Monday, November 16, 2015

Our Only Hope

Read today..."The Lord observed the extent of the people's wickedness, and He saw that their thoughts were consistently and totally evil.  So the Lord was sorry that He ever made them.  It broke His heart." Genesis 6:5,6 

Evil is definitely embedded into the human story.  Just being honest here...I have no illusions of being a pretty good person.  Coursing through me,deep down, are things like resentment, jealousy, rebellion, bitterness. some words from Isaiah 62:11 pops out to me..."Look your Savior is coming". Jesus gives us Hope.  a passionate, real, battle-scarred Hope.  Only His Hope can conquer heartaches this incredibly strong, or wounds so deep, and pain that is as fresh as the Tri-Cities Herald headlines I read yesterday.

A Savior would arrive...a deliverer...a king whose kingdom would never end...a prophet who would speak for God...a priest who would offer a a final and ultimate sacrifice...a man who would bring blessing to all the races of people...Isaiah 9:2 predicted, "the people who walk in darkness will see a great light.  The light will shine on them." and Isaiah called him "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (9:6)

The Hope He would bring was not cheap, but as costly as life itself, and as bright as the sun that rose in Eastern Washington this morning.   O How I Love Jesus....O How His Hope will sustain ,,,O how I wish I could describe Him for you......
If you love Jesus today, lavish His Love on all the people around you....If you don't know Jesus and want to chat more and know Him then send me a private message and lets get this conversation started.  Jesus is our only Hope.  
Just sayin........

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

No Excuses...Clock or Otherwise

I have been having good conversations with pastors from the area and other individuals about churches in the U.S.. Some topics were funny ones like, how to get people to remember to set their clocks ahead 1 hour for this Sunday, March 8) DON'T FORGET! Other topics were more serious, for example,  how over the past 10, 20, 30 years every church has a front and back door.  People come in (and we love that) then people leave (and we dislike that).  And instead of constant rejoicing over the ones coming in the front door we spend countless hours trying to figure out how to close and lock the back door, although that would be a fire hazard I am sure ( in more ways than one).

A recent article from "Relevant" magazine shares some for exiting a local church and a reminder of how lame those reasons are and should really be called excuses. Below are some of the thoughts from that article:

“I’m not being fed”

Do pastors have a responsibility to steward the scriptures and care for their church spiritually? You bet they do. And it can be all too easy to overlook this while trying to manage staff, build systems, meet needs, put out fires and develop leaders, all while overseeing the overall vision and direction of the church. But let’s be honest, if you own a smartphone, a personal computer or a library card, you have access to some of the best preaching and teaching in the world. You can even find teaching archives of some of the greatest preachers of all time. Christian, you have access to more “meat” than any other generation before you!
Your primary call in the church is to contribute, not just to consume.
To leave a church because you’re not getting "enough" is a cop out. Your primary call in the church is to contribute, not just to consume. As a Christian, you shouldn’t require spoon-feeding for the rest of your life. Eventually you need to learn how to feed yourself so that, in time, you can actually feed others. Remember, your call is not just to be a disciple but to make disciples.

 “It’s getting too big”

I can appreciate the sense of loss that accompanies growth. When we first began, our church was little more than a small band of brothers and sisters meeting together in a living room. It feels very different now that we are a church of a few hundred people spread across multiple services. There are moments when I miss the intimacy and simplicity of those early days. But remaining small is a sad and unbiblical goal.
When churches are faithful to the Great Commission, lives will be changed and people will be added to their number. It may not happen rapidly, but growth is sometimes inevitable for faithful churches, given a long enough timeline. If you have a problem with big churches, you really wouldn’t have liked the first church, and you definitely won’t like heaven.

 “I don’t agree with everything that is being preached”

You know what? Neither do I and I’m the pastor. As such I fully reserve the right to disagree with myself. And every now and then I do exactly that. Why? Because I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m asking questions. And my hope is that those I pastor are doing likewise.
If you insist that your pastor agree with you on every little thing under the sun, you are going to either hop from church to church for the rest of your life in perpetual disappointment or you will eventually give up and drop out altogether. Chances are you are not going to agree with everything that is preached anywhere. As long as your pastor isn’t preaching outright heresy, you can afford to disagree on secondary issues.The truth is when you choose to stay despite disagreeing on some things, you, your pastor and your church are better for it.

 “My Needs Aren’t Being Met”

When someone lists this as a reason for leaving it is a dead giveaway that somewhere along the way they came to believe that the Church actually exists to serve their needs. They’ve bought into the lie that, when it comes to church, it’s really about “me.” Here’s the problem: the Church actually isn’t about you. It’s about Jesus. It’s his Church. He came for it. He died for it. He redeemed it. He continues to build it. And one day, he’ll come back for it. It’s his.
The Church doesn’t exist to meet your needs. You are a part of the Church that exists to meet the needs of the world.
This is the same Jesus who came to seek and to save the lost and then commissioned his Church to go and do the same. The Church doesn’t exist to meet your needs. You are a part of the Church that exists to meet the needs of the world. Put away the shopping cart and pick up a shovel.

 Unresolved Conflict

Wherever you find the community of sinning saints you will find conflict. Lots of it. The Church is one big family full of characters and misfits. Sometimes sisters argue. Sometimes brothers fight. Sometimes you want to bury your weird uncle in the backyard. But despite it all, family is supposed to be the place where you stick together. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
Paul addressed a lot of church conflict in his letters. No where do I hear him encouraging believers to bail on one another or move on down the road to a different church where it’ll be easier. Instead, much of his letters are his encouraging and coaching these ragamuffin communities in how to do this very hard and messy thing together.

This week at Pasco Christian we continue our journey through Acts.  We will continue to talk about how messy evangelism is, and  show how God sustains us as we pursue Him with our whole heart.

Hope to see you Sunday, and if not with us, hope you connect with a church family in your area!

Chuck 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Easter Is On The Way

Some friends from our Vancouver days are now living in New Orleans, and  through their pictures this week reminded me of how close we all are to Easter. Seeing their Fat Tuesday pics from this week, Mardi Gras has come and gone.  This also means today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, which is 40 days (not including the Sundays) before Easter, which draws us into a special season of spiritual growth.

Even though Lent, itself, is not in the Bible, the concept of spiritual preparation is. And just as the time in the wilderness was key for Jesus and what was next for His ministry, perhaps the next 40 days can act as a preparation for the ministry God has for you as well.  It is a way to let God know you are desiring to be closer to Him.  It really can be a time of incredible spiritual growth. Let this season be a closer priority one relationship with Jesus.
  
Jesus gave up so much in order to find new life. Is there something you might choose to give up over the next 40 days? Something that has an influence on you.... for me stuff like....eating too much? For you it may be spending too much time playing XBOX or on NETFLIX? Some sin no one knows about? Spending beyond your means?  There are times Jesus points us toward something that could be cut from our life, and it usually hurts for that to happen, so that God can bring about new life and we can grow spiritually. Lent is a time that you can give something up, in order to grow your relationship with God.  Less of other things, and more of God.  You might have an idea of some thing to cut out.

Fresh off our Missions Conference and seeing "Compassion in Action," I am loving the stories of how God continues to move in the Tri-Cities.  Make plans to worship with us this weekend as we continue through our series in the book of Acts.  We are in chapter 16 this week and as we build up towards Easter our desire is that we will have a renewed fire to share the Good News of Jesus with our friends, family, neighbors, classmates, workmates....you get the idea....Love You All