Easter is About Jesus! (Not a Bunny)

Do we live like people of Easter? Did you know the dictionary doesn’t mention the Easter bunny in its definition? Now don’t worry I’m not protesting the Easter bunny but I am protesting our first priority. When Easter is (sold) on TV and in stores, it is all about eggs and a magic bunny that brings kids candy etc., (Jesus is in the back isle by the religious stuff)

Our religious holidays were started and remembered for a much more important reason than to make them into a sales plan. Easter is honored as the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and fulfilled His promise of eternal life for all who are baptized and believe in Him.

As with all things we need to be careful of the origin. The egg was pagan tradition before it was used as any part of Christianity. The egg was the symbol of new life and the coming of spring. The Easter egg is not a holy symbol but a “Scramble of pagan and Christian tradition”.

The Easter bunny is another pagan tradition that has made it to main stream through the art of salesmanship and desire. Desire? , wow pastor that is quite a word to use. I use it because the Easter bunny is known for bringing baskets of goodies and treats; it fulfills our desire of stuff. There is a huge line between our celebration of an animal bringing us what we want and our Savior dying on the cross and giving us what we need; the Forgiveness of our sin.

So why am I talking so negative about some simple, good, wholesome traditions. Well it’s my job; not to talk negative but it’s my job to remind people that there is more to faith in Jesus Christ than following the traditions of a culture. See many of those traditions can lead us away from our faith in Jesus Christ without us ever noticing. It’s when we combine secular and Holy ideas together that we end up with a watered down, weak Faith that is “Luke Warm”;

Revelation 3:15-17

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. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 

We have a Holy holiday of Easter to reflect on; we have a Holy holiday of Christmas at the other end of the year. Let’s keep them Holy; about the God who they are meant for. Let’s be People of Easter, worshipping our “Risen Lord” all the time, every day, every minute.

Be “Hot” for Jesus others will see your “Reason for the Season”.

Just My Thoughts

What is Important to Me?

From the Pastor’s Desk   

What is Important to Me?

 What is important to me is such a huge question. It has really changed in the last year. I think of all the things I have going on and the list seems endless. Then I see friends with children having health troubles and friends losing loved ones and friends passing at young ages and it makes me realize that endless list really needs to be stopped.

When did we get so busy with stuff? When did we trade our lives for work and meetings and all the other stuff we tend to run for? As I watch my kids grow up and live their lives I can’t help but think of the classic tune from Harry Chapin in 1974 “The Cat’s in the Cradle”. Now you may have to “You Tube” this to get the true meaning of my blog but it really hits home for me.

The things we tend to make the most important in our lives are things that normally don’t last. It is why we never seem to get ahead. Each new thing has a different set of issues, so we never find the end. Or we are so busy taking care of things that mean nothing to our lives that we get exhausted doing it over and over again. The balance is a tough thing to accomplish.

Jesus saw the haste and waste in the lives of Mary and Martha. Martha was just like many of us, doing the everyday things that take all of our time but really account for nothing in the end. She was so busy doing life that she didn’t take time to just be part of life.

Luke 10 (NIV)

40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42  but few things are needed—or indeed only one.    Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Worried and upset about many things. Sound familiar? Let’s get our priorities in order, Jesus Christ first and family next, the rest of the stuff will wait. Let’s all start a new course, may we show our youth a new way of living where we all have time for family again. It’s not too late.

The song says; “But we’ll get together then Dad, you know we’ll have a good time then.”

“Then” is not a promise in this world, we best do it now.

Just My thoughts,

Pastor Scott

 

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.