Grace wins.

•January 3, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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20 years ago my life as a person and a pastor fell apart because of some bad decisions I made.  I was abandoned by most of the “Christians” I knew and kicked to the side.  There was absolutely only one “preacher friend” who reached out to me.  I’m slow to say that … but’s it’s the truth.  I became a prodigal son.  I literally told God to leave me alone.  And for years I left him alone and pursued my own path.

But grace wins

God’s grace is like a hound from heaven that never gives up on prodigals.  He pursued me during my worst years and eventually brought me back to himself.

And grace wins.

He brought me back into pastoral ministry (albeit, with some kicking and screaming on my part!)  He allowed me to once again pastor a wonderful congregation that has been patient with my journey.

And grace wins.

This Sunday, January 8, Watermark Church will launch the grand opening of its new 18,000 square foot building.  It will be home to a congregation that does not judge or condemn people; a congregation that accepts people AS they are and WHERE they are; a congregation that confesses its imperfections and seeks God’s grace for them; a congregation that is not “religious” but is in a relationship with Jesus Christ; a congregation that is absolutely baptized in the grace of God; a congregation whose standards are so low…they let ME be their pastor!

Grace wins.

And, yes, the title of my message this coming Sunday is GRACE WINS.  Because it does.

Worship with us if you will.  Sundays @ 10:30am.

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God delights in you.

•November 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The Old Testament prophet Zephaniah proclaimed “The Lord is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  (Zephaniah 3:17)

Zephaniah says 1) God is with you – that’s presence, 2) God is mighty to save you – that’s power, 3) God takes delight in you – that’s pleasure 4) God quiets you with his love – that’s peace, and 5) God rejoices over you with singing – that’s proof!

If God’s speaking voice created universes, imagine what his singing voice can do!  And he sings over his children.

But you say, “I’m too guilty”.  Verse 15 says God has taken away your punishment.

But you say, “I am surrounded by my enemies”.  Verses 15, 17, & 19 say God has cast out your enemies.

But you say, “God feels far away”.  Verse 15 & 17 say God is in your midst.

But you say, “I am enslaved to shame”. Verses 11 & 19 say you are no longer put to shame.

But you say, “I feel disconnected and homeless”.  Verses 20 says that God will bring you home.

You just need to face it and accept the fact that God not only loves you – he delights in you.  You’ve not gone too far, stayed too long, or sinned too much to exceed his love, mercy, and grace.

Think about that.

Biblical faith

•November 3, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Biblical faith is not about living a moral life … that’s RELIGION.

Biblical faith is not about living the good life … that’s CAPITALISM.

Bbilical faith is not about becoming a better you … that’s SELF-HELP.

Biblical faith is about living the God-life … that’s ABUNDANT LIFE.

Should I “Halloween”?

•October 31, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Should I “Halloween”?  Many Christians immediately say “absolutely not”.  They tell horrific stories of Satanists sacrificing babies on Halloween (although to my knowledge we’ve never been able to actually document that) or of how we shouldn’t promote the devil, etc. Churches (bless our hearts) have tried to soften the blow with Hallelujah Festivals, Harvest Festivals, Trunk O’ Treats, or by ignoring Halloween altogether.

I can’t help but wonder why so many Christians are so scared of the devil.  They look for him behind every bush and in every rock and roll lyric. Be assured, I believe in a personal devil.  I also believe that Jesus bashed out his brains at the Cross and rubbed his face in it at the Resurrection. We Christians have heard the sound of a stone rolling away.  We have seen death die.  We have confirmed that Satan has been defeated by a carpenter from Nazareth…who is also the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Halloween can be fun it you let it.  If you don’t get bogged down in Druid this and Satanic that.  It’s a time to LAUGH at defeated demons, MOCK at a powerless DEVIL, and PAT death on the head like the stuffed trophy kill it is.

It is we Christians who should laugh the loudest and dance the hardest at Halloween.   Through Christ, our strong and sufficient Redeemer, we have been delivered from the one who steals, kills, and destroys.

Additionally, October 31 is also Reformation Day.  You can read about it here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformation_Day.  It is a celebration of the Protestant Reformation in which we, um, Protestants, celebrate our divorce from works-based Christianity (which is no Christianity at all) found in Roman Catholicism and our return to grace-based Christianity that is found in the Gospel of Christ.   It seems Halloween and Reformation Day can compliment each other.

Jesus is Lord.  Satan is defeated.  Death has died. So, “Halloween” it up!

 

 

“But I don’t like to read.”

•October 24, 2016 • Leave a Comment

“But I don’t like to read.”  This is the favorite excuse of lazy Christians who don’t read the Bible.  Interesting.  It’s also interesting how many Christians who don’t read the Bible … have so many theological opinions!  I always want to ask them, “What’s your source?”

One reason we have so much “weirdness” in Christianity is because so many Christians don’t read their Bibles and interpret what they read correctly.

When Joshua was about to enter Canaan, God told him to read his Bible.  You will find that story in the Old Testament book of Joshua  (of course, you’ll have to read the Bible to get it!).  God told Joshua to “meditate” and “do according to all that is written” (1:7-8).  Joshua had a Bible … it was Genesis through Deuteronomy …. and God told him to read it.

God didn’t command Joshua to …

seek a spiritual experience,

pursue a personal “revelation”,

or engage in goose bumps-giving emotional worship.

God’s word to Joshua is his same word to us today:     OPEN YOUR BIBLE.

 

On turning 54…

•October 11, 2016 • 1 Comment

I turn 54 years old today.  Some things I’ve learned…

I’m a bigger sinner than I ever thought I was but God’s grace is more than enough to cover it.

I’m broken in more ways than I can imagine but Jesus loves me anyway.

I don’t like the gray hair that’s coming in but somehow it’s a trophy for battles fought, scars attained, pain endured, and lessons learned.

It’s not the quantity of your friends…it’s the quality of your friends…that counts. 

People need less condemnation and more compassion.

I’m sure there’s more but that’s it for now.

Lost

•October 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The Bible describes people outside of Christ as blind, lost, dead.  These are not condemning terms.  It’s just the way Scripture uses metaphor to describe life without Christ.  Christians are never to use these terms in derision, condemnation, or in an “us vs. them” manner.  We have ALL been “lost”.

The good news is JESUS LOVES LOST PEOPLE.  Jesus told three stories (Luke 15) about things that were lost.  A lost sheep; a lost coin; a lost son.  In each story…

  1. Something of value is lost.  Be it the sheep, the coin, or the son.
  2. The owner goes to great lengths to find the lost thing.
  3. When the lost thing is found … a great party is thrown.

We are the sheep, the coin, and the son.  Jesus is the Shepherd who finds the lost sheep, the woman who finds the lost coin, and the Father who embraces the lost son.

We don’t “find” Jesus.  Jesus finds us.  We are the ones who are lost.

And when he finds us, he brings us home … where he throws an outrageous party for us.

I once was lost … but now I’m found.

 
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