Monthly Archives: April 2012

It’s Monday But Sunday’s a comin…

If you are a pastor the title of this post probably caught your eye.  Sunday happens every seven days (captain obvious I know…) and the six days in between seem to fly by way too fast.  When I speak to other ministers I frequently hear them say that preparing a new sermon each week is one of the most stressful parts of their job.  Most people don’t realize how much time and study it takes to prepare a 25-35 minute message.  The time varies for everyone but I find that a minimum of 15 hours is needed to really do a good job on Sunday morning.  Early on in my ministry I spent as much as 30-35 hours just studying and preparing for my Sunday Morning message. In order for your message to be clear, practical, engaging and relevant every Pastor must devote large amounts of time to preparation.  Over the years I have found that a few things make preparing for Sunday easier for me.  If you are a minister some of these tips and tricks might help you too. Pray, and plan into the future.- When I spend time praying about what to preach on I pray and plan at least 6-8 weeks in advance.  I am always asking God what He would have me say not this weekend but 6-8 weekends from now.  I write those things down and jot down notes, ideas, and even basic outlines when they come to me during prayer time. I keep a preaching calendar and place those topics on the appropriate Sundays along with my notes about that topic. Generally, I can see some kind of pattern to the messages God lays on my heart, and […]

Who has the cheese?

Also take these ten portions of cheese to their commanding officer. Find out how your brothers are doing and bring back their pledge that they received the goods. 1 Samuel 17:18 NET When young David departed with the cheese and other goods his father wanted delivered to his older sons he had no way of knowing that his entire life was about to change. A normal delivery turned into a great victory on the battle field and propelled David into an instant national hero. I wonder if today might be the day that you set out to deliver some cheese and then find yourself face to face with a champion like Goliath.  It is in the most unassuming inconspicuous moments that God uses ordinary people in the greatest ways.  It might be at the grocery store, while you sit at your desk in the office, or while you mow your lawn.  Perhaps it will be while on vacation, or while attending a ball game, or maybe even while you are filling your tank up with gas.  It is during the normal course of life that God gives us the opportunity to serve, and win great battles in his name.  Don’t leave the house unprepared for battle because you never know when God might desire to use you to bring down a Goliath.

Favor and Honor…

For the LORD God is our sovereign protector. The LORD bestows favor and honor; he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity.–––Psalms 84:11 NET Few who truly know God would argue that he is anything but amazing.  Our heavenly father withholds no good thing from those who choose to follow and obey Him.  Scripture declares that He has amazing and wonderful plans for our lives.  Jesus said He came so that we might have a full and abundant life.  As you walk through another day on planet earth remember that you are not alone.  You have a sovereign protector who desires to bestow favor and honor on you. Don’t worry about the things of this life that may try to threaten your faith today, instead dwell on the promises of God’s word and the truth of the Gospel.  Spread those promises and that wonderful Gospel message to others as well so  they too might know how great our God is.

By |April 25th, 2012|Bible|2 Comments

Forced into service…

As they were going out, they found a man from Cyrene named Simon, whom they forced to carry his cross.–––Matthew 27:32 NET As a general rule humans do not enjoy forced service.  I personally know several men who were forced into serving their country during 1969 and 1970 for the Vietnam war.  This forced service forever changed each of their lives.  Some made life long friends and to this day carry many good and beneficial memories of their time in the military.  Others held in their arms the friends they had made while they suffered and died on the battlefield, and the memories that remain haunt them to this very day. Regardless of the experience, none of these men I know appreciate the way they were forced to serve.  We should however be thankful that they did along with all of their other comrades who have faithfully served the United States of America throughout history.  Take time to thank a service member today! In reading the passage above  I pondered how I might have felt if forced into service like Simon was.  Granted it was the Roman soldiers not God who forced him to serve, but there are no accidents or coincidences in God’s Kingdom.  God knew that Jesus would be unable to carry His cross after the terrible beating He endured and therefore positioned a foreigner in the perfect position to be thrust into forced service to help the Son of God. So what can we learn from this man?  First, we learn that we must always be prepared to serve.  As believers we are not promised time to prepare or plan out our service.  At times God will simply have us in the […]

Share The Gospel

1 (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, 2 and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.  1 John 2:1–2 NET I must admit I have a major addiction in my life.  Despite years of people telling me I should seek help, and tone down I just can’t help but tell people about Jesus.  It is something that jumps out from deep within me frequently before I even realize what I am doing.  Sometimes it is while I am standing in line at the grocery store, or it might be while I am playing with my kids at the park, or even when I am just talking with a friend on the phone.  I just can’t help but to tell people about Christ.  Over the years I have learned many different ways to share my faith.  I have used well crafted methods like FAITH, the Evangelism cube, the Romans Road, and the four spiritual laws countless times.  Generally however I prefer to just share my personal testimony with people.  In doing so I tell them about my life before I knew Christ, how I meet Jesus, and how my life has changed since that encounter.  Here recently however I have found a short and very effective passage of scripture to share the Gospel with people.  The two verses listed above are written to sinners and contain three powerful promises to any who have sinned. If you have sinned you have an advocate with the Father. […]

Worship and Doubt???

When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. Matthew 28:17 NET It seems strange that some of the disciples both worshiped Jesus and doubted him at the same time.  The words of this passage are recorded shortly after the Resurrection of Christ which was cause to worship him, yet still there is doubt on the part of some in the group. I wonder how frequently we do this ourselves? We gather to worship the risen Christ on Sunday and while we worship our mind is filled with doubt.  We doubt that He will provide for our needs, we doubt that He has a plan for our life, we doubt that the situation at work will end in a positive way, we doubt that the pain will ever stop, we doubt that our marriage can be restored, we doubt that our illness can be healed, all while we worship Him. Certainly these two things should not naturally exist in the lives of believers for worship is from the spirit and doubt from the flesh.  Set your mind on worship and leave behind all doubt, for there is no benefit at all in being double minded about Christ.

Relationships

Over the past two months we have been talking about relationships each Sunday as we gathered to worship at Cowboy Fellowship.  Honestly, when God first informed me of the topic I was a bit skeptical about the subject matter.  Although, I have read through the Bible on many occasions I have never really considered the amount of information on relationships that those Holy pages contain.  The abundance of information led me (and hopefully you as well) on a wonderful two month journey focused on my personal relationships.  If you missed any of these messages I hope that you might consider taking the time to listen to them online sometime in the coming days.  For this month’s news letter I thought I would attempt to sum up what I have learned about relationships over the past two months.  The following list is not in any specific order. My life is dominated by relationships.  Literally there are hundreds of relationships that I am engaged in each and every day. Relationships are a gift from God.  They bring joy, hope, peace, and help to my life unlike anything else I experience this side of heaven.  From my closest relationships with my family to the people I would only consider acquaintances, each bring value to my life in a special way. I am responsible for my part of each relationship. I can’t do anything about anyone else, so rather than focusing on changing the other person I must instead allow God to change me.  This is the only thing I can do to make my relationships better. Satan and sin are the greatest threat to every relationship in my life. If allowed to run its course sin can and […]

The Tragic Truth About Easter Sunday In America

Here is the tragic truth about Easter Sunday in America, millions will attend a church service with no intention of coming back. Every Christmas and Easter I am amazed at the numbers of people who attend church services.  This is not limited to a certain denomination, or geographical location it seems to happen everywhere.  Many churches add services to accommodate the large crowds on Easter Sunday.  They also spend months planning and preparing a “special service” to mark the occasion.  Certainly much of this preparation is to honor our Lord and Savior and his sacrifice, but a great deal of it is also to impress our guests on Easter Sunday in hopes of enticing them to come back the following weekend. This however rarely happens.  Most of the extra attenders on Easter Sunday are not looking for a church home, and they have already decided that they will not be coming back next Sunday.  Despite all of the effort, money, and lavish welcoming parties we produce on their behalf they simply have no intention of calling your church home other than Christmas, Easter, and the occasional visit throughout the year. This is the tragic truth in my personal experience with multiple churches over the past 20 years. So what should we do? Love these people for the short time we have them.  Christ calls us to love all people and that would certainly mean that we need to love and care for these that choose to be present with us on Easter and Christmas. Don’t put on a big show.  Stop trying to impress people who have already decided they won’t be coming back.  Instead put all of your focus and energy into worshiping Jesus, […]

Why Wait?

Not long ago our church honored four men who have been instrumental in the success of Cowboy Fellowship from its inception over a decade ago.  The picture here in this post shows the belt buckles they received as part of that ceremony.  All of these men were extremely surprised when they were called onto the stage and presented with their gift.  As we started to plan this event several months ago several people I mentioned it to were surprised as well.  As a minister I do many funerals each year and during those services we say many nice things about the person who has passed.  We praise them for their faith, family loyalty, honor, integrity, war service, and we talk about other notable accomplishments they achieved over the course of their lives.  This of course is appropriate, but why not tell them these things while they are still with us?  Why not honor, bless, encourage, and speak highly of people while they are alive?  I want to encourage you to honor the special people in your life in the days ahead.  Plan a special birthday party for them, get them a gift, make a speech, post an article in the paper, do whatever the Lord leads you to do.  Let people know how much they matter.  Why wait till it’s too late?

Because it’s easy…

A few days ago my son and I were out at the church walking through the plowed field on the south end of our new covered facility.  We were walking across the field checking on the grass that had been sprigged in a few weeks earlier.  About half way across the field I looked back to see my son taking very big steps and walking in my foot prints.  “Why are you walking in my foot prints” I asked?  His response was simple, “because it’s easier!”  In response I shortened my stride some to make his journey even more manageable through the soft wet terrain. Don’t you think our heavenly father does the same for us?  Have you learned that walking in the steps of Christ is always easier than making your own path in life?  When I am walking in the footsteps of Christ Jesus He tends to make things even easier by shorting His strides for me as well.  As you consider this thought for today I pray that you might think about these verses as well. Matthew 11:29–30 NET  29 Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” 1 John 2:5–6 NET  5 But whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him. 6 The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.

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