I can help by addressing the problem before us.

The church can no longer blame the politicians for not doing their job. The church can no longer think that going to church is your mandate. Republicans nor Democrats have the answers for the woes of America or the church. The church does have the answer, but she usually cowers instead of rises. She sleeps instead of fights. She is passive instead of progressive. She is silent, divided and weak. She is struggling, hurting and confused. The church is scared. The church has a mistaken identity.

We have a major problem. It appears the Church has amnesia, she does not know her identity. The Church must realize who she is and whose she is. She must realize the source of her strength, the bounty of her beauty, the power in her passion, the healing in her hands, the forwardness of her feet. She must realize the salvation in her Savior. She must realize the wisdom in her head – Christ Jesus, Lord of Lord and King of Kings. She, the Church, is the Body of Christ. She is radiant and does not reveal it. She has beauty beyond measure but hides it behind hate, blame and excuses.

The church needs to rise to the challenges that face us. We need to step out of our pew on Sunday and into our places on Monday with Christ centered passion in our heart. We need wake from our sleep and fight the good fight. We must obey with radical obedience what Christ called us to be, what the Word instructs us to do, and how the Spirit reminds us to walk. We must die to self and rise with Christ.

Obama is not our enemy nor our savior. Also, Romney is not the enemy or the savior. Our deliverer will be Jesus Christ the Son of God and no other. We must quit looking to men to solve the issues in our lives and turn our eyes upon Jesus (a song just broke out in my head, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus).

The church might look like young David, but she is deadly accurate when she is prepared for battle. Let us fight the good fight of the faith (not politics). Let us not grow weary in doing good. Let us unite. Let us awake. Let us stand and pursue our enemy. Let us put on our armor and not withdraw. We cannot afford to be casual, careless, or calloused. We must demonstrate our strength, passion, beauty, resolve, faithfulness, and more in the pursuit of godliness and live in the righteousness that is ours in Christ.

Satan is our enemy so quit blaming it on men, political parties, and people who you disagree with.

Do you part. Be who you are suppose to be. Do what you are suppose to do. Obey as Christ is your Master. There are not excuses for dirty boots and wrinkled uniforms. Quit letting Satan mislead you with lies, weakening you through suffering, confusing you through pride and discouraging you through accusation.

You have the Word of God, The Grace of God, The Spirit of God and The Son of God, so live like it.

Prayer, Sorrow and God’s Will

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Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:38, 39 ESV)

There are times when we experience sorrow-anguish, because of the circumstances that we face. These are times when it feels like our soul is being crushed. These are the hardest of times. These are times when the Spirit within us wants God’s will but the desire to avoid pain wants to go another way. This is not sin for Jesus fought the same battle in His prayer at Gethsemane. His prayer was asking God, “If there is another way that Your will can be accomplished then let’s do it that way. But if the way of suffering is the only way to accomplish Your will, then that it the way it will be.”
We all fight the temptation to avoid pain while walking the road of obedience, but we must relent to the will of God. It is always best even when it does not feel like it. Be honest in your prayer and obedient in you walk.

Chick-Fil-A, Same Sex Marriage and Sin

I will most likely not meet your expectations in this post.

SIN

Dan Cathy and Chick-Fil-A support marriage between a man and a woman. Here are his words in part.

“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

As well as this.

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about”

They cite the Bible and their Christian beliefs as the reason why. The news media begins to make it sound like Cathy is a bigot and hates the homosexual community. Cathy’s stance on marriage is not a new one. He believes what God says stands and we don’t get to make up our own definition.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, donate $2.5 million to help pass same sex marriage in Washington. Where is the news on this one?

Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s Mayor, says that Chick-Fil-A is not welcome in his city because they do not represent the city’s values and diversity. Are churches welcome in Chicago? Are people who feel the Bible teaches against homosexuality welcome. Are homosexuals who feel that homosexuality is a sin welcome? Now we know what kind of advice he was giving President Obama. I guess when he was in the White House he would have said Chick-Fil-A was not welcome in the USA!

You can see his comments here.  Or you can watch a more entertaining version here.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sent his letter to Dan Cathy asking that they not come to Boston. Oh, he has sense recanted his letter. You can find a copy of his letter to Cathy here.

Ironically, The View took the side of free speech and freedom of religion and stood up for Cathy. You can watch that 5 minute clip here.

I have gotten boycott emails from people concerning Oreo’s, Disney, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN, Home Depot, Apple and more. The boycott lists seem endless. I know boycotts work, but I am not convinced I can boycott everywhere and everything that has sin in the room. Jesus’ would have boycotted Jerusalem if that was the standard.

Now, here is what I have to say, what I believe and maybe a little more. Continue reading

Why is Tim Tebow a New York Jet?

Let me start by saying that this is my opinion about Tebow but the biblical principle are God’s Word.

He needed a bigger stage. Think about it. In high school Tim was really good and some people knew who he was put you probably did not. During this time he was just a young athlete that seemed to be a good kid who loved God openly. Then it was recruiting time. There were many schools that wanted his talent to be at their disposal. It always helps to have a good kid on your team but they did not recruit him because he was godly, but because he was a good quarterback. It came down to Alabama (If he had come to Alabama we might still have Mike Shula) or Florida. I remember watching the news conference as he picked Florida. As the QB for the Gators his stage grew as did his effectiveness. He maintained is athletic ability as well as his godly character. Two national championships and a Heisman Trophy made the stage grow and the scrutiny increase, but godliness remained. He needed a bigger stage and a proper setting – Denver. His time in Denver and his ability as a winner got the attention of the sports world. He won ugly but he won. He became a polarizing figure. It seems that people either loved him or hated him. He carried the Broncos to the playoffs and won the first game in spectacular fashion. Shortest playoff in NFL history. The leadership of the Broncos would never declare Tim to be the man and decided to “pick up” Peyton Manning to take the helm of the team . Surely this would cause Tim to demonstrate anger and bitterness toward John Elway and the Broncos but it did not. He remained positive and maintained his godly character. So now the stage needs to be larger. ESPN’s coverage needs to make this move look stupid. Why not go to the biggest most brutal city in the United States – New York. No bigger stage. No longer the starter. No escape from the scrutiny. Tim now has the biggest stage he has ever had. All seems to be against him becoming a prolific QB in the NFL. He has remained focused and has chosen to continue his godly lifestyle. I do believe we see a biblical truth demonstrated in all of this. It is almost like a biblical truth on steroids.

Luke 19:17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ ESV

Biblical Principle #1: When you are faithful in obscurity, God will bring you into the light.

Biblical Principle #2: When you are faithful with a little, God will put more under your authority.

Biblical Principle #3: Satan will wait for you to be on your biggest stage so if you fall you will take more people with you. (Be careful Tim)

Biblical Principle #4: To whom much is given much it required.

Make Your Mark

Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;

don’t squander your precious life.

Prov 8:33, MSG

Part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Paul told the young pastor Timothy “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, love and self-control. Each of us should strive to make a mark with our life. We can make a mark on our marriages, families, friends, community and more if we will make the choice to live with “discipline and live wisely”. Being in the Word of God is so important so one can know what that looks like. Many have went before us that have lives such a life. The tragedy is that so many are choosing to squander their precious life. Make each moment matter. Make your make.

This Saturday we are hosting the first Men Make Your Mark gathering. It is critical that men step us and make their mark that God desires for them to make. Men are leaders by position, like it or not. Step up men! Step up women! Step up boys and girls! Let none of us squander our precious life.

If you or someone you know would like to attend the Men Make Your Mark gathering the cost is $10 which covers the steak dinner. It is Saturday the 31st from 6-8pm. Call the church for more details. 205-333-7900.

FIXED EYES

As I am studying for my sermon Sunday, I am focusing on “FIXED EYES”. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us how to run the race. The writer puts it like this, “looking to Jesus”. The work looking there is FIXED and turning away from all else. Today I hope you will FIX your eyes on Jesus. Everything else is a distraction. Be the employee, father, mother, son, daughter, student, child, consumer that Christ wants you to be.

I Pee In Pools

My son has a t-shirt that reads, “I PEE IN POOLS”. I mean it is right across the front and yes I did just use the word “pee”. I remember the first time I saw his shirt. I was kind of taken off guard. How could anyone be so honest and just proclaim it before the world. Now, I know many of you have never peed in a pool but most folks have (I always am scared that they are going to have some kind of chemical in the pool to make all the water around me change colors.) I think each of you have at least thought about peeing in a pool.

Yesterday I was listening to The Nines and one of the presenters told the following story and I hope I get it right. He said that while on vacation and sitting by the pool and reading a book (what pastors do) his son came up to him and said, “Daddy, I have to pee!”. To which his father, deeply engrossed in his book said, “Son, just go pee in the pool!” Then he went back to reading his book. Shortly after everyone got quiet around the pool except for a few laughs. He looks up to see what is going on and you guessed it. His son is standing beside the pool peeing in the pool. He then runs over to his son and ask, “What are you doing?” to which the son replies, “Daddy, you told me to pee in the pool!”.
Another of the presenters told this story. He had asked a man what do you pray for everyday. To which he replied, “I pray that I would hear the voice of God and have the courage to obey what He says.” Wow. That is one great prayer. So now I want to bring this prayer and peeing in pools together. “Daddy, you told me to pee in the pool!” The son heard his father and obeyed his father. The son did not consider how crazy, stupid or humiliating it would be. He just did it. “Hear God and obey”.
I want a t-shrit that says, “I PEE IN POOLS”. Why? Because it now has a different meaning to me. It means I will do WHATEVER God tells me to do. It mean that I will listen to him and immediately do what He says. And yes, I believe if we all would just hear God and obey God everyone will stop and look. Some will grow quiet. Some will laugh. But regardless, we would be doing what God has said do. Today, will you pee in the pool if God says to. What has God told you to do that you refuse to do because you do not PEE IN POOLS. Pee in a pool today, obey God.
For all those who are offended, forgive me this is a pool God told me to pee in.