The Refiner’s Fire & Reforming Hammer

Is your surrendered-to-God life being heated almost to the melting point, and then being beaten upon seemingly without mercy?

Stay on the anvil of God. Your outcome will be beautiful, powerful, and glorifying to Him! He isn’t punishing you, He is forming you into the greatest person that you can be.

He didn’t say that you would love the sculpting process, but you WILL love the final RESULT of His sculpting process!

#PastorsTip

 

Theology is for Everyone

To most Christians, the idea of learning “Theology” is an overwhelming and daunting suggestion. “I’m not a scholar,” or “I’m not interested in working for a Ph.D” is a very common thought process that shuts the door on the subject.

However, Theology is NOT just a scholar’s domain. The learning and the application of Theology to our own heart, mind, and daily life is of the utmost godly value!

“Theology”—though it does include some branches with extremely deep waters—is basically the study of God: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, and how He interacts with humanity. Every believer who is committed to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior needs to know as much as they can from the scriptures about their God.

As attenders of [good] churches, we have a tremendous number of opportunities to grow in our knowledge about God (“Theology”) so that we can also grow in knowing Him personally. Faulty thinking about who God is and how He interacts with humanity leaves us very, VERY susceptible to failures and deceptions.

The writer to the Hebrews (most consider this author to be the Apostle Paul, as do I) was teaching and developing their understanding of God and their walking through life in the Spirit of Jesus. Here is what he summarizes as being the foundation or elementary teachings [of Theology] that every believer SHOULD have well established so they can build and grow the rest of their life.

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”‭‭

( Hebrews‬ ‭6:1-2 )

Unfortunately, there are too many believers who have had their faith in Christ for 10, 20, or 30 years, but their maturity in truly knowing the things of God and living a godly life are at an “elementary” level. Using a school analogy, by now they should be graduates, instead they are repeating the 1st Grade over and over, not having grasped the basics and not yet demonstrated a practical proficiency in godly knowledge, wisdom, and behavior.

To be clear, though I used a school analogy, growing in Theology is not necessarily about formal academics. It is about growing in the personal study of God’s scripture, and the prayerful application of the scriptures to personal and daily life.

“Let us go on to perfection” means to grow in maturity. It means to shed more and more imperfection, and to draw closer and closer to Christ and the perfection He represents.
Most of us will never be “Theologians” in an academic setting with a Ph.D next to our name, but each of us should be growing in our Theology of God. Anything less than our constant growth in our knowledge of God is not part of God’s great plan for our life. Let’s be sure, every day, that we progressively “go on to perfection” in Him.

See you at the altar of Christ as we read the scriptures, pray, and build each other up in the Theology of our great God.

#PastorsTip

Be Nice!

Guys, BE NICE!
Gals, BE NICE!

No excuses, BE NICE!

When you must stand your ground, do so in strength, but BE NICE!
When you must reaffirm your personal boundaries, do so with clarity, but BE NICE!

When you are disrespected, turn the other cheek, but BE NICE!
When you are physically attacked, defend yourself appropriately, but BE NICE!

When it is the right time to express anger, articulate your feelings, but BE NICE!
When someone is almost impossible to deal with, use wisdom, but BE NICE!

When God doesn’t do what you thought He SHOULD do, cry out to Him, but BE NICE!
When you suffer unjustly in body or soul, plead for God’s intervention, but BE NICE!

When you are falsely accused, refute the accusations, but BE NICE!
When your reputation is cruelly trashed, let your consistency in life set the record straight, but BE NICE!

When your anger has been heated by another into a boiling cauldron for revenge, take a deep breath, give the situation to God, allow Him to take care of any and all revenge, and BE NICE!

Being NICE is not a sign of weakness, it is evidence of godly fortitude when you maintain your cool where others might explode.

Sometimes being NICE in response to a very angry person will calm them enough to become cordial. But even if being NICE doesn’t calm them, BE NICE anyway.

Are there times, places, and situations when BEING NICE is not the correct response? Perhaps, but you and I rarely encounter those conditions, so always plan to always BE NICE, especially when your emotions are screaming within your soul.

Our ability to experience a variety of emotions is a wonderful blessing from God, but our emotions were not created to lead us in our actions. Our capacity to reason was created to lead us, and we are to give guidance to our emotions just as a good parent provides strong, loving guidance to a very emotional child.

So, in all things, always plan to BE NICE!

#PastorsTip

Happiness is… An Earthly Father, A Heavenly Father

[This was originally posted on my Facebook Wall in April 2010.  Today I am reposting it as a tribute to both of my Fathers, earthly and Heavenly.]

Happiness is… having an earthly father who is sensitive to the leading of our Heavenly Father!!

This afternoon (April 2010) I was diagnosed as having “Full Blown Diabetes,” otherwise known as “Type 2 Diabetes.” When I arrived home I sat down, lifted my hands in praise and worship to my Heavenly Father, and cried with tears.

Within 5 seconds (that’s FIVE SECONDS!) my phone rang.

And who was calling me? It was my earthly father calling me [from Texas] in response to his feeling led by our Heavenly Father to… call me and check in on me!

In the midst of one of life’s storms my Heavenly Father sent His best representative on earth to comfort me, to encourage me, and to strengthen me in His place: My earthly father!

Thanks father, and Father! Thanks dad, and Dad! Thanks abba, and Abba!

Surely, happiness is… having an earthly father who is sensitive to the leading of, and the representation of, our Heavenly Father!!

#PastorsTip

On The Lighter Side…

The Far Side™ cartoon series, if you are not familiar with it, is a wonderful window into the uniquely humorous world of Gary Larson. Sometimes the humor is based upon the impossible, sometimes upon the ironic, and sometimes just deeply philosophical… all shared with a heavy dose of fun.

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“I Will Be With You!”

It was a beautiful setting in the mountains of Western Oregon. A large church had scheduled a Men’s Retreat for the weekend, and I was honored to be their guest speaker.

The first session was about 30 minutes away, and I was walking the perimeter of the outdoor basketball court by myself. Thinking and praying, I was looking forward to the time with the other men. I felt that I had a clear message from the Lord that would build them up, equip them, and refresh them.

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Our Future Freedom from Sin

The following was an experience that I had with our Heavenly Father in the mid-1990’s. I don’t recall having ever put this encounter into written form—in whole or in part, though I have verbally spoken of it to a very small and select group of close siblings in Christ.

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Pray 2 Pray

Jesus understands how difficult it is to build a consistent prayer life, beyond those emergency life-or-death situations that provide us with plenty of motivation to pray. He identifies with us in our struggles because He has been there and experienced many of them, though He Himself was without sin. The struggle though was real!

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Parents of Developmentally Delayed Children

Is it being suggested by your child’s teachers that he may be Developmentally Delayed or might have a Personality Disorder? Are you struggling with seeing your child through the teachers’ eyes? Or, are you rejecting their suggestions altogether, and you are highly offended by their theory concerning your child?

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