Kinder, More Gentle

Kinder, More Gentle

 

Several of you asked for the seven points I had listed in the sermon last week. Here they are:

So, taking  one small byte today, let’s begin this adventure with a commitment to be a kinder, gentler people showing forth the love of Christ. How about this:

  1. Think before you speak. Say things that build the person up and if directness is needed, couch it in kindness.
  2. We want excellence, but not at the expense of loving one another. Relationship is more important than perfection. 
  3. Let’s work together. Serve one another. Quit trying to boss people around and just get in there and serve.
  4. No Prima Donna’s. You are not the center of the universe. Give space and gentility to your brothers and sisters. We are all striving to do our best, but things happen to disrupt. Go with the flow. It will work out. Does it really mean that much? What is really important?
  5. Job One is to have a relationship with Jesus. Everyone in church should do their best to help themselves and others to experience the irresistible Jesus.
  6. Quit judging. If an immoral person comes to us (someone who is struggling with life and possible addictions), let’s receive them. If someone is different from us, receive them. Don’t impose your set of conducts on others who are just coming and learning. Youth will always be different in styles, language and some behaviors.
  7. Let’s be more family, support one another, love one another. 

When we look at church as an organization too firmly, we lose the human element in the process of trying to make everything work. We may have been assigned an area to serve in and develop, but it is the Lord’s first of all. Sometimes I have found people loose the joy of serving because they grab something and possess it to the exclusion of anyone helping or participating. I had to learn that as a parent. When a child wants to help bake cookies, the kitchen will be a mess and there will be no prize at the fair for best decorated cookie. When a boy mows the lawn for the first few times the rows will not be straight and it may look like the lawn got a mohawk haircut. What is important is they wanted to help. They are learning and criticism and complaint and anger will just make them never want to help again. This same thing happens with adults.

Like I said, this is a new day, a kinder day, a more loving and tolerant day with one another. Remember telling your little ones to “share.” Let’s share the journey together and serve one an other.

– Pastor Bill

Ready For God to Move

READY FOR GOD TO MOVE

 

Kirk DeVenney certainly has a way of inspiring and encouraging each believer. Like most of us, he has been through some very deep trials of his faith. He has faced them and lived through them and continues to serve the Lord. He has accomplished much in his missionary career. He has accumulated testimony after testimony of God’s faithfulness and power.

None of us are perfect. We are frail in many ways. If we were to weigh our deeds and thoughts against the purity of Jesus, we would be exposed as vile and corrupt. We would not need a “rap” sheet with the law, or the judgment of our peers. Outwardly we could look as righteous as any person who walked the earth, but against the life of Christ we would be polluted beyond redemption. 

However, we are created in the image of God but have utterly disfigured that image in ourselves. Amazingly we are still sought after and loved by the One who created us. While some stand with fist shaking at the sky at a God that they feel is unfair or distant; we bow with the acceptance of a grace unmerited. While some say that there is no God because they have not scientifically or logically proved his existence; we can only cry out the preponderance of evidence that surrounds us in the universe and worship Him.  

My failures, my frailties rise to constantly condemn me. My losses, rejections, loneliness are constantly before me. Yet, in the midst of these things there is the thought of obedience. I am here, in this place, in this condition as a result of the leading of the Lord. I am reminded to be comforted in the will of the Father. He said these things would happen and here they are. Trust becomes the battle of the mind. The spirit responds with a big “yes” and the mind responds with a big “What if?” The battle of faith and doubt war in the soul. Sometimes you wonder who will win. However, experience says “hold on,” he will come. I have had enough last minute experiences with God to know that he does come through.

History indicates that there are many, many testimonies of impending defeat when suddenly God shows up with a miracle. Something happens that changes the course of history. Sometimes it’s a wind storm that exposes land mines that were buried. Sometimes it is an army that stops for lunch. Sometimes it’s the sun going back in the sky. There are numerous miracles of provision, or life changing events. While the Israelites had their back to the Red Sea and an Egyptian army bearing down on them, God changed the course of history by shrouding the army in a dense fog while He was sending a wind so strong it parted waters and held them there long enough to move 3-6 million people to the other side on dry sea bottom.

Our situation is like a ripe fruit ready for God to pick. He has been working, He is working, and He will continue to work. He will use our frailties to bring about His glory. In our weakness, He is made strong. 

– Pastor Bill

ONWARD

ONWARD

 

In every situation in life we would like to have a perfect explanation, a reason, a simple logical answer. We would also like to stand on the high ground and say we were right and “they” were wrong. It is not like that; yet we want people to take sides and make everything black and white. Take, for instance, divorces. In the heat of the problems there comes a place where neither party can continue as is. But what follows is problematic. The rules are that somebody has to be blamed, someone has to be the guilty party. However, the truth is that there are no blameless persons in the issue; some just handled them poorly and broke covenant. Then comes the court battles, the grab for property and money, the fight over child custody, and the campaign for allies to hate the other person. The collateral damage takes on huge proportions. It is not just the couple separating; it is the kids, the grandparents, the friends, and the business associates. All these are collateral damage and all receiving second hand offenses with little or insufficient facts, but true to their allegiance, they blindly hate, separate, accuse, and spread the one sided, insufficient story.

The strange thing is that down the road, the couple may come to a civilized, workable arrangement, but the second hand offenses remain. They remain because the couple does not go fix what they broke or tell the truth of their part in the sad affair. 

Life is messy. Not every change is well received. Companies change leaders, schools change administrators, teachers, and churches change vision and direction. It does not mean that the administrator who left is bad or the teacher who goes is a poor educator. Companies change CEO’s, corporate officers, and management from time to time to keep the company viable. Sometimes in churches, there are changes in staff and leadership. All that is for the long term benefit of the church. Churches have to keep current with the current move of God and that is not easy.

As we are going through changes that are necessary for the welfare of the church long term, it is not easy. We have friends and loved ones who have chosen to move on and we have new folks who are joining our vision. It does not make those who are moving on bad people, it is just where things are at the moment. We are not bad people for staying and working on the change. The challenge lies before us.

When friendships are tested and each has to go a direction that causes some separation, it does not mean that friendships should not be maintained. It will mean that the paths will not cross as frequently, but they will cross from time to time.

I look forward to the process of growing and following the current move of God for us. This is a new day: Onward and Upward!

– Pastor Bill

JOY

JOY
 
Responding to the call of God at the age of 11 to be in ministry was exciting and meaningful to me. Who knew where it was going to take me. Studying through high school and college for the ministry was wonderful. I like to read and study. I like the challenge of learning. Learning to fly with an instrument rating on top of it was like another college education. I also like to teach. I used to substitute teach while in high school for short periods of time. I also taught school for several years while pastoring. I enjoyed the kids. I loved being a youth pastor early on. Cathy was always great with the kids. We usually had our house full of kids. We even took in run-aways for a season. We were visited sometimes in the middle of the night with someone needing help.

The joys of serving the Lord are found in people who have met the Lord and significant change has happened as a result of Jesus. For me, having someone accept Christ is thrilling. Baptizing a convert is a blessing. Praying for someone to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit is exhilarating. Teaching someone who is hungry for God is a mountain top experience. Talking meaningfully about the Lord with a fellow Christian is fun and the expanding of the soul. Really, being about the Father’s business is joyful.

What is not joyful are the power struggles of religion and organizations. Often the church is no better than the political circus we have witnessed. The hardships of personal relationships, the partisanship, the gossip, and accusations are exhausting and counter productive to the kingdom of God.

I am hoping and believing that as we move forward that we will have a new life of joy, satisfaction, and testimony to the goodness of God. Life is messy enough without our expressions of faith being tormented. While organization is important, it cannot be rigid. We must be able to adapt and flow with various situations and people. Times may change on us and we have to adapt. I really want to see us be loving, flexible, personal, serving one another, and flowing with the Holy Spirit. If we can be open and friendly, we may find people looking for us. The rigid purity that we think is the way to holiness is usually the way to uptight legalism. Jesus was loved and sought after by the disenfranchised and the down and outers. He was loving yet brutally honest and forthright. Pretense did not fly; neither will it now.

Me, I want to be happy again. I want to flow as the Lord called me and has directed me. This is a new day, a happy day, full of potential for all of us. I am looking for the birth and influx of people who want to live in freedom and joy. Let’s really GO…LOVE…SERVE.