Thursday, January 12, 2017

Passed Over

Have you ever been the last one picked for a team at recess?  Have you ever been invited to an event at the last moment, like they forgot you or you were the last choice to fill a empty seat?  If you are like me and most people, you know what it feels like to be passed over.  You know what it is like to not be picked for the team.

Many times we miss God's direction for our life.  In big things and in everyday little things.  Most of the time, when we miss those moments they are gone forever.  We can not turn back time and re-make decisions and opportunities.

Maybe you feel passed over today.  I want to encourage you.  You have not been passed over.  God still has a plan for you.  His favor and presence are still offered to you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Valuable Questions

John 16:19 says, "Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’?"  Focus in on these words, "Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him..."

There are times when a speech is necessary.  There are times when a press conference is necessary.  A speech is important because there are times when all the thoughts need to be expressed and defined before unnecessary questions side track a clear and efficient presentation of information.   But even after a clear presentation, questions may be very important in good communication and learning.

As Jesus taught his disciples, he noticed when they wanted to ask him something.  Maybe they were timid to ask.  Maybe they were embarrassed to ask.  They wanted to ask, but were not asking him directly.

As a parent, teacher, leader of a Bible class or small group leader, you need to lead like Jesus.  Look for times when those you lead want to ask a question.  The best moments for learning are usually when the student has a question.  Don't just wait for the question, anticipate it and promote the question when people are timid to ask.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Back to the blog.

The last blog entry was in June of 2016.  I stopped writing for several reasons.  One was lack of readership.  After praying about it for several months, I feel like I need to start again.  Why start again?  Here's the list.

1.  I have many thoughts I want to share with everyone at Life Stream Church, but don't have time to share in the two sermons I preach each week.  Sermons would be way to long.
2.  Sharing these thoughts and writing them down is a form of Spiritual renewal for me personally.
3.  Social connection sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram did not give me the ability to post things in a context that will be taken seriously.

I hope that you will consider following the blog and share it with your friends.  I hope this will be a blessing to you.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Your Most Important Ministry Gift

In the last few months, I have had the opportunity to help with some ministry training of new ministers.  It has given me time to think about what might be most important.  Obviously, the most important thing for a minister is a strong spiritual foundation.  Your relationship to Jesus is really your only asset.  Everything else rests on your spiritual foundation.

But, what is the most important gift in ministry?  What one thing does every minister have to work on, keep sharp, and improve continually?  No matter what your ministry, communication is your most important gift.  You have to communicate well to share vision, passion, directions, structure, worship, prayer, financial needs, and the gospel message.

If you are going into ministry, I strongly urge you to take a public speaking class.  Get your hands on anything that teaches you about public speaking in every type of venue.  Work on pronunciation.  Start now and remove all unnecessary stuff from your casual conversation.  You can become a great public speaker by practicing these in your everyday conversations.

Here are some things to eliminate.
Well, you know...
The thing of it is...
The funny thing is...
Blah, blah, blah...
You know...
So, I'm like...
And uh...

Next, get rid of all mumbling.  Study the mispronunciation of words so you pronounce words correctly.  Don't use a word if you don't say it right.  Don't use a word until you are sure what it means.  Learn to pronounce your consonants with strength so that you sound confident.  Learn to look people in the eye in conversation and then make eye contact in your public speaking.  Eliminate large and awkward silent spaces in your speaking.

So far, I have focused on things to eliminate.  Remember that the Bible says even a fool who keeps his mouth shut will be considered wise.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Young Violence

We are all shocked by the violence in our world today.  A young man enters a school building and begins shooting kindergarten children and teachers.  A young man plants a bomb at the finish line of a world class marathon.  A young man enters a movie theatre and begins randomly shooting those watching the movie.

In the 20th century we were shocked by the gangsters of the depression, atheist despots like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and serial killers who roamed our cities.  In the 21st century, we are being shocked, but does it seem to anyone that the perpetrators are getting younger and younger?  Are the victims getting younger and younger too?

I have a theory that needs some testing.  Could it be that our entertainment is driving our troubles.  The movies and music that interest kids today increasingly have kids killing kids.  Consider The Hunger Games.  Did not one of our most horrific school shootings follow that movie by just a few months?  A movie about young adults killing helpless middle school kids preceded a young adult killing children.  How many new programs directed toward millennials' and our youth have youth killing youth?

It is true that for centuries we have had youth killing youth in wars.  The average age of a Vietnam soldier was 19.  In World War II many youthful Germans and Japanese were killed by 18 and 19 year old boys in the allied forces.  But is war different?  They are under layers of military law and can be convicted of murder for indiscriminate killing, though that conviction happens rarely as far as I can tell.  Even war is messy and creates ethical and psychological questions about the health of those who are involved in the defense of their country or people.  We spend millions to treat PTSD and reduce the rate of suicide in our veterans, and they need even more support than ever.  And the most important point, no body goes to war for entertainment.  This little post is about what entertains us, not what we have to do.

So, here is the final thought.  I don't have all the answers or statistics.  However, it seems to me that the tension and thrill of violence we find entertaining one month becomes our reality the next.  Is there a link?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

10 Works of the Holy Spirit

1.  The Holy Spirit exalts Jesus. John 15:26 and John 16:14
2.  The Holy Spirit convicts us of what is wrong and what is right.  John 16:8-11
3.  The Holy Spirit regenerates us to life.  John 3:5 and 20:22
4.  The Holy Spirit lives in believers.  1 Corinthians 3:16
5.  The Holy Spirit seals believers.  Ephesians 1:13-14 and 4;30
6.  The Holy Spirit guides believers.  Romans 8
7.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to share our faith.  Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:45-49
8.  The Holy Spirit enables us to understand Scripture.  2 Timothy 3:16
9.  The Holy Spirit gives and will give life to our bodies.  Romans 8:11
10.  The Holy Spirit prompts us to worship.  John 4:24

The Holy Spirit does many things.  This is a list of ten of the things that he is busy doing today.

Monday, April 20, 2015

10 Works of the Spirit

There is so much more information in the notes of the sermon from Sunday.  I am posting the notes here.  This outline is from the AD series and this sermon is by George Wood with a few additions from me.  To listen to this sermon click on the LSC media page.

Acts 2:1-4
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

For most of my upbringing as a kid in Missouri who carried the title Christian, the Holy Spirit was just a line in the liturgy.
“We believe in the Holy Spirit.”
For many who believe that the work of the Holy Spirit changed after the first century, the Holy Spirit is a purposeless theological mystery.

But the Holy Spirit is not just a mystery or idea.  The Holy Spirit is a person who is  and has been working practically and purposefully.
-From the beginning, Scripture says, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2).
-In the Old Testament, we frequently read about the actions of the Holy Spirit. He would come upon people, such as judges, kings, and prophets.
-In the New Testament, the Spirit of God conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:35).
-He descended upon Jesus bodily as a dove at His baptism (Luke 3:22).
-He anointed His preaching ministry (Luke 4:16).
-And the Holy Spirit gave Jesus supernatural power to perform signs and wonders (Matthew 12:28).

Monday, March 9, 2015

All Authority

Every sermon seems to have one extra special nugget of truth for me.  Yesterday there was one.

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples..."  Why is his statement of all authority so important?
1.  Jesus has the authority to give us a command to action.  Jesus can tell you what to do.
2.  Jesus has authority to tell us to get involved in others' lives.  Today in our overly tolerant world, Christians are often told, "Stay out of my life."  Jesus says, go get in.
3.  Jesus has authority to tell the Jewish disciples to break their old traditions which limited their contact with other types of people.  Jesus has authority to break the Old Testament regulations and traditions that limited contact and involvement with non-Jews.  Break the racial and political boundaries of our world to share Jesus.
4.  Jesus has authority to tell his disciples to break through geographical boundaries to carry the good news to people.  What if a nation says that it is illegal to share information about Jesus in their land?  They have some authority.  Jesus has all authority and says go.

Let's be under the authority of Jesus who said "go," rather than the authority of culture and the world that says, "be quiet."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Missions Giving Saves Lives!

Last week, our missionary to Papua New Guinea gave me a native arrow.  Because it was long, narrow, wood tipped and seemingly light I asked, "Is it for shooting birds?"

"No, its for shooting people." he replied.  The owner/creator did not need it anymore and sold it for some quick cash.

When we give to missions, we are sometimes giving to those who are preaching the gospel in places where people are killing each other.  The gospel can turn people killing each other into people who are saving each other.  This is true of our missionaries serving in Ukraine today too!  They are in serious peril this year and have had to relocate their home four times in 12 months due to the war with Russian fighters there.  In the worst of times and in times of peace, missionaries save souls, but they also save lives.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Worship Today

We recently finished a short series of messages on worship.  As a follow-up, let me encourage you to worship God today.  Find reasons to give God thanks or praise for what he has done for you.  Point your mind toward God and consider all the reasons that you love him.  Even when your day is going the wrong way and you may be receiving bad news, worship God.  Your perspective on your trouble changes toward optimism and faith when you worship God.  If your day is going just fine, enjoy it with God.  "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:17 (NIV).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Annual Missions Convention

Our annual missions convention is coming up January 25th!  Sunday morning, we have two excellent missionaries with us.  We have been supporting Phil & Kim Rojack, missionaries to the islands of the South Pacific for years!  I can't wait to hear more about what God is doing through them and our support.  They will be sharing in the worship service and in our children's ministries.  We have also been supporting Carrol & Gayle Deal, missionaries to the nations of Africa for decades.  He is an amazing missionary speaker!  You will not want to miss his message on Sunday morning.  Sunday evening, David & Zenetta Hewkin, missionaries in Eastern Europe, will share with us at 4:00 p.m.  If you miss the a.m. service due to work, don't miss the 4:00 p.m. service.

We will also be making our 2015 faith promises for missions giving.  This year, we have already had the children and youth make their pledges to Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) and Speed the Light (STL).  The youth have already pledged to raise several thousands for STL in 2015.  Last year, we asked everyone to give to these programs.  This year, the kids want to do it on their own!  So, adults, let's come prepared to make a faith promise for missionary giving in 2015 that will build the kingdom of God through missionaries we already support, ones who need a raise, and new missionaries who desperately depend on a church's help!

Every time we have missionaries, we receive an offering for them on the day of their visit.  That offering does not go toward our regular monthly support of missionaries.  It is a way to bless them for their time and ministry and to cover their travel costs as well.  Please attend our missionary services with a heart to give and be prepared to do our best for the missionary and be a blessing to those who serve.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Called to Ministry

If you are called to ministry, I have a sermon for you.  Go to and visit the sermon page.  Listen to the message, "Living Life in Jars of Clay."  Pastor Ron Pettet has some great insight and great testimonies about moving from point A to point B with God.

Monday, January 12, 2015

What A Great Day!

Sunday was a great day!
1.  Several people visited for the first time.
2.  I spoke with four people who were returning for their second visit.
3.  The message was on the topic of worship, and God moved!
4.  We closed with a very meaningful time of worship around communion.
5.  After church there was a productive Missions Team meeting.
6.  After church the Financial Fitness class met for their 2nd week.
7.  After church the cast from the Christmas program had a celebration party.
8.  After the celebration lunch I met with the fine arts worship team for 90 minutes of practice.
9.  We experienced no weather problems all day!

The greatest moment of all was when four people responded to the Lord working in their lives and made commitments to follow Jesus as savior.  I hope that you will be expecting great things with God next Sunday.

A good day.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Getting Married

Who you marry has eternal rewards and consequences.

This morning, I bumped into a pastor friend here in town.  We talked about pre-marital counseling for a few minutes and I was reminded that marriage is not eternal.  Jesus said that in eternity, we will neither marry or be given in marriage.  That does not mean that marriage has less meaning.  It just means that, like everything else in this life, your marriage will have eternal rewards and consequences.

One, your marriage is intended to exemplify and practice of unconditional love like the love of God for us.  Two, your marriage includes two people working through and growing past imperfections requiring grace and mercy.  Three, your marriage may produce children who have eternal destinies.  Four, God will teach you about provision and trust in your marriage.  Five, the sexual and emotional fidelity of marriage is intended to be a picture of the perfect faithfulness of God to you.  Six, when two believers work together, their ministry for God is multiplied.  Seven, your spouse will either promote your faithfulness to Christ or hold it back.  Eight, your spouse will either promote your children's faithfulness to God or erode it.

It is no wonder God commanded that believers be equally yoked in First Corinthians.  If you are thinking of getting married, make sure you marry a person who will pull you forward in Christ, not hold you back.  I want your marriage to have eternal rewards not consequences.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Little Things Matter!

Sunday a man drove into the parking lot and asked a parking lot attendant, "When is church?"  The attendant said, "10:00, come on in."  He did!

Every job at church matters more than you think.  Your love and invitation can change a person's life, the future of our church and eternity!  Whatever you do at Life Stream Church, do it with excellence and for the glory of God.