Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Power of Prayer

I believe each one of us can tell stories in our lives, in others lives when we have seen God answer our prayers. As a minister I see the power of prayer among the family of Christians. It does something when we publicly by name bring requests before God. Over the three years I have see God answer prayer after prayer of those who seem to have no hope in the eyes of doctors. Those who enslaved in sin, freedom from it. Marriages that struggling to becomming strong as ever. Non Christians comming to God. I have come to understand more and more that with God all things are possible. Prayer not only is benefital to those prayed for but stregthens the congregation as well. How has prayer played a role in your church? Have you been encouraged by praying as a congregation. How have you seen God's power in prayer in your life and the life of your congregation?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ron Howard Starts Religous Group Opie Dei

I love Jay Leno. Jay Leno had a great fake newspaper with the headline: Ron Howard Starts Religous Group Opie Dei. I thought it was so funny. Wanted to share the humor. Opie Dei. Thats great. Hope you have a good laugh too.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Happy Memorial Day

I hope everyone has a great memorial day. I love grilling. I can't wait to grill out tomorrow (ribs, sausage, and chicken, veggies and purple onion) and spend the day relaxing with the fam. I do hope that each one of us will take time and remember those who have sacrificed their lives to give us the freedom that we enjoy each day. Thank you. Have a great memorial day!

God Dosne't Care If We Are Happy or Not

As americans we pursue happiness. It is one of our cerntain unalienable rights: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. God Doesn't Care If We Are Happy or Not, God Cares If We Are Holy or Not. Consider Josheph: Sold into slavery by his own brothers, seperated from his father who loved him deeply, falsely accused of rape, thrown in prison, forgotten about by those he helped (happy experiences?). But he remained holy. Consider the holy man named Job: Lost house, family, livestock, wife, friends, healthy, everything(Was he happy about his life?). He remained holy. Consider Paul: Endured hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonment, tortures, shipwrecks, sleepless nights, and hunger. He remained holy and faithful unto death.
He calls us to holiness (see 1 Peter 1:115-16;Romans 12:1;1 Thess. 4:7;2 Tim. 1:8-9).
Only in God do we find true happiness.
When we live holy lives happiness will be the result.
Remember God doesn't call us to happiness, he calls us to holiness.
May we live up to our high calling in Christ and experience the happiness that comes through godly living.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Which Version of The Bible I Enjoy

There has been much debate over the years on which version is the best. Many claim the only true version that one must use is the King James Version. I enjoy reading Shakespeare but for personal study it sometimes bogs you down with the thee's and thou's. We must remember also the KJV was edited by King James so it does have some of his influence in translation of the text. I love the American Standard Version. I find it closest to the orignal greek text. New American is good too. Many enjoy the Revised Standard, and New Revised Standard. As I prepare for sermons and lessons I use the Greek New Testament 4th edition, American Standard and NIV translations. The translation I enjoy the most is the NIV LIfe Application Bible. Study Bibles are wonderful. I preach from the NIV because it is the translation that most use and language of today. There are translations you should be aware of that are loose translations from the original: Living Bible, Amplified Version, Politically Correct Version, 24 Hour Bible, and the Message. Is there any that I left out? I do enjoy reading Eugene H. Peterson's Message Version, he translates some passages in a way that I never thought of before. But since it is one man's version, extremely loose as far as the original text there should be caution. What I tell my congregation and other Christians is if you like the KJV and that is your version great, but don't try to force others to think they are sinners if they don't use your version and if you use the ASV, RSV, NRSV, NKJV, NIV don't do the same. Find a translation that you can understand. If you read it and you don't understand the English what's the point. Let's stop the fighting over translations and start reading.

Texas Rangers Baseball

I have always been a Texas Rangers fan win or not. Last night, wow, what a game last night. The Texas Rangers pulled off an upset. I am glad that the Rangers are doing good so far this year. Hope they keep it up.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Grace In The Old Testament

Alot of times Christians have the view that the God of the Old Testament was harsh, unforgiving, vengful, laking grace and then somehow when New Testement was written God changed to a graceful, merciful, love, forgiving God. As you read the Old Testament you can't help but see the grace of God. In the life of David, to his people Israel, Ninevah, and many other nations and individuals to numerous to mention. Listen to the Lord's announcement to the people of who he is: "Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stoop there with him (Moses)and proclaming his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming: "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracioius God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousand generations, and forgivng wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the wicked unpunished, he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to third and fourth generation." (Exodus 34:5-7). What a graceous and loving God and father we have. As we read the Old Testament let us see the grace and love of God that moves people toward repentance and a new life in Him. Let us understand the power behind Hebrews 13:8 Jesus is the same yesterday, and today and forever." So is our father God who never changes, who keeps his promises, who loves us more that we can begin to imagine. Thank you God for being so graceous.

Making The Text Come Alive

" For the word of God is living and active" Hebrews 4:12a. I have come to understand that more and more everyday as I teach and preach it. I enjoy teaching and making the text come alive on Wed. nights. I enjoy the prep time during the week but what I can't wait for is on Wed. and Sundays making the text come alive. I have been in alot of classes where the teacher will ask the question: "What does this verse mean?" Response: "Well, it says what it means and means what it says." No heart. No application to daily life. When I teach a class I want the hearers to leave having something to take with them to help them live better the rest of the week. I want to challenge their faith. Many Christians only read the New Testament and ignore the Old Testament. We must remember that Old Testament was the Scripture Jesus read and taught from. We must remember the words of Paul, "All Scripture is inspired." All. The Old Testament can help us as Christians live moral lives. It is full of stories of peoples faith, mistakes that we can avoid, wisdom, encouragment, and lasting promises of God that spill over into the New Testament. Do we make bible classes applicable to everyday life situations? Do we challenge our members enough in their faith? Do we ignore the Old Testamemnt? Is the church relative to our culture? God help us to teach your word with heart, passion, conviction, making relavent your word to the lives of those who heart it. Thank you God, for your living word.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce

How did the books of the Bible come to be recognized as Holy Scripture?
Who decided what the shape of the canon should be?
What were the citeria that influenced these decisions?
The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce deals with and answers these questions.
I highly recommend this book for any minister, church library or if you have questions concerning this topic to buy the book and give it a read.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

My Da Vinci Code Movie Review

I have never seen a Ron Howard Film I haven't liked. The Da Vinci Code was a great movie. It made you think "what if"... It didn't effect my faith at all or change any of my beliefs about Jesus or the Bible. I have talked to others Christians who have seen the movie as well and their faith is still as rock solid as ever. They understood that it was Hollywood, fiction, entertainment, nothing more nothing less.
I can understand why the Pope didn't want Catholics to see it. It doesn't show them in good light. Also may make Catholics think about worshipping Mary Magdalene instead of the Virgin Mary.
In pagan religion women were viewed in high esteem, they are the givers of life. How different would Christianity be if Jesus had a wife and child? How would women be viewed and treated within the church? Other questions, just question for thought: Would God want us to know if Jesus was married or not. Would it effect the message and purpose of Jesus and the Cross? Would it make him any less divine? Has God told us and explained everything to us? What would we do if we found in the next few years scrolls revealing Jesus had a wife name Mary Magdalene and a daughter? Just some thoughts I had. Interesting.
One thing non-Christians, hollywood, and many scholars can understand is that Jesus was 100% man and 100% God at the same time.
That is what makes Christianity what it is! God became man; the word became flesh; Jesus the son of God died, and rose again. What hope! A living, eternal hope!
Again I never trust the film critics, you shouldn't either. It was a good film. A good 2 hours 39 minutes spent.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

My thoughts on the Da VInci Code

I am amazed and embarrased at the reaction of the Da Vinci Code is having by Christians. Christians need to understand that the Da Vinci Code is fiction. When Christians over react over Harry Potter or Da Vinci Code it makes Christians look stupid, and mindless. Believe it or not Christians do have mind of their own, and can even think on their own. We can read books and movies without it affecting our faith or view of God and His Son Jesus. God gave us a powerful mind to discern. Let us use the minds that God has given us. I can't wait to see the movie this weekend.

The Game of Life

What a game, what a game! The Spurs won 98-97 over the Mavericks. I hope it goes to game seven and the Spurs win the series against Dallas. When elimination from the game is on the line it comes down to who wants it the most? Who is going to try to play the hardest? Which team is going to give it their all. Life has been refered to as a game. Paul refers to the Christian life as a race. The great news for us is that the series has already been won. Jesus Christ has made the last shot at the buzzer. But it is up to us to play our best, give our all, drive to the lane, and sacrifice for our team, no matter what fauls life brings our way. It is up to us. We have the choice. Will you be a victor or a victom? So, lets give it our best, lets finish, and know that every day we can live as Champions becuase of the grace and love of Jesus Christ, as Paul said, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Falling Away

I like to make my sermons and Bible classes as relative and applicable as possible. Last week I start a series on Wednesday nights called "Falling Away: Why Christians Lose Their Faith & What Can Be Done About It." A wonderful book by Dr. Brian Simmons a professor at Cascade College in Portland. The book is loaded with studies, statistics, examples, stories, indepth look at scriptures and thought provoking questions for group discussion. Just listen to the the chapters in the book: The Reality of Falling Away, What the Bible Says About Falling Away, Difficult Biblical Passages About Falling Away, Myths about Falling Away, Who is Most Likely to Fall Away, Waring Signs that Someone is Falling Away, The Causes of Falling Away Part 1 &2, Interfaith Marriages and Falling Away, Returning to Faith, Switching Faith Traditions, and Preventing Apostasy. Each of us can tell stories of people we know who have fallen away. It is a subject that doesn't feel good, uplifting, many mixed emotions, we may often try to avoid; but it is a reality that we must not ignore. The study last Wed. night was an eye opener to the reality of falling away. I high recommend this study and book to all churches and a must have for ministers.

Go Spurs Go

Growing up I thought the only real NBA team in Texas was the Dallas Mavericks. Over the past few years I have gotten familiar with the SA Spurs. The Spurs do seem like a very classy team. They handle themselves very professionally. And did you know that David Robinson part owner of the Spurs is a Christian. And a few months ago Bruce Bowen and his wife were baptized at Oak Hills. The talent of the Spurs reminds me of the Chicago Bulls back in the 80's and 90's. Tonight they fell short 113 to 91. I think they were tired after having to play Dallas 36 hours after returning from California. Both teams are evenly matched and I think this series is going to go to game seven. I feel it is going to be a good series. I hope the Spurs can pull of a back to back championship.
Go Spurs Go!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This and That

It has been a few days since my last post. Wow. What a busy couple of weeks it has been!
Crazy. Schools already out for us. T-ball. Church. Mothers Day. Graduations. Weddings. Anniversary. Fathers Day. Summer Plans. Summer Activities. VBS. Does life go by faster and faster every year?
I trying to learn to enjoy everday that God gives me and every situation.
I trying to not sweat the petty stuff so much.
Enjoy the things that are most important: God, Family, Self.
I am going to spend more time with God (aside from sermon prep. Ministers know what I mean).
I am going to try to relax more.
Let things slide a little with my kids. Let them be kids. Enjoy their childhood. Give them good memories.
I am going to love my wife more.
And really live. When I get to the end of my life I want people to say, he really lived life.
As you read scripture Jesus was busy. But Jesus knew how to live. Really live. Jesus knew what was important. He took time for himself. Spent time on the mountain, in the garden alone with God. He spent time with family and friends. He took a look at the lilies in the field and the birds of the air. He welcomed the children.
As a minister I am starting to realize more and more that Church isn't about sermons (sermons are important don't get me wrong) but it is about people. Ministering to people. Meeting needs. Offering hope. Being with the people. Visiting the sick, widows, those who need encouragement. Praying with the discouraged. Offering accountablity and support to the addicted.
What would the church be like if all preachers did just that? But not just preachers but the entire family of Christians? What difference would it make on the community in which you live? And the church worldwide?
A dream?
My dream.
God may my dream become reality. May Your Church touch others one life at a time.