Psalms: A journey

This Sunday we start a new series going through the book of Psalms. We are going to journey through the book and apply it to our day to day lives. I am excited for this study and to see what God has for us.

Psalms is a highly quoted book throughout scripture. Jesus quotes Psalms over and over, He also says that Psalms is all about Him. That His life would be a fulfillment of the Psalms. You see God’s character in Psalms, His glory, goodness, creation, love, mercy, judgement, and wrath.

Let me know, what’s your favorite Psalm. Please check back to look at each Psalm and help to apply it to our daily lives!

Destroyed Relationships

It’s not uncommon to walk into a restaurant or any place of business to find both young and old glued to a small screen. Countless hours spent scrolling through social media platforms, that were created for us to be social, that has led to us being less social. Recently, I have been given a lot of thought to the effects of my phone and social media has on my life.

1. Loss of true connections: I can’t tell you when was the last time that I met a friend at a coffee shop or simply spent time with them. Rather, I have felt like I am somewhat connected to them because I see them post pictures of their kids and surroundings that I don’t need to connect. Because of this, I’ve felt over and over that I don’t have close relationships like I once had. That I find myself longing for the old days of going on a car ride or coffee.

2. Shortened attention span: I honestly didn’t know this was possible. I find my mind constantly racing and wondering all the time. It is hard for me to focus and remain still. While one could simply say you have ADHD, I think this is due to instant and changing information that is put on screens.

3. Overall Sad Outlook: Because of the information that is constantly before me, much of which is terrible news, it seems like a much more sad outlook on life. That everything that is going on is terrible.

There are much more negative effects on life brought by these wonderful devices. The question is, when are we going to do something about it? How do we reverse this? What’s your thougths?

Next Generation Focused

Recently I read a book by Hayden Shaw called Generational IQ. In this book, Hayden was making the argument that Christianity is not going to disappear in three generations, but rather, the church had to ask itself some hard questions in order to impact the future generations. As a pastor, I am confronted with the fact that my church is predominately filled with older generations. Not that we don’t have younger generations in our church, we do, but the majority is predominately older. In Hayden’s book, he suggests that the values of each generation have changed over each generation. Therefore, as pastors and church leaders we must change the value we include and reach these generations. The question that has bothered me since reading this book is that it seems to be lost in all of these generations and in church period that first, the church doesn’t belong to you. Secondly, we are called to pass the faith on to the next generation.

  1. Give the church back to Jesus. In his book, Hayden makes this point, that for the church to reach the next generation we have to give the church back to Jesus. To me, this brings up a very important question, at what point did the people take the church from Jesus? When did it become “my church” instead of “Christ’s church”? I think honestly this will be answered differently by different churches. For so many, it was during the worship wars era. Preferences became hills worth dying over at the neglect of the generations that longed for a change. The preferences became infallible as the scriptures. For those who believe that we should not change at all but keep doing as it’s always been done, I seriously want to know where you find this, and why? I want to better understand this mindset.
  2. Failure to do the Great Commission. In so many churches across the United States and the world, we have failed big time in discipleship. We have gotten this idea that if we stay busy with programs then that’s discipleship. Only to see folks leaving the church and never coming back. Rather than being a spiritual refreshment, it’s a place of burden and burn-out. The call of Christ on the church is rather simple, make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them to obey all I’ve commanded you. Simply, help them to live out God’s Word in their lives. We need to get back to the simple of church.
  3. Repent. I’ve had experiences in all generations where we fail to simply say, “I was wrong.” It’s ok for the young generation to say, “I don’t know it all, I was wrong”. It’s also ok for the older generations to say, “I didn’t do what I should have, I was wrong.” It’s about time that we repent of our sins as we are commanded to do and believe in the Lord. It’s that simple.

Sleepless Nights

I don’t know about you, but sleepless nights tend to be my most productive. Tonight has been one of those. Often the Lord will keep me awake and I have so much on my heart and mind to put to paper. These nights seem to be when the Lord draws me close to Him. So I want to ask the question, how do you seek the Lord in your sleepless nights?

Humble Pastor

If pastors were completely honest, one of their biggest struggles would be humility. As a pastor I can attest to this fact. I’ve desired the big platform, the large church, the big impact, to be “known”. I’ve wrestled and still continue to wrestle with each one of these. Only one problem, that’s not the qualifications of a pastor we find in scripture…

1 Timothy 3 is Paul laying out for Timothy the qualifications of an elder. In this we see qualifications that all lead to a man of character, a man of humility. In these qualifications we don’t see the success that so many pastors, including myself, have longed for as a requirement of elder. Rather we see character.

As of late my biggest convictions has been that of my desires for something more. Desiring a larger platform, longing for a bigger church, etc. Rather than desiring for more of the Lord, more of His Word, to be more of a man of character. Maybe I’m alone in this, maybe not. If you are a pastor and you find yourself seeking that of a larger platform, let me first ask you, are you a man of character?

No Dominion​

Yesterday we celebrated Memorial Day. A day that we celebrate and are thankful for those who gave their lives in sacrifice to our country (United States of America). So many men and women have given their lives in sacrifice to this country. There is no greater sacrifice then of sacrificing one’s life. This made me dwell on the sacrifice of Christ, His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary.

Romans 6:9 “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death has no dominion over Him.” This morning in my devotional time I read this verse over and over. Paul had just been telling the Roman church that they were united with Christ in His death, that they were dead to their sins because they were baptized into Christ’ baptism of death on the cross. That they died too. But, Christ defeated death and was raised from the grave. Therefore, death has no victory over Jesus, death has no dominion over Him.

As believers in Christ, we are given this promise. In that same chapter in verse 8, “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.” We will join in Christ in His resurrection, that we too will be resurrected and death will have no dominion over us. The curse of death will have no power over you. That truth just continued to hit me this morning as we were thankful to those who gave their lives to continue the American way of life, but Christ’ death and resurrection defeated death! Because of His sacrifice, we can know that death will have no victory!

Make Memories

A question that I’ve been asking myself lately when it comes to raising our kids is, “what memories will they have of me?” When my children are grown and looking back on their childhood, what memories will they cherish? What memories will teach them, mold them, and shape them into the men and women they are then? How am I being intentional in the memories that they have?

Reading in Proverbs, you will come along this passage that every parent knows. Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Though never before had I looked at it from this perspective. Our memories and experiences shape us. But how are we as parents making sure that we are shaping our children the best we can to be obedient followers of Jesus? I by no means claim to be an expert, but here are a few things that we are making sure we do as a family.

1. Take Them With You. We believe that if we want our kids to be great servants of Jesus, this means they come along. When I do a hospital visit, or hang door hangers, or even go on a mission trip, we want to bring our children along. We want them to see what it is like to serve Jesus. That they experience daddy and mommy serving King Jesus and they remember what it was like to do so. For some parents, this is really difficult because they are concerned with schedules and other things, but let me ask you this question, isn’t it worth it to keep your kid up an extra hour so they can see you love Jesus?

2. Intentional On What We Say. In Deuteronomy we see Moses telling them to speak of the Law of the Lord with their kids. To teach them. This means as a parent, I am looking for opportunities to talk to my kids about God’s Word. Helping them see how it applies to my day to day life. This also means that I am intentional about what I am putting inside of me, that I am spending time in God’s Word.

3. Make A Plan. This one is the hardest for me, but most essential. What is the vision for my family? Where do I want them to be in a year? What do I want them to experience in a year? These are questions you need to ask in order to come up with a plan to be intentional of accomplishing those visions. You must know the direction that you want to go as a family, how are you molding them, what are the steps you need to take? In order to produce disciples, you must have a plan.

I know this list is not exhaustive, but if you have any other things you would add, put it in the comments!