Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today at school we had the annual See You at the Pole rally before the day started. I have to admit that I was a little scared when I left for work this morning in a bad thunderstorm about how many would show up. So, when I got to work I stood out front to tell everyone that we would meet in the Library instead. And I was not prepared for what I saw when I got there. Talk about a WOW GOD moment! I had the biggest crowd that I have had in the 6 years I had been in charge of this. Now there has been a lot that has been said about having prayer time at school all over the country. And there has been some persecution. And I spoke with my pastor about this and what he said was very encouraging. He told me that it was an honor to be persecuted. Matthew 5:11-12 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." I begin to feel somewhat excited that I got to get a small piece of what all of the apostles and church leaders in the early church experienced.

This got me to thinking about all those who suffered because of their faith in God. The story of a martyr is not one of sadness and pity, but of power and victory. From time to time on this blog I will be posting the story of a martyr for the Lord. Not to gain sympathy for what we believe, but to offer encouragement that we are not alone. That God will also be with us through everything we face. I find it fitting that the first martyr be the subject of my first martyr post; Stephen.

Acts 7:54-60
"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep."

Stephen was a devout man of God. The end of chapter 6 of the book of Acts tells of all the wonders, and how that no one could stand against the Word that he taught through the spirit. So the Jews conspired against him and claimed that He blasphemed against Moses and God. (The word blaspheme can also be translated as slander) So, he was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin to be questioned. When he spoke to them, he retold the story of Abraham through all of the prophets, and compared the religious leaders to the Jews that would not follow God and resisted the spirit. For this, He was stoned. However, the part of the story that stands out the most was his attitude. He asked the Lord not to hold this sin against them. With his dying breath he prayed for those who killed him.

There is much to learn here from Stephen. He was not afraid to tell others about Christ. He was bold and courageous. And when it cost him his life, he was not angry at the situation, he was not mad at those who killed him. Yet, he loved them. He prayed for them. I hope that we all can be strong like Stephen. Anytime we face persecution for what we believe, I pray that I can have the same attitude as he did.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless You All this week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Questions can be powerful tools to use. As a teacher, I love to have question and answer time with my students. As long as the question has something to do with the topic, I don't mind answering them. Pretty much because it is important to them, and it helps them to learn and understand more of what I am teaching. The same in church? If there is something about the bible, say a doctrine or a verse, that we do not understand it is best to ask your pastor, deacon, elder, and so on. However, questions have the ability to be dangerous as well. They can also lead to downfall if not used properly.

This past Sunday at church our pastor referenced the first question ever asked in the bible. Now, sadly, I had never thought about this question. Genesis 3:1 "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?" What we see here in the context is not the asking of a question for the sake of knowledge and wanting to know more about God, but rather, questioning God's Word and authority. We could reword the question to say "Did God really say that?" This questioning the will of God and His authority ultimately lead to the fall of man. And we have been struggling ever since to regain that connection. As we continue reading the bible we see more and more examples of this. Cain questioning whether he was his brother's keeper, Moses questioning God about sending him to Pharaoh, and the list continues on.

Questioning authority always leads to problems and loss of fellowship. As a parent, I expect my children to act a certain way, to do what is right, and to do as they are told. I have a great disdain for the question "why?" when they are told to do something. Sometimes they need to learn just because I said so. Now sometimes I do give an explanation of why somethings are important when the timing is right. But the questioning of authority has no place in my home because I want them to learn at an early age to respect authority. If this is instilled in them then they will be more receptive to the teachings of the Word of God. They will understand better the need to follow Him without question, which is the basis of faith and salvation. To get to a point where we say "Lord, what You want and not what I want."

So, what does this mean for us as Christians? Is it okay to ask questions about the bible to learn more? Absolutely, and we should on a regular basis. Is it right to question the commands of God and His perfect will? Definitely not. It is not up to us. We can practice this in our homes, in our work by submitting to those that have authority over us, in society, and in our churches and spiritual lives.

Thanks, and God Bless You all this week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What do we do with Grace?

One of the many parts of my job that I enjoy is being a coach. I love to get outside after school, and play. I often times get on the field and go through the drills with my team. I want them to know that I will do the same as I ask them to. It builds a level of trust with my athletes. Along with this, at times, I can become very "loud" at some of our practices and soccer matches. I have been known to throw my hat past the bench area, and speak my mind to an official occasionally in maybe a not so nice fashion. I really get into what I am doing, and I want to win. I want my team to be a success. Now, we do pray before every game starts. And I am always saying to God that I want to represent Him well. And sometimes I end up ignoring that all together. I feel ashamed sometimes when the game is over and I am on my way home for the way that I spoke or carried myself during a game. I have even contacted an official a couple of days later to apologize for the way that I spoke. This led me to think on what are we doing with the Grace that God gives us. Ephesians 1:7 reads "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace." By His grace, we are saved. Because none of us is worthy on our own to be saved. It is because He was gracious enough to send His Son to die for our sins. Christ suffered, bleed, was beaten, and crucified just because He loved us, and wanted us to spend eternity with Him. How do we repay this grace? A lot of times we use it to enable us to sin. What I mean by this is that sometimes people say that it is okay to slip up because God will forgive them. Or, I will just ask God to forgive me after I do this, or later on when I get older. That is not what grace is. Will God forgive us? Yes, but we need to strive to live our lives in a manner that is pleasing to Him. We need to look at grace as our lifeline to reach eternity, rather than to trample it when things don't go our way. We always need to be mindful of God, and act as if we are truly thankful. Not just something to fall back on. We need to be proactive about being a good witness to those around us all the time. We need to be truly thankful for the gift of grace. I think of my children at their birthdays. When the get the one gift that they wanted the most, they hug everybody, they are so thankful and joyous, and cannot wait to play with their new possession. When was the last time we acted the same way towards God for His gift of grace? So happy and thankful. And we cannot wait to apply it in every aspect of our lives. So the question is today, What do we really do with God's grace?

Thanks and God bless you all this week

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This person?

I am extremely encouraged today. Last night, one of the young men that our assembly loves dearly came to know the Lord last night. PRAISE GOD! So I will ask you all to keep him in your prayers. Thinking on this topic lead me to think about those that we may think will never get saved. Those that just do so many things wrong that we sort of stay away from instead of witnessing to. And when they do get saved, it is like 'really'? That guy? These situations remind me of a set of scripture in Acts. Acts 9:17 reads "So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” When we sit back and read the whole story of Saul's conversion we see that Ananias was given a vision to go and lay hands on Saul. And that Saul was praying. This news stunned Ananias. He had heard of all the horrible things that Saul was doing. He knew that he was responsible for the death of many Christians. However, Ananias put his trust in God, and went to where Saul was and laid hands on him to receive his sight once again. Saul's name was later changed to Paul, and he became one of the greatest evangelists ever seen. Know I am sure Ananias was thinking 'wait, this guy? are you serious'? This story just goes to show us that God is in control. We may not always understand all of the situations around us. We may not see the path that God has laid before the people around us. Christ Himself told Peter not to worry about what John was supposed to do before He ascended into heaven. We must however be obedient to God's Word. We do not have the right to pick and choose who we witness to. The great commission at the end of the Gospel of Matthew does not say to witness to who we want. It tells us to spread the Word to "all" nations. And when we see this person that has come to know God, who has gotten saved, it is our responsibility to give that person as much support and love as we can. No matter who they were before Christ. Because Christ did the same for us. And if He can overlook the person that I was before He saved me, then I can do the same to everyone else.

Thanks, and God Bless You all this week!