Why We Hate Sermons on Giving

          I have been in full time vocational ministry for about 40 years. In addition to that statement making me old, it also tells you I’ve seen a lot, heard a lot and experienced a lot when it comes to Christian people. Christian people are an interesting group. While many of us find it difficult to speak up in the public arena about our faith and love of Jesus, and the need for people to trust Him, we rarely have difficulty speaking our minds and sharing our opinions to church leaders. And unfortunately, those opinions are often of a critical nature. But this blog isn’t primarily about having a critical spirit, (I’ll tackle that subject at a later time) it’s more about the criticism that comes when pastors preach on giving, tithing and stewardship.

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Is Re-wiring Needed?

          As most of you know, my wife and I recently sold our house of 22 years and moved into the parsonage at First Baptist Church of St. Clair. If you’ve moved recently, you will understand me when I say how stressful a move can be. God’s grace was very evident through the whole process for which I am grateful! One of the challenges we faced once we had a viable contract on the house was getting it up to code. Our house was over 50 years old and had several “issues” that we had to address to get cleared on the occupancy permit. So, I called an electrician friend and had him do some work for us. Don’t worry, he is a licensed electrician so he knew what he was doing. As I watched him work, (all I could do was watch since I am a hazard to myself and others when it comes to electrical work) I noticed he had to do quite a bit of re-wiring on several of our light fixtures and electrical outlets. A combination of aging wiring and new technology necessitated these re-wiring changes. So, what’s my point, you ask? Well, all that re-wiring got me thinking about my life and how I’m “wired”.

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Let Us Pray!

          Prayer – that wonderful thing that most Christian leaders talk about, and most Christians believe in, but few of us actually do much of. Why is that? Have you ever asked yourself why the subject of prayer is one of the most talked about disciplines in the Christian life and yet so few of us spend much time doing it? Well, I have asked myself that question often! Here are some observations I’ve come up with:
 
 

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Are We A Missional Church?

          I have been asking the Lord some difficult questions lately. Questions mostly about where our church is and where we need to be. You see, I’m one of those people that never wants to settle for less than God’s best. I’ve always been this way. Sometimes it gets me in trouble. Other times it causes me to get caught up in perfectionism. It also sometimes keeps me from being content with what I have and where I am. But even with all of these negatives, I still believe it is good to see if we’re settling. I am convinced that it is simply too easy to get in a rut and not even know it. My latest question is, are we a Missional church?

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A Fresh Purpose and Mission

          Lately, I’ve been working on making some changes to a variety of documents within our church. I’ve been serving as pastor here since February of this year. (2016) Starting out as an interim pastor, I just tried to listen and learn what was happening within this body of believers. Believe me, there was a lot going on. There was hurt, discouragement, frustration, confusion and an assortment of other emotions being felt by the folks here. They had been through a lot of struggles, losses and hardships. My role was to love them and let them heal. Well, praise the Lord, healing is taking place! God is working slowly in the lives of this church and I’m excited about the future!

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All Lives Matter to God

          Recent tragic events in our nation have created a whirlwind of emotions, opinions, and even some ranting and raving. I suppose some of that is good – after all, it’s good to get things off our chest. But as I browse through some of the social media that I’m exposed to, I feel like some of the posts are counterproductive. As a matter of fact, as I listen to many of the political pundits, politicians and so called activists, I feel like they are actually fueling the flame of controversy and racial division that our country is experiencing today.

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A Fresh Start

          As many of you know, my wife and I recently moved from our home of the past 22 years to the church parsonage here in St. Clair. Like most of you, I truly hate moving! And after 22 years of collecting all the precious “treasures” in our house, it was quite an experience sorting through everything and deciding just how much of a treasure these things were. Trust me, we didn’t have near as many “treasures” as we once thought. So, after throwing away tons of junk and several trips to Goodwill, we actually got rid of lots of stuff and helped make our move a little more tolerable. (For more on this subject see my blog on “Clearing Out the Clutter”, 6/1/16)

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The Simple Life

          Do you ever feel like your life is way too complicated? Are you constantly stressed out over your schedule and all the activities going on with your family? I often wonder how things got this way. After all, it hasn’t always been like this. I know I’m sounding old when I say this, but I can remember spending many evenings at home with my mom and sisters playing games (which I usually didn’t enjoy!) or watching that Zenith console TV in the living room, which one of us, usually me, had to get up and physically turn the channel if we wanted to watch something on another channel, or just eating dinner together. Boy my mom could cook! But I digress. The ironic thing is that gadgets are constantly being invented to make our lives easier, quicker and more instant. For example, people will sometimes ask me if I cook. I always answer “yes”! I take a frozen dinner out of the freezer, pop it in the microwave hit a button and wahlah, dinner! But why is it that we have more and more quick fixes and yet we’re always running behind in our schedules? 

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A Tragedy On Many Levels

          Once again we learned about another horrific tragedy, this time in Orlando, Florida yesterday. I can’t imagine the horror that these people endured and the grief of those who have lost loved ones. Certainly, I am remembering the survivors and also the families of those who died in my thoughts and prayers today. May God grant the wounded speedy recovery and the grieving His comfort in the days ahead. But there is something else that I want to say about this and similar events……

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Overcoming the “Self-Life”

I’ve been re-reading an excellent book by A.W. Tozer entitled, “The Pursuit of God”. First off, if you get a chance, pick up a copy of this book and give it a read. It is one of the best books ever written on the subject of gaining and keeping a passion for God in our daily lives. Even for a pastor, the things of this world and the constant emphasis just about everywhere you look on self satisfaction and self improvement makes it very difficult to maintain my passion for God.

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