We’re just passing through

Posted: October 22, 2014 in Thoughts on God

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36 ESV)

I once mused on the following anecdote among some old friends:

On this side of eternity we are just in transit – whether we are on a train, or waiting to embark one at a station.

There’s no real need for heavy luggage, or even a carry-on bag, because when we arrive at the Terminal we’ll have to leave them all behind…we can’t go through customs with them. No material luggage (earthly possessions – houses, cars, etc.), and no emotional baggages either, will be permitted to get across the Pearly Gates customs.

Everything we’ll ever need or dream of awaits us beyond the Terminal, on the other side of eternity. The LORD Himself will be all we ever need on the other side!

Imagining this freedom, it’s hard to think of keeping it to yourself. How might lives change if, while we are in transit, we were to implore as many passengers as we can to catch the right train to the Terminal. Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”(John 14:6 ESV)

How would viewing yourself as just a traveler in this world change the way you live for Christ?

“Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:14b NIV)

There are approximately 7.046 billion people in this world. Each person is distinct from another person. Each person has a unique fingerprint. Even identical twins differ in personality and certain physical attributes from each other. Each person was designed with a specific purpose on this earth. You are 1 out of approximately 7,000,000,000 with characteristics that are exclusive only to yourself.

Take a moment to think about the sobering magnitude of this truth. Can you imagine a Creator who is great enough to design something as complex as the human race, not to mention the complexity of the human body itself? Now add to the list every animal species ever to exist, every natural being on this earth, every planet in this galaxy and every galaxy in this universe. Now can you imagine the greatness of our God? It’s impossible to fully comprehend.

If by this point you have realized that we will never be able to grasp just how powerful our God is, then ask yourself this question. Why is it that every time we encounter a problem, situation or trial, we take this limitless, incomparable and unchanging God and put him in the bounds of our mere human thinking? Simply, why do we limit GOD to a “box” we’ve created with our own limited understanding?

You are only 1 person out of 7.046 billion people, and it seems impossible that you would be worthy of special acknowledgement. Yet, God looks down at 7.046 billion people every moment and He loves and he treats every person as if there is only 1.

Remember that you serve a loving and powerful God.

The Professor and the chalk

Posted: October 20, 2014 in Thoughts on God

Originally posted on Pastor Mike Says:

Religion Professor and President Gordon “Mike”...

Religion Professor and President Gordon “Mike” Michalson lectures to students during a class in 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist. His primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting to prove that God couldn’t exist. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic. For twenty years he had taught this class and NO ONE had ever had the courage to go against him. Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever *really gone against him* (you’ll see what I mean later). Nobody would go against him because he had a reputation.

At the end of every semester, on the last day, he would say to the class of 300 students, “If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!” In…

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As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62 ESV)

Every day is full of decisions…

wake up or hit the snooze button,
whole grain cereal or pop tarts,
dress for comfort or for style,
go to the gym or take a nap,
turn on the TV or read a book?

In fact, life is full of decisions and some of these decisions will determine the course of our life. Who will I marry? Where will I work? Where will I live? For many of us in America our decisions will be determined by one concern: COMFORT.

Two thousand years ago those who wanted to follow Jesus faced a similar dilemma. Read today’s Bible verses again. These men and women wore confronted by Jesus and had life decisions to make for him.

Many of us, when we first embraced a relationship with Jesus had the attitude, “I will follow you wherever you go.” That is until we realized His call on our life could lead us to places we’d never expected to go and cost us more than we’d ever expected to sacrifice. There’s nothing comfortable about Jesus’ challenge to these would be followers in Luke 9. There’s nothing comfortable about Jesus’ calling on our lives today. The decision remains the same: will we choose our comfort or God’s calling?

In what areas of your life are your struggling with choosing comfort over what God is calling you to do? What specific steps of faith and sacrifice is He calling you to take?

http://www.gofundme.com/dz47h8

Originally posted on Pastor Mike Says:

One of the ugliest things about human nature is our ability to form an instant dislike for someone for no particular reason. I’m sure there will be people who say they never do it, but most of us will admit that it’s easy to form a quick opinion of someone who doesn’t conform to our way of thinking and our standards. Most of the time it’s someone who doesn’t believe in the same God, someone we are judging because they don’t act like us, or even political reason, just to mention a few. So when we’re faced with this ugliness rearing it’s head, what do we do?

Luke 6:26-36 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. 27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28

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Originally posted on Pastor Mike Says:

bibleHow did we get the Bible? It’s in the Bible, 2 Peter 1:20, 21, NIV. “You must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” The Bible is not the ideas of men; it is the word of God. God told those whom He chose what to say and write.

God is the source of all the information in the Bible. It’s in the Bible, 2 Timothy 3:16, NIV. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

The Bible introduces us to Jesus Christ. It’s in the Bible, Hebrews 1:1, 2, NIV. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways…

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Normally I try to keep political commentaries and ideologies out of my blogs, but on this one, I have to say something. The article below describes a horrible situation here in the U.S.. In Houston Texas, the city (Who has a gay Mayor that is against Christianity) is trying to have all the Pastors turn their sermons over for review before preaching them. I won’t say any more, I’ll let you read what the Pastors below did. The article is courtesy of CBN.

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Pastors in Houston are fighting back against an attempt by the mayor to silence them from the pulpit.

Some have been told to provide the government with their sermons. Now, they’re getting a little help from one of the top conservative voices in the country: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

On Thursday in Houston, Cruz visited his home church to give city officials a lesson on religious liberty.

“The city of Houston has no power, no legal authority to silence the Church,” he said.

The controversy began over a city ordinance that not only bans discrimination against LGBT people; it also allows them to choose which bathroom they want to use.

That’s when pastors in Houston said “enough.”

“There’s no such thing as anti-gay in the course of this at all, but we are for God’s standard of morality,” Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, said.

Citizens signed petitions to overturn the ordinance and gathered enough to force a vote, but the Houston City Council declared the signatures invalid.

The Christian advocates behind the petition sued.

Then, in an attempt to fight back, the city demanded to see sermons, texts, emails or any correspondence whatsoever from pastors against the ordinance.  That would have included any preaching about homosexuality or gender identity.

Pastors stood their ground and refused to comply.

In an exclusive interview with CBN News, Cruz says he hopes Christians take notice of what’s happening here.

“Is this a situation where a sleeping giant has awoke?” CBN News’ David Brody asked Cruz.

“I think it may well be. I certainly hope that it is,” the Texas lawmaker replied.

“I never imagined we would see this kind of hostility to faith here in Houston,” he added.

Neither can Pastor Khan Huynh, who came to American from Vietnam to get away from persecution.  Now his name is on the government hit list.

“This is what’s going on. They sensor all the sermons. Pastors have to print out worship service programs and they have to approve it before we can conduct our service,” Pastor Huynh told CBN News about treatment of pastors in Vietnam.

The city of Houston begs to differ. City officials are trying to downplay the idea their actions are an assault on religious liberty.

Houston’s gay mayor, Annise Parker, is pushing the LGBT ordinance. She’s also downplaying the controversy, and says pastoral critics don’t understand the concept of unconditional love.

“People are rightly concerned if a government entity in any way tries to inhibit religious speech. That’s not the intent,” she said.

The city now says it will narrow the subpoenas and not require all the information it originally wanted.

But the pastors aren’t buying it.

“The mayor and the city attorney they did this. This is not an accident. This is not some pro-bono attorney who did it and they didn’t know. This was their plan all along. They just thought no one would stand up and say anything,” Steve Riggle, pastor of Grace Community Church, said.

Meanwhile, Cruz warns pastors across the nation that they must lead the way or the future may look even worse.

“The specter of government trying to determine if what pastors preach from the pulpit meets with the policy views or political correctness of the governing authorities – that prospect is real and happening now,” he said.

In Houston, however, pastors are ready for the fight, whatever the cost.