Monday, May 30, 2016

The Greatest Story Never Told

 Monday’s roll around quick these days now that I’m trying to write a blog each week.  Today being memorial day I find myself thinking a lot about loved ones that have passed.  Few of which were in the armed forces.
     You see, growing up I had no idea what Memorial day was.  All I know was that we usually only went to church for Sunday school then we cut out and visit the cemeteries where passed loved ones were.
     I had no idea it was about those that lost their life defending our freedom. I was only aware of the terrible car ride and hours of somberness that the day entailed.

     Even now that upbringing colors the day for me towards the loss of loved ones.  When I think about those lost I inevitably think about their eternal soul and whether they were ready or not.

     Today is a great day of mourning for our country but lets not forget there are people close to you.   Loved ones that are still breathing but dead in sin.  People that need to know about Jesus but for some reason we don’t tell them. We just hope that someone else will. We dread the possible awkward conversation more than the idea that without Him they will be lost beyond retrieval.  Or worse we just don’t care enough about them. 
God has given us something that changed our lives and we share it only with a few. Usually with people we go to church with. People we know have had similar experiences. We keep it to ourselves and pass it around the sanctuary from believer to believer.  We leave it at the door on our way out on Sunday mornings.

I want you to imagine there is an empty chair and you could fill it with people from your past. People that are gone now. Ones that didn't know Jesus like you do. Who would you put in that chair? 

      Famous magician and atheist Penn Jillette had a blog post a few years ago that I watch from time to time. It really drives home to me the importance of not just believing in Jesus but spreading that to others.  I hope you watch it. I hope it sticks with you as it does me and that tomorrow you will go out of your way to put someone in that chair.


Thanks for reading

Alan 







Monday, May 23, 2016

Drowning

It was a great day for the disciples by all accounts. Jesus talked for hours to the people. He talked in parables He told stories, He taught. The Son of God, the Messiah was on a roll and they were in the front row.
Afterwords He climbed onto the boat with the disciples and that set out across the water. 
Jesus, after talking all that time was no doubt ready to sleep.
Time passed, we don't know how long but soon enough the door burst open and panicked disciples flooded the cabin.
"We're gonna die!" "Don't you care if we all drown?" They were freaking out.
To remind you, at least 4 of these men were fishermen by profession prior to meeting Jesus. If they thought the boat was going down then it must have been pretty terrifying. They were experts in the sea.
Jesus now wide awake, got up and simply said "Quiet! Be still!"
The Bible says that the wind and the waves stopped. I like to imagine the sea that was seconds ago a nightmare for seasoned fishermen was as smooth as glass.
"Quiet!" he said "Be still!" Instantly things calmed down. Including the disciples. They went from so freaked out that they woke Jesus up, to quiet enough for Him to address them.
Howling winds, creaking wood and crashing waves all reduced to silence. They could now hear His voice.
Sometimes life is rough and even the most sea worthy of us will get scared. Convinced that all is lost.
If we would just think about this story. Realize that we are not the expert no matter how much we think we know about a situation. We may have spent years on the sea but we didn't create it.
If this is you right now, I want you to seek Jesus in the center of your boat.  Go to Him and prepare to hear Him speak. "Quiet! Be Still!" You'll find the seas calmed and it's in the calm of Him you can actually hear what He has to say.

Thanks for reading

Alan

Monday, May 16, 2016

Writers Block

Sometimes we do and do and do and we still don’t feel like we got the reward we were looking for.  Sometimes the outcome of things we pray about are not what we prayed for.

I don’t really know what to say about that except this.

 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.  No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
HEBREWS 12:10-11

When we lose when things don’t turn out we have to remember the story isn’t over. There are chapters still left to be written. Just like the Characters in your favorite book do not know how the author is weaving their stories together to eventually glorify himself as a best selling author we don’t know where our plot will lead. With every twist and turn we are driven forward in our story. Both good and bad intertwined stretching forward with prose that would make the psalmist himself look like a readers digest poet.

All failures in this world are temporary. God doesn't get writers block, the story is being written. When the final page is written and the last period placed there is heaven and the presence of the author to look forward to.  

For me, that is more than enough.

Thanks for reading


Alan

Monday, May 9, 2016

the Next Generation

A couple years ago we went thru a 16 week series at LifePoint covering our DNA. All the things that make us LifePoint. 
Recently I was asked to teach class 101 all about who we are and what we believe. During which we go over the DNA.

There is one strand of DNA though that is on my mind tonight and if you identify as a Christian. If you profess to want to be all that you can be for Jesus. If you want to do his will. If you have a church you call home then I want you to think about this with me.

We will be a church that values the Next Generation.
The youth of our community are not the church of tomorrow, they are the church of today. We will go to great lengths to raise a generation that changes the nations.

There you have it. We will Value the Next Generation, It’s my prayer for this community.

As the weather gets warmer and summer begins to break you are going to have opportunities to do things on Sunday that don’t involve Jesus or being in Gods house. 

I want to challenge you this summer. The summer of 2016 to seek first His kingdom and then your own.  I know there will be family vacations that may take you out of town or sickness and you may legitimately need to miss. 
It’s the Sunday mornings when the call of the Lake is louder than the call of God. When Silver Dollar City or Six Flags can’t wait until after church.

Growing up, Sunday was the Lord’s day. The day we felt closest to God. 
With some of the trends and things I read about church attendance if that is still true and its still the day we feel closest to Him and so many of us avoid Him on that day. I hate to think how we treat Him the other 6.
If we truly value the next generation. If we expect them to be the church of the future we need to model in our priorities what we want to stick in theirs.

One way or the other we are raising a generation that will change the nations. Will it be for God or for ourselves?

Thanks for reading

Alan




Monday, May 2, 2016

Saved to Serve - Pastor Matt Johnson

This past Tuesday in our Jesus According to the Scriptures class we were studying Matthew, and I was struck by something. I've heard it before and read the scripture too, but it never hit me quite like it did at night. In Matthew 10, Jesus is sending out his disciples. He instructs them to go the the “lost sheep of Israel” and tell them “’The kingdom of heaven has come near.’” Them he tell them to heel the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons. And them he says it in verse 8: “Freely you have received; freely give.” 
Well, I got to thinking about that thing and how it applies to us modern-day disciples. Perhaps the most famous scripture ever is found in John 3:16. You know it, “ For God so loved the world that he gave his on and only son…” He gave Jesus to us, and Jesus followed suit and gave his life for us, thereby giving us our salvation. We received the greatest gift ever given for nothing. We didn't do anything to earn it or deserve it. God just said, “I love you, and I don't want you to stay where you are, and I know you can't change yourselves, so here is my son. He will provide the way for you, the path to follow, the example to emulate. Have my son because I love you.” That is difficult for me to grasp, it difficult for anyone to grasp. Nevertheless, I received that gift freely. 
Each of us that claims to follow Christ has received that gift freely. And, unfortunately, that is where it ends for a lot of us. Our selfish human nature kicks in, or our fear of ridicule, and we don't want to share this gift. What Jesus is telling us here is in order for everyone to have the chance to receive this gift, they have to have the chance, and we are to provide the chance. We are to give freely that which we have received from Christ. In our lives, this translates into acts of service. I can't raise the dead, but I can buy someone in need a hot meal. I can't cure diseases, but I can pour life into my wife and daughter. I can't exercise demons, but I can say a nice word to a stranger. 
Give the gift freely. For Christmas and birthdays, we do not force gifts upon people, but we give them gifts freely. The same applies here. Look for ways to ways to shine your gift of light into someone’s life. It could be your spouse, or family member, or stranger in the grocery store. It doesn't matter who it is. Just serve someone, because the love you share will not only change them, it will change you too. 
It is true that this is not easy. We have become accustomed to a relatively comfortable lifestyle of tv, Internet, smartphones, and eating out. Sharing our gift is not in our comfort zone, and it isn't meant to be. The place we grow closer to God is outside of our comfort zone, and that is where Jesus is sending us. He even says later in Chapter 10, “I am sending you to like sheep among the wolves.” We live in a world that seems to have heard it all before, and wants nothing to do with Jesus or God. They often ignore us or get mad at us or make fun of us, and we are to actively seek them out and share our gift with them. That is a scary thought, but it is an exciting thought too. We, by simply sharing the gift we have freely received, can change the world! Wow! Jesus called us the “light of the world”. So, let your light shine into the lives of other so that they will see Jesus in you and you will glorify God.
So my challenge to you is to find one more opportunity to serve each day for a week, and see if you are not closer to God and participating in life change at the end of it. 
We should not lord our gift of salvation over others; we should share our gift of salvation by serving other. 

Pastor Matt Johnson