In our church reading plan we read Matthew 9 today. In one of the stories there were two blind men that came to Jesus and begged for mercy. Jesus entered into a house where he had a conversation with them about their faith in Him to heal them. Then according to their faith, Jesus healed them of their blindness. After their eyes were opened He told them not to tell anyone of what Jesus had just done, but like many who had experienced the grace of Jesus, they could not help it.
“But they went away and spread His fame through all the district.”
At first I read over this verse, but then it hit me. As believers we are people that were once dead and now made alive. We were once blind, but now we see. Yet, how are we spreading the fame of the one who gave us such sight? How are we telling of the life that has been given to us? We act as if no miracle has taken place in our lives. If we were to win a new car or gift a great gift, we are so quickly to tell everyone, but being brought from death to life? Friends, we must do better than this. We have a story to tell, a message to proclaim. How can we sit by and not proclaim of the glories of our wonderful savior? I challenge you, I challenge myself, make Him famous.
Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;”
For years reading this passage the progression within this verse has not been evident to me. Rather, I’ve looked at how a man is not of wickedness seiners, nor scoffers. I want to take a look at the progression that we see here.
First, we see look at the one who “walks”. They are listening to the counsel of the wicked. They hear the advice of the wicked and take heed of it rather than godly advice. In so many of my counseling sessions I take time in helping people see the biblical way of doing things and combating unbiblical advice.
Secondly, standing in the way of sinners. Now you are taking part of the way. No longer are you simply hearing advice, rather you are part of it. Your identity has become your sin. Rather than seeking the Lord, you continue down the path of sinfulness.
Lastly, you sit in the seat. You are now an evangelist of the sinful way. You call what is evil good and good evil. This individual is set against godliness and seeks to take down godly ways. Our culture is becoming more and more like this type of society.
The blessed man or woman is one that seeks not these ways but looks at verse 2. They desire the law of the Lord, they seek God’s Word and His ways. Their identity is in Christ and not their sinfulness. They seek to tell others of the goodness of Christ. That is a blessed man. My prayer is that we would all seek to be blessed.
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!
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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?
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?