I’m trying to be a Christian

I had an instructor tell me once there is no such thing as trying to be a Christian. You either are or you aren’t. It really upset me at the time. I told him it was surely a human trait to try to be a Christian.

His answer was if you are just trying, you haven’t made the commitment to be a Christian. Being a Christian is who you are, not what you are trying to do. We struggle with our young people not going to church and not grasping what we talk about as “Being a Christian”. It takes a strong heart to look at one’s self and say “What about me sets me apart from anyone else? What in my life says I am a Christian?” It is sometimes hard to figure out who is a true follower of Jesus and His preaching and who isn’t when we are just talking the talk and not walking the walk. We know we don’t get to heaven by what we do, but we do influence people by what they see.

We want a middle ground where we can do the things of the world yet say we are following our faith. A part of me wants to say there is a middle ground that would make me more in step with the world yet I know in my heart there is only one way into heaven. As a new preacher I remember the advice of a contemporary preacher friend who told me “Don’t get too strict or you will chase people away. Our job is to draw the people in and let God do the rest. Like a bear with some honey. Don’t upset them or they will not give and then you will surely be out of a job.”

I struggle with that more now than ever. Isn’t that the absolute wrong way to treat people? It comes back to the part about trying to be a Christian. Are we here to help people try to be Christians or are we here to show them how to be Christians. The decision has to be made one way or the other. There really isn’t a place of either-or. God was very plain in His words;

Revelation 3:15, 16 New International Version

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

You are or you aren’t, it’s a pretty tough thought to swallow. That’s what my instructor was trying to tell me. In God’s eyes you are a Christian and you live your life to the glory of what God wants or you are not and you live your life to the glory of yourself. Sounds like the pastor has gone law crazy right? After all Jesus came to save us no matter what we do.

Well the truth is; Jesus came to save those who die to their old life, repent of their sin and believe in His saving grace. The only catch is if you don’t do those things before it is too late you will be left behind trying to be a Christian. Just as He says “I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Please note the last phrase “I am about to spit” He hasn’t done it yet. There is still time as long as you can read this.

It is like when the doctor told me I might have throat cancer from smoking. He said there still may be time if you change your habits. You have to quit smoking not just try to quit. You have to make the decision to be different in your ways; otherwise things will not change. You are either a smoker or you are not a smoker, there is no middle ground.

Well I guess that’s what I realized with my faith.  I was either a Christian or I was not. I was either going to be healthy and live or I was going to continue to kill myself with my sins and say “I was trying to be a Christian really I was.”

The part that gets confusing in this world is the fact we think we are all ok as we are. Our young people see the difference between “being” and “trying”. They need a solid place to start from or they will never make a decision either. What a scary, heart breaking thought to have our kids spit out for being “lukewarm” in their faith. Make that decision in your life to be “Hot” for God, take the step to be a Christian and not just trying to be, teach your children the same ideas. Let’s get this country back into motion, kicking our old habits that are killing us and starting to live again;      “Being Christians

Just my thoughts,

Pastor Scott

 

Prayer and Discernment

Pastor Scott

Pastor Scott

I spoke on a chapter last week; 1 Corinthians: 6, it’s a letter that brings up controversy in our society. I understand why but I needed a way to help define it. Through prayer and discernment the Holy Spirit put an explanation on my heart.

We are a broken society but we struggle admitting it. Our sinful nature and the world give us false ideas about what is true and holy and we lose our way. The serpent started his work in the 3rd book of Genesis and hasn’t stopped. He lied to Eve causing her to fall to curiosities and want.  Adam followed the same path without question. We don’t have to wonder where it started but we have to accept that it has blurred our vision ever since.  I know that many will quit reading at this point but that is part of the Devil’s plan. When we feel uncomfortable we stop moving forward.

The bottom line is that God has created us. He is the boss, the supervisor, the CEO, the administrator, the King of the world. His decisions are final. The part we don’t seem to understand is everything He does is “for our own good”. Now doesn’t that sound familiar, our Father in heaven wants the best for us.

Let’s bring this into perspective, when a parent says “yes” a child says “no”, when a parent says “stop” a child says “go”. When a parent says “I love you” the child says “so.” We are God’s children; and just like our own children our nature is to do the opposite. Just like Adam and Eve we tend to rebel.

The part we need to grasp is; it is God’s heaven and God’s earth, His Salvation and His hell. We do not make the rules; we do not change the rules. People get irritated with an almighty ruler but without a single direction we end up with no direction. John Adams the second president of the United States made this statement on the creation of the democracy;

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

A two party system was a concern to the authors of our constitution, think of GOD’S concerns in His creation. As we have experienced in our lives, man has issues running his own existence, we need a guide. May we stop resisting our Father’s directions and give Him the respect He and only He deserves.

Weather or Not

FROM THE PASTOR’s DESK:

I was at the car wash the other day, talking to the attendant.  “Nice weather we’re having,” I said. To which the attendant replied, “Yea we’re going to pay for it.”  I drove away with a thought in my head.  “WHO and WHY are we going to pay for it?” It is just nice weather.

We live in a world of constant doubt and distrust.  Have you ever noticed when you try to do something nice for someone they seem to get worried? It is a frightening state to be in when we cannot accept gifts of kindness and love.  When someone gives you a present, remember their joy is multiplied by the joy of you receiving it.  Jesus Christ gave us a present.  Our sins are forgiven and eternal life is ours with His death and resurrection on the cross.  Do we say thank-you and receive His gift?  Do we smile ear to ear and say “Wow, You did that for me!” or do we walk around saying “I can’t accept Your gift?”

Let’s go past the thought of “We’re going to pay for it” and give Jesus the glory for His gift.  All we have to do is believe in Him and accept His gift with joy.  As the Christmas season approaches fast, practice the art of receiving good gifts and the joy of giving will be even better.