Pastor's Blog
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August 2, 2016, 9:08 AM

Summer Slump or Summer Surge?

For nearly as long as I can remember, I have heard pastors talk about the Summer months being a time when church attendance falls into a "Summer Slump", i.e. people find other things to do rather than attend church.  Beyond the typical vacation time that every family needs, there are a wide variety of distractions that cause some folks to make church attendance secondary or eliminate it altogether.   Others attend church, but can hardly wait for the dismissal so they can run to their activities.  Thus, the church attendance declines, resulting in what is known as a "Summer Slump".  

Those who engage in this type of activity reveal that they are having a personal "Spiritual Slump".  When worship becomes optional or it becomes a barrier to cross in order to do what is really important to us, we have a definite spiritual need in our lives!  Psalm 122:1 says, "I rejoiced with those who said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'"  Too often in our day, it seems the most rejoicing is when the benediction is announced and we can flee the house of the Lord!  

What if we each determined to have a "Summer Surge" spiritually?  What if we made a conscious effort to grow closer to God throughout the Summer months, allowing God to use the beautiful weather and multitude of activities as a means of drawing us closer to Himself?   What if we used the early morning hours to sit on the patio and talk with God instead of sitting in front of the television watching meaningless talk shows or discouraging news programs?  What if we took a walk in the cool of the evening, praying for every family in the neighborhood as we passed their house?  What if we let the Lord use our barbeque grill as a means to evangelize our unchurched friends by inviting them over, along with a family or two from church?  What if we purposed that our #1 goal for this Summer was to draw as close to Jesus as we possibly could?  If we will do this, not only will we experience personal spiritual revival--our own spiritual "Summer Surge"--but I believe our church would also experience a "Summer Surge" in attendance as we expectantly come to worship throughout the Summer.  Choose to grow in Christ this Summer!

June 14, 2016, 10:13 AM

A $1.90 Blockage

For the past two-months, my bank credit card has not worked.  It was embarassing to attempt to use it, only to have it "declined."  On a normal month, I only use my credit card once or twice and often go for several months without using it at all.  When I first realized my credit card was not working, I thought maybe I had forgotten to pay the bill.   After I made sure there was no outstanding balance, I tried using my card again.  It was still "denied".   Finally, I actually had need for my non-working credit card, so I called the Customer Service number on the card in order to find out why it was not working.  The first person helping me asked a few questions, then announced, "I need to transfer you to our Fraud Department."   Within a minute, I was talking to someone about possible purchases made illegally with my credit card.  I confess, THAT concerned me!   In the past, American Express contacted me about someone in another state trying to charge over $800 of stereo equipment to my account.  They denied the attempted charges and sent me a new credit card.  So as I spoke to the person from the Fraud Department, I was braced for a similar scenario.  To my amazement, they asked if I had made a $1.90-charge.  I informed them it WAS a legitimate charge and I personally DID make such a purchase.  Once they had my verification, they reactivated my credit card within minutes.   I thanked them for their vigilance in protecting me from abuses to my credit card.  

An unusual $1.90-charge on my credit card stopped my ability to use that card.  I still had my credit card in my wallet; it looked valid; from all appearances, it was still an active card; but that small, seemingly insignificant $1.90-charge was such an abnormal purchase for me, it caused them to deactivate my card as a means of protecting me from what they thought was identity theft.  How often is a Christian rendered spiritually powerless because of some "little sin" in their life?  The spiritual failure is nothing like having an affair or murdering someone or embezzling thousands of dollars, so the person considers it 'no big deal.'    God does not view sin as small, medium, large, or extra-large.  SIN is SIN!  Someone illustrated sin as being like one is "a little bit pregnant."  Either you ARE pregnant or you ARE NOT pregnant.  There are no "levels" of pregnancy, although there are stages of pregnancy.   Whether it is a heinous act which causes society to recoil with disgust or whether it is a common act that society accepts as normal, from God's perspective, all sin is equally horrific to Him.  He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die to redeem mankind from ALL SIN.  Even what seems to be little, unnoticed, insignificant violations of God's known will can render us totally ineffective spiritually.  Do not allow any place for sin in your life.  Live fully surrendered to Jesus Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and completely obedient to God's will.  He has victory for us!  Never allow "little sins" to deactivate you spiritually.  

May 28, 2016, 11:33 AM

Never Forget!

Americans are some of the most forgetful people on the planet!  The atrocities, crimes, and unspeakable things done by public officials, television stars, and others of reknown are in the headlines for a few weeks, then all but forgotten.  That probably explains why many of our politicians are still in office...we have forgotten or ignored the crimes of their past.  We do not formally excuse their actions, but the volume of offenses being done in-the-present-tense floods over us in such volume, we cannot deal with the past offenses AND the present offenses of the newest offenders.  Consequently, we neglect the past offenses of these offensive people.  

Have you ever noticed how when it comes to the people near us, we tend to remember the "bad" while forgetting the "good"?  The irony in all this is how seldom we forget the minor mistake of the person close by.  They can have an amazing track record 95% of the time, but when they experience a failure, we focus on that 5% failure and frequently allow it to mar our perception of that person.  This is tragic!  When it come to relationships, wise advice is:  never forget the good; purposely forget the bad.  Jesus talked a lot about forgiveness, about forgiving others whether they deserved it or not, and how our forgiveness hinged upon our willingness to forgive others.When we forgive, everyone benefits!

One thing we must NEVER FORGET is the sacrifice God made for us.  John 3:16 states God gave His one and only Son so each of us can be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life with Him.  Romans 5:8 says God demonstrated how much He loves us by sending His Son to die in our place while we were still hate-filled, rebellious sinners.  NEVER FORGET how precious you are to God!  Satan will tell you God does not care about you, that you are a spiritual failure, that it is not worth it, and that all your sin is too much for you to ever truly be loved by God.  Satan is a LIAR and cannot tell the whole truth!  You are as important as Calvary!  Never forget that!  

Whatever you may be going through today, know without question YOU ARE LOVED BY ALMIGHTY GOD!  Never forget how much He loves you!

May 11, 2016, 10:04 AM

There In "Spirit"

I have no idea how many times someone has told me, "Pastor, we are going to be gone this Sunday so we will not be in church, but we will be there in spirit!"  I have yet to determine how "being there in spirit" makes any difference whatsoever.  Without PHYSICAL PRESENCE, the ridiculous idea of "being there in spirit" is little more than a lie to ease people's consciences.   The next time someone uses that lame statement, I think I will ask, "Really?  How did your 'spirit' enjoy the Praise Team Sunday?  What did your 'spirit' think was the most valuable point in the sermon?  Did your 'spirit' meet the new families who were in our service?"  

No ministry ever succeeded or even survived because people's "spirit" did the work or their "spirit" supported it financially or their "spirit" encouraged the pastoral staff.  People's "spirit" never pays the bills, never evangelizes, never prays, never teaches a class, never sings, never does one thing in ministry!  Actually, if you try to apply the "I'll be there in spirit" idea to other areas of life, it is quickly revealed as being totally bogus.  Apply it to school and it is called 'truancy.'  Apply it at your work and you will be fired shortly.  Apply it medically and it can kill you!  It will also kill you spiritually when applied to your spiritual life.  

Attending church "in spirit" but not physically is a lie from Satan himself!  The Bible warns us to NOT neglect or forsake gathering together with other Christians to worship God (Hebrews 10:25).  There is something inspiring, dynamic, exciting, and powerful about being with other Christians as we sing songs to glorify God, pray together, hear God's Word and respond obediently to Him as a group!  Satan will use anything he can to rob us of Divine worship.  God requires our physical bodies to join our "spirits" in church this Sunday.  We need to quit aligning ourselves with Satan, end all our excuses, and get to church this (and every) Sunday!

April 13, 2016, 1:53 PM

Our Miracle-Working God!

Last night I was given an update on  a child our congregation has been praying for.  The child has had an aggressive form of cancer.  She has been through horrific ordeals, great pain, and so many treatments, the family can barely remember them all.  When the treatments failed to slow the cancer, the medical community finally sent little Audra Ebo home to die.  After six-months without an update on her condition, last night her family reported that God has SUPERNATURALLY HEALED HER OF ALL CANCER!!!  Testing showed the tumors were gone!  There was no sign of cancer in the major areas where the disease had been! Although her blood showed that there were still cancer cells in her body, they were dying.   We praise God for this incredible miracle He has given!

Within the last month, another lady diagnosed with cancer who we had been praying for, received news that baffled her doctors--she was totally cancer-free!  God miraculously touched her!  

Having been supernaturally healed myself on November 2, 2013, after being blown-up in a gas fireplace, I have personally experienced the definite power of God to heal.  I have also seen God work miracles in many other areas of life, doing what no one believed possible.  It is awe-inspiring to know the God who is able to remove cancer from a terminally ill patient and heal 3rd-degree burns so completely no one can tell there was ever a burn, is the same God who invites us to invest time with Him daily!  He is the One who loves us beyond measure!  He desires to lead us through life and guide us into the fullness of His love.  Our miracle-working God is able to do far more than we think He can do!  Trust Him!  Step-out in faith to accomplish what He is calling you to do!  He is able!

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