Posted in Christian Service, Church attendance, Life Inspiration

I want to be a Contender!

contender

As I get ready to embark on 2014 it is going to be a New Year in a great many ways I hope. I always love the New Year, a clean sheet of paper in a new notebook mentality where anything is possible! At years end I always desire to be, though I seldom feel that I am, closer to the Lord and more determined to live out His will for my life. I desire to not only read His Word, but to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15). God has so generously given me this platform, I really don’t desire to fall off of it, I’ll graciously step down should that be His will. A platform is not meant to be viewed as a pedestal, but more so an individual given the opportunity to elevate Christ. I should never be “lifted up” but rather I should be lifting up Christ. Some have that wrong. Jude had it right.

Jude 1-3~ Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Jude, not only a servant of Christ, although he held that in the highest esteem, and a brother to James (showing piety to family), but he too was a brother to Christ. He grew up in the same house with the same Momma and no doubt grew up witnessing his Brother’s miracles first hand. I have to wonder if at times there wouldn’t have been contention between them seeing that Mary worshipped Jesus, knowing Who He was. What must His brothers have thought? Or maybe they too knew in their hearts very young that Jesus was not just an ordinary child, we’re not given that insight, only speculation which can be wrong, and so I digress. But here in this place we find Jude all grown up. There is no animosity toward his Brother, only reverence.

He is Called

Just as those of us who are saved and redeemed by the blood of Jesus have been; each of us are called to a purpose. Contrary to popular belief you were not called to take up space in a pew. Sunday morning from 11 a.m. to 12 noon is not service, it’s worship; or it should be. And you should be desirous of that time for all Christ does for you the rest of the week. The service to which you are called is the rest of the week, on the job or in the home, on vacation or on the internet you are called to be a servant of Jesus Christ as was Jude. What you’re doing should in some way be pointing back to Him and lived out in humility. Jude was proud of his family, he loved his career, but He served Christ.

He is Concerned

He desired mercy, peace and love for his brothers and sisters in Christ for which he considered them an equal (common salvation). Every one of us get saved in the same manner. We may have traveled a different path to get there but the final journey to salvation is the same. We admit we’re a sinner and deserve Hell, we believe He was born of a virgin and died upon the cross to pay for our sins, and we confess He is Lord and the only worthy sacrifice. It is at that point, with Him living in us, that our servant’s heart should be concerned for our brothers and sisters wellbeing, praying mercy, peace and love be multiplied. Are you praying for your fellow servants?

He is a Contender

I didn’t watch the movie “On the Waterfront” but most of us know Marlon Brando’s quote “I could have been a contender…” and we even know the manner of which he said it. Jude was a contender and so he advises us to be as well. It’s going to be a fight, we know this from past experience. Any time we step out and make a decision I’m going to do more for the Lord, Satan counterattacks, it’s a given. I don’t want to say “I could have been a contender in 2014.” I want to be a contender for the faith, I want to do more! Will you join me?

Please begin by praying for this ministry, that the Lord open doors and I go through only those He opens. Thank you! in advance.

Posted in Christmas, Church attendance, Holiday Humor, Life Inspiration

10 Reasons Why People Don’t Attend Church – The unlit tree

As I drove through our small town yesterday the Christmas tree in the town square was flashing to the beat of Christmas music and the whole atmosphere in our normally economically depressed city was transformed to a happier place. The people in our quaint town are wonderful, the politics… not so much, but we’ll not park there. The population of our entire county is roughly 7600, depending upon how many people are out of town Christmas shopping, (I’m kidding). But we are rural America at its finest and sometimes worst. I would venture a guess at the number of those 7600 who attend church as less than 1,000. I actually believe it’s far less than that, but according to an article on churchleaders.com approximately 20% of Americans attend church regularly, which would make Calhoun’s estimate at 1500. I have to wonder what they define as regularly. If by annually, then maybe. Well, that’s not very nice is it? You’ll have to forgive my cynicism, perhaps I should go back to town and check my Christmas spirit, but church attendance is a biggy on my list of Christian do’s and don’ts.

It’s like having an unlit Christmas tree. Pointless.

I’ve heard most every argument on why you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, and while that’s true, because there are many who absolutely cannot get to church and they are indeed children of God; my argument is if you can go and don’t you’re the unlit tree.

Here’s the top 10 reason people don’t go to church from AmericanPreachers.com:

Reason 1 – The church is full of judgmental people.

Are there judgmental people in every church? Probably! And let me give you my theory on why. If they’re in a church that’s preaching the gospel of Christ as it should be preached, that preacher stands before them as the brightest Christmas tree in the building and what that does is illuminate wrong living. So rather than dealing with their own err it’s easier to point out someone else’s making their own sin seem less in their eyes. Go anyway.

Reason 2 – Church is boring

You’re either in the wrong the church, or you’re there with the wrong attitude. Go anyway. The church is not for your entertainment, it’s for your edification. If you don’t like the menu in a restaurant, you find a new place to eat, you don’t starve to death! Amen?

Reason 3 – The Church is “exclusive.”

Scratch off denominationalism here. When searching for the right church for you, regardless of what name brand it is, one thing better be there “A welcome sign.” A church is your Father’s house; and if you’re not made to feel welcome, there’s a good chance you’re not home.

Reason 4 – The Church is homophobic

The bible under no uncertain terms says that homosexuality is a sin. It also says that lying, coveting, stealing, idol worship, disrespect and adultery is a sin. And there are those in every church in America. Find a church that loves people, let God deliver the message. If you truly want a relationship with the Creator, you need to position yourself in a place where His message is delivered, and that’s church, and that’s Bible. Go anyway.

Reason 5 – I don’t like organized religion

I don’t either. I like structured freedom for the Holy Spirit. Huh? Let’s face reality, there has to be some sort of organization else there’s chaos. Someone has to be in charge. So, you find the right Pastor and follow him, and then let the Holy Spirit lead. If he’s a God lead Pastor there will be freedom to worship in that place and the experience will be awesome! Go!

Reason 6 – Churches are full of hypocrites

Truth. And you’ll be one too. There isn’t anyone I know that lives a life like Christ, therefore we all are hypocrites. When we call ourselves Christians, by definition we are saying we live like Christ. No, we don’t, but we do the best we can and love each other regardless. Go anyway.

Reason 7 – The church just wants your money

Not true. But it does take money to operate a church. You have to look at it from the survival aspect: you buy food because you need it to survive, you pay for a car because it transports you from one place to another, you buy clothing because it covers you and keeps you warm, you buy things you like because they bring you pleasure. That’s what church does, only in a way that lasts an eternity.

Reason 8 – Life is better without religion

Yes. But church attendance isn’t about religion, it’s about relationship. In the very core of our being is a desire to have a relationship with the Creator and family. Church provides you both. And even if your family is dysfunctional, messed up or nonexistent, God will fill the voids in your life through His people in His place. That’s church. Go anyway.

Reason 9 – Christians live on another planet and wear brown sweaters

I so laughed when I read that, because it’s so true, until you get saved. I used to think that people who went to church every Sunday, and prayed at the altar and talked about God were just people without anything else to do, and then I became one of them. I then realized I had been missing out on the greatest experience in life – Non circumstantial living. Regardless of circumstance, God is good, I am loved, and He understands.

Reason 10 – I don’t have time

Refer to reason 6 and Commandment 9 of the big 10. You lie. In the words of my former Pastor, “You do what you want to do.” If you want a relationship with God you’ll make the time. And then a funny thing happens, you’ll discover you had far more time than imagined because God will open up doors for you to  fellowship with Him that you could never have imagined.

John 1:4-5 says “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

If the light of Christ is not shining in you and through you, your tree’s not lit.

Get the point?