Two of the Best Questions

Our son Matthew had to correspond with his teacher about some of the questions he might ask someone when he went to the park.

He wrote down two of the most basic yet extremely important questions everyone should always ask themselves.

His questions were simply:

1. Do you pray?
2. Do you love God?

As I was pondering over these questions it struck me that in an innocent little heart those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior should always have God in their hearts and in their minds. To my little boy, knowing God is the equivalent of praying and loving God. It should also be that way with every professing Christian.

Another instance concerning our kids and prayer:

As we put our children to bed in the evenings we pray with them and then we ask them to also pray on their own.

Well, last evening as we left their room, they started praying but it wasn’t long before Matthew came in with a dilemma. He could not focus because Logan was praying out loud. Both of my kids were doing one thing correctly, they wanted to make sure whether it was out loud or in silence they were going to talk to God.

I am so thankful for every teacher and worker within our church who has taken the time to pour their lives into our children. We are seeing fruits from the labor. Jesus mentioned that one sows and another reaps.

I want to encourage you to think of those basic “best” questions mentioned above for yourselves and your family. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your children have a relationship with the God of the Universe. Also, just remember that God hears your prayers whether they are out loud or in total silence, whether from a child or mom or dad.

God bless you and have a great day,

Pastor David

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Remember When

Do you remember the song that incorporates the phrase “Remember When” in the lyrics?

Of course the song has much to do with progressing in life and in one’s relationships.

But, we can learn a lot from the phrase “Remember When”. It is especially true in the context of our church. With some it has been a long time since you first come to reflect upon your commitment to Christ. The winter has been long, white, and wet. You have endured struggles with sickness, doubt, even numerous disturbances just from your everyday lives. Perhaps you got saved, baptized, and joined the church but somewhere along the way everything seemed to veer off.

Life has a way of doing that to us. But, we need not lose hope. In the Bible, Jesus talks about walking in light as He himself is in the light. One might ask, well since I have veered off does that mean I am walking in darkness? The answer could be “yes” or it could be “no”. When someone is truly God’s child they want to be with God through prayer and reading the Scriptures. In brief, prayer is when we talk with God. Reading the Bible is where He specifically talks with us (the Bible is God’s Word to us). Of course, the Holy Spirit talks with His people through the fellowship of the Spirit but we look to God’s word to correctly understand what God is saying through the Holy Spirit.

In other words, each part is dependent on the other and one cannot separate one aspect of fellowship with God from the other. Along with this crucial aspect of fellowship with God (walking in the light with Jesus) is also the understanding that the Christian should be in fellowship with other believers. Certainly, the weather has strained the attendance of church for some. Sicknesses have been terrible, and continue to take a toll on others. But, by and large what happens if we are not careful is that we become lethargic to any notion that we need to have fellowship with God’s people (at church). By lethargic, I mean we become unresponsive to the call of God in our lives when we neglect God’s word, prayer, and fellowship at the church week in and week out. There is something that causes calluses on our hearts and minds if we do not regularly feed on God’s word.

Hear me when I say, Neglecting God through prayer, reading of Scripture and fellowship will ultimately, if continued, bring sorrow upon sorrow into one’s life. It always does. The thinking goes like this. If I am a Christian that means that I no longer have control over my life (non-Christians don’t really have ultimate control). Becoming a Christian means that that person has repented of their sins and gave God the complete control over their lives.

Now since we are His children, He will take whatever means necessary to get our attention. The Creator of the universe may shake up the world of our hobbies, recreation, employment, health, families, etc. Again, if one allows God’s blessings to become a means to quit praying, worshiping, investing in fellowship, and reading the Scriptures then God may just change or retract that blessing (take it away or alter it) because it was too much for His child to endure. We must remember that God knows best. If God gives us so many wonderful hobbies that we can no longer spend time with Him, then in actuality we are entering an area where we can expect God to bring them to a halt. This is not theory; I am sharing these things with you as one who has experienced it.

As a pastor, I have many observations (sometimes glorious and sometimes very sad) of past ministerial experiences to share with God’s people.

I have had the privilege of seeing lives, even whole families changed through the forgiveness, grace and mercy they found through and in Jesus Christ. I know of young teens that were headed in the wrong direction – their moms were drug addicts and their dads worked all the time so they were all alone in this dog eat dog world. They were saved and now one is playing the piano at a church in Kentucky (taught himself for the most part). One young man is on a professional bike tour traveling who knows where. He recently wrote me and told me that if it were not for me taking the time out and telling him to stay focused on God, that he would have ruined his life, his education, and his (now) career. Another man who was 74 years old came to know Jesus through a minister who wouldn’t give up on him (me). He had already made it plain but I didn’t quit showing him that God loved him. These are glorious testimonies.

But, on the flip side I know individuals and families that have experienced terrible and painful tragedies because they just thought their way was working. Now to be clear the Bible says that there is a way which seems right to a man but the end of that way is death. Given my previous experiences in ministry I have noticed men who were given a new lease on life and they just squandered it away.

Having said all this, we all know that we all experience tragedies and hardships. Jesus even spoke that God brings the rain on the just and the unjust. We all experience disaster and turmoil in this life to some extent. It seems that none of us are exempt. But, I am making it a point in my life to do everything I possibly can to serve God in such a way that I am a model for my wife and children. The same can be said for the church.

In essence, it is absolutely essential to stay focused on Christ, by being dedicated to prayer, reading the Scriptures, and attending worship and fellowship.

These are some items that I often find beneficial to reflect on in my daily life:

I ask myself these questions and I encourage you to do the same.

Remember when you first realized your need for forgiveness?
Remember when you first understood that God loves you just the way you are?
Remember when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Remember when you decided to be the best dad God would have you be?
Remember when you decided to be the best mom God would have you be?
Remember when you decided that regardless of the cost you were going to follow Christ?
Remember when you could sit in the church and have your family sitting there next to you?
Remember when you saw your children give their lives to Christ?
Remember when you first paid your tithes and offerings with the understanding that God loves a cheerful giver?
Remember when you served at church as if you were serving the Lord?
Remember when you truly worshiped?
Remember when your heart was stirred through the message preached?
Remember when you became a member of the family of God (His church)?

In short, do you remember when you gave God everything?

Let me encourage you to come back to your first love (Jesus Christ). Let me encourage you to come back and walk in the light with Jesus.

Perhaps some of you are firing on all cylinders even serving in many capacities. As one old preacher use to tell me, “Keep on keeping on”.

Some of you may want to say, “But pastor I am doing all I can do and I am fighting to survive”. Then that is all the more reason to draw closer to God.

Some may say, “Pastor I have tried and tried and I want to give up”. If most people are honest, they will run into that storm periodically. But, have you ever looked at a big oak tree? Their beautiful leaves and giant girth draw us to look at them with wonder and amazement at what God can do with just a little seed. But, when we look out the window and see the rough winds coming we head for cover. The tree stands right in the storm, swaying and bending and rocking back and forth. And even though it may have a few broken branches blown out, the tree is still intact. Now the beautiful leaves and the big girth didn’t cause that tree to weather the storm. It was the roots. The roots systems of many trees (the stronger ones at least) are vast, even running deep into the ground. How did those big oak trees grow such big roots? TIME. It took a lot of time.

Just like the seed trusted God to send water and nutrients to make it grow, so Christians must allow God to send the rain and nutrients into their lives to help them grow a big root system in Him. We have to be patient and know that God is at work. If we keep uprooting and going on to the next place in life we will never grow strong. There will be a storm that will knock us over. In essence, a good extent of our Christian lives is given to storm preparation. And this is not only for us but for our families too. It takes a long time to grow a big oak tree.

Brothers and sisters we are all in this together and as your pastor God has specifically brought me to His church to share with you wisdom and insights that He has taught to me. To those of you who have read thus far, thank you for taking the time to read this, but most importantly I urge you to allow God to work for good through this communication. As many of you are beginning to know me better, you know that I care for you with a deep burden from the Lord. I am here for you. I know that God is at work at Green Valley and you are an intricate part of that work.

Finally, let me encourage you to give God everything. As my pastor use to encourage me, give God your time, talents, and tithe. I always liked that because it is Biblical, memorable and practical.

I hope to see you soon,

God bless you,

Pastor David

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