Don’t Lose Your Fire!

Charles Spurgeon, one of history’s greatest church influencers, is quoted as saying in his Lectures to My Students:

“Do not enter the ministry if you can help it. If any student in this room could be content to be a newspaper editor, a grocer, a farmer, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a senator, or a king, in the name of heaven and earth, let him go his way.”

It seems to be a huge indictment against serving in ministry. But the reality is that Christianity—especially the ministry—can be difficult. At times it will wear you down. There will be times that you want to quit and forget about God.

The myth that God will save us and that all of our problems will go away is completely and utterly false!

Consider the prophet Jeremiah and his ministry. He was called the “weeping prophet” because he saw the judgment of God was coming to an unrepentant Israel. He was heartbroken because they refused to listen. He grieved because his pleas fell on deaf ears and hard hearts.

Such was the disappointment in ministry that Jeremiah writes:

If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

Jeremiah 20:9

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A real relationship with Jesus

Seeking God is more than just a system of traditions and rituals. He is a loving father who was willing to sacrifice his very self in order that we might all have a pathway to salvation! At its essence, Christianity is not just about church services or following a prescribed code of conduct, but it’s about having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I’ve met many who feel as though they can’t come to church. In their own estimations, they are not perfect enough or do not meet the church’s perceived level of holiness. They are afraid of being judged because they smoke, drink, are living together without being married, or have a less than perfect family situation.

The truth is that we are all messed up in some way or another. Even the best pastor or church member is struggling to be holy. Even the Apostle Paul, who is one of the primary writers of the New Testament, shares “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15). Every great man of God, whether it is Moses, David, or Paul, had flaws in their character yet was able to be close to God (we call this grace).

If you do not know Jesus as your savior, but you want to connect to God, please do not feel as though religion will get you there by itself. Please don’t feel as though you need to be perfect. Please don’t feel bad about anything. God wants to have a relationship with you!

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The Truth of Christianity and What it Means to be Saved.

The following verses have just captured my attention lately. For the past months, I’ve been contemplating deeply on the truth of Christianity and what it means to be saved. There are so many good people in church. They are the many people who sacrifice to take care of their families and abstain from a lot of the vices of this world. Yet, Jesus plainly states in Matthew 7:21-23:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

It gets to me every time. We can be so religious and pious that we completely miss the mark. Our salvation is not dependent on what we do but rather who we know. The only way to God is through knowing Jesus (John 14:6).

This is what hurts so much as I preach to the many good people I run across on a daily basis. They give to the Red Cross. They attend service Sunday mornings. They don’t curse, drink, or smoke. They treat their wives and families with the utmost care and love. Yet, all of these things by themselves are meaningless without a relationship with Jesus. Being good doesn’t equate to being a Christian!

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In defense of love

The highlight of my Sunday wasn’t the sermon I preached. It was the celebration afterwards. We were able to enjoy a peaceful Mother’s Day with my wife and celebrate my son’s 5th birthday. When he told me, “Daddy, I feel so happy today,” my whole day couldn’t have gotten any better. Although sometimes I’d like to kill them (and you parents know what I mean), no one besides Jesus loves my kids more than me. They are my world. We celebrate as much as we can with them because we want them to know how special they are!

And as I contemplate all of this, I wonder if this is what Jesus desires from us as his church. Should the love for our spiritual brothers emulate the love a parent has for his child? Should we be quick to forgive the trespasses of others? Should we sometimes let things go, for the sake of peace?

The answer is simple…Definitely Yes!

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How do you deal with life when people hurt you?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you wish you could just hurt somebody who has hurt you or a loved one? I’m talking about Old Testament style eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth type of revenge! Unfortunately, we’ll all pass through our own “valley of the shadow of death” at one time or another. It’s a dark time in our life where people who we trusted act in ways which hurt us and betray our confidence. It’s that moment where close friends abandon you, when leaders who you depended on betray your confidence, or when your own family treats you like a stranger.

How do you deal with life when people hurt you? Do you choose to get bitter or to get better?

Experience has taught me that bitterness can be such a bittersweet emotion. You revel when those who cause you pain are injured. You feel as though you’re winning the battle against people when your unethical behavior seems to pay off. Your entire mindset is focused on that individual, turning bitterness into resentment, and resentment into hate.

Don’t fall into that trap!

As Christians, we are called to model grace. It’s what Jesus did when he was on the cross and said, “Father, forgive them, for Read more…