Is it merely the numbers that count? Is It based on the style and volume of the music? Is it wrapped up in the presentation? Is it about prominence? Then O Lord find me lacking on my best day as a Pastor...but wait Lord, you started the greatest revival ever with eleven dedicated followers...and the songs of praise were from the heart...and you weren't very flashy...and you were more humble than any.
It must be entirely dependent on the one, in the quiet of the heart, wrapped in proclamation of the truth, in love. Yes Lord, find me wanting, wanting to be of service, wanting to be still, wanting to glorify you.
If you're reading this and you have grown confused and weary about "today's" popular Jesus come and visit with us, come and get reacquainted with the savior.
They say a picture says a thousand words; but what if there is no picture to speak the words that must be said? Does that leave us with a thousand words without a source? When I want to see the bigger picture of what God is doing and what He is in the process of accomplishing often times I will look at the big picture. The church building as an image of the heritage, the congregation as an image of stability, the programs and work as an image of growth, to the vision as an image of the future...but if I am not careful I can get caught up in all the things and forget about the part of the picture that will always, always need His care and attention...me.
The reality is that the building stands not because heritage holds it together, and not because it is well built, it stands because of God's grace, the heritage is His.
The congregation is not an image of stability because at the end of the day we are sinners saved by that same grace, and we all fearfully and wonderfully made...no matter how strange that looks from the outside. Our stability as a congregation is rooted in and supplied by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The programs and events give the perception of growth but many times they are times lf business, started with great furver and desire, and then fading away, growth comes through the sound instruction of the Word, and the willingness to grow.
And vision doesn't point us to the future, it is us recognizing that the Holy Spirit is at work in our hearts revealing to us the things that are on God's heart, and that He has a future for us, here and now, and later as well.
As a Christian, as a Husband, a Father, and a Pastor, God is my heritage, He is my stability, He is my program and my work, and He IS my future.
I pray that you know your future, but if you have questions, send me a note, lets talk. Come join us @ Elk Creek this week, we're going to talk about Jesus...every single time. Bro. Kenny
This week has been a journey; we started the week in happiness and jubilation as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowds, We traveled through the events of the week to the upper room and shared the Lord's Supper together as a body of believers, and then on Friday we cried tears of sadness when they crucified the Son of God. This day we celebrated the empty tomb at sunrise, and gathered again to praise and worship the risen savior. That is what we have done; but more importantly this is what we need to do. We cannot let the excitement of this week, the truth of this week die. We as members of our respective New Testament churches must not only strive to keep the passion alive that we feel this day, we must strive to impact the world for Jesus with the truth of this week. As a pastor it falls upon me to set the tone, the mood, the passion of each service, I pray that my walk become stronger, my prayers become longer, my passion consuming. Join me and our family @ Elk Creek and experience Jesus in everything we do, every time we do it.
Bro. Kenny Jackson, Pastor
They chanted Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel...but he was and is so much more, He comes not "in" the name of the Lord but He is LORD, and more than the King of Israel He is the KING of KINGS! I challenged our church to walk this week through the passion of the entire week, step by step. The crowds welcomed him as king, but he wasn't the king they hoped for, they shouted Hosanna and then with the same tongue shouted Crucify! To the very end He was about the Fathers business, no letting up, no letting down. I pray that we will not be too quick to leap from today to the empty tomb without trying to feel the passion of the week.
Let the speaker be consumed only with speaking the Wod of God.
Within the walls of the sanctuary of the church we are most in tune with our Lord, we are often times the most spiritual, but I believe it is in those moments that we can be most valnurable...not to the influence of the power of the word of God but to the temptation and the doubts that satan introduces to us as we honestly consider what the word says and how it fits into our lives.
But in those moments we can have the most hope, because if we respond to the spirit with the intention of correction and growth and not to the lies and deception of satan we are in a position to experience God! It is the fearful responsibility of the preacher to present the word full strength, trusting God to work the strength of his word through the heart of the hearer.
This is the time of each year when you hear about reflection; a time when we are challenged to look back and measure our success and failure, but I've never really understood the grading curve for this reflection...the problem with us reflecting on the value of our accomplishments and failures can be crippled by a couple of factors.
We usually base our findings on the world's standards and on our motives...but its bigger than that, we think of our victories as something that is to be stood on forever and our failures as the things that we quickly discard...
I used to look back on the things that I had not done well, and to the miscues in each year and tell myself that "that's just how it is" and sometimes that is going to ring true, there are going to be events in my life and yours that God allows with the intention of drawing our attention back to center and growing us to be a little more to the person that we were made to be, but maybe not the person we have chosen to be.
But...if I want to be real, if I want to truly examine the reflection of my life in the mirror of reality, then I realize that many of my shortcomings, many of my failures, are the result of my choices, both in thought and action-not really the uplifting words I want to hear-but it's true for me anyway.
So, this is where I'm supposed to make my "resolutions" right? I think instead-for me-I'm just going to find a moment when I finish this message to seek God fresh and anew, to come clean with myself and to draw closer to HIm...the rest will take care of itself...that's right, I said it, the rest will take care of itself...how...because if I'm closer to Him then my life will reflect more of Him and my choices will be more in line with His desires for my life, and though not everything will go as I plan this year I know I'm a part of His plan, and that is enough for me.
Planning is important, its essential, but if we get caught up living in the future or stuck in our past we are missing out on the most precious time of our life...the moment, this moment right now, and the anticipation of what God's plan might hold in store for you and me right now. If I was in the picture at the top of the page I would plan to pick the flower on the farthest hilltop, but for now I'm good with the one
Are you a part of His plan? Yea, you are, maybe His plan for you right now is for you to accect His presence in your life for the first time and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, If that's you I would love to talk with you about that. And to the Christian, the chrurch "member", maybe His plan for you is to get involved in the life of your church-by the way, sitting in one place for 50 minutes is not being involved-maybe its time to really let go of the past and move forward...
Luke 9:23 makes it real clear.."If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. That verse speaks directly to my heart every time I read it, and I want to live it out more and more. So this year seek Jesus, and if you see someone following him, I hope it looks like me.
Tis the season to be jolly, and hey, as long as we're asking for toys I'll take one of these, do the come in orange? Christmas is nearly here, and everybody has their list of things that they hope to find under the tree this year, and there isn't a thing wrong with that, not a thing.
Christmas is a time of giving gifts to those you care about, and it isn't the size of the gift but the thought behind the gift that makes it special, that makes it memorable. Children's faces light up as they gather around the tree and lift and shake each present to try to figure out what might be inside, its wonderful its magical, heck I miss those times myself!
But we must be careful that we don't hang Jesus on our store bought tree or try to wrap Him up in one of our boxes with a big bow...no, we must distinguish between the holiday we celebrate and the birth of our Savior. Every year we hear more and more about how we can't say Merry Christmas, but I will, and how we can't call it a Christmas tree, but, isn't that what it is....and how horrible it is to take Christ out of Christmas...Just a little perspective beloved...I've been saying Merry Christmas all my life and nobody has asked me to stop. I'm not putting up my community tree of good cheer this weekend, I'm decorating my Christmas Tree. And if someone wants to take a few letters out of an English word...go ahead, I still use all of them when I write.
Why is the world so threatened by a word and a plant??? The light shined in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not...the world isn't afraid of the symbol, they just don't understand. The world may one day change my calendar and stop producing evergreen trees-doubtful-and remove a line from Websters-probably not-but the world can never take Christ out of my life, and I will celebrate His birth on Christmas day in front of my Christmas tree. God gave a gift to those He cares about, you and me, but if you only celebrate it one one day you've missed the point. Merry Christmas to all those who believe in what I believe, and happy holidays or seasons greetings, or whatever it is to all the rest, I hope you receive all you want but most of all I hope your receive what you need...
It starts out simply enough; church is great, the family of believers is a source of encouragement and affirmation...and then Satan shows up, right there in the pew next to you. You feel like something is not quite the way it should be and you're right, so you do what you have done before, get alone with God.
But if we are not careful our "alone time with God" becomes an alone time away form God where we are truly alone, except for that small voice that we perceive to be the Spirit that tells us that we "need" a break from the "church" that it's good to have time "alone" to figure it all out...did I mention that Satan is the Great deceiver, he wants nothing more than for you and I to try and "figure" it out on our own.
And soon a little time is a long time, and soon we are convinced that the farther we are away church the closer we are to Him...but all we have done in the alone time is redesign God so that he approves of the choices we make, and we discern that his plan is better accomplished on our own...and now the path is so easily traveled...and so wide...and the hand that leads us seems to be leading us in the same direction as before...and in the midst of our newfound sunshine falls a mist, or is it the tears of the Father who loves you so much He won't force you to turn back, but will weep until we do.
If you are on this road today know that I have traveled that same road...I won't try to tell you I know you're story, but I will tell you about a Savior that gave me another chance, and I'm here if you need help getting turned around.
God loves you.
Availability is the greatest asset that we can offer the Lord as we travel through this life. This picture is precious to me in so many ways, but this scene never occurs without being available. But we so often miss the call to be "ready in season and out" because we are unprepared. I believe prayer is the catalyst that allows us to be sincere, be real, be forgiven, and be made ready for every good work.
It is through prayer that God saves the sinner, it is through prayer that the saint finds relief and direction, it is through prayer that the Holy Spirit reveals the meaning and the application of Gods word we are apart from the flock.
So why do so many invitations and opportunities in the church leave the altar cold because the hand of the Christians never warm them, and why do they remain dry because the tears of the saints seeking a Holy God don't wet them? It can only mean that every one in the service has no problems or faults worthy of God's intervention, or that we can handle it on our own...
But if there is one that is seeking, is broken, is ashamed of how their life measures up to the expectations that we see in scripture than how can they possibly muster the courage to come in prayer when they never see the ones who claim to have a relationship with him, the ones who constantly give praise for answered prayers ever pray to him? our actions cause reactions...good or not so good.
May the Lord Bless and encourage you today. Pastor Kenny
I've never been to this place but when I look at it I imagine how it sounds and how it feels...can you feel it? Maybe it's just cool enough to see your breath, and the air is just a little heavy with the cool dampness as you make your way to the rock in the foreground.
You sit down and suddenly you take in maybe for the first time just how beautiful, how serene this place is. The water falls off the rock in a smooth motion and you see the ripples working their way to where you are.
Small noises catch your attention and you imagine the birds and small creatures who are very fascinated by your being in their enviroment...and then you realize that God created this breathtaking scene...just for you.
He placed every stone in place, caused the sun to shine at just the perfect angle, and removed all the noise of life from your mind, can you feel it? And then Jesus comes and sits with you on the rock and says, "tell me all about it." He understands our trials, he understands our fears and our frustrations, he is interested in you.
I'm not perfect, He is. I don't know your pain, He does. I can't make it right again, He Will...tell him all about it.