Pastor Corner
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May 12, 2016, 9:33 AM

God will be pleased...

" Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." - Heb. 13:15-16 (NIV 2011)

No doubt that we are to praise God through the name of Jesus.  In fact, this praise to be continuous and open.  In other words, there should be no shame or secrecy in who we follow.  We should offer up the sacrifice of praise with joy.  At the same time, however, we are to not forget something else that is very important...others.

Scripture is very clear that Christ is to be the center of our praise.  However, we have the ability to do for others while we are praising our Lord.  In fact, Hebrews 13:16 states that we should not "forget" or "neglect" to do good and to share with others.  In others words, we should be doing this anyway.  It ought to be something that we do in our daily lives.  Just because you are praising God, we can't forget to take care of those around us.  God is pleased with this type of sacrifice, as well as the profession of Christ.

We have a practical opportunity "to do good and to share with others" right now as many has suffered loss through a literal storm.  Imagine how much God can be praised through sacrifices during this time as we profess the name of Christ, do good for others, and share with others what we have.  In all this, God will be praised!  I encourage each of you to look for opportunities "to do good and to share" during this time...God will be pleased.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

May 2, 2016, 8:54 AM

Heaven forbid there's no grace...

"So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." - Romans 11:5-6 (NIV 2011)

Grace...a word that may be slowly disappearing from our culture.  The pendulum has been swinging back and forth for years, and I'm fearful that it has been at a price.  The "price" is that grace is sorely misunderstood and misused.  Society loves to swing the pedulum toward overuse of grace when it involves the idea that we must include all people in all activities at all times.  However, the pendulum has clearly swung the other way at times when society's beliefs have conflicted in the name of "tolerance."  Why do we struggle so much with this idea?

Paul attempted to explain this concept to the believers in Rome by pulling in the illustration of Elijah.  He reminded the believers that Elijah believed he was all alone.  However, God had provided a remnant, chosen by grace (because God chose to do so).  Paul likewise demonstrated that God had chosen to do the same during the New Testament time.  There was a remnant of God's chosen people because of grace...not based on works.  It was not because of what they had done (or NOT done).  Paul's next words are critical..."if it were, grace would no longer be grace."  It God had kept this remnant around because of what they had done, it would not have demonstrated grace.  In fact, grace would not have been required.  But, in fact, grace WAS required. It was grace that was important.

Imagine how Elijah felt when he found out that there were more of God's people than just him...encouraged.  Imagine how believers of Paul's time felt; Both the Jew and Gentile (if they understood grace)...encouraged.  Imagine how we can feel when we understand that there are others just like us...encouraged.  Isn't that better that thinking things have to be done in a certain way (works) or at a certain time (works).  I'm not giving a license for a "free-for-all."  However, we do need to look at the important of works versus grace. Heaven forbid there's no grace!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant  

April 11, 2016, 11:38 AM

Are we "PC" or "BC"...

"Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!" - Acts 5:29 (NIV 2011)

Peter and the other apostles had been given strict instructions to not teach in the name of Jesus.  However, according to Scripture, that is exactly what they were doing.  Evidently, they were bold about it, to the point that they were brought before the Sandhedrin and accused of breaking the law.  Accused by the religious leaders to the point that death was called for at that time.  Can you imagine the tension that existed?  This was not a simple matter of misunderstanding, but a matter of spiritual battle.

When Jesus' followers were brought before the Sanhedrin, I'm sure there must have been much speculation as to what there were going to say; especially with such a grave punishment on the line. I wonder if anyone would have expected the above response... "we must obey God rather than human beings."  Notice that it was not just Peter, but Peter and the other apostles.  They were together in this.  They would rather stand together in Christ, than to fall prey to the pressure of society and the Sanhedrin.

Today, we continue to have the same pressure, we just give it different names and titles.  Frankly, I'm sickened by the manner in which many have caved to the "Sanhedrin" and "pressures" of our time.  Many have chosen to be Politically Correct (PC) instead of Biblically Correct (BC).  Let me make myself extremely clear.  This is not about politics, it is about standing on what the bible teaches and not bending , not wavering, not making it sound different so that it meets the needs of a particular audience.  No, it's the simple fact that Christians are to put aside their personal issues, desires, and pride so that they can find what is left...the truth of God's word.  If we spend our time being "BC" then we don't have to dance around because we have a standard on which to stand...the standard is Christ.

This being said, this gives us no right to trample on those with which we disagree; on the contrary.  What this means is that we must fully incorporate the love of Christ into our lives.  We must learn to love ALL of God's creations, treating each other with respect and dignity, teaching truth in love in ALL situations.

Make a decision to be BC and throw out the idea of PC.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

March 30, 2016, 6:25 PM

What we have...

"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'” - Acts 3:6 (NIV)

Have you ever stopped to think what was going through Peter's mind when he was stopped by the lame beggar?  Or better yet, have you stopped to think what you might have done in the same situation?  Maybe you have had the opportunity to respond and you didn't respond in a manner that honored God.  Whatever the case, think with me for just a moment about Peter and the interaction he had with this beggar.  Peter did a couple of things that demonstrate how we as Christians can do a better job of using the gifts God has given each of us.

First, Peter communicated clearly to the beggar, not ignoring him. He could have easily walked on by when the beggar asked for money, but he didn't.  He took the time to the beggar what he did not have, and then told him what he DID have. The beggar could have just as easily turned down the gift at this point, it would have been his prerogative. Peter had communicated the choice.

Second, Peter treated the gift that he had as a special gift.  He did not say "the gift I have isn't much, but you can have it."  No, Peter said, "ALL that I have I give to you."  He was indicating that he had a special gift and he was about to share it.  Too many times, we feel that the gifts that God has given each of us are not special, they are small in comparison to someone else's gift.  This is simply not the case.  If you have been given a gift, whether financial, talent, relational, or something else, it is not a small thing.  We ought to be offering it up as "ALL that I have I give to you."  Why, because we have been given that ability to use in the name of Jesus to help others...that's what makes it a gift.

Let's be clear, we may not have much, but what we have we give in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

In Christ, 

Bro. Grant

March 15, 2016, 10:47 PM

Sunday and Wednesday Only...

"And the LORD said to Moses, 'Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.'" - Exodus 19:10-11

Sometimes I joke with folks about just working on Sundays and Wednesdays, you know, the same days all pastors work.  The problem is...some believe this is actually not a joke.  Now, before I get messages or comments, let me explain.  What I am about to say is not to get any sympathy, empathy, comments, or disagreement...just ponder on these words.  

There are many that believe that "worshipping" God is a Sunday and Wednesday only thing, whether we are talking about pastors, church leadership, members, or those that have yet to follow Christ. It's a matter of simply showing up and being a part of whatever is going on that particular day.  Imagine for just a moment if I, as your pastor, did that.  Do you think I would be prepared to teach, to preach, to worship, to visit, or to do anything besides simply be there?  The answer is...NO!  

Moses was instructed to prepare the people for two days because the Lord was going to visit them on the third day.  They were not to simply "show up and participate" in the events of the day.  They were instructed to consecrate or prepare themselves.  I'm sure, even in Biblical time, that there were some that took this command seriously and some that did not.  Those that did were blessed with a pure heart of worship and praise for the Lord was upon them.  Those that did not got "another day" of the same old thing.

I wonder what it would be like to live a "Sunday and Wednesday only" Christian life.  On second thought, no I don't.  It's not what God has called us to live and we should not wonder about at all.  We should prepare ourselves today for the next time we meet Him.  Prepare today for Wednesday, Wednesday for Thursday, Thursday for Friday...

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

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