Monthly Archives: May 2015

Godly Guideance for Graduates!

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Graduates & Church Family,

Both of our area High School, Cherokee and Volunteer have their graduation ceremonies this coming Saturday, May 23, 2015. This involves some of you individually and some of you as families. Let me begin by saying to those graduating, CONGRATS you made it!

Now to you graduating I would like to give you some Godly Guidance for Graduates. High school graduation is a rite of passage unlike any other. You move from being treated like a child (legally) to being counted an adult, both in society and in any academic setting you might enter. Colleges aren’t even allowed to discuss your grades with your parents apart from your consent. Childhood is over. Adulthood beckons. How should you respond to the blessing and challenge of graduation?

  1. Own Your Faith.

If you come from a Christian home, you have benefited tremendously from a host of supportive circumstances (household rules, numerous protections, church life). Testing awaits as you enter the world. It won’t be enough to ride the coat tails of your parents’ faith. If you’re not sure about Christianity, now is the time to settle the matter (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Christianity is a faith unlike any other because it’s based on historical events that were verifiable to thousands of people in Christ’s day (1 Corinthians 15:3–6, 12–14) — some of whom died for what they would have known to be false, had it been false. If you have doubts, ask away. The existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus, Jesus being the only way to God — there is a wealth of material which addresses these and other questions.

But do you want to base your life on Jesus Christ? You’ll soon encounter new opportunities to misuse God’s good gifts in ways that seem alluring — that seem to offer immediate pleasure. Will you believe the lie that God is a cosmic killjoy, out to rob you from experiencing the good things of life (Genesis 3:6)? Or will you trust that the One who made you knows best, that his rules are an expression of His love, and that His ways lead to your greatest happiness (Psalm 16:11)?

Many forsake their faith, I pray you do not!

  1. Own Your Relationships.

The Christian faith is lived out in community. So you’ll need to find a good church. Somewhere you can worship, learn, grow, and serve. Somewhere you can form friendships and where you can be a friend. Look at a few church websites before you leave home. Check out their beliefs, listen to their sermons, and be aware of their ministries. Make church attendance a priority early. It’s a harder habit to form later.

At college, the easiest friendships aren’t always the best. To become wise, you need to walk (or do life) with the wise (Proverbs 13:20). Look for others who share your commitment to the things of God and faithfully invest in them. Relational evangelism is worth pursuing, especially at college, but make sure you also nurture friendships that strengthen your faith (Proverbs 27:17). We’re commanded to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13–16) — which presupposes we are salt and light. To make a difference in the world we must be different than the world. Holiness in lifestyle, combined with a gracious demeanor, provide a winsome alternative to the wasteland of hedonism and materialism that are rampant on college campuses and youth culture in general.

  1. Own Your Decisions.

Assessing situations, weighing alternatives, and thinking critically are like using muscles. Flabbiness comes from disuse; strength comes through practice. The next few years are full of choices — which college (or trade) to pursue, what to study, how to pay for it, and more. It might be nice if God spoke with an audible voice at each crossroads, but that’s not been my experience. We should pray (James 1:5). We should seek counsel from trustworthy people who know us (Proverbs 15:22). We should consider where we’ve been successful and what activities we enjoy, as these point to where, over time, we might be most useful in this world for the good of others and the glory of God.

Panicked that you’ll miss God’s will? God wants us to follow him more than we do. His moral will is revealed in the Bible. His sovereign will is revealed as we live it. So make the best decisions you can based on sound judgment, accept the consequences, learn from any missteps, and trust God to shower you with mercy and goodness (Psalm 23:6). With God no path is without difficulty and no path is without blessing.

Congratulations on your graduation. Godspeed in the days ahead. Grace be with you to the end.

In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

This Pastors Pen is based on the article written by Alex Chediak (@chediak) is a professor of engineering and physics at California Baptist University and the author of Preparing Your Teens For College (Tyndale House, 2014) and Thriving at College (Tyndale House, 2011).

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God Is Passionate About You!

The Pastors Pen Logo smallI have been reading some things and hearing some things that concern me and create within me a heavy heart. So, I just want to share my heart with you. Some of this pretty heavy, but I want to give you a word of encouragement, God is passionate about you!

John 3:16 (KJV) 16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 15:13 (KJV) 13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Our World Is In Pain.

In my years of pastoring I have found that people are pretty much the same where ever you are. However, in recent years I find that there is an increasing problem that I would sum in two words Godlessness and hopelessness. It maybe because we get the news of troubles, problems, wars, and disasters like Nepal’s two catastrophic earthquakes of recent days instantly in comparison to years ago when it might have taken weeks, months or even years to hear of an event. But there is something even more insidious. People in the world’s most affluent society, America are turning away from God at an ever increasingly rapid pace. I know this is the fulfillment of scripture. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV) 3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  And this is leaving the people of America and the world with feelings of despair and hopelessness.

Perhaps the greatest psychological, spiritual, and medical need that people have today is the need for a Godly Hope. There was a professor of medicine at Cornell University Medical College  and associate professor of Psychiatry said, “Hope, like faith and a purpose in life is medicinal. This is not exactly a statement of  belief, but a conclusion proven by meticulously controlled scientific experiment.

Our country, most blessed of God and yet the Hearts of many are Troubled.

Our homes are war zones. My focus is not the international wars of the world, our homes are war zones and the social order of the home is under attack from those sworn to protect it. Families are made up of damaged and imperfect people, rape victims, those who have atrocities in their memories and their hearts are filled with horrible fears. The most dangerous place for a new baby is in her mother’s womb. Don’t be overly burdened with the demise or the fall of Wall Street, our homes, our families are falling. We try to raise kids in a country where they are almost an endangered species and unlike the baby seal or the snail darter of my day, no one seems to be fighting to save them. We live in a country with great blessing, nice homes, nice cars and more money than many of the other counties of the world combined and yet we live lives feeling empty.

We and future generation, I believe will pass through the fire. This seems to be a generation destined to live in the midst of crisis, danger, fear, and death. We are like a people with a death sentence, waiting for the date to be set. We sense that something is about to happen. We know things cannot continue to go on as they are. Have we reached an impasse? Are we about to be on a collision course with a destiny that will break us?

I was born in 1961. By the mid 60’s many were thinking the world can’t get any worse and survive, yet it has and we have survived. But we are in pain – a world suffering from the violence of nature and of man, a world that suffers collectively and individually from personal heartaches.

Because we have such instant communication our world has been shrunk to the size of a television screen, a computer or tablet screen or even the screen on a cellphone. And yet family members have trouble communicating. Comfortable living rooms are often turned into raging battlefields and not always by the show on TV or the news, but by the family members themselves fighting among themselves.

Someone has said, “America has more wealth, more two car families, more private homes and we write more books on how to be happy than any other country of the world. And yet in America where our standard of living is one of the highest in the world, we are the least fulfilled and satisfied. And all our ease has led to a spiritual sickness.

When suffering hits us personally, there is a common cry, “Why Me? What’s the reason? For man without faith in a personal God, reaction to painful situations are as varied as pain itself. Without God’s guidance, our response to suffering is a futile attempt to find solutions to conditions that cannot be solved.

Some see God as a harsh father waiting to punish His children. Others see God as unable to handle the evil of the world or indifferent to the suffering of the world.

I am here to faithfully remind us of God’s Unfailing Love.

God’s love is unchangeable. He knows exactly what we and loves us anyway. In fact, He created us because He wanted other creatures in His image whom He could love and who would love Him in return. Not that we would love Him out of obligation or have to love Him, He gave us freedom of choice. He does not want a mechanized love, only voluntary love satisfies the Heart of God.

On a human level, we often love the one who loves us. Yet in the spiritual realm, we do not seem to grasp the overwhelming love of a holy God. We can however better understand God’s love by getting to know Him through daily relationship and walk with His Son Jesus Christ. No one can grasp the Love of God. And no one can understand God’s love without knowing His Sn who is passionate about loving us.

Pastor Rick Signature

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Happy Mother’s Day / Yo Wife is Not Yo Mama!

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and that presents a couple of really great opportunities for those of us who serve the church. First and foremost, it gives us the opportunity to honor and encourage the moms in our churches by thanking them for all they do, reminding them how important their role is, and inspiring them to be faithful to their task.

The second opportunity Mother’s Day presents is the chance to reach sons and daughters who may not normally attend your church. This Sunday is the third highest attendance Sunday for churches, just behind Easter and Christmas. Moms reveal who God is in the ways that they care for, love, and protect their children, and is a perfect way to share the gospel with those visiting.

Happy Mother’s Day! To all you mother’s, grandmother’s and future Mothers out there – my wife and I would like to wish you happy Mother’s Day!

I think one of the major flaws by husbands is that we grow up, most of us, with our mamas…and then when we are married, we have this default button that we push that makes us treat, act and react to our wives as if they’re our mamas. They are not. I want every man in the building to say this with me right now… “My wife is not my mama”… (My wife is not my mama). When I grew up, my grandmother tried to give me a special life. Life was about me, not her. She selflessly served me, fed me, did my laundry, and cleaned my house, provided for me. She took care of me. Now, I’m married…and it’s not Becky’s job to be my mama or my grandmamma…she’s my wife.

This is not just for the men…If you have a mama…a grandmamma…or a special lady in your life; this is for YOU too!

Genesis 2:18 “The Lord God said, `It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.'”

See, you leave your mama…and cleave to your wife. But your wife is not yo mama.

Married or not, the Bible says it’s not good for you to be alone. You were made for relationships. Human beings were made for relationships. Whether you’re married or not, you need companionship. You need friendships. You need people to relate to. That’s why the worst kind of punishment is called solitary confinement. Don’t abandon your mom or your wife. Don’t neglect them, love them and relate to them.

Don’t expect your wife to be your momma. She may be the mother of your children, but she is not raising you, you are a man. Be a godly man and love your momma and your wife.

Let me share with you some ways to love your wife and your mother.

  1. LOVE HER BY LOVING GOD. It almost goes without saying…when you love God – everything else in life lines up.
  2. LOVE HER BY SERVING HER. You could say it this way…Pick up your socks! Or don’t leave extra unnecessary messes for her to clean up after you.
  3. LOVE HER BY TELLING HER. I’m sure you’ve heard it before…but the Bible tells us that our “words” have the power of life and the power of death. You can kill your relationship by the words you speak, or you can speak life into it. By the way…if you have kids…you better make sure you’re using words of life in front of them, too! Tell your wife you love her in front of them. Give your wife a hug or a kiss in front of them. Let them see you treat mama like a princess. Your kids are gonna learn character from YOU…good or bad character…they are gonna learn it by WATCHING you!
  4. LOVE HER BY GIVING TO HER.
  5. LOVE HER BY PROTECTING HER. There are many kinds of storms. Emotional, physical, relational, financial. Storms of change…whether good or bad change, it causes stress. Storms of failure. Storms of rejection. Storms of aging. Storms of healthy. Storms! And our job, as men…God has set us up to be protectors. In fact, our homes…our houses…should be safe houses.
  6. LOVE HER BY PROVIDING FOR HER.  “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8

There is something incredibly special about the influence that mothers have on their children and families. Especially at a young age, little girls want to be just like their mamas, and little boys want to marry them. However, depending on how a mother’s influence is channeled, she can have either a negative or positive impact on her kids. Its not enough just to possess faith, you’ve got to pass it on.

Oh and go to our church Facebook page and follow the link to take the Mothers of the Bible Quiz!

In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

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