Go Serve

Today, I was reminded of a friend throughout elementary through high school. He would talk big about going out for the football team and the baseball team, but every time the week of tryouts came, he would have something on his body wrapped with an ace bandage. He would use the excuse that he ‘pulled’ a muscle at home. So of course, he never tried out for any sports, but he would complain and explain how he would have done it if he played that position. What made me remember this friend was what I heard on a Christian radio station. A lady called in and talked with the host about random stuff. Towards the end of the conversation, she said with guilt, that she had not been going to church for a long time because she could not find one she liked. The radio host said that the largest denomination out there right now is ‘church looking’. They kinda laughed about it. That just amazed me, how Christians use that as an excuse to not get involved in service for God. They are no different than my friend in school who used a lame excuse to not be involved in school sports.

Okay, I know that I have ruffled some feathers out there. Yes, I know that going to church does not save you. Churches are full of people who think that showing up is what gets them into heaven. You are only saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8-9). Immediately, once you have asked Christ to be your savior, you are baptized into the body of Christ. You are now part of “The Church” (1 Cor 12:13). I am not going to say that you have to attend a local church to be right with God. Although, I know many many ‘Christians’ who do not attend a church, but honestly out of that group, none of them are a strong influence for the Kingdom of God. When many logs burn together, they burn brighter. Pull one of those logs out, it will slowly die out. That is what I have seen with them. They might have a mediocre relationship with Christ at first, but it does not grow and eventually it dies out. If they are married, their kids follow that same theme and usually want nothing to do with Christ. I have found that these two groups are the hardest to talk to. They have all the right answers, but there is no fruit in their life to prove that they know God.

Most people are looking for the perfect church. If any of us ever found one, we should not attend it, because we would mess it up. After I was saved, my family and I started looking for a church. We got involved in one church as occasionally we would look into others. The first Sunday that we attended the church we are at now, the pastor gave his notice which began a series of events that caused a huge split in the church. We did not pick sides, but we seen needs and started filling them (others did too). The first need that we filled was to start a children’s church. The church was totally messed up for many years, but faithful men and women got involved and started taking the church in a positive forward direction. It has taken a while, but now it has been eleven years and now the church is strong and growing. Is my church perfect or anywhere near what I would want in a church? Absolutely not! Not kidding, I have a list a mile long that I would love to change about it. Our church faithfully preaches the Word. We send out workers and missionaries. We have solid lyrics with our music (these three may not always be done how I like, but they are done and done faithfully).

All churches are not up to par because there are many needs in each church. There are many talented musicians, teachers, givers, administrators, … that are leaving holes in churches to be filled by others lesser talented people who are multitasking just to make it work. I remember recently in college, my original degree said that I had to take Music Ministry in the Church. I took it and I had to learn to conduct music and lead music for congregations. That is not my gift (and everyone who has heard me sing is saying ‘amen’). I made a joke that if I was called to a Church that is expecting me to preach and do the music: The church is dead. There would be no reason for me to go there. Sadly, there are many dead churches, because ‘Christians’ are not serving in the needed roles. Local churches are there to help equip the believer, and so we can encourage and pray for each other to be a bright light in this dark world.

Christians, quit warming the bench. It is time to get in the game and play. You have a God given talent that you can do better than anyone else out there. You need to find what that is and start serving in a local body. Get plugged in a church so it will be more equipped to reach your city for Christ.

Mark 10:43-45 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

James 2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Give thanks

I don’t know if there are others out there like me, but every now and then I struggle with going to church. Now it’s not the church’s fault, but sometimes as life pulls on you, you just don’t feel like worshipping, praying, or even serving. Today was one of those days. I felt like a mindless zombie going through the motions (you know: smiling, shaking hands, high fiving the kids,..), but when it came to the worship time, I just couldn’t sing. I felt that I had no song in me. Sunday school worship….nothing. Church worship…nothing. Three quarters through the evening service…nothing, …..until we came to the second to last song: Give Thanks.

Maybe you are confused about God’s will for your life and sometimes you don’t know how or what to pray for in your life. The one thing you can do is give thanks.
NAU 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Give thanks for who God is, for what he has done, for Christ saving you, or for what you currently have.
Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
Psalm 107:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 109:30 With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD; And in the midst of many I will praise Him.
Psalm 139:14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
Ephesians 5:20 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God…

I’ve been thinking????

Work has been real slow, so I have had a lot of extra time on my hands. Some people are probably thinking, “I wish I had extra time right now.” There is always something to do (I have no trouble keeping busy), but when work is slow it gets me thinking. This can be dangerous. I start questioning or wondering if I should be doing something different. Should I continue on doing the same type of work, same ministries, ….same town…. the list goes on and on.

Tonight I was thinking about the different men of faith, who made a mark for Jesus in this world. The list of these men could go on and on, but the one who I was really thinking about was George Muller. If you haven’t read about him, I highly encourage you to look him up. This man was a man of prayer. He had strong faith that God would provide for him. He started a bible institute and many orphanages without ever soliciting for money. He would pray and God would answer. My favorite story of his is when there was no food in the orphanage. He had the kids sit down at the table to pray (remember no food), and as he finished praying, there was a knock at the door. It was the baker. God told the baker at 2am to bake some bread for the children. Right after that there was another knock at the door. The milkman’s cart broke down in front of the orphanage. The milkman wanted to give the kids the milk, so he could work on his cart. Again, God had provided for him.

The verse of Scripture that motivated George Muller to start the orphanages was Psalms 81:10 “…Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” In context, the passage is talking about Israel. Israel is worshiping other gods, so God reminds them that He is the one who brought them out of Egypt. God says if you open you mouth wide, I will fill it. The picture that I get here is of a baby eating baby food. The only thing that the baby is thinking is “give me more food”. So his mouth is wide open awaiting whatever his father has for him. Since his mouth was open wide, his father was able to fill his mouth with good things. Sadly though, Israel did not open their mouths for their heavenly father to fill it with good things.

What if we “opened our mouths wide for God to fill it”?
What if we prayed with confidence?
What if we had faith that could move mountains?
What if we were really willing to be used by God?

Think of what we could do.