Repentance

Teenager depressedI’d rather write about just about anything than this.  But Jesus said a few things about little ones and offenses and millstones, and I believe Him.

So can we talk about the secrets we keep?  And the ones we shouldn’t?

Last week a group of Evangelical leaders joined together to release a statement in conjunction with the American Association of Christian Counselors and an organization called GRACE, which stands for “Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.”

Boz Tchividjian, the executive director of GRACE, said of the statement, “To my knowledge, this is the first major public statement by the evangelical world regarding the horrors of sexual abuse within the church and the dire need to begin addressing this in a manner that loves and serves those who have been so hurt. This is a historic moment in the life of the Church.”

My God, what took us so long? And I do mean “us.” [click to continue…]

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(A Conversation…)

Disappointment GuiltYou can’t do that.

What?

You can’t disappoint God.

What do you mean I can’t disappoint God?

Just what I said.

Well I don’t think He’s too pleased!

I didn’t say you can’t displease Him.  That’s a different conversation.  I said you can’t disappoint Him.

Okay, why do you say that?

Because to be able to disappoint Him, you’d have to be able to surprise Him.  And whatever else He is, He is not surprised.

He knew this would happen?

Yep.

He let this happen?

He gave you a choice.  And you made it happen.  But none of it caught Him by surprise.

(Silence… wheels turning…) [click to continue…]

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Stained glassI’d like to tell you how I became a follower of Jesus Christ.  But before I do, I need to tell you how I became a lost church member.  In my story, you can’t separate one from the other.

It was Easter Sunday at the church I grew up in, at least from the age of 4.  I was in the fifth grade.  During those days, my sister and I went to Sunday School and church about half to two-thirds of the time.  In the fourth grade we began having more personalized Sunday School teachers instead of being in the big class.  Several of my classmates had made professions of faith in Christ and been baptized.

Mr. Gregory, a kind, caring man and my Sunday School teacher, asked me then if I was ready to accept Christ as my personal savior.  I told him I wasn’t ready, and that I would know it when I was.  I don’t remember discussing any details of what people refer to as the Gospel.  But I’m sure it was presented. Somehow.

That was pretty much my stance through fourth and fifth grade.  On this day, however, something was different.  I felt a strange sensation in my chest.  My heart was pumping a little faster, I sensed something was about to happen.  This feeling in my heart told me today could be the day.

Our church was starting a revival that Sunday, with brothers BO and Dick Baker in to lead it.  That morning all the children were brought into the auditorium.  BO Baker spoke to us from Revelation 3:20 about Jesus “knocking on the door of our heart.”  He would knock on the wooden pulpit to illustrate.

Knock-knock-knock. [click to continue…]

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Q – I am really backsliding in my relationship with God and I’m not really worshipping like I used to. What should I do? Please help.

There is more to life than trusting Christ as your Savior and waiting to die so you can show up in heaven.  He has designed a journey of growth, love, and intimacy that allows you to make choices today that will serve you in this life (the future) and the next (your eternal home in heaven).  It’s also possible, however, that you can waste your life and its opportunities for intimacy with the Lord.  That’s the basis of this question.

Every believer deals with this issue – what to do when we find ourselves drifting away from that connection with the Lord.  If somebody gave merit badges or degrees in this, I’d be at the front of the line!  Here are some things I have found to be helpful in reconnecting my life with God, reordering my priorities, and renewing my spiritual life. [click to continue…]

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How’s this for a welcome to a pastor’s study? 

NOTICE

The Pastor of Calvary Church Receives Sinners and Eats With Them.

Any Questions?

Now there’s a guy who’s either long on courage or short on brains!  But he knows his New Testament.  And if he does it in the right spirit, he also understands something about the searching heart of God.  

In answer to the question hanging on the pastor’s door, Jesus once told a story.  [click to continue…]

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What do you do when you’ve done what you know to do, and what you know to do isn’t working this time?  How do you explain the fact that time-tested methods for producing results, solving problems, and getting ahead just aren’t working this time?  How do you plug the leaks in your economic life?

Questions like these are front and center among politicians, economists, investors, and families these days.

The problem isn’t a shortage of solutions.  The problem is that that the solutions we know are supposed to work aren’t working.

We’re like a wad of sailors on a stormy sea, who keep running to opposite sides of a ship to steady it in the waves – while all the while, the hull is leaking.  I’ve seen it at kitchen tables; I’ve seen it at capital buildings.  Everything we do to steady the ship just draws in more water, and sailing has turned to bailing.

I wonder if anybody is asking – really asking – God.

(Aw, what does HE know?)

Plenty, it would appear.  This isn’t the first time politicians and businesspeople confronted a leaky economy. [click to continue…]

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(How to Restore Your Losses, Part 2)

Ground Zero Construction Site, New York

Ground Zero Construction Site, New York

In the previous post I talked about the fact that at the end of Job’s saga, the Lord restored his losses.  For most of this righteous man’s painful episode, the end of the story was yet to be told about him… an important thing to remember when we encounter seasons of great loss.

One thing I left hanging was that Job was required to participate the process.  Make no mistake about it: this was a man who was intimate enough with God to be honest with Him about his feelings and pain.  But something changed between the ranting and the receiving.  I have a feeling the same may be true of you and me, too, if we want to see our losses restored.

1.  Recognize God as a God of purpose.
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted,” Job said (Job 42:2, ESV).  Job acknowledged not just that God had a plan, but that His intentions and purposes are good.  He also submitted to that purpose – even when he didn’t have answers. [click to continue…]

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