18 08 2020

Whatever Became of Sin? - Biblical Counseling Institute

Speaking In The Light with Pastor Rudy

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SIN?

 

Like many others in the Cape May County area, we lost power during the recent tropical storm. The electricity disappeared early Tuesday morning and finally reappeared Thursday night. By the time things were restored to normal, when we opened the refrigerator, it was obvious that the perishables didn’t survive the outage. We did what any intelligent individual would do. We threw out what went bad. If we only added new food to mix in with the old stuff, the new wouldn’t influence the old but it would be just the opposite. When there is something rotten in the State of Denmark, it will all be awful until we evict that which is the bad influence. The same is true with our hearts. Religion only tidies things up from the outside. It is like spraying deodorant on a dirty shirt. Instead of smelling bad body odor; you now smell body odor mixed with perfume. God doesn’t want us to cover up that which keeps us separate from Him. He wants to have unconditional access so He can transform that which is dying to something alive and brand new.

 

What exactly is sin? Here are some suggestions: “Sin is like a bad case of shingles. No one likes a shingles, nor should anyone like sin.” Sin is like being diagnosed with a disease that has a 0% survival rate.” “Sin is like weeds in a garden; if not rooted out properly and presently, they will soon overrun it and the beauty disappears!” “Sin is like a bow and arrow and shooting at a clear target and missing it every time.” “Sin is like trying to jump over a canyon and doing so even though there is no way to make it to the other side.” “Sin is like a fly in the middle of a spider web; trapped to be devoured.” “Sin is like the bee, with honey in its mouth but a sting in its tail.” “Sin is like gravity. It is an ever-present force but it will only bring you down. “Sin is like numbing your heart with too much booze only to wake up to the biggest hangover on record and there is no relief.” “Sin is like a sudden but unknown leak in a gas pipe; it’s only a matter of time before the constant breathing it in will steal your life.” “Sin is missing the challenge of being as holy as God on your own.”

 

Still we find ourselves, more often than not, actually entertaining and giving free reign to a clear and present danger. There was a song sung by Al Wilson that hit the top 40 back in 1968 simply entitled “The Snake.” The record tells the tale of a tender-hearted woman who saw a poor half frozen snake and rescued him, nurtured him and took care of all his needs. The snake repays her kindness by biting her and filling her with deadly venom. The last verse goes like this, “I saved you,” cried that woman and you’ve bit me even, why? You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die. Oh, shut up, silly woman, said the reptile with a grin, you knew darn well I was a snake before you took me in.” If you play with fire, don’t be shocked when you get burned.

 

In the Bible, we are told the story of how the Lamb of God came into the world to make it possible for sinful people like you and me to have an eternal relationship with the Lord. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose lunch over their closeness to the Lord and they allowed a slimy serpent to deceive them out of forever. Nobody had to teach us how to do wrong. We like to change the name of sin to justify our bad behavior but rationalize how we might, sin will do us in every time. Only in the Kingdom of God can the perfect sacrifice of a slain Lamb serve as the anecdote all mankind desperately needs. Jesus did what He did out of great love and yet we still do all we can to mess up the gift. On our own we can’t help but get stuck in the sin this world is steeped in. But we are not alone if we don’t want to be. The Good Shepherd has taken care of the hungry wolves. Will we submit to the only solution that has the real power to save us?     

 

The idea of exactly how to be holy has suffered from many false concepts. In too many churches, holiness is measured by how out of fashion and uncomfortable a man or woman can look on any given day! If women wear potato sacks and men never go tieless, they must be holy. In other circles, holiness happens by all the things we don’t do rather than celebrating the deeds done via the power of God now alive in a believer’s heart! A Christian is not someone who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t swear, doesn’t dance and so on and so what! A Christian must be defined by how in love with Jesus they are. When we follow the “list” approach to holiness, we are in danger of becoming just like the Pharisees who were so enamored with their own ego, they couldn’t see God when He was standing right in front of them. Holiness is expressed when we behave what we say the Bible has taught us to believe. It has more to do with who you worship than what your wardrobe looks like. What good is it if all your entire faith can be summed up by the conclusion that you talked big but came up very small. You had the content but not the character of Jesus. When you should have been separate from sin, you decided that you’d rather put distance between yourselves and the very sinners that Jesus came to rescue!

 

Make no mistake, every Christian has a battle on his or her hands but our fight is not with flesh and blood but against the power of the presence of unchecked sin. If you don’t fight it, be very sure that you won’t right it! The worldly system longs to lure us into conformity to its patterns and priorities that contradict clearly the lifestyle that Jesus invites us to experience. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also and while believers should be seeking first the Kingdom of God, the temptation of luxury, over-indulgence, greed, the accumulation of more and more things, personal gratification over the service of others and playing in the playground of pleasures get more Christians off track more often than not. God’s Word clearly says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

 

When we choose to view life by looking through the eyes of the Lord, its fruit is that we do things, we live places, we make decisions that make no sense on earth but actually reap lots of cents translating into eternal treasure in Heaven. If followers of God don’t pursue holiness with vigor and courage, we will end up championing the temporary and forfeiting the forever. Pursuing holiness may very well alter your destiny and legacy because at the altar you surrendered your ultimate direction to God, no matter what the crowds may say! Trivial pursuit is a game we should not waste precious days living. Trivial pursuit is defined as an infatuation with something that is actually valueless. I challenge us to give up on our trivial pursuit of sin so we can let the Savior fully in! Lord please make holiness a priority in our churches today. Let us admit that we have failed so that You can succeed in Your will being done on earth as it is heaven. Just because we don’t talk about sin doesn’t mean it has gone the way of the rotary phone. We need to dial in so that as we number our days, God becomes clearer to see in you and in me!





11 08 2020

take a vacation....from your problems !

SPEAKING IN THE LIGHT WITH PASTOR RUDY A VERY UNIQUE VACATION

I love the classic Bill Murray Movie, “What About Bob.” In it, Bill Murray plays Bob Wiley, a deeply disturbed, neurotic and manipulative man who has a habit of clinging onto his therapists. His last Overseer, not being able to last another minute with him, refers Wiley to an egotistical Psychiatrist named Leo Marvin who is played to perfection by Academy Award winning Actor, Richard Dreyfuss. After only one session together, Dr. Marvin is off with his family for an extended time away in Lake Winnipesauke. Leo Marvin has just written a Book entitled, “Baby Steps,” and is anticipating being interviewed soon on Good Morning America. Bob uses whatever means necessary to get the location of where Dr. Marvin is off to and the hysterics begin when he finally does find his trusted Counselor and intends to never leaves his side. When the unstable Bob befriends the other members of Dr. Leo’s family, it pushes the good Doctor over the edge. When Bob Wiley gets off the bus in New Hampshire, Dr. Leo does try to get rid of his newly discovered nuisance by writing out a very clear and specific prescription. The medicine involves no drugs but simply a mental exercise that allows the mind to take a break. What Bob needed to do was to “Take A Vacation from His Problems.” Every time I look to take some days off, I declare to my Family, “I’m on a vacation from my problems.” I was hoping that to be the case last week. How wrong I was when my whole experience included one problem after another! The origins of the word “vacation” go back to the Latin root vacate, which means “to be empty.” A true vacation involves emptying ourselves, freeing ourselves from the details of our daily grinds. I would propose that this goal might just be impossible to accomplish this side of Heaven. The more I tried to get away, the more I failed to find that place of real rest. I don’t think that “vacation,” can be discovered in a place as much as it happens by emptying our unreasonable expectations to a Person who offers us rest in the middle of chaos. While I try going, God keeps coming to my side at just the right moment to offer His peace as an inside work in spite of outside turmoil. Is it possible to humble ourselves to the practical but powerful premise that if I long to discover any remnant of paradise this side of Glory, I must surrender my agenda to His perfect will? If there is going to be less of me that allows for more of Him, the work that must be avoided is my hands getting in the way of what my Lord longs to accomplish. Let me try my best to give you a shortened recap of my so-called time away last week. Tuesday we all battled a Tropical Storm that proved to be much more annoying than we were first instructed. Like many others, our power went out in the early morning and when that happened, we were without water and use of the facilities. At my age, I am frequent visitor to the bathroom so this was not going to be an easy fix. Like many other times, I went to the Lighthouse Church to crash and live until the lights went back on again. In a time when many have found themselves working from home, I was not “homing from work!” I have observed many an attendee taking a snooze during a sermon here and there so I knew that sleeping at church was not that difficult. The power stayed out on Wednesday and I had previously booked a parasailing adventure for my daughter Leah and I in Ocean City, so off we went in spite of the fact that I hadn’t slept that well the night before. The waiting for the challenge to begin would be the happiest moment of our parasailing experience! My poor Daughter! Even after taking Dramamine, I got so seasick on the boat as we crossed over from the Bay to the Ocean that by the time we were flying, so was
everything in my stomach. I threw up time and time again at 500 feet in the sky! It didn’t end in the air. When I got back down, there were still three more pairs of parasailers to go and I held my barf bag close to my heart. I felt like I was in Hell! I never wanted something to end so badly. If vacation meant to empty myself, let’s just say that I let it all hang out! The power was still out through the day on Thursday. I was still camping out at the church. I wanted to feel sorry for myself, but battled through it choosing to just be grateful I was on solid ground once again. When we did go back home late Thursday night, our refrigerator was vacationing because it was empty! I was still hoping to salvage the last few days being officially not at work. In searching for the proverbial “Silver Lining,” I told the Lord that I would settle for some appropriate gift sent from Heaven in aluminum foil, but Saturday turned out to be no better. Because I normally preach four Services every weekend at the Lighthouse, I miss many of my Son’s baseball games, but because I was on vacation, I could actually see him play this day. But while I was on my way to Joel’s baseball game up in Riverside NJ, when I stopped to get a Wawa coffee, I proceeded to spill all 24 hot ounces all over me! It was wet, hot and incredible sticky! I burned my legs and soaked my clothes. I had to turn around and go home to change. I never made it to see Joel play and once again, my heart ached and my soul felt null and void. To cheer myself up, after I put on dry clothes, I went out to a Hallmark Store to see the new Christmas ornaments for the first time in person. I had a question about one of them and when I went looking for assistance, the Clerk took it upon herself to humiliate me publicly for not wearing my mask properly! I tried to tell her that because of my severe sinus issues, I can’t breathe with both my nose and mouth covered. She proceeded to heap more shame upon me and already feeling rejected, I went quickly for the door. Please family and friends, take the time to be sympathetic with others before you beat them up! As I drove home, I looked up again for any sign of acceptance and approval. God filled my aching spirit with these life-giving words. “Kindness… Caring… Compassion… Grace and Mercy… Patience… Understanding… Love… Positivity… Not judgmental… Not self-righteous… Not superiority… Not prejudiced… Not holier than thou… Let us lead with life! Let us listen seeking light! Let us be those who make a difference!” I couldn’t take a vacation from my problems because our world is filled with them. But I could empty myself of me so there would be more of Jesus to see. I’m going back to work again. Hey, I know there’s power in the place and I am not just talking about electricity. The same Holy Spirit who allowed Jesus to vacate the tomb is there to lead us in leaving our desires behind so we can dream a new destiny that won’t end in defeat but victory in Jesus. If the ultimate result of the word “vacation,” is to be free, then I can report that God did some necessary refinements in my heart last week. I can’t need this world to be enough because it never will become that. But a relationship that walks with the Lord no matter what, no matter where and no matter when, well, that’s a whole new ballgame. Some glad morning, when this life is over, I’ll fly away and when that time comes, it won’t be Hell. It will be the open door to Heaven!

 





4 08 2020

Easter Sunday: Jesus gives REAL HOPE - Coast Evangelical Church

SPEAKING IN THE LIGHT WITH PASTOR RUDY  AUGUST 5 2020

A REAL HOPE AND FUTURE

This is no time to be apathetic when it comes to practicing your faith. If one chooses to travel the middle of the road in such a time as this; prepare to be roadkill. The happenings of 2020 do not contradict what we read in the Scriptures. The Bible makes it very clear that it will get worse before it gets better! Paradise comes with a price. Will we follow the Lord no matter what it costs? The only person who can answer that question for you; is you. Jesus challenged every potential disciple to follow Him. For that to happen, movement is necessary. You can’t stay where you presently are and expect to go where God is inviting you to be. Going to church is so much more than gathering information. Being the church by the Spirit is all about transformation. If that isn’t inspiration to your ears which will result in some holy perspiration down your back then you aren’t involved in cooperation with your whole self, pursuing Heaven’s anointing.

 

If we aren’t in the word of God with a passion and a hunger, how will the word of God be in us? Our comfortable American culture has allowed Christianity to be reduced to nothing more than just another hobby in the many compartments that make up a man or woman’s life. Jesus has never enjoyed sharing the spotlight with anyone or anything. If an individual is choosing to call Him the Lord, then there can be no other idols standing in the way. History has proven that the biggest weakness for the flesh has been a compromising heart, wrongfully giving its worship to that which takes but never gives back. God has always bestowed so many blessings upon His children and we fall more in love with the presents rather than desiring His Presence. We demand the gifts and abandon the Giver! As long as God doesn’t get personal, we will pledge a fickle allegiance to the Cross.

 

Let’s face facts people, apostasy is defined as a falling away from the absolute truth in the Bible. There will always be a contingent of wolves looking to feed upon the sheep by providing the flock what they want over the healthy nutrition they really need. Just because a self-proclaimed scholar comes along and claims that God has changed His mind about right and wrong doesn’t mean it is so. The Bible has stood the test of time. Egypt has no Pharaohs still ruling. Babylon has come and gone along with their impressive but temporary wonders. Greece and Rome no longer have a home. Why would Christians not know their history? Is the human race doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again? Pure observation doesn’t bode well for the people.

 

Let me make something very clear here. I am not preaching legalism. When the church starts championing inerrancy as they should, the church also makes the mistake of wearing the holier than thou garments that hold them back. Rather than practically putting the Scriptures to use in every day life, while showing people Jesus up close and personal, it is used as a weapon to beat unbelievers over the head. Coming down from Mount Sinai, it wasn’t God who hit Israel over the head with the commandments; it was Moses who threw the tablets at the flock. What was supposed to be truth that set people free became tragically used to keep the crowds away from Christ! When we behave what we say we believe, actions speak louder than words and those presently fumbling aimlessly in the dark are properly invited into the light. Why would the Body of Jesus ignore the greatest commandment? In case there was any confusion, what was taught clearly was, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love one another as yourself.” As the times get more chaotic, our purpose as Jesus followers should be as clear as a chiming chapel bell! If I want others to hear what I say, I better be modeling my steps after the Master! It isn’t about us using God for our own agendas. It is about God using us to show the world the way home.

 

As we embark upon the future, you can be sure that unadulterated evil will continue to be unleashed in record proportions. Sin will forever be in vogue because mankind is selfish in nature. Woodstock could only be a pipedream because we won’t have peace externally until the Holy Spirit is allowed to recreate us internally which is our one and only key to eternity. We live in this world but we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Politics can’t save us and popularity will only blind us. Preachers are only as effective as they stay committed to Genesis through Revelation. Unless we walk between the lines that the Lord has so graciously and mercifully provided for us, we have no hope and no future.

 

Wake up every morning with the attitude that today is the day the Lord has made and let us be glad and be ready to rejoice in it. We need to understand that people are not the enemy and it should never be an “Us against Them” scenario. “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” God did not send His Son into the world to condemn us but to complete us! When will we stop trying to stuff pieces that don’t fit into the mark that belongs to God? We won’t have a message if we deny the Master who is the Creator of masterpieces.

 

Revival is what we need to be praying for day and night. Renewal of hearts is the business that should be occupying the priority of our time. Redemption is the story that brings God the most glory. Repentance is necessary if we are going to experience the turn around that we desperately need. Rejection should be our response to the lies that lead to compromise. Ready and willing is what I am– to follow Jesus until the day He calls me to His Arms. This is no time to run and hide but it’s a perfect season to set up a life saving mission a yard from the gate of hell. I’m weary of the daily news but I’m waiting on God’s daily bread. Our Father is still in control and Jesus is still the answer to whatever the questions might be. This little light of mine, your little light, everyone who claim to be Christians need to allow the Holy Spirit to ignite the flame like never before. The future of America depends upon it!      

 





29 07 2020

Where to Ski This Season | Outside Online

SPEAKING IN THE LIGHT WITH PASTOR RUDY

NAVIGATE THROUGH THE RUGGED TERRAIN…

 

We all expect life to be easier than it really is. We plan for everything to fall into place just as we dreamed it to be. Unfortunately, this earth is littered with too many banana peels that we have all slipped at least once or twice upon. As much as we desire sunshine, it does rain on our picnics. No matter how deep we may love someone, there is still the possibility that we will be jilted without much warning. People eat healthy and still suffer from sickness. Runners even drop dead of heart attacks! Earth this side of heaven is far from paradise. Why do we believers still seek to discover solace in abandoned palaces and refreshment in empty wells? Will we ever learn that we need God’s presence more than the presents we constantly demand from His Hands? When answers aren’t enough, God shows up ready to accompany us so that we make it to our real home where we belong.

 

When will we realize that if we never experienced mishaps, we would also miss out on God’s miracles? We will all face troubles along our daily path, but we must remember the divine Troubleshooter is only a prayer away. Even weddings are known to go terribly wrong. Because they did in Cana, Jesus was able to do His first miracle. Running out of wine almost caused an argument before honeymoon bliss. I can hear the Bride say, “I thought you ordered the wine, Sugar Bear!” The Groom responds, “No, I told you to get it, Lover Lips!” But before it got dicey and dangerous, Mary opened the door for Jesus to come to the rescue. If everything went according to plan, there would have been no room for God to raise His mighty Hand. When we are weak, it sets the stage for our Lord to be strong.

 

None of us could have predicted the unpredictability of 2020 before it began. The conditions have changed drastically from day to day. We may never return to life as we once knew it. Believers must not allow the surrounding circumstances to squelch their joy. This is no time to hang our heads low. This is not the season to run away from God and allow doom and gloom to block the light. Christians are known to sing songs of praise even when they are wrongfully persecuted and treated badly. It’s not our surroundings that give us a reason to believe. It’s the incredibly awesome size of our Savior. Have you forgotten how mighty and majestic our God is?

 

Woe to those who try to live life without the Author of it all leading the way. Woe to those who buy the lie that the created has the right to tell the Creator to mind His own business. Woe to those who forfeit eternity in Glory for a measly fifteen minutes of fleeting fame here on earth. The sweet ride for humanists is heading for a crash. Mankind’s leader of the pack is going to end up in the back. If you want to finish strong, then make sure that the Lord is along for the ride. Flourish within the faith that seeks first the Kingdom of God and stop investing heavily in the stuff that is eventually going to pass away. This is not the time for the Church to concentrate on the outside facades when the real goal should be the Lord’s transforming power being free to change us from the inside out!

 

Yes, we will all experience moments when our flesh may fail us. It is then that we need to be honest with God about what is really going on in our hearts. I love the man in Scripture who was vulnerable enough to express to Jesus, “I believe Lord, but I need You to help me in my unbelief!” The cry of our spirit should be similar to the lyrics from the Elevation Worship song which sings, “Give me faith to trust what you say, that You’re good and Your love is great. I’m broken inside, I give you my life.” Surrendering to Heaven is the only way to be victorious here on earth! Our ultimate answers that will satisfy the yearnings of a hungry heart will never come from Washington D.C. or Trenton or any political movement claiming to be the solution to the satisfaction we seek. I will never stop waiting on God to show up and bring holy justice to the nonsense we call fairness on this planet. As long as human pride and personal ego drive our decisions, we will always miss the destiny that the Lord created us to experience. I want to remember Who is really in charge—and praise Him!

I need to desire a humble heart. I long to pay more attention for God to cleanse my own faults rather than magnifying the flaws of others. I want to forget about myself, concentrate on Jesus and worship Him. 

 

I have a hunch that the times ahead might be getting worse before they get better. If I want a simpler road, it might mean that I would have to compromise my faith in God’s unchanging, absolute truth. But I won’t do that , so I am right in knowing that I can’t do this in my own strength, but I am wrong in thinking that it can’t be done at all. I believe that faith is the victory that overcomes the obstacles attempting to put out the pilot light in the engine room of my heart. God doesn’t take away the difficulties. He gives me what I need to negotiate my faith through the rugged terrain.

 

Several years ago, Dennis Hall and Will Morey invited me on a ski trip to Vail, Colorado. I love snow and I enjoy skiing even though I am far from an expert in this outdoor sport. As many of you know this about me, I am not always good at paying attention to the details. I was so enthralled by the beauty of God’s creation all around me, I didn’t get off of the ski lift until I was as high as the journey would allow us to go. When I finally woke up to where I was, I noticed that the only available routes down the mountain was via what is labeled as “Black Diamonds.” Now the most challenging trails are one thing in Pennsylvania but this was not Camelback. I was on the top of the Rocky Mountains. I was in way over my head. My face didn’t hide the fear that I felt.

 

A gentleman who looked like an Olympic Champion came over to me and said, “I see you are in trouble.” I didn’t disagree. I was praying for a helicopter ride back down to the lodge where I could sit by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate filled with marshmallows. That option was not to be.

This experienced Skier said to me, “Watch me and follow me closely and do what I tell you to do and I will help you navigate your way through this challenge.” I never paid closer attention to anyone better in m y entire life. I zigged when he zigged and zagged when he zagged. I kept my eyes fixed on his every move. I was never so happy as when I arrived at the bottom of the run still in one piece.

 

God is not going to let us skip the tough stretches of the journey and neither should we expect Him to. But it is time for God’s people to follow Him more intensely than we ever have before. If we ever needed guidance and direction and purpose and power, it is now. God is up for the challenge, that’s a given. The real question is, “Are we?” Let’s stop with the complaining and start with the committing and discover that even in the worst of circumstances, we are not alone and on our own.

It is time for fear to become faith and burdens to become blessings. God’s got the compass. Are you willing to go all the way He leads?





21 07 2020

Answering God's call » The Lakes Anglican Church

WHEN GOD CALLS YOUR NAME! PASTOR RUDY JULY 22, 2020

Don‘t be afraid to know who you are. Don’t be afraid to show who you are. But you can’t really show it until you actually fully know it! And you can’t genuinely know it until you allow God to show it to you via a connection with the Lord in your heart!

 

Lord, I am not fully sure of who the real me honestly is. Am I outspoken? Am I shy? Am I passionate? Am I lazy? Do I authentically care about others or just care how I present myself? Am I a performer? I am an actor who can play any role because I have played them all, but I want You to reveal to me who I am! Who is Rudy Sheptock, Jr? Am I strong? Am I weak? Am I a man of fear or full of saving faith? Am I a lover or a user? Am I selfish or selfless? Am I an adventurer or am I looking for a lounge chair? Am I ready to risk it all or simply play it safe?

 

In my heart, I am a child still looking to be cherished and loved. I have an unbelievable capacity to dream and imagine and see what could be! I have tasted Your compassion and salvation Jesus, and without You, I would not still be here on earth. I believe in miracles! I have no doubt other than You only can say the word and Your will is done.

 

I do love to entertain and move the hearts of those around me. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. It is so easy to laugh out loud or cry ferocious tears at the drop of a hat. I was created to sing and music is what my soul craves and desires. I can break out into a song in moments flat and I love to belt out the ballads at the top of my lungs. I am an anxious, driven and high-strung individual. I care deeply for others and am overly loyal to a fault. I am drawn to the stories of people and get impatient with the shallow, surface and cliché side of life.

 

I can’t wait to go to Heaven. There are many huge holes in my gut left by the death of my children, my Dad, my Grandmother and wonderful friends who have already graduated to glory. My faith is my purpose and I would love nothing more than to fast forward through the pain and the disappointment and just land in the open and waiting arms of my God.  But I know that to live is to allow the Lord to shine in me and through me. I want my life to be His stage so that He becomes the Star and I become the platform that He acts upon.

 

I repent of my selfishness and my need to not be invisible. I create a world in my flesh that is far from reality and when I escape to it, I become more bitter than better. I hate not knowing what is happening and despise being surprised. I like to lead but will follow when I respect the one who is guiding me. I hate being told, “No!” I am bored by details yet respect their importance. I loathe rejection and know the scars of being bullied and beat up. I want to be God’s servant and yet struggle with assignments that I don’t enjoy! I admire those who are laid back and more even keel in their personalities. My highs are very high and my lows are extremely pronounced and there isn’t much middle ground when it comes to my style of operating.

 

I have prayed fervently that God would use my life to make a positive mark upon others. I want to make a difference and have people experience the love of Jesus through me. Please Lord make my faith contagious, my concern genuine, my words true, my life adventurous and my legacy something that points clearly to You! Continue to melt away my insecurity, impatience, unbridled intenseness, immature restlessness, apathetic laziness, worldly weariness and downright disillusionment. I want to live what I know to be true, because I know I am forever loved by You, God!

 

My surrounding culture has plastered many labels upon me over these sixty years. They have included “Teacher’s Pet,” “Goody Goody,” “Dreamer,” “Straight A Student,” “Nice Kid,” “Shy,” “Baseball Fanatic,” “Music Lover,” “Fresh,” “Awkward,” “Too Independent,” “The Oldest,” “Responsible One,” “Leader,” “Loud,” “Crazy,” “Charismatic,” “Christian,” “Jesus Freak,” “Pastor,” “Too Emotional,” “Maverick,” “Enthusiastic,” “Passionate,” “Husband,” “Daddy,” “Pop-Pop,” “Coach,” “Intense,” and “Creative.”  But what do you think Lord? By what calling have you defined me? Where is my anointing and appointment? Lord, who do You say that I am?

 

There is something very powerful about a man or woman who knows who he or she is in the eyes of our Lord! Society’s titles may come and go but only God’s defining earmarks are eternal. Do you know how God has wired you? Are you willing to boldly and courageously become that person by His Holy Spirit?

 

Here is how I heard the Lord speak over me many years ago while I was on a Men’s Conference in Colorado. I heard God say, “You are Rudy Sheptock, Jr and you are mine and I love you. I am delighted in who you are and who you are still becoming because of me. You are tender in heart and passionate in conviction and you care about holiness and justice and My kingdom coming and My will being done on earth as it is in heaven. I have gifted you, anointed you and appointed you to be a preacher and a prophet. I desire you to communicate to as many as possible as effectively as possible about who I am. You will speak My truth but do so under the umbrella of My grace and mercy. Your life speaks of a contagious faith and an authentic joy found not in possessions but in My presence. You are faithful and won’t give up. You share your doubts but you bring them to Me and in Me alone, you find the strength you need not just to carry on but to climb mountains and soar high into mid-air! You must keep sharing My Love and My Word so that many will move from doubt to faith. Be my watchman on the wall. Look up and then look out and take care of My flock. Write new songs of praise and let your life be a living testimony of what I have done and what I will do. Be passionate! Be bold! Be fiery! Be faithful! Embrace the name that God calls you by.

 

Why is it so hard for us to accept the packaging that God chose to put our soul and spirit within? How many of us care more about what the box or bag looks like when what really matters most is the gift that God has put inside each and every one of us. Lord teach us to look beyond the outer tent so that we may fully come to know the true essence of who we really are. And don’t allow anyone around you to steal your God given identity. Nobody can steal who God created you to be. Only you can choose to settle for living a life of so much less. Do not look to paper and position to prove who you really are. Look up and then look inside and with a gleam in your eye and courage in your soul live out loud a life that honors the Lord who loved and redeemed you. Go forth in faith and wait for God to reveal each and every one of His precious promises right before your eyes!       





13 07 2020

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SPEAKING IN THE LIGHT JULY 15 2020

VOICES MATTER!

We are not obligated to listen to every word we may hear! We exist within a culture of noise. In the midst of our social media frenzy, everyone has a revelation, a message, an opinion, a theory and a point to make. Turn on the radio or television, and you can experience a hundred different takes on what is happening all around us and even more hypothesis’ of how we should handle the days to come. We’ve got to learn how to discern who to and who not to listen to. Not every sentence must be recorded and not every command heeded. We can’t help hearing things simply because our ears work. But we should only listen to the timeless truth which has proven to carry the weight of eternal value.

 

Jesus said that if we are His sheep, we will hang on to His words. We will listen and obey and become faithful on earth to the directions we receive from Heaven. We will never understand God’s will if we neglect God’s word. How can the Bible be a light to our path and a lamp to our feet if we aren’t able to navigate our way through its pages? We spend too much of our energy worrying about words said to us by people who have no invested interest in our wellbeing whatsoever. If only we valued God’s conversations with such high esteem. We aren’t missing out on hearing from the Lord because He isn’t participating in the process. Our souls go blank because we make the Lord compete for our attention and we choose poorly in practicing our social skills spiritually speaking.

 

The enemy is not going to clear the airwaves so we can listen to the Lord without static or interference. There is always incessant chatter going on to try to keep us from dialing in completely to God’s authoritative presence. There is a story involving Yogi Berra, a well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless talking behind the plate, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to get under Aaron’s skin by saying things like, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say anything, but when the next pitch came in, he hit it 500 plus feet into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and crossing home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read. I came here to hit!” Are we that focused into keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus that no amount of harassing can hold us off from being holy?

 

We are living in a day where many Believers are doubting their very purpose on the planet but the last I checked our orders have remain unchanged. We are called by God to let our light so shine before others that they may see Jesus in us and be drawn to wanting to know Him like we do! This is why we can’t be looking to run and hide in the midst of the pandemic and protests! Hatred is running rampant and evil seems to be out of control and the doomsday reports are stirring up fear here and there and everywhere. If ever there was a time for God’s people to practice what Jesus preached, it is now. The problem is, we aren’t getting our cues from Christ. We are behaving way to much like the wandering mob.

 

God promises to give us clear direction every single day of our lives if we trust in Him with all of our heart and lean not to our own understanding. Will we go beyond just hearing His coaching to actually listening and obeying His Voice? Sitting and taking notes during a sermon is not the same as making the message come alive practically in everyday life. Meetings are fine only if they produce action. Information without transformation results in God somehow missing the program.

Debra Fine wrote about 8-year-old Nick who told his dad about his day: “Dad, I had a great day at school. We had art class today, and I painted a cool picture of the mountains. We played soccer during gym, and I scored a goal. And guess what? They served pizza for lunch.” Looking at his dad whose nose was in the newspaper, Nick said, “Dad, you’re not listening.” His dad replied, “Yes I am, Son. You painted a picture of the mountains, scored a goal in soccer, and had pizza for lunch.” Nicolas was unappeased. “No, Dad; that’s not it. You’re not listening to me with your eyes.”

The eyes have it and if they aren’t fixed on the Jesus that it claims to worship, maybe we aren’t seeing things as they really are. Remember to follow the Power. Remember that if you aren’t playing “Follow The Leader” with Jesus, you need to change direction immediately. Expect distractions but stay committed to what our Shepherd has promised His sheep! I close with the lesson of the postage stamp. It’s true that writing letters may be a lost art, but the point is they have one attribute that all Christians should emulate: they stick to one thing until they get to where they are delivered. God deliver us this day from evil and temptation until we finally arrive to Heaven.      





7 07 2020

Today I'm Going to Manifest… – The Law Of Attraction Library

Speaking In The Light with Pastor Rudy   Wednesday July 8 2020

WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH TODAY?

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Are you wide awake to what is staring you right in the face at this very moment? This has been a season of fear and frustration because what we once had counted so heavily upon has been turned upside down right before our very eyes. Who could have predicted how out of our control 2020 has become? It is hard to prepare for a tomorrow when maybe we should be seizing the very 24 hours we are presently living in!

 

 Everyone needs to vent every now and then but nobody can muster a life out of a whiny spirit. Most of us magnify what is missing amidst our current stock rather than accentuating all that falls in the plus category. When was the last time you woke up grateful to simply be alive another day? No doubt we all have our fair share of disappointments, but God has a keen and creative way of turning these bumps along our pathway into His appointments where He does something miraculous amidst the mess. Too many Christians have turned the divinely anointed God spots into blind spots! This occurs when we end up looking for the Lord in all the wrong places. 

 

 We need to stop waiting for the pandemic to pass before we reenter into the land of the living once again. What if life in our present package never returns to what we used to call, “normal?” What if God is showing us that His church can be just as alive outside of the building as it is inside the hallowed halls? What if we stepped out into our world with eyes wide open passionately pursuing heavenly ordained projects that God is providing right in our current neighborhood? Stop majoring on the minors and start counting all the blessings that Jesus is still pouring out our way every single day.

    

We know that the Bible paints a vivid and detailed picture of how life and faith will exist in the last days. Technically, we are clearly told that things will get worse before it gets better! Life will become darker and if there is going to be any light provided, it must be fueled by the faith of the God-followers still burning bright in the middle of the night. God has already assured us that those who have been filled from the inside out with His Holy Spirit are overcomers! Even if we lose our physical life, nothing and nobody can ever rob us the eternal life that God has promised us spiritually speaking. Outwardly we are passing away but inwardly we are literally being renewed every single day. When God is on the move, we either get on board or get passed by! Jesus purchased my seat by His saving blood on the Gospel Train. My seat is reserved and my future is set upon the rock of my Heavenly Father’s promise. The last I checked; the Lord is much better at following through on spoken pledges than any politician will ever be.

 

If the nightmare is not yet, then why are we not making the most of the beautiful day we discover ourselves presently in. Breathe in deep of the fresh air attempting to find its way into your lungs! God has a plan and a purpose for our every step and if we weren’t part of what He is doing in our world today, we’d already be in Heaven! There are too many of us who are so anxious and worried about the freedom that we may lose tomorrow; we don’t even use the wide-open doors available to us today. Don’t waste the daylight hours of now! Don’t waste a day to be a blessing!

 

No place on this planet has been more hostile to the work of God than what I call the “Procrasta- Nation!” “I’ll do that someday” is the mantra of its people. Don’t allow the “Procrasta-Nation” to steal the joy of your salvation! In the Letter to the Hebrews, chapter 3 and verse 7, it reads: “Today if you hear God’s Voice, do not harden your heart!” How does God want you to walk actively after Him so you can be a real blessing this very week? Who can you touch to be a blessing? What can you do to be a blessing? Where can you go to be a blessing? When will you practically be a blessing? Why do we need to concern ourselves with this? Because Jesus told us to! What will you do with your day?

 

The great Evangelist, D.L. Moody, held his usual service the Sunday evening that the great Chicago Fire broke out.  At the close of the service, he asked his congregation to evaluate their relationship to Christ and to return the following week to make a decision.  This, he thought, would give them time to really think things over and result in a lasting decision.  He wanted to make sure that they were sure about accepting Jesus Christ, not wanting to pressure them into making a decision they wouldn’t stick with.  Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

While Ira Sankey was singing the closing hymn, it was drowned out by the sound of fire trucks and church bells.  To his dying day, Moody regretted delaying their decision to the following Sunday. It would be a Sunday that many in that meeting hall would not live to see. Within a matter of hours, many of those who sat under Moody’s words were dead.  There is no way of knowing how many that night could have gotten their hearts made right with God had an altar call been given, and there is no way of knowing how many that sat under Moody’s voice that night died in the fire and were not ready to meet God.

Mr. Moody would never be the same after that incident.  He became very ill because of the guilt he carried.  As a dedicated soul winner, D.L. Moody took such missed opportunities very, very seriously. “I have never since dared,” Moody later said, “to give an audience a week to think of their salvation. If they were lost, they might rise up in judgment against me. I have never seen that congregation since. I will never meet those people until I meet them in another world. But I want to tell you of one lesson that I learned that night which I have never forgotten, and that is, when I preach, to press Christ upon the people then and there and try to bring them to a decision on the spot.  I would rather have my right hand cut off than to give an audience a week now to decide what to do with Jesus.”

 

Stop living in the past yearning for the good old days that were never that great anyway. Stop fretting over a tomorrow that hasn’t happened yet! God is asking you, “What will you do with today?” Will you waste it? Will you spend it foolishly? Will you invest it into eternity? Today is the day for God’s children to start living like we actually believe what our Heavenly Father has promised us! Will you?





SPEAKING IN THE LIGHT WITH PASTOR RUDY A WORLD WITHOUT LOVE?

30 06 2020

Jesus, light of the world

In 1964, the British Invasion was sweeping the musical world of America. The Beatles began to own the Billboard charts. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were songwriting gold. Philadelphia’s golden boy Bobby Rydell needed a hit song. He was promised a tune Lennon and McCartney wrote but chose not to record. It was a surefire hit tune and a golden ticket for Rydell to get back on the charts. Something happened along the way that wrecked the comeback for Bobby. Peter Asher was beginning to record with Gordon Waller. Peter Asher’s sister Jane also began dating Paul McCartney so guess who got the upper hand with the very same record? What became a huge hit for Peter and Gordon ended up a complete miss for Bobby Rydell. The lyrics went something like this: “Please lock me away and don’t allow the day; here inside, where I hide with my loneliness. I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay in a world without love.”

 Have you ever wondered what a life without love would be like? Are you curious as to what the world would be like without the power of love? The Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, was divinely inspired when he wrote: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He and his brother James were nicknamed the Sons of Thunder, by Jesus. Apparently, the Lord saw their inner rage and appropriately called them out. John was originally known for raising hell, but a relationship with Jesus changed all of that. This Son of Thunder became the Disciple of Love. How could such a transformation take place for John? It is only because John refused to live in a world without love. John opened his heart and had a personal relationship with God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus became John’s first love, and that love began to permeate his whole life. Whoever is your first love will become the one who has the strongest hold upon your heart.

 Knowing the love of God must go way beyond just an intellectual pursuit. If it is not experienced fully within the human heart, then it will not be understood at all. Too many church going people keep God solely as a subject in their textbook when He longs to be the engine of their soul. Let me illustrate it by giving you the scientific definition of a kiss. Technically it is the anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction. Who wants to smooch after reading that? But when you actually plant one smack dab upon the lips of someone who raises your blood pressure, you feel what a firework senses when it’s bomb bursts in mid-air! People can talk all day about the truths of the Bible but it won’t mean a thing without personally plugging in to what you claim to believe!

 Will we Christians venture beyond what we can comprehend in our minds and fully enter into the fullness of a relationship with our God! My granddaughter constantly sings a song from the Frozen 2 soundtrack that cries, “Into the Unknown! Into the Unknown!” A man bought a very large fish tank and installed a piece of glass in the middle, dividing one side from the other. He placed a group of fish on one side of the glass but no fish on the other side. At first, the fish kept bumping into the glass because they didn’t see it or expect a barrier to be there. After a few painful days of head butting, and lots of fish headaches, the fish became conditioned to stop swimming near the invisible barrier. Then the owner removed the glass divider. But still no fish swam past the middle of the tank. When you’ve been swimming into glass your whole life, and all your friends and family tell you about the glass they’ve hit their heads on, you’ll probably give up trying to swim past it.  Similarly, when church has been nothing more than another place where you live with constant reminders that you aren’t enough for God’s power to work wonderfully in and through you, we willingly settle to stay on the safe side and won’t and don’t even try to enter into God’s abundantly more experience! But to know Jesus is to love Jesus and to love Jesus is to be like Jesus and to be like Jesus is to love others! It is time to stop behaving like we are loveless and start believing that Jesus in a life opens up adventures and opportunities way beyond our wildest imagination!

 It is time to stop underestimating the transforming power of the love of Jesus. It’s easy for us Christians to forget how massively loved we are with such a wide and accepting, long and lasting, high and exalting, deep and sacrificial love. God’s love extends super-abundantly in every direction, like an infinite universe whose end can never be reached. God’s love is wide enough to accept whosoever will may come. God’s love is long enough to last into eternity. God’s love is high enough to prove that there is such a thing as purity and authenticity. God’s love is deep enough to show the heart and soul of what sacrificial effort will do for the person who matters! Have you ever stopped to realize and count the cost of how far God has gone in making His affections known to His creation?

 Not only should we never buy into the lie that we are not loved by Heaven, but also, we should never think that we have the love of God all figured out. Let’s say I challenged you today to head on down to the beach and fill a jar with water from the Atlantic Ocean. Your jar would be filled to the brim with the Atlantic Ocean, but not all of the Atlantic Ocean could ever fit within the confines of a simple jar.  In the same way, God longs to fill the jars of human hearts with His love and power and presence. All of us can be filled with all of God and yet still have so much more of God still to know! There is so much of God’s love to know and experience and share and even then, we are still only scratching the surface. Fall on your knees! Be willing to swim into the deep end of His grace and mercy. Apart from Jesus we can’t do squat, but with Him there is no stopping the flow of how far God will go to prove that He has not abandoned this crazy world. If God hasn’t given up on us, why would we ever choose to give up on Him?





ARE YOU A FRIEND OF SINNERS?

23 06 2020

friendofsinnersMake no mistake about it, prejudice is an enemy of the heart. Self-righteousness is not a trait to seek after and yet it still appears in ample supply in too many churches. Judgmentalism is contagious and spreads like a virus when we choose to close our eyes to the beauty in others and ignore the fact that all men and women were created in the image of God. Nobody has more of the divine image than another. It was distributed in an equal supply. Every single human being has been fearfully and wonderfully made no matter what label might be slapped on their package. But more often than not, believers willingly throw away God’s truth about value and proceed to make up their own rogue rules that result in dishonoring all that they should already know to be important. 

Committing to the nonsense that one group of people is better than another solely based upon the color of someone’s skin, the place someone lives, the school or church someone attends is misguided and an unnecessary manmade barrier built with no blessing from the Lord. This mindset leads to bullying and intimidation and the use of other forms of manipulation that have no place in the Kingdom of God! It encourages highbrow, conceited, self-appointed judges who do nothing to help spread the joy and freedom that happens when someone devotes themselves to following Jesus. I don’t care what the crowds say, if Christ did not initiate it, I want no part of it!

Jesus loved to cause a stir when a wake-up call was very necessary. He purposely got under the skin of the holier than thou hypocrites of His day. Jesus made sure that all of the worldly judges and juries of that day knew that He meant business when it came to blowing their phony standards out of the water. Jesus was a friend of sinners. He called Matthew, the Levite, a dreaded tax-collector, the pond scum of the neighborhood to be one of His Disciples. I loved that Jesus never messed around. He went right at the issue rather than tip toe around the blatant elephants in the room. Those who followed our Lord included lepers, prostitutes, Samaritans, women and other sorts of “sinners” that would have never made the grade the Pharisees way.

What does it mean to be a “Friend of Sinners?” Among religious Jews, eating with a person implied a significant and intimate contact and a gesture of acceptance. It was an invitation to enter into a relationship with your dinner date. But, being a friend of sinners didn’t mean Jesus was pulled into Matthew’s corruption, but Jesus pulling Matthew into real Christianity! Jesus goes right into the crowd and invites anyone who admits that they will never be able to rescue themselves. Are you a friend of sinners? Are you on a mission to offer light to those who presently don’t even realize that they are walking in darkness? A lifeguard doesn’t decide ahead of time what type of person he or she is willing to go out and save from drowning. It includes all mankind. It includes individuals of all colors, shapes and sizes. If you have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb then you know what amazing grace tastes like and you want to make sure that everyone in your path gets to taste and see that Jesus is very good. We need to love people the way God does no matter what anyone else thinks because what the naysayers think actually stinks!

Do we see what people presently are or do we envision what a person could be if Jesus got ahold of their hearts? We need to be looking to run a mission a yard from the gate of hell rather than living comfortably within the sound of the chapel bell. God has put His people strategically on this planet for such a time as this. There are too many looking to government to do what only God can accomplish. We don’t need more information. We need miraculous transformation. We need to get our eyes off of ourselves and fix them on Jesus. Having your own regular dinner date with the Lord will make you ready to reach anyone God may send to your table. Do you see the crowds hurting, hungry and in desperate need of healing? Are you ready to open wide your life rather than board up your heart and soul? Who do you need to have dinner with where the love of Jesus is clearly on the menu?

None of us would say that we espouse the belief system of religious snobs and yet if we only go to Christian doctors and make appointments with Christian dentists and call Christian plumbers for our clogged pipes and need Christian veterinarians because even our pets are Christians we will end up passing by hundreds of people without ever noticing them or positively influencing them with the grace and mercy of Jesus! Our Lord said clearly that He came for those who admitted that they did not have it all together! “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have come not to coddle the self-righteous but sinners!”

Fear is sometimes referred to as an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. We see fear everywhere these days and it is no way to ignite a life. Is fear playing a role in your interactions, or lack thereof, with people of different races, people of different backgrounds, people of different belief-systems? If we allow our fear to control us, we’re dishonoring ourselves and our ability to honor others. It is OK to be afraid but it is genuine faith that will give us the strength we need to not stay locked up in our insecurities. “God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” Who needs to know good news like that? Will you trust God to lead you to build real relationships, recognizing the image of God in everyone, committed to learning someone’s story so that you may be an instrument of life in their world? Jesus sat down with sinners and He dined with them and He offered them a whole new menu? We should be willing to by His Holy Spirit do nothing less than the very same thing! Waiters and Waitresses of the Living God sounds like what we the Church should be about. Who needs a table today?

 

 





HAPPY FATHER’S DAY 2020

16 06 2020

Happy Fathers Day!This will be the 20th Father’s Day without my Dad here on earth and to say that I still miss him would be a grave understatement. Just the other night in a dream of mine, I picked up the phone to call him and it was during the amazing conversation that I realized I was sleeping and none of this was real. When I woke up, the ache was almost as if it was brand new. Time doesn’t heal squat but only reveals how much human beings are truly connected forever.

 I was named after my Father and I proceeded to name our first-born son after him also. I adored my Dad and growing up I seemed to constantly be by his side. I began working with him at a very early age. Whether my Mom didn’t want me at home or my Dad really liked having me there, I spent many more hours with my Pop than I ever did with my Mother.

 I remember going with him when he worked at Morristown High School back in the 1960s. I got to know all the nuances of that building and had discovered many secret passages and behind the scenes places in that structure. It was like my own personal playground.

 I watched my Dad closely even then and watched how he interacted with the other men. Everybody seemed to like Dad and he showed everyone respect. He had the League of Nations on his staff so I got to hear many back stories along the way about coming to America and the daily battles about making a home here and it all depended on which worker I happened to be hanging with on any given day. Funny thing is that I still remember many of those stories and I hear them again in the accent of which they were shared with me. I also cherished the times that Dad had a life lesson for me based upon whatever happened along the way. I loved the way that he trusted me with the work he assigned me and it was always an honor to do what I did just for him.

 On the way to and from, we had those Father-Son talks. Yes, we even had “The Birds and the Bees” conversation on the way one day! I’d much rather talk about the Mets or the Jets back in those days. Girls weren’t on my radar yet. It’s because of his example, I made sure that my own sons heard about the facts of life from me. They too seemed to rather talk about the Mets also! My point is that there are so many teachable moments in the midst of every day if we just learn to seize them! It seems that technology has hijacked some of those potentially poignant interactions that highlight the pilgrimage of a child’s journey to adulthood.

 I did drive Dad nuts by playing the radio. While every now and then he would like some of my music, most of the time it was, “I’m going to throw you and the radio out on the road if I have to hear that song again.” Still, I will never forget when my Dad brought home Elton John’s “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player” album for my Birthday. I knew he went out of his way to find that one. To this day, it is one of my favorite records and tears fall from my eyes at the most random of times. I have also tried to affirm the interests of my children over the years by getting them whatever instrument or gadget they might have been desiring at the time. I love seeing the faces of my own kids and now grandkids light up when they are bestowed that special gift they were just hoping for. Just like Ralphie Parker who got his BB Gun from his Old Man in the perennial classic, “A Christmas Story,” even though Mom thought he would shoot his eye out. There are some assignments held special that only a Father or someone who is a Father-Like figure can fulfill. This is why I wish more men would pay better attention to what is happening all around them. Kids who show up to play sports or those at church who could use a little male input invested into their heart and souls. Women are amazing and never cease to amaze me with all that they truly do. But there are some intangible qualities that should best come from a Man when it comes to initiation into adulthood.

One of the greatest gifts a father can give is making sure that he sets the right example of what our Heavenly Father is all about. Statistics show that many individuals get their perspective of God the Father based upon the men they called Dad. It is hard to swallow the Bible’s portrayal of a God of love, mercy, grace and justice when an earthly model has been nothing at all like the Creator. Nobody is perfect but Dads who are genuine and authentic men of Integrity do much better at laying the foundation than men who have abandoned their post. Absent, angry, judgmental, abusive and violent men have done little to portray a positive glimpse of the Abba in Glory. It is only too late to make a change if you are dead, but as a Minister for almost 40 years, I have seen grown men and women still yearn for nothing more than for their Papa to say, “I love you.” You would think three words wouldn’t be so impossible for so many to spit out, but there have been too many shipwrecks at the sea of family life because the Captain couldn’t put aside his pride to do so.

I only realized last year that with my own Dad in Heaven these last twenty years, it has been something new for me to at times wrestle over the truth of God’s love for me. What used to come so easy with my earthly Dad here with me has now become a bit more challenging with no one left to play that role in my life. I know intellectually that God loves me but when wonderful men on earth are used as His servants to remind one another of that reality, life doesn’t have to be so hard or lonely. I’m 60 years old now and I will never stop telling my children and grandchildren how much I love them; for next to Jesus and my wife Terri, I could love no other people more.  I will never take it for granted what a privilege and honor it is to be a Dad and a Pop-Pop, so on this Father’s Day, may I remind you how much you are loved and if you don’t believe me- come spend some time with me and I will remind you and maybe tell you a story about growing up with my Pop! Happy Father’s Day!