You just never know….

I am saving this Facebook post I made on Christmas 2011, so I can look back and remember……

“had something REALLY cool happen after church today !! It is odd how something as insignificant as a ceramic piggy bank stuffed with coins can make a difference in someones life. Six months back I opened one of my sermons with a request for our church to take home a cheesy little ceramic piggy bank and fill it with pennies for a church that I know of about an hour or so from here. The pastor is a great guy and he was telling me his children s group was saving pennies. Well, a first time visitor of ALCC listened to the message and asked if she could have 2 piggies 🙂 I said sure and off she went with pigs in hand….fast forward to today, after church I see a lady looking in the window of the church, I went to see if she was ok and when she turned to me I saw the pigs, well, she told me what ever I said at the time really touched her, she wanted to come back today and turn in the pigs and let me know she followed up with a church in OC, came to faith and was baptized 🙂 had it not been for kids in Moreno Valley saving pennies, and us getting involved…and so it goes, a cheesy pig, making a difference. I have about 20 empty piggies if anyone wants one 🙂 LOVE TODAY !!”

Work Toward Organization in Intercessory Prayer

“We are ministers. We owe it to our people to pray for every single one of them. We know them and we should pray for them one by one. How? Be strategic. Have set lists that you have organized and categorized to pray for other people. Newton said his best friends were those who prayed for him. It will be encouraging to your people for them to know you are praying for them. I take the church directory and pray for the people on one page each day. You love your people and you know their needs.”

 

This is something I adopted years ago, I keep a list with me and pray for people by name. A mentor of mine sends me a text every Sunday for the last three years, just letting me know he prays for me. I try to do the same, not only for the people in our church but also for local pastors and a few I know across the country.

I am in the process of putting my thoughts together on the subject of prayer, it is a journey to be sure.

Looks like a couple of great reads

Just ordered a couple of books, can’t wait for them to arrive. The pricing @ the Westminster bookstore is great, if you need a book …..click on one of the images below and it take you to their site. Great service, great pricing, great selection. The Keller book is on sale until February 28th

Turning the leaf before it falls off the tree :)

Ok, after a great time of conversation with my Pastor-Mentor-Friend last night and a time of reflection on my last four yeas of life Ihave come to the (re) conclusion that I am not superman.

Although I find my self fit and relatively trim 190 and 5″11 and at 53 years old I can still keep up with most half my age.

I find myself fatigued and tired most nights, I don’t sleep worth a bean (food reference ) and over the last year it is showing up in that “I always look hungover” kind of look . As I was poking around the web I stumbled on this POST and it initially struck me as a silly kind of read, and a provocative title to be sure.  Well another Pastor friend posted THIS link and it just added fuel to my fire.

Just three years ago I was able to tell Jann on a Saturday morning that I was going for a run and I would be back in a bit, it alway took four hours, I would be like Forrest Gump and run and run….  I would take off on Miliken and Foothill and go two hours in any direction knowing if I went out two hours…. I would have to return in two hours, kind of a runners mind game but it worked.

Over the years I racked up the following stats

  • Miles walked 3708
  • Miles Run 6080
  • Total Miles 9788
  • Stairs Climbed 70,202 ( apx 35 miles)
  • Training Summary: Total Distance:9826.09 mi.
  • FAST FACTS about EARTH: * circumference: 24,901.5 miles * diameter: Nearly 8,000 miles I am over 1/3 of the way around 🙂

Well in thinking about where I am today and where I was just three years ago, I have decided to jump back in the running obsession. One of the good things over these last few years is, I have walked 2 miles a day and not missed even one day due to illness or laziness 🙂 I am forced to walk because my train lets me off  a mile from work and I refuse all offers of rides from co-workers, ( that is another story ) anyway,  I have a choice to make, drugs 🙂 or running, I will give running a try again and see where I am this time next year.

I know you are wondering why I posted this and what does it matter to you……  🙂 it keeps me from having to bomb and say six months from now…. no….I just got lazy and could not keep it up

Tone

Ok, the process has started

I think this is the structure of my doctrinal statement, my personal one. I will try work through this over the next few months. It is something I need to do for myself, ready always to explain what I believe and why. So….

  • Vision Statement
  • Mission Statement
  • How and why of both
  • The Bible
  • God
  • The Father
  • The Son
  • The Holy Spirit
  • Salvation
  • The Church
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • People ( Humanity)
  • Eternity
  • Eternal Security
  • End Times
  • Leadership Model for the Church
  • Priesthood of Believers
  • Communion
  • Stewardship

Well maybe more than a few months and maybe not in this order , but it is where I will start….so….on to my vision statement…..hmmm

Tone

This is What I Believe, and Why

It has been years in the making and I think it is finally time for me to start that book I have been threating to write for years. I was inspired to get it going for a few reasons, mainly, I am not getting any younger.

I found myself answering questions about what I believe and why I believe it and not having an easy coherent way to pass that information along.  We will be looking at out bylaws and incorporation papers at ALCC next year and in the course of preparing for that, I found I need to have documented my “doctrinal statement” nailed down. I was wondering how my pastor buddies answer questions about their doctrine, do they have it in writing, do they have it set in stone…I don’t think I do….

I am going to set it out in my blog and once done put it in book form as a systematic theology book. I am well aware that this has been done by guys much smarter than me but I need to do this. I found (truth be told pastors) I know you do this too…. when I am asked a theological question I try to figure out where the questioner is coming from, what answer are they looking for>.I think it might come from my doubts about my own theology, i don’t know.

So, this exercise is more about my needs to nail down what I believe and why, is my doctrine sound, am I an Armenian, a Calvinist or a hybrid . Does anyone other than me care about hypo-static union, transubstantiation, baptismal regeneration…I don’t know but for me, I need to nail down my doctrinal statement before I can hope to lead a church in defining theirs.

So, to those of you that read my blog, if you have any ideas on just how best lay this out, please let me know. I want to do it on the blog but I think I want to do it in a Wiki kind of format. Your input is appreciated. I was going to just start a book in a Word document but I think I like the feed back as I go along, any ideas….let me know.

If you ( Christian ) think doctrine or a systematic theology is something you do not have need of or engage in, think again, you have a doctrine but you just don’t know what to call it. You have the question” was it really needed to have Christ die for your sins” you might hear of or ask that question , that is the doctrine of the Atonement, you may not know it, but that is what it is. Within that you have

  • The cause of the Atonement
  • The need of an Atonement
  • The nature of the Atonement
  • Reasons for  the Atonement
  1. We deserve to die as a penalty for sin
  2. We deserve to bear God’s wrath against sin
  3. We are separated from God by our sins
  4. We are in bondage to sin

Then you have Sacrifice, Propitiation, Reconciliation, Redemption….all that just from the question, did Christ have to die for my sins…

So, I am going to get this on paper, for me. You can read along if you want to but it really is for me.

Tone

Prayer

10/03/10

I am thinking about prayer this afternoon, the power of it and the thought that we can stand before the Creator of ex nihilo. In Genesis 1:1 we are told God created the heavens and the earth, that is everything from nothing, for His glory. ( Isa 43:7 ) When I think about this fallen world and how it must just pain Him to see where it is today.

God created it good and wants us to use it in ways pleasing to Him. Anyway, what got me thinking about creation and prayer was how does it play out in the context of a sovereign God. He created it all, He made it all, He is Lord of it all. We owe all that we are and have to Him, from the macro of the mighty vastness of the universe to the micro sub-atomic, He is in control of it all, we can rest in the fact that He knows where we are in all of this thing we call life.

As a pastor, shepherd of His flock ( 1 Peter 5:2 ) I take the roll with great fear and trembling for the awesome responsibility I have to shepherd the flock that He has put in my charge. One of the things that I as a pastor am responsible for is to pray for the people in the church, I get asked all the time to please keep such and such lifted up in prayer, and sometimes I secretly wonder….why me, why do I have to take the weight of that on my plate, why do I have to promise to set time aside to remember to pray for you…..and then I go back to 1 Peter 5:2-5 and see I have a charge to tend to the flock of God, not by constraint but willingly.

That’s the key, HIS flock. I need to remember it is His and I am just tending to His people, and it is with great joy that I get to do that. Prayer for one another is a powerful way in which the Holy Spirit uses it to bring blessing to each of us, the one praying and the one being prayed for ! It is a joint venture that both parties will grow in their faith and walk with Christ.

We are told to pray as a group for one another, Acts 4:24-30 and when peter was in prison, Acts 12:5 tells us “earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Prayer involves fellowship with the Holy Spirit, In Hebrews 4:16 we get to “draw near” to God in prayer before the very throne of grace !! and we do so “ that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need”

Wow, as we just wrapped up twenty months going through the book of Acts as a church, we have seen over and over the awesome power of prayer in the early church. As we grow in fellowship at ALCC the more the need to keep prayer in the forefront of where we are moving.

So it is in that context that I count it all joy to be allowed to lift others up in the act of worshipful prayer so I can see them drawing near to God, entering into His presence and giving Him the praises He deserves !! I think it is a primary means of grace that is only available to the church and through which God can bring blessings individually and corporately to all of us…….

So, please keep me in the loop on your prayers, fill out the cards in the bulletin, email Jeff and I , we count it all joy !!! really…..

Somewhere on the road ………

Mike

Mixed Messages

Anthony de Mello said “We inoculate the young with religion – so that they won’t catch it when they become adults!”

When we give mixed messages to our youth, we end up inoculating them against a lifetime of following Christ, they can see through our hypocrisy and ‘do as I say, not as I do “charade

We need to preach the whole council of God, not just the parts we like, not just the parts that don’t step on toes, not to make or keep friends….but the full message of hope and repentance to our young people.

We know John the Baptist preached God’s word even in the face of beheading. John was imprisoned and lost his life because he preached to Herod that he was in an unlawful marriage. It is easy for us to want to avoid difficult passages or scripture and perplexing teachings. It is so much easier to teach the things we can all agree on and everything will be fine. But God has not called us to teach a “different” gospel as Paul reminds us in Galatians 1:6-7 it is no gospel at all if it takes away from Christ.

We cannot simply teach the things that will keep us out of trouble or will avoid controversy. The word of God must continue to be taught even if we do not like it. We must keep preaching to the world that immorality is sin and sin is not acceptable to God.

We cannot change His message and we cannot avoid His message. All we can do is preach the message in love, with the understanding that we were the same as them. We all need the blood of Christ. We all need the grace of God.

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11; ESV)

We are constrained and we are compelled by God’s law. We need to know what we are doing wrong so that we can make sure that we continue to stand in God’s grace. We do not want our youth to walk away from God. So we need to know what he says and make the changes in our lives to receive his grace. John could not change the message and could not keep quiet in the face of sin. We cannot either and disciples of Jesus. If we truly care about people and we truly care about their eternal souls, then we must have the courage to teach the whole message of God, even if people disagree, walk out, sever friendships, or even suffer persecution. Look at  Luke 3:19 and notice that John not only preached against Herod for his unlawful marriage, but also “for all the evil things that Herod had done.” It sounds like John hounded Herod about his sinful life.

One of the things I have been meditating on over the last five weeks out of the pulpit is, I need to make sure I teach the Word of God, the whole council, without compromise. Not in a winner take all, battle royal but out of love and compassion.

My prayer…..Lord don’t  let me preach mixed messages! To young….or old

Pastor Mike

When I preach about money……….

One of the things I like to do in my spare time 🙂 or odd hours of the day is read blogs from guys I respect, well this POST was one that caught my attention. When I first read it I must admit thought….duck Chris…fur will fly now, well I went back and re-read it a couple of times and it sure makes sense.

Rather than me reinventing the wheel and dialing it back a notch I asked his permission to re-post it. If it hits you as abrupt, re-read it a time or two and see if maybe ….it should hit you, just saying…. it hit too close to home to me, so I am guessing I need to reevaluate  eh.

Tone