Category Archives: Church

Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups – 568

Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups

09/11/16 – 568

Well, I certainly hope you picked up from yesterday’s devotion that whatever we are faced with, we have a choice as to how we will react. In other words, we are not held accountable for our emotions, but for our actions! Sp where do our emotions come into play?

Simply put, they can make things really difficult for us – or really easy. Behavior that follows an emotion is usually pretty easy – but rarely is it deeply satisfying. But… if we keep on doing the right things according to what God tells us, we’ll eventually come to a place where our emotions follow our actions instead of the other way around. I would argue that these emotions are more firmly grounded in truth, in what is right, and therefore will be deeper and more satisfying in the long run.

For example, do you really want to find true love? Start by learning what it is to love and be loved by Christ. Then, and only then, will you know what to look for in another person. See what I mean?

In the same way, do you really want to find true friendship, or brotherhood among people? The first place to look is within the church. Why? Because we in His body are supposed to be different. Are we? Not always. Is it possible to find a good, loyal friend outside of the fellowship of Christ? Possible, but (I maintain) not as likely.

Now, I know that last statement is controversial. It’s been argued in many forms for years, and I don’t think that non-believers and Christians will ever agree on the answer. However, I base my statement on scripture.

John 13:34

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 As you read this remember – love is a verb.

So ask yourself this question – what should church look like when you walk in this morning? Maybe a better question is this – what would it look like if you were invisible? Would the conversations be the same as they are when you’re standing there? Would the smiles still be there, or would those disappear as soon as you did? Here’s another question.

Good or bad, how much have you done to help build the culture of the church into what it is today? What can you do to strengthen it? What can you do to help repair what’s broken? Let me give you a hint. It doesn’t begin with following your emotions – they are like leaves on the wind! Begin with obedience and commitment to God alone, your emotions will follow. Not only that, but they’ll become much steadier and deeper than you could ever have imagined. And by the way, so will you relationshships.

Today as you prepare for worship, start with the basics. Ask God to prepare your heart and mind to receive His Spirit. Be obedient, whether He asks you to kneel, lift your hands, pray, or whatever. Just do what He tells you, then see if your emotions don’t   follow along.

Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups – 545 – Church

Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups

08/07/16 – 545 – Church

Have you ever just felt like giving up?

I think that at some point, most of us have. The end.










Just kidding – but just barely. Actually, it’s been one of those weeks. You know, where there’s been way too much busy-ness, with way too many problems piled on, to the point where you can hardly think, let alone pray, or write. You look forward to having a day off. Staying home just one Sunday wouldn’t be so bad, would it? Oh, to sleep in…

Or what about those times when you really can’t make a service – at least not the one you would normally attend? What do you do instead? Is it OK to take the day off? Or do you have to do something else to make sure you get your gold star in God’s big attendance book?

Well, we’ve talked about this before from various angles. The bottom line is that whether or not we are participating in a church service at any given moment, we should be worshipping God in whatever we do. Still, there’s something special about that weekly service.

It helps to focus on God. It reminds us why we live the way we live, or at least reminds us how we should be living. It should lift our eyes up from all the busy-ness towards heaven. It should give us hope. That’s a great service! We know it’s important that we attend as often as possible, right?

 Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. NIV

Yes, we can listen to a service on the radio or watch one on TV or the internet. We can even actively participate in those services by praying with the people as they pray and singing when they sing (instead of running for a sandwich or coffee). But in the two short verses above, look at what we’ve missed.

Has anyone ‘spurred you on’ or encouraged you to love more – to do good more things? In short, to become a better, stronger Christian? Have you felt strengthened and supported by them after this oh-so-tough week? Flip it around – How many of those people on the screen have been encouraged in the same way just knowing that you are out there watching them (even if they did)? Yes, we both know the answers – they were rhetorical questions.

The reality of our lives is that occasionally things do come up that necessitate our absence from the services we would normally attend. People get sick, family crises happen etc. But my warning for you is this – Satan always attacks when we are at our weakest. We are weakest when we are farthest away from our support systems.

If you absolutely can’t make it – fill that time with personal contact – read your Bible, pray, listen to sermons or participate in a broadcast sermon. They aren’t bad – just not as good as being there. If you’ve fallen into the trap of staying out of church for whatever reason, you are living in a very dangerous place, spiritually speaking.

Find the church God wants you to be in – and start attending. Will it be perfect? No – it’s filled with imperfect people. Might someone say something ignorant and offend you? Yep – same reason! Might the preacher say something that you don’t like or agree with? Of course. If it’s biblical, take it to heart and thank him. If not, send him a well thought out note or make an appointment to discuss it.

Whatever you do – don’t stay away too long. We need you. Really.