Tuesday, April 29, 2014

When focus is kinda hard, vertical trust can also be kinda hard...

..therefore remain true to your Lord and never assume that your experience here is always a trial-less cake-walk, Christian. Too much is at stake. 

With all due respect, please be mindful minister that small spiritual compromises along the way, (character-lapses, sinful choices) can get you quickly disqualified, snared, and out of ministry. Is it worth it? No! You want real freedom. Too many get distracted away from Christ and..CRASH.. become ship-wreck-like. Start by praying for other ministers, people in general, and for other churches.. even if you don't think they deserve it. Your pulpit is no place to compete, put em down, or "settle the score." How are we going to have time to fish for souls if we're too busy fightin' with other fishers that we feel (or even know) aren't walking right? Let's overcome evil with good.
Listen, here ain't really "There" (heaven). Yes, you know it can sometimes be a bit hard down here gettin' elbowed, scoffed at, shoved around etc. Jesus told us to love our enemies. He said that we need to learn and His yoke is easy for us. Man, that statement should really motivate us to study the Bible, to pray, and not to take-on any extra baggage in addition to His easy yoke for us.

The Apostle Paul admonished, "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." (2 Tim. 2:3-5). The Bible also urges all us to remain dead-bolted-like with our gaze upon our Chief Commander (the Lord of God's army).  

Question: Why do we think it's so strange when the Bible already cautioned us about that.. "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.." (1 Pet. 4:12).

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isa. 26:3).

"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isa. 30:21).

I have a lot to learn (no more than that even), but want to encourage ya in this. Hear me out. I really don't mean to come off as smug or even slightly cavalier. Perhaps you or another faithful believer you know, might be laid-up at home in bed right now thinkin' "This guy has no clue as to what I've been through." You're right, I don't know (sorry if I've been insensitive). Please let me know so I can pray for y'all. Just sayin'..we're not home..yet. Think about things above where Christ is. Yes, our living hope is connected to our living God in our real home—Heaven.

I'm doin't that today.. thinkin' about Him and what's above with Him..like righteousness, peace, joy and loving fellowship in that awesome place of worship. Recently I heard that a dear pastor friend fell.. badly.. and now is out of work. Had a mega-church. Made a big dent. I so miss hearing him. His family is really hurting now and needs prayer. This is why I write. Let's humbly go the distance with our Lord without any sin-habits that destroy families. Listen, a study that was done.. For every 20 men who go into the ministry by the time they reach 60 years of age only one is still in Christian ministry.

Does God still love and have a plan for em? Sure. This man can repent and be restored even though it won't be in a pulpit. Hey, we all need to confess and repent at times.. and get back up. Are you like that now? Get up! Live a holy, pure and honest life and if you stumble over, get back up again. Stay away from those places you fall at. Not tryin' to look down on or guilt anyone. There's no condemnation in Christ..there's still hope in Him. If a sailor falls down on the ship's deck, it doesn't mean he fell out of or off the ship. Integrity, consistency, and fortitude are so needed today. It's not too late to build a good foundation with the Word. Character counts! Sampson was a skirt-chaser and it cost him his sight and more. Prideful King Saul also didn't have good character. He disobeyed God repeatedly and had no one to blame but himself. What will you choose?

If you have a breakdown in your character, you will lose-out and others will too who need to be ministered to.

Of course many men were never called to this and are now out, and many get burned out (or forced out) by cruel abusive religious-acting leaders who among themselves.. like to control n vote gobs and maintain things more than they care about people. And then many have simply been disqualified cuz of bad choices. Keep on going with the Word no matter what others do.

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar: 'We don't need to answer your question. If our God—the one we serve—is able to rescue us from the furnace of flaming fire and from your power, Your Majesty, then let him rescue us. But if he doesn't, know this for certain, Your Majesty: we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you've set up." Read Dan. 3:8-30

If you lose integrity in Christ, you lose everything. Be biblical. Godly character is basically ..good habits continued long and for the glory of God.

The Apostle Paul said, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." 1 Timothy 1:12-13

You already undoubtedly know how frustrating it can be deal with all kinds of beloved Christians (yup, carnally minded, worldly minded, nominal believers, and the religiously minded who ain't biblically n spiritually minded) who seek to undermine us or hinder us in the work sometimes. But that country soul-winner Vance Havner pointed out, "If we are too busy using our sickles on one another, we're going to miss the harvest."

Be busier seeking the Lord and His willt, and winning those lost people around you He cares about, and in properly disciplining the others who already know Him...just like Jesus would (and did) do. Why? Cuz when we get all distracted and busy in the flesh with infighting, arguing all the time over really minor and other non-essential points, we can literally miss the big picture of a lost world goin' astray every day, a world of confused people that primarily need to hear the Gospel of Christ. Let's never get all caught up in arguing with other believers or with non-believers and then miss God-given opportunities to share the Good News with the lost.

Okay, so what practical steps are you saying we take, Kurt?

Take these steps. Forgive em and stay sweet (not too sweet like those in the world can be..) in your spirit towards all people and leaders. Really know the Lord. Be holy like He is. Fear God daily. Rejoice in Him. All-out praise and thank the Lord in your circumstances. There will be more than gobs to thank Hm for. Yes, and remain in tight connection with Him and His Body (the local church) wherever He leads you. Become fruitful with His character, and not become tainted or disqualified. #prA2day

Accept the humiliation of (temporary) lame circumstances. Reject being distracted away from Christ who is all-sufficient for every situation and still loves you. Decline becoming prayer-less, or hard-hearted, or spiritually-jaundiced, or numbed from disillusionment, cynicism or lack of fellowship. Reject grumpy gripey murmuring. Don't wasting your pains or sorrows. 

Cuz of Adam's fall (Gen. 3), "the creation was subjected to futility" (Rom. 8:20). And Paul refers to this "futility" as "bondage to corruption" (Rom. 8:21). And believers are not immune to the horrors, troubles, and upheavals of disease or calamity down here. Sometimes we are "groaning together in the pains of childbirth" if ya will (Rom. 8:22). That is, this kinda junk will usher in a new creation. So 'til we are raptured or in some other way outta here, keep your focus primarily on Jesus Christ. He's got a good plan. Hit like at: facebook.com/shareJesus 

THOSE WERE THE DAYS MY FRIEND

Remember that old, uber-lame song? I do and it reminds me of a wilderness story ..one of pondering spiritual digression. 

"Those were the days my friend.
We thought they'd never end!
We'd sing and dance forever and a day.
We'd live the life we choose,
We'd fight and never lose.
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la... Those were the days, oh yes those were the days." ~ The Children of Israel (just longing to return to their slave-bondage in Egypt)

Really, think about it.. wasn't so good there. No, not so much. Remember the Lord and how it was there. CRACK went the whip! Don't go back to Egypt. Snap out of it! Advance. Go forwards with Christ as Lord, not backwards in your spiritual walk. Nothin' back there is worth anything.

"'If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,' they moaned. 'There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.'" 16.3ex.

They so missed the spicy slave-grub and were tempted to return. "..we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic (think: horrible breath)" Num. 11:5. Bu..but what about the Ba-manna bread and manna-coti right here? I remember that ole song that kinda discribes their strange-longing and also remember personally livin' like that. No loss. "We were young and sure to have our way." Have no reason to, or desire to return.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Despite all the hazards, risks, and how a few so called Christians choose to loosely live, is it really time to get all embarrassed about closely associating with Christ? Naw—and that day should never arrive!

"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." 1 John 4:15

Our pure worship and vertical relationship with God of course comes first, but on the horizontal.. the righteous are bold as a lion (see Proverbs 28:1). 

Wondering. Have you as well.. been doin' face-to-face or cyber ministry more than ever it would seem? Lately, I've been responding to inquirers from Asia and Africa via texts, emails, and facebook. How cool that we can so easily with a click, a call, a letter, or even a visit.. get God's Good News through to people in faraway Lands today. Often there's no need to even buy a plane ticket. Exciting missionary stuff, especially when we get to lead them in a prayer of repentance and faith..to Jesus! I love to see their faces and hear their feed back.  

Cuz of our great unlimited God (He gets the credit..), I just received a good overseas report from some of my limited efforts in this regard. 

"God, knowing of my pain, guided me.. I had hit rock-bottom. I had no hope, trusted no one, and I was going crazy, but my Lord's holy mercy saved me, because through you I would receive emails and they encouraged me to seek God." ~ Ervin

The Bible says, "Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty" (Prov. 25:25). Question for you, believer: Were you personally always open to hearing the Gospel? What happened in your own life? I have found that when someone is ready to receive the Lord, it's normally the case that something significant.... or perhaps a series of things ....have happened in their life to bring them to that point. 

How has it been for you lately?..pretty rough or in flux with change? Are you an almost Christian? You know that the Lord Himself stands ready to help, to deliver, and to save you as well.. if you are ready to know Him in an intimate way.  

I've always heard that many lighthouses have been built by ex-drowning sailors. Sure they have, and today God builds up soul-winners from ex-lost wandering souls (like I was), and even effective witnessing churches from on-fire Bible-loving groups of em—ex-lost people wanting to make a difference in this world where politics and social groups can't make a dent. 

Jesus still saves people (that "s" word is actually a Bible term by the way..) so that you and me can know Him well and join with Him in His Great Commission purpose ..so others can become spiritually well. Yes, ready to one day see Him face to face. 

"I live for souls and for eternity. I want to win some soul to Christ. If you want this and work for it, eternity alone can tell the result." ~ D.L. Moody

"Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire." Psalm 104:4

"Preach Christ.  He's preachable!" ~ E.V. Hill

I encourage you, I implore and urge ya, I want to motivate you today! Block out a time to get away and press in via earnest prayer. I say keep on living the life of love in fellowship with the Lord. Many people waste their years, but what we choose to offer to Christ is never in vain. 

Are there many dangers on and off-line..even for Christians? Yes there still are! Should we quit using every tool that we have in our toolbox..to witness with? No! It's too early for that. (For most people who by God's holy fear and strong grace can keep out of online snares, I say use Social Media and other cyber tools to fish for people with). And I say keep on going with the Gospel, believers. By His grace God can use your life, your attitude, your sound correspondence, your personal visits.. yes you ..to help others clearly see His mercy, kindness, forgiveness, faithfulness, patience, and selfless agape L O V E. Like at facebook.com/shareJesus

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Do you ever look around and wonder where the blessings went? What has happened to our Nation?

Where have all the blessings and joy and peace gone in America?

Sure, we still enjoy more good things than we deserve to enjoy today (don't you think we deserve the cross cuz of our sins), but lots of blessings on this Land are now gone. Perhaps gone forever. Dunno. God still loves us, but our nation is currently adrift spiritually. Let's get back to the Word. Have you ever personally met Jesus? You can right now

The Bible encourages all of us to live as genuine Christians with Jesus as Lord in the now... today. And what beats enjoying fellowship with the Lord in this current day? Nothing does. God says...

"Blessed is the nation whose God is (not was..) the Lord; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance." 33.12ps.emph.mine

"Past experiences are only valid as they have been translated into the present experience. I am not interested in what God did in your life twenty five years ago in the Jesus People revival. I am interested in what He is doing in your life today. If the past experiences have not been translated into the present, they are not valid. Many people had a past experience like Paul's where they met Christ and for the joy gave up the past life, to enter into the new life in Him. In the meantime, trying to live on that past experience they have picked up some of the old ways and habits by which they were once bound. Don't tell me what happened then, tell me what is happening now." ~ Chuck Smith Sr.

It's a walk for today. So whatcha been doin' lately with and for the Lord? Does it give you JOY inside? If you've lost His JOY in it ..perhaps you just need to do it with the right motives and not for someone else. Whatever you do, let it be for and in obedience His Word.,

"And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." 3.17col

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." ~ Jesus, 15.16jn

Today is a new day ..to know and seek and serve the Jesus Christ of the Bible. You know that in Christ we've all been given a sacred task to obey and be doing righteous stuff for the glory of our King.

Remember this.. The Apostle Paul's trade-profession to support himself was that of a Tent Maker, but guess what.. Paul was primarily a Witness for Jesus Christ everywhere he went ..yep, ahead of and while doing that (obviously in between jobs per se). What do you do to earn a living, believer? You "are" a witness before you are an American, or a Red-State-Conservative, or a Blue-State-Dem, or a Chemist, a Waiter, a Mechanic, a Doctor, a Lawyer etc. facebook.com/shareJesus

*Made that shirt (above) for all the students in a Plano Elementary School that I used to daily lead. Was great to see the kids wearing the shirts on field trips.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Easter as they call it. Listen, if Christ’s physical resurrection ain’t cause for off-the-charts celebration something is pretty jacked-up.

"For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified" (Heb. 10:14).

But how?  Here's how…

Paul wrote to the church at Corinth to answer this. Since being "good enough" through personal effort is so futile (Rom. 7), only a transfer of account if ya will..from the righteous Person to a sinner like me could actually remedy the problem. Yep, "He made [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). How cool is that! The Cross fully appeased. 

Though we've all sinned, God ain't mad at us. No need for wrath on us, and Christ's righteousness was attributed to us..if we'll each take it by faith.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Don't know what you might have heard, but the Lord is for you...

so, So, SO for you. Right where you are. He's FOR YOU today! 

That's not some cheap religious cliché I'm givin' ya. It's true. He's for you all the way… every single day!

God is thoroughly committed to you and your highest good.

"...If God is for us, who is against us?" 8.31romans

You know that people will do ya good at times, and some will do ya bad, but not God. Doesn't do bad or evil. He'll only do you good for He is completely good. He's that way every moment. There is zero darkness in him. God is light. He is love. He is a practical caring person you can have a meaningful relationship with. So different is He from sinners like you and me. You know we've all blown it, but not Him.. not even once.
  
Wait, does He allow hard things into your life, Kurt?..you know  like trials, temptations, and tribulations? He could. This is a sin-cursed fallen situation here on earth (cuz of the first Adam) and the Bible says, through much tribulation we enter God Kingdom (cuz of the second Adam - Jesus Christ).

Wait, even through really  hard things like persecutions, scoffing or mocking etc? Yes for some believers ..sometimes. I'm not sure what God will allow into your life, but think of the Apostle Paul and what he experienced...and how God used Him in spite of the religious and other types of oppostion. 

But if God allows it in your life.. it's all for your good, to make you stronger in Christ ..and He will comfort you as well. He can still heal as well, but He won't allow more into your life than you can ..by His anointing and grace.. handle.

And God will also wipe away all tears. He so loves His children and has a good plan. We will one day have His perspective on it all.. even if right now we just don't get it at all.

Justice and the will of God will soon be done in heaven and here on earth—all will be well for all believers. We will soon look at each other and think, Wow, He is so good and all that He's done is too!

No matter what people ..relatives, sons, friends, pastors, co-workers, enemies, or even fairly moral people.. do to you, no matter what happens to you circumstantially, no matter what happens with nature around you, no matter what you feel, see, think, guess or imagine, the Lord is so there for you! Yes, right now and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Not far at all. You can cry out to this King and He will hear you. You can call out to Him for your lost loved ones and He will hear and will do good in response ..cuz He's a prayer-answering kind of God. Won't make em serve Him, but He will intervene because of your expressed faith. Don't quit now, or view God as negligent, indifferent, hurtful and evil.

Do you have friends that you've repeatedly appealed to ..who stubbornly self-medicate and who are now homeless? Do wonder how low they'lll go before they turn to God on His terms (biblically repent and trust)? Do you have a loved one who is not in their right mind. Keep on praying for em. God can bring hope even when things look 100% hopeless—His good grace can go deeper than the deepest ugly pit that people can dig.     

And if God is for you, who can move against you? Who can even attack you without His permission, believer? None. And that doesn't mean act foolish headin' into dangerous areas.

Remember Mr. Job. He endured some severe circumstances, pain, sorrow, grieving, suffering and loss, but the real enemy couldn't kill him. And it all came out good on the other end cuz He believed in the Lord. He might have thought his uber-painful trials went way too long ..like we do at times with different trials. I've been there.

Remember.. "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it" (10:26one.corinthians) even if many people don't agree with that. Remember that God is totally sovereign—without rivals, He rules over everything.

Remember, "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring" (17.28acts).

Whoever has tried to harm you ..could only go as far as God let them go, and not one yard, or foot, or inch further.

No matter what they did to you (God didn't make them or this world evil. It was people who made the wrong choices to disobey Him. Sin makes people and situations stupid)…yeah, no matter how horribly you have been abused by evil people (and I would never call what abusers did as "good" cuz God would never ever do that—abuse deeply hurts His heart. He SO loves you and really weeps when we weep and hurt). But God will turn it around and use it for good and to make you more like Christ.

Going after meaning in life, and primarily after Him who gives this life meaning, is better for your long-and-short-term-well-being.. it better than trying to avoid discomfort. So many do the later first (I can understand that) and become disappointed inside (see 6.33matthew). God will soon make it all make sense.

"Blessed be God the Father of all comfort!" 1.3-4two.corinthians

“And we know that all things work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His (good) purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His (good) Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” 8.28-29romans.emph.mine

Even if perhaps during this moment ya feel or look kinda down, believer, God says rejoice! You're an overcomer.

"Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world." see 1jn5:4, phil4.4, jn3.3

So are you hurtin' today? I sure hope not.. but when you are, just remember to run to.. instead of away from God. Run to the Bible that is filled with good promises for you. Choose to run to a flawed but healthy Bible teaching church that has a sound pastor who walks his talk (His talk). Too many hurting people run to sick and to dead churches that are led by dead or carnal men ..and women who deny what the Bible teaches.

Run to fellowship with spiritual believers. Do it regularly ..until you are strong and healed…'til God is using you to make others strong and healed in Christ..and then do it some more. We never outgrow our need for Him and for fellowship. Seems like too many run away from God while viewing Him as the evil person who harms people. Yes sadly, they do that and miss out on what a good God can and delights to do. Let Him do you good.  

May I ask.. Do you have peace with God and the peace of God? Have you invited and allowed Jesus in as Savior and as Lord? Are you uptight or troubled today? Does someone you really care about have bad problems that neither you nor well-meaning doctors can't fix? God can and will fix it all. facebook.com/shareJesus

Monday, April 7, 2014

You know how, at times, all the pressures, trials, turbulence, and unexpected vicissitudes of life can approach ya like a mad alley dog.

You know how they can threaten to wash us away, or overwhelm us along with our loved ones. Be strong in the Lord. We all need to be and people are watching how we'll respond to it all. Read the red and pray the price.. if ya will. 

Seems kinda like when I'm swimming out in the cold Colorado River at the time when mountain snow melts, and it's tryin' hard to put some distance between me and my loved ones on the banks. Makes me wanna scratch, and claw my way back to the side before that wooden train bridge is upon me. 

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." 43.2isa.bible

Seems like those currents of sorts that wanna sweep us away in a strong rip-tide at the beach after those guys on the wooden tower erected a bright warning flag in the sand.
During these pressurized-times is when God continues to hang-in there close with us; He holds on and won't let go of ya. He speaks comfort to us in His Word. Tells us not to fear gobs of times. Won't split, get ticked off, ditch, or bail out on us. He refuses to leave us there to deal with things according to our own devices when the world tells us to do what it tells us to do. Won't let us just suffer there all alone without any answers. He gives em, but doesn’t promise to quickly remove us out of all our trials. Does allow some suffering and you know why - think on really pure gold. Yes, God does promise to remain tight with you, to be present there with us, and to guide us every step along the way!
So be encouraged to hold on to Him with all ya got, and to sing praises to the Lord when things get lookin’ kinda ugly or weird, for He alone is our great companion, and constancy! Remember Jesus, His great love on the Cross, and that hollow place in the cold rocky Israeli ground where He came out alive. What's on your heart and mind, and why..it matters to His heart, believer cuz He ain't yet done with ya.

"Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, 'I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

From sincere hearts we give praises and thanks and worship...

..to you today, Lord, for you alone deserve it. You are our joy and peace and blessingour life. When any lasting or other good comes via your church's witness here, we gladly point to you giver of life - the credit is yours. 


"Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all." 29.11one.chron


"He is the fountain and centre of every thing that is bright and blessed. All that we can, in our most exalted praises, attribute to him he has an unquestionable title to. His is the greatness; his greatness is immense and incomprehensible; and all others are little, are nothing, in comparison of him. His is the power, and it is almighty and irresistible; power belongs to him, and all the power of all the creatures is derived from him and depends upon him. His is the glory; for his glory is his own end and the end of the whole creation. All the glory we can give him with our hearts, lips, and lives, comes infinitely short of what is his due. His is the victory; he transcends and surpasses all, and is able to conquer and subdue all things to himself; and his victories are incontestable and uncontrollable." ~ Matthew Henry


Why strive to be what the world calls "a success" when you can opt to all-out worship Christ.. to simply abide in Him, to edify, to encourage, to be fruitful and add real value to other people ..value that you first freely received from God? #better c15.4john facebook.com/shareJesus