Pastor’s Blogs

“A Parent’s Reward”

Date: 8-28-14

Text: Proverbs 28:23  He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue. [NIV84]

The Big Idea: A parent’s reward comes much later than sooner.

My Thoughts: 

Perhaps you are like me: As a parent, I so desperately want for my children to like me. As I look around, I see many a parent who desire this. They desire it so much so that they appear to forego being a parent and very early on act more like their child’s friend. Yet, I’m sure you also know, that if we do not endure their tears when they are young, we will definitely cry later. We have to remember that a parent’s reward comes much later than sooner.

Lifestyle worshipers, this morning’s Proverb can be applied to our parenting as well. Paraphrasing: “Parents who discipline their child will in the end gain more respect/favor than a parent who offers their child inflated praise.” In an age where everyone gets a trophy just for being on the team, or praise for any effort, we need to remember that correction and discipline are necessary for healthy, wholesome growth.

As a coach, I desire my players to be their best, and I cannot afford to offer inflated praise or inaccurate assessments. If I did, they would soon be proven a lie on the court or the field. The same in true with parenting, don’t you think? Have you found that a parent’s reward is later than sooner?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

 Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.
     — Colossians 3:21 (The Message)
A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.
     — Proverbs 29:15 (NIV) 
 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
     — Hebrews 12:11 (NIV84)

 Lord Jesus Christ, be the parent in my Life as I discipline and correct my child(ren) in Love. May I realize that as their Mom/Dad, who Loves them dearly, I have a responsibility to be their parent first and then their friend.  In Your Name Amen.

Pastor Mike

“Trust the Wounds of a Friend”

Date: 8-27-14

Text: Proverbs 27:6  Wounds from someone who loves are trustworthy, but kisses from an enemy speak volumes. [ISV]

The Big Idea: He became a curse of us, and by doing so, He has removed any curses.

My Thoughts: 

Perhaps even now it is hard to talk about, especially when the wounds are still festering and raw, but it is still good to know that when friends wound us, it is because they Love us. Yes, they really do care. Interestingly, just yesterday, I was talking to a friend about wounds of friends, and with both of us being poets at heart, we came up with a phrase, “God’s scalpel doesn’t slip.” When the LORD is using His scalpel on us to ‘wound’ us—by cutting away those ‘cancers’ that infest our souls, we need to remember He is a skilled surgeon. Indeed, His scalpel doesn’t slip….

But, lifestyle worshipers, sometimes we think our friend’s scalpel is constantly slipping, slashing us with reckless abandon. But we must remember that even if they are clumsy with their words or don’t use the “proper” tone of voice, they are still speaking to us on this particular issue because they Love us. No more and no less. And even if their scalpel slips a little (or a lot), this, too, the LORD can use….

When this happens, I do is try to remember that it pleased the LORD to bruise Jesus and by His strips we are healed. How do you deal with the wounds of a friend?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

   Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.
     — Isaiah 53:10 (NKJV)
  Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it.
     — Psalm 141:5 (NIV84)
  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me 
     — Revelation 3:19-20 (NIV84)

 Heavenly Father, as You prune away the dead branches of my life so that Jesus’ Life may produce more fruit, may I endure the hardship as loving discipline, knowing that You Love me and have given Your only Begotten Son for me. In the Lord Jesus’ Name Amen.

Pastor Mike

“Don’t Let Them Nest”

Date: 8-26-14

Text: Proverbs 26:2  Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. [NIV84]

The Big Idea: He became a curse of us, and by doing so, He has removed any curses.

My Thoughts: 

First of all, a curse is some form of distain or contempt. It could take the shape of four letter words, like ‘fool’ or worse, maybe even some five letter words, like ‘stupid’ & “idiot”, or even some formalized statement. But what makes a curse undeserved? Well, I guess we could first ask, what if we deserve the contempt? My response used to be to beat myself up over it: “You, fool, you knew better.” But then the Lord shouted to me once, “Don’t call one of my children a fool!” (Okay, maybe He didn’t shout, but He sure seemed intense….) Now, however, I’ve learned to forgive myself, extending to myself the grace He has so lavished on me–and thus removing any curse, self-inflicted or no…

Lifestyle worshipers, in truth, whether we ‘deserve’ the curse or no, it is of no consequence when we do not receive it. Whether it be an expletive or a formalized ‘curse,’ it is of no matter because we are in the Lord Jesus. He became a curse of us, and by doing so, He has removed any curses: They are all undeserved in Him. And because of His Grace and Love flowing down on us, we do not need to let “it” nest in our lives….

So do you struggle with receiving silly, sad “curses” of all flavors and shapes? What do you do to not let them nest?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

   Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

— Eph. 4:29 (NIV84)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

 Galatians 3:13-14 (NIV84)

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above….”

 John 19:11a (NIV84)

 Heavenly Father, by the shed blood of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and through His Power, I ask You to remove any curses that have been hurled at or placed on me. I announce that I am Your child. Because the Lord Jesus Christ has bought me with a  price, any curses sent against me are undeserved. I thank You that Your Son, Jesus, is my Lord and I am Your child . In the Lord Jesus’ Name Amen.

Pastor Mike

“First Responder’s Role”

Date: 8-24-14

Text: Proverbs 24:11  Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter [NIV84]

The Big Idea: Do you consider yourself to be a “First Responder”?

My Thoughts: 

The First Responder’s initial responsibility is to make sure the area is secure before entering into harm’s way. But they are urgently looking for ways to help. Some go in when there is still danger, e.g. a fire, but they are taking a calculated risk that will more than likely assure their safety as well as those they are trying to rescue….

Lifestyle worshipers, do you consider yourself to be a “First Responder”? If so, are you sensitive to your surroundings as you respond to those who are “staggering” to death? How urgently are you looking for ways to “help”?  

Or maybe you do not consider yourself a first responder…. Any thoughts?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

— Jude 22, 23 (NIV84)

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ

 Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV84)

 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

 Acts 1:8 (NIV84)

 Lord Jesus Christ, as You reduce me to Love, instill in me Your passion for the lost. Keep excuses and rationalizations far from me. For Your Name’s Sake, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“It Is Well Named”

Date: 8-22-14

Text: Proverbs 22:10 10 Throw out the mocker and strife departs, too; furthermore, quarrels and discord will end. [ISV]

The Big Idea: Offering counterpoints and different perspectives in a loving constructive way is truly wise.

My Thoughts: 

Disagreeing is not a ‘bad’ thing. But disagreeing disagreeably is. Those who love contention and intentionally play the “devil’s advocate” are no friend to Peace. And what is more fascinating: Once these contentious mockers are removed from the situation, it is strange how calm returns and discord ends…. Strife leaves with them.  

Lifestyle worshipers, know that the “devil’s advocate” is well named. While offering counterpoints and different perspectives in a loving constructive way is truly wise, when one intentionally offers counterpoints and different perspectives merely to be difficult, or worse, contentious, this is more than unwise: it is ungodly … 

How do we deal with them? To me, this is a good question because somehow they feel they are offering a ‘good’ thing, not realizing their heart is truly in the wrong place….Any suggestions?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

  But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

— John 12:4-6 (NIV84)

   The proud and arrogant man—“Mocker” is his name; he behaves with overweening pride

 Proverbs 21:4 (NIV84)

 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction

 Proverbs 17:19 (NIV)

 

 Lord Jesus Christ, reduce me to Love as You instill in me Your Presence of Wisdom. Keep pride and arrogance far from me. As I offer differing perspectives, may I maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace. For Your Name’s Sake, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“This May Be A Reason”

Date: 8-21-14

Text: Proverbs 21:9, 19 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. … Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. [NIV]
The Big Idea: You get to extend the same grace the Lord Jesus extends to His Wife.

My Thoughts:
As we read through the Book of Proverbs for the third time this summer, I feel the need to talk about this topic, especially since it is mentioned twice in this chapter. Indeed, though it may not be the reason, it may well be a reason the husband is more in the garage, at the bar, in the bowling alley, or at the….
Lifestyle worshiper husbands, you may be blessed to have a wonderful wife who does not nag or quarrel with you, who truly respects you; or you may be blessed to have one that does nag, etc.…
A blessing? Yes, you get to extend the same grace the Lord Jesus extends to His Wife, the church. And I am most grateful He only spent 40 days in the desert, and this was just once, and He was led by the Spirit for a greater good. No, instead, He patiently, graciously hangs around His Bride until she learns to quit quarreling with Him and nagging Him….
So beyond man caves and garages, how’s it going, men? Ladies? Any thoughts?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. — Revelations 3:20 (ESV)

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.. — 1 Peter 3:1-2 (ESV)

In a similar way, you husbands must live with your wives in an understanding manner, as with a most delicate partner. Honor them as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing may interfere with your prayers.. — 1 Peter 3:7 (ISV)

Lord Jesus Christ, be the husband/wife in my Life my wife/husband needs right now. May I hear Your voice and obey Your promptings as You empower me by Your Holy Spirit. For Your Name’s Sake, Amen.
Pastor Mike

“A Deep Water Draw”

Date: 8-20-14

Text: Proverbs 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, But a man of understanding will draw it out. [NKJV]

The Big Idea: It takes a deep water draw to get the advice we desperately need from others.

My Thoughts: 

Over the years I have had some friends who would not offer advice unless I asked them for it. At first, it was rather frustrating: “Why didn’t you tell me,” I would bark; they’d gently respond, “Because you didn’t ask….” I have since learned that I do need to ask for their sound, godly advice….

And, you, Lifestyle worshipers, probably know far better than I that it sometimes takes a deep water draw to get the advice we desperately need from others. A focused time, a listening ear and an open heart seem to be the draw strings on the bucket we lower into the deep reservoir of their experience and wisdom.

How hard is it for you to ask for this quality of advice? Are you yourself prepared to be plumbed, too? Any thoughts?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

— Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT)

   Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

 Philippians 3:17 (NIV84)

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

— Hebrews 13:7 (NIV84)

 Lord Jesus Christ, as I seek out those You’ve surrounded me with wisdom and insight, be my Slippers of Patience so that I may comfortably wait for the refreshing reward that fills the bucket to the brim. In Your Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike

“A Wasted Effort”

Comments on Proverbs 19:19  A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again. [NIV84]

The Big Idea: The ‘hotter’ their temper becomes and so, too, the consequences intensify.

My Thoughts:  Perhaps you’ve even attempted to rescue a hot-tempered person from the consequences of their actions; maybe you’ve even excused their behavior—as I had for years, “I’m just a hot-headed ______!” Fill in the blank. But Lifestyle worshipers, we know that this Scripture does not speak in vain: when we rescue the hot-tempered, it is a wasted effort because we will have to do it again. Why? Because we ‘spared’ them from the consequences of their actions! And the more frequently we do so, the ‘hotter’ their temper becomes and so, too, the consequences intensify. … A painful but essential truth…. Do you see this starting in childhood? I have. What can parents do to train their ‘hot-tempered’ child? Any thoughts?

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared. — Proverbs 22:24-25 (NIV84)  

Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. — Proverbs 29:17 (NIV84)

Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives. — Proverbs 19:18 (NLT)  

Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me for rescuing those who ought not be rescued. Grant me the wisdom and compassion to discern the difference. Be my Courage to discipline my child. In Your Name, Amen.