Friday, July 30, 2010

Food For Thought Fridays

Have you ever wondered why prayer is one of the most difficult disciplines for believers when it should be the easiest?

I believe that this could be the key: Legalism is the enemy of God.

Legalism is strictly adhering to the letter of the law (the rules) rather than the spirit. Basically, the idea that if I follow all the rules, God will like me and do what I want Him to do.

Many of our brains are so wrapped up in what prayer "should" sound like (the rules of prayer) that we just get bored with it and feel like we are wasting our time.

It has to start with "Dear Heavenly Father" and end with "In Jesus Name" and we have to put a lot of spiritual phrases in like "lead, guide, and direct" or "yea, though thou theeist the thou."

There is nothing wrong with any of that, but how many of your kids talk to you like that?

Again, legalism is the enemy of God.

Luke 11:9-13 says,"And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

God tells us to come like a child.

The REAL messy you with all your junk and with all the wrong things to say and with all the bad attitudes needs to, no, has to meet the REAL God in a REAL way.

Legalism says clean your self up, get on your knees, say the right things, and your prayer life will be awesome.

I say you will never be able to clean your self, you will never be submitted enough, you can't say the right things, because legalism and false words only bring death.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Food For Thought Fridays

Matthew 4:1 says, "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

Lately, I've been thinking about temptation.

Isn't it amazing that the Son of God was tempted? The one through whom all things were created. The one whose very food was to do the will of the Father. God in the flesh. The Father's spittin' image as we say in the south.

He was taken to the wilderness and tempted like us. We may not be as strong as Jesus, but, should we expect less temptation than what He faced?

Many of us believe that the answer is yes, but I am not so sure. Temptation is all around us and we act as if we are invincible or worse act as if temptation doesn't exist.

At this moment, you may feel like you have the glow of the Holy Spirit on your face, but the minute you let your guard down. . . the lion starts to roar and you give into temptations.

At this moment, you may feel that you are on fire with the love of Jesus, but if you don't allow God to keep putting logs on the fire. . . Satan will bring your temperature down to around lukewarm and we give into the temptation of just getting by.

As believers, we must stand and protect our hearts and minds. We need to allow God to continually fill us with the Holy Spirit and continually allow God to stoke the fire of Jesus in our lives so we don't become lazy and complacent.

Lastly, if we are to walk out of the wilderness victoriously (like Jesus) we have to be warriors and sleep with our helmets on.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Food For Thought Fridays

A friend of mine quoted a car dealer as saying, "I pay my people just enough NOT to quit and they work just enough NOT to get fired."

I thought that was pretty funny, but when he told me that I jotted it down in my phone. Later, I started thinking that this statement of immaturity and mediocrity paralleled the members of most congregations.

We want God to bless us enough so we don't quit and we do just enough to feel like we won't get fired.

If God gives us what we want like the great vending machine in the sky, we won't pout or fuss. And if God tells us what we want to hear like a good little god, we won't whine or complain.

In response we give only 10% (if that much is not an inconvenience), we bring our Bibles to church on Sunday (if we can find them), we pray sometimes (if we get into enough trouble), all so we can feel like we have some "fire insurance."

1 Cor 13: 11 reads, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

If we are really going to follow Christ with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength, it really is time to grow up.

My prayer for the church and myself is that we would remain childlike, but stop being childish.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Food For Thought Fridays

In the message version, James 1:2-4 reads, "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."

I like the way this version reads a lot.

When under pressure, I tend not to thank God for difficult circumstances, but it is a great gift for our growth and maturity.

I would dare say I am not alone, most of us need to man up, grow up, and let our faith show up.

The gift is showing us our true colors. . .

What color is your faith? Cowardly yellow, Wimpy pale pink, Misguided Duke blue (had to do it)? Or is it Calvary's Red, Heavenly Gold, or Snow white?

Our God is huge and He is alive and He loves you. If you see Him as the sovereign Lord of creation, all of the tests and challenges of this life are His gifts to strengthen and force us to grow up.

So, stop whining while calling it prayer and seek God in faith. Try thanking Him for tough situations. Try and walk out a mature Christian faith.

You may just start seeing your colors changing.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sweet Treats

Front Porch, originally uploaded by DocUNC.

Sweet Treat, originally uploaded by DocUNC.

After the pool, we let the boys have a couple of ice pops. Isaiah has a huge sweet tooth. He loves them. Caleb and Isaiah are taking swim classes at UNCP. Isaiah loves to go under water and Caleb is learning to swim and is doing a great job. Today, Caleb was moved up to the bigger class. We are really proud of them both.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Food For Thought Fridays

Last Sermon, originally uploaded by DocUNC.

Last Sunday, my grandfather preached his last sermon as Pastor of New Center Baptist Church.

Grandpa (Pa) is 87 years old and he has been the pastor of this church for the last 24 years. We were talking yesterday about his time in ministry and he told me that he became a pastor when he was 27 years old. Sixty years as a pastor.

Pa preached many sermons over his lifetime. Sunday mornings behind a pulpit are probably the most comfortable times in his life.

Matthew 5:16 says, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

He was and is a great pastor that has preached many great sermons, but the Sunday morning services will never compare with the sermon he has and will continue to preach with his life.

He is a tremendous pastor, wonderful husband, great father, and an amazing man.

For that I praise my Father in heaven.

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:16, originally uploaded by DocUNC.