Three Things You Should Know

Photo By Vinoth Chandar

Photo By Vinoth Chandar

Recently I preached a sermon titled “My Last Sermon.”  I was attempting to narrow the focus of my message down to the things I would express if I knew it was my last opportunity to share the gospel.  These are the three things I think everyone should know about Jesus…

1) He Has The Best Name

Philippians 2:9–10 (NET) —9As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow —in heaven and on earth and under the earth
Acts 4:12 (NET) —12And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.

2) He Is The Best Gift

2 Corinthians 9:15 (NET) —15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

3) He Is My Best Friend

John 15:12–15 (NET) —12My commandment is this—to love one another just as I have loved you.13No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father.

What would you say if you knew you only had one more opportunity to talk about Christ?  Whatever it is you would share, why not share it with the world today?

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Big News

I have been working on a new website/blog for a few months now.  It is getting close to being finished (at least as finished as any website can be.)  I wanted to give those of you who have been  faithful to read my blogs the first peak, and ask you guys to be beta testers for me.  If you see things you don’t like, or things that need to be changed, like spelling, or anything else please email me and let me know.  Starting next month I will be blogging again now that the majority of coding is done on the new site.  Also all of my future blog posts will be on this new site.  You may need to resubscribe on the new site to get these blogs in your email.

www.pastorpete.org take a look and let me know what you think!

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Missions…Who Cares?

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Photo by Susan Struensee

In just a few hours I will depart with two other men for Africa to take part in a short term Mission project. As I sit here in my living room this morning I could not help but ask the question, who really cares about Missions? Here is what I know for certain…

God Cares– Consider these passages

Ezekiel 18:21-23 (NET) But if the wicked person turns from all the sin he has committed and observes all my statutes and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. 18:22 None of the sins he has committed will be held against him; because of the righteousness he has done, he will live. 18:23 Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign Lord? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live?
Ezekiel 18:31-32 (NET) Throw away all your sins you have committed and fashion yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!Why should you die, O house of Israel? 18:32 For I take no delight in the death of anyone, declares the sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
Matt 18:12-14 (NET) 18:12 What do you think? If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray?18:13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 18:14 In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.
John 3:16-17 (NET) 3:16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and onlySon, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.

Jesus Cares-Consider these passages
Luke 19:10 (NET)
19:10 For the Son of Man cameto seek and to save the lost.”
Mark 2:15-17 (NET) 2:15 As Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s home, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 2:16 When the experts in the law and the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 2:17 When Jesus heard this he said to them, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Acts 1:8 (NET) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.”

Heaven Cares-Consider this passage
Luke 15:8-10 (NET)
15:8Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? 15:9 Then when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”

The real question is do we really care? We all know that God, Jesus and Heaven care, but do we? Many say they care about missions but their actions don’t show they care. God, Jesus, and Heaven all showed they cared through action. God showed He cared by sacrificing His one and only son. What sacrifices are you willing to make? Jesus showed He cared by going. He came to earth to complete the mission assigned to Him. I don’t believe everyone is called to go to Africa, but I do believe all Christians are called to go someplace. It may be across the street, across the hall, or across town, but if we care about missions it will be marked by our going. Finally we see that heaven cares through its excitement, and rejoicing. When was the last time you rejoiced over the salvation of another? Should that not be the most thrilling experience for all believers, when we see a soul changed by God? Consider this today, are you just saying you care about missions, or do you really care? I have asked myself the same question, and been challenged by it this day.

You can click here to like my Facebook page and follow the progress of this mission trip as well.

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It’s Morning…

photo taken by  stephen bowler

photo taken by stephen bowler

 LORD, in the morning you will hear me; in the morning I will present my case to you and then wait expectantly for an answer.
Psalms 5:3 NET

I am learning more and more as I mature in my faith that there is something very special about the early morning.  My wife is a morning person; as a result she has the capacity to spring out of bed early and begin to tackle the day.  I on the other hand for most of my life have been a night person.  I enjoy and prefer to work, think, read, and study late at night.  But lately I have really been enjoying getting up and having a productive early start to the day.  That time of the day when all is still and everything else in my house is so at peace.  I am fresh from a wonderful night of rest and my mind is crisp and sharp.  My heart has yet to be burdened by the stress of the day, or concerned with the cares of myself or others.  As I start to read my daily dose of scripture I am utterly amazed at how alive it becomes when I am fully engaged in its message for my life.  It sets my expectations in order and like a kid on Christmas Eve I just can’t wait to see what God will do with the hours that are in front of me. I eagerly move deeper into the day expecting God to answer my prayers from the morning, expecting to see or experience something I read about hours before, I expect to be used by my master because I am fully prepared and engaged in both His work and will.
Tomorrow instead of hitting the snooze button 3 times then jumping out of bed rushing around in a panic as you get the family ready and run out the door for work why not start just a bit earlier?  Go to bed earlier tonight and set your alarm earlier for tomorrow and spend thirty minutes with Jesus before you spend your day with everyone and everything else. There is just something special about the early morning, I wish I would have found it sooner…

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The Uncommon Church now on Kindle

The Uncommon Church

The Uncommon Church is now available on Kindle.  The introductory price is only $7.99 but that won’t last so get your copy now.  The publisher plans to raise the price to $8.99 very soon and then $9.99 in about a month.  Download your copy today!  If you have the Amazon Kindle you can also borrow the book from the Amazon library for free.  I have personally never used this service but I do know that The Uncommon Church is available there as well. Read The Uncommon Church, and tell everyone you know about it. I dare you to be uncommon in 2013!  The Living Lamp is available on Kindle as a FREE download right now.  I think it ends tomorrow so get your free copy today!

If you would like to buy the paperback version you can visit my amazon page by clicking here.

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I will worship…

Man worship god

  Come! Let’s bow down and worship! Let’s kneel before the LORD, our creator!
Psalms 95:6 NET

I believe that everyone worships something in life.  There is a great deal of worship going on in our American culture today, sadly most of our worship has nothing to do with spiritual things.  We are quick to worship fame, athleticism, TV, bank accounts, vehicles, and many other material things.  In the church we have reduced the word “worship” down and defined it as the 20 minutes of singing that takes place before the sermon.  I firmly believe that this is indeed worship in most cases, however there is certainly more to worship than this. Jesus Christ said You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him (Matthew 4:10).   This is the way I want to worship in 2013.  I know that there are three things I must do if I want to worship God this new year.

First I must be present, I have to show up, I must prepare to worship!  Life is not easy, it’s full of curve balls and tough days.  If I don’t wake up each day with worship on my mind I am certain to be distracted by the devil.  It was after all Satan who came and tempted Christ by saying. “I will give you all these things if you throw yourself to the ground and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9) Scripture records that Jesus’ response was swift and firm,  “Go away, Satan! (Matthew 4:10).  Christ did not consider the offer, weigh the odds, or think about how to respond.  He was fully focused on worshiping God and only God, so all other offers would be rejected.  Like Christ I must be present and ready to fight the attacks from the devil to divert my worship.

Next I must participate in worship.  This is not something we are to sit back and watch, worship was never intended to be a spectator sport, you must be active in worship to benefit from worship.  You must participate in worship to actually worship.  Real worship happens when you take part in it.  There are many ways to worship God, but none of them can be achieved without your direct participation and involvement.

Finally, I must promote worship and invite others to participate with me to fully experience its power. I know for certain that it is possible to worship when I am alone.  I also know that the power of worship is multiplied when I invite others to participate with me. In 2013 I will not settle or be satisfied with worshiping alone, instead I am committed to being on the lookout for others to join in with me.  I expect to find these people in my neighborhood, at work, in the coffee shop, and at church.  I am surrounded by people each day and many of them claim to know Christ.  Therefore I plan to promote this lifestyle of worship and invite others to join me.

Worship was never intended by God to be a singing thing, or just a Sunday thing.  Instead worship is suppose to be an every hour of everyday thing.  The devil knows that destroying and diminishing your worship is key to destroying and diminishing you as well.  Don’t let him win this year; make it a point to worship like never before in 2013!

Posted in Bible, Challenge, Church, Church life, Devil, Devotion, God, Jesus, My Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Uncommon Church Is NOT…

In “The Uncommon Church” we talk a lot about what “The Uncommon Church” looks like, how it functions, makes decisions, and advances the gospel.  The titles of the chapters of the book are below and outline the characteristics of “The Uncommon Church” that are discussed in the book:

Chapter 1: Basic Questions
Chapter 2: Uncommon Mindset
Chapter 3: Uncommon Relationships
Chapter 4: Uncommon Prayer
Chapter 5: Uncommon Caring
Chapter 6: Uncommon Forgiveness
Chapter 7: Uncommon Sharing
Chapter 8: Uncommon Attitude
Chapter 9: Uncommon Giving
Chapter 10: Uncommon Commitment
Chapter 11: Uncommon Work
Chapter 12: Uncommon Discipleship
Chapter 13: Uncommon Victory

In this post however I want to discuss a few things that The Uncommon Church is not.  There are many misconceptions about what it means to be uncommon and I hope this post will clear some of those up.

1)   “The Uncommon Church” is not always big.  Our culture has become infatuated with numbers and statistics.  The culture of the church has come to believe that big automatically equals success.  We evaluate the success of our programs many times based solely on the number of conversions, or people who attend.  Being uncommon however is not measured in numbers.  There are many small churches that are practicing the Christian faith in a wonderfully uncommon way.  Likewise there are medium and large churches doing the same.  You can’t tell if a church is truly uncommon from the numbers alone, only when you evaluate the people that are represented in those numbers will you find out the degree to which they represent “The Uncommon Church.”

2)   “The Uncommon Church” does not always have the most dynamic, impressive, inspiring, pastor or leader.  Leadership is important for all churches.  However it is the people of God’s church that make it uncommon not a single leader.  Uncommon churches are not defined by their leadership; they are defined by their membership as a whole.

3)   “The Uncommon Church” is not the richest church in town.  Being uncommon has nothing to do with money.  Some of the most uncommon congregations I have ever spent time with were among the poorest in the world.  I have seen many uncommon churches in action across Africa and around the world.  These churches frequently have little when it comes to financial resources, they are however amazingly uncommon!  They are also among the best when it comes to uncommon giving as well.

4)   “The Uncommon Church” is not perfect.  Uncommon churches make mistakes; fall short and fail just like all other churches.  These churches are made up of imperfect people and as a result they have many shortcomings.  Being uncommon does not imply, or suggest perfection.

5)   “The Uncommon Church” is not an impossibility.  Some claim that it is unreasonable to think that any church in today’s culture could truly be uncommon.  This however is not that case.  I have personally witnessed many congregations that are nothing short of truly uncommon. Being uncommon is possible for those who dare to follow and obey our uncommon King!

Pick up a copy of “The Uncommon Church” examine its content, share it with others in your congregation, live in an uncommon way, and watch God do His amazing work in your life and the life of your church.

Click here and use the offer code LYUWAGRG to save 20% off your order.
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Posted in Bible, Church, Church life, Cross, Evangelism, God, Jesus, leadership, Obedience, Pastor, Sermons, Service, Uncommon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments