Friday, January 20, 2012


Lately, due to my wife’s health, we have been visiting a different church.  Originally, we were conducting church in our house, but the one thing that was missing, was community.  We decided to visit a smaller church.  Due to my wife’s migraines, that she has had for the past 5 months, we needed to find a place to gather and worship that was not so loud and bright.  

Now they conduct church different than the norm.  There is no loud bands or video presentations, or people talking and carrying on hundreds of different conversations.  This is a small community, of faithful God fearing people wanting to learn more about the Scriptures than what is preached at the pulpit, or discussed in the 1 hour (really 30 or 45 min) Sunday school class.  They set out folding chairs in a small room.  There is no pulpit.  They have hymnals spaced about on about every other chair.  They use their hymnal and select songs that have been on their heart.  There is not one person selecting songs, it is a community choosing songs. Either before or after each song selected, the person that chose the song, expresses why they chose that song.  Usually it is due to being their favorite, or it is because sometime during the week or lately, that song has touched their heart during a situation in their life. They pray, and then they discuss scripture.  Yes, there is someone who is leading the discussion. But he is not there to state how it applies to him but all understand there is one meaning and many applications.  So we get to hear the different applications that pertain to that different part of scripture.  There is no time limit on the discussion.  Then they pray over prayer requests that are shared and eat together afterwards. Keep in mind, there is no nursery, or children’s church.  These are families, gathering as families, to share life and scripture.

I was really concerned more about what my teen children were thinking about the whole gathering. Come to find out they enjoyed it.  They stated that they do not walk away confused but understand the scripture better, because they here different perspectives to the application of scripture.  This allows them to hear from different people, mainly adults, on how they have applied scripture to their lives in order to glorify God.  

We may one day go back to the ‘normal’ style of worship, but right now, as a family, we are thoroughly enjoying gathering with fellow believers and sharing life through scripture.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Life and Death

21 years I have served in the army.  After 21 years I retired from the Army.  Training was serious.  We were taught on how to take out the enemy.  Kicking in doors, taking out bunkers, be the first on the trigger.  Distinguish friend or foe.  We went in to take out the enemy and to save lives.  Save LIVES!!  We protected people from the enemy, and gave them a chance to live in a civilized manner.  To have the freedom they so desired because they lived under suppression for so long.

Ministry is no different.  We are in the job of saving lives.  The words we use, the Gospel we preach all boils down to life and death.  We might not be kicking in doors, but there are times when we are knocking on doors.  We might not be taking out bunkers, but there are obstacles that come in the way that we must be ready to react to in an expedient manner.  We might not have to pull a trigger to take out an enemy combatant, but the words we use can pierce the heart of a sinner and bring them into the Kingdom of God.  Seminary is our training field, our communities, businesses all of this is our training field.  Are we going to take training seriously or are we going to go at it half hearted.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. 
~Acts 1:8

     I ponder on this verse from time to time, thinking that this is an area that I really need to work on.  How many times do I as Christians get a little skittish or frightened when it comes to sharing the Gospel in my own community?  I for one get a little nervous when it comes to sharing Christ and I believe it is my sin that causes this.  For if I realize that it is the Holy Spirit that gives me the power to be His witness, then why do I hold the reigns and try to guide my path, when it is His path that He wants me to follow.  I take the reigns and steer it away thinking that this is not the time, or I will get a better opportunity (next time), or I have something else I have to take care of first then I will. . . . But I always have something better to do, cause I am always busy.  
     Then one of the most used quotes by some Christians is 'Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.'  This is a quote,that we say, from Francis of Assisi, though he was a fire and brimstone preacher, evidence shows that he might not have said this, though it is attributed to him.  Even still, it is one of those quotes that a lot of lay people in churches and even myself in the past have grasped onto, cause it is easy.  Sure, I live in a glass house to my neighbors, but if they do not hear the Gospel and know that I am a follower of Christ, how is this the Gospel?  They will start comparing their lifestyle with mine and next thing you know, they convince themselves that we are no different from them; we don't do bad things either; I am a good person just like them. Now the Gospel becomes a false Gospel, something that Paul warns us about in a lot of his letters.   
     Sure I need to live what I preach, but if I am not sharing the Gospel with my words, how am I being a witness?  Witness is an action that requires communication.  Communication by actions and words.  I need to remember that it is not by my power that the Gospel is being communicated, but by His!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Not Ashamed

I have been meditating over Romans 1:16.  This is one of those verses that we read over and say, "OK, I am not ashamed!" and we move on!  But if you look at the seriousness of it all, are we not ashamed?  When we are around those who do not know Christ, are we not ashamed of who we are in Christ?  When you ask yourself the question of what is it like being not ashamed, we might think of Paul when he was beaten and thrown in jail, instead of whimpering, he sings praises to God.  The gates of the jail are opened, and instead of running, he stays and preaches the Gospel to a Philipian jailor who is about to kill himself (Acts 16).  That is not ashamed. Or, go back to Acts 8 where Stephen is being stoned, he calls out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,"  and before he dies he cries out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." That is unashamed.  So I recently went over this verse with my Small Group and asked them to give me some examples of being, not ashamed.  I started off with 'I am not ashamed of preaching the Gospel' (they needed a little boost), then things were stated, I am not ashamed to live a Gospel lifestyle, not ashamed of being persecuted, not ashamed of what my friends think because who I am in Christ.  So if we look at this small list of being unashamed, it is safe to say that to be ashamed is not preaching the Gospel, not living a Gospel lifestyle, being afraid of persecution, being afraid of what my friends think, etc. 
     Not Ashamed.  Can we say that we are not ashamed.  Lord, I pray that you show me what I am lacking, and that I trust your power to be unashamed of the Gospel!!!