How Should a Christian Respond to Civil Authority

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We just got done with our civil duties of voting. For us in California, it was a time to prayerfully vote for those who we would like to see in governing powers across our state. As many may know that California is a blue state. It would seem this election time it was more blatantly shown the democratic direction .

There are many opinions on the outcome of this election. Some who are excited to those who are wanting to leave the state as they seemed to have lost hope and are in despair for the future of the state of California. Does the Bible address these concerns? If so, what is said and how should a Christian respond?

In the book of Romans, Paul gives a glimpse of the direction and heart change of the believer. He gives examples of how the Gospel changes all of us, not just our eternal destination and our standing before God, the Gospel changes our day to day outlook (Romans 12-13). The Gospel changes us! Continue reading “How Should a Christian Respond to Civil Authority”

What Do Christians Have in Common?

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We have more in common with Chrisitans than we do have uncommon. I have written about this in the past which is a common thread found throughout the New Testament. You can read about how Christians share in weeping for one another here and how we share in rejoicing with others here.

Sometimes we neglect the aspect of unity among believers (I call it the togetherness of the Christian life). We read in the Bible that believers, the church, are called a body. Christ is the head of the body, but each member (believer) is part of this body. Just like each perspective part of your body has usefulness so does the body of Christ. The apostle Paul reminds us,

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 1 Corinthians 12:12, 14-20 ESV).”

Continue reading “What Do Christians Have in Common?”

Does this Offend You?

Does this Offend you?
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A little bit of controversy has come up from this poster from a local mall which promoted our church’s Southern California outreach . Harvest, my church has done this outreach for last twenty-nine years.
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Different news outlets have reported on this where you can read more here. We as a church were first asked to modify it due to different complaints and one “threat” which the church complied because of the Bible that Pastor Greg Laurie is holding (Even though it is a Bible, the poster depicts more of a black book).  Eventually, we were asked to remove the banners completely from the mall.
The Bible has been a staple in our American culture with families having one in their living rooms to finding a Gideon’s Bible in every hotel room. Times have changed! The Bible which points people to the freedom from sin found in Jesus Christ alone is not valued but considered offensive. We should not be surprised by this. Continue reading “Does this Offend You?”

How To Fight Envy

How To Fight Envy
We all deal with this thing called envy. Maybe we justify it by saying it’s just thinking “the grass is greener on the other side”. We can think everyone deals with it so it’s just a feeling or an emotion. Envy is more than longing for the better thing or wishing life was better for you. It is comparing what other people have or don’t have Pastor Scott Sauls gets to the truth of what envy is and defines it this way,

“Envy is the opposite of love because it does not rejoice with this who rejoice or mourn with those who mourn. Instead, envy, in its sick and sinister way, rejoices when others mourn and mourns when others rejoice.”

Based on that definition, I must ask myself how often have I rejoiced when others mourned or mourned as others rejoice? In Scott Saul’s book From Weakness to Strength, he shares the example of when King Saul had envy over David. The women would sing as Saul went through the streets, “Saul has killed his thousands and David has killed his tens of thousands (1 Samuel 18:7).” One doesn’t have to read much further to see how Saul responded to this, he tries to kill David. Continue reading “How To Fight Envy”

What Do the World Cup and Evangelism Have in Common?

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What is the biggest universal sport? I would say soccer. The one sport that is played in every country on a national stage is soccer. I have had the opportunity to go to several different countries and wherever I go I see soccer being played. They play with a beat-up ball, a can, or anything that they can kick; but it is still the same sport. Though the United States didn’t qualify (that’s a different blog post) and soccer may not be the biggest sport in the United States, however, it is a different story throughout the rest of the world.
The World Cup happens every four years and it may be the biggest event that occurs worldwide. It has been stated that 3.2 billion people tuned in to watch the world cup in 2014 (that’s almost half the world’s population) and you can assume that number is higher with this World Cup. Soccer is an international sport that touches almost every nation despite language barriers and differences. Soccer or “football” as its called in other parts of the world, points to a greater goal (no pun intended) that the Church is called to have.  The Church (the global or universal body of followers of Jesus Christ made up of believers throughout history) is called to make disciples of all nations. What do the World Cup and Evangelism Have in Common? Continue reading “What Do the World Cup and Evangelism Have in Common?”

Do You Have FOMO

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Did you know that they have diagnosed there is an actual phobia about missing out in life? It’s a real thing and it has been heightened due to social media. It’s called FOMO-Fear of Missing Out. FOMO happens when you realize that other people are somewhere or doing something that you are not. If has been defined this way by the Oxford English Dictionary as, “having anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”
I didn’t think it was a real thing until recently. We had a big event for our church and many of the staff and fellow pastors went to this event. I needed to stay back to help with Sunday morning services, understandably so, church still needed to happen. I was fine with this and thankful for any opportunity but something happened; I started to see pictures of what the other team members were experiencing and doing. FOMO hit me!  I felt like I was missing out. Do you ever feel like that? For others it can cause depression, discontentment, envy, and anxiety. Continue reading “Do You Have FOMO”

How to Pray for Others

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Many times I get this question, “Pastor, please pray for me.” Not only do I do my best to pray for them right then and there but I try to remember to pray for them throughout my week. I am often wondering how do I pray for others. I know it is lifting up their request but more so, how should my heart and mind be when I pray for them. I am so thankful for Scripture as we can see a model of what this looks like. Paul, the Apostle, would often pray for the different churches and mention that in his letters to them.
One of those particular prayers is found in the book of Philippians. In his pastoral prayer, we have a model of the heart behind praying for others.

1) Our prayers need to be thankful for others

Paul was thankful for the church in Philippi, he was thankful for them. He writes to them, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you (Philippians 1:3).” As a pastor I am reminded how I am thankful for the believers at my church. I am thankful for the unity that comes in Christ. Though there may be different in our interests, we have different backgrounds and upbringings, we have different likes and dislikes, different hobbies, different professions, different yet we have Christ who unites us. We go from unrelated to family. We go from strangers to a community. Christ who unites us is far greater than where we are diverse.
Continue reading “How to Pray for Others”

Responding to Evil

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Less than a week ago I woke up to the news of the violent school shooting that took place in Santa Fe, Texas. Ten people were killed and another thirteen wounded by a high school gunman. I am still praying for the families as the attention from the media has moved on to other things, knowing the hurt and pain is still very, very fresh for them. Though this happened in Texas and not in my home state, the whole United States was affected by this egregious act.
I knew I would start seeing the posts that say, “Pray for Santa Fe” on the day of, which is well meaning and I hope is not just a knee-jerk response just to post something but hopefully they are genuinely praying. For me, I had to evaluate my response. I think sometimes when I hear about evil acts I sometimes don’t always respond well because first, you hear it and you need to bear the news that you hear. It should trouble us when we hear about tragedy. It should trouble us that this even happens and how often it happens. It is a hard thing to hear and to bear and you can play naïve by overlooking information. Second, I think others pass over this news quickly because there is a sense of responsibility in how one should respond. If you do not take time to listen, you can not have responsibility. As a Christian, there is a biblical mandate to stand up against evil. The Bible says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them (Ephesians 5:11 ESV).” I believe there should be a responsibility for Christians, especially in America with our constitution and rights to be able to expose injustice and evil. Continue reading “Responding to Evil”

Be Like…Tychicus

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I have a friend who is always willing to help, be there when there is a need, even when it is not the most convenient. I am beyond thankful for this friend. If you have someone like that, you know what a treasure that is to have. There is a man mentioned in the Bible named Tychicus who my friend reminds me of, and we can be encouraged to be more like him.
Be like who? Tychicus! Just say his name 3 times fast! He is mentioned by the Apostle Paul at the end of Ephesians as “the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord whom Paul was sending to them as an encourager (Ephesians 6:21-22).” At the end of Colossians, Paul again mentions this loved brother by adding that he is a faithful servant (Colossians 4:7). Continue reading “Be Like…Tychicus”

Unconfessed Sin?

We see in the Bible that we are are called to confess our sin. For example, John tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous (just) to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” We are called to confess and repent form sin and it is crucial that we do it (Mark 1:15).
Who are we confessing our sin to? In this passage, John is directing the reader to confess their sin to God as he is the one who forgives. God is the only one who forgives and He freely forgives because of Jesus did for us through his death and resurrection (1 Timothy 1:15). Continue reading “Unconfessed Sin?”