Pastor Corner
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February 17, 2015, 7:15 PM

Are we offering up our best...

"If your offering is a goat, you are to present it before the Lord, lay your hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting." - Leviticus 3:12-13 (NIV)

This may seem like a strange scripture to lead with today.  Well, it is.  I would like each of you to read Leviticus 1-3 to get the full story.  I just didn't want to take up space here.  I figure offering up a "goat" would get your attention.  Goats were not the best example of an offering.  In fact, the author goes through several other offerings (types and animals before naming this particular offering).  However, there is a consistency to the offerings through these chapters.  If you read these chapters, you will see that the offerings, whether burnt, grain or fellowship offering OR herd, flock or grain, it is to the be the best.  It is to be without blemish or without yeast.  They were to give God the best of what they had. 

God knew then and knows now that not everyone has the same resources.  However, this does not take away the responsibility to give God our very best.  We are to give God our best in all that we do.  We are to give God our best in how we work.  We are to give God our best in how we treat each other.  We are to give God our best in how we worship.  We are to give God our best in how we serve.  And, yes, we are to give God our best in what we give.  Notice, though, in all of what I have just said, it is that we are to give our best.  Leviticus 1-3 has said the same thing...knowing that everyone has different resources, we still give God our best!

Are we offering up our best to God?

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

February 10, 2015, 11:00 AM

A time of refreshment...

"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” - Jeremiah 31:25 

In Jeremiah's life, he had many ups and downs; not unusual for a prophet of God is it?  Wait, that's not unusual for anyone.  We all have our ups and downs.  Just like Jeremiah, we have times when we are overwhelmed with life.  However, there are times when we are overwhelmed with the greatness of God as well...if we are honest.

This passage comes at a time when Jeremiah is about to give Judah reassurance that God is going to follow through on His promise.  Jeremiah is informed of God's plans and then he awakes from his dream refreshed and ready to deliver the news.  Jeremiah still has work to do, trials in front of him, but God has refreshed him to be able to go forth and complete the tasks.

God still does that for us.  Sometimes, we need to take as step away in an organized manner like some of our ladies did last weekend. They joined ladies from Northlake Baptist Church and simply took time to fellowship with each other and with God.  One of the things I was told by my mother, who went with them, was that she was "refreshed and ready to go."  

While it is nice to go on an organized retreat, not all of us can or want to do this.  I would say two things to this.  First, try it any way.  Second, go on a mini-retreat.  Retreat and refresh with God weekly....daily, if need be.  Reset yourself so that you do lose where you are headed.  Make sure that your direction is true and that you will have the energy to complete the task that God has planned for you.  We all need a time of refreshment!

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

January 29, 2015, 11:29 AM

The Rod of Comfort...

 "...I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

This may be one is the most familiar verses in the Bible, as least part of it anyway.  As I was reading this verse, and once again understanding the situation the author might have been in, it amazes me that he has such determination to not fear what evil lies in front of him.  But there is more than just that in this portion of Psalm 23:4.  It's the fact that the psalmist sees the rod and staff as positive things.  The staff, I completely get.  The staff was used to guide and help the sheep out of danger.  The connotation of this word does not really create much angst in my heart.  However, the word "rod" has a different idea.  In this is the idea of discipline, harshness even.  The connotation is much different.  Both words define tools that are needed by the shepherd.  Both are required in order to ensure the safety of the sheep, but both do not carry the same "feeling" of comfort.  Yet, somehow, the psalmist DOES feel as if they both comfort him.

Are you at a place where you consider the "rod" of God as a comforting tool of His love?  Do you understand that God intervenes in our lives with discipline for our own sake?  Therefore, if we look at the greater picture, it truly should "comfort" us that our God cares enought for us that He will not let us simply do our own thing and go our own way.  God does truly comfort with His staff AND His rod.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

January 19, 2015, 11:00 AM

Witness with our words...

"For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard." - Acts 22:15 (NASB)

Even as Saul had his conversion experience, he was given notice that he would have the responsibility to be a witness to those around him.  He had the responsibility to tell those he came in contact with about his experience, specifically his salvation experience.  This was definitely something different for him.  Don't you know that he had to learn a new way of life, a new way of thinking, an entirely new language really.  See, the language he had been speaking was not only against Christ, but very "religious" if you know what I mean.  He had the book knowledge of what was expected, but know he had truly met the Messiah and KNEW who Christ was...and he was expected to get that across to others.  His old language did not prepare him for those types of discussions.

I was handed an article written by Lynn Waalkes, "When Words Get In The Way" that spoke to this idea.  She described some things that caused me to think we ought to be careful of as we reach out to those that are not yet believers or those that are new believers. She recommends: creating a cliche lexicon to be avoided (no "Christianese"), learning the lingo of those you are reaching, studying the trends, showing respect, and relying on Scripture (not just quoting Scipture, but "weave scripture into the discussion naturally...).  Just imagine Saul (Paul) as a new believer trying to learn a new way of life, a new way of thinking, and a new language.  Great reminder of what we are to do as we try to make sure that our "words don't get in the way."

In Christ,

Bro. Grant


January 12, 2015, 9:00 AM

An answer to prayer...

"So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty." - Ezra 8:23 (NASB)

Ezra was faced with a challenged of convincing people to move from a safe place to a new place.  Only a handful of folks (maybe 40) were willing to follow him in his caravan.  It took courage to travel the distance across the unsafe terrain, working against the elements, to reach their destination.  However, Ezra knew that God desired that His people were to move on.  To make matters a little more uneasy, the Scripture tells us that Ezra did not ask for help from the King for safe passage (v.22), depending on God during this journey.  Therefore, Ezra and his team of faithful followers fasted and prayed concerning this specific matter...and God listened.  Then they took their journey from Ahava to Jerusalem.

So many times we want to get ahead of God and do things our way.  We want to be confortable in doing those things as well.  However, that is simply not how God works sometimes.  He wants us to make sure that we are focused on Him (we have fasted), we have listened to His will (we have prayed), and then we act (we begin the journey).  This may make us uncomfortable, but we often times see a clear answer to pray we we follow this example of Ezra.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

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