I really can change (part two)

Because each person is unique, God’s formative process is unique for each. And though the Spirit of God is the One who transforms souls, each individual has personal responsibility in the process. Many spiritual disciplines can contribute, yet God is primarily concerned with transforming the whole person, not just patterns of behavior. For this reason, no one method (be it a traditional spiritual discipline or another method) is the single critical component.

To understand our need for transformation, we must understand who we are currently, both as individuals and as members of the body of Christ. Who we are has undoubtedly been shaped by our past. Therefore, we explore various aspects of our identity, such as our heritage and temperament. What do these tell us about who we are and what we value? The interaction during this study bonds us and builds trust among us. Our goal is not to analyze, criticize, or control each other, but it is to grow and affirm what God is doing in and through one another.

In Identity, we ultimately want group members to see themselves in light of their identity in Christ. However, many of the values we actually live out stem from such influences as temperament, family background, and culture. Not all of those values are contrary to our new identity in Christ. For example, the value one person places on honesty, which he learned from his parents, is affirmed by his identity in Christ.

It can take a long time––more than a lifetime allows––for the Spirit of God to transform our values to line up with our new identity in Christ. We cooperate with the Spirit when we reflect on what our values are and how well they line up with our identity in Christ as described in Scripture.

One of the most significant characteristics of our identity in Christ is that we are now part of the body of Christ. The Christian life cannot be lived in isolation.

(I want to say this to all the door kickers, snake eaters, LEO’s and others, in the call of duty you may have “seen the elephant,” combat, war, taking a life. It is never an easy thing to live with. Isolation and “manning-up” doing it solo, is not the answer. Find a support group, talk it out, find other veteran’s, retired cops, talk it out). And Jesus love even you.

In order to experience intimate community in the biblical sense, we must learn to reveal ourselves to others. We need to honestly, freely, and thoughtfully tell our stories. Our modern culture makes it easy for people to live isolated and anonymous lives. Because we and others move frequently, we may feel it’s not worth the effort to be vulnerable in shortlived relationships. However, we desperately need to keep intentionally investing in significant relationships.

Real involvement in others’ lives requires more than what the term fellowship has too often come to mean. Real involvement includes holding certain values in common and practicing a lifestyle we believe is noble, while appreciating that this lifestyle doesn’t make us perfect. Rather, this lifestyle is a commitment to let God continue to spiritually form us.

Share your stories, the good, the bad and the ugly. Don’t get a good reaction when you’re candid, find another group, talk to the pastor, your counselor, mentor, sober companion. But you will only find healing in the community of others who have made it through and out the other side. And it is a continuous daily struggle and renewal. One time isn’t enough, it’s not ‘one and done’ it takes being will to share.

Well that’s it for today.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

funny face

January 14, 2018

I have a good friend who because of a couple strokes he can’t smile. He’s a preacher. Now if you are wondering what one has to do with the other, here we go.

Because he looks so serious his congregation has developed into a serious crowd as well and a little legalistic. All this from not smiling. (possible?)

Then there’s Jerry, another preacher that is always laughing, playing practical jokes and his congregation is pretty much like him.

The non-funny thing is the serious preacher has a more mature congregation both in age and in the Lord. Jerry’s congregation is younger (he’s 75) and less mature in the Lord.

What ‘s my point, the goal of every preacher is to give a congregation a conscious in tune with the Love of God. They should have godly thinking that leads to a right heart. Can you be serious, sure, can you be funny sure. But in either case you must be thorough, all the Word of God, all the principles.

What come first, heart or mind. I’m going to say the best balance is the mind, then the heart will follow. A mind set on God makes a heart following God.

So a preacher that concentrates on emotions and feelings will have a congregation without maturity and principles. Their Christian walk will be a whirlwind of emotions, a roller coaster walk.

The sound biblical expositor will have a mature congregation and more sure of everything. The church will gravitate towards sound thinking and there will be less church problems. If the pastor is firm.

Aye, and there’s the rub, (been a while since I said that). To many Christian’s today want a socially acceptable church that doesn’t invade their privacy.

I’m going to stop right there and let you ponder that for a while.

God bless and peace in your life. From scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SLOW AND STEADY

January 12, 2018

Slow and steady

  “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself” (Ps. 37:7).

  Our Father moves on the basis of His finished work, therefore hurry is not a factor with Him nor should it be with us. We are to ‘walk in the Spirit,’ and the blessed Holy Spirit will see to it that we obtain all that our Father has for us, step by step. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in His way” (Ps. 37:23). Don’t be discouraged—Enoch walked with God for three hundred years before he was translated!

We cannot become spiritual all at once; we must be content to begin as babes. Spiritual maturity and strength do not come by effort but by growth; and growth is the result of being nourished by proper food. But if we do not grow by effort it is important to remember that we do not grow without exercise.

  “God begins by giving our hearts a sense of the blessedness of the grace in which He has called us, that we may be awakened and enhungered to pursue the knowledge of all this with purpose of heart and prayerful study.

 Whatever we do accurately must take time and collectedness of mind, and there is no accuracy in all the world like keeping company with God, and yet nothing so free from bondage or tediousness. By going slow with the Lord we accomplish more than by going with a rush, because what we do is done so much better and does not have to be undone. It is done in a better spirit, with deeper motives, and bears fruit far out in the future, when all mushroom performances have been dissipated forever.

  “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Ps. 37:4).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RESOLVE

January 11, 2018

RESOLVE

R=reach the lost

E=edify the saints

S=study the word

O=obey His commandments

L=live for eternity

V=visualize the future

E=expect great things

You may have seen this acrostic before, but this is the first time for me (I think).

There is a basic and yet often overlooked principle: a leader cannot deal with problems that he is not aware of. Sometimes he cannot deal with problems even when he is aware of them, of course. But without exception, it is impossible to deal with problems when you do not know about them.

To resolve conflicts or problems biblically, go directly to the person responsible and talk about the problem. If someone comes to you with a complaint, ask if he has talked to one of the pastors or elders. If not, direct him to do so before he talks to anyone else. Many misunderstandings can be resolved at this level without causing larger problems in the church.

It’s easy to get angry but then to cool off and do nothing. After all, it is difficult and uncomfortable to confront those who are causing a problem. It is especially difficult to confront those who happen to be rich and powerful.

I had a young pastor travel all the way across the U.S. to ask me how to solve a problem. He was pastoring a very rich congregation, every one was at least a millionaire. Everytime there was a problem they tried money first. When he complained they bought him a Cadillac. They wanted to have coffee during the service, they bought fine china and some waiters to serve. Then they bought him a bigger house. My advice to him was to resign. He had already quit leading.

It doesn’t matter what job you’re in, but if you are the leader you’re going to get shot, wounded and hurt, attacked and smeared. How you respond is the mark of what kind of leader you are going to be.

Many Christian leaders fall into the trap of thinking that their position gives them certain rights and power. We should follow the example of the Lord Jesus, who laid aside His rights to take on the form of a servant and be obedient even to death on a cross. Pastors can never (or should never) be dictators. But church is also not a democracy. A two headed goat is never going to go anywhere.

Leaders need to hold people accountable to their promises before God and others. If there has been marital unfaithfulness or financial misdeeds, the guilty party needs to reestablish trust. The only way to do that is through very close accountability.

Thus to resolve conflicts biblically, people must air complaints to the proper authorities. Leaders must deal with those complaints in a biblical manner.

Sadly, when leaders confront people with wrongdoing, all too often the people either react with anger and defensiveness, or they just move on to another church or drop out of church altogether without dealing with their sin.

 From 40 years as a pastor, I can say that to see people respond readily to correction is rare! But it shouldn’t be. Hebrews 13:17 gives an exhortation that sounds strange in our day when people have no concept of being under spiritual authority: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

What a foreign concept that is today.

Someone has said that in a church quarrel, Satan remains neutral and supplies ammunition to both sides. That may not always be true, but he does like to divide God’s people by getting them to wrong one another and then not to deal biblically with problems. We must be committed to resolve conflicts God’s way. Then His work will go forward.

Pray for those in authority over you, (first admit there are people in authority over you.) and accountability breeds responsibility.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Let me tell you something very interesting. There are many, many descriptions for the Bible, but the best description that I can think of, and God’s favorite description for the Bible is the Word of God. Now, if you think about that. God, Himself, calls the Bible the Word of God. Let me just give you a few representative verses, and I could give you hundreds of them. Acts 4:31, don’t turn to these but listen to it, “And they spake the Word of God with boldness.” Romans 10 verse 17, “So faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17, “And take the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.” Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword.” I Thessalonians 2 verse 13, “For this cause also we thank we God without ceasing, because when ye receive the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God.

Over five hundred times in the first five books of the Bible, God says, this is my Word. Over a thousand times in the prophets, God says, this is my Word. Over four thousand times in the Old Testament, the Bible is alluded to as the Word of God. Forty-four times in the New Testament it is called the Word of God. Now, wait a minute pastor, why are you, why are you saying that over and over again? I accept that the Bible is the Word of God.

If you really believe that the Bible is the Word of God, if you really believe that when the Bible speaks, that God speaks, it’s going to have some incredible implications in your heart.

Did you know that Jesus and the Bible are not identical, but they are inseparable? Did you know that God gave the same name for Jesus that he gave to his book? He calls his book the Word of God, we’ve seen that, but now write down in your margin, Revelation 19:13, it speaks of Jesus coming in power and great glory and it says this, “and he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood and his name is called the Word of God.” Now, what is the Bible called? The Word of God. What is Jesus called? The Word of God. A man and his word may be different but Christ and his word are not different. I’m not saying that Jesus and the Bible are identical, what I am saying however, is that they are inseparable.

Many folks made a New Year’s resolution to read their bibles, I pray that you keep that resolution and grow in your knowledge of God’s word.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Gwen, has the flu

Pray for Donald, he’s been battling skin cancer for more years than I can remember, he is really low in spirit right now.

Pray for Dave I, his 4th battle with prostate cancer.

Praise from Ann, she’s been sticking to her medication and not mixing alcohol into the mix and been feeling better than ever, pray her resolve stays strong.

 

wrong way

January 9, 2018

Wrong Way

We all have a testimony, we were sinners, unsaved, lost. Some of us were decent people, religious even, some of us were on the fast lane to hell.

But we all needed a savior.

I was one of the bad boys, my yearbook said most likely to be dead in 6 months. Drugs, booze, motorcycle gangs, outlaw nation, extremely violent. The Apostle Paul said there are deeds so shameful we shouldn’t talk about them. I know what some of those deeds are.

Then like Adam and Eve we try to dress up and look better, fig leaves or suit coats, or in my case a uniform. But God,,, the most powerful phrase there is, ‘BUT GOD.’

He divinely intervenes and says our attempts are futile, useless. We have to have the power of a blood bought sacrifice to really cleanse us. Right from the beginning man attempted to self-remedy, But God said, you can’t cover your sins it will take a sacrifice.

I want you to believe no matter what you have done wrong, sinful, shameful, dirty, nasty, it can’t separate you from the love of God. And trust me, God will find you.

So maybe you’re in a motel room and the hookers just left, or you’re looking for a new vein to stick in the needle, God loves you.

Maybe you’re squeaky clean, no drugs, no booze, no vices, still a virgin, honor roll kid, you haven’t pulled the trigger on someone, never woke up in the wrong town with somebody else’s clothes on. You like everyone else need a Savior, need the blood of Jesus to wash you clean.

If you’re not headed down the highway of life with God, you are headed the wrong way. And maybe this is the first time, or the millionth, God is calling, repent, accept the fact you are a sinner and accept the marvelous gift of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

It’s as simple as saying; God please save my soul, I accept your Son, Jesus Christ as my redeemer. That’s it.

Now you’re headed in the right direction.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

If you need prayer or have a prayer request send it to the email address.

If you read this devotion and accept the greatest gift, Jesus as Savior, email me and I will send you a bible.

 

GOT WOOD?

December 29, 2017

GOT WOOD?

From the dawn of creation until today, in backyards and rainforests across the earth, there have been trees—trillions and trillions of trees. Imagine you are given the task of identifying the most important trees in the history of humankind. In retrospect, a trio of candidates would appear to be obvious contenders: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden, and the tree that provided the wood for Jesus’ cross.

But what if you had to identify the tree before it changed history? Even if we were told which country it came from or the forest it grew in, the task would be absurdly improbable. Certainly no one would have suspected the importance of a tree cut down in Egypt to make staffs for goat- and sheep-herding shepherds. But just such a tree made a stick of wood that became the staff of God (see Ex 4:20), a staff Moses and Aaron used for stunning displays of God’s power.

“Consider the mighty ways in which God used a dead stick of wood,” wrote Francis A. Schaeffer. “ ‘God so used a stick of wood’ can be a banner cry for each of us. Though we are limited and weak in talent, physical energy, and psychological strength, we are not less than a stick of wood. But as the rod of Moses had to become the rod of God, so that which is me must become the me of God. Then, I can become useful in God’s hands.”

“God so used a stick of wood”—and he will use us, too, if we are,

➤ Consecrated—To be consecrated is to be set apart or dedicated to the service of God. In what ways has God set you apart for his work?
➤ Shaped—Before it became the staff of God, the stick of wood was shaped into a shepherd’s staff. While we might not fully understand how God is shaping us, we must trust that it is being done so we will become more useful in his hands. Add to your prayer request list that God will form you for Christlike service.

From a little acorn to a mighty oak, who knows what God will turn our lives into.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Band Aids (adult theme)

December 24, 2017

Ok, so here is my band aid theory.

Sex, so you’re a virgin band aid, still in the wrapper. You flirt, make out, heavy petting, outer course, the wrapper may show signs of wear but it’s still on.

Now any kind of sex, oral, anal, it’s sex and the wrapper is off.

Why is this a big deal?

There’s only so much adhesive on a band aid.

Peel it apart from another band aid and there’s less stickiness. Keep using the band aid and eventually there is no adhesiveness left.

Now the two band aids with no adhesiveness get married, where’s the glue?

After almost 40 years of marriage counseling, I want to tell you, sticky band aids really have something going for them.

So keep your wrapper on, save it for marriage and really stick together.

(this message was not sponsored by any commercial Band Aid product).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Bible quiz winner, for our odd question, the winner is Richard J, from Smithers, British Columbia (Canada). As an adopted Canadian I salute you. Having lots of Royal Mounted Police in the family as well as the Royal Canadian Air Force service, God save the Queen.

Oh and the answer was Papua New Guinea (country that has killed the most missionaries by cannibalism) of note, is that Ecuador comes in at ninth. I promise next time to come up with a better question and one more bible related.

ONCE IS ENOUGH

December 18, 2017

You are eternally secure because of the nature of your salvation. Your security comes from the nature of your salvation. Now, your salvation is rooted in the abundant mercy of God. Look at it again, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us…” (1 Peter 1:3). Do you see the words “abundant mercy?” Do you know why you were saved? Because of God’s abundant mercy.

Do you think you’re saved by your merit? No: you are saved by God’s mercy. And, that which is the gift of mercy can never be withdrawn because of the lack of merit. Do you understand that? Salvation is not in your merit, it’s in God’s mercy and that which is the gift of mercy can never be withdrawn from the lack of merit. How do you keep your salvation? You keep your salvation exactly the same way you got it.

How did you get it? By the mercy of God. How do you keep it? By the mercy of God. Now, my dear friend, it is rooted in abundant mercy, it results in a new birth. Look again in verse 3: “According to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again “—that’s just another way of saying born-again— “He hath begotten us again…” (1 Peter 1:3). Now, look at the word “begotten.” Do you see it? In verse 3. It is in the Aorist (original Greek) tense. You say, “What does that mean, pastor?” It means dear friend, that when you were born-again, you were born-again once and for all. Something that is in the Aorist tense means it happened never, ever to be repeated. How many times can a man be born physically? One time. How many times can a man be born spiritually? One time. Have you ever seen a human being who was born twice physically? Of course not. And, you will never see a child of God who is born twice spiritually. Never, ever.

Don’t confuse carnal living and revival with a false theology or believe you can backslide out of God’s love, you can’t. trust me I’ve heard all the stories, “preacher, you don’t know how bad I got, and then I got saved a second time.” Not going to happen. It’s either real or it wasn’t.

Trust me, I’ve been that person. I’ve done the carnal, crazy, screw up everything you can, it was an act of repentance not re-salvation.

No, you can became carnal, and backslide, but not out of God’s salvation.

Renewal, yes, repenting, (many, many times) yes, revival, yes. One TRUE salvation experience.

God’s love does it all.

Now there are people who are deceived about their salvation, there are preachers delivering sermons in evangelical, Pentecostal, Baptist, Cowboy churches, that have never truly been saved. And then pow, it hits the fan and they have their first real salvation experience, showing the marvelous grace of God.

If you have doubts about your faith, your walk with God please email us at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

I will arrange a chance for us to talk.

God bless.

 

THE RABBIT TRAIL

December 17, 2017

The main idea behind the Hebrew concept of wisdom is “skill.” The men who were able to construct the tabernacle according to God’s plan as revealed to Moses are called “wise,” meaning skillful (Exod. 31:3, 6; 36:1-2). Just as a skilled carpenter can take a piece of rough wood and shape it according to a plan into a beautiful and useful piece of furniture, so the wise person is able to take the rough elements of life and shape them according to God’s plan into something beautiful and useful to Him. Spiritual wisdom requires learning about God and how He wants us to live so that our lives will not be ruined by sin, but rather will become a finely crafted product that will cause others to be attracted to the Maker, who displays His glory in us.

So where does that bring us today?

God wants us to have knowledge and wisdom and skill to discern and comprehend His plan for our lives, our brothers and sisters in Christ, (the body) and to understand the spiritual warfare we are in.

We need to understand the pluralism that has taken deep roots in our culture.

Diversity and Inclusion are the battle cry of those who seek to pull down every standard and symbol of Christianity. Our core concepts of decency and morality no longer matter.

How rampant and successful are they?

Imagine this you’ve sent your precious child (I’m not being facetious here) to Wheaton College, a Christian college and there a tenured well known professor makes this statement in class; “The God of the Bible and the god of the muslim faith are the same god.”

Thankfully the majority of students walked out, this time.

So even our sacred halls of Christian education have succumbed to pluralism.

Fourth most disturbing word I hear in Christian dialogue, Christian consumerism in the place of worship.

“Our worship of God needs to be defined by Christian consumerism, if not we will lose a generation of young believers.” WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

If the snowflake generation can’t have wifi during the service we are going to lose them. If that’s the case we’ve lost the battle already. Encouraging ‘selfies’ during the sermon posted on the church website to show enthusiasm. That’s not worship but disrespect to God and others in service.

Ok I have to quit before I have stroke.

REVERENCE, HOLINESS ARE WORDS I UNDERSTAND.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM