Monday, July 28, 2008

Getting ready to leave...

This will probably be my last post for a couple of weeks. I am leading a team of 10 on a mission trip to Juticalpa, Honduras. We leave Friday morning at 3:30 and will not return until next Friday late. I am so pumped about the potential for the coming week. We will be doing construction and VBS during the day, and I will be training pastors during the evening. I can't wait to see and participate in all that God will do. Please pray for us. I will be spending most of this week studying for all of my teaching opportunities.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Everywhere...

There is one theme that seems to be surrounding my life these days. The theme is that of forgiveness. I am dealing with circumstances in the church that need true, godly, genuine forgiveness to envelop it. I had a meeting with a precious lady in our church this morning who had some concerns, and one of the areas of need in that situation is forgiveness. I just got off the phone with a young lady who was recently saved and is struggling severely with issues of forgiveness, specifically forgiving herself for her failures and sin.

I am so glad that God, that sovereign, all powerful, holy and righteous God, is the God of genuine forgiveness. It is a forgiveness that is not stupid or forgetful. God defines forgiveness as the act of choosing never to remember or bring up the incident being forgiven again, NEVER EVER NEVER EVER bringing it up again. Sometimes we think that forgiveness is forgetting. No where in Scripture does it say that God forgets your sins or mine; it says that He chooses not to remember them anymore. Praise God that He chooses not to remember, He chooses never to throw my past, present or future failures up in my face when I come to Him. He never refuses to act or work on my behalf or in my life because of sins that have been washed by the blood of Jesus, my eternal substitute.

I believe that the hardest aspect of forgiveness is self-forgiveness. The act of forgiving oneself after we have sought and received the forgiveness of God. Question one: "Who am I to refuse to forgive myself when the God of the universe has already forgiven me?" If God can forgive me, I ought to forgive myself and move on for His honor and glory. Question two: "Who do I think I am that I would refuse to forgive someone else when God has offered so great a forgiveness (salvation) to them and to me?" (I must be crazy to live my life with unforgiveness in my heart! And you must be too.)

Remember Jesus said that if we will not forgive others we will not be forgiven. Maybe that is one of the reasons so many in the church are so miserable today; they are carrying a burden not meant to carry because they refuse to forgive.

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike

Monday, July 14, 2008

Slight Correction

In my last post I said that we were going to baptize five this past Sunday (July 13); we actually baptized eight. Twelve precious souls have publicly aligned themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ in the last two weeks. During the invitation Sunday morning, and I do still give an public invitation in every service, we saw two join the church and two more come forward publicly professing Christ as Savior. I counseled with them after the service, and we are baptizing them this coming Sunday morning. Yesterday four of the twelve were cousins, with two of them brothers. This coming Sunday I will be baptizing a brother and sister. God rocks!

I want to encourage you to hit your knees hard over the next few weeks. The reason is that several of your brothers and sisters in Christ, including myself, are coming under some severe spiritual attacks. We need your prayers and support as we face the enemy on a daily basis. Many of these attacks are aimed at our families and homes. We covet your prayers.

Pastor Mike

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Water is Stirred

Sunday gave me two of the most awesome experiences a person in my position gets in his life: 1) is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ (always the best), and 2) baptizing those who are publicly identifying themselves as followers of Christ. We began our service Sunday morning by baptizing 4 precious souls. AWESOME! This coming Sunday we will be baptizing at least 5 more. My biggest concern, now and always, is the process we should be taking these new converts through so that they begin to see what being a Christian is really all about.

I believe that this process, or lack thereof in the church, is the reason most of our churches are either declining or dead; we have failed to present to them the "full and complete contract" of discipleship. Most people get saved, baptized and pick a pew; they never realize that there is more to it than that. Did you know there was more to "it" than that? What do you think is involved in being a "true" disciple of Christ?

Serving Him,
Pastor Mike