Sep 21

Real Meat or Processed?

Wow what a difference 45 or so days makes!  August 1st of this year, hundreds of thousands of people who support traditional marriage flocked to Chick-Fil-A in support of their owner taking a biblical stand.  A few weeks later those who oppose traditional marriage staged a “kiss-in” that was no where near as large as they had hoped or what August 1st was.  And now breaks the story that Chick-Fil-A has changed their policy on who they will give to or more specifically who they will no longer be giving to.  I am going to attach an article from Baptist Press so that you can read the article yourself and come to your own conclusions.  Please understand that I am not claiming to have been in the board room during the decision process, nor was I there for all the criticism they took.  I have had my fair share of criticism launched at me (not to the degree they probably received mind you) and I can tell you it is no fun.  The kicker to the whole story is why the changed occurred.  It is clearly stated in the article, but here is the short version of it.  If they would change their stance, the Chicago Alderman would drop his protest of Chick-Fil-A opening in Chicago.  I feel as though Chick-Fil-A spit in the face of those who stood with them.  As one person on Facebook said, “so when are you going to start opening on Sundays?”  Luke 12:4-5 says, “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”  My message to Chick-Fil-A is this, you sold your convictions and your faithful customers out for a couple of stores (most likely Boston will now relinquish and let Chick-Fil-A there now as well).  You turned your back on God and His Word, something that you have stood for since your inception.  And now frankly, you are just like all the other fast food restaurants. Is your (Chick-Fil-A) faith in God so weak as to think that God could not continue to supply for you if you maintained your biblical beliefs?  God showed you what He could do on August 1st.  Just remember this Chick-Fil-A, the same God who blessed you for following His Word, can also remove that hand of blessing as seen in Deuteronomy 28:15, “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.”

This is a reminder to all of us, our faith is only has strong as what we believe God can do.  It has been said that faith ends where fear begins.  Jesus told us in John 16 that we will have trials, but to be of good cheer because He overcame the world.  There is nothing too hard for God to do, but we must move from a talking faith to a walking faith.  Do you have enough faith to persevere until the end, even if it gets really hard?  Just know that testing will come, but Paul reminds us in Romans 8:37, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

By His grace and through His strength, may we live for Him!

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Sep 19

Knowing the Playbook

Few things will irritate a coach like not knowing your playbook or the signals or whatever a coach might use.  These are designed to help the coach communicate with his players during the game without giving away valuable information.  Yet, there are always those who choose not to learn the playbook or the signals.  What got me to thinking about this was I read an article about a young man who chooses not to take his Bible to church.  His premise was the if he takes his Bible with him to church, he doesn’t listen to the preacher because he is reading his Bible.  Let me say two things at the outset.  First of all, I don’t know if this young man studies his Bible throughout the week and simply doesn’t take it to church or not.  Secondly, I don’t want to come off a judgmental or that I am somehow better than he is because I take my Bible to church (not just because I am a preacher).  His article got me to thinking because in it he said, “I want to know the Bible better so I choose to listen to the preacher rather than be distracted by having my Bible in my hand.”  How many people or how many times have you said, “I wish I knew the Bible better”?  For a Christian, the Bible is our playbook.  It was written by our coach (God) and given for us not just to look at, but to study, and to memorize so that as we are playing in the game, God can communicate with us to let us know what He desires us to do.  2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  There is a two-fold implication of “study to shew thyself approved.”  First, we should study our Bible so that we are approved by God, because as His children we should desire to know Him more and the easiest way to get to know God more is by studying His word.  Secondly, we should study our Bible so that we can “approve” others messages that we hear.  That is not to say that we should judge whether a preacher or teacher did a good job.  Rather it means that we should be able to say “yes this is from the Bible, taught in context, and useful in my life.”  So many people get led astray not because they are not intelligent, but rather because they choose to be ignorant of God’s word.  According to 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible teaches us what we should believe (doctrine), what we do wrong in God’s eyes (reproof), how to fix it (correction), and most importantly how to be saved (instruction in righteousness).  In other words, in God’s word is contained everything we would ever need in order to live a life that honors and pleases God.

The enemy of learning the playbook for players can be many things.  If you want to get more playing time, you must know the playbook.  When it comes to a Christian not learning more of the Bible, it comes down to one thing, we don’t spend enough time in God’s word.  We may read it, but we are not studying it.  So let’s all turn off the distractions, get alone with God’s word, and start studying so that we will be approved by God and used by God.

By His grace and through His strength, may we live for Him!

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Sep 18

Is Winning Enough

To quote a former football coach by the name of Herm Edwards, “Hello, you play to win the game.”  That was in response to a question asked by a reporter after then Coach Edwards’ team lost a close game.  It makes for great soundbite but the question is, is winning enough?  If you were to ask any serious athlete or coach their answer would be unequivocally “yes winning is enough.”  I think this is born out in the actions of the players and coaches.  They are willing to cheat and even ruin their reputation all for the momentary glory of winning.  As athletes and coaches, of which I have been both, we always think that people are always going to remember the “champions.”  I would submit to you that if I were to go out and survey the average person they would not remember things nearly as well as we athletes and coaches think they would.  Let’s give it a try.  Here is a quote from a very “important” sports moment, “Do you believe in miracles?”  Who said that, why did they say that, and here is a hint-was it the gold medal game?  Or how about, if I asked what team did Michael Jordan on, most people would be able to get that.  But what if I asked, how many championships did Jordan win and what were the years, could you name them?   Please reply to this with your answers on here or on facebook under this post, or even tweet your answer.  The catch is this, don’t google the information first.  Let’s see if “champions really live forever.”

While coaches and athletes will tell you winning is enough, what would the wisest man who ever lived say?  King Solomon is commonly referred to as the wisest man who ever lived because he asked God to give him wisdom in all that he did when he became the king of Israel.  Yet as he gets to the end of his life, Solomon is faced with a difficult reality.  We find that reality in Ecclesiastes chapter two.  In the chapter Solomon says that he has tried drinking fine wine, laughter, having all the wisdom one needs, working hard, and even being able to buy anything I desired.  His conclusion about all of those things, “all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecc. 2:11d).  Solomon was saying I had everything that one would think they would need to be happy in life, but it is all worthless and didn’t bring me happiness.  One reason that coaches and players hang around their sport to play or coach even after they can no longer be good at what they do is because they are afraid that if they walk away from their sport, they will have nothing.  You see when we put all of our time and energy into something material or something of this world, we are faced with the reality that one day it is going to be gone.  And when it is gone, we will be forgotten.  We were created from an eternal perspective, with eternity in mind.  God did not create us just to exist for a short time and then disappear.  God created us for eternity and to pursue things of eternal value, things that will not fade away.  The reason so many coaches, athletes, and even Solomon were and are so dejected at the end of their life is that they woke up one day and realized they had wasted their entire life for pointless pursuits.  Please don’t misunderstand me, I still love playing and watching sports, and I hope to re-enter the coaching ranks one day by coaching my sons’ teams.  But if my life or your life is about “winning” here and now, we are going to wake up one day to the reality that it is all “vanity and of no profit.”  That is why Jesus tells us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…that will never pass away” (Mt. 6:20).

What are you pursuing today?  Is it going to be like your life and vanish one day, or is it going to carry on long after you are gone?  Today is something that is too small to live for, because we were created for so much more.

By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him!

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Sep 17

How You Practice Is How You Play

The title of this blog entry was something that my high school baseball coach use to always say to us.  Generally it was when we were not practicing as sharp and crisp as we should be.  Those who know me are aware that I am a big Virginia Tech Hokie fan.  Saturday was a painful day for me to watch my beloved Hokies.  If you look at the teams on paper, Virginia Tech was clearly the superior team.  They should have won this game with very little problem.  However, if you turned on the television or pulled up the internet you found a headline that said something to the effect, “Sloppy play by Virginia Tech allowed the upset.”  The headline was painfully accurate.  From a fan’s perspective, and yes I do realize I never played college football, it looked as though the Hokies either didn’t take their opponent seriously, or they just weren’t prepared to play.  They were playing the Pittsburgh Panthers.  A team that had not won a game this year.  They were not ranked among the top 25 teams in the country in football, and they were playing a team that was supposedly the 13th best football team in the country.  Pittsburgh had nothing to lose.  They were expected to lose and even if they won the game, they would still have a losing record, and so their season still wouldn’t be a good one thus far.

This reminds me a lot of Christians who fail to follow Paul’s advice in Ephesians 6:10-20.  Paul instructs us to put on the “whole armor of God” in verse 11.  I won’t breakdown every piece of armor here, but suffice to say that every piece of armor is vital.  Why do we need to put on the whole armor of God?  The end of verse 11 says, “that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”  The word “wiles” means tactics.  We need to put on the whole armor of God so that no matter how the devil decides to attack us on a given day, we will be prepared and able to stand it.  The implication is this, whichever piece of armor you do not put on, is where you are susceptible to attack.  In other words, you would be unprepared, exactly how the Hokies looked this past Saturday.  We must also remember that the devil is playing like he has nothing to lose.  He already knows his eternal fate and that he can’t change that.  So he is busy trying to take as many people down with him as he can.

The result Saturday was a loss for the Hokies.  They dropped out of the top 25 as a result of this loss.  They can bounce back from it and be okay and still have a good season.  The results of you and I not being prepared can have far greater consequences.  While we know the Bible teaches you cannot lose your salvation, you can be rendered ineffective and unusable as a consequence of sin.  We see this in 1 Corinthians 9:27c that says, “lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  Against, Paul wasn’t saying you can lose your salvation.  He is saying that you would be ineffective because you will have fallen victim to the devil’s tactics and be suffering the consequences.  So let us remember, we have an adversary who has nothing to lose and knows where to hit us.  That makes him very dangerous to the Christian who is not prepared.  The solution is to put on the whole armor of God in preparation for the attack, move forward, and remember we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!”

By His grace and through His strength, may we live for Him!

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Sep 13

Moving Mountains

How many times have you heard a preacher or Sunday school/small group teacher say “if you have the faith the size of a mustard seed, you could move mountains?”  If you have been in church very long you have probably heard that before.  It is used many times when a church is facing what feels like insurmountable obstacles.  The mustard seed concept is found in Matthew 17.  I would caution us all to make sure that we “rightly divide the word of truth” as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15.  By this I mean, we need to make sure that we read the entire context of a verse and not just pull one verse out as that could lead to us misleading people about what the verse says.  In this case the context is a man brings his son to Jesus’ disciples to have demons cast out of him.  Yet the disciples were unable to do it.  Not knowing what else to do, the man takes his son to Jesus and says I brought my son to your disciples, but they couldn’t cure him (Mt. 17:16).  Jesus then proceeds to rebuke the demons and they leave the boy.  The disciples were curious as to why they couldn’t do that, after all they had seen Jesus do it before and they had done it as well.  What happened this time?  Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith (Mt. 17:20).  We get a little more information about what Jesus was talking about in verse 21 where it says, Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”  What becomes clear is that the disciples had tried to cast out the demon themselves.  They were trying to be the power source rather than being plugged into the Power (Jesus).

You and I are a lot like the disciples at times in our life aren’t we?  Sometimes we remember the words of John 15:6, “For without Me, ye can do nothing.”  And so we pray and we truly depend on Jesus and because of our belief, it seems as though mountains are moved.  Yet at times, we think “oh this is no big deal, I’ve done this before” and so we forget how and why we were able to do it before.  The end result is frustration and many times failure.  The key is to remember a specific phrase in a commonly quoted Scripture.  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENS ME.”  Notice we are only able to do all things when Christ gives us the strength to do it.  and Christ’s strength only comes through our utter dependence upon Him, first and foremost through prayer.

Are you facing a mountain in your life right now?  Mountains come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes it is a financial need, sometimes it deals with our marriage, our kids, school, friends, or any number of other things.  The good news is, God already has the answer to our problem, even before we realize we have a problem.  All we have to do is follow the words of a popular hymn, trust and obey!

By His grace and through His strength, may we live for him!

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Sep 12

Yes We Can!

My wife and I sat at our children’s school last night for “Back to School Night” and got to hear many wonderful things about where the school is and where God is leading it.  Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy is currently in its fifth year of existence.  During those five years, those at the school have seen how faithful God has been to them personally as well as professionally through the school.  Like any other private school, there are always unique challenges that must be addressed and met head on, but when you first hear about them they can feel overwhelming and even frightening.  And so as my wife and I as well as many other parents and teachers sat there and heard the challenges the school faces this year, there were the to-be-expected shocked looks on many faces. Yet out of the shock, confusion, and even worry comes Paul’s word in Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”   I love that phrase “exceeding abundantly.”  It literally means to the extent that we cannot express.  In other words, God can do far more than we can ever think or ask for.  I had this discussion with the Bible students I teach on Monday night, does the Bible teach that God will not put more on your than you can handle?  Instantly many of them said “yes” as most Christians do.  The verse that is often associated with that phrase is 1 Corinthians 10:13.  However, that verse has been taken out of context and made to say something it doesn’t really say.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. ”  This verse deals with temptation, not actual trials we are to experience.  And the way out within the context of the verse and passage is that we are to depend on God.  The truth of the matter is this, God will allow circumstances in our life that too difficult for us to handle alone.  Only when we admit that we cannot do this or rise to meet this challenge can God step in and show Himself to be the all-powerful God that He is.  When we are able to meet a challenge, unfortunately many times He does not deserve the glory that He deserves.  However, when He shows up and accomplishes something that we could not accomplish, there is no one else to give the glory to but to God.  One way that I think of it is this, if God did not put more on me than I could handle, why would I need Him?  SMLCA, churches, other private education schools, and businesses are facing challenges today that have not been seen since the Great Depression in our country.  We have tried everything we know to do and we have barely made a dent in our problems.  I want to close this devotional with a popular quote.  Last night the Board of Directors, faculty, students, and parents were encouraged to join us at Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy on Thursday mornings to pray.  All options have been exhausted for many schools, churches, and businesses, and we should know that that is exactly where God wants us at this time because “You will not know that God is all you need, until He is all that you have” (A.W. Tozer).

Remember, God is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”  If we will trust Him and depend on Him, He will show up on time and deliver us from whatever situation we are in.  But we must stand ready to give Him the glory “…throughout all ages, without end.  Amen” (Eph. 3:21b).

By His grace and through His strength, may we live for Him!

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Sep 11

We Remember

Today marks the 11th anniversary of a day that fundamentally changed America again.  Every generation has at least one day in which something so dramatic happens that is defines that generation.  In 1940’s it was December 7th in which Pearl Harbor was attacked and subsequently drew the United States into World War II.  The 1960’s saw the Civil Rights struggle, Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream Speech”, the assassination of JFK, and other events.  My generation has September 11th.  It is easy to ask “why” when tragedy strikes, but I believe the better question is what is God up to?  As Christians we know and say we believe that God is in control.  And for the most part we are ok with Him being in control as long as things are going ok in our life and difficult times come to others.  We want to question why a loving God would allow nearly 3,000 people to perish in one day.  We cannot say in one breath, “Lord I give You control of my life” and in the next breath question how He decides to control our life.  I cannot imagine what those families experienced that day or have experienced since then, and I pray that I never have to experience that deep of loss.  However, as a Christian I must ask God to help give me perspective and ask, God what are you up to?

As a result of September 11th, 2001 many people came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.  More than our happiness or our comfort, Jesus desires that the world place their faith in Him.  2 Peter 3:8-9 tells why Jesus has not returned for His church yet when it says, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  Notice God is not on our time, but rather we are on His.  The reason He hasn’t returned is because He is waiting on more people to place their faith in Him, because He desires they would repent of their sin of rejecting Him and turn to Him in faith.  Because of the horrific events of September 11th, many people did come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.  His word says that is what He desires, and if as a child of God I pray the way Jesus taught us to pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” then I cannot question the means in which He accomplishes His will, but I must trust that it was right because Genesis 18:25 reminds us, “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

I am no suggesting that it is easy to deal with days like December 7, 1941 or September 11, 2001.  In our finite minds this just doesn’t make sense, but then again Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us that not everything in this world is going to make sense.  We must simply trust that God knows what He is doing and what He is doing is in our best interest.  It didn’t make sense for someone who never sinned to die on a cross for all those who had sinned, but God did it in our best interest, and He continues to do things that are in our best interest!

By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him!

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Sep 10


Hope is a very powerful thing.  People will cling to hope far longer than many other things.  Sometimes in our life, hope is all we have.  Hope that things are going to get better.  Hope that this life is not all there is.  Now when I say hope, I don’t mean it in the sense of maybe something is or maybe something isn’t.  To me, hope is a quiet confidence that things are going to happen at some point in the future.  I have hope that things will get better, but only after this life ends.  I know that this life is not all there is, but rather there is something far better awaiting those who love and believe in Jesus as their personal Savior.

In Jeremiah 29:4-14 we see God’s people living in Babylon as captives and feeling as though they had no hope.  After all, it was their sin that had sent them to captivity in the first place.  Had God finally given up on them?  Had they finally gone too far?  Jeremiah was one of God’s prophets during this particularly difficult time in the nation of Israel’s history, and he wrote a letter to the captives in Babylon.  There in Babylon there were false prophets telling them people that they wouldn’t be in captivity very long and nothing would happen to their beloved city of Jerusalem.  Then there were other false prophets saying that the Israelites would never go back to their homeland, that God had permanently kicked them out.  Imagine hearing either scenario or both scenarios.  Who was right?  Would this be a short time and everything would be ok, or had they finally gone too far?  Day after day passed and nothing really changed, I imagine the Israelites were beginning to think they had messed up too big this time, and that God was done wit them.  In the midst of this, Jeremiah writes a letter to the captives to give them the hope that had all but seemingly disappeared.    First Jeremiah tells them, go on with your life, get married, and even pray for those in the cities you live.  In other words, don’t worry your present circumstances are not your final realities.  Secondly, Jeremiah gives them the exact time period they would be in Babylon (v. 10).  They would be in captivity for 70 years.  Now that could give you hope, because they could go back and figure out how long they had been in Babylon and that would tell them how much longer they had to go.  Next, Jeremiah assured the people that God had a plan for them (v. 11) and that He was in control.  Finally, Jeremiah reminded them that God had not given up on them and that He was with them, even in the midst of difficult circumstances (v. 12).  All they had to do was to seek God with all of their heart, and they would find Him.

Over two thousand years later, things are still the same for us today.  Life can be very difficult and sometimes it leads us to question if God is even there, or if He loves us, or if there is any hope for us.  If you are a child of God, you will always have His presence with you (1 Cor. 6:19), we can rest assured that He does have a plan for our life and that He is in control of that plan, even if it seems as though our life is out of control.  And we can know that as a Christian, there is an end to the problems, struggles, trials, and tribulations of this world.  It may not be exactly 70 years, but there is an end.  Hebrews 9:27 reminds us, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, then the judgment.”  We will all leave this world.  Revelation 21 tells us there will be no sorrow, crying, death, or pain in heaven.  Now if that doesn’t give us hope, I don’t know what will.

Dear Christian, I know you are hurting and I know life is difficult, but hang on because God does have a purpose, He is by your side to help you, and there is a better day coming!

I would like to ask those who read this to do one of two things.  If you are a Christian, write a comment on how God has been faithful in getting you through difficult times in life.  If you are not a Christian, please take time to contact us that we may pray for you and tell you how you can have a true hope that never passes or fails.

By His grace through His strength, may we live for Him!

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Sep 07

The Purpose of Bible Study

One question that is the same from new believers as it is from those who have been Christians for a while is, “how do I study the Bible?”  There are countless numbers of books that have been written on this subject.  Some methods of study include reading one book at a time, others are a topical method (where you pick a topic such as love and read all the references to love), there is the word study method (this is where you pick out a key word of a verse and then to fully understand what it means you find all the other places in Scripture that that word is mentioned), and of course the ever popular “let me just open my Bible and see where I open it to and I will read and study from there” method.

However, the correct Bible study method doesn’t revolve around a methodology, but rather proper Bible study is the result of asking the right question.  Many people study the Bible because they want to become a better Christian or they want to be a better teacher or preacher.  Those reasons by themselves are not necessarily wrong, but they flow from the question, “what does this Bible story or passage teach me?”  Again please understand that we should all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18).  But is that to be the sole reason for our Bible study?  I believe the answer to that question is a resounding “no.”  If were to look at Colossians 1:12-29 I believe we see an entirely different purpose for study.  At the outset let me say this text is not the primary teaching text for why we should study the Word of God, but I do believe it holds something valuable for us.  Notice the end of Colossians 1:16 where it says, “All things were created by Him, and for Him.”  Did you catch that, we were created by God and for God.  If we were to read the entire context of Colossians 1:12-29, Paul is revealing many truths about who is God, specifically Paul reveals things about Jesus Christ.  If we are going to learn the most and enjoy reading God’s Word while getting the most out of it we must ask ourselves the question, “what does this story or passage teach me about God?”  Do you see the difference between the question we ask many times and the question that we should really be asking?  When ask “what can I….”  That question places the focus on us.  However, God wasn’t created by us or for us.  Rather by asking what we learn about God in this passage, we make God the focus.  It is when we ask this question and approach our Bible study from this perspective that we really learn the Bible and grow spiritually.  The entire Bible is about God, and if we are going to grow spiritually, then we must know who we are to grow more like.  Remember we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:16), we are His workmanship (Eph. 2:10).  At the time of Passover, Jesus was in the Temple and His disciples were with Him.  The time of His crucifixion was fast approaching.  There were these Gentiles that came looking for Jesus.  When Philip met them and asked them what they wanted, they had one simple desire, “Sir, we would see Jesus.”  Dear pastor, Sunday school teacher, Bible study leader, and all Christians, let’s make that our aim as we study, preach, or teach the Word of God, to simply know Him more as He has chosen to reveal Himself to us through His Word.  Knowing God, what He is like, what He expects, how He deals with sinners and the sinners saved by grace is a pursuit that will last a lifetime, but when we get to the end of our life, we will know what lies ahead of us because we will know the One who created the heavens and the earth.

By His grace and through His strength, may we live for Him!

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Sep 06

Football or Golf? Part 4

Today I want to examine the players (church members) and their roles within the team (the church).  I remember growing up and playing baseball.  I would many times play catcher or shortstop for the first three innings and the pitch the second three innings or vice versa.  As I grew up, I played anywhere from pitcher to catcher to shortstop to third base to even first base.  But as I got to high school I had a decision to make, what position would I concentrate on?  I needed to make that decision because playing so many positions, I could never excel at any of them because my time was divided.  In football there are those rare guys like Deion Sanders who would play “both ways” (offense and defense).  Don’t get me wrong “Prime Time” as Deion Sanders was known was good on either side, but I think he could have been great by concentrating on one side of the ball.  But this isn’t about Deion Sanders and where he should have played.  The point is we as Christians need to realize that God has given us a spiritual gift that He expects us to not only use, but also to grow and nurture.  If I wanted to be the best pitcher I could be, I needed to give up the other positions I enjoyed playing so I could become a student of pitching, work on my skills, and improve my overall performance as a pitcher.  Ephesians 4:11 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.”  Notice the word “some” in this verse.  In other places in the New Testament, Paul talks about the diversity of gifts.  The point is, we are not to try to do everything in the church ourselves.  Rather we need to concentrate on where God has gifted us and use our gift, study our gift, learn how others use that gift in other churches and ministries to glorify God.  When we simply concentrate on the area of service God has called us to and gifted us in, the entire church operates better, and you become stronger in your faith because you are doing what God created you to do.  One problem with trying to do more than God has called you to do is pride.  When you do a lot of things within the church, it is easy to fall into the mentality of “they need more, or this church won’t survive if I leave.”  The truth is God didn’t and doesn’t need you, He desires to use you.  Our pride leads us to look around at others and judge them because they are not doing as much or as good of a job as we are.  In all honesty that is probably because we won’t let them and because we haven’t trained them which is what Ephesians 4:12 tells us we are to do.  Another problem with doing more than what God has called us to is the issue of  burnout.  As a pastor I read articles almost everyday where pastors are walking away from ministry because they are burnout, or that the current volunteer force is getting burnout and walking away from ministry in the church.  Reading those articles always brings me back to the question of “why is this happening?”  And while it probably isn’t the only reason, part of it has to be that we are taking on more responsibility than God gave us.  So the answer to this is to be laser-focused as Christians and churches and do what God has called us to and equipped us for, nothing more and nothing less.

By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him!


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