KEEP IT REAL!

26 07 2019

Got Faith

As a Christian, I have surrendered my life to Jesus with the humble desire that His will be done to me and through me. I made this decision back in April of 1975 and shortly after my conversion experience, I received a calling into full time pastoral ministry. I was so excited about preparing for this adventure. I loved my time at Philadelphia College of Bible and couldn’t get enough of studying the Bible as well as making the most of every opportunity to share the good news with just about anyone who would listen. One of my favorite expressions from those days was shouting at the top of my lungs, “I’m Going to Heaven!” I’m glad I didn’t know then what I have come to know now. I’m not sure I would have signed on to this journey if I had the details ahead of time. I believe God loves us so much, He purposely keeps us in the dark about what might prevent us from living in the light.

It’s been 37 years since I became a professional Pastor. I can confidently tell you that I still love Jesus even though I haven’t always been crazy about the scripts that He has given me. I am hopelessly loyal to those God has placed within my path and I am still naïve enough to believe that people can be trusted to keep their word. Unfortunately, that balloon has burst so often that I am tired of plugging it up. But I refuse to become cynical and sarcastic. Every day I pray that I will seek the Lord passionately and always be open to new and creative ways to show others the truth and grace of Jesus. It must be both, by the way. Operating with only truth and one can become legalistic and pompous. Acting with only grace and one gets fluffy and shallow. I don’t want to become a cocky Pharisee but I also want to have way more depth than Barney the Dinosaur. This is where we Believers must not try to use the culture as a replacement for devotion to the Christ that we have pledged allegiance to. It’s His Word that is the only hope for our world. And the Bible is key to way more than just stuffing our brain with information, but changing our heart with transformation.

If there is one habit of our present society that just plain irritates me, it is the blatant disrespect shown for authority. Nobody wants anybody to tell them what to do or how to do it or where to do it or when to do it. We must not stamp the Lord’s name on our tastes. There are times that we need to do something not because we feel like it but because it is right. If I only entered into activities that I enjoyed, I wouldn’t be much good. As a matter of fact, God sees the big picture and my growth would have been stunted horribly if my to do list was only as long as what I could envision. While we may wrestle with our divine assignments, it all comes down to obedience if we ever want to become fully grown disciples. The surrounding crowds will always shout their selfish opinions but it’s only the Head Coach we need to please. If I start pastoring to just please the congregation as my number one goal, the church is suddenly in trouble. If we want to be eternally effective, make sure that everything you do is for the audience of the One who is seated on the throne in Heaven!

It’s going to be tempting to do things just because everybody is doing it. The fact is, not everybody is doing it. It only takes one descending vote to make the mob less crowded. Nobody can make you do something that you don’t want to do and so while the coercion meter might be at high alert, you still have a choice. I pray that God gives us Christians the boldness to stay true to Jesus as He was faithful to us. The cross wasn’t a picnic in the park and it caused our Savior much shame and pain but for the joy set before Him, He went the distance. It is time for the church to stop zigging when they need to be zagging and start not only asking, “What Would Jesus Do?” but we get busy really doing it His way.

How do you talk to strangers? Does your wardrobe worship God? Are you careful about not just eating organic and healthy but feeding your soul with the wonderful words of life? Do your footprints lead to places that you are proud to be? What are the views that you give permission for your eyes to see? If Jesus hung out with you, would you be embarrassed by His company? Would you ask the Son of God to wait here while you go there? Are you able to say “No” to what sin wants you to say “Yes” to? Can you be honest about your struggles or are you so good at acting, you even believe the lies? Do you go to church to be entertained or challenged? Are you seeking an easy chair when the Lord is ready for you to launch into the wild blue yonder? Are you stingy with your money or are you a cheerful giver? Does God get your absolute best or is He stuck with your lazy leftovers? Have you decided to follow Jesus or are you content with only a fun sized spiritual snack? It is time to get all excited and go tell everybody that Jesus Christ is King because you are signed, sealed and delivered yourself.

I’m a 59-year-old Minister. Many churches have decided to only have young and hip Preachers. I think we need Pastors of all ages in all stages of the seasons of life. I may have more life behind me than ahead of me but life has always been about quality and not quantity where God is involved. I still love what I do, where I get to do it, and it’s because of my real relationship with Jesus that I will not get sloppy about the road I travel upon. I share all the truth, even the hard verses because when it comes to God’s recipe of sanctification, no ingredients can be compromised. I have no intentions of hammering people over the head or shoving the Bible down anyone’s throat. Those tactics didn’t work with me so why would I use them for others. Somebody loved me enough to tell me about Jesus. As long as I am the Pastor of The Lighthouse Church, I long to do the same. The times they may be changing but I’m anchored to the Rock and thoroughly creative about the instruments that we use to win the right to be heard and understood. This is no time for pseudo faith. I only want to offer you the real thing. Any other options will only lead you to die a slow death of thirst.


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