Christian or a Politician

Philippians 4:4-8

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

It’s come that time again when politicians are in full bloom and everyone is spewing their opinions left and right like they have the best runner in the race. What hurts me the most is when I see Christians doing this on a daily basis. I put my trust in Jesus, and Jesus alone. Especially when I feel most of the politicians running for office are crooks. I am not sure there really is a difference between the left and right anymore. I can’t see how America would be better with Hillary or Trump; they’re both embrace ideologies that are not biblical. Sanders and Cruz, Rubio are lost in their own minds with promises like a kid running for student counsel president.

 

I always seem to be across the table from someone spouting out how we need a president who will save the world or Christianity in America, HUH? I think God is big enough to have His will anywhere, and that’s what we are called to be doing in our evangelism. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a president doing evangelism as well, but we haven’t seen this kind of president since Ronald Reagan, so I am not holding my breath this election year.

 

Maybe what we should really be doing is spending at least 30 minutes a day reading the Bible and 30 minutes a day praying for our faith, family, churches, country, our leaders and so on. Not spending 4 hours every night watching political news. You can watch these news channels, but please have some balance in your life. Don’t forget your loved ones are there with you and want your time and attention as well.

 

Don’t get me wrong, we need to be educated on whom to vote for, but I am not going to be swayed by you or anyone else. I will spend ample time in prayer and then I will do my own homework, and then I will go back to my life and spend it caring for people. I will continue evangelizing everyday by speaking life into people who have given up hope and helping people who need help, and feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the sick and so on, like the Bible tells us to do. If we want to see American become a great Christian nation again, we need to be more Christian and fewer politicians.

 

This is a common problem with all people in all situations. We get so lopsided we lose our balance in live. I worry that even after this next election we will still get so wrapped up into bashing whoever gets elected we forget to live the way Jesus showed us and taught us. We need to love one another and pray for those who persecute us. And when the dust settles I want you to know I love you and care for you and your family, but not more than Jesus does.

 

Be Blessed My Friends.

P.B.

Don't Judge Me

Today was just another normal day for a guy who is busier than he needs to be. I worked all day, and had various meetings, did my doctoral studies and homework, had a staff meeting. Finally it was time to go home, by going home I mean, pick up Susan and Taylor and go to the gym and work out before I get to eat dinner and anything else. After my normal work out route of lifting and then running on the treadmill, it was time for the sweatbox, also known as the sauna.  The term for a sweatbox goes all the way back to old tourcherous prisons who used it for a special punishment for those who were especially bad. I am a good guy I promise, well for the most part that is! You have to psych yourself out to go the long haul in the sweatbox to get the most out of it. When I went in there was seven guys in there, and I told myself I would outlast all of them before I left. After about 15 minutes one by one stepped out but one guy. I told him that they all left like there was a fire in here or something. He answered with some very strong explicit language about their masculinity in a joking manner of course. We began talking out the sweatbox and he asked about the sweatshirt I had on which made it even worse for me. I told him how I sat at a desk these days and as an old man I needed. He stated he sat at a desk all day too and how it is hard on your body and a man can get pretty fat sitting in a (explicit) chair all day. I asked him what he did and he said he was an investment banker who worked from home. AND THEN HE ASKED WHAT I DID! I told him I was the new lead pastor at Long Beach First Church of the Nazarene. Right off the bat he said he was sorry for his language and asked that I not judge him. I told him no problem and please don’t judge me. He looked shocked when I told him not to judge me. He said he never heard a preacher ask that before. I told him that while most think I will judge them, the truth is most people judge me thinking I will judge them, condemn them, preach at them, and then call them a sinner who needs to get right with God. He said he had never thought of that, but it was true, he was just doing that exact same thing. I told him I was just a regular guy who loved Jesus and his language wasn’t a sin, just in need of netter adjectives. I also told him that the commandment was not to use God’s name in vain and that the F word wasn’t even used in Jesus’ time. We talked for a little while longer and introduced himself as Camden and I said I was just Brad. He asked a few more simple questions and after answering them I said I needed to go because I was dying. He asked if I came there a lot and I said everyday. He then said I will see you tomorrow and I told him to come up with another good question for tomorrow and we will discuss it then. Pray for Camden and don’t judge him or me.

 

 

 

Guilty

Today a jury convicted Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes on Thursday in the 2012 massacre that killed 12 people and injured 70, and he could now face the death penalty.

Susan and I sat here glued to our television as each verdict was read aloud from Arapahoe County District Chief Judge Carlos Samour Jr.; as I am sure everyone in the Denver and Denver Metro area as well as most of America.

There was never a moment when anyone asked if Holmes was really guilty or not. Oddly enough when I heard GUILTY, I thought to myself, I am guilty. We are all guilty of sin in God’s court of law. The Apostle Paul states in:

Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (NIV).

As Chief Judge Carlos Samour Jr. read each verdict I thought how God could sit there and read the verdict of guilty at every one of my sins. This could take another lifetime to do.

For James Holmes we will now wait for his sentence. It could be life in prison or even the death penalty. All of this to come in the next couple weeks.

As Christians our day of judgment will be much different. Since Jesus Christ died for our sins, when God looks to read our offenses He will find nothing and will tell us we are released to go (to Heaven). Praise be to God.

But what if we had never given ourselves to God about and asked Jesus Christ to forgive us and to be not only our advocate to God, but to atone for our sins?

The sentencing would sound much of what we heard today on our televisions. James Holmes never had to hear the judge say what he had to today, and nether do you on your judgment day.

Decide today to give your whole self to Jesus Christ today so your day of judgment will be one of celebration and welcome into Heaven through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ OUR Savior.

John 8:36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (NIV)

 

Where is Your Passion

When I gave my life to Jesus Christ I was instantly on fire with life. Previous to that my life had been taken from me because of my upbringing and the world I grew up in.  When I first felt the freedom from sin in my life I wanted to share it with everybody, even if you or he or she didn’t want to listen. Since coming into ministry I have worked hard to be a soul winner to replicate that feeling of freedom in others. I had the gift when it came to being a children’s pastor and youth pastor; but now I have grown. My hair is decreasing and my belly is increasing; but I still spend my days looking to bring freedom to the lost by the name of Jesus Christ.  We adults look to our faith as some duty or some social status. The belief system is there, but where is the passion? The fire and drive? We should be actively seeking to save the lost. Not waiting for them to walk into our doors. Not sitting in our pews, lukewarm and thinking we are OK with our relationship with Jesus Christ. There are millions of married couples that get divorced every day because their relationship has grown lukewarm. Don’t let this happen to your relationship with God. Spice it up, fall in love again and then go and tell the world, whether they want to hear it or not.

If we truly believe in what we profess, how much do we have to hate people not to tell them about God, Jesus and Heaven and let them slip into hell?

David Ralph my DS sent me this earlier today:
This was said of a great preacher in London who was preaching 100 years after John Wesley had brought such a revival to England that so changed the culture that it was said of this spiritual revival that it saved England from the revolution that France had to endure...

 But by the time W.E. Sangster came along the church had grown cold again...  He preached to 3000 AM & PM in London for 16 years in the famed Westminster Central Hall that was considered the Cathedral of Methodism...
It was said of the emphasis of his preaching in that period...  It's an older and outdated style of English but it's extremely descriptive...
He longed to see lukewarm pew-sitters aflame with that oceanic Love which bleaches sin's allure and breaks sin's grip and therefore scorches and saves in the same instant"

Saint Waylon

How To Handle Betrayal

 was reading a passage the other day and something struck me …

The emotions of betrayal …

Have you ever experienced them?
It helps to be able to count to 12 …

See what I mean …

And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. Acts 1:13

Do you see what I saw?
Count them. There are 11 names. Eleven. Not 12.
One was missing. For three years there were 12. They had been Jesus’ disciples. His closest companions. Jesus had invested time, energy and life into them. Now there were 11. One was missing.

The betrayer …

If you don’t know the story, another named Judas betrayed Jesus. For a hefty sum of money, he handed Jesus to the authorities where He was arrested, beaten and crucified. Of course, it was used for a divine purpose, but the fact is one of the disciples betrayed the others and Jesus.
I don’t think I ever considered this before … but what were the emotions of betrayal for the remaining disciples? Did they miss their friend? In spite of his betrayal, he was a close companion on a mission. A team member. There must have been some attachment. Were there moments of bitterness, anger or rage? Were they sad? Was there one in particular who got hurt most? He was closest to the betrayer, perhaps (I don’t know … just knowing people and team dynamics, I’m asking).
But, that was then and this post is really about you.

Have you ever experienced the emotions of betrayal?

We don’t talk about it much in leadership or ministry, but maybe we should. Those emotions are real. They are heavy. And, they are common.
Have you been hurt by your own betrayer? You trusted him or her. You may have even called them friend. They let you down. Disappointed you. Betrayed you.
Anyone who has served in any leadership position has experienced betrayal at some level. It could have been the gossip started by a supposed friend or a pointed and calculated stab in the back. Either way … it hurts.
Learning to deal with, process and mature through betrayal may be one of the more important leadership issues, yet we seldom deal with the issue.
How do you handle betrayal?

Here are a few quick suggestions:

Grieve — Give yourself time to process. Be honest about the pain. Don’t pretend it didn’t matter. It does.

Forgive — As much as it hurts, refusing to forgive or holding a grudge will hurt you more than the betrayer. Embrace and extend grace. If there are realistic consequences, you can let those occur, but in your heart let it go. It may take time to do this, but the longer you delay the more you are still held captive by the betrayal.

Analyze — It is good at a time of betrayal to consider what went wrong. Was it an error in judgement? Do you need stricter guidelines? Would it have happened regardless? You can’t script morality and shouldn’t attempt to, but you should use this as a chance for a healthy review of the parameters in which the betrayal occurred.

Continue — You can’t allow a betrayal to distract you from the vision you have been called to complete. There will always be betrayers in the mix. They show up unexpectedly. Eventually you will have to take a risk on people again. It’s the only way to lead healthfully.

Have you ever been betrayed?

 

I Don’t Believe in Organized Religion?

Today after lunch Susan, Taylor and I went to lunch excited from today’s service at Denver First CON. As our waiter came to take our drink order, he asked how our day was going so far. Taylor still reeling from the sermon began to tell him how we were just at Denver First CON and the sermon and worship were awesome and on and on (did I mention she was excited?) The waiter took a deep breath and began to tell us how he no longer goes to church and does not believe in organized religion. He went on about the Catholic Church, the Methodist church, the mornon cult, and many others. When he finished his rant he finally went to retrieve our waters with lemon.

For years I have heard people say they do not like organized religion and I must admit it really bothers me. Organized religion is a group of people who have a method or order of doing things that have a purpose and point and a goal in mind. Imagine if religion wasn’t organized. Everyone would show up whenever they wanted for service, but no one at the right time so nothing could be done or shared. The pastors of course needed no organized education, so would only ramble of what they personally know. So instead of facts everyone would learn bad opinions. No one would visit the sick, because we couldn’t organize the information of the patient or hospital or reason. Funerals and weddings would be a crapshoot hoping the church would be open and that someone to do the service would know to come, since it wasn’t organized.

Orphanages all over the world would shut down and children stave to death, because the church wasn’t organized in their practices. Missionaries would wonder in foreign places because they were not organized in what they are to do, and they church would most likely send them to the wrong place, because they weren’t organized in their game plan. Christian homeless shelters like the Denver rescue Mission would close down and hundreds of homeless and mentally handicap people would have no place to eat or sleep tonight. This list goes on and on doesn’t it?

I even pondered the thought of wondering if the kitchen he goes to get the food is organized or just a big mess where the health department would shut them down? What if payroll where he works wasn’t organized how he would feel not ever getting the right pay or payday? What if his doctor wasn’t organized and he had cancer, would he just want to stay at home and do his own research and personally healing, since he doesn’t need organization.

In his rant he also stated how no one knows which religion is right. I know how to find out; organize your time and effort and research it, but the would take some form of organization. To be honest, I usually hear this and realize the individual doesn’t want accountability for his life and his decisions.