Pastor Corner
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September 16, 2014, 12:00 AM

Woe to exile...

"Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!" - Amos 6:1

Israel had become rather comfortable where they were.  They were comfortable with their lifestyle.  They were comfortable with their worship. style. They were comfortable with whom they were worshipping.  However, this "complacency" would be their downfall.  Amos was there to warn them that their "smug" feeling would not be there for long.  Their sense of security would soon be ripped away.  Then what...

What do we do when our security is ripped away? The things that we become comfortable with in life...our jobs, our money, our homes, our relationships, or even our health. We become complacent, smug, with the things in life that we believe will always be there and then they are suddenly taken away...then what?  We take these things for granted until they are gone, thinking they will always be there.  Israel had done that with GOD.  Can you imagine that?  Being smug with GOD! Well, I'm afraid that is exactly transpires in our community every day.  Because we have become so comfortable, knowing that God is here, we are complacent with God.  

We ought to live a life as if Amos were standing here today telling us that we have only a few short days before we will be exiled to a country where God is not allowed.  We will be going to a place were will are not allowed to pray, where we will not be allowed to own a Bible, where we will not be able to speak the name of Jesus, where we will be in exile.  How would that change our "complacency?"

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

September 9, 2014, 12:00 AM

Pray without ceasing...

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thess. 5:16-18

I can't think of any scripture that is more peaceful and at the same time more frustrating.  It is frustrating at times because God's word CLEARLY teaches that we are to give thanks is all circumstances.  I spoke about this same subject on Sunday in the life of Job, understanding that even the difficult times are allowed by God.  Everything in this life is known and allowed by the Almighty God.  Therefore, verses like this, direct us to give thanks, even when we don't want to, even when things are not going our way, even when we, is that difficult!  That is frustrating.  Sometimes, we just want to ask God what's going on, what is He thinking?

But, as we pray, pray continually, we see God's plan work its way out.  We see God's omniscience by talking to Him instead of ignoring Him.  God doesn't have to explain Himself to us, but sometimes He takes time to show us how much He loves us if we simply take time to talk to Him.  Then, and only then can we be joyful, giving thanks is all circumstances.  Then, peace comes into our life and this scripture brings on a whole new meaning.

I see this being applied even now as a young man fights to recover from an accident.  All we can do is pray, pray continually.  I see God bringing people together in one accord for the sake of this young man.  But more than this, I see people coming together in the name of Christ, believing in a Holy God and His power. Let us give thanks in ALL circumstances,

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

August 28, 2014, 12:00 AM

When blessings turn...

"Did I ask you for a son, my lord?" she said. "Didn't I tell you, `Don't raise my hopes'?" - 2 Kings 4:28

This Scripture comes out of a wonderful story of God's grace during Elisha's ministry.  Elisha had asked what he could do for a Shunammite woman after she and her family had been so kind.  Eventually, Elisha found that he could help this woman by asking God to bless this woman with child even in her advanced age.  The woman responded by asking him not to mislead her, but God answered Elisha's prayers.

Fast forward a few years...the child has grown to a certain age, to what particular we don't know. However, we do know that he is old enough to be in the fields helping his father.  Unfortunately, the child becomes ill and dies.  The Shunammite woman immediately goes to Elisha and makes the statement that we see in 2 Kings 4:28.  Eventually, God answers Elisha's prayers to revive the child and the Shunammite woman sees God's grace and mercy yet again.  However, it's unfortunate that she missed the fact that she did not understand that having that child, even for a short period of time was gift in the first place.  Had God not raised the child after his illness, the woman needed to see that God had already been gracious with giving her a child in the first place.

We need to make sure that we don't miss the blessings that are right in front of us.  Even as God is answering our prayers, we tend to look for the next answer instead of thanking Him for the very blessings that are before us.  I wonder what the Shunammite woman would have done if her child would not have been raised to life after his illness.  Would she have felt that having that child in the first place was a blessing?  I wonder about we consider all the blessings that God bestows upon us as good, even when some of those blessings take a turn later in life?

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

August 18, 2014, 12:00 AM

Pastors sharpen pastors...

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." - Proverbs 27:17

So I've come to the end of a long day and thinking... I've driven a small part of two days to get where I'm sitting around the table with a bunch of guys I've never met.  I ask myself, did I make the right decision? Should I have driven this far? Should I have taken time away from my normal church duties to come here? Should I have taken time away from my family? Well, I'd have to say yes.  

God's word teaches us very clearly that we sharpen one another.  As Christians, we are to hold one another accountable.  We are to lift one another up and encourage one another.  That is exactly what I see happening at this pastor's conference.  I see men that have  a common love for Christ and a deep desire to see churches to grow, not in number but in their relationship with Christ.  Yes, we (Christians) are to encourage one another, but I believe that even more so, pastors need to encourage one another.  In just half a day I have been encouraged by the fact that I have met these "solid" men of faith that are striving to build God's kingdom.  Please pray for these pastors, their leadership, and their congregations.  While you are at it, pray that their congregations will be as encouraging as you have been to me.  I thank God daily for my church family.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

August 5, 2014, 12:00 AM

Hospitality is required...

"Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach..."         1Timothy 3:2

So many qualifications for what Paul calls the overseer.  One in particular I would like to look at is the word "hospitable." This is one that might be overlooked at times; overlooked as to just how important it truly is.  When doing some reading in preparation for an upcoming conference, I stumbled across a perspective on "hospitality" that I believe is spot on.  The author writes, "Hospitality, when seen in light of the gospel, becomes more that just parking cars and pointing people to the kid's area.  Hospitality is the means by which the church, from the ground level, models the gospel to others.  And by God's grace, the teams of people investing in hospitality will set the tone for the entire church so that everyone who has experienced the hospitality of God practices hospitality in the church." (Creature of the Word, pg. 187)

Hospitality is not just a qualification of the overseer, it is a necessary qualification of every believer.  It is through hospitality that others begin to "hear" the gospel of Jesus Christ; that is, of course, when the hospitality is performed in light of the same gospel.  Demonstrate His hospitality to someone today; allowing someone to experience the gospel through you.

In Christ,

Bro. Grant

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