Pastor Corner
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October 6, 2015, 10:51 AM

Be sure of what you give...

"But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay."  Psa. 40:17

What a beautiful psalm of humility!  The entire psalm is spoken from the point of view of one that is broken and desires to have God bring them up from the depths of life's challenges.  At the beginning of this psalm, David sees the Lord as the one that has brought him on to a firm place to stand even when everything around him was crumbling.  Because of that, he is able to trust the Lord and give Him everything he (David) had, even sacrifice, but God wanted David himself.  God wanted David more than the sacrifices, more than the offerings.  At the end of the psalm David proclaims that God is his deliverer...God is what he needs.

I will admit that I have a difficult time with psalms just like many other people.  However, this one struck me at the heart as we have been talking about relationships on Sunday mornings the last couple of weeks.  God desires us more than offerings and sacrifices.  Do we need to give, yes.  Without it, we are unable to do ministry.  However, we must first give ourselves to God fully...understand that He wants us more than anything.  If we truly understand that, then the "giving" becomes second nature and less of an effort or burden.  Give...YES!  However, make sure that you FIRST give YOURSELF!!!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

 




September 23, 2015, 10:56 AM

Oh to be Epaphras...

"He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured." Colossians 4:12 (NIV 2011)

Paul was writing to the church of Colosse while in prison, encouraging the church as usual.  While writing, Paul mentions a few names in these verses, names of men that have been working alongside him in the name of Jesus.  One of the names he mentions is Epaphras. The importance of this man cannot be measured.  Paul states that he is a slave to Christ that has been "wrestling" in prayer for Paul's audience.  Therefore, Epaphras has taken prayer seriously, taking his requests to the Lord on their behalf.  Specifically, Epaphras has requested that Paul's audience remain firm in the will of God, becoming complete and completely assured in God.  Epaphras had been diligent to lift up the church of Colosse so that they would not waver in times of trial.

This morning, I had the opportunity to pray with students that took a stand for Christ at "See you at the Pole."  These students need our prayers to "stand firm in all the will of God."  It is easy when they are able to hold the hands of each other at the pole and see each other, holding each other accountable, feeling safe that all believe the same; especially when there is supervision to ensure all goes well.  Let us pray that they remain bold and "fully assured" by God that they are capable of standing firm at all times.  Encourage them to make good choices...all the time.  Most of all, let US wrestle in prayer for them to be able to do these things.  Let us be Epaphras!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

 




September 9, 2015, 8:44 AM

Call to battle...

 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." - Matthew 6:5-8 (NIV 2011)

Just before Jesus gave His disciples the Lord's prayer, He gave them, and us, powerful instructions as to how to pray.  Some have taken these instructions so far as to make sure they are never to pray in public.  I find it difficult to use this scripture to defend that stance, but if someone wants to go down that path I guess we could have that conversation...another day.  What I want to concentrate on at this point is the attitude with which a person is to approach the throne.

These words, by Christ Himself, make it clear that we are to be intimate with God.  Tell God what is on our hearts and hold nothing back.  When the scripture tells us to "go into your room, close the door," think about not only going into a physical room, but also going into the spiritual room of your heart; digging into places that you have long forgotten about because you have hidden them from others and even yourself.  Open these areas to God and let Him work on you; let Him battle for you.

I use the word "battle" because it's not easy.  It's hard to bring up things that aren't pleasant, that don't portray us "good" or "positive."  However, these are the very things that we need help with and must address.  This "intimacy" is intense and is meant to be that way.  It is meant to be something that we cannot handle on our own...it is a battle.  

I believe this idea is portrayed well in the movie "War Room."  If you haven't seen it, I would recommend it.  I believe it carries the message of what Jesus was instructing His disciples to do...pray to the Father, ask for help, be serious about it! Maybe it will call more to battle, maybe it will call more to His kingdom!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant




September 2, 2015, 9:56 AM

Back the Blue...

“'See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work.  And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail,  and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.  This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,  and this is their vindication from me,' declares the LORD. " - Isaiah 54:16–17 (NIV 2011)

God does amazing things, there is no doubt about this fact.  As I have said many times before, the trouble is that we sometimes forget to stop and see those amazing things.  Something that goes along with this idea is that we forget to take the time see the amazing people through whom God does these amazing things.  God could easily do whatever He wants, whenever He chooses, but for some reason He chooses to use people to do His work.  What a privilege to participate in God's plan...to be used of God!  Now before some of you think I'm getting high on myself, I'm not talking about me at all.  I talking about every single servant of God.  What a privilege it is for us to serve in God's will.

If you know that you are a child of God, and you know that it is a privilege to serve in God's will, then know that God has created all things for His will to be completed.  Why is this important?  In times like these, it is imperative so that we have confidence that He knows what He is doing.  We must KNOW that God has complete control so that we can pray for the protection of His people and the lives of those that have not yet had a chance to know His Son.  We must pray for those that protect us, not because God can't do it, but because God works through people.  He has done it through history and he continues to do it today.

In the days to come, I'm sure you will hear more about "Back the Blue."    I'm going to ask you to do something simple but incredibly powerful. First, place BLUE lights in your porch lights so that patrol officers can see your support for them as they do their best to protect each of us.  Secondly, pray for their protection from "weapon" and "tongue" as they do their job.  Pray that they would have strength to share God's love even when situations are difficult.  Pray that they, themselves would know Christ if they don't yet know Him as Savior.

Let them know that we appreciate their service as we BACK THE BLUE.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant




August 26, 2015, 6:16 PM

Transformation from within...

In his article, THE DUGGERS AND EVIL, Trevin Wax wrote, "We start thinking our kids are basically good and in need of moral direction, rather than recognizing that our kids are basically bad and in need of heart transformation." Read these words very closely for just a moment and then think about them before you get too upset. Wax is speaking the truth of the Gospel, but sometimes we, especially as parents, don't want to hear it.

Wax was making a point of how parents sometimes act as if their children are good and the things of the world are bad. In comparison, that "might" be right "some" of the time. But, guess what, we are not to be comparing ourselves to anything or anyone except Christ. In that respect, we AND our children are evil. If they are evil, then they are in need of transformation, as are we.
Why bring this up? Why would this point stick out? Let me remind each of us that we must be continuously on the offensive against the evil one. We know this. However, we tend to become relaxed at home. Transformation must also take place in our own homes. Transformation must also take place in our own church. We need to remember that the need for transformation exists outside AND inside the church.Looking at this with the need for transformation,  brings us to a much more aggressive approach toward our children and each other. Christians have got to stop thinking that there is some invisible barrier that separates them, making them better. It is Christ who transforms our lives, Christ that makes the difference.
Let Christ transform you today!
In Christ,

Bro. Grant

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