Thoughts, Encouragement and News from Pastor
Luke informs us that Mary, “gave birth to her first born
son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7).
Many people are surprised to see that mangers in the
These stones, are hollow, hard, cold, cut up, and dirty. So long ago, Jesus Christ was lovingly placed into one of these mangers. I am certain Joseph and Mary did their very best to clean out the manger which held Jesus. What caught my attention this year was that mangers can be a lot like human hearts.
Behind the smile may be a soul feeling hollow, hard, and cold, cut up, or dirty. Some folks feel lonely in a crowd or bitter about the past. Others are more prideful than they realize, scarred, or just plain dirty. Many Christians even carry these emotions around like excessive baggage, and unnecessary burdens.
Hearts are extra sensitive around the Christmas season, so why not let Jesus Christ fill your heart as He did that manger. Don’t allow any space for all that clutter. A little humility and faith can help you cast those cares on Jesus. Let Him deal with it.
We all need God’s grace. Allow God to turn stuff around in your life, by giving you a whole new life through His grace. Quit holding on to what’s inside. We need to embrace His grace. His grace is the extension of His favor which is often not expected, nor deserved. It’s an astonishing expression of His love which you cannot generate on your own.
In the ages to come, Jesus Christ wants to show you the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness. Let Him have your junk, and move on. This earthly life is too short to miss the real thing.
Agape, Pastor Huck.
Paul blasted the Galatian church when he asked, “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish” (Galatians 3:2-3)?
Regardless of what one does, no one can improve upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It’s a gift. We either accept His righteousness by grace through faith, or we reject it. Under law, man works to be accepted by God. Under grace, man works because he is already accepted by God. His motive for service is knowing that God already loves him. (See 2 Corinthians .)
When life heats up people living under law may assume God doesn’t love them anymore. Their view of God can get all mixed up because they’re trusting in themselves and what they’re doing, instead of God and what He’s doing.
The real goal of life is not to impress God, but to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. He wants us to accept and experience His love, and stop trying to earn it. May the Spirit help us to recognize the danger of front-sliding.
I believe the message is more important than the method, and the message has to do with removing the dust of the day. Some congregations have periodically practiced what Jesus did at the Last Supper, by washing one another’s feet. It becomes an expression of service and humility toward each other. Although not all churches practice this, I have never heard people say anything negative about their experience.
Last words are often the most important words a person may say. In John 13 Jesus gave warnings and counsel to the small band of men who would soon turn the world upside down. He got up in the middle of the Passover meal, poured water into a basin, wrapped a towel around Himself, and began to wash and wipe the apostle’s feet.
Peter, feeling uncomfortable with the situation, inquired as to why Jesus was doing this. Without Peter’s question, we would never get Jesus’ explanation. The Lord said, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean” (John ).
The word bathed refers to the entire body, but the word wash means to wash only a part. A Christian has all their sins completely taken away by the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood. Once anybody entrusts their spiritual well-being to Him, the Father counts Christ’s sacrificial blood as atonement all for sins and the sinner is free and clean. By faith it is as though they are totally bathed.
Jesus was declaring that the apostles were clean by faith in Him, but their feet would need washing periodically. We live in a dirty world. We hear filthy language, and we allow sights into our eyes that we know we shouldn’t look at. We may rationalize a right to gossip or allow bitterness to grow in our heart. As we walk through this world of dirt, some of it gets on us. We pick up the dust of the day. (See 1 John 1:7-9.)
Frequent confession removes the dust of the day. It makes for a healthy walk instead of a haphazard walk. Confessing before God, and even men, is that periodic washing of our feet we need for effective participation in Christian service. This practice of confession isn’t intended for pastors only, but every believer, in any form of ministry.
Confession restores the intimacy I may be lacking with the Lord. Psalm 66:18 declares, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” Hebrews says, “Exhort one another daily, while it is still called today, lest we allow our hearts to become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
What do you say to someone who fails to reach their goals, but loves the Lord with all their heart?
Name one teenager who believes their parents are right 100 percent of the time. Maybe you know one; but one is all there could possibly be. As we were speeding through teenage years they seemed to last forever. We may have known a few things but lacked experiential knowledge, which often sparks disagreement. For the most part, parents usually know what they’re talking about, because they have been there and done that.
God, like a father, has foreknowledge. He knows what every desire and decision we make will bring. He foresees danger, failure, victory, benefit and fulfillment. Although many of us occasionally disagree for a season, eventually we discover that to argue with God is to fight for our failure.
Coach Tony Dungy is a Christian man who was fortunate to win
a Super Bowl ring with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was very disappointed to
play for only three years, but it was as a coach that he met the wife God had
for him. After they were married they didn’t want to leave
The journey was a time of learning and growing in football tactics as well as spiritual things. As Christians we learn from the word of God, that the real failure of Biblical leaders was more spiritual than tactical. Coach Dungy has embraced biblical values as a professional coach. He has always run close with team chaplains and Christian athletic organizations wherever he has worked. He obviously remains under the spout where the blessings are pouring out. It just doesn’t always seem that way while in our valleys of decision, or times of change.
Along the way God can change our goals and give us different desires which will eventually produce greater fulfillment. God’s goals for our lives may produce greater benefit for more people, than if we reach our own. Our earthly goals may be what we are doing right now, but our real life’s work is getting to know and love Jesus Christ. He can handle the rest.
We may feel that we would have succeeded in our desires, if only we had better opportunities along the way. Better to trust God and believe when He declares, “The steps of a good person are ordered of the Lord,” and He delights in that way (See Psa 37:23). Sometimes God has to short-circuit even our best plans for our own benefit.
Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
May our desires always be instep with the Lord's leading, allowing Him to direct us and bless us for our good and His glory.
In a culture that assumes feelings are a legitimate criterion for altering truth, the absolute truth yet remains black and white in this grey shaded world. So no matter how you feel, don’t make the fatal mistake of giving up after I tell you the truth about this apostasy. There’s still plenty of hope.
Paul was describing the heart condition of the general populace, just prior to an extremely charismatic individual arriving on the world political scene. This man will initially be embraced around the world, but according to Daniel 9, Revelation 13 and Zechariah 11, his reign will be devastating and short-lived.
Apostasy refers to an abandonment of the essential principles of Christianity. The corruption of Biblical doctrines from pulpits would become so watered down prior to his appearing, that the message of Christianity could become completely inefficient in regard to saving sinners.
I understand there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, but in this current culture, I have never felt comfortable teaching in a seeker friendly or emergent church style. (See Rom .) With a belief that Jesus could rapture His church at any moment, there is simply too much at stake, while the truth remains black and white in a grey world. Personally, I was never called to follow a culture, but rather Christ. If heaven and earth will pass away while His word remains forever, why would I want to shade the basic essentials of the faith? But, that’s my conviction (See Mat 24:35.)
The issue here is deception, and I believe people are living under a false sense of spiritual security today. We’re like the frog floating in a pot of water, which is slowly being brought to the boiling point. If the water were scalding when the frog first entered, he would have instantly jumped out to save his very life. As it stands, he is currently snoozing in a nice warm sauna.
Josh McDowell has suggested that this crisis is real, and this could be the last Christian generation. George Barna has stated, “The various creative approaches to church services over the course of this decade, have drawn much attention but produced little transformational impact. Although many people attend church, few Americans are committed to being the church.” (See “The State of the Church: 2005” p. 51)
We’ve been told we need change, and I agree. We need to decide to change by believing what God says in the Bible. We need some mental renovations from the word of God, because our lives are going to follow our thoughts.