Pastor’s Corner 5/16/2022 “HOW WILL YOU DO ON YOUR FINAL?”

  HOW WILL YOU DO ON YOUR FINAL?

My daughters just finished finals and can breathe a little. If you were taking a class and the professor said, “You must study this as it will be on your final.”  I am sure that you would concentrate on whatever the professor said was “this.”  You would intently focus on the task.  What if this whole life were just a test?  God has given us something to focus on. Something that we know will be on our “final.”  As believers, we have been given an assignment. We see this fact in Scripture. In other words, you were put on earth to contribute. You weren’t created to just take. The “consumer” mentality has invaded our churches. God designed you to move beyond, simply being a good person. He calls us to step into our faith journey where the focus is on adding to people’s lives. Now if you are reading this and you have no desire to serve others or really if you have no desire to get more involved, then maybe it’s time to question whether you really are in Christ. I have seen many good people approach the church with an       “I don’t want to get my hands dirty” view and when they do help, they view it as a duty, with little joy.  In Matthew Chapter 8, Jesus is on a “healing kick”.  In verse 14, He came to Peter’s house. He entered that house to help someone. He sees Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. Now to verse 15, He touched her hand and the fever left. What did she do next? She got up and began to serve Him. This was her direct reaction to her Jesus. The church is the Body of Christ. Have you been redeemed? How are you serving Him? How are you helping His Body here on earth?  What is your reaction to your Jesus? My dad said that in life there are “givers and takers.” You may have heard that saying from a parent or grandparent at some point in your life. Dad was onto something big! Just maybe this is Matthew 25: 31-46 lived out. In this story, we see that Jesus will separate the pretenders from those who were loyal to the King’s cause. To those who are His sheep, He will say “come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance.”

Who is the king? The Lord.

What is His Body?  The church.

Who is the Body? YOU ARE.

I pray that great is your reward.

I pray that you focus on your assignment. 

Until the nets are full,

Chris

Pastor’s Corner 5/4/2022 “FILLING THINGS”

I was reading in 2 Kings, chapter four.  It brought me to several thoughts:

1) God loves to fill up things for those who love Him.

2) Do we anticipate that more is coming?

3) What is God currently filling in you?

4) What are you asking Him to fill next?

Read 2 Kings 4:1-7

Notice that His people are taken care of for the rest of their lives.

Notice that the widow asked for another jar.

Notice the oil stopped flowing after she was told there were no more jars.

So, if we take these “notices” and relate them to our own lives – this is what I see:

I see that I need to remember that God will take care of me and my family.

I see that I should remember what God has done in my life, but should also expect more to come.

I see that I should never stop asking for another jar for God to fill.

Lastly, I see that when I have nothing for God to fill, His blessing flows no longer, as He sees that His work is done.

What is something that needs to be done in your life so that you can better discover where God wants to work?

When was the last time you asked God to fill something?

What is your “jar”?

He is just waiting on you to ask.

 

Until the nets are full,

Chris

Pastor’s Corner 5/1/2022 “Living Into The Promised Gifts”

God has provided a way for us to have a fruitful and abundant life.

Jesus Himself said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  We as Christians must choose to live differently.

In Confirmation class we talk about the fruits of the Spirit. Have you ever heard someone who is a Christian say something like, “Well I don’t have the patience for _______________?”

You are supposed to. When we asked Christ to come into our hearts, we receive the gifts of the Spirit not some of them. One guy in a church that I was serving got easily angered when the least little thing came up that he didn’t like. He would often disturb his Wednesday night teacher with his blurting out or really his rants. We all know people like that. It’s time for the church to challenge such people with love. We are to walk with them because they may not yet understand the concept the fruits of the Spirit that have been given to us. I don’t always keep my cool. I should because self-control is one of the gifts that is now within me. We don’t claim some of the gifts but ALL of them. We don’t want Jesus some of the time, but all the time. We are drawing closer to God. I see it in each of you.  I am now doing a sermon series titled, “The Process.” In week, one we talked about the local church and the main process of it in Disciple making. In week two we will focus on us as individuals in the process. We carry the gifts of the Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The degree to which these gifts are manifested in our life depends on how focused we are on the process. A good starting point to the process is to ask yourself if you really trust the Lord with every detail of your life. If you answer yes to that, you’re on the right track. Are you willing to help others in their journey? Again, you’re on the right track. Living into the gifts of the Spirit with focus will keep you on the right track. It’s those gifts that make us be in the world, not of it.

Fruits of the Spirit are found in Galatians 5:22, 23

The old us is gone. (See Galatians 5:24)

 

 

Until the nets are full,

 

Chris

Pastor’s Corner 4/20/22 “HOPE IN HIM”

   HOPE IN HIM

As we all know, our nation has taken an economic downturn. We are also living in days of war and rumors of wars. We are in a real downtrend and on the verge of a real global financial crisis. I, like many of you, have heard analysts forecast troubling times ahead. I have a real problem in these days. My problem is that as a pastor, I have a front row seat. You see, I am in the middle of God’s people and what I see is that the Christian community, God’s people, are reflecting the fears, frustrations, political polarization, and self-security maneuvering that mirrors what you can see of the society around us. We claim a relationship with the God of hope, yet we tend to view life from a hopeless perspective. Think about it… are your comments and attitudes carrying the same tone as those who do not carry this faith? If we have really placed our faith in Christ, why do we sometimes feel as though our problems have left us without hope? My calling is to give people hope. It’s not in the title “pastor” or the position. We must turn our all to Jesus. He is and has always wanted to be our only hope. In Romans Chapter 15, Paul reminds us of all about the hope in our faith. Hope is to guide the Christian life back to our center in times of trials, uncertainty, and war.  Hope in Jesus does say that I have something much better coming. We are not being a walking “pep talk,” as we place our worth, our lives into something “other” than this world. It’s much bigger than that.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.” Romans 15:12

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Notice the “IN HIM” in verses 12 and 13.

Until the nets are full,

 Chris

Pastor’s Corner 4/14/2022 “BECOMING FRUITY”

BECOMING FRUITY

When I was at my first church, we decided to do a three night revival. In our planning, someone said they wanted T-Shirts for everyone. Then we discussed what verse of Scripture to put on the shirts. Someone said, “let’s do Matthew 7:20”.  I was very new and couldn’t recall what Matthew 7:20 even was.  So I asked,” Why that verse?” And the lady said “because we want to be known as the church with action”.  That church was active. They were very good at inviting others and making sure the church didn’t feel like a club. They would often check on one another especially if someone got down or was sick. The church grew. Our faith must be an active faith. Jesus taught His disciples that if they had faith, they could move mountains. YOU can too!

When you place your faith, your trust, indeed your life in the hands of Jesus Christ, you’ll be amazed at the incredible things He can do with you and through you. So now is the time for you to strengthen your faith through praise, through worship, through Bible study, and through prayer. Also be praying about someone that you can invite to Lakeview. The people in that first church chose friendships over drama, invitation over inaction, Light over darkness. Billy Graham, one of my heroes once said that our faith actually grows by expression. He went so far as to say that if we want to keep our faith, then we will share it.

Maybe each morning of this special time, we should pray the following: Dear Lord, I have heard Your Word and I have felt Your presence in my heart; let me act accordingly. Let my words and deeds serve as a testimony to the changes that You have made in my life. Let me praise You Father, by following in the footsteps of You Son, and let others see Him through me. Amen.

One sure way to see if a soul is heaven bound, is to look for its fruit.

“Wherefore by their fruits, Ye shall know them.”- Matthew 7:20

Until the nets are full,

Chris

PASTOR’S CORNER 4/7/2022 “WHAT IS A SAINT?”

   WHAT IS A SAINT?

I was singing that old song, “When the Saints Go Marching In” the other day.

What is a Saint?  Have you ever thought about that word which is so easily thrown around but often only reserved for a few? Although, we will often describe a child of God as a saint, we hear the term most often in a funeral setting. Merriam-Webster describes a saint as, “one who is officially recognized through canonization as preeminent for holiness.”  While a funeral is the most appropriate time to call someone a saint, the title “Saint” is not just for those who have already run their race of life. Let’s approach that word from my view:  A saint is one who genuinely loves Jesus, loves their family, and deeply loves the church family that God has blessed them with. They seem to all highly value friendships. They embrace new friendships as though a new flower has been placed in their garden. A saint always carries a thankful heart. A Saint is one who serves without complaining, grumbling, or keeping score. The saints in the church are the consistent ones who seem to float in to serve the Body of Christ. They value giving and see worship attendance as a place to weekly refuel through the Holy Spirit’s power. They see the role of the church as God’s plan for a broken world and they view the work of the church as His hand with and for His people. They also feel that this work starts within their own hearts. They embrace Psalm 116 as their relational view of life and of God’s nature. We all know that the saintly person is not immune to the heartaches and pain that this life so often brings, but you rarely ever hear the “poor Me’s” or “things are just so tough for me right    now’s.”  The saints have been given a special grit for each day. A God given, consistent grit to inspire and encourage even in the deepest valleys of their own life. A saint usually isn’t comfortable with attention given to them or to their trials. I see a life outlook out of those whom I have called saints in my life. A pattern surfaces in my mind as I sit and ponder those, I have considered to be saintly. Every one of them have called out to the Lord in their quiet times and exude a confidence that the Lord has heard their cry. They will talk to God about any affliction and then seem to get on with the day and the life that God has given them. They are also usually great peacemakers and become some of the strongest encouragers in our lives. I don’t sit here naively and believe that everyone in life will hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” when we come to the end of our lives. This statement from the Lord will be reserved for those whom He calls the saints. This phrase comes from Matthew 25 and Jesus uses it in response to someone who takes risks and is faithful the whole time. Growth is usually the result of a race run well. I was talking with someone from another church who was concerned about their future. He asked me, “What I felt was my biggest role as a pastor”? My answer was, “to try my best, prepare everyone for the moment that we stand before Jesus.” The proper preparation is for all of us to follow the example of… the Saints who have gone on before us. If you think about your life, they were there. In fact, you just thought of a few. The saints that have passed away I do believe are cheering us on in some way. Are they the one’s that Paul describes as the “great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews Chapter 12? I think so. I also want to be in that number.

Until the nets are full,

Chris

Pastor’s Corner 3/28/2022 “THE LIGHT BEFORE US”

THE LIGHT BEFORE US 

Years ago, my youngest daughter was training for an upcoming Track season. One evening, we drove up to the track at Guntersville High School. It was very dark. None of the normal lights were on. The light from the parking lot was simply not bright enough to see well.

While she was stretching, I decided to walk the track to make sure no obstacles were in her way. Light reveals things, yes even your obstacles. I removed a hurdle that was left in her training lane. Light is a big deal for the believer. It guides. It guards. It grows us.

In John 8:12, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “ I am the Light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” I thought about all of the nights that my daughter, Bradley, would train. During the summer, it’s too hot to train during the day so she would train after sundown. Many days, she would also train as the sun was rising. Throughout all her training, that one night stands out the most. A loving father went before her to look for hazards; to protect her from harm. This is God’s nature. He goes before us, even when things seem dark.

When speaking of the coming Messiah, Isaiah declared that “the people living in the land of deep darkness, a Light has dawned”. ( Is. 9:2b)  What does this mean for us as to the Nature of God? It means that God does His best work in the dark, yes, when we are surrounded by it. He is there, going before us, looking for hazards. He either removes them or makes our hearts aware of them. Maybe that’s what is so amazing about the Light in your life and in mine.

Light reveals… It’s what it does.

Until the nets are full,

Chris

Pastor’s Corner 3/24/2022 “MOMENTS”

  “Moments”

I spend a lot of my time reading. I am reading (for a second time) The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, by Dr. John Izzo. Chapter 6 is titled, “Living in The Moment”. In that chapter, He talks about a guy that he calls “John the painter”. John is 93 and is about to turn 94. He said that he likes to tell people that he is about to turn 94 as a 7 year old child would who is about to turn 8. Then John the painter said this to Dr. Izzo, “ever since I turned 90, I have this great appreciation for each day.” He talked about mortality and the limited number of years he had left and how his awareness had begun to shape his daily experience. He said, “Heck, when you get to be my age, you are constantly wondering how much longer you will live, and it gives you great thankfulness and perspective.” The Scriptures guide us to think like this at any age. I immediately think of my reading in James Chapter 4, “What is your life, you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (Verse 14) We know that we are like the grass, green one day and then blown into the wind. This is a great season at Lakeview as we are heading toward Easter. We are very much an alive congregation.  We are intentional about serving, study time, helping new people find their place, and feeling the love of our family. I just want to tell you to take it in and don’t take it for granted. We are so blessed to be where we are and blessed to have a strong church family. Thank God for these things and do live in the moment of each “hello” and “welcome” because like seasons, things change. We know that we do in fact, go home when it’s time. Don’t wait until you’re 90 to take in the moments of each day.

Cherish each day and each person in it.

Until the nets are full,

 Chris

Pastor’s Corner 3/15/2022 “ENOUGH!”

             “ENOUGH”

The battle that we are seeing is nothing new. The battle that rages is always at its core, good versus evil. Evil is real. Evil is mentioned four hundred and six times in the NIV Bible. Sometimes evil is easy to spot and other times hard to see. The “hard to see” evils usually come as “half-truths” or through distortions. The first distortion comes from the serpent, “ The serpent asked Eve, Did God really say, “you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1b) I want you to notice that the serpent mentions God, but then proceeds to also create questions.  Here is what that may sound like today, “Is that really what God’s Word is saying?” The next move by the enemy is to distort God’s Word, by asking “is that really what God meant?”  I think what the church needs now are people who, don’t try to understand everything, but who simply trust God.  Faith never comes by understanding. We can strengthen our faith by seeking to understand, but faith is as simple as trust. Sometimes I struggle in my trying to understand. I think it is natural. I want you to know there are a lot of things in Scripture that I struggle with, but when I come to something that brings out the struggle in me, I must assume that I’m wrong because my life falls under the authority of the Bible. There are two paths for every person, I really believe that. One is God’s and the other is not.  Live for God. Place your life under His Word and know that you will do battle with evil every single day of your life. We see footage of a maternity ward being hit by bombs and we say, “now that is evil” because well, it is obvious that it is evil. Church leaders – lay and clergy will be tempted in the future to not call things evil and distort things. We hear it in the media, “well, there may be evidence of war crimes.” MAY BE?  I have heard people say that the church in the world is evolving. It’s not really evolving but being pruned. OUCH! Maybe when we study Jesus’ view as revealed in Scripture of a follower, a true heaven bound soul, we should now embrace that HIS way really IS narrow. (Matt. 7:13,14, Luke 13: 24) You see, if a church fails to call sin exactly what it is, then it is no longer a church. We are in a battle. I am not going to sugar coat it. Sin or distortion is easily spotted when you know a common trait of sin; one hundred percent of the time, it moves the person further away from God. I read the warnings in Scripture for my own life. I pray that you hear them for yours. I think of Isaiah, “Woe to those who call evil good.” (Isaiah 5:20)  Isn’t it something that right before the first distortion about what God said there in Genesis, you see the first marriage defined by God? Don’t be surprised when the definition of marriage is distorted or messed with, oh wait… we are already there.  Love everyone enough to tell them the truth. So, the question for us all isn’t if we have love. We do! In fact, as Believers we are promised it, but do we have enough love. Enough love… to stand on God’s Holy Word even when it is difficult.

Enough love,

Chris