Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Real Answer

Praise the Lord for this past weekend. Tim Lee has been our guest many times and is always a blessing. However, this time there seemed to be a renewed freshness about him. We had 16 people trust Christ during the past two days, and we had many other decisions among God's people.

If you personally made a decision in an area of your life, I encourage you to follow through on it. I call those times in my own life when I have recommitted myself in a particular spiritual matter "A personal revival". It is also good to write these dates down as a means of affirming these decisions.

I feel the winds of revival are blowing here at Chestertown Baptist Church. I knew the Lord was preparing us for this fall and slowly we are experiencing His touch. Be faithful to do your part and together we will see great things happen, both on an individual level, and collectively as a church.

These are troubled times, I know. It seems that everyday we are confronted with more bad news in our nation. Record numbers in unemployment, growing numbers of foreclosures, along with a host of other concerns. We seem to move from one crisis to another. Honestly, there are a lot of suffering people. Where will they go to recieve help? As humans we want to care for ourselves, but our problems are often beyond us. There is, however, One greater than any problem. Our heavenly Father. God and God alone spoke this world into existence. He keeps it by the Word of His mouth. It is time for us, the church, to step up to the plate and give hurting people a real solution, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, these are tough times, spiritually challenging times, that may cause many to wonder what the future holds. But while we may not know what tomorrow holds, we do know who holds tomorrow, and we can move forward with confidence knowing He is in sovereign control.

Let's recommit ourselves to the task of building a lighthouse here in this area for all to see.

See you on Sunday!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Faithless or Faithful?

The Bible tells us "The fruit of the spirit is love, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law". What is faithfulness? It has often been described as loyalty, dependability, allegience and trust-worthiness. As well as the other fruit of the spirit, it is essential in the life of the believer in Christ.

We often start new projects, programs, initiatives, etc. with great enthusiasm, but then for some reason, this enthusiasm fades. As humans, we are all prone to this. We all start the New Year with resolutions, only to realize in a few months we have stopped pursuing them. The story could be told over and over again of believers that actively followed Christ only to be turned aside for one reason or another. For reasons unknown even to them, their dedication waned, and other interests took the place of their walk with God.

God loves us with a faithful and constant love. He loves us no matter what. However, often the problem is our lack of faithfulness to him.

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds. That is also the ultimate definition of faithfulness. And God demands nothing less from any of us. The scripture says "Moreover, it is required of a steward that a man be found faithful." We should ask ourselves "Are we loyal, dependable, true, and trustworthy to God's purpose?"

As Christians we should not require anyone or anything to motivate us to be faithful. Faithfulness should be a driving force in our lives. Today is a great day to begin anew a life of faithfulness.

Faithfulness is rooted in our belief and trust in God. It should be clearly evident in our lives, and will be visibly demonstrated by our actions. We should be faithful to be in church; we should be faithful in our tithe. Simply put, if we really believe, we will be faithful.

As Lamentations 3:23 tells us of our God, "Great is Thy faithfulness:. He is faithful when we are tempted. He is faithful to keep us He is faithful to forgive us. He is faithful to strengthen us. Second Timothy tells us "if we are faithless, yet He remains faithful". Oh! That we should be faithful to Him!

See you on Sunday and Monday! Be faithful!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Battles & Blessings

Over the past years I've met many Pastors. I love preachers. God has given me a heart for these special men. I've met Pastors fresh out of college to those who have been at it for a long time. My favorite ones are those who smile at each new day. Their Bible pages are yellowed and dog-eared, but their spirit is childlike. What a blessing to be around. Nothing is choreographed. They are never surprised when someone finds Christ, yet amazed that God would use them in such a way. They are always fresh. The fire still burns. When they preach, their stuff is new and fresh. They know every hymn in the book but still are moved when they sing them. There is nothing canned about their ministry, it's real and powerful.

I've often wondered, why does the zeal die for some? I believe it's not a blowout rather a slow leak. The demands of the pastorate are many. The clamour for your time is commonplace. It's easy to become weary of trying to please the masses. As Jethro told Moses ,"The thing you are doing is not good, you will surely wear out."

The Bible is full of examples of those who have lost their freshness. Solomon trusted in lesser strength. Saul waffled in obedience. John Mark turned back. The sons of the prophets followed afar off. Peter let Jesus down and became discouraged. Jonah saw the storm but not the Savior. We have all been beat up by the ministry, yet the responsibility is still the same. I want to stay fresh. I often pray "God create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of my salvation." And you know what? He always does!

There are battles and blessings in God's work. We are about to come into a time of blessing. Receive it, and ask God to keep you fresh. Please pray for me.

See you this Sunday!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Surviving vs Thriving

When life is going well it's easy to feel hopeful. But when life brings you trouble, feelings of hopelessness seem to follow. It's in these times, however, that we can most experience the presence of God. We can experience Him in any difficult situation; when health fails, the loss of a job, a spouse going to heaven, or any number of other tragedies that may confront us.

What many of us need to do is stop surviving and start thriving.

Don't let difficult circumstances stop you from making the most of each day you are alive. Realize that even when times are tough you can do much more than endure the current situation. You can actually experience life to the fullest, even in the midst of difficulty. When we remeber that life is a gift from God and decide to embrace it, all things change for the better.

This past year has been one of my most difficult as a pastor. If I could stand before the people and explain what I was doing I'm sure they would be sympathetic. However, a leader cannot always do that. You can only trust that you have exhibited integrity and leadership, and hope the people share your vision for the future.

I now see the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew I would, but it was not easy. Everyday for this past year I would thank God for all my blessings. I tried not to see my difficulty. I would repeat the phrase "Today is a gift from God, thank Him for it." And I would. I was reminded of the song "Through It All". One verse says "If I never had a problem I wouldn't know God could solve them. I'd never know what faith in God could do."

The direction of life should always be forward. As the Psalmist said "I will look to the hills from whence came my help; my help cometh from the Lord." I feel today I am on good footing. I didn't think that a while ago, but I trusted and it has paid off. I don't think, I know, great days lie ahead. So in the valley or on the mountaintop, I will always praise you Lord!

I sure do appreciate you good folks! God bless you!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Firsts and Lasts.....

Children are born, and then for us parents the long good-bye begins. Every year that I have been a parent has marked not just firsts, but lasts. This year, my youngest will go back to school. It's always a tough time saying good-bye.
Over the years I have watched many parents say good-bye to their kids when they depart for college, war, or service, and I have seen and experienced many a tear. For some parents, the hardest experience of life is letting go of their kids. I personally have never enjoyed that process. I don't know why but I feel better when I am in control of things; it gives me a security I can't describe. As I have seen my gang leave the nest, the reality has set in that I am not in control. I can pray, work, and be there if needed, but no longer do I call the shots. I am amazed as I see my children put into practice the truths that my wife and I have taught them. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and also loneliness at the same time. So next week, I will say good-bye again. I'll do it because I know it's right, not because I want to.
I hope for those of you who again will endure the process that it will strengthen you. It does not get any easier with each child. After a while, you become accustomed to it, but never used to it. I thank God for the privilege and opportunity to be a dad. I can honestly and sincerely say that my children have taught me more than I could ever teach them.
What a great life God gives us. All by His grace, so undeserved and unmerited, yet richly poured out. What a challenge to be a parent who has the thrill of firsts and lasts.
God bless, and I will see, Lord willing, on Sunday.