you gotta learn to crawl

Eli, my 9 month old son, began crawling today. You can click this link to see the video.

My oldest, JJ, never crawled, so I never thought much about crawling.  But today when Eli took off, I was reminded of that good ol’ sound foundational advice that says ‘you gotta learn to crawl before you learn to walk’. 

Following Jesus is so much like that.  As a pastor and leader in our church, I never want to lead people into thinking that beginning to follow Jesus is like taking off and running like a skilled athlete. Its not. At times, it is hard and sad and lonely and trying and discouraging. Jesus is there with you in those times. And it is unquestionably worth it. 
Following Jesus at times is like crawling, more than it is like walking. Especially early in the life of the believer. 

So if you are new to following Christ, or if you are just at one of those tough times, take heart and be strengthened because ‘you gotta learn to crawl before you can learn to walk.’  By God’s grace you will soon be walking. Hope fully and completely in God, He is teaching you to walk.

Entertaining (Snow)Angels…

We had five or six inches of snow on Saturday morning. We praise God for the snow.

The snow provides many opportunities to have fun and to serve. Several folks in our church went around shoveling driveways and sidewalks.

Here is a picture of three of our youth having fun making snow angels after they shoveled off our driveway.

“You go, and do likewise.”

The parable of the good samaritan (Luke 10) as told by Servant King Jesus is well known to most people.

I want to point out the details of the story that the good samaritan did.

*he was on a journey
*he saw him (the one who had fallen, been beaten, robbed and stripped)
*he had compassion
*he went to him
*he bound up his wounds
*he poured on oil and wine
*he set him on his own animal
*he brought him to an inn
*he took care of him
*he took out money (two days worth of work)
*he gave the money to the innkeeper
*he said “take care of him, whatever more you spend, i’ll repay”

That is a lot of doing for someone else. It took time and effort and understanding and attention.

After telling that parable, Jesus said “You go, and do likewise.”

Lets go do it!

Telling your story

In our Sunday evening services, we have been hearing different members of our church body tell their story of how Jesus saved them.

In our efforts to teach people faithfully, here are the three main keys we seek to build every testimony around. (I hope these are helpful. And I hope your testimony includes these three components.)

1) Before Christ-Meeting Christ-After Christ. Every testimony should tell of the person’s life before they get saved; how they met Christ; and their life after they got saved.

2) You or Jesus? Every testimony should be about what God has done. Therefore, you can ask ‘Is this more about what you have done or is this more about what Christ has done in you?’

3) Faith & Repentance. Every testimony should include Faith and Repentance. Faith and repentance are 2 sides to the same coin. We are saved by grace through faith, and unless you repent you will die in your sins. No matter how much you have said… Until you tell when you believed and were forgiven, you have not given testimony to God saving you.

Snow and understanding

Snow is awesome!  Lately we have seen it so regularly. In two days, we have a chance of getting another large snowfall. (I sure hope we do.)

In the book of Job (37:6), his friend Elihu says, “God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth…'”

A simple statement yet so profound. Our lives need to be about God. We were made for Him. We are to love Him above all things. We were created to worship, honor, and glorify Him. I am praying that God would produce God-centered people who possess the mind of Christ. I am praying that God would make men and women who think about God in all situations.

Even as the snow falls daily, and sometimes there is accumulation and sometimes there isn’t, Are you mindful that God told that snow to fall? Are you looking to Jesus as the one who is telling the snow where to land and stick?

Allow the snow to give you further understanding of how awesome your great God and Savior Jesus Christ is!

“Strive to excel”… in what?

The other day while sitting in on a local high school’s after school meeting of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), I heard an awesome talk on the joy that comes from daily walking with God. The speaker was a young athlete and did a great job emphasizing the Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer. He confidently stated that the believer can find hope and strength by knowing that God is with them all the time.

After he was done, he took a few minutes to answer any questions.  One question from a girl was “Do you ever put sports in front of God?” She then asked if it was OK to miss church due to a game or practice. That is a great question and concern coming from a teenage athlete and Christian.

In answering, the speaker said that church is not what is imporant… God is.  He went on to say that as long as you stay close to God it doesn’t really matter if you go to church.  (I don’t think he meant to send the message he sent. He is very active and involved at his church.)

However, Church is so incredibly important.  Active faithful involvement with a local church is essential for the life and growth and faith of the child of God. The New Testament assures us of this.

Notice, Paul’s comment in 1 Corinthians 14:12 while speaking to eager believers “strive to excel in building up the church.”

What do you strive to excel in? Do you strive for excellence in anything? The New Testament teaches that the committed Christian is also committed to God’s church because the church is the bride of Christ. Therefore, if you call yourself a Christian, get started this week in working hard for the church.

“the very thing I was eager to do”

We have completed the first 2 weeks of the NewThru30, and it has been incredible. I am so excited to be beginning Luke today. I am also already looking forward to this wednesday night when we get to here from everyone what they are getting out of reading the Bible. I am so encouraged by how many of us are on pace and reading so much of God’s Word.

Last week in Galatians, I was challenged by 2:10.

“Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”

Chapter 2 of Galatians is Paul telling how he finally is accepted by the Apostles. There had been some hesitation and reluctancy due to Paul’s former life. However, when James and Peter and John (who Paul called pillars) “gave the right hand of fellowship” to him and Barnabas, all seemed to be different and well. 

But then he makes this great statement, “they asked us to remember the poor.”  James, Peter, and John asked them. The pillars asked them this. The inner circle of Jesus’ 12 disciples.  The 3 that were taken up on the mount to see the transfiguration of Jesus. The three that knew our Lord the closest asked Paul to remember the poor. Wow!

And then Paul writes “the very thing I was eager to do.” Jesus undoubtedly had a heart for the poor. The 3 pillars, James, Peter, and John, had a heart for the poor. And Paul also had a heart for the poor.

Do you have a heart for the poor? And how are you going about it? It seems to me that every follower of Christ must have an attention and affection for the poor. Reading the whole New Testament so quickly has only confirmed this. 

To not be mindful and deliberate with the poor is to be unbiblical.

Our town, 40118!


This is our town! Fairdale, KY 40118!

We are praying that God would do a mighty work here. We sing that “greater things have yet to come”. We believe that “all who call upon the name of Jesus will be saved.”  We know that “Christ is able to save to the uttermost.” We understand that what seems impossible is certainly “possible with God.” We are trusting that “whatever we ask we will recieve.” We are hoping that God “will send out laborers into the harvest.” We are working to “reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  We find confidence in the truth that “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” And we are humbled that “He is faithful and just to forgive us for our sins.”

It is our desire to love our neighbors well. It is our desire to be servants of all. God have mercy upon us and give us passionate hearts for our town, Fairdale.

Love your neighbor…

This past week our church memorized Matthew 22:36-40.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

That last statement by Jesus is huge. HUGE!  And it really caught my attention. “On these 2 commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Well, loving God is huge. We all know that. That is what all of this life is about. Verse 38 proves that “This is the great and first commandment.” 

But I want to focus on the second one, Loving your neighbor.  We need to realize that loving our neighbor is big, monumental, HUGE! Combine that command with the command to love God and Jesus says you are talking about the WHOLE MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT! That is a big deal.

The command to love your neighbor originates from Leviticus 19:18. Then Jesus quotes it to the Rich Young Man in Matthew 19:19. Then He makes this statement in Matthew 22:36-40. Mark tells the same story in his gospel (mark 12). Luke states it emphatically in the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.  And so we see that the huge, weighty command to “love your neighbor” is meaningful in the life of Jesus and His close followers Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Let’s look even further into the Word to see more.

Paul says in Romans 13:8-10 that “the one who loves another” is the one who is fulfilling the law. And he even directly quotes “love your neighbor” for further emphasis. Then later on, when writing to the Galatians (5:14), Paul says that “the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” And so we see that the huge, weighty command to “love your neighbor” is meaningful in the life of Paul and those he is ministering to. Let’s look even further.

James writes in 2:8 that “if you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.” Wow! James just took it to another level. He calls this command “the royal law”.

So in regards to the command to love your neighbor as yourself. James calls it the royal law. Paul said it fulfills the whole law. Luke used it to illustrate true compassion in one of the most well-known parables in the Bible. Matthew and Mark both tell of Jesus combining it with the greatest commandment of all, to love God, and then stating that all of the Law and Prophets depend on these two. So, we need to embrace it. Not just know it. We need to embrace it. We need to become it. We need to become a people who hear this command and then work to obey it.

Let us Love Our Neighbors!